Where did the summer go? All that budding of flowers and buzzing of bees and mountains of biscuit crumbs piling across the patio…. I find myself wondering why biscuit crumbs can’t be recycled. Why can’t we empty them into a bag at the end of the summer and take them back to the shop and get some cash back for them like we used to be able to with lemonade bottles back when I was a lad. That was the sort of thing they used to do when Peter lived at the shop on Peculiar Hill.
Which reminds me to tell you: before all that buzzing and booming began I had wanted to spread the word here about all the latest feedback we’ve had on the books. You know the ones I mean. The Shop on Peculiar Hill and Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill, the books which describe how Peter came to live with his aunt and uncle on Peculiar Hill and all the strange creatures he met there.
You may remember that the second book in the series, Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill, had reached the Finals of the very excellent Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards and what I meant to share with you, before all the buzzing and blooming and other summery whatnots got in the way, was that it received some very excellent feedback Indeed.
The book was entered in the 9 to 12 year old category and received feedback from 15 children in the relevant age group plus their teacher. Here are the results..
Star Rating : (as voted for by the fifteen children) 5 Stars
Points were also awarded out of 10 (or, in the case of the cover, out of 5) for each of the following: Editing 10/10, Writing Style 9/10, Content 9 /10, Cover: 4/5
Of the 15 readers,
15 said they would read another book by this author
13 thought the cover (by Pete Lyon) was good or excellent
14 thought the book was easy to follow
15 would recommend this book to another reader to try.
Of all the readers,
4 thought the author’s strongest skill was ‘writing style’
5 thought the author’s strongest skill was ‘developing the characters’
6 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘plotting the story’.
14 felt the pacing was good or excellent.
15 thought the author understood the readership and what they wanted.
Readers’ Comments: ‘I think this is a very odd book. But I liked it anyway. The author has a crazy imagination, so I was often surprised by what happened next.’ Boy, aged 12
‘I think Peter and Amanda are the best two characters in this story. This novel would be good for 11 or 12 year olds who like fantasy books. It’s very funny too, which I loved.’ Girl, aged 11
‘The children in my class of 11 year olds thought this was a very funny book. They liked the cover, which made them want to read it. Most of them hadn’t read the first book, but it didn’t seem to bother them very much. From talking to the children who read it, they thought the author had good comic timing and a wild imagination.’ Primary school teacher, aged 55
‘This is a good adventure story with fun characters and lots happening.’ Girl, aged 10
To Sum It Up: ‘Wild, unpredictable, and very, VERY funny. A FINALIST and highly recommended!’
So, there we are then. This is Grimly back again and I have to say I’m happy to settle for feedback like that, even though we didn’t win any actual prizes. It almost makes me want to snuggle up for the winter and finish writing the third book in the series.
What’s that? Yes, of course Peter and Amanda will be in the third book, and Mala as well (possibly two of her even! – I think you’ll like that bit especially) and Uncle Bob and Thinglifkin and various bogeys and some brand new characters too. But hold on a moment: don’t get too excited! – the first thing I have to do is remember where I put my pencil…
(Please see the home page for more information about the Vale of Strange books and where they can be purchased.)