Review: Friends Forever: The Time Spell by Judi Curtin
Puffin Ireland, €6.99, Paperback
Judi Curtin is Ireland's most popular author for girls of eight to 12, even outselling Jacqueline Wilson here, so it's no wonder she was the first author snapped up by the new Puffin Ireland imprint.
The Time Spell, book one in the Friends Forever series, sees Judi stepping away from her real life stories of family and friendship, into the world of time travel.
But this is not HG Wells or 'Doctor Who'.
All is carefully plotted to keep even the youngest reader happy, with a magical white cat called Saturn playing Time Lord.
When 11-year-old Lauren finds Saturn in the park, she brings him home and starts to brush him.
Within seconds she finds herself in 1912, first on a farm, then on board the Titanic.
Here she meets her 'new best friend', third class passenger Mary, and resolves to do something to alter Mary's predestined fate.
It's a well constructed, easy to follow story for readers of eight plus, and the scenes on the Titanic are terrific, full of atmosphere and detail, although Lauren doesn't have quite the same spark as Judi's earlier creations, Alice, Megan or Eva.
Hopefully Lauren's character will develop in the future as she comes up against more challenges of a historic nature. Judi is already working on the second book in the series, due out next year.
Overall, The Time Spell is bound to delight Judi's fans and the Titanic link (plus the addition of a strong boy character, Mikey) makes it an ideal book for primary schools to use in the build up to the Titanic centenary next year -- clever planning on both Judi and her publisher's part.
Sarah Webb's latest book for readers of ten plus is Ask Amy Green: Bridesmaid Blitz.