In some ways it is not fair to review these three books together, since each is good in its own right. I applaud Barrington Stoke’s policy of publishing books that are accessible to the less able reader, and I really like how this policy translates into the finished product. The books look, feel and behave like every other book and great care is put into their production. The information on the author and illustrator is immediately accessible to the reader and the imprint information carries the sign ‘You do not need to read this page – just get on with the book!’ Printed on off-white paper, the books are also more easily read by readers suffering from any form of scotopic sensitivity syndrome. Each book finishes with an information page about who Barrington Stoke was and gives details of the publisher’s review club, members of which review manuscripts and give feedback to the editors prior to publication.
All three stories are well written and illustrated. Star Dragon tells the story of a star-finder who ends up saving a planet from a space monster. Perrin the protagonist is your typical reluctant hero who triumphs against his own self doubt to become the saviour of the day.
Though Young Dracula is by no means a new idea, this story of switched babies and unfulfilled destinies is cleverly told. This take on the tale is clever and offers the reader the possibility of wondering how the narrative might unfold.
Mad Iris tells the simple story of how an ostrich turns up in the school yard and wreaks havoc all around her. Ross and Katie set out to save her from the animal catchers who want to return her to the ostrich farm.