Tony Flannagan's first children's book is recommended for children from eight to twelve but I’d say from eight to eighty! To be honest, the title slightly put me off as it reminded me of a nursery rhyme which never much appealed (I’m a bit serious for dishes running away with spoons…) But this is pure magic which girls and boys in that difficult time of growing up will warm to, especially if they like the weird and bizarre.
Once I dipped in I discovered a magical mystery or detective fantasy which got me hooked. There are traces of Alice, Narnia and Agatha Christie to name a few, all mixed up together in a very curious fashion by a master story-teller with an ear for dialogue (and humour).
Amelia doesn’t fall down a rabbit hole but she does encounter some very familiar characters who present themselves in an unfamiliar landscape with a cracking puzzle to solve. The solution is absolutely ingenious – and almost as intoxicating a ‘pooch’, a drink which sounds infinitely preferable to its cousin, ‘hooch’! As for the CODA at the end – it’s sublime.
Liz Darcy Jones, House Poet