Roxy & Jones: The Curse of the Gingerbread witch

Roxy & Jones: The Curse of the Gingerbread Witch
Angela Woolfe
Walker Books

We’re back in that wonderful world where witches and magic are real, and fairy stories are part of modern history, for another fairytale potpourri featuring Roxy Humperdink and (Cinderella) Jones. I challenge readers to find out how many traditional fairytale elements are found between the covers of this one.

Now Roxy has seen a sign concerning the return for a record launch, of her older half-brother, musician and leader of the band H-Bomb and the Missiles; and she hasn’t set eyes on him for five years.
She also receives the strangest seemingly senseless letter from someone signing it PM but she knows nobody with those initials: a coded message perhaps? 

And so it is, from Jones of course, asking her to meet in a swanky department store wherein she’s currently residing. (It’s also the very same place where Hans Humperdinck’s record launch is to take place.) Thus begins another mission for the two, a search for the Missing, and Jones already has a clue.

Almost the next thing Roxy knows is that she (plus Mirror) is at a party in a nightclub, something at age thirteen she’s never done before; and then she discovers that Gretel is also there. Before you can say ‘awesome magic’ the two girls are whizzing up a giant beanstalk (we know which story that belongs in); but what in the world of fairy-tales is The Law of Sevens? And what is Magiscience?

It turns out that the children who followed the Pied Piper into the mountain some thirty years back are the Missing they seek, now trapped deep in a hidden mountain, completely forgotten thanks to enchantments. 

This madcap adventure also takes the girls into the evil Deadwoods with the possibility that the deadly Gingerbread Witch still lurks somewhere deep therein. Her cottage is certainly there.

With frissons of fear throughout, and humour too, Angela Woolfe’s gripping thriller of a tale will hold readers in its enchantment till the final page, and leave them asking for more.

Agent Llama

Agent Llama
Angela Woolfe and Duncan Beedie
Little Tiger

Let me introduce Charlie Palmer, hotshot agent, awesome spy and fluffy llama. Having saved the world the previous day, said superspy is already engaged on her next mission, when she receives an urgent call from HQ. The Prime Minster’s underpants (banana patterned) have been stolen and Charlie is required to track down the perpetrator of the crime and save the world.

After a nail biting, sorry, hoof biting, plane journey completed with a perfect landing

Charlie rocks up at a posh hotel where she soon encounters an ‘old acquaintance’ Greta Grimm wallowing in the pool and she just happens to be sporting a pair of banana printed shorts. Pant-pinching crime solved.

However, Grimm (aided and abetted by her Goons entourage) doesn’t intend handing them over to Charlie any time soon. Moreover despite our agent’s martial arts prowess, all too quickly she finds herself well and truly trapped. Is there any escape now or is it destination outer space?

Can a spot of lunch courtesy of Charlie’s bag of techno tricks save the day …

Adult readers aloud will likely appreciate the high jinks that characterise spy films while their young audiences will relish the high drama delivered through Angela Woolfe’s whacky rhyming narrative and Duncan Beedie’s bold retro, cartoonish illustrations somewhat reminiscent of 60s glam in places. Love the stylish silhouette endpapers and variety of page layouts that hype up the action.

Roxy & Jones: The Great Fairytale Cover-Up

Roxy & Jones: The Great Fairytale Cover-Up
Angela Woolfe
Walker Books

I absolutely love fairytale pasticcios and Angela Woolfe sets hers in a world where witches and magic are real, and fairy tales are recent history.

It begins once upon a modern time in the city of Rexopolis in the kingdom of Illustria wherein resides eleven year old Roxy Humperdink along with half-sister Gretel who apparently works as loo cleaner for the Ministry of Soup.

Not long before midnight Roxy is brushing her teeth when she notices a slip of paper sticking out from beneath the bath. Pulling it free causes the bath panel to break and as a consequence Roxy finds herself pyjama-clad and shivering in a cold, dark labyrinth of corridors beneath the aforementioned Ministry.

Enter a girl dressed as a giant buttercup in search of a particular rhyming book – Mrs Tabitha Cattermole’s Chronicle of the Cursed Kingdom. This rather rebellious young female is Jones (aka Cinderella) and she disappears as quickly as she arrived dropping the book she’d just found.

Roxy takes the book back with her and as a result has to spend a night in the Decontamination Zone where she finds herself face to face with none other than the scary Minister Atticus Splendid. Roxy, we learn has a photographic memory, which is fortunate because Atticus has the book destroyed, something she informs Jones when next they meet.

That’s when the two become a proper team, aided and abetted from time to time by Jones’ fairy godmother Frankie who, on account of an errant spell, has the appearance of a ten-year-old boy.

A host of other fairy tale characters make appearances as Roxy and Jones go all out to save the world from the evils of a queen who has recently broken out of prison and can hardly wait to re-establish herself as ruler.

It’s fabulous stuff, very funny and the dialogue is superb; assuredly as fractured a fairy tale, or many, as you could wish for. Apart that is from wishing for further adventures of Roxy and Jones, I won’t divulge any more. Instead I’ll go in search of some special vegan muffins to consume, sans goji berries I hasten to add.