Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

The Bird Singers by Eve Wersocki Morris

Polish folklore meets the damp, misty Lake District in this deliciously creepy mystery. Layah and her sister Izzie’s summer is thoroughly disrupted when their mum suddenly changes their holiday plans and decides they need to go to Lowesdale – a town with cafes full of delicious food but not much else.

Layah is unsettled. It’s the first summer since her beloved Babcia passed away and she misses her Polish grandmother’s no-nonsense kindness and wonderful stories. Woken in the night by strange whistling, Layah is sure she sees a shadowy figure in the garden. This is the start of a haunting adventure that leads the girls around Lowesdale to an old school, a mysterious island and deep into the heart of family secrets they never imagined.

Cleverly woven into the story is the Polish folktale of a mysterious bird-woman and a man who wants to control her. Readers are challenged to work out how this links to Layah’s family and left anticipating when fantasy is going to cross with reality. Hints of strange bird-like creatures lead the girls further and further away from safety towards the answer their looking for while throwing up so many questions. Why are they there? What connection do they have to this strange place? Who is telling the truth? What isn’t their mother telling them? If Layah and Izzie are going to protect their family, they’ll need to draw on every ounce of strength and bravery they have and determine exactly who they can trust.

Fans of the Aveline Jones stories by Phil Hickes, Michelle Harrison’s A Pinch of Magic series and Lucy Hope’s Fledgling will adore this book. Frightening strangers, creepy birds, real threat and heart-pounding danger will have them turning page after page as they try to solve the mystery alongside Layah and Izzie. The unique depiction of the Valkyrie adds a new mythical creature to children’s repertoire and will inspire so much imagination building.

The importance of understanding the past, the value of learning and research, and the power of strong girls underlie every aspect of this story. Readers will come away inspired and perhaps just a little bit curious about their own family history.

Thank you to Hachette Children’s Books for this magical book!

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

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

2 thoughts on “The Bird Singers by Eve Wersocki Morris”

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