Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Starlight Stables Gang written by Esme Higgs and Jo Cotterill and illustrated by Hannah George.
This is Esme Higgs debut children’s book. She is one of the biggest influencers in the equestrian world – with more than one million followers. She’s a writer, presenter, video producer – and a horse-mad ordinary girl. Her online videos are a mix of tutorials, horse care videos and vlogs about her horses (Mickey, Joey, Casper and Duke) and her life.
She is also a proud ambassador for the charity Brooke, and works closely with other charities such as World Horse Welfare, and the Riding for the Disabled Association.
In contrast this is Jo Cotterill’s fiftieth published book. She has two daughters who make her laugh every day and give the best hugs. She loves the Great British Bake Off and Strictly Come Dancing. When she was younger she studied ballet, jazz and tap dance and would love to have a go at ballroom one day. When she was a teenager, she wrote a lot of music, played flute, piccolo, alto saxophone, piano and violin.
Jo is a multi-award winning writer. She has won: The Hampshire Book Award, the North East Book Award, the Coventry Inspiration Book Award, the Oxfordshire Book Award, the Stockport Children’s Book Award, the Tower Hamlets Book Award and the Fantastic Book Awards.
The illustrator, Hannah George, works regularly with a variety of publishers and has illustrated several children’s picture books. She loves of drawing and storytelling began at a young age. As a child she carried her sketchbook everywhere capturing all her adventures and mischievous exploits.
After graduating from Falmouth University in 2005 Hannah set about turning her favourite past time into a career. Her spontaneous use of line makes her style perfect for bringing characters to life. Hannah has worked with a huge range of clients illustrating everything from Alligators to Zebras.
And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the review.
Title: The Starlight Stables Gang
Written by: Esme Higgs and Jo Cotterill
Illustrated by: Hannah George
Published by: Penguin
Summer has always loved horses but she never thought she’d be able to learn how to ride them – not with money being so tight at home. Then she discovers the Starlight Stables where she meets a new gang of friends and learns how to ride in return for helping out with the horses. It’s a dream come true.
Summer falls in love with life at the stables and especially with Luna, a beautiful dapple-grey pony. But one day, Summer arrives at the stables to find that Luna has been stolen in the night. It’s up to the Starlight Stables Gang to follow the clues and rescue Luna before it’s too late.
Suitable for readers ages 7 -11, The Starlight Stables Gang, is the ideal book for all horse enthusiasts. The descriptions of the horses and the feelings of the characters are realistic and their love of horses and the equestrian life jumps off the page. It is a great plot with the ideal mystery to solve. The book opened with Summer’s relationship with Luna and you really felt for Summer when Luna went missing and could not stop turning the pages as they hunted for her and the culprits. The black and white illustrations complimented the text perfectly.
I thought the way Summer’s dyslexia was handled was sympathetic and relatable. There are a whole host of eclectic characters. My favourite is Ellie who is in a wheelchair and loves riding. She does not let her disability hold her back and is always so positive. I found the use of texts between friends great as it breaks up the page and helps even the most reluctant reader to stay engaged with the text. It is also brilliant making technology integral to the plot, as so many children’s books shy away from it but it is a huge part of a child’s life and should not be excluded.
This is a great story about friendship and team work. Perfect for all KS2 classrooms.
You can buy a copy of The Starlight Stables Gang by Esme Higgs, Jo Cotterill and Hannah George from your local bookshop, or online at uk.bookshop.org.
To find out more about Esme including links to her channels check out her website at: www.thisesme.co.uk You can discover more about Jo and her books at: www.jocotterill.com and view some of Hannah’s other illustrations at: www.hannahgeorge.co.uk
I would like to thank Blue Rogers at Kaleidoscopic Tours for inviting me to join the blog tour.