Archives for the month of: March, 2017

Published by Bloomsbury

I used to think that Cadbury’s was everything, particularly if kept in the fridge. My sister liked Galaxy, which I found too soft to the taste. Then I found out about Green and Black and realised that I didn’t really like milky chocolate – I like something between milk, and dark. I began to frequent places like Hotel Chocolat (http://www.hotelchocolat.com/uk) & found that I like good chocolate.

72% Dark Madagascar 70g, 70G, hi-resI visited Madagascar almost two years ago, (to find out about the wildlife), and on my return started to look out for Madagascan chocolate. Hotel Chocolat  sell it in slim bars…and Waitrose sell small boxes produced by a chap (he must be a very good chap, called Willie).

Amongst other Willie's Cacao Madagascan gold 71things Madagascan chocolate really does taste of berries and I was hooked.

Dragons on the other hand have always been important – Smaug I suppose was my first, but I like their characters – they always struck me as strong – determined and a little temperamental, if not down right difficult and I can’t say that I’m a particularly easy person to get on with. So, I have often felt I had an affinity with them. Particularly if something is unfair, or not right.

This book starts with a dragon remembering the advice of her grandfather, that it is safer not to talk to your food. Which struck me as very good advice.

The story  lead me on; there are dragons,  though up to page 184 actually not many, but there is adventure with the flavour of dragons. I haven’t finished it yet – but I can confirm, the dragons are coming! I loved too the idea of chocolate shops taking on apprentices to train to make the perfect hot chocolate, it seemed wonderful (and obvious), and to become a chocolatier, a glorious pinnacle to achieve – and this story mixes the magic of dragons and fantasy with the magic (it can really only be magic) of chocolate.

What more could you want? Actually this book should be sold by all good chocolatiers, and the book should have, perhaps, a small box of Willie’s squares, or one of the slim Hotel Chocolat bookmark sized bars,  attached to each volume…just to prove that sometimes fiction can be reflected in real life.

Go out and buy the book – its a paperback at £6.99, the chocolate costs around £3 for Willie’s squares or £7.50 for Hotel Chocolat’s creation – find a comfortable seat, somewhere quiet, and settle down to read, whilst nibbling on some lovely good chocolate!

Or, perhaps better still,  purchase some of Hotel Chocolat’s Chilli Hot Chocolate (£9 a box), and snuggle down with a warm blanket and this very good book.

 

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Published by Faber & Faber.

I shall never think of mackerel in the same way again.

This is a beautiful book, unlike any I have read before. Billy’s ‘thing’ is Natural History, the strange and peculiar; the interesting facts about animals that make the subject so fascinating. His hero, is also one of mine – Sir David Attenborough, who makes regular visits to Billy in his daydreams, as his mind wanders away from life when he doesn’t want to deal with the more challenging things that it periodically throws at us all. He watches all David’s programmes, and he knows that he has all the answers to everything – to all the questions, he just has to listen and he will answer.

Billy is different, not the usual boy. Being different isn’t good, at least that is what Billy has found. His class find him strange and as Billy knows that isn’t always good in the animal kingdom.

Then a new boy arrives at school, another boy who is interested in Natural History. He though is different from Billy; he can’t swim, and Billy can. Patrick though, can do other things…and is willing to wait for his friend, when many others wouldn’t.

The imaginative text – which is so peculiar to the book is reflected in the use of typeface  – which along with the illustrations makes this very unique.

It is a beautifully illustrated volume – the book has superb free and paste-down endpapers and a lovely dust jacket with fish swimming on them – and one in particular, a mackerel facing Fish Boy on the front. It is handsomely designed and the pictures really contribute to making this a very special book – they make it more of a gift and rather special.

It has been published in hardback, but it would have been a disservice to both the story, design and illustrations if it hadn’t been. It costs a little more, but you receive more than you pay when you purchase such a volume.

Buy it.

Image: Anne Cecile

Image result for jungle book ian beck

Published by Alma Classics

The Jungle Books shouldn’t need an introduction.

That is unless all you have done is seen the films.

If you haven’t read the books – then this really is a must read.

There are several different editions available to buy, in different bindings.

This edition though, is really something else.

It is a paperback. Of the regular octavo size.

It is printed on good quality paper. Which it has to be admitted, doesn’t always happen. There are publishers who don’t know about paper, but there are others, though that do and they are available to buy.

This edition though, is the only one with chapter headings with superb illustrations by Ian Beck.

In the spring they are also publishing The Just So Stories.

I have placed my order for this already.

If you already have a copies of these books. Or there are copies ‘in the house’ – so you ‘don’t need another’, please don’t miss the opportunity of purchasing this edition. Perhaps younger members of the family would appreciate owning their own copies.

The Jungle Books really is something very special. Remember to order the Just So Stories at the same time.

The ISBNs for the books are:

The Jungle Book / Kipling: 978 1847495839

The Just So Stories / Kipling: 978 1847496379

Ian Beck has illustrated many other books, including his Tom Trueheart series….also suitable for 8 and onwards…and really rather wonderful.

Buy them!

Published by Macmillan Children’s Books.  I thought I would start this post with a quote from the book.

‘I’ve got a time-out card.’ I say this almost under my breath, turning away so that the only people who can hear me are the teacher and Tabassum. It’s not a state secret, but my parents seem to think life will be easier if my Asperger’s is on the need-to-know basis. I’m not sure it works, but nobody bothered to ask me….

I knew this would happen when Miss Young laminated this time-out card. Half the teachers are terrified in case I start climbing on the tables or setting fire to the desks….’

Grace’s father travels… He works on television, producing natural history programmes. Often he is away for months. Grace’s mother on the other hand is making sure that everything runs properly at home & that the ‘situation’ that is Grace, is being taken seriously. Leah her younger sister observes all this with a wry look on life that made me laugh as I read this wonderful tale of a family being a family – with all the challenges that brings and a few extra on top.

It is superb.

The illustration above is one of Edward Gorey’s pictures – I am a fan of his work (see the Gashlycrumb Tinies post) – and since there isn’t a reasonable picture of the proof, let alone the cover to be used for this book – I thought I would use this…as a sort of stand in for an image.

The proof states that The State of Grace is due to be published on the 6th of April 2017

 

 

Published by Walker Books.

This post was started as a review of Truth or Dare. Then I remembered Trouble, also by Non Pratt and expected to find an earlier post about that brilliant volume. For some reason, that I don’t know, it never got on to the site. So it has a mention at the end – as these are both books to sink into…

I have never ‘played’ Truth or Dare. Not even when the Internet didn’t exist. I sometimes wonder at the repercussions for those who now become involved in these challenges, particularly now that they can be viewed by everyone who has access to social media. I suppose I didn’t like the idea of where such encounters might lead. Would I have spoken the truth, would I have done something dangerous, just to be part of a group? I don’t know – I avoided the issue.

This is book is about two brothers, a dare that went right, and dares that perhaps didn’t end in the way the participants expected. It is a tale with a heart. It covers the phenomenon of social media dares – Internet sites that, to quote one, states: ‘…a social media where users upload video proof to earn street-cred.’ Which isn’t something I have ever worried about. In this book the dares, are on the whole, performed for another result entirely. Well, most of the time…

The book comes in two parts. Claire’s and then Sef’s story; you read hers and then (with my proof) turn the book over to read Sef’s. Claire’s starts in September. Sef’s in August; the story ends in the following February.

It is the story of bravery – and not just as a result of the dares. Friendship and of course trust. It is also about facing the truth, however hard. It is also about how small things can change lives irrevocably. It is also the story that begins, in a way with a small bat.

A bat. Flying mammal. As in blind as a…

This is an enticing book – one that will get under your skin. It is a rollercoaster of a ride with death just a page turn away…

Do you dare to read it?

Non Pratt also wrote Trouble which came out some time ago – a book about teenage pregnancy which was enticing, and extraordinary. Sadly I either hadn’t set up my blog then, or I just didn’t get around to reviewing it, which would be strange, as I became totally involved with the book.

So, buy the two as a pair – they make good siblings and are brilliant reads.

I have removed the pictures from this post – as they have reverted to the Walker Books logo – not much help when searching for them. I have replaced it with this rather nice Edward Gorey illustration. I think its rather fun…

Published by Scholastic

This is a charming, unique fairy tale. Alberto lives in a village,  where flying fish soar out of the sea, and the houses are brightly coloured. The only fisherman in the area is laughed at, after all what use is a fisherman, when fish regularly fall from the sky? Alberto though is a carpenter and spends his time making toys for his three children and household furniture to sell. It is a happy house, until things change, as they do in fairy tales and a sickness arrives at the bottom of the hill.

This is a small volume. The proof is printed in blue, with small illustrations that decorate each page. It is to be published in paperback, and I hope that Scholastic will make sure that the production reflects the appeal of the story.

The above illustration depicts the cover of the proof – which as those of you who are regular readers of this blog will know, quite often doesn’t reflect the end result – but it might give a little indication of how the book might look once it has been published. Which my proof states will be in May. Though often that too changes. Keep an eye out for this one though – a story of the traditional variety…