The Strange Tale of Barnabus Kwerk

The Strange Tale of Barnabus Kwerk

Written by Erika McGann, Illustrated by Phillip Cullen

Barnabus Kwerk has a secret. It’s so secret that not even he knows it: but his Aunt Jemima does.

It’s about to change Barnabus’s life forever. And it all begins with the Clockwork …

Paperback: €9.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Size:196x130 mm
ISBN: 9781788493475

E-Book (ePub): €5.99
Also available as an E-Book (ePub)
ISBN: 9781788494038

Category: Fiction

Barnabus Kwerk lives in the biggest, fanciest house in Undle.

His family are stinking rich. They’re also dreadful people. Barnabus doesn’t want to be like the rest of the Kwerks. He wants to go to school and make friends and be happy. But that isn’t possible as long as he remains trapped in the attic bedroom of the Big House.

When a stranger calls one stormy night, Barnabus is fascinated. His Aunt Jemima is like no-one he has ever met before. She knows secrets – about the Kwerks’ dark past, about Barnabus’s mother, and about a glorious golden machine at the centre of the Earth.

She offers Barnabus a life of adventure. But every great adventure has danger at its heart.

Erika McGann

Erika McGann grew up in Drogheda, County Louth, and now lives in Dublin. She is the author of The Demon Notebook, winner of the Waverton Good Read Children’s Award, The Broken Spell, The Watching Wood and The Midnight Carnival, the ‘Cass and the Bubble Street Gang’ series, and four picture books, Where Are You, Puffling?, Puffling and the Egg (which was nominated for an Irish Book Award) and Wee Donkey’s Treasure Hunt, all illustrated by Gerry Daly, and The Night-time Cat and the Plump, Grey Mouse, illustrated by Lauren O’Neill. Erika’s most recent book is Tabitha Plimtock and the Edge of the World

Phillip Cullen

Phillip Cullen grew up in Dublin and studied classical animation at Ballyfermot College. He loves to draw cute, weird and wonderful creatures. After a period living in Japan, he now lives in Dublin with his wife.

A wonderfully inventive fantasy with lots of writerly flourishes, and McCann’s writing is dazzling

Irish Independent

A Dahl-ian story about a boy who yearns for adventure and gets more than he bargained for when his Aunt Jemima arrives to sweep him away on an incredible journey!

Charlie Byrne's Bookshop

magnificent. Barnabus is whisked away from his horrible family by his aunt and his life is turned upside. A 3 ringed circus of a book, filled with imagination and written with verve … It’s fantasy at its best and fans of @Eve_Mc_Donnell and @Heldideas will love it. Bravo @Erika_McGann - a dazzling achievement 

Sarah Webb

Expert storytelling, exceptional world-building, unusual relatable characters , quirky moments of humour and emotion and a subtly-crafted, yet important message wind their way through a cracking tale full of well-paced action. The characters themselves are each filled with their own stories, complex and packed with feeling. You will immediately love some of them, and others, regardless of their humanness, you will loathe. And there’s even that bit of steam-punk built in … If you’ve ever wondered what was at the centre of the Earth and how the planet works, this book explains it in that Prachett-esque way that we saw in McGanns’ previous (Tabitha Plimtock…) The Strange Tale of Barnabus Kwerk is a pure delight; funny, heartfelt, fast-paced and very intriguing. I was glued to every page! I don’t know what else I can possibly say…just read it

Fallen Star Stories

a thrilling magical adventure


It is certainly possible to read The Strange Tale of Barnabus Kwerk as an allegory for climate-change inaction and environmental pollution, where a wondrous and valuable resource on which the world depends is denuded for the purpose of individual gain, without thought for the future. However, a great deal more is interwoven into this multi-layered plot as Barnabus discovers secrets relating not only to the Clockwork but to his family’s past, his mother, and his own special abilities. How we may choose to use our gifts, whether for personal profit or the betterment of the whole world, is just one of the questions readers are left to ponder, but only after a surreal, high-octane voyage of survival involving crugs, whurls, and other beastly beasties, plus swinging pathways, a swaying house, and dangerously drifting woodlands. Drogheda-born author Erika McGann, whose fertile imagination most recently brought us the equally fantastical Tabitha Plimtock and the Edge of the World, again presents a civilisation in dire peril, but where individual courage against the odds offers hope for humanity

The Echo

a lovely gift … a follow up to ‘Tabitha Plimtock and the edge of the World’, which we just loved at the bookshop

Tertulia Bookshop, Mayo News

an expertly crafted exploration of worlds within worlds, and their memorable inhabitants

Westmeath Examiner

I love Erika’s writing … Lemony Snicket vibe … Lovely, dark moody illustrations by Phillip Cullen

CBI’s Elaina Ryan on Here and Back Again

Teaching Resources: free to view and download

  • Download Teaching Guides: Teaching guide to the book by Peter Heaney

Also by Erika McGann:

Cass and the Bubble Street Gang series
The Demon Notebook
The Broken Spell
The Watching Wood
The Midnight Carnival
The Clubhouse Mystery

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Also by Phillip Cullen:

Tabitha Plimtock and the Edge of the World
Fairy Hill
Safe Harbour
Millie and the Magical Moon

Go to author page...

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