The Grandest Bookshop in the World

Author(s): Amelia Mellor

Middle Fiction

Pearl and Vally Cole live in a bookshop. And not just any bookshop.

In 1893, Cole's Book Arcade in Melbourne is the grandest bookshop in the world, brimming with every curiosity imaginable. Each day brings fresh delights for the siblings: voice-changing sweets, talking parrots, a new story written just for them by their eccentric father.

When Pearl and Vally learn that Pa has risked the Arcade - and himself - in a shocking deal with the mysterious Obscurosmith, the siblings hatch a plan. Soon they are swept into a dangerous game with impossibly high stakes: defeat seven challenges by the stroke of midnight and both the Arcade and their father will be restored. But if they fail Pearl and Vally won't just lose Pa - they'll forget that he and the Arcade ever existed.

Publication April 2021

Hardback edition out of print

Ruth's Review:

Pearl and Vally live in the grandest, most curious and magical bookshop in the world, Cole’s Book Arcade in Melbourne. Each day brings fresh delights: voice-changing sweets, talking parrots and a new story written by their eccentric father. But the family is grieving the death of little Ruby and when their father makes a pact with the sinister Obscurosmith, they look set to lose their beloved Arcade.

Pearl and Vally strike their own deal with this cane-twirling devil, but he’s devious and dangerous. The siblings must defeat seven impossible challenges by midnight and the Arcade and Pa will be restored. Meanwhile, their memories are fading...

What indie bookseller could resist this charming and imaginative novel for ages 9 to 12? Although a fictional story, there really was a Cole’s Book Arcade in the late 1800s — but without the magic — and Mellor’s characters and many of the anecdotes are based on the real Cole family who lived there.

The best sort of fantasy, with puzzles to solve too!


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Product Information

Amelia Mellor began her writing career as her secondary school's resident playwright in Year 11. As part of her creative writing course at the University of Melbourne, she completed a thesis on the reinvention of the Industrial Revolution in children's fantasy literature. In 2018, she won the May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust's Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship for The Grandest Bookshop in the World. Her other writing credits include a 2018 ASA Award Mentorship and a finalist place in the 2016 Grace Marion Wilson Emerging Writers' Contest. When she isn't writing, Amelia enjoys hiking, gardening and drawing. She is an English teacher in regional Victoria.

General Fields

  • : 9781922419347
  • : Affirm Press
  • : Affirm Press
  • : 0.3
  • : March 2021
  • : 2.6 Centimeters X 12.9 Centimeters X 19.8 Centimeters
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Amelia Mellor
  • : Paperback
  • : en
  • : 304