An adventure story about greed, rebellion, and finding allies in the most unlikely places.

Hodie is the unpaid odd-job boy at the Grand Palace in the Kingdom of Fontania. Fed-up, he decides to leave and better himself. The young Queen, 12-year-old Sibilla, is fed-up, too. Sick of gossip about her lack of magical ability, she decides to run away with Hodie, whether he likes it or not..


Barbara Else is one of New Zealand’s most successful writers, for adults and children. Her Tales of Fontania series—including The Travelling Restaurant—has been published around the world and her 2018 release Go Girl: A Storybook of Epic NZ Women is a bestseller. Else is a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature, and has worked as a university tutor, editor and freelance writer. She lives in Dunedin, New Zealand.


Else makes the book into something that you just can’t tear yourself away from!

The Guardian

The book is well plotted and the twists and turns associated with Hodie’s parentage are unexpected and yet make sense within the context of the story. This is a thoroughly enjoyable adventure.

School Library Journal

[This] offers a filler in the pre-teen fiction genre for the gap left in the wake of Roald Dahl’s passing. It’s longer than Dahl’s books but filled with the same adventuring spirit and magical context.

Saturday Express

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