I recently had the pleasure of reading the incredible Spellstoppers, which is due to be published in time for summer break, and will undoubtedly be a huge hit with chapter book readers through Cat Gray’s incredible talent in creating a magical world for readers to fall head over heels into, and indulge their imaginations with the spells and sorcery that take place amongst the streets of the delightful village of Yowling.
This is where Max is sent, to stay with his grandad, because there are unique characteristics to the young boy that impact his daily life, and if anyone is able to help him it is his grandad, who is all to familiar with the very same ability too. You see, Max is unable to touch any electrical product without breaking it, and as such he has altered his way of living to ensure he can avoid doing so to the best of his ability. To be introduced to a young boy that wears rubber gloves in order to prepare breakfast, and who carries a wooden spoon with him at all times in order to be able to undertake tasks that would otherwise be overlooked by others, such as turning on lights, makes you all the more curious a reader, and one that longs to find out whether Max will always struggle, or can become a carefree child who has been ‘cured’.
Max soon learns that his grandad harnesses the same ability that he has, and uses it to the benefit of others. Previously this included helping maintain the structural integrity of the nearby castle, a place of great mystery and magic, of which there is always a Keeper, someone that is bound to the castle, and strives to ensure its survival. That is where the problem lies, for the keeper is demanding that Max’s grandad uses his spells to prevent further destruction of the castle structure, and repair it fully, and yet Max’s grandad repeatedly refuses because he has no desire to prolong the existence of the castle and subsequently the keeper, especially as the latter has caused so much pain and suffering to the local people, which you get to experience first hand alongside Max, and his new friend Kit, who works with grandad in his home business that attracts customers from near and far.
The brilliance of this story includes chapters in which the joy and kindness shown to Max and Kit from the people of the village juxtaposes with the dark, scary evil of the villainous character of the keeper, and her castle. When Max’s grandad is kidnapped, in the most spectacular of ways, it is Max and Kit who rise to the challenge of ensuring his safe return, and yet for every step forward the pair take in their endeavours they are thwarted by the many creatures and capabilities that the castle has to offer.
Readers, brace yourselves for an unbelievable adventure to rescue Max’s grandad, who is now a hostage in the castle. With the help of some eccentric characters from the village the two children set about on their mission, and face set backs along the way, and yet persevere with a determination and bravery that makes the duo heroes in the eyes of those reading. It is a journey of self discovery for Max, who comes to understand his true potential, and makes decisions that ultimately benefit those around him, completely self sacrificing, and he learns his true potential.
Whilst I was wrapped in a throw, on my sofa, enjoying this brilliant book I was transported into the most majestic of adventures, that showcases the good versus evil that is often found at the centre of all good tv, films, and books. I really enjoyed the many curiosities around every corner within the village of Yowling, and became captivated by every delightful detail, so much so that I would definitely live there if given the opportunity. I would be delighted if there were more books that follow this, as I came to admire Max and Kit, and the other characters in the book, and I would love to revisit them for more magical adventures in the future too.
Spellstoppers, which is published by Usborne, is due to land on bookshelves on 7th July 2022, and is the must read middle grade title for the Summer. If you would like more insight into this upcoming publication then do check out my interview feature with Spellstoppers author Cat Gray. You can pre order a copy of this book via all good booksellers now.