Children of ALL ages should be encouraged to read something every day (that can be a book, comic, newspaper or even a cereal packet), there really are no excuses with so many brilliant children’s books around, from board and picture books to junior fiction and young adult titles. For me, the excuse that a child doesn’t like to read is not a valid one – they just haven’t found the right reading material for them yet!
Maverick Books are an independent publisher of children’s books with picture books, early readers, junior fiction and middle grade readers in their catalogue, so there is something for all children up to the ages of 12 (and beyond as reading has no minimum or maximum age restrictions – just guidance for suitable ages and ability). For this review I have read a title from Maverick’s expanding Middle Grade range, which is suitable for children aged 9-12 and upwards. The book I read was the wonderful and exciting action-adventure story set in Victorian-era London, The Misadventures of Nicholas Nabb by Jenny Moore.
Jenny Moore is the writer of some fantastic children’s chapter book stories suitable for ages 9-12 years and upwards, featuring time travelling portaloos, angry robot clones and even one where Mummy was caught kissing Santa Claus! All her books have humour, adventure and are fun to read. In The Misadventures of Nicholas Nabb the author travels back to Victorian London with a homeless child that lives in the sewers beneath the dirty London streets, exploring a darker theme (think of Oliver Twist) but with humour, rats, secrets and a circus.
Nicholas Nabb (or Nick for short) has been living in the underground sewers with the rats and filth since he escaped from his horrible life in the orphanage, just imagine the stink and how horrid the orphanage was to swap it for tunnels carrying human waste! When he steals a bread roll from the bakery and botches it, it is the start of a lot of trouble for Nick. But when a veiled lady (Annie) steps in to help him, he is about to embark on an adventure that will change his life forever – but will it be for better or for worse?
Before he can get to know and thank Annie properly, she vanishes leaving him with more questions than answers. Who is the lady behind the black veil? Why does she have a baby photo of him inside her locket? And, most importantly of all, where is she now? Nick will stop at nothing to find out.
I loved reading about Nicholas Nabb and his (mis)adventures around London and his dealings with the police, circus, reform school and one grumpy lady that loves to use her handbag as a weapon. Set in Victorian London the book has a Dickens-type of feel to it and Nick is very reminiscent of Oliver Twist.
Throughout the books 240 pages it is packed with humour, adventure, secrets, rats and wrongdoers.
The story of Nick and his quest to unveil the secrets of Annie, whilst looking for his friend that he met at the theatre, is fun to read and travels along at an exciting and fast pace. The book touches on darker themes of Victorian London such as cruelty, poverty and exploitation but does so with humour whilst still showing the gravity of the situation (but shouldn’t really scare younger readers).
The story is written very well, with Victorian London represented well with the orphanage, reform school, circus and sewers with their rats. It all seems to have been very well researched to make a credible story. The characters, good and bad, are all excellent, especially Nick the stinking bread thief with a big heart, the secretive Anne and Edwin, the handbag wielding bully and even the detectives Chalk and Cheeves (I love these names).
Jenny Moore’s The Misadventures of Nicholas Nabb is an excellent historical adventure story that is themed more on the darker side than fluffy and safe. It is packed with action, humour and wonderful characters that will excite and thrill its young (and old) readers, so much so that stopping at the end of a chapter might be difficult. It is a good story of believing in yourself and others and overcoming your own personal obstacles, as well as one of love, friendship and diversity.
RRP: £6.99 (Paperback)