Toppsta - Childrens Books – Reviews

Discover the secret of the Malamander

30th April 2019


Nobody visits Eerie-on-Sea in the winter. Especially not when darkness falls and the wind howls around Maw Rocks and the wreck of the battleship Leviathan, where even now some swear they have seen the unctuous Malamander creep…

Both Georgina and Liz from Team Toppsta absolutely fell in love with Malamander, Thomas Taylor’s gripping seaside adventure for readers aged 9+ and can’t wait for YOU, the reader, to discover the mysterious creature that lurks in the waters of Eerie-on-Sea. But beware – it’s not for the faint-hearted!

To whet your appetite for this wildly imaginative novel, check out the trailer below!

There's even a Malamander website that features an extract, activity pack and an interactive map - pretty cool, huh?! 

But if you're still not convinced, find out why our Toppsta community think Malamander is one of the must-read middle-grade novels of 2019…

‘What a fantastic book. We couldn't put it down. Great plot and characters.’ Read to Phoebe08, age 11

‘Wow I love this story, I’m already half way through and can’t wait to see how it finishes. It’s exciting and set by the seaside and I cannot wait till they make a movie of it. I’d highly recommend this book.’ Smiler21, age 9

‘This book is great, it’s mainly adventure with mystery, suspense and comedy thrown in. I really enjoyed the story. It was very unique and set in modern times, the characters are described really well and I really enjoyed getting to know them. I really hope there is a book two.’ Pokemon, age 11

‘This was an extremely gripping book…The book was very scary at some points but also sometimes hilarious and made me laugh out loud. I think this would be a great book for readers who like mystery.’ Josh, age 10

‘I don't want to give away anything because the more you read the story, the more you want to find out. The children both loved and hated the cliffhangers at the end of each chapter, (only hated them when we ran out of time to read on before the next day). We really enjoyed the little links to mythical legends throughout the story - wait until you find out Lady K's real name! - as well as the links to famous children's literature.  We also liked that the two main characters feature a platonic male and female relationship, where the 'stereotypical' roles have been reversed, or shared more equally at least - Violet is strong-minded, determined, brave and heroic; Herbie is cautious, resourceful, knowledgeable and loyal.  At the end of each chapter, there is the same small black-and-white illustration which we believe to be the Malamander. At the end of the story, we were happy and relieved by how it concluded, however we do hope that there is more to come because we have a lot of questions (regarding some of the characters and past events), that we'd like to find the answers to...’ Read to PBB Library, ages 7-11

‘This is an amazing book, it grips you from the start and has some scary bits in but is a great page turner.’ dkathurima, age 8

‘Wow this is one of my favourite books so far. Malamander starts in a mysterious way and this continues throughout the book. It is exciting, scary and the characters are wonderful.’ Yzabelle, age 9

‘If you like spooky stories or stories that are set by the sea, then you'll enjoy Malamander. It starts in a mysterious way and the author never seems to take you in the direction you thought you were going! It feels like it's set in a strange alternate past and the names of the characters, who all seem to be food or sea related, give the book that sense as well…The book might be a bit too creepy for younger readers but it's a great read for upper KS2!’ Year 6 readers, ages 10-11

‘If I could give this book 6 stars I would! It was so good, I struggled to put it down….I really loved this book. It's really captivating and interesting and you can't guess what will happen next. I would recommend this book to be read by all the children in my class, they would love it too. The fact that the author illustrated the first ever Harry Potter book is just a bonus!’ Darth, age 10

Book pages Placeholder Book


Nobody visits Eerie-on-Sea in the winter. Especially not when darkness falls and the wind howls around Maw Rocks and the wreck of the battleship Leviathan, where even now some swear they have seen the unctuous Malamander creep...

Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, knows that returning lost things to their rightful owners is not easy - especially when the lost thing is not a thing at all, but a girl. No one knows what happened to Violet Parma's parents twelve years ago, and when she engages Herbie to help her find them, the pair discover that their disappearance might have something to do with the legendary sea-monster, the Malamander. Eerie-on-Sea has always been a mysteriously chilling place, where strange stories seem to wash up. And it just got stranger...


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