Review: A Most Peculiar Toy Factory


Book Title: A Most Peculiar Toy Factory (available here)

Author: Alex Bell

Illustrator: Nan Lawson

Publisher: Barrington Stoke

Publication Date: August 2019

Most Suitable For: Years 3-5

In A Most Peculiar Toy Factory, animal lover Tess Pipps lives with her family on a farm whose herd of cattle can produce milk like no other. When faced with the prospect of having to sell the beloved cows and lose the family farm, Tess and her siblings have no choice but to agree to work in the Hoggis Happy Toy Factory.


Rumours of toys turned bad were rife among the children in Cherryville yet quickly dismissed by their parents. Tess, the twins –Stacey and Niles- and youngest brother Oliver go and work for the eccentric-looking Mr Hoggis. Were the rumours true? Would they regret stepping through the gates of the factory? Would the old diary of Caractacus Hoggis provide the answers they desperately seek? Will they be able to save the family farm?


A Most Peculiar Toy Factory is an adventure story for younger readers who are gaining confidence with longer chaptered books. The front cover suggests a Dahl-esque story inside and amid the mystery and magic, there is certainly a darker power at work. Unlike Dahl, all’s well that ends well however and the evil teddies are given the chiller treatment.


This is another offering from Barrington Stoke who has employed the writing talents of Alex Bell, author of the highly popular middle-grade Polar Bear Explorer’s Club series. It is perfect for younger readers, aged 8 and up, who are becoming confident readers of longer chapter books. As always, Barrington Stoke publishes in a format that is accessible for dyslexic and reluctant readers so that they can be enjoyed by all. The illustrations by Nan Lawson serve to enhance the story, helping to build the world that toymaker Marmaduke Hoggis inhabits.


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You can order A Most Peculiar Toy Factory online or from your local bookshop or library.



Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to our Review Panel member for reviewing it.



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