Shiny Pippin and the Broken Forest

It hasn’t rained for a year in Funsprings. The rivers and streams and lakes have dried up. The animals are vanishing. The Forest is broken. Pippin must fix this aberration of nature and bring the water back to Funsprings. But Pippin is just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life – a girl who loves her mum and her dad and her granny and her pet mouse Tony. But Granny lets her into a secret. Pippin has the gift of ‘shining’, i.e. talking to animals. Armed with this new knowledge, and with courage and determination, Pippin ventures forth. Along the journey she makes new friends, discovers scary enemies, and learns new truths about herself and the world around her.

This is a bonkers, madcap book that ignores all the rules of writing, but somehow gets away with it. Author Harry Heape breaks the fourth wall, invents new words, and frequently switches viewpoints as he brings the reader on a crazy voyage through the broken forest. Aided by Rebecca Bagley’s captivating illustrations, he has created in Pippin a lovable, believable heroine who may have special powers but is always driven by the best of human instincts. The ending is a wonderful, subtle reminder that sometimes the most valuable things in life can be found within the people around us.

Children who enjoy David Walliams are likely to be enthralled by Shiny Pippin and the Broken Forest, the first of a series of three Pippin books. A wonderful wacky début from Harry Heape.