Archives for the month of: November, 2016

Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

This is so much more than a story book. Beautifully illustrated it relates the story of Isabelle and her friend and companion, Pickle her dog. Vibrant and a superb gift it details the four seasons as they occur throughout their adventure.

What really makes this a superb volume is the music. Each page has a button which when pressed plays a small excerpt of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to go along with the story. It brilliantly allows young people to experience a gorgeous piece of classical music mixed with a lovely narrative and beautiful illustrations. The rendition is as good as many CD’s I have heard play; it is not a ‘noisy’ book – it does not fit into that genre – the book plays music.

I am pleased to note that there are to be more books like this produced by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books. I am hoping that the next piece will be either, the Nutcracker or perhaps better still, the 1812 – what fun to have a book with cannons!




Published by Nosy Crow

This is a book about fostering. About children and about those children who won’t be parted. It is a story of bravery and dealing with things that are far greater than those affected. It is also about people who are trying to help – and sometimes seeming not to be doing the best job. It is a story of people in particular Ira and Zac two siblings being moved around from home to home. Desperate that perhaps this time, maybe, the move will be their last. When they move into Skilly House, a care home, they make friends, only to lose them again as they leave. Then Ira finds a letter, hidden under a floorboard…and makes a different new friend…

Moving and beautifully written – a book for this time of year; perhaps the worst for being in care.

In the Finchley Road O2 Centre there is a Giving Tree, and gifts can be purchased for children who are in a care home. A simple system of choosing a label and purchasing a gift, which can be left in the O2 Management’s offices – buy this, and buy a gift for a youngster like Ira & Zac…it will be appreciated.

Published by Walker Books –

I have only reached page 102 in my proof copy of this new book by Rob Lloyd Jones (RLJ) – due to be published in January 2017 – The story of Jake, a boy who’s propensity for getting into trouble has driven his parents almost into despair. His sister ignores him on the whole – there is a war of attrition between the two of them. She is clever, works hard, but tries to hide it and her enthusiasm for life behind a gothic front…He on the other hand is not, does not and gets into trouble at the earliest opportunity. His speciality is thieving – however, he has promised his family that he has stopped and they are off on a family holiday which should be special. It’s not just any holiday – they are off to Egypt.

At the airport he is allowed to wander the shops, though his parents are not sure whether that is the right decision. His father feels they should take a chance, and almost believes in his promise, his mother isn’t so sure. He is given some money for a shirt – and wanders off into the shopping malls. Of course he finds himself in an electrical store, just to look. The theft of the tablet is an almost a natural progression from that – what is not natural is when the tablet switches itself on and the man on the screen starts giving him advice on how to avoid the store detectives, the manager, and the security officers… A circumstance that begins to really freak him out. Particularly when he is given a shirt from one of the shops and is guided back to his parents just in time for the flight. The laptop now hidden in the back of his trousers he follows his family into the aircraft; the mystery of who the man is on the tablet, how he got there and how he knew about Jake going round and round his head…

A super story for anyone with an interest in Egyptology, secret societies, mysteries and adventure. It says in the blurb the book is a mix of Indiana Jones and Mission Impossible – a very good by-line. I hope the rest of the books is as good. Knowing RLJ’s work from Wild Boy, a previous piece of fiction he wrote, I have no doubt it will be.

I have just finished the proof – which frankly has stopped me from doing all the jobs I should have been doing, and I am pleased to report it ends better than it started. What is more there is hope for a long series – I don’t think Marjorie (!) will allow the family to rest in peace for long. It is also rather nice – a very prosaic word, but I can’t think of a better one – that the adventure includes everyone in the family.

I’d like to know when the next one is due out!

Published by Penguin

This is an adventure story set in 1749. Thomas Fielding’s father has died, and Thomas believes that he is responsible. Not directly maybe, but still responsible. When his mother receives a letter from his uncle in England giving details of how his life has improved, she suggests that Thomas travels to London to seek his fortune with him.

His journey is not an easy one. The mechanical hand his father made for him after an accident is affected by the sea spray as he sails to Plymouth. By the time he makes his way to London, he is exhausted, in pain and bewildered. The journey to his uncle’s home through London does not go as expected. The roads are treacherous, the weather appalling; snow drifting down into the front of the cab and the mayhem of London, loud and aromatic further increase his discomfort.

When his driver is shot, he finds himself riding at breakneck speed through London….chasing a carriage disappearing into the alleys and lanes…

This is Cameron McAllister’s second book – the first The Tin Snail was totally different…and set in the second world war. A glorious tale of inventiveness and bravery.

This is a brilliant rollocking adventure . Two extraordinary stories from one stable. An author to watch.


If you say please and thank you

and look into my eyes.

If you teach your children

respect, and mind them.

If you are liable for your charges

and pay for damage and refuse

to leave the books upon the floor.

If you return things to their proper place

and help your child to do the same.

If you make sure your charge is taught

to recognise the concept

of other people’s things;

to treat them with the care that’s due.

If you know that

food belongs outside

and nappies should be changed elsewhere.

If you take advice and purchase

without resorting to

online temptation.

If at last

you know not to leave

your precious son or daughter,


within the store.

Then you will find

the pleasure and the joy

of buying

in a bookshop –

and what is more –

your children will do too.

Published by David Fickling Books

Garvie Smith, Like Sherlock – but lazier

This is the second volume in the Garvie Smith series. I wrote about Running Girl a while ago, having rather fallen in love with Garvie. A young man whose abilities that far out weigh his inclinations to work towards his up and coming  exams.

In this new book  his mother is nearing melt-down.

The school that Garvie ‘attends’ is now in the throws of examination time – everyone is revising, and spending their last few hours and minutes before each exam, studying, writing notes, and reading over stuff, just one more time.

Garvie, of course, is not…His uncle keeps taking Garvie aside to talk to him, explaining what needs to be done. At least to keep his mother happy.

His mother is desperate, and keeps pulling him aside to stare at her son, her voice becoming more and more stringent as Garvie stands before her in the kitchen, explaining yet again what happened.

Garvie would like to keep his mother happy. The problem though is that a pupil from his school has been murdered. The most unlikely boy to die, you might have thought. A violinist – who never allowed his violin out of his hands. So what happened to it?

Another gloriously funny crime novel – set around some of my favourite characters… Inspector Singh is still struggling to keep his sanity (and his job) with Garvie’s exuberance and ‘help’, and he finds himself doing things he’d never usually think of doing…

This one has been published in hardback – but is well worth the slightly increased expenditure.