For children and adults alike, those have eaten a spice bag from the chip shop and those who have yet to try one, Mr Spicebag is an experience like no other. Freddie Alexander immediately draws the reader into the origin story of the ‘real’ spice bag. We explore the plot through the central character, George, who notices a mysterious change in his town following the arrival of Mr Spicebag’s chipper.
The story follows the unfolding of the mystery of the dark hold Mr Spicebag has over the town. Alexander’s debut is full of magic, adventure and engaging characters. He skilfully crafts a clear picture of the characters, while O’Higgins’ beautiful illustrations breathe life into them. The relatable cast includes the school bully, the angry headmaster, and George’s older sister Lucy who, having entered her teenage years, now only communicates via text. There is a suggestion of morality within the story’s contrast between the greed of humanity and fairness.
Alexander’s wacky humour is woven through the plot. At times the humour can be dark, but the author gently guides the reader through this space to a happy conclusion. The narrator speaks directly to the reader throughout the text, pulling them further into George’s world. While pitched at readers aged 8+, this gripping page turner could be enjoyed by all.