Books, Reviews

Book Review: The Bookshop Girl by Sylvia Bishop

Title: The Bookshop Girl Bookshop Girl
Author: Sylvia Bishop
Illustrator: Poly Bernatene
Type: Juvenile Fiction / Family / Adoption
Age Range:  7- 12 years
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Pages: 135

Book Description:

A whimsical delight, crafted with quirkiness and a touch of classic charm
The Joneses have just won the Great Montgomery Book Emporium in a contest, and it’s every book lover’s dream! The pull of a lever calls forth a room full of marvelous wonders―from the Room of Woodland tales with its squirrels and mice, to the rocket ship in the Room of Space Adventures, and the aquarium ceiling in the Room of Ocean Tales.
But there is more to the Emporium than its thousands of books in extravagant displays. In fact, the previous owner is hiding something that could destroy absolutely everything for the Joneses.

Property Jones has a whopper of a secret too―and it might just be the key to saving her family and their bookshop from the clutches of a nasty villain.

Sylvia Bishop’s exceptional and fantastical U.S. debut features a cast of memorable, quirky characters, including the resourceful Property Jones herself and her cantankerous kitten side-kick, beautiful descriptions of the tactile pleasures of books, and the magical transporting quality bookstores can have for readers.

Before I Begin:

A book about bookstores; and one of them that is mechanical, well actually almost magical! And the title is something I aspire to be! Well, of course I read this one and I am glad I did. ‘The Bookshop Girl’ is truly delightful.

My Thoughts:

With a name like Property, anyone is sure to inspire curiosity. Well, this curiosity for the reader is satisfied in the beginning with a really cool ‘Before You Begin’ chapter. (I think I am going to include something like this in my future book, and I tried it here in this post!) It truly draws the reader into the book immediately, and literally prompts you to turn the page at the end.

The Bookshop Girl is an adventure story within a detective story brimming with humor. It is fast-paced and keeps you going forward, until, too soon, you are at ‘The End’ or in this case, at the ‘Before We Finish’! (There is so much potential in this book beyond the end)

Property Jones gets adopted by the Jones family after being abandoned in their bookstore when she five. She grows to love her family and the bookshop they live in, but all is not good for them. Until, miracle of miracles, they win the ‘Object of Wonder’ – the grandest, most wonderful bookstore in London.

You will love the Montgomery Book Emporium (and who wouldn’t?) with its themed Rooms of books aptly decorated as named. For example, the Room of Airplanes looks like a cockpit, while the Room of Desert Islands had sand on the floor and hammocks between palm trees for reading, or the Room of Ocean Tales where you walk through an aquarium to find books in treasure chests! And the bookshop comes with its own fierce little cat too – the Gunther, who decides Property is his own.

But something wicked their way comes in the form of the villainous Eliot Pink, who is ‘still and silent and gray, like a shadow that has come unstuck from someone’s heels’. He is taking away all they have, and it is up to Property, with the Gunther’s and Michael’s help to take back what is theirs!

What follows is a fascinating uncovering of schemes and plots and of exposing villains with lots of old-fashioned detective work. And Property is the keenest observer of all, so it does not matter that she cannot read. Oops, I did not mention this before 🙂 but it is ironical that she lived in a bookstore and could not read. But that does not matter here and does not stop her from doing what she has to. So read the book and find out what does happen!

And how I could forget the illustrations. They are adorable and just the right amount for a book that is a transition from picture books to chapter books. Each and every illustration helps the reader picture the wonders contained within this book perfectly.

Before I Finish:

Some truths learned and a few of the things that made me smile and/or made me smarter (there is more but then, you need to read the book too!):

  • Say what you have to say, now! The longer you hide it, the older you get, and the more awkward the telling of the truth..
  • You cannot say the word book when you are really truly smiling! Try it and see..
  • The word miracle comes from the Latin miraculum which means ‘object of wonder’, and aren’t we all (whatever our failings, each one of us is a miracle)
  • Learn to enjoy the tactile pleasures of reading (or anything else you are doing) too. A pity I could not close this book to make that satisfying tiny thmph, like Property says, since it was an ebook. But I am listening to that sound with the others I am reading.
  • Those Wollops – they made me smile too, reminded me of the Oompa Loompas. In fact, this book reminded me of a couple of other books, including ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, ‘Series of Unfortunate Events’, and ‘Mr.Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore’, among others.
  • Property uses a trick for those most desperate times when she needs to ‘read’ something. She asks someone else to read it out aloud to her, in a way that makes the person feel valued! And I smiled when I read that because my dd took her time to learn to read compared to her older brother. She had three people ready to read out loud to her as a wee little one, and she enjoyed the attention. Her older brother enjoyed that position too!
  • I did wonder why she was not taught to read, or sent to school, but that thought soon was one I got past and over with, and just enjoyed the book.
In Summary:

A great book with a strong and lovable female protagonist – for book lovers and cat lovers, bookshop aficionados, and for all those less-than confident readers. A truly enjoyable read – an object of wonder indeed!

Rating: A-
Reading Level: 7 -12 years (and adults too, I truly enjoyed the read)
Reread Level: 4/5

Disclaimer: Thanks to Edelweiss for the digital ARC of this book. The opinions are my own, only influenced by this wonderful Object of Wonder – the book itself.


You can read an excerpt of the book here, and a discussion guide for readers here, from the publishers.

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Buy from Book Depository here

You can order it from Target here

Order it from Amazon here

Buy from Barnes and Noble here

Question to you, dear readers: What is your favorite bookstore?

Writing this post as a series for the Ultimate Blog Challenge and Write 31 Days.  31 Days, 31 Books! This is for Day Twenty One(catching up is what I am doing)

Day 0 Day 1  Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5  Day 6  Day 7 Day 8 Day 9  Day 10 Day 11  Day 12 Day 13   Day 14  Day 15  Day 16  Day 17  Day 18  Day 19 Day 20



24 thoughts on “Book Review: The Bookshop Girl by Sylvia Bishop

  1. This is a perfect gift idea for Christmas. I enjoy reading books about women empowerment. Thanks for sharing. I’m going to get copies for my little sister and cousins!

  2. My 12-year-old self would have loved the book! But it won’t stop me from putting it on my reading list now as well. The highlights were the facts that you put together after reading the book. I always fancy a strong female protagonist

  3. I love Charlie and the Chocolate Factor and a Series of Unfortunate Events, so I know I’ll love this story too! This looks like the perfect gift this holiday season for my niece and nephew who devour every book they find. Plus, they love an adventure and detective story!

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