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.
A wonderfully inventive fantasy with lots of writerly flourishes, and McCann’s writing is dazzling
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!
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
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
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
a lovely gift … a follow up to ‘Tabitha Plimtock and the edge of the World’, which we just loved at the bookshop
an expertly crafted exploration of worlds within worlds, and their memorable inhabitants
I love Erika’s writing … Lemony Snicket vibe … Lovely, dark moody illustrations by Phillip Cullen
Download Teaching Guides: Teaching guide to the book by Peter Heaney
Also by Erika McGann:
Also by Phillip Cullen: