About the book

I’m not going to tell you about the last chapter yet, as it will spoil the story for you if you want to read the whole book and find a surprise at the end.

But come back soon!

Dear Mo,

I am very excited about being a child reviewer (I never heard back from Jacqueline Wilson, perhaps I will from you?)

Leo is a chirpy, sociable, but easily confused boy. At the beginning of the book Leo has a dreadful nightmare about an unknown man falling down, what seems like a bottomless pit. Leo trys to remember what the man’s face is like, but he can’t. Leo discovers that he has an amazing gift and is able to travel back in time. Some of his travels are to exciting moments in 19th and 20th Century history.

I think that Leo’s Heroes will appeal to boys and girls who enjoy adventure, drama and history. It is a truly powerful and surprising book!

I would love it if you came and gave a talk at my school and I think that my friends and the teachers at my school would love it too!

Once again, thank you so much for letting me read your book and be your child reviewer.

Love, Gracie

Leo and the Kidnap Incident

Who’s this? A girl? She’s in a right two-and-eight. Bombs are dropping all around, and Leo has to shelter in a . . . well, a Shelter. It’s the East End of London, and they’ve all got hearts of gold, Gawd bless ‘em!  But the Enemy is about to kidnap the Prime Minister. Can our brave hero – that’s Leo – thwart those rascals before they make off with Winston and his cigar?



Leo’s mum

Hannah: an artist

Dotty: a time traveller

Minnie: Dotty’s mum

George: Dotty’s brother

Harry Tanner: an ARP man

Dora: Harry’s wife

Winston Churchill: the Prime Minister

ARP men




Tea Ladies

Leo’s grandad

A passage from Chapter Five

Then the warning siren whined. Leo glanced at his watch. It was eight o’clock. Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked fearfully at each other. There was a terrifying dull thump, followed by two more booms. Plaster fell from the ceiling of the shelter, a bottle crashed over from a makeshift shelf. For a minute there was a hush, with people looking up, hands to their mouths. Then children began to whimper, women called out, and men became alert, listening for more signs of danger. The All Clear sounded after a while, and a few people pulled themselves to their feet, picked up their belongings and wearily made for the exit. They dreaded to see the damage to their houses and their neighbourhood. The ones who stayed had probably been bombed out already, and were camping in the shelter while they waited to be rehoused.

When Dotty, her mum and brother, together with the Tanner family arrived at the corner of their street, they stopped. ‘Oh, where’s the bloomin’ house?’ Minnie cried. There were piles of rubble around the bomb-damaged houses. Furniture was hanging from inside walls still standing, water was pouring from broken pipes. Leo just behind them, stopped dead at the sight, frozen with blind terror.

Leo and the Medallion Fraud

Everything so far has been sweetness and light, hasn’t it? But now Leo’s in for a mucky, smelly, turn-to-jelly adventure. Sinking in mud at Shadwell Steps (yuk), sleeping in a bug-infested hovel (aargh!), his gizzards almost cut from his tender body (HELP!!) Leo finds new friends in Victorian London, just trying to make a dishonest living. Remember Dear Reader that Leo’s a Collector . . .  do keep up!

The characters:


Leo’s mum

Steve: owner of a junk shop

Sarah: a Victorian girl

Billy: Sarah’s brother

Charley: a mudlark

Customs men


Here is a scene from Chapter Four

It appeared that he was on a river bank. The air was thick and sulphurous, curls of dank mist were rising from the black mud. The stench around him was making him gag. I’m going to throw up! Leo tried to stand, but the slimy muck held fast to his legs sucking noisily as he lifted a foot. He struggled frantically, but then realising that if he panicked he would sink under the sludge beneath, he calmed himself. One powerful effort helped him pull free with a loud squelch. There was a green moss-covered stranded barge nearby, which Leo was just able to grab on to. He waited there, panting and whimpering with fear, until his heart slowed and he could take stock of his surroundings.

He saw a girl up on the quayside wall. ‘Hello!’ Leo shouted, his mouth filling with a foul taste. ‘Can you help me?’

The girl took her time looking at him. ‘Wotcha doin’ there?’

‘What does it look like?’ Leo was now angry at this ridiculous situation. ‘I’m not having a tea party am I? Help me get out of this stinking mess. Please!’ He retched violently.

Chapter Three

Leo’s Flying Machine Adventure

Leo’s flying a model aircraft . . . Oh, come on! Let’s cut to the chase. All right reader, here is a gang of boys with more planes than you can shake a stick at. Leo hangs onto a giant glider and is swept into the sky. Phew! He survives. But who’s this handsome young man who wants to fight for King and Country in 1914? More explosions – what is it with inventors? – before Leo learns that Sydney Camm later designed the Hurricane aircraft that helped Britain win the War. Hurrah chaps!

The characters:


Leo’s mum

Leo’s cousin Lily

Ginger: a boy

F J Camm: flies model planes

Sydney Camm: aircraft designer

A passage from Chapter Three

Leo was sure he would look a right lemon if he refused to be carried, so he grabbed hold of the bar as he was told. Several boys supported the wings either side, and Syd shouted to the boys hanging on to the rope in front – ‘GO!’ –  and Leo was away! The wind rushed past his ears, he felt himself being propelled up off the ground. Leo remembered the booklet included with his model plane, which described how a plane flew. He knew that when he felt one wing starting to dip, he had to shift his weight the other way. The glider balanced again, and Leo felt the thrill of being in charge of the thing above him. The rope had dropped away and Leo felt as free as a bird. He wished he could fly higher, but there was no park left for the glider to continue its flight, and it was gradually slipping to earth. He started running as his feet hit the ground, and brought the plane to a bumpy stop. He skidded along the grass for quite a distance, then tumbled in a heap. The boys ran back and helped Leo up. But it was Sydney who was their hero of the day. They all swarmed around him, congratulating him on his terrific design.

A photograph of Sydney Camm

Chapter Two

Leo’s Television Secret

Holiday time with great-grandma, who’s a bit of a laugh in silver shoes. Leo gets trapped in a time slip, meeting an inventor just as his workshop explodes. Never mind, the Boffin wants a Boy to help, so Leo ‘does his bit’ for science. Television is invented, and Leo’s Time Travelling Adventures are really under way. And gosh, John Logie Baird has given lucky Leo a genuine half crown coin. Wow!

The characters:


Leo’s mum

Leo’s great-grandma:  lives in Hastings

John Logie-Baird:  an inventor

Mr Twigg:  a landlord

Stookie Bill:  wooden head from a ventriloquist dummy

Here’s a short piece from Chapter Two

Leo was a bit miffed at having to lose his scientific glass tube; could it really be a secret light cell? He was late setting off the next morning, and arrived at Queen’s Arcade at nine fifteen with the secret light cell wrapped in a supermarket bag. But something wasn’t right. The door where he’d entered the previous day wasn’t there. Of course not! How could he have imagined he could walk back into the past so easily? He looked around in a panic. Mr Baird must have the cell to finish his experiment. It was his after all, wasn’t it? Somehow Leo knew that whatever it was Mr. Baird was experimenting with, it was important.

He ran down to the end of the Arcade and back searching for the entrance to the inventor’s workshop, but no – how terrible – it had definitely disappeared! The extraordinary power which enabled him to meet people from the past, seemed to have left him. Leo had not the faintest idea how or when the power worked, so he didn’t know what he could do to return the secret cell to Mr Baird. He stood by the spot where Baird had been chased from the building, shut his eyes and visualised the destruction in the workshop. After a moment or two, he felt a rushing in his ears. He opened his eyes, and there was the door shimmering in front of him! Wow, that was close! He pushed open the door and climbed the stairs. He heard the most frightening crackling, fizzing electrical noises coming from the workshop. ‘Hello. I’m here,’ called Leo.

Chapter One

Leo and the Toy Theatre Surprise

Where we read about Leo’s Collections – nothing special, just old coins, rocks & fossils, and Doctor Who stuff — but don’t be fooled, you never know where these things will lead him! His mum collects too — yawn, boring. Ha! ha! we’ll see. Leo starts a toy theatre print collection. He gets a special, amazing performance at his birthday party — but look out — is that ancient Showman all he seems? (Watch for the blue stain, it’s a clue).

The characters:

Leo:  a boy who I think lives somewhere in London

Leo’s dad:  works for an electronics company

Leo’s mum:  likes to paint Still Life pictures

Rick:  Leo’s best friend

Simon:  manager of a Toyshop in Covent Garden

Benjamin Pollock:  sold toy theatres – long, long ago

Here’s a short piece from Chapter One:

Then he did a strange thing. Leo saw him take a small twist of paper from his waistcoat pocket, unfold it, and scrutinise the contents. ‘Have you seen this before Leo?’ He held out the scrap of paper. There, glowing brightly, was a tiny sliver of blue rock.

Leo peered into the paper. ‘No, never seen anything that colour.’

Mr Pollock shook his head. ‘I got this last night from a friend of mine. He was telling me some strange nonsense about … ‘ The man put his hand on Leo’s shoulder. ‘I was wondering if you might be linked to it … you seem … so different to my usual boys. As though you don’t belong here.’

Leo put his finger to touch the blue rock, and as he did so, Benjamin Pollock shimmered before him in the growing darkness, his voice echoing ‘Don’t, don’t’, while Leo’s insides somersaulted, and he was tossed through a hot whirlwind to land on his duvet in his room, staring up at the red Chinese paper lampshade which was twisting crazily above his bed.

Are you here to find out about the story of Leo’s Heroes? Don’t forget to scroll down to the first postings on my blog! Over the next few weeks, you will find out more about Leo and be able to read some extracts from each chapter.

Fun at first for Leo, but then darker forces shroud him in fear. He only begins to unravel the mystery in Chapter 6, when he hears his great-great-grandad’s terrible tale. Leo must follow in his footsteps. Will our daring hero save the day?

The chapters will be described in my next blog posts. I hope you will want to read the whole book to find out who else Leo meets on his time travelling adventures.


Posted on: July 28, 2010

Crash, Bang, Wallop! Beware the scary alien Temporidium!

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  • moheard: Hi Bryony, Thank you for such a super review, which I'd love the whole world to read! It is such a privilege to be able to make a connection with som
  • bryony: hello Mo, my name is Bryony and you came to my school to discuss about your book. (I was the one who introduced you to our teacher and then took you i
  • mary dawson: hi MO this does sound exciting! will have to buy the book and help you get it into more schools etc from Mary