Archives for the month of: November, 2015

Published by Chicken House

A light-hearted romp through a week-long school ski trip – with everyone going with different ideas about what such a trip should mean or what results should have been achieved by the end of it.

There are characters a-plenty, apart from the usual teachers, there is Mouse who seems to have parted from her friends, Jack and his, who seem to have very few things on their minds, apart from one (and music), a pop star and his entourage and lastly Mr Jambon  a very cool hamster…

A lovely one to take on a skiing trip this winter….or to have for Christmas…

Published by Oxford University Press

Not yet published at time of going to Post: February 2016

A touching and extraordinary story about an unbelieveable friendship. I find good  human – animal and animal – human relationships fascinating and extraordinary. Particularly those where the differences in power are so enormous. My cat as a small kitten would snuggle down under the covers, tucking herself under my chin. A small handful of feline. Her bones so fragile, but she trusted me not to hurt her…

This is an emotionally charged book, one about responsibility and about life.

Those of you who are like-minded will be pleased to know that the main character does not wake from a dream. It is much more than that. So much more.

Stern Miss Frugle always said

To Peter and his sister,

‘After school you’ll stay behind

If you so much as whisper.’

Then one winter afternoon

While skating on thin ice,

The children saw it crack and Miss

Frugle vanish in a trice.

People wondered where she’d gone,

But no-one really missed her,

And she was never found because

Peter and his sister

didn’t so much as whisper

didn’t so much as whisper.

I bought a copy of Gargling with Jelly by Brian Patten partially because it is illustrated by Chris Riddell. I also bought it because I loved this poem. My brother is named Peter. My sister Clare. Somehow, perhaps this reminded me of them…

Published by Macmillan Children’s Books

Supporting Book Trust (20 pence from the sale of each of these goes to the Book Trust).

There are probably hundreds of colouring-in books that have been published in the last few months or so. Some are better than others.

They contain designs of every sort and type of subject you can imagine: mythical, self-help, (anti-stress / calming etc), literary, seasonal, religious, geographic, magical, oriental, animals (numerous numbers of these of a vastly different types), architecture, shapes, therapy, and botany, to name just a few. Everyone seems to be doing it – our tables are laden with large and small square books.

They are often listed as Adult Colouring books. They aren’t really ‘adult’ in the sense of content of a film being 18+ They are just full of detail, well, some are, and it is assumed that any listed as adult must be more complicated and, therefore, be more difficult to do.

In my view this does not mean that children don’t have the patience or ability to colour these books. They do – it’s just that suddenly adults have been persuaded that this is the ‘new’ thing. I suppose it is for them.

There is only one practical art book that I have regularly sold (previously the subject of a post on this blog) – Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered (by Quinten Blake and John Cassidy) and now there is this new book by Chris Riddell.

This small paperback is full of 366 things to draw, colour in or doodle – one for every day of the year.
Stuffed with drawings from Chris Riddell’s work, some of which I have seen before, others I haven’t. I have bought two copies – an extravagance, but a necessary one.

I intend to use one and to colour in, draw and doodle as directed…The other I shall keep as it is – and perhaps one day I will meet him again and be able to ask him to sign both copies for me… It is a practical art book for fans of his work and suitable for everyone from around six through to 110..or as long as they can hold a pencil, and see.

My favourite date in the book is March the 14th – a Story Starter page… Yes the book includes space for you to write too…should you wish…

It doesn’t go into the ‘science’ particularly, of how to draw, it is more of an encouragement for everyone to start and to keep drawing. Both Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered and this complement each other and should be bought as a set…

In addition to being filled with his wonderful art work – 20 pence of the sale of each volume goes to the Book Trust – a charity that promotes reading….and what could be better than that?

Published by Walker Books

Not yet Published at time of going to Post: February 2016

When Uman walks late into class no one is prepared for what happens. Uman pushes limits. Asks questions that no one thought to ask, or if they did, dared to. He is an enigma. He’s different and not afraid to be.

He sits next to Gloria that first day, and tells her she is ready for change. It is the start of a friendship diverse from everything she has come across. He doesn’t talk about his past, just asks questions and pushes for answers.

He skips classes, and has obviously always done so. Gloria never has. Till now.

An unusal and rather wonderful story. Another book about living life, and not allowing it to go by. Not that I suggest we all follow in Gloria’s and Uman’s footsteps…but perhaps the essence of the story could be mixed into our own.

Question 21 – What would you have done?

This cover has a notation on the Internet stating it is the one they will use in the US. Their covers are often wildly different from those used to publish the same book in the UK.

Keep an eye out for this book in what ever cover they give it.


Published by Corgi Books

This is an extraordinary story about friendship, love, and control.

Maddy hasn’t left her home for seventeen years. Her front door is an air lock. There are filters and air purifiers pumping clean air into her home. She is home educated and wonders about the world outside that she cannot reach. Her mother does everything for her when she is home, otherwise a nurse is with her. There is someone there always, but she is happy enough, perhaps. Her illness, however prevents her from doing the usual teenage things, parties, meeting friends, going to school and then she sees the family move in next door….loud raucous and full of life…a family so unlike her own…

A remarkable first novel.

Enjoy it!

Published by Oxford University Press

Not yet Published at time of going to Press: January 2016

The proof of this book details the title as Silent Thief, however, the pictures on the Internet seem to indicate it will be published under the title: The Scarlet Files: Cat Burglar. My proof has a pre-publication cover – one without any illustration.

I hope that before publication they remove the reference to cat burglary – I prefered Silent Thief, which gave no indication of content.

I suppose by all of that I have promoted the theme of this wonderful adventure story – but to ensure you have a picture to help you track the book down I feel that was necessary. So a book with two titles…

This was brilliant fun – Scar’s father is a professional cat burglar and she is learning the trade at her father’s feet… She hasn’t done much on her own, just yet, but things develop fast in this story that mixes adventure with fantasy. I loved it.

They aren’t the usual sort of cat burglars – their quarry is different from the usual and has a different sort of history.

Fantastical and fun – I hope there will be more Scarlet Files – certainly an author and possible series to watch.

Published by Tamarind Books

This is the story of two boys, a grandfather, who blamed himself and a young girl born on the day her brother died. An extraordinary debut novel, touching and emotionally charged. This is a story of friendship, secrets and life – quite wonderful.

Having just read this small review, I realise quite how small it is – just so far 66 words – or so my WordPress word count states.

I don’t really want to say any more – if you want to know more, you will just have to go out and buy a copy. It is worth the expenditure.

Published in July – I didn’t get hold of a copy till sometime last week. Sometimes books slip through the net. I’m sorry not to have spotted this one earlier.

Published by Orion Children’s Books

Not yet Published at time of going to Post: March 2016

This starts with the story of a young girl clutching her doll whilst waiting for her mother on board her parent’s boat. She realises that one shoe of her doll has become lost, and is, perhaps lying on the quay side. It is the result of that which makes her decide never to lose anything ever again…

This is a story of adventure, that life is and should be one. It is not something to be taken lightly, stored carefully in boxes, wrapped up in cotton wool. It is a story of friendship, bravery, cunning, daring and a small amount of audaciousness…of trips in a jungle, of topiary, imagination, it is a tale of growing up, pushing the boundaries and it is also the story of a small rat, named Tar.

The proof I had was set in a very small font – which was a pity as it does make it a little harder to read and might just put off those readers who don’t like small print. Perhaps this was just for the proof – I expect that is the case. Once again, being a proof I cannot be certain of the design for the cover, but that depicted above is the same or very similar to that on the proof, and is advertised on the Internet as the cover…

Enjoy this lesson of life – to be grabbed with both hands, or paws, should you be like Tar…