BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: Malamander (available here)
Author: Thomas Taylor
Publication Date: May 2019
Most Suitable for: Years 4-6
Everybody loves a seaside setting complete with its own hotel, beach, themed shops, washed-up treasures and sea creatures to discover along the shore. But what about when the summer crowds disappear, the winter winds set in and old legends of a deadly sea monster begin to surface? Welcome to Eerie-on-Sea, a seaside setting with a creepy twist.
Herbert Lemon works in the Grand Nautilus Hotel in Eerie-on-Sea. His job as the hotel’s lost-and-founder involves living in the basement and organising the hotel’s lost property as well as attempting to reunite lost items with their owners wherever possible. Usually this is a perfectly manageable job - but when the latest lost item to crash into Herbie's basement turns out to be a girl called Violet Parma requesting help to be reunited with her long-lost parents, things begin to take a strange turn.
Not one to turn down a good mystery, Herbie agrees to help Violet and the two new friends find themselves facing more questions than answers, as clues about Violet’s past seem to bring to the surface more and more information about the legend of the Malamander. What follows is a whirlwind of an adventure steeped in imagination and eccentric humour, involving a book dispensary, a mermonkey, a Boathook Man and a flotsamporium shop. Can Herbie and Violet put together all the pieces of the puzzle before it is too late?
Malamander mixes scary parts, mysterious parts and whimsically funny parts too, as Thomas Taylor creates an original fantasy mash-up with a nautical twist that will no doubt be enjoyed by readers across KS2 classrooms. I enjoyed the quirky humour and wordplay, the imaginative characters and the galloping pace of the unravelling mystery that is edged with peril throughout.
Malamander is likely to leave you with a smile on your face and perhaps a new-found reluctance about walking alone on the beach next time you visit the seaside…
You can download a teacher's resource pack with extracts, activities and discussion questions for KS2 teachers.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Jen at Shapes For Schools for inviting us to host the free resources.