This is the story of a sleepy town called Suds. A place where stories fill the air of children who keep turning grey and disappearing without a trace...
Poppy and Erasmus are certain there's something peculiar going on in Suds, and they're determined to unravel its secrets.
But when they discover the answers might lie in the dark and twisting woods, can they find the courage to creep inside and solve this riddling mystery?
In the back of my bookshop there is a shelf with uncorrected proof copies of books that the staff are free to take home and read, today I discovered this gem and settled down to read it during the slow moments where there was little else to do. The book follows Poppy, who has just been sent by her dad, to live with her Gran. Poppy is a girl who hates new things, misses her mother terribly (she died prior to the book) but is a strong, capable child who ends up delving into the mysteries plaguing the children of her new home. She becomes friends with Erasmus, an odd but brilliant boy who dives headfirst into trying to solve it all.
Throughout the book we meet several side characters, almost all of whom are connected in one way or another to what is going on. Children have been disappearing or have changed so completely, but no adult has put any of the pieces of the puzzle together and so life plods along as normal. The author gives good visualizations of character and enough information that they don't stand out but when you grow closer to the conclusion you have an 'ah ha!' moment and can identify just who is being spoken about before the kids work it out on their own. Throughout the book we are reminded of the four simple rules that Poppy is instructed to live by, this helps keep the flow and remind you that there just may be something rather important to them.
Halpin weaves a wonderful tale that had me not wanting to put the book down, it was well paced that none of it felt rushed and not once was I wanting to know where things were leading as I was too engrossed in it, wanting to see what was happening right then. This book could be a little spooky for some young readers, I will admit that there was one moment that had me a little spooked out, so if your child doesn't like something that may cause a little bit of fright then they might not enjoy this book. I for one, really enjoyed reading this, getting through it within the day and I'm looking forward to what else Halpin might bring to the table in the future.
Random listing from 'Books'...
Sil is a rising star among tuis; a brilliant singer and talented composer. For him the annual singing competitions loom large.
Daredevil Bron is Sil's best friend who tells it like it is. They've got a good thing going. But a sense of menace closes in as magpies plot to devastate the valley.
The tui way of life - flying free and singing in the dawn - is about to be destroyed.
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"Computer games don't affect kids. I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music."
Kristian Wilson, Nintendo, Inc, 1989