Book Review: Return to Roar  

By Jenny McLachlan
Published by Egmont

This is a sequel to McLachlan’s earlier Land of Roar and there’s a third title in the pipeline. I read it, though, as a standalone and that works because she sets up the situation very adeptly at the beginning. 

Think Peter Pan (we meet the Lost Girls) crossed with Narnia as Rose and Arthur wriggle through the fold up bed in their grandad’s attic to get back to their friends on Roar. Yes, it’s fantasy, but like the best stories of this sort Roar is an imaginary place conjured up by the children: “We made this work and we put that pool there for a reason – so we could jump into it. Let’s go!” says Rose at one point. Or, explains Arthur who narrates the story: “Like everything in Roar it [a magic box], began as a game in Grandad’s attic.”

And in real life Rose is bullied at school – something she works through in Roar where she and Arthur spend the whole of half term while their parents are away. Did they actually see the scary bird Crowky off on their last visit or is he back? Friends like Win and Mitch help them to find out. And Grandad tells them, before they go, not to ride unicorns but… It’s all about dreams, stories and nightmares as well as a celebration of siblinghood and friendship.

I enjoyed the laidback character of safe, lovable, reliable Grandad who waits for them in the attic fully compliant in the game/their adventures. Also a real bonus is Ben Mantle’s art work which furthers the story. 

Review by Susan Elkin