By: Emily Rodda
Genre: YFCF - Crime & mystery fiction (Children's / Teenage)
Published by: Harper Collins
Published: 23 Jul 2018
ISBN: 9781460756188


From Australia's favourite storyteller comes a story, within a story, that shows us the extraordinary power of true love and solves a decades-old mystery. 'Once upon a time, in a dark city far away, there lived a boy called Walter, who had nothing but his name to call his own ...' The handwritten book, with its strangely vivid illustrations, has been hidden in the old house for a long, long time.

Tonight, four kids and their teacher will find it. Tonight, at last, the haunting story of Walter and the mysterious, tragic girl called Sparrow will be read - right to the very end... From one of Australia's most renowned children's authors, comes an extraordinary story within a story - a mystery, a prophecy, a long-buried secret. And five people who will remember this night as long as they live.


This story within a story, written by the incredible Emily Rodda, is full of mystery and intrigue. In the story, the children couldn’t put the old book down and they read through the night, and neither could I!

This is a wonderful historical novel where four children and a teacher on a history excursion get stranded overnight in a spooky house.

When they find a hidden, incredibly illustrated book and start reading the story of Walter, they slowly uncover the truth of his story and reveal the shocking crimes and twists that occurred in the very house they are now in.

It is a tragic love story with Walter escaping an awful childhood to live for a time with a kind witch and ultimately fall in love with the beautiful bird-girl Sparrow.

Sparrow wrote the story locked away from the world in her greedy, pig like father’s castle. Many characters are hidden by their animal likenesses and the detail of their individualism is lovely to read.

This beautifully presented hardback will be a marvellous addition to your library, and readers aged 8-12 will marvel at this enchanting story.

Reviewed by Rob

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