Monday 17 October 2016

Halloween #ReviewMonday with @lockwoodwriter : The Halloweeds by Veronica Cossanteli

It was an ordinary, boring Wednesday afternoon. 
Until, quite suddenly, it wasn’t. 
It’s double Science on Wednesdays. Miss Drupe showed us a film about Food Chains. It wasn’t very cheerful. This green stuff called algae got eaten by this invisible stuff called plankton. The plankton got eaten by a fish, the fish got eaten by a seal and then the seal got eaten by a shark. 
The seal had whiskers and big, chocolate-y eyes. When the shark grabbed it, everyone went Oooh! and Awwww! and Maisie Milligan started to cry. Nobody bothered about the fish much, or the poor plankton.As for the algae – well, that’s how it works, isn’t it? 
Plants get eaten all the time, and never get a chance to eat anybody back. 
Or that’s what I thought.
Cover by Steve Wells Design, illustrations by Mark Beech
217 pages in paperback
Published by Chicken House 6th October 2016

Summary and extract from Publisher’s Website
Dan promised he’d look after his siblings, but he hadn’t bargained on his scientist parents dying on a jungle research trip. 
Orphaned Dan’s new home is a crumbling castle. Here, horrible Aunt Grusilla reigns supreme, tending to her mysterious graveyard garden. But why are Aunt Grusilla and her curious servants each missing a finger – and what are the hungry ‘cabbages’ in the greenhouse? As Dan struggles to solve the mystery, he encounters a chilling question: what’s the price of everlasting life? 
If your pre-Halloween wishes are for something funny, scary and grotesque – then this is the book for you! There’s something of the anarchic darkness of the best Roald Dahl, together with a hint of Little Shop of Horrors – and lots of adventure amongst the awfully strange goings-on. 

You can see from the delightfully monstrous cover, by Steve Wells Design and Mark Beech, this isn’t going to be a cosy and cute little tale with fluffy kittens. It’s as weird, daft and as fun as The Extincts – but even more suitable for this spooky time of year. I loved the apparently grubby pages, and you’ll find the writing is just as full of quirky details that are simply so right. 

It does have its deliciously creepy moments – so it might not suit those easily frightened - but then they wouldn’t pick up a book with a cover like that, would they? Despite the chills and the outlandishness, there’s actually a lot of courage and friendship within this strange mystery tale – and a few serious questions to ponder. 

Perfect for any confident reader who likes a good grin along with their helping of gruesome.

K. M. Lockwood lives by the sea in Sussex - see the pics on Instagram. She fills jars with sea-glass, writes on a very old desk and reads way past her bedtime. Her tiny bed-and-breakfast is stuffed full of books - and even the breakfasts are named after writers. You're always welcome to chat stories with @lockwoodwriter on Twitter.

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