Saturday, July 15

Claire Barker - Knitbone Pepper and the Last Circus Tiger (Knitbone Pepper #2)

"Everyone should have a circus in the garden."

Roll up! Roll up! The circus is coming to Starcross, and Knitbone Pepper and his ghostly animal friends can't wait! But amidst the magicians, the acrobats and clowns, Knitbone senses something beastly in the big top...

A wonderfully warm, whimsical series, jam-packed with mayhem, chuckles and woofs!

Received with thanks in exchange for an honest review from Usborne Publishing UK.

In this second book in the Knitbone Pepper: Ghost Dog series we have Winnie Pepper and her gang of Pepper Beloveds facing a new ordeal- what to do with the ever-growing hat collection of Lord Pepper. It didn't help things that he was ordering more and more with the idea of turning Starcross Hall into a hat exhibition of sorts and it was all going quite out of hand-

"Big boxes, small boxes, tall boxes and squat boxes, thin boxes, fat boxes, and very, very square boxes. Some came in candy colored stripy cartons and others came in black lacquered chests. They came in sacks, they came in crates, they came in trunks."

So out of hand were things that soon they had eighteen thousand, five hundred and sixty hats in what seemed like the aftermath of an explosion at a hat factory. Winnie decides that it's time she took things into her own hands, and soon Winnie and her gang of ghostly friends- Knitbone Pepper the ghost dog, Gabriel the goose, Valentine the hare, Martin the hamster, and Orlando the monkey- begin to tidy everything up to have Hats Off to Starcross ready for opening day. 

All goes well till Lord Pepper decides to host the Eye of Mumbai- a yellow turban adorned with a very precious red ruby brooch- for three days as part of its world tour. The ruby has always been under the threat of a renowned robber, Magpie McCracken, and it's up to Winnie and her friends, including the Mighty Rajah- a tiger from the circus that Winnie invited to make things more exciting for Starcross Hall's visitors- to keep the ruby safe from falling into the wrong hands.

The writing is infused with humour and sprinkled with the loveliest illustrations, and the story flows along very smoothly. The author adds seemingly unimportant elements to the narrative, but they only serve to make everything even more lively than it already is. There's even a hat tip (see what I did there?) to the one and only Sorting Hat of Hogwarts! 

"...the Peppers had a fine example of a wizarding hat on display. It was part of a pair. The other hat was kept at an exclusive boarding school and was very wise. However, this one was very naughty and shrieked "BADGER'S BUM!" and "PIG'S KNICKERS!" hysterically at anyone who passed."

With all the beloved main characters from the first book and a handful of new ones, The Last Circus Tiger is full of adventure, mystery and mayhem, and is a must-read if you loved the previous Knitbone Pepper book, and even if you have not picked it up yet- just set yourself up for an exciting, fun ride with the most wacky characters and dive into this delightful read!


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