Shadow Goblins by David Melling

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Shadow Goblins by David Melling

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: The wacky existence of all of David Melling's goblins turns darker with the nocturnal habits of the shadow variety. The plot might not be as strong this time, but the oddity of the world is the selling point here.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 144 Date: March 2009
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0340930519

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Shadow goblins like to tease, torment and lark about with sheep. Not in that way, either - it's just the critters are easiest to hypnotise, so that you can steal their shadow, involving a bottle of magical ink, your earwax, and your training in special shadow puppet imagery. Or, if you're not so good at the latter, a fluffy animal costume. Once gained, you can take the shape of the shadow, for further shenanigans.

Hence the sentence we get late on here - And so the three friends - one in a rabbit costume, one a shape-shifting sheep, and one a walking, talking skeleton - set off.... I won't say what they set off for, and I will leave you to discover the story of the skeleton, but this world of wackiness features two daft, young pupil shadow goblins undergoing their first lessons in shadow-stealing and shadow-puppetry in the dark, challenging world of the Black Wood. It's when their teacher encounters the unexpected that the class is abandoned for an adventure into the weird.

The story is full of originality, just as in the previous Goblins books, but here perhaps is the weakest plot yet. We see so much of the detail of the shadow goblins' life in the introduction, that when we get to the drama the surprise disappears through repetition. Still, anyone in the target age range of 7-10s who is not charmed by the gently wacky, larky weirdness of this world, is best not thought about.

It's the fact these unusual creatures get their own kicks (or otherwise) out of dressing up, singing silly songs, picking their ears and falling over a lot, that makes them surprisingly engaging, surprisingly human childlike, and we can fall easily into a book that brings their singular nature to life so joyously.

I did find more depth to other books in the franchise, but this remains one well worth adding to the previous three. The attention to detail in the biology of the title characters, the lunacy of the situation they are in, and the superlative pencilled illustrations, are all well worth the price of admission, and this remains one entry in a most easily recommendable series.

We at the Bookbag must thank Hodder for our review copy.

If you haven't started on your child's library of Mr Gum books yet, we also recommend that series for its delirious pleasures.

Buy Shadow Goblins by David Melling at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Shadow Goblins by David Melling at

Buy Shadow Goblins by David Melling at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Shadow Goblins by David Melling at


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