The Curio Collectors

Publisher: Barrington Stoke

In 1896 Lily, her brother Tom and Ma Hawker collect treasures – trinkets and curios that they find as they travel through the countryside. They sell them in shows where Ma tells made-up stories about where and how she found them, while Lily bangs a drum and Tom circulates a hat for coins. But often they don’t make enough money to eat. One day they move their caravan up to London in the hope of selling curios to rich people, and a maid asks to buy a particular shell with carvings on it. But a sinister man is also interested in this shell, and Lily and Tom must help their new friend to get back what is hers.

Eloise Williams was the inaugural Children’s Laureate Wales 2019–21 and her writing is assured and engaging, drawing the reader straight into this historical setting. The lovely illustrations add to the olden-times feel, too. This is a charming story about friendship, and having the courage to do what is right. It is set on yellow-tinted paper, using a font that is easy to read, making it accessible to a wide range of readers.

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