BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: The Buried Crown
Author: Ally Sherrick
Publisher: Chicken House
Publication Date: April 2018
Most Suitable For: Years 5/6 +
The Buried Crown is the newest story from Ally Sherrick, author of Black Powder. Ally is a master of bringing historical fiction to a contemporary audience, concocting an exciting mix of real historical events and characters with utterly convincing fictional elements. The Buried Crown is a hugely exciting adventure set in World War II and one that I will be highly recommending to Upper KS2 classrooms.
The story centres on George Penny, a young Londoner who has been evacuated to the countryside under the reluctant care of an unpleasant farm-owner called Bill Jarvis. Having lost his parents, the one thing that George thinks about more than anything else is his beloved older brother Charlie, who is serving at a nearby RAF base. It is clear from the beginning of the story that pretty much every character is carrying the burden of wartime in their own way, whether that means the death of loved ones, being
separated from their family and friends, serving on the frontline or hosting and sharing resources with those who can no longer safely stay at home.
The story takes a mysterious turn when George befriends Kitty, a German Jewish girl who has been moved to the relative safety of her grandfather’s English home under the Kindertransport programme. Kitty’s grandfather is an archaeologist and soon George comes to learn about a mysterious Anglo-Saxon crown that has been unearthed at a nearby burial site. According to legend, the crown once belonged to an ancient king of England and it carries a charm that will give something much more than just the wealth of the object to its owner (I don’t want to give too much more away at this point). Needless to say, soon George finds himself involved in an exhilarating plot to save the treasured Anglo-Saxon crown from falling into the hands of Nazi invaders.
What I loved the most about The Buried Crown though is the seamlessness with which the fantasy and history are merged. Some of the places and characters are based on real ones (there are appearances from both Hitler and Churchill among others) and the style of the narrative is very much that of historical recount. There is also a really handy section at the end of the book with plenty of background information about some of the historical topics covered. Difficult topics are touched upon, like the Holocaust and the Blitz, but Ally Sherrick handles them in the story with great sensitivity. Yet there are also magical charms, ghostly apparitions and a good dose of ancient mythology (complete with marvellous tales of dragons and ancient treasure hoards), but the beauty of the narrative is that these fantasy elements seem completely believable and completely in keeping within the story’s skillfully crafted world.
I found The Buried Crown gripping from start to finish and the pace never dips once throughout the whole story. As it picks up on the historical topics of both Anglo-Saxons and World War II (an unlikely but rather delightful combination), I would highly recommend this story for upper KS2 classrooms. The story is also especially relevant this year with the RAF centenary celebrations taking place, as well as the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport initiative and a special celebration at Sutton Hoo of women like Edith Pretty, who triggered the archaeological dig during which the incredible Anglo-Saxon discovery was unearthed. And if you still need another reason to pick this book up and read it, I would also recommend it simply as a stonkingly good adventure story full of excitement, magic and danger that makes for a wonderful choice for reading for pleasure.
Find The Buried Crown on Amazon or from any good bookshop or library.
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Many thanks to the publisher for kindly sending me a review copy of this book.