Punch – Barbara Henderson

It’s Inverness, 1889, and in Barbara Henderson’s, Punch, 12-year-old Phin is accused of a terrible crime.

When he flees – in the unlikely company of an escaped prisoner and a group of travelling entertainers – he enters a new world of Punch and Judy shows and dancing bears. But will Phin clear his name? And what can he do when memories of a darker, more terrible crime begin to haunt him?

First and foremost, Punch is a great children’s story. It’s dramatic and daring, it’s warm and the setting – both location and time period – is vividly brought to life. Then, Barbara Henderson manages the tricky task of portraying historical characters and places as ones with which modern-day children and young people can easily identify. Victorian Scotland comes fully to life and Phin is a realistic and engaging storyteller.

It’s also a beautifully written story (always important but a bonus when looking for books for younger, newer readers) that is easy to read but has the depth that makes it a good read for children and for adults.

A worthy follow-up to Henderson’s historical debut, Fir for Luck.

Published by Cranachan. Paperback, £6.99. Also available as an eBook


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