Five Stars For Five Quills Children’s Books

Sky Private Eye and Al’s Awesome Science receive five stars from Toppsta reviewers!

Toppsta reviewers give Five Quills children’s books Sky Private Eye and Al’s Awesome Science five stars.  Their reviewers include children, parents, teachers and a variety of family members.

What have Toppsta readers said about our books? 

 Five Star reviews for Al’s Awesome Science: Splashdown! 

“Great book for getting kids interested in science. Lots of drawings to try and follow the experiments. Going to get my mum to try some at the weekend.” -Reviewer Aged 9

“Both my girls 6 & 3 liked this book a lot. The eldest found it easy to read and loved the sketches, I’ve been asked a number of times since reading it if we can do some of the experiments! We will be trying some in the next school holidays.” -Reviewer, Mum read to children aged 3 & 6.

“This book is a great way to inspire children to think about science in a fun way. The book contains some fun sketchy style illustrations and the book is broken up with some fun science experiments that can be easily replicated at home with help.” -Reviewer, Mum read to children aged 5 & 7





Five Star Reviews for Sky Private Eye and the Case of the Missing Grandma

“My niece absolutely loved this book ..she especially enjoyed the cupcakes. She made me read it to her several times. This is a fab book and I would highly recommend it to anybody who’s children love going on adventures.” – Reviewer, Aunt read to niece aged 4

“My class really enjoyed this book. They were excited to see Little Red Riding Hood taking on a different role and trying to save Grandma! I will look out for other stories in the series they are great! “ – Reviewer, Primary School Teacher read to classes aged 4 & 6

Five  Star Reviews for Sky Private Eye and the Case of the Runaway Biscuit

“A story full of cupcakes, fairy tales and a detective. This story has a very different twist to gingerbread man, in this case with a happy ending, where the gingerbread boy wants to run the olympics and he manages to do that after sky, the detective, gives cupcakes to the fox and they get covered when the rain comes.” -Reviewer, Mum read to son aged 3

“The first thing to comment on with this book are the beautiful illustrations which really bring the story to life. My 2 year old daughter was pointing things out and really engaged with the images as I read to her. The story is positive and upbeat and can easily be read as a bedtime story as it’s short enough but has enough content to make for a lovely part of the bedtime routine. My daughter loves this and we’ve already read it twice in just a few days! ” -Reviewer, Mum read to daughter aged 2

“The Gingerbread Man is one of my little one’s favourite fairy tales so this book was a big successful in our house. It has the familiar story but told in a new way. Sky Private Eye is enlisted to help find the Gingerbread Man after he goes missing and she uses her investigative skills to find him.” – Reviewer, Mum read to daughter aged 3

Sky Private Eye: Reimagining Fairy Tales

Keeping Ancient Stories Alive

Fairy tale legends Little Red Riding Hood and the Gingerbread Man inspired the first two stories in the Sky Private Eye picture book series. Here we explore the origins of these icons and the importance of reimagining fairy tales.

Fairy tales have been around for thousands of years, their origins are notoriously difficult to trace. Beginning life as folk tales they followed ancient oral tradition, told and retold over the generations.

The Brothers Grimm published folklore in the nineteenth century; finally giving the world the most comprehensive written record of the many tales we know and love today. With elements of magic, strong characters embodying good versus evil and lessons for young children to learn, fairy tales are timeless.

The Sky Private Eye picture book series from Five Quills, written by Jane Clarke and illustrated by Loretta Schauer, is set in a fairy tale world. The books give a modern twist to well-known tales with an exciting new detective, Sky Private Eye. Sky uses magic, wit and her faithful dog Snuffle to piece together fairy tale mysteries.

Daniela Schneider, Five Quills founder and publisher, explains,

“the reason I chose fairy tales for this series is because my first memory of being read to as a child was listening to my mother read the Brothers Grimm in German. In my opinion fairy tales remain the perfect introduction to literature for young children”.

The first Sky Private Eye picture book features Little Red Riding Hood. The original Little Red tale is believed to have started life around two thousand years ago as The Wolf and the Kids, in the Middle East. This is thought to have spread to Europe where it became the Little Red Riding Hood we know, and also to East Asia where other versions such as The Tiger Grandmother emerged. All adaptations include an animal pretending to be something else. The message is consistent, be aware of strangers; they may not be what they seem.

Reimagining Fairy Tales: Wolfie Eating A Hotdog. Sky Private Eye Series. Illustrated by Loretta Schauer. ©Five Quills

Sky Private Eye Series. By Jane Clarke & illustrated by Loretta Schauer. ©Five Quills 2017

Little Red Riding Hood in Sky Private Eye and the Case of the Missing Grandma is a little savvier than earlier incarnations, heading straight for help from detective Sky Private Eye when she fears the worst has happened to her Grandma. The big bad wolf is not so bad either; he has the potential to be tamed.

The second Sky Private Eye picture book features a Gingerbread Boy as inspired by the Gingerbread Man fairy tale. The most common telling of this story was seen in print in America in the late nineteenth century. It started life as The Runaway or Fleeing Pancake in Norway and Germany, printed around fifty years earlier. Less widespread versions include an American Johnny Cake, English pudding, Irish cake and Scottish bannock as the protagonists. All of these tales include a baked good that pops out of the oven or pan, then runs or rolls away escaping a series of pursuers before being eaten by a character they thought they could trust.

Reimagining Fairy Tales: Foxy and the Runaway Biscuit. Sky Private Eye Series. Illustrated by Loretta Schauer. ©Five Quills

Foxy and the Runaway Biscuit. Sky Private Eye Series. By Jane Clarke & illustrated by Loretta Schauer. ©Five Quills 2017

In Sky Private Eye and the Case of the Runaway Biscuit, the Gingerbread Boy has his sights set on competing in the Fairytale Olympics, but a hungry fox is in pursuit. Thankfully Sky’s magic cupcakes redirect Foxy Loxy’s intentions. Reimagining fairy tales keep these ancient stories alive.

Look out for the next instalment from Sky Private Eye, in Spring 2018, when a prince needs Sky’s help to hunt down the owner of a sparkly slipper.

“Fairy tales spark the imagination,” Daniela concludes, “I hope our Sky Private Eye stories will encourage parents to go and look for the original tales and read them to their children as well”.

Sky Private Eye Books

Sky Private Eye ©Five Quills

Sky Private Eye ©Five Quills 2017








Edited by Janey Robinson