The Peculiar Tale of the Tentacle Boy by Richard Pickard

An extraordinary tale of family, friendship and the power of storytelling. Merlington is home to 17 fishmongers, all cleverly and aptly named, selling the delights of the ocean to anyone passing. The town subsides wholly on fish products, including chocolate covered clams on Halloween.

Marina Minnow and her Mum are the least favoured fishmonger in the town, barely keeping afloat since the disappearance of Nigel Minnow several years before. Marina is widely known for her storytelling, though local frenemy Wendy calls it lying. Her tales are large, flamboyant and brilliant at capturing imaginations.

The old pier, no longer connected to the mainland, catches Marina’s eyes one evening and her curiosity gets the better of her. Rowing out during a storm, Marina is surprised to find a boy of similar age inside. He is no ordinary boy with his crab like claws, tentacled head and iridescent scales. At first horrified, Marina cannot believe who she has found.

There is a mystery surrounding William that both he and Marina are keen to learn more about. Intricately linked, their stories need to be shared! Is anyone willing to listen though?

What follows is a town claiming fame over the appearance of William. People are flocking to Minnow’s for a glimpse at the boy, all the while sampling Williams’s sashimi. Never before had the town considered this new delicacy and now they cannot get enough.

Not all are happy with the existence of William, in particular the leader of the fishmongers- Harold Mole. There is something sinister and smelly about him, he does use fish oil in his hair! The seagulls that constantly torment him is an inspired addition to this tale.

Heart warming, funny and with such fantastic word play- this will be a huge hit amongst middle grade readers!

The names of the characters are awesome, my favourite being, Cheryl Shoal! Though, Peter Featherfin and Deirdre Bream also had me smiling.

The cover illustration by Maxine Lee-Mackie is utterly charming and begs to be picked up. Having recently spotted that there will be a special sprayed edge version, I will be flocking to the nearest shop for this one!

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