ANNE PRITCHARD NUMBER9BLOGSPOT.COM
TITLE: Oozing Magic – AUTHOR: Linda Jones
PUBLISHED BY: Linda Jones Bavoom Publishing
This delightful collection is filled with magical fantasy adventures for children aged 7-10 years. The trilogy comprises, ‘Deadwood Hall’, ‘Deep Waters’ and ‘Cavern’s Fall’. Each book relays an adventure with nine year old Dylan and his older sister, eleven year old Emily.
It’s Midwinter’s Eve, the shortest day of the year and Dylan and Emily and their parents are staying at Dylan’s grandfather’s house. Odd things start happening whilst the gown-ups are enjoying a party downstairs and know nothing of what’s happening upstairs to brother and sister, Dylan and Emily.
Fun and adventure feature strongly in this enchanting story told through the eyes of both siblings. The real excitement starts when Dylan catapults a toy soldier from the bedroom window and he comes to life to take control of things; he knows about slimy Whivicks and a helpful centipede that has a penchant for biscuits. The children magically shrink in size to three inches and are plunged into an exciting fairy-tale adventure where Emily is abducted and taken to Deadwood Hall. Dylan and Archie (the toy soldier), enlist the help of an owl to rescue her from the clutches of the Whivick queen.
Deadwood Hall is about friendships, magic, strange creatures and looking out for each other when things don’t go to plan. This adventure is the beginning of further fairy-tale exploits where Dylan and Emily become involved in more magic and discover family secrets. There’s never a dull moment; I’m sure children will be captivated by their adventures.
This is an underwater tale full of adventure and magical creatures which I found so enjoyable to read. The story includes more typical bantering between brother and sister, Dylan and Emily who really love each other deep down and will do anything for each other if they are in danger. After magically being shrunk to three inches again, they race to the rescue of one of Dylan’s least favourite people, the school bully, Justin who also happens to be the twin brother of Emily’s best friend, Rachel.
I thoroughly enjoyed the new characters which readers were introduced to; Maldamia who smelt of fish and had seaweed plaited hair and shark-like teeth; Belfroad with his blue, toad-like head; Amina, with her magic staff; Snifflebit, a talking hamster-like creature, and the Aquelsis, human-eating sea monsters who can entrance humans into doing their bidding.
The action is fast-paced and the author introduces children to a story set in an imaginary underwater fantasy world which is adventure-based with a hint of acceptable mild horror suitable for children aged 7-10 years.
The illustration on the front cover depicts the children in the magic head bubbles they are given by Amina which enable them to breathe and speak whilst underwater searching for Justin.
Adding to the excitement, the children discover that their grandfather has magical powers but he is keeping all he knows to himself for the time being.
This tale takes place on Hallowe’en, usually Dylan and Emily’s favourite time of year, but this time there’s going to be a full moon, and the smell of bad, stinky magic is in the air.
The children receive surprise packages and deduce from their nasty smell, they’re from their Aunt Greta; there’s a beaded cap for Dylan and a cloak for Emily. It doesn’t take long for them to recognise both have magical powers which will help them in their search for their grandfather.
Snifflebit makes a return appearance along with Quintus, Archie the toy soldiers’ camouflaged soldier-friend and new creatures, the Begrobs, bee-like creatures with snappy purple teeth and very sharp claws who work for the Flinyor. The children learn that once upon a time, a long time ago, before humans, there were three races, Whivicks, Aquelsis and Flinyor, whose leader is Magnus.
Once again they are reduced to three inches in size and fly with Quintus and go deep underground with Middlecup, a creature similar to Snifflebit, on a quest to rescue their grandfather who they learn is in the clutches of the mysterious Flinyor deep inside a mountain.
This is another breathtaking adventure for our intrepid two, Dylan and Emily. They must succeed or the evil sorcerer Magnus could change the whole world forever. They battle Begrogs and Flinyor guards to find their grandfather and along the way make some extraordinary discoveries and finally learn the secrets he’s been keeping from them.
Fun and adventure are the main focus of this enchanting 3 book collection. All books are a short, easy read, perfect for early readers who are ready to be introduced to adventure fiction. They are enjoyable books for parents and children to read together or for a more competent older child to read alone; each book is steeped in make-believe and will definitely ignite the imaginations of young readers.
I found the interaction between the siblings so true to life and very down to earth; I enjoyed their squabbles and differences of opinion which feature faultless vocabulary and dialogue for the targeted age group. The hint of acceptable mild horror is sure to keep young readers transfixed to the story. Additionally, the tension level was kept high and the three books didn’t fall into the trap of being long-winded or boring.
All three books are a fast-paced read from start to finish, keeping the interest level high and as such all will easily maintain a young reader’s concentration throughout; all are a fun read which children are sure to enjoy.
Delightful illustrations in the three books which really bring the stories to life are provided by David Hailwood.
Reviewer – Anne Pritchard