Friday 31 January 2020

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book of the Week - Week Ending 31st January 2020: "Pests" by Emer Stamp (Hodder Children's Books)

You're going to have a bit of a wait on your hands before you get hold of our fantastic Chapter Book of the Week but we were so excited about it, we couldn't hold it in any longer.

We first read "Pests" by Emer Stamp as an ARC over Christmas and for quite some time now we'd been wondering what Emer would come up next. Her fabulous "Secret Diary of Pig" books have long been faves of ours, and C in particular really began to find her reading confidence with those books, and Emer's hilarious but brilliantly touching writing style.

So now Emer turns her attention to those little creatures that perhaps hide behind the wainscotting, or scurry around in the dark while the rest of us sleep. Pests? Perhaps not...

Stix is the hero of this tale, a tiny yet brave mouse who manages to keep out of trouble - most of the time. Stix is actually very kind and caring, but to join the ranks of "The Pests" Stix might have to change his ways.

Stix's wise grandma teaches him that staying away from humans, and out of trouble, will enable him to have a long and happy life - just like hers. But the Peewit Educatorium for Seriously Terrible Scoundrels (Yep, PESTS) demands more than just stealth from its members - and so Stix is about to do something very silly indeed - ignore his Grandma's sage advice and get into all sorts of mischief.

But is it worth changing your behaviour just to fit in with a whole new crew of friends?

Straight away Stix finds his voice as a character, and you're instantly drawn to him in the same way we were both drawn to Pig. Sometimes he's not the brightest mouse in the skirting board but there's something quite sweet, innocent and endearing about any tiny character outscaled by the trials and challenges of the world - and sometimes even the human world at that, scaled up and gigantic and equally full of wonders and dangers. There are laugh out loud moments, and those divine moments of bittersweetness that crop up in the very best middle grade books. It feels unusual to have them in a book that is meant to be light and funny in tone, but they work beautifully, and reinforce our love of Stix and this bookworld.

This is utterly fantastic stuff and Emer is an immensely talented lass!

Sum this book up in a sentence: Emer shifts gears effortlessly to deliver a potential new book series that's every bit as engaging, characterful and downright fun to read as "Pig"

"Pests" by Emer Stamp is out on 2nd April 2020, published by Hodder Children's Books (kindly supplied for review).