BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: Potkin and Stubbs (available here)
Author(s): Sophie Green
Illustrator: Karl Mountford
Publisher: Piccadilly Press
Publication Date: March 2019
Most Suitable For: Years 5-6
Review By: Carol Carter (@HPS Library), Librarian
Potkin and Stubbs is a wonderfully noir mystery thriller, complete with down-and-out private investigators, corrupt government officials, neon-soaked alleyways and, of course, a crime to solve.
The tone is set from the first chapter with its brilliant descriptions of Peligan City and our heroine, Lil Potkin. The city is ‘worn out and rain soaked’, full of ‘dazzling casino lights and flashing billboards’ and ‘back streets where steam rose from the sewers like smoke’. Lil is ‘a wiry 12-year-old with cup handle ears and a belly full of ambition’ who dreams of being an investigative journalist. How can you not warm to a girl, and a city, like that?
Not much of the plot can be described without giving massive spoilers away. Suffice to say, there are supernatural elements and fast-paced twists and turns aplenty as Lil becomes drawn into investigating a series of unexplained fires and suspicious deaths. Along the way, we meet a host of fascinating characters including Nedly, a mysterious boy who struggles to be seen, and jaded private investigator, Abe Mandrel. The excitement builds to a tense and genuinely scary crescendo, before tying up most (but, tantalisingly, not all) of the loose ends with a satisfying conclusion.
I’ve never read anything quite like Potkin and Stubbs for this age range before and I don’t know why – it’s fantastic and I can see this flying off the library shelves. It has so much to offer in terms of plot, character and themes that it will have wide appeal to a broad range of children. I’m very pleased to see it is the first in a series, as Potkin and Stubbs (and indeed Mandrel, The Grip and Peligan City itself) have much more to offer. This atmospheric and evocative page-turner deserves to have a huge readership.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Carol for reviewing it.