MG Takes on Thursday

This is my weekly meme celebrating amazing middle-grade books, now with a re-vamped banner!

How to take part:

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence. 
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

This week, I’m celebrating …

Written by  Vashti Hardy
Cover Illustration by George Ermos
Map Illustration by Jamie Gregory
Published by Scholastic

Favourite Sentence from Page 11:

They only recently decided to have their own rooms: Maudie’s tools and various inventions overran their old room, and she complained that she would always trip over his pile of books, so they decided it was time.

This book in three words:


I’m a huge fan of the Brightstorm series, so I was desperate to get my hands on the stunning final instalment, Firesong and, oh my goodness, what an epic adventure it is! Yes – it is gripping, exciting and action-packed, but it is also poignant and heart-warming:  an adventure which makes your heart both race and sing.  Absolute perfection!  This is a series that has really captured my heart and, whilst I am sad to see it end, I am lucky enough as a teacher to be able to continue to share it with children and to use it in class, so I feel that I will never quite say goodbye to it – and I’m really glad about that! 

Arthur and Maudie have settled with Harriet and Felicity at 4 Archangel Street after returning from their expedition to the Eastern Isles.  The twins are disappointed when they fail in their bid to win an item belonging to their mother at an auction of explorer artefacts.  In an effort to cheer them up, Harriet offers them the chance to go on another expedition and, this time, they can choose where to explore …

After a visit from their aunt, Eudora Vane, where she makes a kind gesture and a suggestion, they decide to explore the Volcanic North where their parents had discovered the Brightstorm moth, their family symbol. Leaving behind the unrest that is stirring as the result of a new faction in Lontown Society, the Aurora crew begin their adventure with a couple of new crew members aboard:  Gan, the fearless niece of some old friends, and the rather nervous volcanologist, Professor Hugo Waynecroft.

And so begins THE most thrilling, edge-of-your-seat, unputdownable adventure that swept me into a world of discoveries, secrets, suspicions, danger and treachery.  Whilst the twins are on a journey to learn more about their past, Eudora is intent on destroying their future.  As the Aurora travels further north, its crew find themselves in dangerous situations, the twins are called onwards by a song only they can hear, onwards towards a creature that shouldn’t exist who is need of their help and protection.  The unexpected twists and revelations were breath-taking, and kept me eagerly turning pages, desperate to continue the adventure and not leave it, even for a moment. 

The world of The Great Wide that I feel privileged to have explored with the Aurora crew throughout the Brightstorm adventures is so richly imagined, and the Volcanic North is no exception – both beautiful and dangerous with its volcanic sands, valleys, frozen waterfalls and a whisper of moths!   As always, I adored following the journey on the gorgeous maps.

Maudie and Arthur have definitely found a place in my heart, and I have adored seeing them grow and mature in this final adventure.  These two have caused me plenty of tears, both of joy and sadness, and I think this is a real testament to the quality of the writing that I care so much about them.  I don’t want to give any spoilers, but there was an encounter with their Mum’s sapient moth that brought so many tears – incredibly poignant and beautiful!  Arthur and Maudie’s interests may be diverging as they find their place in the world, but their love for each other is stronger than any obstacles life may through in their path, even when these are a natural part of growing up!

The themes which are explored throughout the story are perfect for opening up opportunities for discussion:  themes of friendship and family and of challenging gender stereotypes; environmental themes related to habitat destruction and the need to find renewable energy sources; and themes of extremism, activism, colonisation and elitism. 

Firesong is the perfect ending to what has been a truly unforgettable series that I have no doubt has captured the hearts and imaginations of so many young, and not so young, adventurers.

Thank you to Harriet Dunlea and Scholastic for providing me with an early copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

I’d love if anyone who wants to give this meme a go would comment in the comments box and include a link to your post so I can visit, comment and find some great middle-grade recommendations. If you do create a post and are on Twitter, and would like to share your post, please use the hashtag  #MGTakesOnThursday so I can find it, read it and share it!

One thought on “MG Takes on Thursday

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