It’s always exciting to read the first book in a new series – but even more so when the book is by A F Harrold, a fantastic writer of books and poems. Greta Zargo doesn’t disappoint with a mystery to solve, lots of silliness, some helpful anecdotes and immensely likeable characters, it really is just a great book for children to read.
Greta Zargo and the Death Robots from Outer Space by A F Harrold illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton
Greta Zargo doesn’t know it, but she is the only one who can save planet earth from the death robots coming to destroy it! But right now, she’s a bit busy finding out who stole all the cakes! Warning: this book contains robots, peanuts, squirrels, trousers, an eleven-year-old spelling mistake, baths and, yes, lots of cake!
There’s not much for an intrepid would-be junior reporter to, well, report on, in Upper Lowerbridge, to create an award-winning, summer holiday story. So Greta Zargo has to settle for finding a cake-thief, little realising that the real scoop is the planet-conquering robots making their way towards earth. Greta’s no ordinary eleven-year old having been orphaned and left to fend for herself since the age of eight. She is determined to discover the culprit, working her way through a list of suspects – some of whom are not impressed to find themselves being questioned! Meanwhile, the strange silvery robots approach, intent on finding The Great Zargo to ask if they can have planet earth in order to add data to the Harknow-Bumfurly-Histlock Big Book of Galactic Facts. A small spelling error puts Greta unwittingly in place to save Earth from a terrible fate. Will she succeed?
Fun and full of imagination, Greta Zargo is a fantastic sci-fi mystery adventure. The two narratives of cake thievery and death-defying space robots run alongside each other brilliantly; aided by quirky and humorous anecdotal notes at the side of the page. Greta is a feisty character, with admirable determination, encouraged by her very eccentric and rather wonderful Aunt Tabitha, who I loved. Greta’s journalistic efforts are put to the test by an amusing cast of characters – including a giant squirrel! The space sequences are hugely imaginative and full of impressive technical jargon and madcap space names. Although comical, it’s somewhat bittersweet as various weird and wonderful aliens inadvertently allow the complete destruction of their planets – perhaps a lesson for us all. Illustrations throughout capture the quirkiness of the tale and help to create a really engaging, warm-hearted story. I won’t give away the ending, but how refreshing – how very polite death robots can be…!
With thanks to Bloomsbury Books for sending me this book to review