Author: Derelict Space Sheep

Martha Mayhem and the Witch from the Ditch

Martha Mayhem and the Witch from the Ditch by Joanne Owen (Bonnier Zaffre, 2016); audiobook read by Amy Enticknap (Bolinda, 2017) A breezy adventure for young readers. The characters are silly, and Martha is stoic and happy-go-lucky in dealing with the troubles that beset her. However, the story is very much a moment-to-moment construction and the unremitting stream of alliteration…

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (Delacorte, 2009); audiobook read by Jilly Bond (Magna, 2010) A cosy adult mystery featuring plucky, precocious 11-year-old Flavia de Luce. Flavia has character to burn, and in the audiobook is marvellously portrayed by Jilly Bond. However, the mystery itself is rather laborious and the story evinces almost no sense…

Wilberforce and the Blue Cave

Wilberforce and the Blue Cave by Leslie Coleman; ill. John Laing (Blackie and Son, 1974 / Hamlyn, 1977) An innocent chapter book adventure weakened by several allusions far above the reading level, and by the rampant proliferation of stereotypes. The humorous appeal seems predicated on the fact that Wilberforce and friends perform everyday acts (unfolding maps, etc.) while living underwater.

Making Millions

Making Millions by Erika McGann (O’Brien, 2017); audiobook read by Aoife McMahon (Bolinda, 2020) The Bubble Street Gang’s second adventure features plenty of personality but no real mystery (beyond the funny, blatantly spurious ‘invisible boy’). Cass’s wilful obliviousness is more than a trifle over-the-top, her schemes almost distressingly flawed. McMahon’s reading once again elevates the text.