Books by Simon Mason

DAEMON VOICES by Philip Pullman
Released: Sept. 18, 2018

"A collection of pieces infused with abundant wisdom, provocative notions, and illuminating insights."
Reflections both practical and philosophical on the craft and purview of tale telling, from the creator of the His Dark Materials trilogy. Read full book review >
KID ALONE by Simon Mason
Released: Oct. 31, 2017

"Second swing and a hard miss. (Mystery. 13-17)"
Garvie Smith, the underachieving teen detective, returns in a new mystery with more murder, dangerous intrigue, and highly inconvenient exams. Read full book review >
RUNNING GIRL by Simon Mason
Released: Aug. 30, 2016

"Paced like a television police procedural, with flashes of epiphany, false leads, and race-against-time dangers, this satisfying whodunit overcomes its characterization shortcomings. (Mystery. 13-15)"
Sherlock Holmes, if Holmes were a biracial, at-risk, 16-year-old slacker—a genius stoner who consorts with burglars and homeless dropouts. Read full book review >
MOON PIE by Simon Mason
Released: Nov. 8, 2011

"Love conquers all in this big-hearted and heartbreaking story of Martha, Tug and their errant father who, in time, stops acting like a wild gibbon and finds his way home. (Fiction. 9-12)"
British author Mason has conjured a rarity indeed—a tremendously charming, unflinching account of a parent's downward spiral. Read full book review >
Released: March 28, 2006

Mum, Dad, Will and Lucy Quigley, are back in all their hilarity. These five related stories are impossible to read without making loud guffaws as each storyline veers off the beaten path, yet seems utterly realistic. Who hasn't been forced to make a big effort to get along with a person whose every word and action is selfish and revolting? How about the special party that goes wrong? And who has not stood, pale and sweaty, next to a carnival ride praying that her stomach's contents would stay inside? That's the glory of Mason's joyful, realistic family. These stories read like tales families tell—years later— that usually start with a sibling saying one phrase (say, "Robinson Potts" or "Mum and Fatbrain on the roof") and everyone chiming in with part of the tale until everyone is doubled over with hysteria. These vignettes make fantastic read-alouds and will appeal to Louis Sachar fans. British phrases add to the fun. Bring on the Quigleys—a real family! (Fiction. 7-12)Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 9, 2004

Mr. and Mrs. Quigley and their children, Will and Lucy, have managed to stay alive for another installment of their exciting and entertaining lives. With a flat, understated reporting style, Mason makes these silly, nearly tall-tale experiences seem normal. From a stay at a hotel, to Will and Lucy's earnest attempt to help out in a financial crisis, to a Mother's Day walk, and the selling of the family cottage, four seemingly average moments in family life become extraordinary. Will regales the entire fancy hotel restaurant with what he learned at school (the dangers of train tracks, complete with steaming amputated stumps and graphic details of cholera in Victorian England) and it's hard to know whether to laugh or blush. But it's all in hilarious good fun. Perfect for the new chapter-book reader with a skewed sense of humor and for the adults who read aloud to them. (Fiction. 7-12)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 14, 2003

The Quigleys are back! With four interconnected short stories and hilarious cartoon illustrations, Simon paints a picture of a remarkably recognizable, but totally unique family. British words and spellings ("gritpaper," "hoolah hoop") add to the fun as we see Mum and Dad searching for the lost budgie, Will falling into daydreams, Mum recovering from wisdom-tooth surgery, and little sister Lucy befriending a French girl at a campground. This is not a stereotypical family at all—no saccharine aftertaste from sweetie-pie behavior, but no dysfunctional angst either. So, why read about them? Therein lies the charm; they are a family like most of ours—full of life and ridiculous, but ordinary experiences. With its generous font and ample illustration and white space, this will be the next treat for the Hurwitz and Cleary crowd. (Fiction. 7-12)Read full book review >
THE QUIGLEYS by Simon Mason
Released: May 14, 2002

As droll as a Britcom and as true to the spirit of family life as the all-American Quimbys, this import introduces the Quigleys: siblings Lucy and Will and their slightly feckless but loving parents. Each of four episodic chapters focuses on one family member. In one, Dad accepts a babysitting assignment from neighbors even though it conflicts with his desire to watch a thrilling football game on television, and as a consequence he loses one of his charges. In another, Lucy insists that she will wear a bee costume instead of a bridesmaid's dress in a wedding. "All the Quigleys could be a little stubborn," but her parents have no idea just how stubborn Lucy can be. In the third, Mum's birthday is ruined when Dad's train is delayed and she must miss the ballet. The children manage to salvage the occasion by making her a party involving a ballet of their own creation, toast with chocolate spread, a variety of alcoholic beverages found in the back of the cupboard, and finally a madcap entrance by Dad with roses between his teeth. This chapter, while it may not find its way into school reading anthologies, is laugh-out-loud funny. The concluding chapter describes Will's campaign to receive a Harpy Eagle for Christmas despite the family's "no pets" rule. This includes the dropping of pointed hints, " . . . a way to get what you want without bother," which proves to be very hard work. The deadpan humor is applied to small but universal dramas of everyday family life, which are reinforced by a pattern of sly repetitions that develop the characters and situations to comic effect. Read either aloud or independently, this is a family story to be shared, the characters not soon forgotten. Plentiful line drawings extend the fun. (Fiction. 7-10)Read full book review >