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The Bookshop Girl

A joyously bookish crime caper

Property Jones lives in a bookshop. As if this isn’t the height of good fortune in itself, her family wins a raffle to become owners of the world famous Montgomery Book Emporium. This is, of course, a staggeringly marvellous turn of events. Or is it? Property wonders if maybe it’s just too good to be true.

The Bookshop Girl is such fun. Brimming with humour, it tells the story of 11-year-old Property. Abandoned in a bookshop by her careless parents, and never reclaimed, Property comes to love bookshop life, and embraces the owners as family. But she harbours a secret. Property can’t read, and much of her time is spent ingeniously disguising this fact. Although words baffle her, books as physical objects fill her with wonder. The feel and smell of the paper, and of course, ‘the sound that a book makes when you shut it: a very, very tiny THMPH. Like shutting a door that’s barely there.’

This is true. I tried it!

Montgomery Book Emporium is the world’s first mechanical bookshop, a Ferris wheel employing a series of levers and pulleys, to bring themed rooms to the customers. The Space Adventures room arrives, painted deep indigo, speckled with twinkling lights, the books floating in mid-air.

But just when Property’s family are about to burst with bibliophilic joy, Eliot Pink arrives. Amid the chatter of the customers, he is silent and still. His face is grey, his coat is grey, he is like ‘a shadow that has come unstuck from someone’s heels…’ He is the villain of the piece and he is after their bookshop.

And so, our heroes are compelled to turn detectives, in a bid to unravel a shady plot, involving Mr Pink, 43 million pounds, and a Shakespeare manuscript.

The Bookshop Girl is determinedly old-fashioned. It radiates retro charm, and the busy, absorbing illustrations really complement it’s warm, conversational narrative style. Delightful!

The Bookshop Girls is published by Scholastic, 176 pages.

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