Today we hear from Helen…
The Adventures of Titch and Mitch – Garth Edwards
(The Magic Boots & The Blue Wizard)
These books are the latest in a series (The Magic Boots is number 4 and The Blue Wizard number 5) about two pixie brothers, Titch and Mitch and a group of friends who are mostly animals or birds, including Wiffen the intelligent turkey, Perry the Old English sheepdog, Budgie the yellow seagull and Misty the fairy. Despite the fact that we had not read the earlier stories, we were well able to follow what was going on as each chapter (there are five per book) is a standalone story, and although the stories do build on things that have happened previously they are fully understandable in their own right.
Titch and Mitch live on an island and have adventures which sometimes begin by going on a journey on their magic flying bicycle and other times by someone coming to visit them. The adventures involve magic, friendship, humour and very little peril most of the time, making them suitable for young children from about 3 or 4, going up to 7 or 8 for independent reading. In The Magic Boots the only thing that worried Erin (age 5) was the pixies’ encounter with some unpleasant trolls, and in The Blue Wizard there is a witch who is up to no good, but as each story is complete in itself there shouldn’t be much ongoing tension at bedtime! Another good feature of the series’ suitability is that it should have equal appeal to both boys and girls. Many of the characters are male and the pixies in particular behave very much like young boys (although, being pixies, they are able to live alone without parents!). The kind of adventures they have, e.g. going off in search of magic boots, helping Father Christmas, rescuing a princess and wondering what will hatch from an enormous egg they have found, do not seem specifically geared towards either boys or girls in particular. If I were to compare the stories to more well-known books I would say they are something like Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree series in that there is a cast of characters, each with their distinct personalities, and themes of friendship and helping as well as magic and adventure.
The chapters are each about 20 pages long but this includes at least one illustration per double page which means there is plenty to look at for non-readers as the story progresses. Erin found the characters fun and appealing, especially the humorous touches, such as Wiffen’s tendency to assert himself as a bold leader but then be the first to run and hide under the table at any sign of trouble! The stories are interestingly told but the pace moves quickly enough to maintain the interest of young children and they are the kind of tales that could be enjoyed more than once without becoming boring. We really loved both books and looked forward to getting onto the next adventure each evening!
Thanks, Helen, and thanks to Inside Pocket Publishing for sending us copies.