The Orchard Underground

Mat Larkin

The Orchard Underground
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The Orchard Underground

Mat Larkin

Finalist for the Readings Children’s Book Prize 2019

Not-quite twelve year-old Pri Kohli knows the town of Dunn’s Orchard better than anyone. After all, he was the first kid ever to live there. He knows its mysteries (none), its secrets (also none) and the best ways to have fun in it (climb a big tree and sit there).

So why can’t he answer newcomer Attica Stone’s simple question: if the town’s called Dunn’s Orchard, where’s the orchard?

As Pri and Attica go in search of forbidden fruit, they uncover stranger mysteries: a robot caterpillar, a mayor with a murky past, a Possibly Real Actual Boogeyman and a house made of doors in a haunted wood. But what will Pri and Attica do when they discover the biggest secret of all - that something truly magical is about to be destroyed, and the only way to save it could be by destroying the town itself?

Mat Larkin’s stunning debut is a big-hearted, wildly surprising and deliciously well-plotted mystery for readers aged 8+ about the joy of discovery, and digging just that little bit deeper to uncover the truth.


Mockingly called ‘The Face’ by mean kids at school, Pri Kohli has had the unenviable job of promoting his town, Dunn’s Orchard, since he was a baby. He’s been on every brochure, website, TV ad and at numerous functions in person talking about how wonderful it is for ten years. He doesn’t have much choice, since the town is ruled by a mini despot, Mayor Dunn, and Pri has to do what he’s told.

Life is boring and predictable until Attica Stone arrives in town and starts questioning everything. Why is it called Dunn’s Orchard when there is no orchard? What lies beyond the town in Razzy Wood? Why are all the lamps and doors being stolen? Finding the answers to these questions will lead Pri and Attica on a most amazing journey to discover the very strange truth behind the town and its unusual origins.

Peopled with quirky characters and featuring some fascinating inventions, this Australian debut is a funny, mysterious adventure story that will be enjoyed by readers aged 9+.

Angela Crocombe is the shop mananger at Readings Kids.

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