Monday, 19 December 2016
Cogheart - Peter Bunzl
Steampunk for kids .... and what a wonderful world Peter Bunzl lets us into. Lily, a girl at a dreadful boarding school in the aftermath of her mother's death, is unhappy and it shows. She's naughty and nearly uncontrollable. When her guardian comes to the school to take her home, she is delighted, until she is told that her father is missing, presumed dead, and that everything must change. For a couple of secret policemen are after something that her father made and is now missing.
Lily's father is a mechanical maker, the steampunk version of robots.... He's made Lily a lovely fox friend, Malkin, a mechanimal, who at the beginning of the story has been injured and is taken to a clockmaker for repairs. His character is rather foxy - short sharp sentences like barks, and a no nonsense approach to life. All the mechanicals that Lily knows are kind supportive and have specific jobs, and characters that go with the jobs. Lily is a strong character, her new friend Robert the clockmaker's son, not quite so strong - always worried that he cannot do things as well as his father, and also - afraid of heights.
And just what is it that the secret policemen are after? Something small. Something very important.
Bunzl's first novel is a good one. He has a lovely writing style that will appeal to readers around 8-12 years.... although I am somewhat older and loved it. He includes a short glossary at the back of works that those readers may never have come across - what a lovely idea in the age of "just Google it!" There is a second book to follow next year with the same characters. I will be looking out for that one. All in all, a great read, just right for the Christmas stocking, and with a gorgeous cover.