Like so many book owners I have amassed a number of books that I haven’t had time to read. So I’m trying to catch up.
This book is based in Sheffield and great for showing children that stories based around everyday events can be really interesting inspiring children to use the local setting to inspire their writing.
I travel to Sheffield a lot and I was intrigued by the idea of a book being based around local statues (unfortunately I have not seen them yet). So, it accompanied me on a recent train journey to Leicester.
Back to the book. Strange things are happening down at Meadow Hall. There are unexplained break-ins but what is puzzling the police as well as the general public are the shops that are broken into. Whoever is carrying out these criminal acts has only targeted food shops. The break-ins stop when two small children discover that when the sculptor has forgotten to include an item that was important to the Steelmen.
It’s the school summer holidays and Sally and her little brother Stevie spend a lot of time at Meadow Hall with their mum. Stevie is enthralled by the statues and spends a lot of time starting at them. This is when they become aware of a break into a pie shop. Something else happens but only Stevie sees it, one of the statues sticks his tongue out . Each time the children go to Meadow Hall another shop has been broken into and the children notice that something about the statues has changed. Stevie becomes convinced that is the Steelmen who are breaking into the shops looking for something but he does not know what.The mystery is solved when the children and their mother take their neighbour Ethel to the centre and she tells them that she likes the statues but that they don’t have any snap. Once Stevie understands what snap is he understands what the Steelmen are looking for. This is where the adventure starts for the two children.
I enjoyed reading this book. There was a lovely relationship between the children and the older character Ethel who provides insights into the behaviour of the statues. I particularly enjoyed the way the children had an adventure without leaving the centre. It reminded me of the Magicians Nephew when the children entered a different world without really leaving their own.
Meet me by the Steelmen is set in Meadowhall Shopping Centre which was built on the site of one of Sheffield’s biggest and most famous former steelworks, Hadfield’s. It was founded by Sir Robert Abbott Hadfield (1858 – 1940).
In its heyday Hadfield’s produced 200,000 tonnes of steel a year and employed 15,000 workers. It had been on the site at Tinsley since 1897 and closed in the early 1980s, with a loss of thousands of jobs.