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The Halloweeds – Veronica Cossanteli

31819521“It was an ordinary, boring Wednesday afternoon. Until, quite suddenly, it wasn’t.

It’s double Science on Wednesdays. Miss Drupe showed us a film about Food Chains. It wasn’t very cheerful. This green stuff called algae got eaten by this invisible stuff called plankton. The plankton got eaten by a fish, the fish got eaten by a seal and then the seal got eaten by a shark.”

Dan is minding his own business in Science, learning all about food chains, when his life changes drastically. Against all the things his lesson has just taught him, his parents have been eaten by cannibals and he has to go live with an aunt he never even knew he had. Arriving at the crumbling Daundelyon Hall Dan, his sister Martha and baby Grub are greeted by Great Aunt Grusilla and her faithful servants. But why are they all missing a finger? And why does Dan keep hearing about greedy ‘cabbages’ in the glass house? Can Dan work it all out, keep his family together and keep all of his own fingers before its too late?

***

I loved Veronica Cossanteli’s first book – The Extincts – when I read it three years ago. It was a hilarious read that would have 8 or 9 year old readers hooked from the very first page. Thankfully The Halloweeds was very similar and I loved every page of this one too!

The Halloweeds was very easy to read but that didn’t stop it from being enjoyable. It had just the right amount of excitement and intrigue in it to really keep the reader hooked and each of the characters were brilliant. I think my favourite character in the whole thing was Jack as I could really picture them in my head and the pages really came to live when Jack and Dan were together. I loved Martha too, challenging what 9 year old girls should be viewed as every page she was around – and of course her love for dinosaurs was a big tick form me. The Grub was a brilliant character as I really love the way it brought forward the absolute love for all things science-y and nature-y for the Bone family.

The storyline was easy to follow and would be a must for any younger reader who loves a bit of mystery. To be honest for me the ‘mystery’ surrounding Daundelyon Hall wasn’t exactly a massive mystery but maybe thats because I’m a cynical old woman these days! I think if I read this book as its intended audience’s age I would have been hooked and shocked to find out everything as the tale went on.

Just liked The Extincts Veronica Cossandteli has included just the right amount of humour into The Halloweeds to make it less horror and more humour, without losing some of the intrigue. There are genuinely parts of the book that have you thinking “How the hell is Dan going to get out of this then?!” and others that will have readers laughing out loud.

If you have a nature/bug loving, horror and humour reading 8 year old in your household you must treat them to this book – they will love you for days… and maybe nag you for a pet rhino but to find out why you must read The Halloweeds for yourself!

The Halloweeds will be published on October 6th 2016 by Chicken House books. My copy as sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

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