Since the death of her mother, Hannah’s family life has been somewhat chaotic. Her father is absorbed by running their dilapidated farm, and the four children are increasingly left to their own devices. These include “farming” each room of the house, looking after an enormous pet sheep called Jasper, and writing and directing plays in a disused hen house. But when the farm is threatened with demolition, Hannah determines to save it and realize her dreams at the same time.
The Secret Hen House Theatre
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“Peters depicts a cast of strong and believable characters … With a hint of Pamela Brown’s ‘The Swish of the Curtain’, there is much for aspiring young actors to enjoy here, but this hugely enjoyable story of family, friendship and country life will also have a broad appeal for children at upper primary level.”
“As a child I loved The Swish of the Curtain, and The Secret Hen House Theatre is another engaging book about threatened amateur dramatics.”
“Full of action, with a happy ending, this is a book I didn’t want to finish.”
“There is something timeless about Helen Peters’s accomplished and hugely engaging debut novel … Drawn with humour and affection, Hannah’s world is utterly convincing.”
Children’s Book of the Week
“The sort of story you want to melt into … The trials and charms of farm life create a world where characters will start to feel like friends.”
“Helen Peters’ debut evokes the strange wonder of life on a farm with real affection … Hannah’s own problems have to compete with family-sized troubles and the sibling relationships are sweet and realistic. Through Hannah’s inspiring determination the secret theatre blooms into life, and like this story, it’s magical.”
“Absolutely delightful … Astonishingly accomplished for a first novel, it is on one level an engaging story about a group of children determinedly staging a play in a disused old henhouse and, on another, a warm-hearted and compassionate account of a family coming to terms with loss. I enjoyed the proof so much that I read it in two sittings.”
– Ham & High
“Through Hannah’s inspiring determination the secret theatre blooms into life, and like this story, it’s magical.”
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