By Author / Illustrator
Firefly Press Ltd
Paperback / softback
When puzzle-loving Kip Bramley receives a cryptic invitation, delivered by a beetle-shaped drone that appears to be breathing, he has no idea that his world is about to change forever. Very soon he finds himself at Quicksmiths College of Strange Energy, hunting for riddles set 400 years earlier by a mysterious genius. But this isn't any ordinary treasure hunt: as the clock counts down, Kip will need all the help he can get from his loyal new friends and his faithful pet flying squirrel, Pinky. With danger mounting it seems much more is at stake for Kip and his family than he could ever have imagined.
Move over Harry Potter, Kip Bramley is coming through! The Ten Riddles of Eartha Quicksmith by Loris Owen is the first book in a new and very promising series.
I absolutely loved this book, it is easily the best KS2 fiction I have read in a long time. Without the use of a single magic wand or spell, Lori Owen has used the notion of 'strange energy' to create an absolutely thrilling, magical read.
Kip is a young boy who lives with his Dad in an apartment block in London, his Mum has been in hospital for years, after losing her memory when she was struck by lightning. Kip misses her tremendously and every time he visits he wishes there was something that he could do to help her. When his Dad is busy at work, and Kip's not at school, Asheigh, the apartment block caretaker's daughter looks after him. That is, when she can spare the time from checking her phone and many of other mundane things she'd rather be doing. So Kip spends most of his time playing with Pinky, his pet flying squirrel.
Sadly Kip doesn't really fit in at school, he's neither sporty or cool and 'The Snibbug', Kip's form teacher, sounds like she'd rather be anywhere than in the classroom. So when an unexpected opportunity arises for him to join Quicksmiths College of Strange Energy, he certainly has nothing to lose. Quicksmiths is a school for people who think differently, and Kip soon finds himself trying to solve riddles and unpick puzzles set by the school's founder 400 years earlier. Kip and his new friends use their different strength to to solve the riddles; however, the more riddles they solve, the greater the danger they find themselves in. It is clear that Emilly Quicksmith only wanted the smartest of people to find the Ark of Secrets.
This is undoubtably an amazing story of strange happenings and adventure, skilfully interwoven with messages of friendship and resilience. A fantastic read for anyone young or old, and an ideal choice for whole class reading.
288 pages / Reviewed by Samantha Phillips, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+