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Books About Magical Adventure Stories

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Top Five Magical Adventure books

Author Katharine Orton’s Top Five Magical Adventures.

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Robert Swindells
Chapter book

When Ivan’s little brother is stolen away by the terrifying Starjik, Ivan sets out into a cold, inhospitable world to bring him back. Ivan’s chances in this frozen world seem slim, and Starjik has a wild, cruel magic on his side. And yet as his adventure continues, it becomes clear that Ivan may have a friend – and a little magic – on his side too. When I was younger I read this book endlessly. It’s one of those stories you experience with your heart in your mouth, right through to the very end.

Lewis Carroll
 & Chris Riddell

Could there be any greater adventure than setting sail across unmapped seas, guided by an unreliable Bellman, to a mysterious island where the Snarks live? This story has everything you could possibly want: humour, heart, tragedy, a man who’s forgotten his own name and a beaver. The magical element really comes in the Snarks themselves. Imagine: a beast that can cause you to softly and suddenly vanish away… If your Snark be a Boojum, that is.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Chapter book

This eagerly-awaited story by award-winning author Kiran Millwood Hargrave is the perfect winter adventure story, telling of an extraordinary adventure through the frozen north in a quest to reunite families and to break a cycle of endless winter

Mila lives with her siblings in their small cabin deep in the wintry forest. One night, mysterious strangers arrive near their village looking for shelter. The next morning, the men have gone but they have taken Mila’s brother Oskar with them. Mila sets out on a perilous quest to rescue Oskar, leading her through frozen landscapes. Mila will have to find a way past the eternal winter to reclaim spring again and reunite her family.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave is a masterful storyteller and this spectacular new tale about siblings, bravery and not losing hope is likely to capture imaginations and whisk readers on a mesmerising pursuit through magical realms. A captivating read to warm hearts on cold, winter days.

Maurice Sendak

In this gorgeous picture book we go on a journey with Max, who’s been sent to his room for chasing the dog with a fork, and being an all-round wild thing. But somehow his room becomes a forest, and when he travels across the sea by boat he finds more Wild Things and becomes their king.

This book is such a classic and, as such, means so many different things to so many different people. For me, it teaches a young child that it’s OK to feel angry; it’s OK to take some time out. Your family will still love you. They’ll still be waiting for you when you come back. When Max stomps off to visit the wild things, he’s angry and frustrated. He’s so mad that he sails off “through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year”. When he calms down, he realises he misses home and, to the disappointment of his new Kingdom, he heads back to his bedroom where his “still hot” supper is waiting for him. This story is really the embodiment of an emotion and the power of those final lines – the release of them – still brings me to (happy) tears.


Katharine Orton
Chapter book

In the aftermath of the Second World War, losing her mother and brother in an air raid, Nona has built a new life for herself, with adoptive uncle Antoni. A Polish airman during the war, he is also a skilled craftsman, creating beautiful stained-glass windows. Nona works as his apprentice, but doesn’t handle the glass itself, although she does have one precious piece, taken from her bombed out home, which she always keeps close.

Renowned for his work, the pair travel around the country, replacing windows in war-torn buildings, so Nona is not alarmed when they receive a commission to work on a church on Dartmoor. However, this is no ordinary church, but a place of powerful magic and Antoni is bewitched. His strange behaviour is confusing and worrying for Nona, until she discovers the truth and the part she must play in protecting those she loves and fighting the darkness which threatens everything.

Drawing on folklore and the wild landscape of Dartmoor, this is an imaginative and beguiling fantasy weaving in Nona’s courage, determination and the power of love. Having enjoyed the author’s previous book, Nevertell, I was keen to read this and it didn’t disappoint. The story is ideal for lovers of fantasy and magic.

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