Thursday 2 May 2013

The Witch's Children and the Queen by Ursula Jones and Russell Ayto (Orchard Books)

Crazy, zany, chaotic and just a little bit naughty - the Witch's Children are the tearaway stars of a series of books by Ursula Jones and Russell Ayto. We hadn't read any of the series previously so weren't quite sure what to expect, but as big Ursula and Russell fans, we had to take this one home with us from the Library.

So the three witch's children are - as you'd probably have guessed - a wee bit naughty, and a wee bit prone to using magic for things that you probably really shouldn't use magic for. Everyone scarpers as soon as they appear, and even the Number 16 Bus quakes in fear (and hides behind a lorry) when the kids come out to play.

The three children, along with their friend from school, are off to see the Queen at Buckingham Palace - but the poor girl from school has forgotten her money! Never fear, the three witch's children have a solution. A whizz, a pop and a magic spell and the girl is transformed into a golden egg-laying goose. Surely a golden egg will cover the fare?

Events spiral into a well of zany misbehaviour as soon the children are using their magic to turn the grumpy bus conductor into a sultan, the passengers into his courtiers and the bus into a magic carpet to ride all the way to the palace.

In the presence of the Queen herself, you'd expect the children to behave but the magical miscreants don't stop there and there's soon chaos at the palace. What on earth can everyone do to get things back to normal? Sometimes only a mum can help...

Wholly original, fizzing with fun and energy, and just a little bit cheeky (just how we like our books), this is marvellous stuff and we want to read the rest of the Witch's Children books now.

Charlotte's best bit: Corgis eating jam tarts! Eeeeek!

Daddy's favourite bit: I absolutely love the zaniness of this, feels very Roald Dahl-esque. Utterly love Russell Ayto's art style too.