Illustrated by Nadia Shireen (MEGA TALENTED)
For ages 7+
Literally the most comedy you’re going to find in a chapter book for young readers!! The Grimwood series first arrived on our bookshelves in 2021 just in time too, the world needed cheering up and here was Nadia Shireen’s giggly call to arms!! In fact they’re soooooo brilliant and sooooo popular with children and adults alike, that publisher, Simon & Schuster have only gone and commissioned another two Grimwood books… Phew that’ll keep me going until the year 2025-ish, I’ll have to hope Nadia has something else up her sleeve for young readers and middle graders to keep us all ‘in’-sane thereafter. A special welcome to those who have found my review today through the official Simon & Schuster Blog Tour - so happy to see you here!
As Nadia said herself to The Bookseller in an interview earlier this year: "I can now confirm after visiting schools around the nation that there is a demand, nay a NEED for more stories about chaotic urban foxes, treebonking squirrels and a homicidal eagle with a sideline in podcasting. To that end, I am delighted to be working with S&S on even more tales from the psychedelic rural anti-idyll that is Grimwood. Hooray!” Hooray!!!!
About the book
Words + Illustrations © Nadia Shireen
🌱Let’s do a mini catch up… so in Grimwood (book 1), sibling foxes, Nancy and Ted, fled the city after a rather nasty run in with a mafioso ex-Princess pussy cat turned gangland overlord (lady). Sadly they are orphans, or well we don’t actually know whether their parents are still alive or not, and fending for themselves ended up in Grimwood - a caring community of creatures all great and small, and oozing with uniqueness. Ted continues to write letters to his mum and dad, hoping one day they’ll find them. Then in Grimwood: Let the Fur Fly (book 2) - this is following the brilliant World Book Day Book Grimwood: Five Freakishly Funny Fables - it seems that theirs is not the only community in the woodland, and Twinklenuts is staking a claim on their land and a rather nasty cunning fox is ruining everyone’s fun and cheating at ‘treebonking’ (a serious sport, a bit like rugby). In both books there is either head or whole body sudden death as Pamela the eagle (on the goodies-side, but that’s the law of nature and the food chain) swoops down for a meal - which is always highly unexpected, funny and shocking at the same time! Of course there is far more to each of these books than just my quick précis…
🌱In this latest Grimwood adventure, it all starts with a dream. Many dreams, but one in particular - Nancy’s dream. She is having a recurring dream, a memory trying to resurface according to Dr Khan (highly recommended pigeon psychologist over in Twinklenuts). Could it be that she’s finally remembering what happened to her parents? This niggles at her, and Ted even starts to write things down to try to help. BUT there’s a big distraction... they've been noticing a nasty STINK and then large foot prints are spotted… could there be a monster? Time to head to the library in Twinklenuts to do some research. Ted and Willow (Ted's brave bubbly bunny buddy bestie) decide to catch this monster and themselves.
🌱In the meantime there's a buzz in the air as Grimwood and Twinklenuts prepare for the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ style wedding between two squirrels, whose union will cement the previously warring sides. Wedding day jitters don't quite cover it, when it comes to relating the event - so I’ll leave that treat for you to read yourself!! The before-and-after illustrations are just side-splitting!!
🌱The whole cast get involved in finding this disruptive beast. Fear is causing the community to freak out - all apart from Sharon who enjoys a midnight silent disco rave (oblivious to any danger) from her trolley in the depth of the forest. At last, Ted and Willow set a clever trap. Bravery and courage save the day, well almost. Something’s in the trap - what could it be? Will it be in Willow’s library book, or will they have discovered a new species?! Will Nancy ever manage to have a peaceful night’s sleep again? Will they EVER find their mum and dad?
🌱I’m counting the days until Grimwood book 4 is published on 23rd May 2024 (preorder here)… what a cliff hanger!!
🌱These books are absolutely fabulous reads for children from about Year 3 and upwards - perfect for school libraries, classrooms, birthday/festive gifts and on home bookshelves. There are a huge amount of illustrations, the text is slightly larger and paragraphs are well spaced. It’s a real tonic for kids to be able to find a series they love, especially when they are starting their independent reading journey, and even more wonderful that these books are just so very FUNNY. Eric Dynamite, the helpful-ish woodlouse narrator, appears every now and again with a little explanation or hint. I must applaud the audio books narrated by Adam Buxton - they have been listened to again and again on long car journeys.
🌱There are gags for days, on every page - some which adults will love too with references that children will have absolutely no idea about, e.g. in this book I love the reference to the famous image of Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs with the illustration of Pamela the eagle in the face muzzle/mask. HILARIOUS!! And there’s more…
N.B. Nadia Shireen also writes and illustrates fantastic picture books for younger children from 3+!! YAY!!
Publisher, Simon & Schuster have very kindly sent me this pdf chapter sampler!! AWOOGA!!
About the creator
Nadia Shireen (author:illustrator)
Nadia Shireen has won awards for her picture books including the UKLA Book Award for Good Little Wolf and most recently for Barbara Throws a Wobbler, which has been described as a ‘little doorway of joy’ by Caitlin Moran. She’s also been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and the Waterstones Children's Book Prize, and has been Writer-Illustrator in Residence for BookTrust. Grimwood is her first series for older readers and has been shortlisted for the 2022 Branford Boase Award and the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards.
I asked Nadia the following question as part of this blog tour:
Nicci, TKBC: So you’ve just sat down at your laptop to start writing a new hilarious zany Grimwood adventure… what essential things do you need to know about the plot before you start the writing process?
Nadia Shireen: I try and have a vague sense of what challenges each character will face. And I try and have an ending. But the rest just happens as I’m writing.
Grab a copy
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Publication date: 31 August 2023
Need to catch up on the rest of the series so far?
*reviewed from an advance reading copy provided by the publisher
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