Bree McCready and the Half-heart Locket by Hazel Allan

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Bree McCready and the Half-heart Locket by Hazel Allan

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Buy Bree McCready and the Half-heart Locket by Hazel Allan at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: This exciting and magical adventure story is a real page turner from start to finish.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: August 2009
Publisher: Strident Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 978-1905537112

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If you want to keep your children quiet and busy for a while then this would be a good book to give them. Twelve year old Bree and her two friends, Sandy and Honey, find themselves running for their lives when a message on a heart locket necklace leads them to an old, magical book that has enormous powers. A monstrous enemy, Thalofedril, is trying to get his claws on this book so that he can continue to reek death and destruction in the world, and it is up to Bree, and her friends, to save us all...

Bree is clever, kind and courageous. Her father died before she was born so she has lived with a hollow sadness inside her for her whole life, but it hasn't made her bitter. Sandy is her best friend and he lives in the same block of flats as she does. They are kindred spirits and together have faced the usual daily struggles that quirky kids often come up against in school such as pretty girls who are bullies and a scary librarian! Just after beginning their quest with the locket they meet a new girl at school, Honey Pizazz, who Bree likes instantly and who proves to be a loyal, generous friend. Working together to solve clues and protect the magical book they face people turned into ash, neck-breaking drops into ravines, moon rainbows and hidden castles where danger lurks around every corner.

It's a non-stop whirlwind of running and hiding, with the magical book guiding them at every turn. It helps them by freezing time, or letting them fly, or shrinking them very, very small and so we watch as the three friends lurch from one near-death situation to another. I'm sure any parents reading this as a bedtime story would find it hard to get to an appropriate place to stop each evening as there are continual cliffhangers that make you want to read just that little bit more. I can imagine kids begging for another chapter, and another, as they find themselves caught up in Bree's adventure and wanting to make sure she'll be okay.

I'm not sure how popular it will be with boys, as the young boy in the story, Sandy, is a bit cautious, afflicted with allergies, afraid of heights etc. He has to be coerced into a lot of the action sequences whereas the girls throw themselves into danger every step of the way. I can see girls instantly loving Bree, and probably vivacious, enterprising Honey even more so, but with Sandy he felt a bit, well, a little bit dull! However, I could be wrong and maybe boys would just enjoy the adventure for what it is.

I don't think it's one of those books that will transfer over to the adult market, like Harry Potter did or Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy, as it did feel very much like a children's book. Yet that doesn't mean that I wouldn't want to read it aloud to my little girl when she's old enough. It would make a great gift for any children you know who like to be kept on the edge of their seats!

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If you like this, you might also enjoy The Mummy Snatcher of Memphis by Natasha Narayan.

Buy Bree McCready and the Half-heart Locket by Hazel Allan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bree McCready and the Half-heart Locket by Hazel Allan at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Bree McCready and the Half-heart Locket by Hazel Allan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bree McCready and the Half-heart Locket by Hazel Allan at Amazon.com.

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