Malamander by Thomas Taylor
Walker Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781406386288.
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy; Family; Loss; Adventure; Fantasy creatures. Set in the gloriously named 'Eerie-on-Sea', this mystery adventure reveals quirky characters who try to solve the mystery of the unusual creature, the Malamander, and its influence on their local community. The main character is Herbie Lemon, a young lad who works in the local Hotel as the 'Lost-and-Founder' - an important role of returning lost things to their rightful owners. Unexpectedly, a visitor named Violet drops into his office and sparks a rollicking and roiling adventure to uncover the mystery of missing parents, the hook-handed Sea Captain and the scary and dangerous Malamander. With danger on the sea-shore, a talking cat and an ominous author as distractions, Herbie and Violet explore friendship and exercise problem-solving strategies to find what the community has lost and found.
This is obviously going to be the first book in a series of further adventures as the author, Thomas Taylor, leaves Herbie and Violet poised for more mystery and problem-solving. Lovers of fantasy will enjoy this book. The honesty and guileless nature of Herbie will endear him to readers, and the extremely idiosyncratic nature of the town and characters that inhabit it adds to the overall humorous oddities that young readers will enjoy. The action that escalates in the book is not so tense as to cause fear, but there is drama!
Packaged in a pull-out box, this would make an interesting and appealing gift for a young reader.
Recommended for readers aged 10+