Philip Reeve

Kevin's Great Escape

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Another of our Read Aloud short list which is proving very popular is ‘The Legend of Kevin’ by dynamic duo, Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre. When I arrived at school with this new story, there were plenty of squeals of delight…not just from the children!

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In Kevin’s new adventure, Misty Twiglet, famous pop star, has just moved to Bumbleford, much to the excitement of Max’s sister, Daisy. When Baz Gumption, Misty's manager, pays them a visit, he shocks everyone by offering to buy Kevin for Misty’s new garden. No one is prepared to part with Kevin, who is free to come and go as he pleases between his nest on the roof and the Outermost West. But Daisy is tempted by the chance to meet her idol and when Kevin is pony-napped, Max and Daisy must come to the rescue.

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Bursting with humour, ‘Kevin’s Great Escape’ is every bit as magical as his first adventure. Kevin is not the only creature to have been tricked into living in Misty Twiglet’s fabulous grounds; alongside some new faces- Cardigan Faun, Zola the gorgon, Cedric, a centaur and a little dragon called Belling- it’s delightful to see Iris the mermaid again! Neville and Beyonce (Ellie Fidgett’s guinea pigs) also make a reappearance and are pivotal in the rescue attempt.

Friendship is once again at the heart of the story and Max’s loyalty to his roly-poly flying friend is wonderful. The story romps along at a very pleasing pace with lots of action along the way. The illustrations are stunning as ever and the book itself is a thing of beauty with silver edged pages and shining stars on the cover.

With so much to recommend it, ‘Kevin’s Great Escape’ is fabulous follow-up to ‘The Legend of Kevin’. Best read with plenty of custard creams!

Kevin’s Great Escape Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

OUP ISBN: 978-0192766113

The Legend of Kevin

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Kevin is a flying pony with very small wings who lives in the wild, wet hills of the Outermost West. Max is a little boy who lives in a very tall building and has always longed for a pet. One windy night, the two meet - and the rest is the legend of Kevin!

Brilliantly original, fabulously funny, 'The Legend of Kevin' is the.'remarkable double act that is Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre' at their best! Kevin is an instant winner with his love for biscuits (someone has to like pink wafers!), his roly-poly tummy and his wonderfully positive attitude. He thinks he is Just Right- we should all be more Kevin in this!

The language and tone of the story make it perfect for a newly independent reader, but this is also a book which can be enjoyed on different levels and would make a fabulous read aloud. Max's sister, Daisy, is wonderful and the adventures of Beyonce and Neville, brave guinea-pig explorers, deserves a book of their own, using the picture gallery from the end papers as illustrations! The re-appearance of the mermaids and Sea Monkeys, familiar from 'Oliver and the Seawigs', is great fun, but my favourite new characters (apart from Kevin) are the seahorses. I love the picture of them all racing each other up and down the High Street.

However, this is also a book about community spirit and the importance of everyone working together to make things happen and help each other. Max also comes to realise that some animals should not be kept as pets and that Kevin should be free to choose where to build his messy nest. 

The illustrations are an absolute joy, adding to the humour of the story perfectly. Another winner from the dynamic duo!

The Legend of Kevin  Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

OUP    ISBN: 978-0192766083

Published 6th September 2018

Turning Pages in Totnes

On Sunday, we headed to Totnes to enjoy a full day of events at the 'Turn the Page' festival. The sun was shining; the sky was blue; there were books to be bought; there were authors to listen to. In short, the perfect day beckoned!

The festival was being held at the Royal Seven Stars Hotel, a former coaching inn full of character. Any place that has wallpaper like this must be special!

Our first treat was to see Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve in action. Armed with Pug pictures from school, we caught them just before their event and were able to tell them just how much our children enjoy their books.

Dressed with their trademark flamboyance and individuality, they launched into a highly entertaining, enthusiastic performance which was greatly enjoyed by everyone! Their new book, 'Jinx and O'Hare Funfair Repair' is full of humour, both in the story and the illustrations. Having set the scene and given the audience a taste of the story, Philip and Sarah read a section of the story together, really bringing it to life!

We played the 'Ducks of Knowledge' game- 'edu-tainment'-, Sarah taught us to draw a roller coaster ride and we created a race game through a fun fair with lots of creative ideas from the audience! The session was really enjoyable- a real highlight!

Imagine my delight when I spotted a familiar face sitting in the row behind us- Nick Sharratt! His session had been on the Saturday, but he popped in to offer his support and to see Phlip and Sarah in action.

Author of the 'Atlas of Miniature Adventures', Lucy Letherland spoke next. Her new book is full of information about the little things to be found around the world. Having spent many happy hours here both as a child and as a parent, I was delighted to see Bekonscot Model Village and Railway features in the Europe section! Lucy told us how she creates her pictures before encouraging us all to draw!

Dragon sitting next! Josh Lacey read us some of the 'emails' from his books and had us laughing out loud at the antics of Eddie and Uncle Morton's dragon, Ziggy!

Josh answered lots of questions about dragons, being a writer and why he chose to write the 'Grk' series under a pseudonym. His advice to those wishing to become writes themselves was very clear- read as much as you can!

Always a pleasure to listen to, Katherine Woodfine shared the inspiration behind her fabulous 'Sinclairs' books. Having wanted to solve mysteries as a child, Katherine read a whole host of this type of book when young- Famous Five, Nancy Drew, the Lone Pine books. She loved stories about children 'who were brave enough and smart enough to piece together the clues'. This combined with her love of history led to the creation of the Edwardian department store, Sinclairs, where her stories are set. I am impatiently awaiting the third instalment!

To finish our wonderful day, Ross Montgomery ...and a glitter ball! Currently working as a teacher (Yay! He's one of us!), Ross has written three novels and a picture book. Having shared a brief synopsis of each, Ross read from the beginning of 'Perijee and Me'- complete with glitter ball lighting effects!

He encouraged the children to develop their writing skills by working on lanuage choices, using similes and visualising characters. It was a great session!

 The Totnes Bookshop was excellent, staffed by warm, friendly people who obviously love books! We had a great time at Turn the Page 2016 and are already looking forward to next year. A huge well done to Nikki Marsh and the other organisers of the event.