The Arctic Railway Assassin
M.G. Leonard & Sam Sedgman, illustrated by Elisa Paganelli
Macmillan Children’s Books
Hal flies off to Sweden where he is to meet Uncle Nat. From Stockholm the following day they will take a Christmas trip aboard the sleeper train bound for the Aurora Sky Station to see the Northern Lights. Uncle Nat announces that his friend Morti, who has just won the Nobel Prize, is to accompany them, but then she suddenly changes her plan. After the announcement of her prize she’s been scared by some inexplicable events with things of hers disappearing and now Hal and Nat are to travel without her.
While waiting to board the train Hal sketches a group of musicians,
then as they leave Stockholm, he and his uncle think they are being followed, and Nat tells the boy that one of the people in his drawing is an assassin from his past, supposedly long dead. Something doesn’t quite add up with this picture of Hal’s. And what about the sudden appearance of Hal’s mum on board too?
Full of suspense, and with some great new characters, this truly is a gripping page turner with some really perilous episodes when readers will find themselves fearing for the lives of some of the characters. Hal’s drawing skills really come to the fore in this adventure, considerably helping to solve the mystery of what the assassins are after and where it is. Elisa Paganelli’s illustrations do a wonderful job bringing his sketches to life and adding to the reader’s involvement in solving the mystery.
My only regret is that this is the final book in the brilliant Adventures on Trains series.
Solve Your Own Mystery: The Missing Magic
Gareth P. Jones, illustrated by Louise Forshaw
In the third interactive adventure from Gareth P. Jones there’s another puzzling mystery waiting for readers to solve. Like previous titles it’s set in the town of Haventry, a place where with its unusual population almost anything can happen at any time. Now it’s the opening day of Magicon, the world’s biggest magic convention and everyone is gathering for the great event when suddenly disaster strikes: all the magic in the town disappears. Who is responsible for this catastrophe?
It’s up to readers to don their detective hats, find out, and get it back in time for the opening ceremony. Could the thief perhaps be Evil Enid; or maybe Nigel Rigmarole whose business is magical energy? These are just two of the possible suspects that detective you, along with boss Klaus Solstaag (a yeti) need to consider. There are also the likes of meditative unicorn Moondance (too good to be true maybe)
and powerful Magic Circle head, Grandmaster Dimbleby.
There’s not a minute to lose: time to make the sparks fly – unless you want to shoulder the responsibility of allowing an ancient monster to waken from a century-long sleep beneath the town.
With a multitude of possible routes to take, this is terrific fun and with Louise Forshaw’s splendid portrayal of the weird and wonderful characters, this diverting read will delight primary age readers who like fantastical tales.