Now a sixth former, junior reporter Pheebs introduces Harry Heape's Shiny Pippin books.
This series can only be summarised as wonderfully silly – or, rather, ‘funderfully’ silly. It doesn’t apologise for making up words, interrupting the story to rant about sandwiches or breaking the fourth wall (many, many times) …and all of it is joyous.
The series is about Pippin, a girl who can talk to animals telepathically through her magical ‘Shiny’ power. On her ‘badventures’, she is joined by a host of diverse and engaging characters: Granny, who is also Shiny; Tony, Pippin’s special Shiny mouse friend; Mungo, the geologist; Oddplop, the enigmatic frog; and many other woodland creatures who come to Pippin’s aid. Yet they face a fierce foe: Dr Blowfart, accompanied by the evil Count Visbek the penguin!
I’ve read The Broken Forest and The Monkey Burglars so far and both are absolutely ideal for readers who are ready to tackle a book series by themselves to advance their reading or, equally, for younger readers who need some guidance or want a fantastic book read to them at bedtime. I remember the first time I ‘discovered books’ – not simply learning to read them but really appreciating them for the first time as stories. Similarly, I think this series would be excellent for starting on a journey of book-loving – any author who addresses their readers as ‘book-gobblers’ on the blurb of their books is obviously the right person to inspire a love of reading.
If I have one small qualm about the book, it might be that the many made-up words may confuse young readers in the process of expanding their vocabulary. I’m not saying that made-up words are a negative thing, I’m just slightly concerned that someone might at some point in the future try to articulate a particularly advanced and insightful point about Macbeth in their GCSE English exam using the words ‘awesomething’, ‘nervmouse’ or ‘funderstand’! Then again, since it is the age of learning words, made-up words are bound to get readers interested in the actual language itself and so want to learn even more about English – hooray!
In all seriousness, however, I thought that these books are terrific because they are just so heart-warming. There isn’t a single moment that doesn’t feel like marshmallows, clouds and a log fire. It’s perfect for those who want a fun story full of adventure but no menace. To be honest, if you’re looking for a series is simply a pleasure to read, then this is the series for you.
Harry will be coming to two schools in the Chipping Norton area when he joins our team of visiting authors in March 2019. More details here.