The Book of Legends

Publisher: Macmillan

Twelve-year-old twins Fran and Bran and their mum live in a small town in the Midlands, Dad having mysteriously disappeared one stormy night on a family camping trip.  At least the stories Mum tells them, the tales of the Nine Dominions, provide some much-needed consolation.

But four years on, history repeats itself when Mum disappears in similar circumstances, apparently taken by a fork of lightning.  The children find themselves left with eccentric local bookseller Madge as a guardian and their mother’s book of fantastical tales for comfort, unsure what to do next. However, stories are magical things – and it is not long before the pair discover that the Nine Dominions are of course real. Their mother’s book will provide a portal to transport them there on a quest to solve the mystery of their parents’ double-disappearance and reunite the family.

In his drive for greater inclusivity, the author was inspired to learn sign language himself and to feature a deaf character in the form of Bran.  We see the twins communicate through BSL as they journey through a world of wizards, storytelling Vikings, a villainous prince and a larger-than-life Zebracorn.

This is a pacy fantasy adventure, jam-packed with groan-making jokes, and touchingly dedicated to Lenny Henry’s own childhood local library in Dudley.

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