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Darkmouth

Looking for a new series to recommend to your child or students? You have to check out Darkmouth, a monstrously funny debut from the new star of middle-grade adventure, Shane Hegarty. Shane Hegarty was the Arts Editor of the Irish Times, but left to be a full time writer after Darkmouth sold in a frenzied auction at Bologna Book Fair in 2013.

This new action-packed series is perfect for fans of Skulduggery Pleasant and House of Secrets.

“Shane Hegarty explodes into the fantasy universe with Darkmouth. An incredible debut. Hilarious and exciting. Terrifying and heart-stopping. Everything a great fantasy series should be. The next big thing is here.” Eoin Colfer, author of Artemis Fowl

What is Darkmouth about?

THEY’RE COMING! Legends (also known as terrifying, human-eating monsters) have invaded the town of Darkmouth and aim to conquer the world. But don’t panic! The last remaining Legend Hunter – Finn – will protect us. Finn: twelve-years-old, loves animals, not a natural fighter, but tries really, really hard, and we all know good intentions are the best weapons against a hungry Minotaur, right? On second thoughts, panic. PANIC NOW!

If you’re still not convinced Darkmouth Shane Hegarty has put together 10 reasons to visit Darkmouth:

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  1. It is a great place to visit, if you like the idea of mythical monsters from another realm rampaging through the town while you just try and pick up a few groceries. And if you like the idea of two 12-year-olds trying to stop the invasion getting out of control before one of the monsters squishes your bananas. Or you.
  1. Darkmouth is a real place. Sort of. The opening pages of the series describe a long drive down a dark, narrowing road lined with choking trees, that people think is a wrong turn – and in real life that same road leads to my home town in Ireland. Lots of the places in Darkmouth are based on local landmarks too, although the town itself doesn’t have any monsters. Not that we know of anyway.
  1. Darkmouth’s name is inspired by Greymouth in New Zealand, because I once stayed in a hostel room there that was covered in penguins. They were drawings of penguins. Not real penguins. Unfortunately.
  1. The heroes of Darkmouth – Finn and Emmie – go to a normal school, deal with embarrassing parents, and just happen to have to fight rampaging monsters from another realm. Finn would like to run away. Emmie would like to run towards them. I am with Finn’s camp on this. I would not just run away, but probably keep running until my legs fell off. And then I would start crawling as fast as possible.
  1. The Legends that keep trying to invade Darkmouth are based on myths from all around the world. Some, like the Minotaur, are familiar from Greek tales, but there are creatures from Celtic, European African, Asian and American myth here too. The Australian Yowie even gets a mention.
  1. Darkmouth is for you if you want to know what it would be like to a Legend of myth. Take the Orthrus, for instance, with a dog’s body and snake for a tail. What would it be like to be an intelligent snake stuck between the back legs of a windy, itchy dog all your life? Not as much fun as that sounds, you’ll find.
  1. Darkmouth is one of the only books in the world that has an ice-cream based on it. In my hometown, the local kiosk sells Mint Legends, which are covered in warm chocolate sauce, crunchy chocolate, chocolate-dipped cones – a lot of chocolate basically. People queue for it all year around, even when it rains. Even though it never rains in Ireland.
  1. If you visit Darkmouth you can also spend some time in The Infested Side. Sure, you’ll have to travel through an inter-dimensional gateway to get there, and it’s a stinking, dying world full of murderous creature where even the ground wants to eat you. But if you’re into that sort of holiday, it’s really great.
  1. There are plans for a big movie. The rights to bring Darkmouth to the big screen were bought before it was even published, and a fantastic animated film is planned.
  1. There are Cliffhangers. Lots and lots of cliffhangers. I want a book that just makes me want to turn to the next page to find out what happens next. As the Darkmouth series unfolds, every chapter ends with a cliffhanger because… well you have to read on to find out why.
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Reviews: The Shop at Hoopers Bend by Emily Rodda

The Shop at Hoopers Bend is a story with a distinctively Australian flavour, infused with eucalyptus smells, cicada sounds, and nostalgia for simpler times. Written by Emily Rodda, one of Australia’s premier storytellers, having authored or co-authored over ninety books for children, this atmospheric tale centres around a forgotten country shop and the serendipitous events which bring it back to life.  Continue reading

School Holiday Reading Recommendations

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The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
— Dr. Seuss

With the school holidays ahead, we thought we’d take the time to remind you why reading a book can be one of the best boredom-eliminating activities for children (and a welcome school-holiday sound-reducer for parents!). Continue reading