Cogheart by Peter Bunzl

Cogheart – A vivid and gripping adventure story set in a Victorian industrial world.

Lily’s father is missing after a devastating airship crash, but convinced he is still alive; Lily sets off on a daring quest to determine what happened. Alongside Robert (the clockmakers son) and Malkin (a mechanical fox) they uncover secrets of her past and face dangerous villains. Every page contains constant twists and turns as the story highlights trust, friendship and grief.  With the use of likeable characters you are able to empathise with every character along the way and the structure of the book allows you to understand and learn about Lily and Robert in great detail. The tale moves from life in a Victorian boarding school to life as children alone on the run, allowing readers to imagine a world in the past. However with the inventive use of mechanical characters it plays on the child’s imagination. It encourages children to be creative and builds on the importance of family.

I would definitely recommend this book to any class from year 5 upwards or for a class studying the Victorians, although I would advise caution if a child in your class has recently experienced grief as it is a prominent feature in this book.

Activities you could use alongside this book:

Art –

  • Allow the children to design their own mechanimal such as Malkin
  • Missing poster of Lily’s father

Literacy –

  • Produce a newspaper article of the disappearance of Lily’s father and his airship crash. This could be done early on in the story when the crash first occurs and/or nearer the end where Lily arrives at the crash site and the reader is given a greater understanding of what happened
  • Writing `what happens next`, allowing the children to predict what they think is going to happen. As the book varies the perspective of the character each chapter they could do this for a number of different characters for example Lily, Robert and Malkin.
  • Diary Entry from a vast amount of characters however the most effective are likely to be Lily, Robert and Malkin as the story goes into great detail about the events regarding these characters and their feelings. Other characters that may be used are some of the different mechanimals such as the housekeeper or Robert’s father. The detail of the story would allow for extremely detailed diary entries.
  • Percussive text arguing whether they believe Lily should leave her house when in the care of Madame Verdigris. This would allow the children to select a side (leave or stay) and argue their case using supporting evidence.
  • Biography for each of the characters using qualities which they have discovered at the end of the story.


By Maddie Moore


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