When we walk to the beach, we sometimes take a route that passes Shirecombe House. Built between 1914 and 1924, it’s rumoured to have belonged to a woman who was a mystic in the style of Dion Fortune/Madame Blavatsky. It has recently been renovated, with a current price tag of £2,650,000, but for many years it looked like this:
It always had a spooky atmosphere, and I thought maybe it held some sinister secret – it might even have been the headquarters of the Slapstyx goblins!
For some time these gruesomely grubby goblins have been haunting my head – and, I suspect, my home. When you live with dogs you have to expect a certain amount of dirt around the place, but I’ve sometimes felt there’s more dirt around my place than I can blame on the dogs – stubborn dirt that reappears with frightening speed after I’ve cleaned. I suspect these goblins visit at night, slapping on the dirt and sticking it down so it can only be removed with the most aggressive detergent.
So I’ve written a book about them.
The story is set in a house where no one wants to live because it gets dirty again straight after it’s been cleaned. This is the HQ and training centre of the Slapstyx, a tribe of goblins whose job is to manufacture dirt and put it in our homes. These little horrors work for Zachary Zigstack, manufacturer of ZOOM, the world’s most environmentally unfriendly detergent. They make dirt that can only be cleaned with ZOOM so everyone in the world will use it. ZOOM is turning the ocean into a sea of toxic slime infested with ravenous sea monsters, but the Slapstyx don’t care about that because Zigstack has promised to pay them in gold.
This heinous scheme jogs along nicely until Geoffrey, Zigstack’s sales manager, moves into the Slapstyx house with his family. Geoffrey doesn’t know what Zigstack is up to, and he doesn’t believe in goblins; he only knows he’s found a nice big house by the sea, going for a ridiculously low price. But his twin stepdaughters rumble Zigstack’s evil scam and set out to put a stop to it…
My eight year old girl says girls in her class would like it because it has mermaids in it and the boys would like it because of the goblins. All the girls agreed that the goblins were a little scary, though never scary enough to stop reading. But by far the best recommendation comes from my five year old. We had two chapters to go when she said, “Mom, can you finish the book tonight and then read it again?” a sentiment that was silently echoed by her older sister who took the book off to bed to re-read after we were done. – Jessie
I would like to see this book as a film or cartoon it would be fun to see the characters come to live on tv but as you read you can see the characters and creatures in your mind. The story just flows so well i loved all the characters they seem so real and likeable – Amanda Bonsell
Annabelle Franklin is a natural at writing for children. This story keeps you wanting more from start to finish. – Jill Moffat
I really enjoyed this story and sympathised with the twins being blamed most unfairly for something that wasn’t their fault. There were laugh aloud moments through the book too. I wish I could dreamwalk. No, I really, really wish I could dreamwalk! – Daisy Lewis
Very funny. An amusing way to highlight the dangers of harsh cleaning products and their effect on the environment. Full of magical creatures – goblins, mermaids and sea monsters. – Lynnee
This is what I call a ‘real children’s book’. It’s bang up to date and deals with today’s issues in a magical, imaginative way. It’s a great concept. We all loved it. – Alhaze
How many times have you asked yourself ‘where on earth does all the dirt come from’ when cleaning the house. Read this and the answer will be revealed! Young people like morals to be clearly defined and they will enjoy seeing the ‘baddies’ get their come-uppance in this story. It is a truly modern twist on raising topical issues regarding the environment, written in a manner with which children can identify. – Pejo