By: Allison Rushby
Illustrated by: Bronte Rose Marando
Genre: YFC - Adventure stories
Published by: Walker Books Australia
Published: 3 Aug 2022
ISBN: 9781760654030


An enquiring mind - and mystical mysteries to solve - adds up to adventure in the first book of the new junior fiction series from acclaimed author Allison Rushby.

“Now, Miss Pickering.” Miss Strickland turned to her pupil. “If you would be so kind as to close the door behind you, we will endeavour to discuss why your aunt, her publisher and her monkey have called upon us this afternoon.”

1872 Forever in trouble for sketching in her notebook, Penny Pickering dreams of her famous authoress aunt turning up at her boarding school and whisking her away. So when Aunt Harriet appears at Miss Strickland’s School for Girls of an Enquiring Mind and asks Penny if she would like to join her on an adventure, Penny knows exactly what to say – yes, please!

Penny soon finds herself headed for Hampshire and a strange place called Mr Toddington’s Museum of the Curious and Absurd where bewitched kittens are said to have a tea party at midnight.

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Penny attends boarding school at Miss Strickland’s School for Girls of an Enquiring Mind, where they strive for academic excellence. But Penny loves to draw, and whilst her mind is definitely enquiring it seems to be enquiring about all the wrong things!

When Penny’s dream comes true and her eccentric aunt, the author Miss Harriet Marchmont, comes and whisks her away from school, little does Penny know what adventure and mystery is in store for her...

When they embark on research for Aunt Harriet’s upcoming new instalment in her Penny Dreadful series, The Midnight Kittens, Penny finds herself in the middle of the mystery. What is really going on at Mr Toddington’s Museum of the Curious and Absurd? Surely these kittens can’t really come to life? And what is really going on with her Aunt’s publisher, Mr Crowley?

With Miss Strickland’s sensible voice always popping into her head, maybe Penny really does have an enquiring mind after all!

Penny is a wonderful character and this is the first book in a wonderful new series that junior and middle primary students will love.

Reviewed by Sam