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Ross Montgomery started writing stories as a teenager, when he really should have been doing homework, and continued doing so at university. After graduating, he experimented with working as a pig farmer and a postman before deciding to channel these skills into teaching at a primary school. He wrote his novel when he really should have been marking homework. He lives in Finsbury Park with his girlfriend and many, many dead plants.
November 2021 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2021 | Readers who love magical adventures will fall headlong into this breath taking All Hallows Eve story. Miserable at moving house and struggling to get used to his baby sister, Yanni and his cousin Amy are left in charge on All Hallows Eve. When a stranger appears and steals his baby sister away leaving a changling in her place, Yanni has to do everything in his power to get her back. But the stranger is a wicked faery whose powerful magic can pull off every trick imaginable. Yanni must be quick witted and resourceful as he overcomes the outrageous challenges the Faery throws at him. The many layers of Ross Montomery’s adventure and the powerfully imagined challenges he has dreamt up sends readers on an adventure that matches any computer game for jeopardy and nerve-wracking thrills.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | What a super introduction to Shakespeare and his play The Tempest. The story tells of a group of school children who are on a ferry to perform the play in a festival in Italy. If you know the Tempest, you can probably guess that their ferry capsizes, and the group are shipwrecked. The drama then unfolds! Half of the actors wash up on the beach, the other half and their teacher, Mr Fortune (or not so fortunate) are missing. The characters identities are set out in the first chapter, where the reader is introduced to the confident bossy leader, the shy, but intelligent boy, the thinker, and the clown. What is clever, is that if you know the play, the characters resemble those in Shakespeare’s play, but if you don’t, it in no way detracts from the enjoyment of the story. The story is lively and fast paced, but still manages to include some lovely description and colour, such as ‘the unspooling music like golden ribbon’ heard by the children. It is also quite humorous with some lively banter between the group. For those readers who like things explained, and everything rounded up, the final chapter brings all the plots and characters together in true Shakespearean fashion. All is revealed, the poor unfortunate Caliban, why there is a desert island just off the coast of Dover, and why the group were split up! The book is of a good length for all levels of reader and printed on dyslexic friendly paper. I look forward to Hurly-Burly (Macbeth in disguise!).
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month August 2021 | Ten foolish teachers set out to walk through the dark forest because they missed the bus home…Surely they know who lives in dark forests? All too soon the Monsters start picking off one teacher after another until only the nursery teacher is left. And, being a nursery teacher, she knows all about how to deal with badly-behaved little monsters! Soon she is taming the Monsters from the forest in a brand new monster school with simple lessons in ‘please’ and ‘thanks’ and ‘don’t bite your friends’. It’s a good joke that neatly ends this carefully constructed story that very properly leaves so much of its telling to the pictures. Sarah Warburton’s cuddly monsters dispatch the careless teachers gleefully while remaining delightfully un-frightening!
Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2021 | Take a sprinkle of magic from The Midnight Folk, a touch of the human warmth from Goodnight Mr Tom and perhaps the cold of the Fimbulwinter from The Weirdstone of Brisingamen – these are some of the elements that contribute to Ross Montgomery’s latest novel which is a real page-turner. It is rooted in the best traditions of children’s books – there’s a journey, jeopardy, betrayal and redemption, and is fantasy set firmly in the real world – the background being the darkest moments of World War II. It can be tricky to marry the world of the imagination to that of the everyday but Ross Montgomery achieves this with ease. The text is interspersed with excerpts from newspapers and official announcements; the war is always there – but so are the Guardians, imaginary creatures from Col’s childhood, each with distinct characteristics. His protagonists Col and Ruth are very recognisable young people and young readers will want to accompany them as they face both human obstacles and giants from British mythology. The prose includes plenty of dialogue, is stylish and contemporary – accessible, carrying the reader through the adventures and bringing them to life. This is an author whose skills have been steadily developing and here we see him at his best. This review first appeared in Books for Keeps
A laugh-out-loud comical caper of friendship, true love and a completely disastrous school Shakespeare production from bestselling author Ross Montgomery. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+
Reading Planet KS2 – The Finney Island Files: Alien Invasion – Level 1: Stars/Lime band | The Finney Island File: Alien Invasion is part of the Rising Stars Reading Planet reading scheme for children in KS2. This is the first in a series of titles featuring Ash, his sister and mad-cap scientist Aunt Emmy as they battle the aliens that have taken over the quiet and boring life of residents on Finney Island. The book is both funny and adventurous and will appeal to both boys and girls. Banded at Lime level, this book is suitable for children making steps toward independent reading at the beginning of KS2. The chapter-book format is interspersed with plentiful illustrations to support comprehension, and the high interest-level of the book also makes it suitable for readers with a higher chronological age but lower reading ability. As with all the books in this series, a set of comprehension questions are provided to check understanding, which is always useful for teachers looking for meaningful post-reading activities.
Once, in an old rusty bin in an old rusty playground in an old empty park. . there lived a little tortoise. But Tortoise is lonely. He's never seen any other tortoises, and wonders where they could all be hiding. Then, one day, he looks up and the night sky, and sees a million blinking lights winking at him. That must be where the other tortoises are - at the top of the sky! I wish I could join them. But how can a little tortoise get to the top of the sky? And so begins a magical journey...
Max is used to spending time alone - it's difficult to make friends in a big, chaotic school when you're deaf. He prefers to give his attention to the little things in life... like making awesome, detailed replica models. Then Mr Darrow, the school caretaker and fellow modeller, goes missing. Max must follow his parting instruction: 'Go to my room. You'll know what to do.' There on the floor he finds a pile of sand ... and in the sand is Mr Darrow's latest creation... a tiny boy, no bigger than a raisin, Luke, Prince of the Blues. And behind the tiny boy... millions of others - a thriving, bustling, sprawling civilization!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2017 Not for the faint-hearted this is an utterly gripping but also terrifying collection of gruesome stories told round the disgusting dinner table at Soul’s College where young Lewis finds himself trapped on the night of Christmas. Lewis is summoned to be the kitchen boy at the Christmas feast. That’s bad enough as he is missing all the nice things about the night before Christmas but, what makes it worse is that all the monstrous guests at the dinner HATE children, kindness, happiness and above all Christmas. Lewis has to listen to their hideous stories while all the time wondering if he will ever escape as the fate of the kitchen boy is tied up in the story-telling ritual. Ross Montgomery manages the creation of fear deftly and with just the right dollop of humour to make it delicious too. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for November 2017 Christmas Dinner of Souls by Ross Montgomery Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers Katinka's Tail by Judith Kerr Lucky Button by Michael Morpurgo Pick A Pine Tree by Patricia Toht The Stone Bird by Jenny McCartney The Lion and the Unicorn and Other Hairy Tales by Jane Ray The Song from Somewhere Else by A. F. Harrold
September 2016 Debut of the Month | There’s an air of fairy tale in this beautiful and touching picture book, but its foundations are firmly in family relationships. A young boy lives with his grandma, who was an architect. She’s old and getting older, until one day she’s not there anymore. The house she was building is now just a collection of rooms, so the boy gets to work himself, creating a giant model of his grandma. True to fairy tale convention, this comes to life and carries him across the countryside to their half-finished home, which it completes. Ross Montgomery’s text subtly leaves gaps for the readers to fill in, and David Litchfield’s illustrations are full of life, humour and light.
September 2016 Debut of the Month There’s an air of fairy tale in this beautiful and touching picture book, but its foundations are firmly in family relationships. A young boy lives with his grandma, who was an architect. She’s old and getting older, until one day she’s not there anymore. The house she was building is now just a collection of rooms, so the boy gets to work himself, creating a giant model of his grandma. True to fairy tale convention, this comes to life and carries him across the countryside to their half-finished home, which it completes. Ross Montgomery’s text subtly leaves gaps for the readers to fill in, and David Litchfield’s illustrations are full of life, humour and light.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and March 2016 Book of the Month You can rely on Ross Montgomery to put an unexpected twist and an extra helping of humanity into his stories, no matter how zany. Perijee is an alien Caitlin finds on the beach near her home. Though he grows at an alarming rate, eats everything, and sprouts limbs seemingly at will, to Caitlin Perijee is immediately a friend, something to love. Sadly, no-one else has her perspicacity or heart: when the rest of the human world discovers Perijee, the response is fear and aggression. The effect on Perijee is devastating, he’s forced into fight mode too. Only Caitlin can save her friend, and the world. What follows is a mad adventure, funny and exciting in equal parts, and containing an important message about love, kindness and trust. ~ Andrea Reece For more out of this world stories, try Frank Cottrell Boyce’s Cosmic and The Astounding Broccoli Boy.