Kid’s Book Review: The Beasts of Harwood Forest

Kid’s Book Review: The Beasts of Harwood Forest

About the Book and Author

This spooky mystery story is perfect for those children aged 8-12 years who can be a bit over-faced by longer middle-grade books. The Beasts of Harwood Forest is the second mystery in a series written by Dan Smith for Barrington Stoke.

This publisher commissions original stories from some of the best contemporary children’s writers and uses a dyslexia-friendly layout, typeface and yellowed paper so that even more readers can enjoy reading their books. The stories also have black and white illustrations (in this case by Chris King) and are a little shorter than books often are for this age group.

When Pete, Nancy and Krish arrive at Heathland Camp for a school trip, they’re in for an adventure – just not the kind they were expecting. Nearby sits the abandoned Harwood Institute. The crumbling buildings are out of bounds but strange screams come from the surrounding forest at night. Mystery shrouds the events that took place at the institute during the war, so Pete and his friends make it their mission to find out the truth. But the forest is hiding a sinister secret, and the trio could be in real danger … Are some mysteries best left undisturbed?

The Beasts of Harwood Forest cover

Dan Smith 2019 credit Mike Smith photography

Dan Smith is the award-winning and bestselling author of books for both children and adults. His children’s titles, which include My Friend the Enemy and Boy X, have won him numerous accolades including the Coventry Inspiration Book Award, the Essex Book Award, and nominations for the Brandford Boase Award and the Young Quills Award. To find out more about his other books visit his website.

Chris King also illustrated Dan Smith’s first title in this series The Invasion of Crooked Oak

Book Review

I think the story of the monster is very sad and also reminded me of Winter Soldier from Marvel

The main three characters are interesting, my favourite is Krish because I like his knowledge.

The trip they are on sounds very fun on its own and then when the mystery starts the story gets even better.

My favourite bit is when they find the nest in the cottage, creepy and cool. After reading this I read the Beowulf story as I was interested after it had been mentioned a few times and I like the way that Grendel’s name was used.

I think the story of the monster is very sad and also reminded me of Winter Soldier from Marvel.

I like the ending and I think Lewis had seen the monster when he was younger and chose to keep quiet.

I really liked this book, although it is not the sort of book I usually read but it is really good and I recommend it to readers aged 8 and older.

Finally, I think it would make a fun beginning for a television series set at the camp… just in cast there if are any film directors reading this review!

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Alternatively, we suggest that you visit your local library and request to borrow a copy from a friendly librarian.

Whichever you choose we hope you enjoy being part of your unique reading community – happy reading everyone!


Reviewer Profile

Ryan junior blogger
  • Name: Ryan
  • Age: 10 years
  • Likes: Lego, Dragonball Z and reading
  • Dislikes: being woken up and losing on computer games!
  • Favourite Book: Tom Gates: Dog Zombie Rules by Liz Pichon
  • Favourite Song: The Final Countdown by Queen
  • Favourite Film: Dragonball Z: Super Battle of the Gods