Schools Book of the Month: Mossbelly MacFearsome and the Goblin Army

Competition type: Schools

Start date: 01 November 2019, 09:00

Closing date: 01 December 2019, 23:55

Language: English
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Humour
Age group: 6-8, 9-11
Audience: Children

We have 5 copies of Mossbelly MacFearsome and the Goblin Army to be won – just answer the question at the bottom of the page. The competition closes on Sunday 1 December at midnight. All entrants must reside in the UK.

Full terms and conditions(this will open in a new window) apply.

About Mossbelly MacFearsome and the Goblin Army

We left Roger Paxton at the end of Mossbelly MacFearsome and the Dwarves of Doom having saved the world from the evil dwarf Leatherhead Barnstorm in a daring adventure. All seemed to be well, but the second instalment in this new series by Alex Gardiner opens with an ominous meeting where it becomes apparent that danger is once again heading for Roger and the rest of humankind.

Mossbelly explodes back into Roger’s life on Halloween, disrupting his school lessons and demanding that Roger joins him for another dangerous adventure featuring lots of Scottish locations that will connect young readers to the story. It’s up to Moss, Roger and Maddie to capture the Goblin Chief Redcap before he opens a portal and starts a Goblin invasion!

There is never a dull moment in this fantasy rollercoaster ride full of dwarfs, goblins and witches. Alex Gardiner’s writing will have readers on the edge of their seats as the tension builds and the stakes rise, because this time Roger and his friends are facing an even bigger magical villain than before. The tension is balanced with hilarious dialogue and colourful characters that make the story a hugely entertaining read.

Q&A with Alex Gardiner

What is your favourite thing about writing a character like Mossbelly MacFearsome?

My favourite thing about writing Mossbelly MacFearsome is that, no matter how bad the situation, he never gives up. If the position is hopeless, the odds insurmountable, no escape possible... Moss finds a way. He’s grumpy, troublesome and irritating, but also strong, brave and fiercely loyal. And a bit mad.

There are lots of magical and sometimes gross elements of Moss’s world! Where do you get your inspiration from?

I usually think about something in our human world, a game or sport, and then tweak it a little to fit the dwarf world. But the idea of a portal to another dimension is based on the history of Yester Castle, near the village of Gifford, East Lothian. The legends about the castle and the goblins from hell date back 800 years. Sir Walter Scott mentions Goblin Ha’ in his epic poem, Marmion.

I wouldn’t say that anything in the book is gross. Maybe a little different! An example would be our Halloween game of bobbing (dooking) for apples. The dwarves’ game is almost exactly the same. The tiny difference is that, instead of water in a basin, the dwarves use slimy, wriggling worms piled on top of the apples. So, when they’re playing, they don’t get soaked and half drowned – they get an apple and a full belly of delicious, nutritious worms.

And dwarves and frogs have always enjoyed the ancient sport of Frog Gobbing. There is little evidence to support claims that the recent spate of exploding frogs in the mouths of participants was the work of disgruntled dwarf dentists.

What was your favourite book as a child?

If only allowed one, it would have to be the beautifully written, magical adventure The Wind in the Willows. But then... Just—William, Treasure Island, Peter Pan...

About Alex Gardiner

Alex Gardiner spent several years in the Merchant Navy before embarking on a sales and marketing career in the UK motor industry – with 20 years as regional manager for Jaguar Cars. Now retired, he lives in East Dunbartonshire with his wife. He reads a lot, writes fantasy for children – and plays very bad golf.

What is the name of the Goblin Chief that Roger and Mossbelly need to capture?