Kid’s Book Review: The Puffin Portal

Kid’s Book Review: The Puffin Portal

About the Book and Author

Vashti Hardy has written another mystery adventure for readers aged 7-11 years with a steampunk vibe. It is illustrated by Natalie Smillie and published by Barrington Stoke.

Grace’s family are wardens of the incredible Griffin Map, using its teleport technology to fight crime across Moreland.  She is investigating a series of puzzling petty thefts that are taking place on the island. The clues lead her to a ramshackle castle on a lonely island, where the mystery only deepens and she meets the enigmatic Tom.

You can read our kid’s review of The Griffin Gate which is by the same author and illustrator and the first book in this series.

The Puffin Portal
Vashti Hardy

Vashti Hardy was a primary school teacher for several years and has always had a keen interest in children’s writing, leading to her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester.  She has a special interest in children’s writing, especially free-writing and the use of journals and creating fantasy worlds. You can find out more about her work on her website.

Now a successful children’s author, Vashti’s breathtaking middle grade fantasies are published across the world in several languages. Wildspark won the Blue Peter Book Award ‘Best Story’ in 2020 and the FCBG Children’s Book Awards and Brightstorm was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, Books are My Bag Awards, among others. Brightstorm was also selected for Independent Booksellers Book of the Season and both Brightstorm and Wildspark were selected as Primary School Book Club Read.

Book Review

I think you will like this story if you like adventure and mystery because there are hints and clues throughout the story so you can try to guess what might have happened

This book is about a girl called Grace who falls down a portal which takes her to somewhere called Eely Isle. Weird things are happening on Eely Isle such as food going missing from shops, but the criminals seem to be puffins. Grace is part of a Warden family so she goes to investigate with Watson, her robot raven. This is when the story really begins.

Grace finds a boy called Tom in a castle on Eely Isle and she has to work out lots of mysterious things like who Tom really is, what the robot puffins really are, and why Tom is in the castle all alone.

I think you will like this story if you like adventure and mystery because there are hints and clues throughout the story so you can try to guess what might have happened. It is also quite a lot about making friends and trusting people because Tom doesn’t want anyone to know his secret so Grace has to work very hard to encourage him to tell her about himself.

I really enjoyed this book but I thought it should be a bit longer because I wanted to see what other missions Grace and Tom go on together. There is another book in this series so I’m going to get it to find out more!

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Reviewer Profile

Junior Reviewer Jonathan
  • Name: Jonathan
  • Age: 7 years
  • Likes: dinosaurs, sports and jokes
  • Dislikes: rice pudding and spiders
  • Favourite Book: Sea Voyage by Gerard Lo Monaco
  • Favourite Film: Peter Rabbit, The Movie
  • Favourite Song: Crocodile Rock by Elton John