Sunday, 13 November 2022

MAJOR and MYNAH – Operation Raven



 Illustrated by Louise Forshaw                                                                                  

An Adventure Book Review by Erin the Literary Cat©, International Book Reviewer.

Hello, and welcome to my weekend Book Review featuring Adventures in Middle-Grade Fiction.

But first, lets see what's happening in Upper Much-Mousing.
Life at the Manor House has settled into the traditional pre-Christmas panic, and Mrs H and Erin have been hard at work signing cards. . . .
"Mrs H, what flavour ink am I using this year?" Erin asked as she licked her paw. She had been stamping the Xmas cards with her right paw using a special flavoured non-toxic ink..

"Blueberry and muffin I think the bottle said." Mrs H was busily unknotting the tangle Erin had created in the tinsel after a mad half-hour session earlier that morning while chasing a mouse-shaped bauble.

Erin nodded in approval. "Does that mean we have the mince pie and brandy butter glue to lick this year?" she said, eyeing up the envelopes.

"No, dear. I got my favourite, the alcohol free sherry flavour. It wouldn't do to be drunk whilst headed to the postbox, now would it."

"Yuck!" Erin's nose scrunched up in disgust. "I don't know how you could, Mrs H. It smells like fermented old socks mixed with old fruit!"

"I'm not sure that it's quite that bad, dear. And in anycase, how would you know what old socks tasted like?"

"Have you been into ol' Ned's greenhouse this week?" Erin asked, gesturing out the window. "There's a reason it's all steamed up. And it's not because he's working hard," Erin said with a wink. I swear that new homebrew is actually some sort of bug killer."

"Insecti-cider!" they both proclaimed simultaneously and broke into hysterics.

"How's about I let you lick the postage stamps instead. Mrs H pulled out the small wallet of special stamps purchased from Mrs Singh's Festive Grotto. Each stamp had a Christmas flavour. Having split the stamps into two even piles she placed one set before Erin. "There you go, dear. We each get a fair mix.

"OK. As long as I haven't got the 1st Class vindaloo surprise!" The previous year, Erin picked that stamp and had needed to keep her tongue in chilled cream till the pain subsided. At least, that is what she had said.

"I did make sure I got that myself. Can't have you overdoing the cream, now can we. I have also made sure you got all the traditional food. Roast parsnips and cranberry sauce are back. And, if you see one with King Charles 3rd on it, and his nose is wrinkled, that will be the Brussels sprout-flavoured one." Mrs H winked, and after a short pause, the two descended into fits of giggles!

"I think, dear," Mrs H said after wiping away a tear, we best not make any jokes about our new king. If word ever got out, we could end up in the Tower of London!"
"Strange you should say that, Mrs H, but the review for this week is set in the Tower of London. How's about you put the kettle on and warm up those mince pies with cream, and I'll introduce this week's awesome read?"

"That, Erin is an excellent idea." As Mrs H strode off to the kitchens, Erin gently pushed the sprout flavour stamp from her pile into Mrs H's and exchanged it for a rather tasty-looking roast turkey.






Cover art by: LOUISE FORSHAW 


Published by: FIREFLY PRESS


Publication date: Paperback – 2 MARCH 2023


Paperback ISBN: 978 1913 102 746



Cover price for Paperback £ T.B.A.


Pages: 167


Age range: 7 - 9

Any dogs or cats? No, but B.O., the Mynah bird, has a crucial part!




Some as to plot direction and characters. 



Thank you to... 


We are exceedingly grateful to all at Firefly Press Publishers and NetGalley for the delight of getting to Read & Review this fun book before publication. 


As ever, our views are our own, and we only share reviews of books we like and feel our readers deserve to know about and that we hope they will enjoy. 



The plot

In this, the second instalment, our crime-fighting young 9-year-old friends, Callie and Grace, are heading off on a school trip to the Tower of London. But the last thing they expected was to find fellow detective Bo, the talking Mynah bird, in Callie's school bag. The second to last thing they expected was to get embroiled in a new mystery during the visit! 

Keeping a determined stowaway bird hidden on the bus isn't as easy as it sounds, especially as Callie's mum is the bus driver. Bo has his own reason for visiting, which might prove dangerous and distracting. 

Delightful hijinks ensue when the three pals think they spot something amiss and start to investigate! Keeping everything hidden from the adults is going to be difficult, especially under the eagle eyes of their teacher, Mrs Manning. I shall say no more for fear of spoiling things.

So, what did we think?


We loved the first book, and this new adventure sees team S.P.U.D. (Super Perceptive Undercover Detectives) take it to the next level — many levels, including the dungeons! They also get to deal with the Police and aspects of an actual investigation. All exciting and serious, which adds authentic flavour and realism to the whole book. 

The fact that Callie has hearing aids, aka 'slugs', never really gets any focus other than in a positive way in line with how they allow her to hear what Bo says. The characters also use B.S.L. (British Sign Language) as part of their sleuthing. This book is a wonderful example of how inclusiveness in children's writing can be fun and informative without using a sledgehammer. Which, of course, is exactly what we like. 💙

So . . . . 

Crunch time. 

Once again, Karen Owen has captured and skillfully distilled the essence of a great, fun adventure in an easy-to-read first-person voice of the lead protagonist, Callie Major. Coupled with Louise's dynamic illustrations, we get a readily accessible, compelling tale for younger and reluctant readers alike. The book is also educational in a lighthearted way. Well worth buying for the youngster in your life.

Want to buy a copy?


To get a copy, minus a talking bird, and being sure not to lose one's head by upsetting the local monarch, head on down to your local independent bookshop. There are plenty out there (both book shops and cats), and each shop is just waiting to serve up whatever kind of mystery, fun and adventure you desire.


KAREN OWEN'S web page can be found HERE or type this:


FIREFLY PRESS web page can be found HERE or type this:


LOUISE FORSHAW web page can be found HERE or type this:




I shall leave you with a selfie of me, contemplating all things feline, and a few things with cream!  🙂



Till laters!