The Last Firefox

The Last Firefox

By Author / Illustrator

Lee Newbery, illus Laura Catalan


Personal Growth

Age range(s)



Penguin Random House Children's UK




Paperback / softback




Between bullies at school and changes at home, Charlie Challinor finds life a bit scary. And when he's made guardian of a furry fox cub called Cadno, things get a whole lot scarier. Because Cadno isn't just any fox: he's a firefox - the only one of his kind - and a sinister hunter from another world is on his trail. Swept up into an unexpected adventure to protect his flammable friend, Charlie's going to need to find the bravery he never thought he had, if he's going to save the last firefox...

'Comic, adventurous and charming' - Guardian.  'Utterly gorgeous storytelling, adorable characters and a blazing adventure - The Last Firefox will long burn bright in your heart.' Jenny Pearson, author of The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates. 'Lee Newbery gives us an enchanting fantasy adventure as warm as a firefox's tail. Heart and humour abound in this fun, fast-paced story of how a boy finds inner strength by helping a magical creature. A joyous gem!' Lesley Parr, author of The Valley of Lost Secrets.  'A heart (and tail!) warming adventure about family, friendship and one flamin' cute fox cub' Thomas Taylor, author of Malamander.



Charlie has two good friends, Lippy and Roo, and two arch enemies, Will and Zack, his primary school bullies. At least, thanks to Dad and Pa, home is stress-free... until they talk of adopting a little sister or brother for Charlie. If he can't stand up to the bullies, he'll never be able to protect a younger sibling. You can't just go out and get a load of courage. We're not all cut out to be heroic firefighters like Dad, or feisty and fearless like Lippy. Then again, maybe Charlie simply needs to find his inner fire. What is it that will ignite such fierce protectiveness that he'll be able to face his biggest nightmares?

One very cute, fiery fox club might hold the answer. Cadno (as Charlie names him) is a totally unexpected gift thrust upon him, during a game of find-the-painted-pebble, by Teg, a kitchen boy from the kingdom of Fargone. 'Here, look after him until I come back!', is Teg's hasty message, before rushing back through the ivy-clad walls of Bryncastell. And so Charlie does, in a bid to ensure that Grendilock (a creature of many disguises) fails to capture this last firefox. The stakes are high: acute embarrassment, deceit, danger (bursting into flames when angry, excited or hungry makes Cadno quite a liability). But who ventures wins, and clearly Charlie is a winner.

The Last Firefox is a fun-filled adventure with fantasy elements, woven with sensitivity and enhanced by illustrations that capture the mood perfectly. It would make a great class read for Years 3 & 4.

304 Pages / Reviewed by Jane, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 7+


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