Blog Tour Review: How to Be Brave by Daisy May Johnson (Guest Review)

Hello! Today’s review is of How to Be Brave by Daisy May Johnson, a children’s book which was published by Pushkin Children’s on the 1st July.

I’ve been lucky enough to have had some guest posts previously on Beverley Has Read written by Lucy, my friend’s 9 year old daughter. She is a total bookworm and has loved reading and reviewing, The Tigers In The Tower, Toletis Lampie and Dragon Mountain and most recently, Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery  so when Poppy at Pushkin asked if I’d like a copy of How to Be Brave I knew exactly who would love it! It also meant that I got to meet Lucy’s mum for a coffee, cake and a gossip for the first time in 18 months so it was a win/win situation for me!

I have it on good authority that Lucy devoured this book and couldn’t even be enticed to watch England in the Euro 2020 Finals as she was so engrossed, which, to be fair, is standard bookworm behaviour and something I fully support.

My thanks to the lovely Lucy for taking the time to read the book and write this review.

So without further ado, read on to see what Lucy thought of How to Be Brave by Daisy May Johnson

About The Book

A fizzingly funny, heartfelt middle-grade novel about a resourceful girl, her impractical mother and a kidnapping mystery

Some stories are about adventure.
Some are about heroes.
Some are about ducks.

This one is about all three.

Calla North and her mum Elizabeth live a life that’s far from normal. There are days when the power is cut off and Calla has to do her homework by candlelight; there are others when curious strangers want to talk to Elizabeth about her research on ducks.

When Elizabeth says yes to a once-in-a-lifetime trip to save a small brown duck, she sends Calla to the best place she knows: The School of the Good Sisters. Staffed by nuns whose preferred subjects include light aircraft maintenance, camouflage skills, and cake – lots of cake – Calla is about to discover her bravery, and to learn that when trouble comes, there’s no better back-up than a Blessing of Nuns…

Lucy’s Review

This tale, with as many twists as a strawberry lace, follows the adventure of Calla North as she helps her duck-mad mum through a world of bills and money, until that world disappears when Calla’s Mum gets a job offer and sends Calla to the School of the Good Sisters, where secrets start to reveal themselves. Calla must figure out her mum and the headmistress’s history to save the school. 

Calla North is a plucky and brave heroine, and she is very resilient. Daisy May Johnson uses footnotes¹ in a clever way, and I laughed when I saw how many of them were about confectionery (mainly pink wafers and Victoria sponge). In fact I giggled on pretty much every page.  

I really liked the nuns, and discovering the secrets of The School of the Good Sisters, and Edie and Hanna are really helpful. The thought of having to eat kale every meal was not something I want to try! The headmistress is a worthy opponent in this heart-warming adventure, and tension builds up quickly, in the time it takes Good Sister Christine to eat a Pink Wafer (very quickly!). 

This book reminded me why books are worth reading and why confectionery is worth eating. This fun-packed, exciting story is a must read for anyone, whether they like pink wafers or not. I really loved this book and recommend it to everyone.

¹Hello this is a footnote!

Where You Can Buy It

How to Be Brave by Daisy May Johnson was published on the 1st July by Pushkin Children’s in paperback.

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