Jennifer is best known for her ear-fartingly funny ‘Alex Sparrow’ series but ‘Mo, Lottie and the Junkers’ is something a little bit different…
Mo Appleby is the kind of boy who appreciates routine and order in his life, so he is understandably put out when things are turned upside down by he and his mum moving in with his new stepdad and slightly individual stepsisters! Worse still, his old house is just across the street, reminding him of the nice quiet life he seems to have left behind him.
The arrival of a shiny, slightly strange lady in his old house, an unfamiliar (and inept) lollipop man and a new boy in his class called Jax all threaten the careful balance of Mo’s life. That plus Lottie’s insistence that they investigate the strange lady across the road and an irrational desire for ice cream from the new ice cream van that keeps appearing at every turn!
Now Sci-Fi is an area of children’s fiction I’m growing to enjoy more and fantastic stories with a comic twist (such as ‘Mo, Lottie and the Junkers’) are convincing me to read more. Full of the humour you’d expect from Jennifer, there’s also a healthy dose of invention, gadgetry and time-travel to engage and delight more traditional science fiction fans.
I also loved the fact that this story was centred around a newly-formed family who were just getting to grips with their new life together. This is representative of the families of so many children across the country but is not so often depicted in books. It’s so important for children to see their lives and situations in the books they read.
Cleverly, the book starts with a rather urgent vlog recorded by Mo and Lottie then saved on a USB and locked in a secure containing. I could picture the two of them bickering and talking down the camera to me as they set about trying to explain the series of events which had led to this emergency situation. The narrative then cleverly splits in two with Mo and Lottie both taking turns in recounting their story and contradicting each other.
If you’d like to hear me chatting with Jennifer about the inspiration and process behind writing this book and why she loves to get her readers involved, make sure you listen to her episode on my #LibraryGirlAndBookBoy podcast.
Recommend for fans of funny or Dr Who aged 8+
*Thank you to Firefly Press for sending me this title to review*