S.W.I.T.C.H: Spider Stampede by Ali Sparkes and Ross Collins

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S.W.I.T.C.H: Spider Stampede by Ali Sparkes and Ross Collins

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A good start to a series that promises a lot more than just one to make its heroes turn into insects at every opportunity.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 128 Date: February 2011
Publisher: OUP
ISBN: 978-0192729323

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Meet Josh and Danny. Eight year old twins, both think they are taller than their brother, and both think the other is weird - Danny because Josh loves creepy crawlies, bugs and insects, and Josh because Danny doesn't. But they're about to be joined in equal amounts of terror when a mad scientific experiment turns them into spiders.

This franchise opener by one of my favourite children's authors is a major new beginning, even while she remains on familiar ground. Having turned her first ever hero into a fox and made him eat a spider, here are two lads turned into spiders and trying to avoid the being eaten part. There's definitely enough here to provide for high drama - the transformation, the monsters, the perils of being small in a huge wild world, but there's more here than meets the eye - even when you have eight of them.

Knowing there are to be several books in the series, each with its own relevant bug, you might be forgiven for thinking this some cheap series of similar adventures, but no. There is just enough drip-fed us here about why and by whom the experiment is being done to hint at Sparkes' next mysterious fantasy story arc. So however adamant the twins are that this is a one-off, you're sure to find yourself returning.

This is definitely a good start to a new series for Ali, and one pitched even younger perhaps than her Monster Makers series. Her BBC-trained educational side reinforces some facts about spiders - that they're not insects, for one - even if with child-friendly mild scatology. I found the pictures unconvincing, the puzzles to close good value, and I think I can trust that this series will have some great surprises to come.

I must thank the author and her publishers for my review copies.

A further great read for the young audiences featuring spiders is Tarantula Tide by Sharon Tregenza.

Buy S.W.I.T.C.H: Spider Stampede by Ali Sparkes and Ross Collins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy S.W.I.T.C.H: Spider Stampede by Ali Sparkes and Ross Collins at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy S.W.I.T.C.H: Spider Stampede by Ali Sparkes and Ross Collins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy S.W.I.T.C.H: Spider Stampede by Ali Sparkes and Ross Collins at Amazon.com.


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