The Steam Whistle Theatre Company

By Vivian French

The wonderful adventures of a family theatre-troupe, touring Victorian England by train – a high-octane, high-drama romp, with a colourful company of characters.

Dark and deadly deeds, piratical plots and brave, resourceful children – Vivian French conjures up the very spirit of Victorian theatre in a fabulous new novel for middle-grade readers. To avoid financial ruin, the Pringle family’s theatre-troupe has left London behind, travelling to the north of England by train. With new audiences to play to, and less competition, they hope to make enough money to pay off their debts back home. But will their plans be foiled by the odious Olio Sleevery? It’s time for young actors Rosie and Charlie to save the day – and, with the help of their new friend Edie Boiler, ensure the thunderous success of the company's first performance. A wonderful gallery of eccentric characters and an exuberant plot with a twist at the end ... this is storytelling at its theatrical best!

Categories: Fiction

For readers aged: 9+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781406376319
  • Published: 07 Feb 2019
  • Price: £6.99
  • Size: 198 x 129 mm
  • Pages: 304

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Customer reviews


'“A classic-feeling, satisfying story, full of transporting Victorian detail.”' The Guardian

'“…a delightful kind of old-fashioned storytelling… The story inspires sympathy for the hard-working and the kind, and disdain for spoilt children and greedy rogues. It builds satisfyingly to an ending in which the good find friends and salvation and the bad get their just deserts. It would be a treat to read aloud at bedtime, especially for anyone able to do actorly declamations, and, with its edge-of-your-seat pace, it deserves applause.”' Sunday Times, Children’s Book of the Week

'“[…] storytelling at its best… a classic in the making.”' The Scotsman

'“A standing ovation for Vivian French.”' Books For Keeps, 5 star review

'French is a writer of tremendous charm, her world at once comedic and believable.' Philip Womack, Literary Review

'“French is a writer of tremendous charm, her world at once comedic and believable.” ' Literary Review

'“All the ingredients of an engrossing tale worthy of a Victorian Melodrama.”' Primary Times

'“Thoroughly enjoyable.”' Fallen Star Stories

'“By the time the last pages are reached, the feeling of not wanting to leave behind these adorable characters leads one to the conclusion that a really good read (or was it a night at the theatre…?) was had. Brava, Vivian French! Encore!”' Just Imagine

'What a jaunty, hilarious and pantomime-esque adventure of a story Vivian’s book is! Full of charm, bubbly characters, theatrical melodrama (as per its title), evildoers, and a plot that centres around putting on a good show despite the odds. The Steam Whistle Theatre Company is a brilliant summer read for your kids!' My Book Corner blog

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