Review Blog

Jan 17 2020

The Great River Race by Tim Harris

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Illus. by James Foley. Toffle Towers 2, Puffin, 2020. ISBN: 9780143795438. 253p.
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Toffle Towers is still 'Fully Booked' (Book One in the Toffle Towers series). Chegwin Toffle, the world's youngest hotel manager, leads his loyal staff in improving facilities and services to put the flagging hotel back on the map. Guests love walking on the ceiling in magnetic boots to check in at the desk with Lawrence, the hotel butler. With the Great River Race looming, visitor numbers are climbing - plus Chegwin's novel ideas are popular with tourists looking for unique experiences.
Unfortunately, a number of 'reverse muggings' distract most of the staff from providing their usual competent services. His waitress, Katie begins reciting bad poetry to the diners. Dean the caretaker, must cope with oven mitts glued to his hands and the guests are defecting to Brontesa Braxton's hotel on the other side of Alandale. Chegwin makes a few mistakes in countering this obvious sabotage and learns important lessons about the value of consultation, respect and teamwork as he grapples with a secondary mystery of an elusive guest squatting in Room 49. The mystery leads Chegwin to discover a veritable network of tunnels linking the various parts of the hotel.
In one of his daydreams Chegwin unwittingly agrees to sign over Toffle Towers if the hotel boat loses the Great River Race to the Braxton Hotel. Whilst the team have pitched in early with a winning design, it is Chegwin's ability to brainstorm under pressure that will decide the fate of Toffle Towers.
James Foley's illustrated cartoons, storyboards, tables and memos compliment Chegwin's imaginings and consolidates unbelievable possibilities in our minds. There are still mysteries to solve which means we can anticipate a few more adventures at Toffle Towers.
Deborah Robins

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