BLOG TOUR: Opie Jones Talks to Animals by Nat Luurtsema, illustrated by Fay Austin

It’s BLOG TOUR time! What a great first book to host for 2021! Opie Jones Talks to Animals is written by stand-up comic, comedy writer and film-maker Nat Luurtsema, published by Egmont Books. In her first novel for middle-grade readers, she starts this new series with a bang in a brilliant twist on the traditional superhero story. Today is my stop on the blog tour and I’m sharing my review.

Opie Jones Talks to Animals by Nat Luurtsemam illustrated by Fay Austin

10-year-old Opie Jones is Very Ordinary. In fact nothing remarkable has ever
happened to her. So she is naturally very surprised when she is recruited to join
The Resistance – a team of superheroes who can read minds, and have a dastardly brainwashing villain to defeat. HOWEVER… it turns out Opie can’t read human minds, she can read ANIMAL ones. The other members of the Resistance are very disappointed. But when the brainwashing villain is out to get Opie and her friends, it might just be that listening to all the creatures great and small is what makes Opie Jones the right person to save the world.

What a fantastic read! It’s not always you find a book you want to read without stopping – I read this in two hours. Opie is a delightful character and alongside the animal mind-reader/superhero storyline, there’s also a whole theme around the challenges of making friends, feeling different and discovering that actually, most people feel like that for one reason or another. Opie is surrounded by a wonderful cast – her parents, Harvey and Violet, both actors and fabulously theatrical; Jackson, her handsome, but perhaps a little thoughtless friend; Cillian, her frenemy, unkind but perhaps hiding his own insecurities; The Resistance – never a group less likely to be superheroes! And of course, the animals. I will never look at my cats the same way after meeting Margot Von Catten – just brilliant! And then there’s worms, insects, all manner of birds, moles, dogs, frogs, badgers and more, all of whom have their own, hilarious and often unexpected personalities. Take Malcolm the guinea-pig and psyhco-therapist in the making! I absolutely loved the spotlights on these fantastic additions to the tale, brought to life with brilliantly expressive illustrations by Fay Austin. It’s not all fluffy bunnies though with dastardly villain, Hugo Varling planning a takeover of Opie’s schools with an evil, mind control plot. Well-paced, witty and full of moments of wisdom, I defy anyone to read this and not enjoy it (and also wish they could talk to animals afterwards…especially their cats!)

With thanks to Egmont Books for sending me this book to review and inviting me to participate in the blog tour! Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour:

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