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Review & Author Blog: ‘Scoop McLaren: Detective Editor’ / Helen Castles

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Today is our stop on the blog tour for Scoop McLaren: Detective Editor by Helen Castles and Beatriz Castro .

Read on for a review of Scoop McLaren: Detective Editor followed by an exclusive guest post in which the author Helen discusses the important roles of the news in our modern world.

Book Title: Scoop McLaren: Detective Editor (available here)

Author: Helen Castles

Illustrator: Beatriz Castro

Publisher: New Frontier

Publication Date: July 2019

Most Suitable For: Lower KS2

Reviewed By: Claire, Headteacher



Scoop McLaren is a delightfully inquisitive character and this, the first in a brand new series of stories by Helen Castles, gives the reader an insight into her life as the editor of ‘Click!’, an online newspaper that runs alongside her dad’s print newspaper, ‘The Higgity Harbour Gazette.’

In this story, Higgity Harbour appears to be besieged by all manner of terrible disasters; from alligators and storms of frogs to snowstorms in summer and mysterious buildings being burnt to the ground. Scoop thinks that a new reporter in town, the deviously named ‘Sonny Fink’ is to blame as his (rival) online newspaper has correctly predicted all of the catastrophes so far.

It’s a great story and will really captivate children who enjoy a good detective novel as well as those who enjoy stories containing a whole lot of humour. Helen Castles has pitched the style of the book to suit lower KS2 readers perfectly, with enough suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat without it being too scary.


As a class reader, it’s the perfect length to enjoy and share over a series of reading sessions. If you are starting to look at journalistic writing as compared to blog posts or narrative, then it would also be a good book to engage your class; there are so many great examples of headlines, etc. to share. It would also be a great book to compare with more traditional detective novels.

You can order Scoop McLaren: Detective Editor online or from your local bookshop or library.



Guest Blog Post

by Helen Castles , author of Scoop McLaren: Detective Editor


Read all about it: The important role the news plays in our modern world.


Visiting schools to share my debut children’s novel Scoop McLaren – Detective Editor with young readers has been an absolute delight for me. Not only have the children been very eager to learn all about Scoop and Evie and their exciting adventures in the seaside town of Higgity Harbour, they have also shown great interest in journalism and the news in general.


With both Scoop and I being news reporters, a goal of mine when writing the book was to encourage readers to think about how valuable the news can be and the importance of knowing exactly where our news comes from.


We have been discussing the many different ways in which news can be accessed in our world today, and why it is important, and in some instances, imperative, that we stay well informed.

Many of the schools I have been visiting are situated in rural areas where it is not uncommon for floods and bushfires to threaten communities. Discussion has centred around what the consequences might be if people were uninformed in these situations, and the responsibility that journalists like Scoop have, to keep people properly informed and up-to-date with what is going on around them.

In Higgity Harbour, the news comes from three sources: Scoop’s online newspaper, Click!, her dad, Ted McLaren’s newspaper, The Higgity Harbour Gazette, and of course evil editor, Sonny Fink’s online paper, The Dark Times. Scoop’s dad has always taught her the value of delivering the truth to her readers, so another area of discussion has been the importance of checking facts and doing research


In the back of the book, Scoop has put together her twelve top tips and tricks for budding young writers. I must say that I would find it extremely satisfying as an author if Scoop could inspire children to get writing and creating, and to tell not only the stories around them, but their own stories as well.

During my school visits, we talked about how important it would be for Scoop and Evie to edit their stories before print and to only upload the news for readers when they feel they are presenting their best work.


For the past seven years I have been a reporter for a newspaper. It has been a dream job for me because not only do I get to do what I love all day – write – I also have the privilege of telling people’s stories.

I have met myriad fascinating folk over the years and no two stories are ever the same. From traipsing through cattle sale yards in high heels (yikes!) to interviewing Deputy Prime Ministers, working for a newspaper can be an incredibly interesting and rewarding job.

Of course, not all stories are light-hearted and fun, as the news inevitably tells a sadder side of life as well sometimes.

Throughout all the experiences I have had as a newshound, it had always been a dream of mine to write about my life as a journalist. Penning a children’s fiction novel was also a major aspiration, so a few years ago, I decided to combine the two, and feisty detective editor Scoop McLaren is the result.




You can order Scoop McLaren: Detective Editor or from your local bookshop or library.

Many thanks to Helen for writing the guest post and to Review Panel member Claire for reviewing our copy, provided by the publisher.

Check out the other stops on the blog tour, too!


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