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

The Guardian

The Queen and the Nobody Boy

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

Available as an ebook wherever you buy your ebooks

  • Description

    The Queen and the Nobody Boy is an adventure story in the  Fontania series 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. His journey is told in five parts all about bad choices.

    The young Queen, 12-year-old Sibilla, is fed-up too, because of gossip about her lack of magical ability. She decides to run away with Hodie, whether he likes it or not.


  • Book Details

    Country of Origin New Zealand
    Reader Age 11-14 year
    Book Size

  • Reviews

    1. Reading and Sharing Blog, January 2014

      Else’s narrative style reminds me a bit of Roald Dahl and Lemony Snicket… there is a lot that is unexpected and whimsical… Do you ever get so caught up in a book that you feel compelled to tell your partner or other family members about new plot twists as you’re reading? That’s how I was with this book… I’m giving it 5 stars.

    2. Kids Book Review, December 2013

      The story didn’t disappoint… A quirky, zany and thoroughly entertaining read that should appeal to lovers of magic, fantasy and adventure.

    3. Lemurkats Library Blog, October 2013

      A colourful and fast-paced, action-packed and entertaining romp … The plot bounces along, twisting and turning in topsy-turvy rhythms with some totally madcap moments and a hearty dose of humour.

    4. Judges Report, New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, July 2013

      This is the kind of total immersion story that transports its reader to another time and place, and holds them enthralled until the last page. It’s an exciting, funny and original fantasy that is grounded in everyday life… The Queen and the Nobody Boy is destined to be a classic, a book that today’s children will keep to read to their own children.

    5. School Librarian Journal, April 2013

      Whilst this is a fantasy novel and there is a great deal of humour, we are also faced with the reality of dealing with aggressors who are trying to inflict with own culture on a nation with widely different views. There are subtle lessons to be learnt and the end result is satisfactory to the reader. 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.

    6. Elise from Room 2, Green Bay Writers, June 2013

      I love the story because it’s adventurous and quite sad at the same time and it nearly made me cry, because the queen ran away because nobody really cared for her. It made me laugh a bit because the book is quite a comedy.

    7. Saturday Express, November 2012

      [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 … [The main characters are] embroiled in subterfuge, magical warfare and estranged family dynamics. Else does a brilliant job of creating a character … who espouses the everyday petulance of a boy in his early teens while creating circumstances and contexts where the reader roots for Hodie to succeed above all else. Her writing is beautifully crafted … the political and social subtext, featuring the dichotomy between magic and technology and ultimate power, is woven well throughout the book, focusing on the people involved rather than the practices.

    8. Magpies, November 2012

      It’s impossible to describe the many plot strands in this multi-layered confection of a book, you just have to be content to be whisked along on a breathless train-ride (a flying train, that is), meeting a large cast of colourful and eccentric characters as you go, and trusting that the strands will all be drawn together at the end, which they are. …The book is beautifully presented, with a vibrant steam-punk cover illustration, sturdy cover flaps, and the intriguingly detailed map on the inside front cover. The publishers call it a `pre-teen adventure/fantasy novel’, but that doesn’t really capture the magic of this whimsical and amusing tale.

    9. Gemma Lovewell (age 7), Junior Journal, April 2013

      This is a great story. I especially loved the wind train… Recommended for people who have good imaginations and like magic and fantasy stories.

    10. The Guardian, April 2013

      Else makes the book into something that you just can’t tear yourself away from! I’ll compare The Queen and the Nobody Boy to such that you walk into a room, open a brightly decorated and inviting box and inside is a rainbow oasis of all things magical and fantasy. Basically, it doesn’t disappoint.

    11. Kate De Goldi on National Radio, March 2013

      It’s as good as the first book, if not better…it’s got all sorts of larks, it’s great a journey just like the last book, but it’s a comic journey. I do laugh a lot with Barbara Else writing…I’d highly recommend it. You can read it slowly and enjoy it.

    12. John McIntyre on Nine to Noon, December 2012

      It’s old fashioned story-telling here; there’s a poor orphan boy, a misunderstood princess, tales of magic, intrigue in the kingdom, bad kings, scheming queens…flying trains, treacherous courtiers, adventure and fun.

    13. The Children’s Bookshop School & Library Newsletter, Term 4 2012

      A stand-alone sequel that features some of the characters from The Travelling Restaurant, Else’s second Tale of Fontania is an equally luscious adventure story of magic versus machines, greed, rebellion and finding yourself.

    14. Bookrapt, October 2012

      Hope, fear, friendship, loyalty, humour and imagination all packaged between stunning covers make a recipe for an excellent read.

    15. Bob’s Book Blog, October 2012

      A rollicking good yarn for primary and intermediate students.

    16. Kiwi Families, October 2012

      I’m liking the author’s imagination in coming up with ideas like wind trains, plus the anxious setting of war…I thought it was probably even better than the first book…Independent readers who love some mystery and adventure would love this.

    17. Family Times, September 2012

      A giant adventure involving a greedy king, his surprising daughter, missing parents, strange technology and perhaps just a little bit of magic when it matters. Enthralling!

    18. My Best Friends are Books blog, September 2012

      A magical story, full of adventure, danger, royalty, spies, flying trains, stinky trolls and poisonous toads…If you loved The Travelling Restaurant you have to get your hands on The Queen and the Nobody Boy, but if you haven’t read it this book will make you fall in love with the land of Fontania. You certainly won’t be able to go past this book on the shelf without wanting to see what magic is inside, thanks to Sam Broad’s brilliant cover. 4 out of 5 stars

    19. Around the Bookshops, August 2012

      Sparkling writing and surprise twists and turns make this a great read-aloud – and to be gobbled up by the readers who loved the first book in the series.

Available worldwide from your local bookstore or online.

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