“Cogheart” by Peter Bunzl. Book review by Pippa Wilson



£6.99 Usborne

The beautiful cover is by Becca Stadtlander.

Publisher Usborne says:

Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month – August 2016

Lily’s life is in mortal peril. Her father is missing and now silver-eyed men stalk her through the shadows. What could they want from her?

With her friends – Robert, the clockmaker’s son, and Malkin, her mechanical fox – Lily is plunged into a murky and menacing world. Too soon Lily realizes that those she holds dear may be the very ones to break her heart…

Murder, mayhem and mystery meet in this gripping Victorian adventure.

So what did I think?

Cogheart is the debut novel from film maker and BAFTA award-winning animator Peter Bunzl, and tells the story of Lily whose inventor father disappears after a zeppelin flight. As soon as her father is gone, her world dramatically changes, and she is plucked out of school and becomes involved in some sinister events. Accompanied by the loyal and kind Robert, Lily is determined to find her father, but in the process unlocks unknown truths about herself. You can read the start of the story here.

This is an absolutely gripping adventure with all the vital ingredients of a classic Middle Grade story. There is a cast of vividly drawn characters (Malkin is my favourite!) who spring into life as soon as you meet them. The Victorian steampunk world of clockwork and corsets is beautifully depicted, and jam packed with detail; yet the story never loses its pacy momentum. The text is brimming with colour and energy, and will bring joy to year 5 and 6 teachers everywhere as well as parents reading to their offspring. Kids reading this will keep turning the pages to find out what happens next to Lily, and will be thrilled with the dark and nasty parts!

Cogs and chronometers! I do believe Peter has created a timeless masterpiece here. As soon as I started reading it, I had exactly the same feeling as when I was a youngster reading The Box of Delights one Christmas: pure joy in a book.

To my mind this would make the crunkingly perfect BBC series to watch on a Sunday teatime, along with toasted crumpets and a nice cup of tea: something for the whole family to enjoy as with the Narnia series, The Phoenix and the Carpet and The Box of Delights in the past.

I think this would suit readers age 9+ who enjoyed Hugo, Rooftoppers and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Claptraptions! I must admit, I’m very much looking forward to Moonlocket, coming in 2017!

Follow Peter on twitter@peterbunzl


Happy Reading!

Pippa Wilson 12th October 2016


  1. […] fantastic characters and the totally believable world that Peter has created (see the full review here), and I’ve noticed that it has already become a huge hit! I’m so glad there’s […]

  2. […] this interview, we will eagerly await news of her next book! I can recommend Gaslight to fans of Cogheart, Frost Hollow Hall and  Street […]

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