Archives for category: 2018 April

Image result for Buried crown sherrick chicken house

Published by Chicken House

This is another wonderful historical story by Ally Sherrick, this time set in 1940 in England.

George has been evacuated to the country after his parents’ deaths, not far from where his brother is based, as a novice RAF pilot, flying spitfires.

He is working on a farm, caring for the animals, and has made friends with the farmer’s dog. The farmer, however, is more likely to give George and Spud, a beating than give them a meal – he works hard, but always with an eye to the farmer’s fist. When he finds a way to escape, with the dog at his heals, he tries to make his way to his brother’s base, only to be caught and brought back to the farm…

This is an historical tale, mixed with a little fantasy, magic and mythology – super reading. Ally Sherrick also wrote Black Powder, (also reviewed on this blog); she seems to be taking high points of history and wrapping a story around the events, that are all her own.

Superb.

 

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Image result for what lexie did shevah chicken house

Published by Chicken House

Lies. There so many different types of lies. There are times, when it seems acceptable to lie. Other times, when its not. There are many reasons too, why people lie. This is a book about lying and how lies, if left, can grow and change, become twisted and affect things that initially seem to have no relation at all to each other, let alone the lie itself.

Lexie tells a lie. Which results in her insides becoming gnarly, like a tangled hosepipe full of steaming purple puss. Which is a very good description of how unpleasant a lie can make you feel.

This is a story about lies and repercussions. Lexie is from a Greek Cypriot family and the most important thing for them is family. Lexie’s lie has repercussions that are far reaching and devastating for everyone. Its a story of families. Of mistakes, jealousy, fear and of being human.

Oh! what a tangled web we weave

When first we practice to deceive!

Published by Bloomsbury

Mary was the daughter of Katherine of Aragon and  Henry VIII.

Katherine was Henry’s first wife, whom he set aside to marry Anne Boleyn with whom he had Mary’s half sister, Elizabeth. Both girls were ultimately to rule England. This though is Mary’s story, the story that made a young girl into the Queen she was.

It is a story knotted and entwined in her father’s desperate need to sire a son, with his drive and determination to marry Anne Boleyn, and when that resulted in her death, with his marriage to Jane Seymour.

The Tudors, for me, start English history. From them, my knowledge of history spreads, a little like a poorly made spider’s web.

They weren’t perfect. Then again, history was a different place. They did things differently then…so differently.  Their knowledge and beliefs were diverse too.

This story covers the period before Mary or Elizabeth had ascended the throne. The courtiers, and Henry VIII had nothing to compare, they didn’t know the strength, knowledge and forethought that a woman can have. Hindsight is a marvellous thing. Then again, when you look at our more recent history, perhaps it isn’t so different.

There are gaps in our knowledge about the Tudors. They are the people I’d like to meet from the past – there are so many questions. Not just of this period, but of Elizabeth’s time on the throne, and Mary’s too.

Lucy Worsley, of whom I am quite jealous, lives and works around Hampton Court, amongst other palaces, as their Chief Curator. She knows her history. I hope she will go on to write the other two stories, that of Elizabeth I and that of that much desired boy Edward VI – whose lives were so tied to the need to ensure there was a prince to follow in Henry VIII’s footsteps.

Our history would be so bland if it weren’t for this extraordinary family…

Lucy Worsley has written three books, so far for this age group, though this, perhaps, is my favourite.

 

 

 

Published by Oxford University Press

Sailing – especially in small boats is an almost visceral occupation for some. For others, it is a mechanical procedure, hardly understood. Then again others know the physics, the mathematics, but would never step on board.

St Kilda is an island off the west coast of Scotland. The most remote part of the Outer Hebrides. Bleak and uninhabited, apart from the birds and sheep – and even these are different from the usual woolly ruminant. There used to be a small hamlet, and the army have had a base there, but on the whole, it is left to the birds (and the sheep). It is a desolate place. A place, on the whole, deserted.  A place where you could, if you can reach it, disappear. Escape from life, perhaps, just for a while.

Jamie’s family build boats, and sail them. Theirs, so far, have never capsized and his grandfather intuitively, it seems, builds beautiful small vessels and hopes that Jamie might follow in his footsteps… though he thinks he should become a stronger swimmer, before learning to sail.

Jamie, however, has a secret.

This is a lovely book about boats, sailing, friendship, a dog, and bravery.

The illustration below, is I think, a picture of a ‘swell’ – and I have ‘nicked’ it from the Internet again – from Pinterest – Beth Robertson Fiddes / Dark Sea St Kilda. Somehow it fits this story…it gives the feeling of menace…

Published by Bloomsbury (April 2018)

A finger of fudge, is just enough…

The proof of this book came with a bar of McBudge Fudge – actually a bar of Cadbury’s Fudge, with a wrapper advertising McBudge Fudge wrapped around it. How could I not start the book, with that sort of incentive? I ate the fudge (and very good it was too) with a hot cup of tea and began to read.  I don’t think I can remember having a finger of fudge since the above advert was on ‘the box’. It had a ‘jingle’ that started with ‘A finger of Fudge is just enough, to give your kids a treat…’  It’s hot-wired into my brain…I could sing it for you, if you were here and not there… not very well, but I could.

Actually, not only did Bloomsbury send me chocolate, but they also supplied me with a very good book too. What more could anyone want? They did rather well.

I haven’t got very far with this yet, but it has the same feel as Sylvia Bishop’s Bookshop Girl and that isn’t a bad thing.

At the beginning of the story Archie McBrudge visits Honeystone Hall with his mother to meet a solicitor. He explains that not only has Archie has inherited the hall, but also the world famous McBudge Fudge Factory, as well as his great-uncle’s gardening tools to boot!

I suppose it could be said to have essences of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl) – Archie is set a series of tests he has to pass, and has met one or two very strange people. An extraordinary & ancient butler along with a young lass, who works as a plumber at the hall…and things are definitely not what they seem. I am going to enjoy reading this in bed tonight – its a book for curling up with, especially when it is very, very cold. Which it is. I have my oil heater on – in an attempt to warm myself up.

One of the reasons I like books are the odd phrases authors use to describe things – in this case a character is described as looking like a ‘forlorn slug.’ Which is wonderful. I have never really liked slugs (snails, I approve of, even though they destroy my plants), and I have never thought of them as being anything…however, I shall now think of them differently and will examine them carefully in the future to see if any of them look forlorn.

I digress. I am sure this is going to be one of those books that readers who are beginning to enjoy reading for themselves and have a little confidence will relish.

The title suggests there may be more to come – The Dundoodle Mysteries – which can’t be a bad thing. I hope there will be – not too many, just the right number…

Lastly – I looked up forlorn slug then chocolate slug on the Internet.  Sadly there was nothing that really depicted the former concept for me so, you aren’t getting a picture of one. The chocolate slugs sold in California (Humboldt) look, regrettably, rather revolting (even if they are chocolate), but then I expect they are supposed to.

The Internet did, though, bring up pictures of Chocolate Frogs – part of the Harry Potter franchise. We sell these now – at £4.99 a frog. You do, however, get a mystery card to collect…to go with it. Whether these are lenticular or not, is not something I can answer. Those produced by Cadbury’s years ago, were – and they made very good bookmarks. I hope these have moving pictures too…I have not, though eaten one, so I don’t know.

Anyway – to get back to The Chocolate Factory Ghost – if a book can refer to forlorn slugs – you can’t really go wrong – imagination, a good story, and wonderful inventive descriptive English – what more could you want?

 

 

Image result for Ally Sherrick Buried crown chicken house

Published by Chicken House

In 1940 no-one was sure quite what was going to happen. People in England were in the midst of the war, awaiting the ‘inevitable’ German invasion. Children were evacuated, young men were going to war, some in the army, others doing their part flying spitfires.

This is another historical adventure, with a little bit of mythology, and some fantasy stirred into the mix by Ally Sherrick (Black Powder). The book centres around George who has been evacuated to a farm, not far from his brother’s Air Force base after his parents have died. His only friend is the farmer’s beaten dog, who he names Spud.

The adventure begins when George escapes, or tries to, taking Spud with him – the farmer is more likely to hit George and Spud than to give them enough to eat, and he is using the evacuation system to provide him with cheap workers. George’s first attempt fails…and he is brought back to the farm…