For our last issue, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jim Moore about his book series, and I was desperate to read them.
‘Radulf the Aetherling’ sees a recently orphaned Rat Prince come to terms with his newfound Kingship. Alongside his close friend Runcorn, he must take his displaced subjects elsewhere, crossing dangerous rivers and meeting many foes along the way. The sequel, ‘The Valley Witches’, shows Runcorn and some new animal friends on an even more dangerous adventure in the hopes of finding a permanent home for their kingdom. With this, the witches come out in a proper battle of good vs evil.
One of the magical things about these books is how deeply centred they are in Norwich’s landscapes. We follow a trail of Norwich, visiting the Cathedral, UEA’s lake, and so much more. There are some wonderful discussions about ecosystems in these books, teaching children the importance of leaving ecosystems to their own natural hierarchies.
With Moore’s wonderful descriptions and his abundance of adjectives, I’m sure every child’s imagination will be whirring at full speed, picturing these protagonists in all their glory. Each character stands out brilliantly, having their own unique tone and bold personality – from a cowardly squirrel to a sarcastic owl, Moore’s books have it all.
The non-standard grammar – whilst potentially an issue for older readers – fits that of a child excitedly reading a story. With the addition of sarcastic characters, and a lot of humour, I can absolutely see children loving these books. And what’s not to love? Moore’s writing has magic, adventure, humour, and some wonderfully beautiful descriptions. They’re entertaining, and they teach kids about the world – there are so many facts about Norwich’s history and landscape, that children truly get the best of both worlds with these novels.