"You have in your hands the story of Property Jones. I hope your copy smells of something nice - like crisp paper,
or that churchy second-hand-book smell ... "
Property Jones is The Bookshop Girl but how did she get such a strange name? This little girl, with special talents, was left in a bookshop when she was five years old. Michael Jones, who was ten at the time, found her and put her in the lost property cupboard. She ended up staying with Michael and his mother Netty - the owner of the bookshop and so this story begins. Oh and yes the name stuck.
The biggest secret you need to know about Property is that, while she does love her family and her life in a bookshop, she cannot read. Michael and Netty do not know about this. The family enter a competition to win a new bookshop! Amazing. The prize shop is called Montgomery Book Emporium. It is filled with rooms which reflect the books inside. This is such a great idea. Here is the space adventures room :
"painted all over in deep indigo, speckled with twinkling lights. The books hanging from fine threads to that they almost seemed to be floating in mid-air."
Here is the room of woodland tales :
"which had a pine needle floor, and kept its books in trees, where there were actual living mice and birds."
The mystery - why has Albert Montgomery given away such an amazing shop. The answer comes the very next day with the arrival of a criminal called Mr Gimble, his accomplice Eliot Pink and a group of henchmen called the Wollups. It seems Mr Montgomery owes money them money, forty-three million pounds, for a play actually written by the hand of Shakespeare. Property will need to get to the bottom of this. It is true she cannot read but she has extremely well developed powers of observation. Something is not quite right. The writing and ink look fine but the paper and smells are wrong. This crime is just the tip of an iceberg. Michael and Property uncover the whole scam and everyone spends a delightful evening modifying these supposedly original manuscripts. Here is an example of their additions :
- Sacred book of 12th Century monks containing the opening scene from Star Wars
- Ancient philosopher Aristotle claims the meaning of life is a deep-pan pizza
- Cleopatra had a pet T-Rex called Nigel
Here is a review from The Guardian and a five star review from Books for Keeps. I also need to mention the illustrations in this book are perfect.