Earth Friends: River Rescue / Unicorn Academy: Lyra and Misty

These are titles from two of Nosy Crow’s popular series – thanks to the publishers for sending them for review

Earth Friends: River Rescue
Holly Webb

This is book two in a series about four friends who are endeavouring to make the world a better place for everyone. As it opens Izzy is celebrating her fund-raising success with proceeds being send to a fair-trade clothing co-operative foundation in Bangladesh but she still lacks confidence when it comes to friendship issues.

So when Poppy invites her to stay the night, Izzy is thrilled. Poppy has a dog, Billy and it’s taking him for a walk beside the river that gives rise to Izzy’s next campaign. Both girls are horrified at the amount of rubbish that has been thrown into the water but it’s when Billy chases a water rat and ends up in the river almost drowning on account of a paw getting caught in the wheel of a submerged bike, that Izzy decides on a new project – operation River Rescue.

Now it’s just a matter of getting enough people on board to help raise money and do the actual clean-up.

A lovely story of a local environmental project, with a terrific ending, rather a lot of mud and some surprises along the way.

Unicorn Academy: Lyra and Misty
Julie Sykes, illustrated by Lucy Truman

At the start of a new term Lyra is mega-excited to have joined Unicorn Academy and thrilled to have been paired with Misty. She can’t wait for some amazing adventures like those her cousin has mentioned and it’s not long before she and some others in her dorm discover a mystery that needs to be solved, starting when Lyra finds a portion of what she suggests might be part of an old treasure map.

Why when shown the find does visiting speaker Dr Briar appear interested, then say it’s merely some random scribblings?

With her mind on the riddle on the back of the map, Lyra’s concentration during lessons next day is somewhat lacking, but later she tells her friends she’s solved the clue and that afternoon they head off towards Echo Caves hoping to find the rest of the map.

What though is making Misty reluctant to be part of their adventure? In that case will she ever find her special magic and will she and Lyra ever bond? And what of the rest of the map? …

As always friendship is at the heart of this 17th story in the magical school that young solo readers starting out on chapter books love to visit and in so doing realise that its pupils face many of the same issues as they do. As always Lucy Truman’s black and white illustrations add to the atmosphere.

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