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The Grandest Bookshop in the World
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The Grandest Bookshop in the World

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664335,310 (4.17)5
Pearl and Vally Cole live in a bookshop. And not just any bookshop. In 1893, Cole's Book Arcade in Melbourne is the grandest bookshop in the world, brimming with every curiosity imaginable. Each day brings fresh delights for the siblings: voice-changing sweets, talking parrots, a new story written just for them by their eccentric father. When Pearl and Vally learn that Pa has risked the Arcade - and himself - in a shocking deal with the mysterious Obscurosmith, the siblings hatch a plan. Soon they are swept into a dangerous game with impossibly high stakes: defeat seven challenges by the stroke of midnight and both the Arcade and their father will be restored. But if they fail Pearl and Vally won't just lose Pa - they'll forget that he and the Arcade ever existed.… (more)
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The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor

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Showing 4 of 4
A friend told me about this book 6+ months ago, as a gift idea for my 10 year old niece, mentioning it was a story I’d enjoy too. I forgot about it until she reminded me back in October, so when, just a few weeks later, I saw it at one of my schools’ book fairs, I bought it for a Christmas present, thinking niece and I could read it together, since I’d be spending Christmas with her and her family.

Then, Christmas got cancelled and the book was packed up to ship up to her along with the rest of the presents. I figured I’d get to it one of these days.

Turns out I would; a package arrived at our house 5 days after Christmas, from an online bookseller, containing this book – I never ordered it and there’s NO information in the package about who sent it. Mysteries. The Good Kind.

Anyway, I got to read the book and oh, what an enchanting story it is. Firmly written for middle grade kids, but magical enough to capture this adult’s imagination. Two children, who live above the Grandest Bookstore in the World** have 28 hours to solve 7 challenges or else their beloved dad and their bookstore will cease to exist.

There are shades of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Jumanji, and on a deeper level Faust, but nothing ever too heavy for a 10 year old to handle. Everything is couched in adventure and the heavier theme behind the Faustian roots of the story are confronted honestly without dwelling on them. It really is a most wonderfully done story.

** Coles Book Arcade was a real place in Melbourne in the late 1800’s and it really was the Grandest Bookshop in the World. While all the parts the author uses in the book (the tea room, the lolly shop, the fernery, etc.) didn’t all exist at the same time, they did all exist. For those interested, I highly recommend this article from The Guardian, written by the author of this book, which you can find here. ( )
  murderbydeath | Feb 6, 2022 |
The grandest bookshop in the world is threatened after its quirky founder makes a dangerous deal with a dangerous man. It’s up to his children, led by Pearl, to solve puzzles and win back the shop and their father. This was a delightful read, and I really enjoyed finding out about the real story it was based on! ( )
  Amzzz | Nov 7, 2021 |
In 1893, Pearl and Vally Cole live with their siblings and parents above their father’s shop, Cole Book Arcade.

This is a mix of things I love -- Melbourne! a bookshop! eccentric family! sibling dynamics! teamwork! riddles! -- and of things I find disquieting -- namely, a sinister figure making deals with children, memory loss and the destruction of beloved spaces.

Creepiness is not a deal-breaker for me so I can’t pinpoint why it made me so uneasy here. Maybe it was the sense that things kept getting worse, even though Pearl and Vally had successfully solved the latest challenge? Even though I knew that deterioration would likely be only temporary?

“Hasn’t anyone ever told you that children should be seen and not heard?”
“We say seen and not hurt in my house.”
“You must have awfully modern parents.”
“Oh, yes.” Pearl’s mother and father were both full of bright ideas about how the world would change in the next century, and they liked to hear bright ideas from Pearl and her siblings. Pas said that by the year 2000, everyone would be using telephones, flying machines and the moving picture lantern. “My parents are very modern. Nearly futuristic.”
( )
  Herenya | Apr 13, 2021 |
When I was a child I loved the Coles Funny Picture Books (I still have them), so I was thrilled to come across "The Grandest Bookshop in the World" by Amelia Mellor.

Pearl and Vally Cole have discovered that their father has risked losing the arcade to a mysterious gentlemen in an effort to bring their dead sister, Ruby, back to life, The children make a pact with the stranger in order to reverse their father's error and regain control of the arcade. They must solve a series of seven mysteries or else they lose their memories and the arcade forever.

This fictionalised story of the history of the Coles Book Arcade is a delight for all readers, young and old. It's full of magic and whimsy. ( )
  SarahEBear | Apr 5, 2021 |
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Pearl and Vally Cole live in a bookshop. And not just any bookshop. In 1893, Cole's Book Arcade in Melbourne is the grandest bookshop in the world, brimming with every curiosity imaginable. Each day brings fresh delights for the siblings: voice-changing sweets, talking parrots, a new story written just for them by their eccentric father. When Pearl and Vally learn that Pa has risked the Arcade - and himself - in a shocking deal with the mysterious Obscurosmith, the siblings hatch a plan. Soon they are swept into a dangerous game with impossibly high stakes: defeat seven challenges by the stroke of midnight and both the Arcade and their father will be restored. But if they fail Pearl and Vally won't just lose Pa - they'll forget that he and the Arcade ever existed.

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