Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

The Horror of Dunwick Farm by Dan Smith, illustrated by Chris King

The Invasion of Crooked Oak is probably the book I share with children most often when covering classes in Key Stage Two. It is exciting, easy to read aloud and short enough to complete in a day or two. Children love to be scared and relish the edge-of-their-seat intensity as Pete, Krish and Nancy face the unusual happenings in their town.

The Horror of Dunwick Farm is the third book in the series and the creepiest yet! I wasn’t quite prepared for shivers down my spine and shudders as I tried to shake off the feelings of dread that came over me as I raced through the pages. Dan Smith doesn’t hold back when it comes to, quite literally, wrapping his readers up in the story.

Krish, Nancy and Pete are just leaving school when there is a strange plane crash on the other side of the village. They race over to take a look and find it’s on the field behind Krish’s family’s farm. A large white tent has been put up around the wreckage, people in unusual protective clothing carry away mysterious objects and no one is allowed anywhere near. The trio are determined to find out what’s going on.

It is great to see Krish taking more of a lead in this story and really trying to be brave. He pushes himself to think through the clues and face his fears. His dedication to his often annoying sister spurs him on to tackle something most people would run from.

Chapter 14 onwards is the stuff of nightmares and needs to come with a bit of a warning for readers. Children (or adults) who are afraid of spiders may find it challenging while those who really enjoy being frightened will lap it up!

The Horror of Dunwick Farm is another example of a fantastically engaging story from Barrington Stoke. What makes these books really special is their dyslexia-friendly style. The font, spacing and page tint combined with specially selected, accessible vocabulary mean that so many children can enjoy these brilliant stories.

Thank you to Barrington Stoke for another fantastic Crooked Oak mystery!

Read my reviews of the other great books in this series here:

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

Books by Kate Heap:

Contemporary Children’s Literature: Years 5/6

Contemporary Children’s Literature: Years 3/4

Nonfiction: Years 5/6

Nonfiction: Years 3/4

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