We just love to see the kids sitting there with a book or their Kindles, losing themselves in the pages, reading and digesting some great stories, learning new words and the other many benefits of reading a book can bring. There really are some great books out there that entertain, educate and engage. Children of ALL ages should be encouraged as much as possible to read something every day (that can be a book, comic, newspaper or even a cereal packet). As an adult, I read a variety of different genres and books for all ages.
When it comes to books for children, Maverick Books are an excellent place to start as they have some excellent children’s authors in their stable. They are an independent publisher of children’s books featuring picture books, early readers, junior fiction and middle grade readers in their catalogue, so there is something for all children up to the ages of 12 (and beyond as reading really has no minimum or maximum age restrictions – just guidance for suitable ages and ability). For this review we read The Misadventures of Nicholas Nabb by Jenny Moore from Maverick’s Middle Grade Readers selection.
Jenny Moore’s The Misadventures of Nicholas Nabb is a wonderfully exciting historical action-adventure story set in Victorian-era London, suitable for readers in the 9 to 12 age bracket (although older readers will enjoy it too).
So who is Nicholas Nabb and why would possibly want to read about his (mis)adventures? Nicholas Nabb lives is the Victorian age, beneath the filthy dirty London streets. A homeless boy that has to fend for himself. A botched bread-roll robbery is just the start of the problems for Nicholas Nabb, and this adventure back in time enthrals the reader with humour, rats, secrets, a circus and a mysterious veiled woman who might just be able to reverse his fortunes.
Nicholas Nabb (Nick to his friends) has been living in the underground sewers of London with the rats and filth to keep him company since he escaped from his horrible life in the orphanage. Just imagine the dreadful stink down there and how horrid the orphanage must have been to swap it for tunnels carrying human waste! Nicholas’ troubles start when he steals a bread roll from the bakery and botches it completely. But when a mysterious veiled lady (Annie) steps in to help him, he is about to embark on an adventure that will change his life forever – but will it be for better or for worse? And why does she have a picture of him in her locket? When she vanishes as fast as she appeared, Nicholas will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of the mystery and find out who she is.
Overall, The Misadventures of Nicholas Nabb is a an excellent well-written, highly engaging and funny adventure story that sees the reader losing themselves in the filthy streets of Victorian London. We, as readers, are taken on a splendid tale following his (mis)adventures and exploits, his dealings with the police, the circus, a reform school and one very grumpy lady that loves to use her handbag as a weapon. A novel with a Dickensian feel, reminiscent of Oliver Twist but packed with humour, adventure, secrets, rats and wrongdoers.
This is a very engaging and entertaining story about survival, secrets and special bonds of friendship. Nicholas has to unveil the secrets of Annie, whilst looking for his friend that he met at the theatre. It is fun to read and travels along at an exciting and fast pace to keep young readers engaged and interested. The book touches on darker themes of Victorian London such as cruelty, poverty and exploitation but it does so with lots of humour whilst still showing the gravity of the situation (without scaring younger readers).
A very well written and researched story, with Victorian London represented well featuring an orphanage, reform school, circus and filthy sewers complete with their rats.
The characters, good and bad, are all excellent. Nicholas the stinking sewer-dwelling bread thief with a big heart, the secretive Annie and Edwin, the handbag wielding bully and even the detectives Chalk and Cheeves (I love these names, it brings a smile to my face every time I read their names).
Jenny Moore’s The Misadventures of Nicholas Nabb is an excellent historical adventure story. It can be quite dark, but then Victorian London wasn’t the best place for homeless children. It is packed with action, humour and wonderful characters that will excite and delight its young (and old) readers.
An excellent fun-filled story of believing in yourself and others, surviving and overcoming your own personal obstacles, as well as one of love, friendship and diversity.
An historical adventure story that children will lose themselves in, a story where readers will be pulled into from the opening chapter.
RRP: £6.99 (Paperback)