Helli: Escape from Wodge’s Rock (Capparoe Books, $12.99), is the first in a trilogy. It is a trilogy parents can trust but also a fast-paced adventure story children will thrill to. The storytelling is wholesome and based on firm moral values.
Helli is the 12-year-old next ruler of the the True Shee, the magical, winged “gentle people” of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Helli is being deprived of her throne by the wicked Wodge, who oppresses the Shee. With her twin cousins Siddy and Jeddy, she is off on the great adventure to uncover their magic powers, overthrow or pacify the Wodge, and free the Shee.
Helli is a girl-hero series with two boys in it. (By contrast, Harry Potter is a boy-hero series with a girl in it.)
This rip-roaring – and scary – tale, writes associate professor Melissa Jones of Brandman University, “teaches lessons of courage, kindness, acceptance and loyalty.” To Dolores Leckey, author of Women and Creativity, “Helli is a creative, imaginative young woman growing taller with every exciting, challenging experience.”
In this first book, Helly, Siddy and Jeddy leave their secure, remote Scottish island world to travel to mainland Scotland and then England. They explore the rapidly changing, industrialized world in which the Shee, whose fragile wings and bodies are threatened by pollution, will have to survive.
Survive, that is, if the Shee can return to the mainland, if Helli – during the course of the trilogy — frees those trapped by the Wodge, and if Helli can persuade the Wodge and the Wodgerines to behave peaceably.
Helli and the twins guide in Scotland and England the bizarre Lord Batty who owns a huge park where the world’s threatened animals not only roam free but talk to Helli, Siddy and Jeddy — and protect the innocent islanders. For the Wodge’s spy, Naus, and the evil Mobbellows are tracking the three young Shee from the island everywhere they go.
Parents reviewing or reading the book will quickly recognize that for younger readers enjoying the book with a parent, and older readers handling the exciting tale on their own, the Helli books offer English language-building skills. The fact that Siddy and Jeddy have to speak in rhyme reveals in a satisfying way the flexibility of the language.
This book, in its early preparation, had four Junior Content Editors between the ages of 9 and 12. They provided candid reactions and insights. The book’s proof-readers included librarians.
Read chapter one at CapparoeBooks.com.
About the author: A.L. McAmi is a British-born author who for two-and-a-half years lived with his Scottish grandparents in an extended family. It was this family, he says, that provided the prototypes for many of the book’s characters in an area of the country “where several of the incidents in this book may have taken place.”
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