Bella and the voyaging house by Meg McKinlay

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When Bella sets out one night on a trip into the ocean in her house, wanting to retrieve the little statue that fell overboard some years ago, she did not bargain on her house taking a stand. On its pink legs it walks into the ocean using its toes to find the statue, grandfather’s link to his wife. But her parents have always warned her to be back by morning, but on waking, find they are all stuck in the ocean, the house refusing to move.

This wonderful invention had me hooked in Bella and the wandering house (2015) where excited readers were first introduced to this amazing house, where Bella’s room is an attic built from the remains of her grandfather’s boat giving the house its extraordinary powers. Imaginations will soar reading the sequel where the family finds itself marooned far from home. A cruise ship hovers by offering help, but grandfather has been using his Twitter account and has seen the predicament they are in. He finishes building his kite and, rescuing the family, works with Bella to find a solution to their problem.

Hilarious sequences will enthral readers as they sympathise with Bella dealing with her predictable parents and laugh out loud at dad’s sayings, while loving grandfather to bits with his inventions and focus on Bella, and scoff at the thumb nail sketches of some of the passengers on the cruise.

All ends well, of course, as the parents try their own hand at steering the house/boat and Bella and her grandfather fly off in the kite, adventure on their minds.

A wonderful story with the warmth of home at its heart, Bella and her voyaging house will win over legions of readers, loving the idea of a house that can walk about and have adventures with the young girl who steers it. Who would not want a bedroom like Bella’s, made from the old boat, its prow pointing out into the sky around. Lots of nautical words will attract the attention of the reader, particularly in the expressions dad loves to use. Illustrations by Nicholas Schafer form a wonderful backdrop to the story, making the impossible seem quite possible. Teacher's notes are available.

Themes: Ocean, Boats, Cruise ships, Kites, Inventions, STEM, Family.

Fran Knight