Wednesday 2 August 2023

New chapter book releases from Julie Sykes: Woodland Magic and Princess Katie's Kittens

Julie Sykes is one of our favourite chapter book writers, penning exciting series such as Unicorn Academy and Mermaid Academy. After previously reviewing her newer series, Woodland Magic and the re-release of Princess Katie's Kittens, we jumped at the chance to review the latest releases courtesy of NetGalley.

Woodland Magic: Operation Owl

Published by: Piccadilly Press, 17th August 2023                           πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘                                                                                                                                                                                            With autumn hovering on the horizon and the summer weather turning wet, book four in the Woodland Magic series felt like a great big woolly jumper hug. With tons of educational content regarding nature, wildlife and the environment, this charming story is probably the most heart-thumping and action-packed yet.                                                                                                                                                Cora and Jax are now fully-fledged Keepers but when they find an owl tangled up in wire, their skills and wits are put firmly to the test. To predatory owls, Keepers would make a scrummy meal. Can Cora and Jax try and find a way to help the creature without becoming dinner?                                                                                                                                                                                                                Each book in this series follows a cosy, familiar and comforting format and yet every story feels fresh. As Cora, Jax and their friends Trix and Nis grow in experience, the scenarios they encounter become more thrilling and dramatic. The owl is the first animal the Keepers help who is a direct predator. And, with the presence of Ruffins always lurking in the background, the stakes are high!

Aside from the drama, the world-building and setting is charm personified. There's gorgeous, tummy-rumbling descriptions of food and lots of lovely craft and community activities for the Keepers to become involved with. The theme of teamwork is strong and we particularly loved the emphasis in this book that everyone has different skills to offer. As a result, the characters all feel unique and there's a lovely subplot in Operation Owl where Cora attempts to understand her the motivations of her nemesis more. 

Once again, this is perfect for young eco-warriors, nature-lovers and those who love fairy-type stories. The books are perfectly-formed packages with so much to offer. We absolutely love them!

Princess Katie's Kittens: Bella at the Ball

Published by: Templar Publishing, July 2023


The second book in this re-released series focuses on Bella, one of the five kittens that Princess Katie found in book one. With each book centring around a different kitten, Julie Skyes has created a great opportunity to show off the kittens different personalities...

Bella is up to mischief. Fed up of being stuck in the boot room with her brothers and sisters, she escapes and explores the palace. But everyone is busy preparing for a super important ball and it's not long before Bella's antics threaten to ruin the whole event. Can Katie catch the kitten before disaster strikes and how will she keep Bella entertained?

Unusually for a chapter book, the story flits between both Katie and Bella's viewpoints. This is a clever twist which definitely adds to its fun factor and which makes it the perfect read for cat-lovers and for those who are fans of princess stories. Katie is quite a traditional princess, expected to dress prettily and perform for her parents, but it is her love of the kittens which gives her an unique edge and the story a clear USP. The plot is light-hearted and pacey and offers pure joy and escapism for readers. We're excited to find out which kitten will be the start of the next book.

A big thanks to NetGalley, Piccadilly Press and Templar for allowing us review copies. Both books are now available to order or pre-order. 


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