Skip to content

‘Strong characterisation…and some wonderful humour’ – Madge Eekal reviews Arlo, Miss Pythia and the Forbidden Box

Thank you to Madge Eekal for another detailed review about our new book Arlo, Miss Pythia and the Forbidden Box by Alice Hemming and Mike Garton.

‘An entertaining and easy to read story for emerging readers.

The story is written in simple language to make it accessible to emerging readers but still has strong characterisation (particularly of Arlo who narrates the story) and some wonderful humour. I’ll give you just one example that made me laugh out loud. There’s a short scene in chapter one when Arlo is listing the things that he believes make Miss Pythia weird. When he points out she shares her name with an Ancient Greek priestess, Daisy-May replies: “So what? … My surname is Bacon and I’m a vegetarian. It means nothing.”

While the writing is entertaining and easy to read, the plot also has just the right amount of interest and intrigue for the age range. I especially liked the twist about the fate of the class kitten. (Sorry, it’s a plot twist so I can’t tell you more!) The themes about friendship and the importance of teamwork are also well handled, being subtle enough not to detract from the plot.

I can’t conclude a review without a quick mention of the fun black and white illustrations by Mike Garton. Deliberately childlike, these are likely to appeal to the target readership while, as an adult, I had more appreciation for the things children won’t consciously notice such as the diversity amongst the characters.’

You can read her full review here.

The first book Arlo, Mrs Ogg and the Dinosaur Zoo opened up a great adventure for Arlo and friends and we are excited to see what happens next in Arlo, Miss Pythia and the Forbidden Box. You can order these titles here.