Amazing Esme by Tamara Macfarlane

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Amazing Esme by Tamara Macfarlane

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Category: Emerging Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Anne Thompson
Reviewed by Anne Thompson
Summary: A fun-filled story with everything young readers enjoy: excitement, animals, humour and an unusual but appealing heroine. This is perfect for children just starting chapter books.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 176 Date: May 2013
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780340999936

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Esme leaves behind her circus home for the first time to spend the summer with her cousins Magnus, Cosmo and Gus at Maclinkey Castle and discovers that it is not quite as she expected. It is very easy to get lost inside the castle and all sorts of weird and wonderful animals can be found in unlikely places. The children are cared for by Mrs Larder the housekeeper who allows delights such as a bad-mannered tea party. Despite the fun and laughter Esme misses her dear friend Donk, a loveable half donkey- half horse until one day a mysterious parcel arrives for her. It is then that the adventures really begin.

Esme is a delightfully engaging heroine, slightly reminiscent of Pippi Longstocking, who is just a little crazy but likeable and resourceful too. As the story unfolds she puts together her very own fairground circus at the castle with the help of Donk and her cousins. This involves helter-skelters, puffball penguins, bumper bears, tightrope walkers and invitations delivered by birds. The story moves along at a breakneck pace and there is a suitably happy ending. This is a charming little book full of humour, excitement and the importance of friendship. The eldest of Esme’s cousins is a kind boy and the initial hostility from his younger brother is sensitively handled.

The book is divided into ten short chapters and the illustrations are wonderful with lots to look at, discuss and read. An added bonus is the activity suggestions at the end of the book with even more available on the accompanying web site. A welcome and original change from many of the series books for this age group this is a charming, happy book. The first in a series, I think this would be very popular with young children taking those first steps into the world of chapter books.

If you are looking for more books to encourage emerging readers I adore Claude in the City by Alex T Smith and the rest of the series about Claude and his friend Sir Bobblysock are wonderful too.

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Buy Amazing Esme by Tamara Macfarlane at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Amazing Esme by Tamara Macfarlane at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Amazing Esme by Tamara Macfarlane at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Amazing Esme by Tamara Macfarlane at


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