Today’s edition of Mini Reviews features some brilliant recent-ish Middle Grade reads.
Explorer’s on Witch Mountain by Alex Bell
This is the second in the Explorer’s series. I waited longer than I should have to read this, but I absolutely loved it. I enjoyed being back in Stella’s world, seeing her try to control her ice powers. There are some creepy goings on with the witch puppet she brought home in book one which leads to vultures turning up at her house. It takes a while to get into the adventure, but it soon picks up when a culture snatches Felix and Stella sets out to find him, without the authorisation of the club. this time they end up taking a Jungle Cat explorer with them; I think he might be the most irritating child in all of literature.I loved the witches in the mountains and the way the children are forced to confront some of their preconceptions and prejudices. What they find on the mountain is very different to what they’re expecting. This is a good lesson for younger readers to not judge others unkindly, but without seeming to be educational. Explorer’s on Witch Mountain is another brilliant book from Alex Bell and I cannot wait to pick up the third book and get back into this world.
Tin by Padraig Kenny
Tin is a fun adventure story with robots that questions what it means to be human, and perceptions of self and memory. Mr Absalom is an engineer of mechanical children and Christopher’s guardian / employer. He is a seemingly vile man who preys on others grief to make a living selling them replacement children when they are at their most vulnerable. He treats his inventions and employees appallingly. When a secret reveals something shocking about Christopher, everything changes. Christopher is taken and the others set out to save him. I loved Jack and Estelle. They are such brilliant characters and great friends who are always trying to do the right thing. Tin touches on issues of discrimination as there are places where people are very set against mechanicals and places that are set against “flesh”, and also ethical issues about how the mechanicals are developed. People in this book are surprising and rarely turn out the way I expected them to. This was a brilliant story of bravery, friendship, and the things that are important in life. I’m looking forward to sharing this one with S in the future.
The International Yeti Collective by Mason Paul
The International Yeti Collection is a timely book with a great focus on conservation and protecting our world. Ella is on a Yeti hunting trip with her uncle, Jack. Jack is not an enjoyable man; he is only interested in making himself look good. Tick is a Yeti. His mother was banished from their sett, and he soon follows in her footsteps when he is caught communicating with a human. The Yeti have to flee from Ella’s uncle. Ella and Tick’s stories of discovery run alongside each other, and it is great when they come together. Yeti culture is steeped in a rich history of tradition, which I loved, but their ways are challenged as the story progresses and they have to work with a human to protect themselves and their environment. I loved the parts where Tick’s sett met other Yeti and discovered that there were other ways to live, as well as the hilarious names the Yeti give each other, which had e cackling aloud. This is a brilliant adventure story with some great messages at the heart. Perfect for younger readers. I know S is going to love this one.
Have you read any of these books? Can you recommend any great Middle Grade reads with important messages?
I’ll be honest, I read Polar Bear Explorers and wasn’t mad on it so haven’t read the others and neither was I fussed on Tin but I am hoping yo read the International Yeti Collective soon – hopefully that’ll go down better! Glad you enjoyed them all!
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I hope you like International Yeti Collective. It’s a really fun read.
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I really need to read the first Alex Bell book don’t I… Also the International Yeti Collective sounds good