Autumn Moonbeam: Spooky Sleepover / Pages & Co: The Treehouse Library

Teamwork is a key ingredient of both these magical fantasies.

Autumn Moonbeam: Spooky Sleepover
Emma Finlayson-Palmer and Heidi Cannon
uclan publishing

In this second story where the world of witches meets the world of dance, it’s the first day at Sparkledale Dance Academy for dance and gymnastics-lover, Autumn. With a mixture of apprehension in case she isn’t up to it and excitement at being in the Black Cats dance team, she meets her best friend Batty at the door. As their teacher Verity welcomes the newcomers and announces the warm up, one of the team is still to arrive. Suddenly there she is at the door, Severina Bloodworth, Autumn’s conceited neighbour, showing off her new hairstyle.

As the session gets under way Verity announces a special team bonding sleepover in two weeks time. She also sends Severina to the store cupboard to find something to tie back her hair. On her return strange things start happening, but are they Severina’s doing or is something or someone else responsible for the trouble?

The following Monday back in their normal classroom Autumn comes upon a book with a paragraph about pixies. What she reads has an uncanny match with events at the dance academy the previous week. Perhaps it’s worth trying out the anti-pixie mischief remedies suggested.

Excitement mounts on the day of the sleepover and Autumn takes the opportunity to accuse Severina of being behind the weird happenings that occur whenever they dance. Her response is something of a surprise to her accuser but a relief to the accused. Perhaps if everyone remembers what Verity always says, “Teamwork makes dreamwork” they can work together to find a way out of the trouble once and for all.

Pages & Co: The Treehouse Library
Anna James, illustrated by Marco Guadalupi
Harper Collins Children’s Books

At last, it’s time for Milo to take centre stage as driver of the Quip in this the penultimate book of what has been an amazing series. Now accompanied by Alessia (the Alchemist’s daughter), is he ready to be a hero? Having been poisoned, his Uncle Horatio is currently lying unconscious in the care of the Pages family, and it appears that the only way to cure him is with a recipe in Alessia’s notebook. Together Milo and Alessia set out, bound for Northumberland in the hope of finding the Botanist, the only person who might be able to help them.

Having grown up on a train and never before left it, Milo is surprised to discover the sense of peace he feels close to trees.; a peace that is disturbed by a human voice. It’s that of the Botanist, aka Rosa, who lives and works in the Treehouse Library of the title; she who is the sworn enemy of the the Alchemist. From her Milo learns that his grandmother is also there and willing to see him. That’s two new and interesting characters who both readers and Milo encounter for the first time and happily for Milo, Rosa makes a decent mug of hot chocolate.

Time is of the essence as they hunt for ingredients for the cure, searching in The Secret Garden, sailing in a pea-green boat, 

repelling the terrifying Jabberwock and challenging Robin Hood as to whether he’s truly all about helping the poor.

With the ruthless Alchemist prepared to do anything it takes to get hold of The Book of Books and discover its secrets, the entire realm of the imagination is in danger: a thrilling struggle for book wandering’s destiny unfolds, and Milo, Tilly, Oskar, Alessia and Rosa have to put all their skills together to find that book first. An awesome read and I can hardly wait for the final story.

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