Schools Book of the Month: The Spectacular Revenge of Suzi Sims

Competition type: Schools

Start date: 01 October 2019, 00:00

Closing date: 31 October 2019, 17:00

Age group: 6-8, 9-11, 12-14
Audience: Children
Topics: Awards and prizes

Suzi Sims is excitable, clumsy, and determined to win the 100-metre sprint at Sports Day. Unfortunately, her new supply teacher has other ideas. When Miss Grit takes over Suzi’s class, it all starts to go horribly wrong: she gets blamed for other pupils misbehaving, she can’t read the whiteboard from her new seat, and worst of all it turns out that Miss Grit is friends with Suzi’s rival, the super sneak Barbie Meek.

This is a quirky school-based story about standing up to bullies and proving yourself. The fantastic cast of characters are brought to life with Vivian's lively dialogue and Julia Patton's expressive illustrations. We were cheering on Suzi as Sports Day approached and she planned to get her own back!

This is the second revenge-themed book that Vivian has written for Barrington Stoke, so if you enjoy this book then you may also like The Fiendish Revenge of Leroy Jones.

About Barrington Stoke

Barrington Stoke titles are perfect for reluctant or dyslexic readers. Their books are crammed with ingenious design and editorial tricks to ensure an accessible read. Best of all, the books are brilliant stories by a range of fantastic authors, which offer a great quick read for more confident readers.

Q&A with Vivian French

Miss Grit and Barbie Meek are extremely mean to Suzi and make her life at school very difficult. What was your inspiration for these characters?

I think when I wrote Suzi Sims I was getting my own back on a horrible teacher at one of the schools I went to. She had favourites, just like Miss Grit - and I was never one of them. Barbie is based on a girl who used to bully me; she sat in the desk behind me, and she liked sticking rulers into my back!

The book has illustrations by Julia Patton. Can you tell us more about what it’s like to write illustrated books and the process of working with illustrators?

Julia is a friend of mine, and I love her illustrations. We had lunch together and chatted about how horrid kids can be to each other, and also how supportive! I never ever tell an illustrator what the characters in a story should look like. That’s up to them... but I do sometimes change the text to fit their ideas. I really like to work alongside an illustrator from the very beginning.

What tips can you give to any aspiring writers?

Read read read read read! Truly - it’s much the best tip. You learn lots of new vocabulary, and different ways of writing... and how stories work. I also think it helps to plan your story before you begin!

About Vivian French

Vivian has been writing for 30 years and has published over 300 books for children aged 0-13, both fiction and non-fiction. She teaches illustration at the Edinburgh College of Art, and has run writing workshops from Orkney to Oklahoma. Vivian is also the co-founder of Picture Hooks, a project that supports emerging illustrators. In 2018 Vivian received the Outstanding Achievement Award(this will open in a new window) from Scottish Book Trust.


We have 5 copies of The Spectacular Revenge of Suzi Sims to be won – just answer the question below. The competition closes on Friday 31 October at 5pm. All entrants must reside in the UK.

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

What is the name of Suzi’s nasty new teacher?

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