The Invasion Of Crooked Oak by Dan Smith, illustrated by Chris King

Publication Date: 3 September 2020

The Blurb
Nancy’s parents are acting weird. Their eyes are blank, they won’t eat – it’s like they’re no longer themselves. Pete and Krish are obsessed with unexplained phenomena and when they offer to help Nancy investigate, they’re sure they can crack the case. But the deeper the trio dig, the darker the mystery gets … Crooked Oak is under attack from a dangerous foe, and they’re the only ones who can stop it.

The Review

I’m always excited to read a new Dan Smith, but this being his first for Barrington Stoke had me even more excited than normal, and I really wasn’t disappointed!

A spine tingling sci-fi that steadily cranks up the tension to it’s nail-biting conclusion, that is sure to satisfy children looking for a scarier read.

The sleepy town of Crooked Oak is more used to mundane than mystery when we meet Pete and Krish who are fascinated by the paranormal. Krish is far too logical to believe than anything they read on The Mystery Shed internet site could possibly be the reason for the strange behaviour of some of the town’s adults.

Pete, Krish and Nancy are like the competent members of Mystery Inc. facing an enemy that would have had Scooby and gang diving back in the Mystery Machine and heading out of town faster than you can say Scooby snack.

Chris King’s full page atmospheric illustrations throughout the book show the tension rising as the town becomes ever more dangerous.

Child carers, fracking and fake news are all covered within the story and would make for good discussion points and further investigation.

A brilliant addition to my quick reads shelf, and one that had a long waiting list at school before I even had a copy.

Great for fans of:

  • Crater Lake by Jennifer Killick
  • The Watertower by Gary Crew, illustrated by Steven Woolman
  • Spectre Collectors: Too Ghoul Gor School by Barry Hutchison

Huge thanks to Kristen and Barrington Stoke for sending me a copy.

About Barrington Stoke

Barrington Stoke books are designed to help dyslexic and reluctant readers, with:

  • Tinted pages to reduce visual stress, which may be more common in people with dyslexia and can make words seem to jump or dance on the page
  • A special font that helps prevent people with dyslexia confusing letter shape
  • Special spacing to help minimise confusing, blurring and switching
  • Thick paper to make sure words and pictures don’t show through from other pages and confuse the eye
  • Special editing to help minimise barriers to comprehension. This process was developed by dyslexia and speech and language experts in response to research and feedback from thousands of readers on hundreds of Barrington Stoke manuscripts over the years.

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