Updated: Jul 4, 2018

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations

Book Title: Candy

Author: Lavie Tidhar

Illustrator: Mark Beech

Publisher: Scholastic

Publication Date: June 2018

Most Suitable For: Years 4-6

Imagine being a child living in a city where sweets have been banned and gangs of kids operate a black market for sugary treats. This is the setting of Lavie Tidhar’s new children’s book Candy, which has been likened to a cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Bugsy Malone.

12-year-old Nelle and her friends can still remember the time before sweets were banned in Mayor Thornton’s great Prohibition Act three years ago. Now, many of her peers operate in rival gangs and have become caught up in secret candy smugglings, sweet-gang rivalry and turf wars.

Nelle keeps herself out of the smuggling and acts instead as a private detective. When she is approached one day by a new client with a surprising request of help to track down a missing teddy bear, Nelle is dubious. She reluctantly accepts the case because, she explains, "the truth was I was out of pocket money again, I was behind on my luck, my hat was older than I was and I needed a job even worse than I needed a caramel fudge” and before long she finds herself drawn into a much bigger case of candy-related shenanigans involving dirty dealings, acts of sabotage and government politics.

The book is fast-paced and funny and the comparisons to Bugsy Malone are impossible to miss, with the high dose of humour removing any sinister association with the gangster theme. When adult politicians act like children, the comical result is a town full of self-assured and highly competent children who act like adults and run their own businesses.

Except these characters are of course very much children and not adults; many of them really just want chocolate and teddy bears and to visit the library without being bullied.

I enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek tone of the narrative and the many sweet-related puns. The illustrations by Mark Beech also hit the perfect note to bring the story to life, bringing out the ridiculousness of the caricatures with an almost Quentin Blake like feel. This original and humorous book will hold a popular appeal in classrooms across KS2.

Order Candy online or from your local bookshop or library.

Many thanks to the publisher for kindly sending me a review copy of this book.


To celebrate the publication of Candy, Scholastic has very kindly offered a free author visit from Lavie Tidhar to one winning school (UK only).

To enter, simply follow @booksfortopics on Twitter and retweet the giveaway post by Sunday 8th July 2018 (T&Cs here).



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