Sunday, 13 November 2022

MAJOR and MYNAH – Operation Raven

 

 by KAREN OWEN;  

 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.

 

 

 






AUTHOR: KAREN OWEN

 

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!


 

 

SPOILER ALERT


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:  https://karenowen.co.uk/


 

FIREFLY PRESS web page can be found HERE or type this: https://fireflypress.co.uk/

 


LOUISE FORSHAW web page can be found HERE or type this:   https://www.munkeypants.com/

 

 

 

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

 

 




Till laters!

ERin

26 comments:

  1. What a magnificent selfie, ERin!
    Mummy says flavoured stamps seem like a jolly good idea - but so few people actually send letters through the post nowadays :-(

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    Replies
    1. That is so true. Maybe if they had flavoured stamps and envelopes they would 🙂. Thank you, it was one of my best poses this week. The rest have been huddled up in a ball, so less than photogenic.
      ERin

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  2. Your selfie is beautiful. ERin! You do indeed look deep in thought.

    That book sounds delightful in many ways. The story and the friendships (including Bo!), but also the incorporation of inclusiveness.

    Finally, we love the idea of holiday-flavored stamps. May the stamp-licking bring you many delicious moments!

    XO

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, it took a few shots to get that one just right. I think you have gauged this young reader book very well, and I hope others will see the same magic and treat their students and own family to it. Festive menu stamps are so much fun, just so long as you get the ingredients you like 😉!
      Erin

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  3. Erin this review was 100 x better than any I've read from professional reviewers. WTG
    Cats rule
    Hugs cecilia

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    1. Thank you so much! We have so much fun not only choosing but reading these great new books. Also a lot of fun reporting the antics in the village 🙂.
      ERin

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  4. Charlee: "Wow, your stamps sound a lot more interesting than ours! Maybe our Dada should try ordering them from somewhere other than the post office web site ..."

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    1. I'm guessing he'll probably have to go to our village shop for them ;) Thank goodness they only come out at Christmas, otherwise I'd run out of envelopes and people to send them too. :)
      ERin

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  5. Mum would like the real alcohol sherry on her stamps pleeze :-). And we luv tuxies so your selfie is wonderful!

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  6. That sounds like a genuinely good book. Especially the inclusiveness. Thank you for the heads up. And your selfie is so grand!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting. Yes, this is a great sequel. Slightly differentr from the first which was setting the scene. Still excellent fun though 🙂

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  7. This does sound like a fun book Erin. I laughed at hiding a Mynah bird in a school bag * whisltes Mission Impossible * MOL!!!

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    1. Yes, that would be great music for this book. The girls, and Bo, have a really great adventure.
      ERin

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  8. That sounds a very nice book for the younger reader. Flavoured stamps sound like a good idea. I wonder if they do a gin and tonic flavour!
    That is a lovely selfie, and it looks like you have a nice bit of sun.

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    Replies
    1. Well, apparently they do, but Mrs Singh never seems to have any stock???? Make of that what you will!

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  9. I would choose peppermint flavored stamps myself :) Love the photo!

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    1. Thanks, and Nip flavour would be mine, but as it's the festive season I have to go with the mince pies and brandy butter flavour. Followed by all the others bar the sprouts, for obvious reasons. I'm sure our protagonists would agree with me on that score 🙂

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  10. The flavored ink sounds a little bit iffy to us but we'd likely try some. The books does sound like a fun on, excellent review sweet Princess!

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    1. Thank you, Brian. Kids books really are a treat, and this is another great adventure in a series we hopes continues. Well, the ink and sticky stuff sure tastes better than the normal stuff. That said, we only ever have enough for the festive season.
      ERin

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  11. I just let mum do all that stuff for me then I don't need to worry about the taste and can just enjoy a carrotini xoxo Little Miss Titch

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    1. I did see a festive carrot stamp, as well as a parsnip one. Not sure who we mailed those to?
      Have a great xmas, Miss Titch

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  12. Replies
    1. Thank you, I try to pose but they never come out funny, just serious and regal.
      ERin

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  13. Blueberry and muffin ink?! Oh, DO TELL, where to buy such perfection!

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    1. Well Mrs H gets the stamps from a cousin's second nephews best mates uncle.... or so she says! That could be down the road or in Timbuktu! Best never to ask about the things Mrs Singh gets, just enjoy the cheap price ;)
      ERin

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