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Book Review: Grimwood: Let the Fur Fly by Nadia Shireen (Simon & Schuster)

Illustrated by Nadia Shireen


For ages 7+


I can’t get enough of fox adventures it seems lately! There’s more to come even after this one trust me - 2022 should be year of the fox in children’s publishing. The Grimwood series has brought a lot of happiness to our bedtimes, car journeys (via the brilliant audio version), my school story time visits and my own reading time. Thank you, author and illustrator, Nadia Shireen, for this totally bonkers, wacky, sensitive, loveable, funny group of characters and their adventures.



Have you read the first book? Perhaps you might have also even read the World Book Day mini-book? Don’t panic if you haven’t… If this is your first foray into Ted and Nancy’s adventures then I hope I can suitably whet your appetite to join in with the Grimwood fun!!


About the book

Ted and Nancy are young brother and sister foxes from the big city who have no idea where their mum and dad have disappeared to! Nancy is a really tough and sassy coffee-drinking big sister who really takes care of her little brother Ted, more the sensitive type and who it turns out is a big fan of musical theatre. Having had to flee the city in book 1 after a posh-turned-gangster cat had them on the run, they ended up in Grimwood, a rather ramshackle forest and sanctuary for many forest creatures… copious amounts of sporty squirrels, badgers… Mayor Titus the kindly old stag, Willow the bunny (one of hundreds), Ingrid the diva duck, and Pamela the gadget-obsessed alien-hunting head-eating eagle!!


illustration from Grimwood: Let the Fur Fly by Nadia Shireen
Illustration © Nadia Shireen

In this awesome sequel, ‘Grimwood: Let the Fur Fly’, Nadia has treated us readers to an abundance of her beautiful illustrations, filled with wisdom and in-your-face wit. There’s a new fox on the block and he’s rather a tall, dapper and well-educated chap - Ted is awestruck immediately. Sebastian Silver is from neighbouring forest, across the very dangerous boggy swamp - ‘Twinklenuts’, where apparently life is rather peachy. It doesn’t take long for the Grimwood family to work out that this new fox means trouble, actually mega big trouble, because he’s claiming their forest for himself and wants something enormous that he really really really needs the electricity pylon (over Pamela’s dead body, right?)!!!!!!


Illustrations © Nadia Shireen

The regional sport of choice in Grimwood is ‘Treebonk’… (where’s Eric Dynamite - the book’s quirky occasional prompt and narrator woodlouse when I need him to explain things)… squirrels + Nancy don crash helmets and propel themselves between trees and mustn’t fall to the ground. It’s very competitive. No wonder a ‘Treebonk’ contest is chosen to be the decider as to whether Grimwood falls to Twinklenuts or not.

Illustration © Nadia Shireen
Illustration © Nadia Shireen

Ingrid, Ted, Nancy, and Willow lead an espionage resistance party over to ‘the other side’ to find out what the enemy treebonk team are going to be up against and it’s not good news at all… reminiscent of my childhood favourite Asterix books, they’ve got some sort of magic potion that gives them super sporty amazingness. Yikes! The mission uncovers more than expected, dark and hidden secrets lurk behind the facade of this utopia.

Aside from the truly frequent laugh-out-loud moments, there are very touching moments. The Grimwood animals, despite their sometimes rather anti-social eccentricities are wonderfully supportive, loyal and caring about each other’s wellbeing; they want the best for everyone and are able to keep striving for what they believe in.

Illustration © Nadia Shireen
Illustration © Nadia Shireen

Overarching everything is Ted and Nancy’s heartache and longing to find their parents. These were abandoned pups who were left to fend for themselves in a hostile city surviving on what restaurant scraps or bins they could scavenge, then they had to escape in fear of their lives to safety of a strange forest, and now they have found a family who love and care about them perhaps they might be able to truly find out what happened to their mum and dad with the support of their loving friends (sorry, really long sentence!). Roll on book 3!

If Beatrix Potter were alive today I wonder whether her quaint animal characters might have had mobile phones, drink coffee excessively, put on raves at sporting events… probably not.

With life being so stressful and filled with worry these days, PLEASE have a dose of Grimwood to cheer you up and refill your ‘heart-warming’ batteries.


About the creator


Nadia Shireen (author + illustrator)

Author Nadia Shireen (Photo source: BookTrust.org)

Nadia Shireen has won awards for her picture books including the UKLA Book Award forGood Little Wolf , and her latest, Barbara Throws a Wobbler , 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.



Key themes


families

loyalty

subterfuge

sporting competition

humour

friendship

animal adventure

forest animals

deforestation

prejudice


Grab a copy


Buy here through my affiliate link at Bookshop.org or purchase from your local independent bookshop...

Publication date: 1 September 2022

Format: Hardback


Also by Nadia Shireen in this series:

'Grimwood' Hardback edition (Simon & Schuster, 2021)

'Grimwood' Paperback edition (Simon & Schuster, 2022)


Praise for 'Grimwood'

'Funny, anarchic, original and gloriously silly.' Richard Osman

'Ted and Nancy are my favourite funny foxes EVER.' Liz Pichon, author of Tom Gates

'I CACKLED ALOUD on practically every page. Comic gold, tinged with such tenderness.' Kiran Millwood Hargrave

'Grimwood is like Winnie-the-Pooh written by the Pythons, and so madly inventive and funny I was howling with laughter by the third page. This is about to become a fundamental part of 21st century childhood.' Caitlin Moran

'Gloriously anarchic, properly funny and highly illustrated with dynamic black-and-white art, this is a quirky delight for children - and their parents, too.' The Bookseller

'Dark, original and laugh-out-loud funny' The Times

'This book made my face hurt! Relentlessly funny.' Rob Biddulph

'Like Watership Down , but funny. You'll laugh hysterically on every page.' Caitlin Moran

'Fantastic.' Lauren Laverne

'Pure genius!' Louie Stowell

'You're in for a treat!' Selom Sunu , illustrator of Look Both Ways

'Utterly HILARIOUS' Sophy Henn , author-illustrator of Pizazz

'Every page of the book zings with invention and joie de vivre ' The Financial Times


PRAISE FOR NADIA SHIREEN:

'Shireen's latest book confirms her as one of the brightest and best picture book creators working in Britain today ... Sensational.' Observer


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