Lupo and the Secret of Windsor Castle by Aby King and Sam Usher
|Lupo and the Secret of Windsor Castle by Aby King and Sam Usher|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: A delightful animal adventure, with a splash of royalty thrown in!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: March 2015|
|Publisher: Hodder Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Based on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's real dog, this is Lupo's story, and although it uses the real Royals it is, of course, a fictional story as you soon realise with the talking mice from MI5 and the evil villain in the form of one of the Queen's Dorgi's (a cross between a corgi and a Dachshund). If you're looking for a fantasy animal adventure, with plenty of action, then look no further.
The use of the Royal family will, I expect, divide parents who read this aloud at bedtime. My mum would never have made it through reading this to me since she's not a fan, whereas I (in defiance of my mum's stance) had two enormous scrapbooks that I made of Princess Diana when I was about five years old, so I'm perfectly happy to read this fictionalised version of their lives! The story isn't really about the Royal family, however, and they are merely a backdrop for what is actually an animal adventure story. We are introduced to Lupo, and learn about his entrance into the Royal family, before seeing him out on a walk one day walking straight into a trap where it is made to seem that he has attacked and injured a swan. This, of course, is a dreadful offence, and so the remainder of the book revolves around Lupo, and some of his new friends, attempting to clear his name so that he won't be banished (or worse!)
I liked the different friendships that form between the various animals. One of Lupo's best friends is a cat, and he also gets a lot of help from his mouse friends. The animal relationships are portrayed well, and the sweet illustrations throughout the story help to cement that. I personally liked the pictures of Percy the Pigeon, even though Percy is a bit stupid and he doesn't believe in Lupo's innocence! There's lots of fuel for the imagination, with secret passages beneath London, colour coded so the animals know which passage goes where, as well as animal Knights and an enormous secret creature hidden beneath Windsor Castle!
I did occasionally feel that the writing clunked a little. I couldn't quite put my finger on whether it was a need for more editing, or just a slightly wandering sense of who the story was aimed at, but I think probably that was me being quite picky and younger readers would simply enjoy the pace of the story and the animal fun. It would do well as a read aloud book at bedtime, or for those more confident readers who are ready to attempt a longer chapter book themselves. Fun and exciting and perfect for dog lovers.
If you like animal adventures you might also enjoy The Familiars: Animal Wizardry by Adam Epstein and Andrew Jacobson.
You can read more book reviews or buy Lupo and the Secret of Windsor Castle by Aby King and Sam Usher at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Lupo and the Secret of Windsor Castle by Aby King and Sam Usher at Amazon.com.
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