Review Blog

Apr 02 2012

Sword girl series by Frances Watts

cover image

Ill. by Gregory Rogers. Allen and Unwin, 2012.
(Age: 6-9) Recommended. I enjoyed these two chapter books for newly independent readers. Tommy (short for Thomasina) becomes the Keeper of the Swords. She is a very likeable character, who is caring, clever and a problem solver.
Set in a castle in medieval times, there is plenty of incidental information for the young reader about life in a castle, the work of the Smith who makes the swords and armour and the food that people of that time ate, including things like eels. Cures of time, like using pigeon droppings to help cure a cold will delight the young reader. Tommy also visits a medieval village and this is described as well, and augmented by the delicious illustrations by Gregory Rogers. His drawings of the main characters, the cat, Lil and their surroundings add greatly to the reader's understanding of the story and are often funny as well. I loved the character of Lil the cat that came through so well from the pictures of her. She has a gorgeous curved tail and delightful expression.
The books are also laced with humour, especially around the crocodiddle who lives in the moat, but there is a serious note about bullying too. Add the talking cat, Lil, and old swords that also talk, adventure and action and you have a winning series for newly independent readers, both boys and girls to enjoy.
The secret of the swords. ISBN 9781742377285. Introduces Tommy, short for Thomasina, and tells how she foiled the thrust of the wooden sword of Reynard, the bully who was terrorising a cat. When she polishes the old swords, she finds that she can lift one of the swords belonging to the voice of Jasper Swan, which is light enough for her to handle. When Sir Walter's sword is stolen she is forced to use her wits and her new found friends to find it.
The poison plot. ISBN 9781742377936. Tommy overhears a dastardly plot to poison Sir Walter and take over his castle. She uses all her intelligence and help from her friends to foil the plot.
Pat Pledger

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