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Sky Chasers

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  236 ratings  ·  44 reviews

A encounter with a boy dangling from the sky changes pickpocket Magpie's life forever. His family, the Montgolfiers, are desperate to discover the secret of flight. Together with Pierre, Magpie is caught up in a world of inflatable bloomers,
Paperback, 279 pages
Published January 4th 2018 by Chicken House Ltd
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4.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  236 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Perdita Cargill
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
'What an adventure! Orphans and queens and inventors and rakes, this story does not flag for a second. Magpie is a smart and strong hero who stands for no nonsense (especially not from the men and boys around her) and the cast of supporting characters is wonderful - not merely human ("'What possessed you to do something so dangerous?' Poultry, mostly', I admit."...). Original description that takes the reader all the way to 1793 France but never gets in the way of the pace of the narrative and a ...more
Kerry Mintern
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Uplifting! Loved it!
Amy (Golden Books Girl)
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having been excited for this book since the day it was announced, I was absolutely thrilled when it came through my door. I was gripped by the story of Magpie, a young orphan/pickpocket living in France as she becomes unexpectedly involved in a bid to become the first country to fly a hot air balloon. Emma Carroll`s writing is as beautiful and lyrical as ever, and never falls down the trap of going too far with this in favour of advancing the plot. I also adored Magpie as a character as she was ...more
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a delightful story based on the struggles of the Montgolfier family to win the race to create a hot air balloon, to satisfy the command of King Louis XVI. It was written by one of my favourite authors, Emma Carroll, based on a story idea which won Chicken House's "big idea" competition.

As always, Emma has used her unique talent to create an entirely believable voice for her main protagonist, and weaves a spell-binding tale that transports you back to 18th century France. From the first p
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Emma Carroll is brilliant. I love all her books. She writes fabulous adventure books for children and this one is no exception. Magpie is a courageous main character, an inspirational female character.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: purchased-new
Excellent book, based on fact and woven into an intricate story.
A fun re-imagining of the first hot air balloon flight in the C18th, Sky Chasers tells the story of Magpie, a poor, black, female thief with the odds stacked against her. When a job goes wrong, she finds herself caught up in events bigger and better than she could ever have hoped.
As I've said before, I'm a fantasy/adventure freak. As such, and despite my love of historical fact, I am not drawn so much to these kinds of books naturally. Carroll is, however, a writer of great experience and more t
Jade Louise
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Review originally shared on my book blog - Reading with Jade

Born from an idea by Neal Jackson, winner of Chicken House's The Big Idea Competition, Emma Carroll has written another marvellous middle grade book that transports you to another time, takes you on an adventure and enchants you with a medley of characters... Including three animals in the case of Sky Chasers!

As the story begins, we meet Magpie, an orphan girl living on the streets, as she is tasked with
stealing a very important box fr
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the second book I have read by Emma Carroll and I really enjoyed it. been looking at buying some more of her books to read :)
I enjoyed the idea behind the story. The way it was written you really are able to feel what flight would have been like for those that were experiencing it for the first time.
Working in a school library, i think this would be a good book for the children to read either for pleasure or as part of a topic in class. And as well as donating this book to our school li
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved the science in this book and it would fit in perfectly with studying a forces topic. The characters are likeable and the story is one I wanted to read on. The first two chapters are delicious, which leads on for the rest of the book. I love Magpie and Coco, and I love that they have each other through thick and thin!
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic decent read that had me gripped thoroughly enjoying each chapter.

A lovely descriptive story with lots of personality. A story I wouldn't have thought to have picked up myself, but certainly a book I'd recommend to all.

Thoroughly enjoyable!
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! A fantastic story.
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Historical adventure with a touch of mystery and lots of engaging characters- human and animal! 🐓🐏🐤
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved Emma's previous book Letters from the Lighthouse, so she had a tough act to follow, but with Sky Chasers she certainly managed to keep up the high quality of story telling. I loved the character of Magpie, and the adventure told about the Montgolfier's aim to fly a hot air balloon. Set against am historic setting again, the story unfolds with a couple of unexpected twists towards the end.

Lovely story telling for any age, a definite 5 stars from me.
Rebecca Caroline
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hats off for Emma Carroll who has, yet again, lyrically woven a tale of history and adventure which will inspire a cacophony of wonderful cross-curricular ideas in the classroom. Beautiful storytelling and a creative teacher’s playground. Thank you Emma!
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Originally posted at

A fun little book that got me reading again!

TL;DR - The story of two children (and a duck, a rooster and a lamb) taking to the skies.


What I thought:

I spent a whole week completely unable to read anything for more than a minute until one evening I picked this book off my shelf and just read. It came easily.

The book follows Magpie, child thief turned aviator. After a series of accidents, Magpie finds herself in the employ of the Mo
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I always know that I’m in for a decent read when I pick up a book of Emma’s. I really enjoyed reading Sky Chasers and yet it again, it has me yearning to be in Key Stage 2 once more so I can teach it/read it to my class! They’re a little young this year for this book but it didn’t stop me thinking of the ways that this book could be used educatively.

This book comes from an idea by Neal Jackson who was the winner of Chicken House’s The Big Idea Competition. What an idea it was! Sky Chasers is a
Vincent Ripley
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Emma Carroll's 'Sky Chaser' is an example of one of these books. Hatching into magical existence, it will appeal to the middle-grade fantasy audience or lovers of historically inspired fiction.

This book is based on the winning idea submitted by Neal Jackson as part of the annual The Big Idea Competition. The story takes flight through the expert hands of Emma Carroll, a fantastic author of some really brilliant books in my opinion. The fantastic book cover has been produced by David Litchfield,
Matt Davies
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Earlier this week, the Big Idea Competition 2018 launched. If you have an idea for a children’s story, this is your chance to see your idea turned into a novel by a recognised children’s author. That’s exactly what happened to Neal Jackson. Back in 2014, his idea The First Aeronauts won the inaugural Big Idea Competition. Fast-forward nearly 4 years and his idea has been published courtesy of author Emma Carroll and Chicken House Books.

Jackson’s idea is a simple one: tell the story of the first
This was a lot more fun than I expected - I hadn't really enjoyed a previous book I'd read of Carroll's, so I'd hesitated to pick this one up. Turns out it earns all of the plaudits it's received! It's a wonderful entry to historical fiction for Y4-6, made all the better from being set in France and having a scattering of French through it - not to mention a black main character. Magpie is fab - tough when she needs to be but absolutely devoted where deserved (particularly to Coco, the equivalen ...more
Danni Jervis
Dec 03, 2017 rated it liked it
A very clever, interesting factual event written by a master of historical fiction for kids.

The entire novel feels very individual, the plot was concise enough that it didn't need to be elaborated on which made this books has a sense of being fully completed and an excellent stand alone. I love the inclusion of the Magpie poem for the protagonist in the separated parts, it added a sense of involvement for readers as much of story is told from the French perspective whose view of the English isn'
Stephen Connor
When trying to steal some important documents from the Montgolfier family, Magpie falls into a life previously unimagined, becoming integral to the race between the English and French as they battle to see who can fly the first hot-air balloon.

Magpie, as with all of Carroll’s lead characters, is a strong-willed female: decisive, determined and with a sense of purpose. She outwits several of the other (largely male) characters on the story with her quick thinking and sheer bloody-mindedness, and
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Magpie - is an orphan - living on the streets and surviving as a pickpocket - until she encounters the Montgolfiers and their attempt to fly a craft. Full of adventure and thrills - as the Montgolfiers try and be the first to fly a balloon following the order of the King of France. Pierre is her sidekick - as well as a duck and cockerel! A must read
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic adventure story with a feisty heroine. Magpie is a thief living on the streets of Paris but a chance encounter leads her into the home of the Montgolfier family and their race to be the first to fly. With a motley assortment of human and animal characters, this is a whirlwind story that carries you along on its flight.
I read this with my junior bookclub, and the feedback was universally positive.

An exciting, eventful story based on the real-life Montgolfier brothers and their first ever balloon flight launched from Versailles in 1783.

N.B. Ireland wasn't far behind them - the first manned hot air balloon flight left Ranelagh Gardens in 1785 with Richard Crosbie on board.
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ideas-for-addie
Really good, engaging book. Draws you in & keeps your attention - great focus on a girl with a can-do attitude, and that girls make great scientists & inventors, but also on friendship, loyalty & kindness. A quick read.
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 52books18
A beautiful story with true historical events interwoven with Emma Carroll’s fantastic story telling. Strong and powerful female lead character highlighting the importance of history not always remembering what women did.

Beautifully written adventure. Highly recommend!
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Everything I want in children's fiction - strong female lead, focus on friendship and a bit of mystery. I also learnt some history along the way!
Ludmila Marton
Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
3.5 stars.
Katie Fellows
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
A wonderful insight to the first balloon flight and life in pre-Revolutionary France. Fantastic characters and clever interplay with historical events will make this a firm favourite with readers.
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After years of teaching English to secondary school students, Emma now writes full time. She graduated with distinction from Bath Spa University’s MA in Writing For Young People. In another life Emma wishes she’d written ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier. She lives in the Somerset hills with her husband and three terriers.
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