Life changes dramatically for twelve-year-old twins, Arthur and Maudie Brightstorm, when their father fails to return from his expedition to South Polaris. As he is accused of breaking the explorer’s code, everything is taken from them, leaving them homeless and vulnerable. However, resourceful and determined, the twins refuse to accept their fate and set out to clear the Brightstorm name. To do this, they must persuade another sky-ship captain to let them join the crew of an expedition to South Polaris. Answering an advert-

Individuals Wanted
For treacherous journey to South Polaris,
Small wages, certain danger,
Shared reward and recognition if successful. 

-the twins find themselves on the Aurora, serving under Harriet Culpepper and their adventure begins…

There is so much to recommend this story. Fast paced adventure and a cast of captivating characters grab the imagination from the outset. At the heart of the action are the twins: Maudie is a talented engineer, fascinated by how things work, creator of a mechanical arm for her book-loving brother, Arthur, who is sensitive, thoughtful and tenacious. Reversal of gender stereotyping and the inclusion of a character with disability are both skilfully integrated as a natural part of the story. Felicity, the sky-ship cook, the fabulous sky captain, Harriet Culpepper, the deliciously dark, Eudora Vane… there are so many characters worthy of comment! The sapient creatures of the story are also well drawn from the beautiful hawk, Parthena to the stunning thought wolves.

The Brightstorm world is brilliantly brought to life, vividly described and imagined as the twins follow their adventure, facing peril and discovering friendship along the way. A brilliant read aloud or quality fiction text, ‘Brightstorm’ is a gift for teachers looking for an engaging story. I can’t wait to read the adventures Maudie and Arthur get up to next!

Brightstorm Vashti Hardy

Scholastic ISBN: 978-1407181707