Say hello to Stix - he’s the height of an egg cup, loves doing aerobic skills - which usually involve leaping over the dog, sneaks into your kitchen in the middle of night looking for scraps of food (pizza and Bourbon biscuits are some of his favourites) and probably lives behind your washing machine.
Stix and his Grandma live comfortably behind the washing machine in the kitchen of Flat 3, Peewit Mansions. Grandma has strict rules for surviving as a mouse in the mans (that’s humans to you and I) world and Stix usually follows the rules, at least when Grandma is awake that is. But one night everything changes when he ventures out on his own in the middle of the night…
Everything is fine until Maximus the rat turns up and his biscuit-eating antics attract the attention of Trevor, mans pet dog. And then mans arrive and then they call Nuke-A-Pest - Stix’ worst nightmare. There’s only one thing for it…Grandma has to perform the Dead-Mouse-Deception, but instead of getting thrown on the compost heap, Grandma gets flushed down the toilet.
All alone and grieving the loss of his Grandma, Stix meets Batz (a bat, obviously) and she tells him about a secret school in the underground basement. A school where animals are celebrated for being PESTS and causing trouble in the mans world. But to get there Stix will have to brave The Frontier Door and head into the The Beyond. Stix soon finds himself being welcomed into the school for PESTS and competing in challenges to be PEST of the year. When the mans are away…the PESTS will play…
PESTS is a brilliant read. Full of twists and turns, there is danger, excitement, mayhem and poo jokes and it all adds up to non-stop laugh-out-loud reading. The fabulous cast of characters includes a cunning rat, a pair of evil fleas, a mole called Dug and a carefree spider who all get up to all kinds of mischief and nuisance-making and it makes for no-end of fun
Stix’ adventures see him deal with a roller coaster of emotions and as a reader you really feel for his situation particularly as he grieves the loss of his grandma (albeit it’s only a temporary loss). The tale includes important messages on bravery, risk-taking and friendship.
The black and white pencil illustrations throughout the read are wonderful and portray the emotions of the characters perfectly. I particularly like the illustration of Stix performing the Dead Mouse Deception - tongue lolling to the side, lying flat on his back, arms outstretched. The short chapters are of a great length for young readers, although that isn’t to say they will only be reading one of them at a time. This book is incredibly difficult to put down and there’s never a good place to stop as readers will be desperate to know what happens next.
A delightful read with just the right amount of mischief. Living by the rules may keep you safe but breaking the rules is a lot more fun…
I cannot wait for Stix’ next adventure.
Recommended for 7+.