By Author / Illustrator
Thomas Taylor, illus George Ermos
Walker Books Ltd
Paperback / softback
Nobody visits Eerie-on-Sea in the winter. Especially not when darkness falls and the wind howls around Maw Rocks and the wreck of the battleship Leviathan, where even now some swear they have seen the unctuous Malamander creep...
Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, knows that returning lost things to their rightful owners is not easy - especially when the lost thing is not a thing at all, but a girl. No one knows what happened to Violet Parma's parents twelve years ago, and when she engages Herbie to help her find them, the pair discover that their disappearance might have something to do with the legendary sea-monster, the Malamander. Eerie-on-Sea has always been a mysteriously chilling place, where strange stories seem to wash up. And it just got stranger...
Malamander is a seriously exciting and slightly creepy adventure, bringing a whole new world of a seaside town vividly to life. Herbie Lemon is the Lost and Founder of the Nautilus Hotel in Eerie-On-Sea, an aptly named seaside town.
Then his life is turned upside down by a mysterious girl crashing through his window. She wants to use his services to find her parents, who disappeared when she was a baby. It is possible that the disappearances had something to do with the legend of the Malamander, the sea monster that supposedly lives in the waters off the coast. Together Herbie and Violet begin an adventure full of thrills and tension and peopled with larger than life townspeople.
This story is so vividly drawn I could imagine all the people in it as well as the places. It is atmospheric and uses real legends and myths as part of the plot - such as the hotel owner named Lady Kraken. In short it is a very clever piece of storytelling by someone who actually lives in a town that might be the real Eerie-On-Sea.
I can see children aged eight plus loving this book because everyone likes a scary story, particularly when you are warm and safe inside. This book would be great to read aloud or to be a core text as part of a topic on the seaside, or myths and legends.
I read it in one go and my 11 year old did too - he said it was too exciting to put down and eat! I can entirely see why it sparked a bidding war among publishers - and I hope the clues left by the end of the book mean there is another book in the series to follow soon.
304 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 7+
Malamander is a magical mystery story set in the seaside town of Eerie-on-Sea. Herbie Lemon works in the Grand Nautilus Hotel, returning lost things to people. This is where he meets Violet, who wants to find her parents, and enlists his help.
The creepy seaside atmosphere that is created could be any British seaside town in the mist, so it is easy for the reader to become lost in this world. Along the way we meet many shady and mysterious characters, including The Boathook Man, and all the while events are linked to a legendary sea creature known as the Malamander.
Creepy and exciting, with many twists and turns to keep you guessing right up until the end.
304 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Andrew Mullen, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 7+