Sunday, 20 August 2017

Jug Valley Adventures #1 Boys V. Girls by Anne Digby (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

 February 2017, Straw Hat, 78 pages, Ebook, Review copy

Book summary
When a bike is stolen from the school bike sheds at Jug Valley Juniors, Tim forms a secret club with his friends Ben and Ludo to try to solve the crime. They call themselves the Handles. 'This isn't girls' stuff,' he tells his twin sister Amy. 'It needs boys to handle it.' 

To get back at the boys, Amy and her best friend Mini jokingly call themselves the Spouts...but it's no longer a joke when Mum's lovely bike is stolen, too, giving the girls a serious quest of their own. And so the rival detectives go into action - mainly against each other.
Yet they should be working together if they want to avoid danger...

Nayu's thoughts
Reading the synopsis I decided not to review this book as it sounded like the boys were the main characters,  but I know the publisher online and they thought I'd enjoy t so I gave it a go-it's great! It's a modern feeling Enid Blyton type of feel. Anne's written several series including the girl focused Trebizon boarding school series, so I knew I liked her style of writing. I loved how adamant the girls and boys were not to work together for most of the book, being very competitive about it, until the part they had to cooperate to survive. 

Initially I was a bit surprised by what I read - it seemed like the story was heading in a direction I didn't see often for this age group, but then it turned out to be something else which I'm used to reading. I adored baby Harry, who was generally seen as a pain, even though he had an important part in helping solve the mystery. I liked how technology was a part of the story (fitting the 1990s when it was originally published) but not an all consuming part of the children's lives, again suiting the publication date. It was very easy to imagine because as I grew up while I didn't go on bike rides my friends were allowed out and about on their own. It doesn't feel a dated read because of the technology - friendship and sibling rivalry is timeless. 

The girls proudly had as many good ideas as the boys, and are a bit more methodical at times, but to give them their due the boys do remarkably well on their own. What they call each over had me laughing because I accidentally added an r to the girls' group so it read 'Sprouts'...for some reason I found this absolutely hilarious and kept calling them that throughout the story. I like how their family life is examined in great detail, and their parents have a fairly decent sized role within the mystery. Definitely a series to watch out for! 

Suggested read
Another great family based read is about 3 sisters and their father including the title: The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

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