David Fickling Books website
By Eleanor Updale
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SPECIAL OFFER - THE SECRET OF INSTANT DELIGHT! Be the first to read Johnny Swanson!

The book that's got the nation talking - yours by return of post.

All is revealed:
The truth about the Stambleton murder
The facts behind the TB scare
The real identity of Ada Ardour
And one boy's fight to save his mother's life!

All this, and the answer to the burning question of 1929:
What on earth is a CLONG?

(To find out, send a P.O. for 2/6 to Box 90)

There is a kind of children�s book which is rare, but which includes some of the very best literature for the young. The Silver Sword, Goodnight Mr Tom, The Butterfly Lion, The Railway Children and Kim all belong to a genre in which there is no magic, but a tremendous sense of what real children in adversity might achieve with courage, cleverness and luck. Eleanor Updale�s Johnny Swanson belongs to this category, and it deserves the highest praise.
Amanda CraigThe Times

A novel that displays talent of the kind that makes Goodnight Mr Tom a classic for 8 � 12s is Eleanor Updale�s Johnny Swanson, set in 1929. Its young hero, bullied but not indomitable, begins by conning people with clever small ads and ends by saving his mother from a charge of murder in a medical thriller that is as funny as it is touching. Beautifully written, with a cast of characters you never doubt, this is perfect from a country holiday.
Amanda CraigThe Times

many twists and turns, much humour, lots of adventures and a good dollop of fascinating period detail... Altogether most engaging and entertaining: the sort of book that is blissfully easy to read without being mindless. Smashing fun.
Adele GerasAn Awfully Big Blog Adventure

magnificent newspaper style front cover...I had never heard of Eleanor Updale before and was pleasantly surprised by how good the book was. I was shocked by some of the events that occurred in the book and it really did open my eyes as to how unjust things can be...If you have read and enjoyed Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo, then this book will definitely be for you.
The BookboySavidge Reads

Eleanor Updale's very funny Johnny Swanson introduces a great character...The story swings along, providing dastardly villains, inept policemen and a satisfying denouement.
Marilyn BrocklehurstThe Bookseller

This is a lovely story, full of fascinating and accurate period detail, social injustice and moral quandaries, that revels in a child's determination to play the unfair system to his advantage. Young fans of Updale's Montmorency series will find this equally entertaining.
Sally MorrisThe Daily Mail

Eleanor Updale is an excellent storyteller, building up character, plot and excitement until the reader is compelled to stop everything else until the book is finished.
Jane SandellThe Scotsman

This is an enjoyably escapist, rather old-fashioned story, mixing realism in its portraying of the hardships of inter-War life with the ever-green delights of children solving a mystery and bringing the right person to justice.
Books for Keeps

Super old-fashioned adventure story set in 1929, featuring murder, mayhem, scam adverts and medical malpractice. Thank heavens for the dollop of courage and tenacity. A truly fun read.
The Bookbag

Johnny Swanson is a charmingly old fashioned � in the very best way - adventure novel. This is a great read, it zips along and illuminates a period of history that is usually forgotten.
Write Away

there is help and friendship... and there is a lot of humour in the book, even though the setting is grim.
The Bookwitch

Like the best children's books, it's about children, not simplified or toned down for them.
Michael MorpurgoThe Times

Updale is a superb storyteller and her plot is totally original.
Claire LarsonRead Plus

This book is distinguished among other features by the immensely convincing background detail of the period setting...The characterisation is exemplary, Johnny and his mother being convincing and winning protagonists. This is a remarkable book and a worthy successor to the work for which Updale won the Blue Peter Award.
Armadillo Magazine

Read it? Write a review and tell us what you thought of Johnny Swanson.
1 Review

Megan Pitts Age 11
This was the first book I have read by Eleanor Updale and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think I must read more books by her as she has a different, yet enjoyable style of writing.

Johnny Swanson is a detective story and nowadays you don't get many detective stories for younger readers - which is why I think she captivates a different audience and writes intriguing books to read. One of my favourite points in this story is about halfway through when the murder occurs. During the following chapters Eleanor Updale leaves clues for many of the characters to suggest that they murdered Doctor Langford.

I liked the fact that she wrote the story based in a slightly older era. The first chapters show the era in which it set because Johnny does some advertising for the paper and it shows that they pay in shillings and pence.

I would recommend this book for ages nine and up because of the era in which it is set and some of the language used. All in all this is a great book and I strongly urge everyone to read it.