I recognised the warm, comfortable glow I felt as I began reading Diana Hendry’s second book about her ‘crazy’ family, the Coggins, living in what seems to be a clifftop sort of Moomin house. It was the same in the first book, where we met 11-year-old Oliver, who shops and cooks for his family, being the sensible one, as Pa Coggin forgets his duties and goes off to do science in a secret location.
Pa is still not father-like enough and Oliver still struggles. His sweet, but slightly crazy Ma has a favourite author – don’t we all? – and she writes to A C Hennessy, asking her to come and stay, despite Pa Coggin having said everything has to be secret. Because Pa has an enemy who will stop at nothing.
And A C Hennessy does come. Or does she?
So we enter the world of dreamy readers, bad villains (i.e. not very good at it), dutiful sons and hopeful families. A horse. And with some help, things become manageable. A good librarian is always nice. Besides, you really can’t go wrong with a Harley Davidson.
Funny and lovely, with a view of the publishing world more from the past than today.