I’ve been a fan of M.G. Leonard from her very first book, Beetle Boy. I love all of her books, especially her most recent series, Adventures on Trains, written with Sam Sedgman. I was super excited to hear she had another new solo book coming this year, all about birdwatching and solving mysteries. Twitch is out now and it is absolutely wonderful!
Twitch is a kid who loves birdwatching. It’s nearly the summer holidays and he plans to spend it watching birds at Aves Wood, in the bird hide that he has painstakingly constructed. His plans are interrupted though when the police start hunting for an escaped convict from the local prison. The police are combing every inch of Aves Wood, scaring the birds away. All of his hours spent birdwatching have honed Twitch’s observation skills, and he notices some strange behaviour from visitors to Aves Wood. There are two girls who seem to be sneaking around and a man called Billy, who is camping out in the woods. Billy is friendly to Twitch and wants to know more about Aves Wood and its bird life. Robber Ryan has been seen in the area and Twitch is hoping that Ryan doesn’t find his bird hide. As Twitch tries to uncover the truth about what is happening at Aves Wood, he unwittingly puts others in danger. It’s up to Twitch and his friends to catch the criminal and right a wrong.
Twitch is an action-packed mystery that zips along at the speed of a kingfisher. I flew through the story, because I needed to find out how it ended. It’s a story that has something for everyone, from twists that swoop out of nowhere and clever characters, to tricky plans and birds galore. It’s also a story where you don’t know who to trust. Twitch will make you want to get outside and enjoy nature, because M.G. Leonard shows you that there is so much to explore and observe. Paddy Donnelly’s stunning cover makes you want to dive into Twitch’s story and meet all of its avian characters.
Like her Adventures on Trains series, M.G. Leonard weaves a perfect mystery, that keeps you guessing, and has the most satisfying ending. She makes you feel connected to the characters and concerned when they find themselves in trouble. I love the way that she sets up the characters, so that you’re never really sure about their intentions. Twitch’s bully/friend Jack is one of those characters who is tricky to figure out. At the start of the book he is trying to force Twitch to eat a worm but then becomes his friend. You’re never really sure whether he’s actually Twitch’s friend or not though. Twitch is a cool character and I’m sure he will inspire young readers to become birdwatchers themselves. He has made me want to take more notice of the birds around me.
I absolutely love Twitch and I hope we get to join him and his friends on more adventures. Twitch would be a wonderful read aloud for Years 5-8 as it will have everyone on the edge of their seats.
Walker Books and M.G. Leonard have created some wonderful videos to go with Twitch. Check them out below: