The Secret of Pooks Wood

Children - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
142 Pages
Reviewed on 02/25/2018
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Author Biography

Helen Laycock's stories appear in a variety of anthologies and magazines as well as in her own collections, and have been successful in many competitions. Her first attempt at play-writing secured her a shortlisting in Pint-Sized Plays in 2016.
In 2018, she was commissioned as a lead writer at Visual Verse and her flash has featured in several editions of The Best of CafeLit. Recently, pieces have been showcased in the Cabinet of Heed, Reflex Fiction and Lucent Dreaming – whose inaugural flash competition she won. She was longlisted in Mslexia’s 2019 flash competition and her work has been selected to appear in the forthcoming Flash Flood Journal as part of National Flash Fiction Day.
She has penned nine children's books for 8-12-year-olds and is employed as a writer by an educational publisher.
Helen Laycock's poetry has recently appeared in Popshot, Poems for Grenfell (Onslaught) and Full Moon and Foxglove (Three Drops Press), and her children's poetry has been twice published in The Caterpillar Magazine. Poems appear in several further anthologies. She won the David St. John Writing Awards for Novice Poetry in 2006.




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I was inspired to write 'The Secret of Pooks Wood' after driving past a dilapidated wooden gate in the countryside. A hand-painted sign was hanging off it which, at a quick glance, seemed to say 'Pooks Wood'. The whole story came to me during the car journey...

    Book Review

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

Twins Ollie and Lily are stranded at Great-Uncle Alfred’s house along with their mother, Stella, at Great Hawkesden Manor during Christmas in The Secret of Pooks Wood by Helen Laycock. The twins find a snow globe outside the house and inside the globe is a miniature model of Great Hawkesden Manor, sitting in the middle of a glitter blizzard. Stella decides to revisit some of the older parts of the manor where she used to play with Squirt as a child. She goes to the second staircase which leads to the attic door. As she peers through the keyhole, she thinks she sees the reflection of a girl in a long blue crinoline dress, white-faced and with dripping hair, in the mirror. The children always wonder why their mother does not let them play alone. That night, after tucking the twins in, Stella picks up the snow globe and she finds herself looking back. As the story progresses, readers are taken through myriad emotions and happenings that make this storybook magical and exciting.

It is a story about family love and the concept of time travel in the plot gives a whimsical effect. The story is enchanting and engrossing as it captures the essence and warmth of the holiday season. I like the way in which the author weaves the stories of Stella and her childhood together with that of the twins and speaks about their entwined destinies, the magic of the holiday season, and family love. The descriptive narration makes the scenes and moments in the story vivid and alive to young readers. It is a good storybook for children of all ages and the old world charm and adventure make it an enjoyable read.