How To Be a Hero / The Broken Leg of Doom

How To Be a Hero
Cat Weldon, illustrated by Kate Kear
Macmillan Children’s Books

Life as a trainee Valkyrie is not going at all well for young Lotta; she’s in danger of remaining forever stuck in the lowest class. Matters get even worse when the trainees are sent out to bring back a fallen warrior.

Mistaking young Whetstone, an unconscious viking thief as a fallen hero, Lotta carries him back up to Valhalla, and that’s where the real trouble starts. Live humans are not allowed in Valhalla.

Whetstone, a human who wants only to prove himself and achieve fame and fortune, has let himself be talked into crime. He steals, hides and loses a precious talking cup – a cup that trickster Loki desperately wants and will go to any lengths to get hold of.

Now anxious to make amends, Whetstone and Lotta have to try and work together as they embark on a journey to find the cup before Loki.

There’s even more trouble for the pair though when they manage to lose a crucial Dwarf harp as well as rousing a slumbering dragon.

Now Whetstone really MUST pull out all the stops and prove himself a hero after all. Can he do so; and does Lotta finally manage to move on from being that class three trainee?

This is a highly entertaining, fast-paced romp with some crazy situations, fun and interesting characters, dragons and more. Kate Kear’s zany illustrations are just right for the playful telling. This book will surely appeal especially to youngsters with an interest in mythology. but anyone who likes a good yarn should give it a go. It’s the first of a trilogy so look out for further episodes involving Whetstone et al.

The Broken Leg of Doom
Pamela Butchart, illustrated by Thomas Flintham
Nosy Crow

This the tenth story in the hilarious series, is narrated by Maisie’s friend Izzy. Maisie has broken her leg doing some ‘extreme dancing’ and is taken to hospital.

That in itself is bad but things are about to get even worse, starting with the fact that following e-rays, Maisie is sent to ward 13 and she’s terrified of that particular number.
Enter (he’s actually already a patient), a rather strange boy Seb, who sits down beside the sleeping Maisie’s bed and starts going on about a curse. Talk about weird. But that’s only the start of the strange events in ward 13.

Later Seb says that the curse has now sneaked inside Maisie’s cast and is causing problems. That however isn’t all we hear of curses, but there are other strange things too: somehow the sprinklers get turned on, flooding – you can guess which ward. And what about the ’mummy’ that’s roaming around. By this time it seems that only Maisie among the children isn’t talking of THE CURSE.

Then a certain very special cuddly toy suddenly goes missing, followed not long after, by the appearance of creepy messages on Maisie’s cast.

Oh yes, there’s some weird shenanigans concerning the sandwich trolley too.

Will Maisie and her pals ever get to the bottom of all the mysterious events and break that terrible curse once and for all. It’s certainly going to need some outstanding investigative skills.

Pamela Butchart capitalises on the vivid imagination of children, allowing her group of young characters to get carried away – just take a look at their expressions in Thomas Flintham’s wacky drawings in this zany adventure. It’s assuredly one that will have both individual readers and primary class listeners laughing out loud.

Arthur and the Golden Rope


Arthur and the Golden Rope
Joe Todd-Stanton
Flying Eye Books
From the trailing golden rope on the cover of this beautifully produced book (it is Flying Eye after all) you know you’re in for a treat. From the enormous beast snarling at you even before you start reading, you know there’s going to be much to excite. It’s a wondrous tale of myth and magic – the first of a series so I understand.
We begin in the family vault of one Professor Brownstone, who is a kind of custodian cum storyteller and indeed it’s he who acts as the narrator of the very first tale in his treasured collection, that of Arthur “the unlikeliest of heroes.”


Arthur was an Icelandic boy independent, brave and always up for a challenge. Which is just as well, for having been accused of being a meddler and probably responsible for his town being terrorised by the monstrous black wolf Fenrir, the lad embarks on a dangerous quest to visit the hammer wielding Viking god Thor to enlist his help in saving the town from total freeze-up.
That’s only the beginning though. A deal is struck …


and Thor dispatches Arthur on a challenging mission to secure two vital ingredients needed in the creation of the Golden Rope of the title, an object necessary to overcome Fenrir and rekindle the town’s fire.
Sumptuously illustrated, rich in detail and a fusion of graphic novel, picture book and comic, this is a true celebration of the power of story, the oral tradition and in particular myth to grip the reader and hold them spellbound. It’s so cleverly executed in the way it moves from wordless comic strip …


to intricately detailed spread with Arthur teetering on ladders as he does his research, there’s even a spell emanating from an open book on the floor …


It’s a book for pausing and losing oneself in the detail of the visual images and then letting the direct telling move us forward to what comes next.
For those readers wanting something sophisticated without too much text Arthur’s tale is pure gold. For those who enjoy a great story, ditto. Let’s just say, Joe Todd-Stanton and Flying Eye (yet again!) have struck gold with this one.