Picking up at the point where Small Change for Stuart ended, Lissa Evans’ second book about Stuart (10 years old, but looks younger) continues the adventure. Once again Stuart is embroiled in a quest. He now owns his great-uncle’s magic workshop, but he has to prove this; he needs Tiny Horten’s Last Will and Testament. However, there are others who want to get their hands on the amazing magic contraptions that are the Horten legacy. Stuart, with his best friend April (and her sisters) finds himself facing real dangers as he follows the clues from one adventure, magical or otherwise, to another.
Full of warmth and humour, Evans has created an exciting adventure that combines action with emotional heart. Stuart struggles with his height, wishing he were taller, while his family, though clearly loving, are distressingly eccentric. Neither situation is ideal for a boy who is a new pupil. Young readers will be able empathise and sympathise while enjoying the action. This is a satisfying read: it combines real life with a touch of magic through lively characterisation, brisk prose and plenty of dialogue, ensuring the young reader will keep turning the pages from the immediacy of the opening to the very satisfying conclusion. It is not often that sequels are as good as the first book (or even better) but Big Change for Stuart certainly qualifies. Highly recommended. (Readers who enjoy this novel could then be directed to the stories of E E Nesbit.)