Somebody Stop Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp

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Illustrated by John Kelly.

Published by Bloomsbury, 2016.

Ivy Pocket is a brilliantly sassy heroine who is feisty and fearless. She is very funny and I was always chuckling as I read her conversations. I loved Ivy’s witty asides and retorts.

It was slightly odd to me that someone as ancient as Mother Snagsby had a daughter so young – but perhaps she only looked like a weather-beaten coconut due to questionable skincare.

She also has a propensity for mayhem and this often has hilarious results. The chapter where Mrs Roach and her two daughters come for tea is pure slapstick farce.

Yet despite her boldness, Ivy is also incredibly naive and rather deluded. Things which are blindingly obvious to the reader are not clear to Ivy at all. This dramatic irony helps to build up tension and suspense in the story.

Ivy is living in Victorian London and is the recently adopted daughter of two coffin makers, Mr and Mrs Snagsby. She is kept under lock and key and works hard for her new parents – running errands, doing the housework and reciting poems to the dying. She is entrusted with the powerful Clock Diamond, which she keeps hidden on a chain around her neck. Others have died wearing this necklace but Ivy is able to wear it and survive. The Clock Diamond has special powers; when you look into it, it allows you to see glimpses of the past, present or future. It is here that Ivy has seen her friend Matilda whom she believed was dead. However, it appears that Matilda is alive, in danger and being kept prisoner in another world. Ivy resolves to rescue her and this is the adventure that Ivy embarks upon in Somebody Stop Ivy Pocket, the second book in the series.

I’ve not read the first book, Anyone But Ivy Pocket, and I was worried that starting on book two might be confusing. This wasn’t a problem, however, as throughout the book there were helpful recaps of significant plot lines from the first book.

Book two has lots of intriguing sub-plots too. There’s the mystery surrounding the Snagsby’s absent daughter; a missing aristocrat; Mother Snagsby’s fiercely guarded padlocked recipe book; and the highly suspicious way that Mr and Mrs Snagsby’s ailing customers always die (rather conveniently) during their appointment to discuss their funeral arrangements.

In addition to Ivy, there’s a fabulous cast of supporting characters: a vengeful ghost; a bitter and scheming grandmother and her equally unpleasant granddaughter; a shady librarian and the frightful Mrs Snagsby.

John Kelly’s glorious full-page illustrations perfectly capture the  mood of the story be it sinister, humorous or dramatic.

This is a thrilling adventure for anyone who loves mystery, mischief and mayhem.

Rating: 💙💙💙💙💙

Suitable for children aged 8+

Thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me this book to review.

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