This book has everything – an orphan brought up in a circus, a boarding school, a magic curse from Ancient Egypt and a mystery adventure! It’s full of energy and humour, with a weird and wonderful cast of characters, and the story travels at a cracking pace.
Poppy Pym was abandoned as a baby at a travelling circus and grew up with clowns, trapeze artists, a lion tamer, a knife thrower, and a fortune teller called Madame Pym. She has a crazy, happy life with her ‘family’, but when she’s turns eleven Madame Pym decides it’s time for her to go to a proper school. Poppy is sent to the prestigious Saint Smithen’s boarding school, run by eccentric but kindly Miss Baxter. Poppy doesn’t quite fit in, with her amazing acrobatic talents and colourful background, but she soon makes friends. However, not everyone is welcoming, and she really misses her circus family. Transcripts of her phone calls with the circus folk truly capture that overwhelming sense of homesickness, but are also very funny, as the range of circus characters reveal their eccentricities. An exciting mystery soon absorbs Poppy’s full attention, with the arrival of an exhibition of Ancient Egyptian artefacts at the school. The artefacts are linked to a Pharoah’s curse; strange accidents start happening and a precious ruby scarab beetle goes missing. Poppy is determined to help the school, and calls upon her circus family to help her solve the crime.
It’s great to be in the company of such a spirited and engaging heroine as Poppy Pym, and children will be hooked on what we hope will be a whole series of adventures.