Stories Aloud
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Publication date: 05 Apr 2012
ISBN: 9780857630650
Size: 198 x 129 mm
Length: 320 pages

The Secret Hen House Theatre


Beloved Waterstones Prize-shortlisted novel by Helen Peters about the ups and downs of running a family farm AND trying to stage a secret play in a secret hen house theatre!

Since the death of her mother, Hannah’s family life has been somewhat chaotic. Her father is absorbed by running their dilapidated farm, and the four children are increasingly left to their own devices. These include “farming” each room of the house, looking after an enormous pet sheep called Jasper, and writing and directing plays in a disused hen house. But when the farm is threatened with demolition, Hannah determines to save it and realise her dreams at the same time…

Shortlisted for the Waterstones Prize, this is a brilliant story of eccentric family life where the children’s imaginations run as free as the farmyard animals. From the award-winning author of Evie’s Ghost, Anna at War, The Farm Beneath the Water and the Jasmine Green series for younger readers, this is perfect for fans of Eva Ibbotson, Emma Carroll and Frank Cottrell Boyce


This edition is reissued with a beautiful new cover.

Stories Aloud

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“Peters depicts a cast of strong and believable characters … With a hint of Pamela Brown’s ‘The Swish of the Curtain’, there is much for aspiring young actors to enjoy here, but this hugely enjoyable story of family, friendship and country life will also have a broad appeal for children at upper primary level.”

– Booktrust

“As a child I loved The Swish of the Curtain, and The Secret Hen House Theatre is another engaging book about threatened amateur dramatics.”

“Full of action, with a happy ending, this is a book I didn’t want to finish.”

“There is something timeless about Helen Peters’s accomplished and hugely engaging debut novel … Drawn with humour and affection, Hannah’s world is utterly convincing.”

Children’s Book of the Week

“The sort of story you want to melt into … The trials and charms of farm life create a world where characters will start to feel like friends.”

“Helen Peters’ debut evokes the strange wonder of life on a farm with real affection … Hannah’s own problems have to compete with family-sized troubles and the sibling relationships are sweet and realistic. Through Hannah’s inspiring determination the secret theatre blooms into life, and like this story, it’s magical.”

“Absolutely delightful … Astonishingly accomplished for a first novel, it is on one level an engaging story about a group of children determinedly staging a play in a disused old henhouse and, on another, a warm-hearted and compassionate account of a family coming to terms with loss. I enjoyed the proof so much that I read it in two sittings.”

– Ham & High

“Through Hannah’s inspiring determination the secret theatre blooms into life, and like this story, it’s magical.”

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Email: [email protected]

Telephone: +44 2070897575


Email: [email protected]

Telephone: +44 2070897575


Email: [email protected]

Telephone: +442070897575


Email: [email protected]

Telephone: +44 2070897575