Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

The Griffin Gate by Vashti Hardy & illustrated by Natalie Smillie

Vashti Hardy has done it again! The Griffin Gate is exactly the kind of story children are looking for: adventure, mystery and a strong sense of family – with a bossy robotic raven thrown in! Teaming up with talented illustrator Natalie Smillie, this story jumps off the page and dares readers to go with Grace into the map and become a part of the story.

13 year-old Grace Griffin belongs to a very special family. They are the wardens of the Griffin Map, helping to keep law and order throughout Moreland. They look out for those in need and do all they can to help and protect. This isn’t just any map, but a high-tech, electrical map that transports wardens through special gates around the land with just one touch.

Grace and her older brother, Bren, have been training together to be map wardens for years. Now that Bren is fifteen, he is old enough to go on missions into the map and acts unsurprisingly superior to his younger sister. Grace is desperate to go into the glowing map so when the opportunity presents itself, she finds it very difficult to resist.  

Inside The Griffin Gate, readers will find themselves in a world of the most wonderful STEM. Intriguing equipment like stun sticks, re-compasses and spyglasses give amazing power to the characters. Everyday items have been repurposed and improved to create fascinating new inventions. In this world, science and technology are highly valued while the personal attributes of intelligence, intuition, problem solving skills and strength are to be admired.

Grace Griffin is a fantastic young role model for girls and boys alike. She might be a bit fidgety but she is able to keep her wits about her and use her brain to defeat even the most difficult challenge. Even when situations take a turn for the worse, Grace has a determination and resilience that help her to survive and protect her family. She learns that family and teamwork are so important and that they are always better together.

Published by Barrington Stoke, this exciting story has a reading age of eight but an interest level up to age twelve and beyond. Vashti Hardy has used her gift for adventurous storytelling to create an accessible new world. This book is sure to help more reluctant readers find their reading spark and get lost in this engaging story, building their confidence with manageable chapters and text. It will be published with dyslexia friendly font and colours to ensure everyone can access the treasure within.

Thank you so much to Barrington Stoke for this incredible book! It will be published in October 2020.

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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