Maverick is already well established itself as a picture book publisher; now they make their first foray into junior fiction with a trio of exciting titles:
Grandma Bendy and the Great Snake Escape
Alice Hemming and Emma Randall
Letter to Pluto
Maverick Arts Publishing
Grandma Bendy boasts an interesting cast of characters including Grandma’s grandchildren Max and Lucy, Mike Grimace – he’s the school bully, Lady Lavender, Sergeant Nevil Rodent and Mr Brain Freeze, all residents of Pumperton (twinned with Bottumburper and Le Pongue) where the story unfolds. Already you’ll be guessing that this is a funny book and one likely to grab the interest of newly confident readers. The story starts on the first day of term with 4B embarking on a session of ‘Show and Tell’. Mike Grimace has brought his pet snake to school and he has a wicked grin on his face as he transfers it from his school bag to Lucy’s as she’s about to open the session and talk about her Gran.
Before long there’s a snake on the loose, the school is empty and the entire town of Pumperton is beside itself with ‘snakeitis’.
Then it’s down to Lucy, brother Max and the indomitable Grandma Bendy to apprehend the snake and put things right.
Funky illustrations by the author adorn every page and add to the fun of the whole crazy experience.
Rickety Rocket contains three short stories starring adventure-loving Spacey Stacey, her friends Timble the robot, twins Zip and Zap and creative Moondoodle. Then there are their rivals, Astro Pete, Jack Boom and Jill Zoom. The first story tells what happens when they all take part in The Great Space Chase. Who will be first across the finish line: Spacey in her Rickety Rocket or Astro Pete in his shiny shuttle? It’s going to be a close thing for sure.
In the second adventure Stacey is overwhelmed with orders for her special jellies and resorts to using a jet-pack to speed deliveries up a bit. Things don’t quite go to plan of course but her aeronautics are certainly a crowd-pleaser.
Picnic Planet sees the friends heading off for a day out but there are warnings not to feed the space bunnies scattered around. Then when food begins to vanish, those innocent-looking creatures are under suspicion: they couldn’t be the thieves surely …
Letter to Pluto revolves around an interplanetary penpal programme initiated by Jon’s teacher, Mrs Hall. Jon happens to be paired with a Straxi and he’s not happy about it: firstly she’s a girl and secondly she lives on Pluto, which is the smallest and the most boring planet in the entire universe; and it’s smelly! Almost the whole book takes the form of illustrated letters between Jon and Straxi …
and through their correspondence we learn how the two eventually become firm friends and manage to save Planet Pluto from ecological catastrophe. Great fun!
All three are ideal for that taking off stage of reading but would also work well as read alouds for KS1 classes.