Title: The Lolly Shop
Author: Lauren Hackney
Published: 20th July 2021
Synopsis: Join in the magic with Bax and Ethan as they make sweetness and mayhem in their Lolly Shop. These lovable characters solve many problems with their special magic, loving and caring, working hard and having fun. Unfortunately, they also create unexpected problems when their sweets have real magic added. Follow their triumphs and despair as they help their family through rough times. Parents will love these characters as much as the children.
Join Baxter and Ethan as they start a lolly shop that sells magical lollies that everyone lines up to buy every day. They spend their days creating, making and selling lots of different lollies that have different magical powers after they discover a strange delivery – a magic powder! This magic powder is what the boys use to create their magical lollies that make the store so popular. But trouble soon strikes, and Baxter and Ethan have to find a way to keep making the lollies whilst keeping the adults in their hometown happy.
Lauren Hackney’s novel began as a series of bedtime stories for her sons, much like A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories did for his son, Christopher Robin. The Lolly Shop has a very oral storytelling feel to it – where it is almost told like a conversation at times, and feels very fast paced and with a few necessary humps and conflicts. It allowed for the fantastical idea of kids owning and running their own lolly shop to come to life, with a touch of magic. This harkens back to the days of oral storytelling as well, and shows a connection between the spoken and the written word.
The concept was a cool one, and I loved that it captured dreams and desires of a family, as well as the magic that stories and storytelling can bring into our lives regardless of our age. I felt like it was one that young readers will enjoy and see themselves in as well. It allowed the child character to flourish and learn lessons about responsibility throughout the novel, but not in a didactic way. It allowed the boys to learn these lessons on their own, once the issues were pointed out to them. I loved the creative problem solving as well, and it showed that we can find unique ways to solve our problems, even if we can’t use magic lollies to do so.
From what I can tell, this is the first in a series, so hopefully the rest of the series goes well. The universal themes of cooperation, creativity, responsibility, and problem solving will I hope appeal to a wide audience and find readers who will enjoy reading about Baxter and Ethan’s many lolly shop adventures.