Operation Bunny

Publisher: Orion Children's Books

Review

Emily Vole makes headline news when she's found abandoned as a baby, lying in hatbox at Stanstead Airport. She's adopted by Mr and Mrs Dashwood, who long for a child of their own, but they quickly tire of their adopted daughter, especially when her hair turns out to be the wrong colour and her eyes don't fit the Dashwood colour scheme. When Mrs Dashwood discovers she is having triplets, Emily is demoted to living in the laundry room, doing housework and taking care of her new 'siblings'.

Life is pretty miserable, until one day, hanging out the washing, Emily meets her mysterious next-door neighbour, Miss String, and her unusually large cat, Fidget, who prove to have some rather unusual abilities. Emily is enchanted to discover that magic is real, as well as to have found a real friend - but then Miss String dies suddenly in suspicious circumstances, leaving Emily a strange and unexpected inheritance. As the possessor of an old shop and a bunch of golden keys, Emily soon discovers its up to her to bring the old Fairy Detective Agency back into business - and to defeat the evil, fairy-snatching villain Harpella.

This quirky story from Sally Gardner is packed with magic, humour and imagination, as well as a touch of Roald Dahl-esque darkness. Young readers will be charmed by resourceful heroine Emily and her sidekick, Fidget who always has a cat joke or fishy quip to hand for any given situation.  David Roberts's entertaining illustrations are the perfect match for Gardner's pleasingly eccentric text. This first instalment of the Wings and Co series is great fun, and is sure to delight newly independent readers.

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