Sunday 19 February 2023





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.

We dive straight in to this week's review, as Mrs H has been suffering from not one but TWO bouts of mild concussion. Sadly it hasn't stopped her keeping tabs on how much food and the number of treats she's given me. I wonder if it will be a case of third time lucky . . . .

Anyways, as she's had a sore head, theres no news from Upper Much-Mousing, save to say, if theres no news, likely as not the villagers are up to no good. So watch this space!

Let the show commence!


AUTHOR: Emily Kenny

Cover art by: Flavia Sorrentino

Published by: One World Publications

Publication date for Paperback: Out NOW!

Paperback ISBN: 978-0-86154-205-5

Cover price for Paperback: £7.99


Target age range: 8 to 11

Any furry companions? Yes; a cat, dogs, and many others, too.


Some as to plot direction and characters.

Thank you to... 

I am exceedingly grateful to Mrs H for getting this book for me to Read & Review. It has been on my PERSONAL MUST READ list since I heard about it.

As ever, our views are our own, and we only share reviews of books we have bought, been given as gifts, or received in exchange for an impartial review. 

First and foremost, the books we review are those we like and feel our global readers deserve to know about and that we hope they and their children and friends and students will enjoy.

The plot

11-year-old Alice is having the worst day EVER. She's tried to be 'Nice Alice'. To smile. To be nice to her Gran, who packed her trunk so full of uniforms that there was no room for her favourite animal encyclopedias. To be nice Alice on the packed train, her head squished against a window that was home to at least 3 dead flies. Even when she'd to shake the sweaty hand of the teacher at the train station. 


It was her Gran's idea to go to Pebblewood boarding school (Pebbles to the students) in the seaside town of Pebblehampton. It would be a nice new start for Alice, Gran had said. She didn't want to let her down, but things were stacking up, and Alice was struggling to stay calm. School and beaches are NOT Alice's thing, especially together. Arriving at the Welcome Day in a tight old, bobbly swimsuit to find the other kids and families poshly dressed was terrible enough. New people to sit amidst and hot sand was really too much. The last straw was the seaweed, its horribly stinky, gloopy green and length clinging to her foot. Alice's throat tickled, her fingers twitched, and the octopus that had been squirming in her tummy was rearing up angrily, tentacles waving. Alice's genuine anxiety POPPED, and she screamed at Gran. All went silent on the beach, and everyone stared at Alice, doing nothing to help her stress.


Alice had to get away. Gran's apologies and Alice's realisation of what she had said came to her, and she had to find somewhere to calm down, relax, and destress. She wished she hadn't come. Nobody would be her friend, especially not now. They'd all think she was weird, even the teachers. Sometimes being Alice Tonks really sucked!


Finding a spot to calm down, a friendly face in the guise of Timothy Crossley-Herbert the Third, Tim for short, comes with the gift of an ice cream to cheer her up. Dressed in a very smart and wholly inappropriate for the hot beach school uniform, he is as uncomfortable at being there as she is and as friendless.


Anyway, whilst Alice is alone in her spot, a gull lands. Having finished her ice but knowing how gulls love hot chips, she apologises and says she has none. Having furtively looked each way. "It's not your chips I'm after, Alice Tonks," the seagull said sternly. "We've got a job for you."

The next day finds Alice actually starting school. Having made amends with Gran, she is determined to give Pebbles a go. The speaking gull was very real, or so it seemed. But she decides not to tell anyone just the same. 


As she gets the first-day tour of the school, Alice, out of the corner of one eye, spots an image of a gull in the school's stained glass window waving at her! As Tim, who was with her, didn't, and not wishing to seem weirder, Alice let it slip.

Alice gets to share her room with Ottie, a confident, pleasant scholastic girl who is at her third boarding school. She soon helps Alice settle in. And despite Ottie wanting to put fairy lights around her bed and play music, all seems good. Alice is certainly not going to tell Ottie she's autistic. When a few minutes later, a gull starts tapping at the dorm window, Alice knows there is something she needs to do. Find the gull and see what it wants!


Sneaking out of school and back along a path to the beach, Alice soon meets the gull. To Alice's surprise, it does speak. It says in a somewhat put-out fashion that, of course it can! Humans aren't the only ones that can talk! More importantly, it came to tell her something. But these are perilous times, it says, and it is not safe to talk on the beach. The peril is that wild animals and pets in the area are being taken. Vanishing without a trace! And the animals want to know why and have formed the LSPDA (the Loyal Society for the Prevention of Danger to Animals), and Alice can help them. And most importantly, to trust nobody! But before Alice can glean more, Agent T – the gull, departs and tells Alice to await his messenger.


The following day, Ottie persuades Alice to go to a secret den beneath an old oak tree on the cliff top, somewhere they can call their own special place. Tim comes along too. The threesome makes a good group, though given Agent T's warning, she will not tell Tim or Ottie about the missing animals or talking gulls. While heading back to school in the dying light, they see and hear some men doing something in the cove and then heading out to sea. Could they be smugglers?

Now, of all the teachers, only one seems chilled out and warm to Alice. And that is Miss Jessops, the librarian. It certainly isn't Mr Marlowe, the Head Master who has different meals and wears an air of self-importance, a disdain for children who don't excel in his biology class, the other staff and animals. And certainly not the severe, high-heeled Mrs Salter, the housemistress, who finds sugar disagrees with her. 


But suddenly, shortly after being summoned out of class by Mr Marlowe, Ottie turns her back on Alice and becomes friends with two rather nasty girls. When her now sole friend, Tim, has to go to band practice, Alice ends up alone in the library. That is when she meets Constance, an educated, silver-grey tabby cat with an aloof manner. She is also a member of the LSPDA, and eventually takes Alice to a secret meeting with the animals.


With the stage set, the book really takes off. From here on in, Alice's course leads her to discover that she is a 'switcher', someone who can talk to animals. 


She and Tim start to gather evidence. While ostensively on the smugglers in the cove, Alice thinks they are the animal snatchers. But something is up with Tim, and Alice soon realises there is something he is not sharing.


With multiple possible prime suspects among the school staff, and more members of the LSPDA vanishing, Alice's attempt to find the villain and stop the thefts takes a dramatic turn when she loses a close friend to the snatchers. Their motives are unclear, but when Tim is turned against Alice, and she has a near-death experience, it seems time has run out. 

It is hard to draw a definitive line reviewing a story as readable as this. But I think you'll find there is so much here to enjoy that this will just tickle your tastebuds.

So, what did we think?

Truthfully, bedtime couldn't come quick enough so I could catch up with Alice's adventure, and Mrs H only put this down when she fell asleep.


I genuinely rooted for Alice, given the situations, pressures and choices she has to make, some of which we, too, have felt. 

I also loved – a strong word, I know, but true – the way the creatures in this adventure had as important a place as Alice. They weren't just the cause of her investigation but the surprising essence of the resolution. Intrigued? You'll just have to read the book to find out about that!

Alice gets to become part of their world whilst still in her own. A hard trick to pull off well, I feel, but Emily did this with aplomb! Their characters were delightful and demonstrated a range of feelings people forget that all sentient creatures have. I think it actually touched on Richard Adams' way of writing animals, which many younger readers won't have come across, but I happen to love. 

There are some really skilful twists in this, central and ancillary, especially towards the end. That said, the plot builds evenly throughout and is as busy as a bee with a route plan, gathering facts and setting the scene, all done in a warming, engaging fashion.

Make no mistake, this book is all about the adventure. Yes, Alice's autism is part of who she is, as it is me, yet it is incidental; as in real life, it is one wonderful flavour amidst the many that go to make not only Alice and this extraordinary tale so compelling, but each and every one of you out there.

The story has a lot of heart. It ably bridges different worlds and has themes of discovering friendships, trust, compassion and understanding for all sentient beings around us. 

So . . . . 

Crunch time. 

Buy this for your kids, for you. You never need an excuse to read good literature. It is an adventure that made me hark back to the thrill of discovering Watership Down. We have Alice's book on Audible and paperback, and we recommend both. 

I am careful about using the word magical for fear of suggesting something else. And whilst Alice and Co have what I'd prefer to call 'a special gift' or 'talent', I draw no comparison to books of magic and wizards. But like most of the books we get to review for you, dear reader, this book DOES have a pinch of something special, a flavour of its own and as such deserves a place in your hearts.


It takes books like this to make the world a warmer, more compassionate and better place. And teaching this to kids is where it all starts. 

I messaged Emily last night, and she kindly confirmed for us there will be a sequel, and she is working on it at the moment! So DO watch this space as we will review it. I am hoping we can get a copy before publication so you can get an order placed in advance.

Want to buy a copy?

To get a copy, missing stinky sticky congealing seaweed, and gulls who may or may not be after your chips, please head to your local independent bookshop (bobbly swimsuit optional). Like gulls and not the swimsuit (though I could be wrong), there are lots of book shops out there. Each is just waiting to serve up whatever kind of mystery, fun and adventure you desire.

Emily Kenny's web page can be found by clicking HERE or type this:

One World Publications' web page can be found by clicking HERE or type this:

Flavia Sorentino's web page can be found by clicking HERE or type this:

We are joining the Sunday Selfies, hosted by Janet Blue of the Cat on My Head blog. 

So I shall leave you with a suitable laid back on side selfie to match what I hope will be your day! 🙂 🙂

Till laters!



  1. That sounds like a book Amber would like to read, we'll add it to her audible wish list stat!

  2. Erin, your selfie is adorably cute. Mummy loves that pose!
    The book also sounds wonderful.
    Last but not least - how did Mrs H. get twice concussed???

  3. Sorry to hear about the double concussion. Hopefully, there won't be a next one and she will relent on the treats!

    Fun book recommendation, as always!

    The Chans

  4. Hi Erin! As always, your sleeping selfie is tops! We're sorry to hear about Mrs. H's concussions. How did she get two of them??? We hope she gets better soon.

    Thank you for sharing about this book. We most definitely think it sounds like a great read, and are adding it to our must read list. :)


  5. That sounds like another great book to read. I hope Mrs.H. recovers from her double concussion by next week. Your selfie is beautiful.

  6. ERin great review and OMCs the B&W photo of your beautiful self is wonderful
    Hugs Cecilia

  7. What an exciting book! Just up our alley! We are sending healing purrs for Mrs H! We do want her to feel better, and Erin! Your photo is spectacular! I LOVE it! You are one gorgeous (and intelligent) lady cat! Keep being AWESOME! Your #1 Fan Boy, Marvelous Marv

  8. That was a wonderful review sweet Princess and that book cover is so cool. You sure do look cozy in your beautiful selfie!

  9. Hello-We hope Mrs H feels better soon. We are sorry to hear about the concussions. Our Mom loves to read so we know she will be on the lookout for this book after your review. Purrs, Emily and Willow.

  10. Oh, now my appetite is whetted to read that whole book!!

    We hope the headaches will go away...and no more head banging episodes...did your Mom fall, Erin?? Or hit her head on an open cupboard?? Petcretary knows all about how that feels, LOL!!

  11. Charlee: "That belly, Erin! Our Dada just wants to snorgle it!"
    Chaplin: "We hope Mrs. H recovers soon! Shame about the lack of extra treats though. Maybe when she is feeling better she will celebrate by handing out additional food. It could happen!"
    Lulu: "I wonder if Alice Tonks is related to Nymphadora Tonks ..."

  12. That sounds like a great book and your black and white selfie is wonderful!

  13. ewe bee lookin gorgeouz ERin, hope ewe and de staff iz doing soooper grate !!! ♥♥♥