Archives for category: Chicken House

Image result for warrior boy clay

Published by Chicken House

Related imageReading this was a little peculiar. My Mum was born in Kenya, on the Laikipia Plains (central Kenya), and the Maasai (amongst other watu) worked on her father’s farm. Her cousin was Dame Daphne Sheldrik, the Kenyan/British conservationist who worked in Kenya and ran an elephant sanctuary, raising and rehabilitating orphaned elephants. Which though she has now sadly died, continues with its work.

It was rather lovely to read this tale of a young Kenyan visiting Kenya from England for the first time.

Would his Maasai family welcome him, or not? Some of their traditions and social life are very different from that Ben is used to. Would he be able to deal with those? Then there’s the threat of poachers, against whom his mother is working.  Will she be safe? Will he? What about his cousin? The tribe and village itself?

I loved it. It reminded me of my visits to visit my uncle and cousins too – though their lives are so different from those of the tribes that are entwined in their lives.

I may not have been born in Kenya. I have only visited. Africa though has seeped into my blood and is part of me – there is something about the red earth…

A book of respect. Of different cultures. A book of elephants and the importance knowing and the acceptance of who you are, whether partly one thing, and part another, or wholly one culture.

Its a tale of friendship. Bravery. Africa and elephants…

Wonderful.

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Image result for a tangle of magic zinck

 

Published by Chicken House.

Translated from the German.

This is a story of inheritance. Magic. Knowing who you are. It’s a tale of dastardly kidnap, and a story of hair. Grey, Icelandic Earth Intense brown and red hair – gloriously red hair. It is also the story of a cat. You must not forget the cat. A sentient road and flying…

It’s a rather wonderful story to read, somewhere cool, with a cup of tea… in the shade.

Everyone will enjoy this one…

One of my shortest ever reviews. None-the-less this is a book to buy and revel in.

 

Image result for polka dot shop

Published by Chicken House

Andy’s mother runs ‘New to U’ a second hand clothing shop in the village. She has taken to bringing home new items for her daughter to wear. Second-hand new. Andy meanwhile dreams of dresses. New dresses. Handbags. Shoes and underwear that’s not ‘pre-owned’…

She’s the only pupil in her school who continues to come to school in uniform. Recently they have been encouraged to show their individuality by choosing their own clothes for school.  Most pupils spend their weekends buying new clothes – trying to find that something no-one else has seen.

Andy though, is given a pile of pre-loved clothes, a muddle of clothing, vintage that doesn’t suit…certainly clothing that no-one else would give wardrobe room…

Then Andy finds a bag of quality designer clothes, stuffed in a bag at the back of the shop and then Andy’s mum takes a break to see her mum and her sister and Andy takes the chance to change everything…

This is a touching story about fashion, friendship, depression, love and business acumen!

Image result for the book of boy murdock

 

Published by Chicken House

The key to Hell picks all locks.

A tale of Heaven and Hell. This is a story of medieval intrigue. Priceless relics, good and evil and an hunch-back goat herder. Oh and some goats, a stroppy donkey, a pack of dogs, geese, wolves and a phlegmatic and rather sleepy cat, amongst others. Boy is taken from the only home he can remember, leaving his herd behind, to travel with a pilgrim to Rome. The year is 1350 a year of change, devastation and fear. Things are not as they seem and Secundus seems abrupt and frightening when Boy begins his journey. As he goes he finds that people are not what they seem either. Ashamed and fearful he keeps his hump hidden, never touching it, and keeping himself out of the way. Secundus wonders at Boy’s relationship with the animals they meet, but is driven to reach St Paul’s Church before he dies; determined to gather Saint Peter’s relics as he travels. Determined to reach heaven the only way he knows how.

The different animal characters in the book reflect the those you might come across – the cat, confident that all will be well, the hounds, the pack of hounds working together as one entity…

This is a super book. Its perfect – the language is just that bit medieval, to give the story colour, whilst at the same time the mysteries that surround Boy and Secundus entice the reader into a superbly written small volume.

Each chapter is headed with wonderful illustrations (I’m not sure if they are wood engravings), that look the sort you might just find on a medieval manuscript – just right for this, and the map at the beginning is perfect, with an angel and devil supporting the scroll at each corner.

This is a beautiful medieval tale.

My only disappointment, I’m afraid, is the cover of this paperback. The book was first published in America – with the cover shown below – which reflects the illustrations in the text and the story. The new cover, doesn’t do it for me, I’m afraid.  I wish they had stuck with American version here. I will have to try and see if I can get a hardback copy from the States. Though I’m afraid I won’t be buying it from Amazon…. Perhaps my aunt in California will be able to get me a copy…since Waterstones doesn’t recognise the hardback’s ISBN. Sigh.

Truly a  wondrous book.

Lastly – a small note, my colleague Amabel, who works with me in Finchley Road O2, really must read this – I think she and her children would love it…

.Image result for the book of boy murdock   Cover image - The Book of Boy

 

 

Image result for the extincts veronica cossanteli

Published by Chicken House.

Following on from my ‘main’ post/review of this, I have to say that there are no axolotl in the book, nor are there any mammoths. Which is a pity as both creatures are depicted on the cover of this book. This is I gather something that the author raised with Chicken House. They never-the-less stuck with the design on the cover, which shows both creatures.

The dodo, precariously sitting on a small twig of the tree would not have been very secure. They were flightless (sadly, otherwise they might have survived), and so would not have been able to reach such heady heights.

Those facts not with standing, this is a book to read and enjoy – so don’t let it put you off – perhaps the author will write another book, with axolotls and mammoths in it too!

 

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Published by Chicken House

I may have only reached page 184, of a book that is 324 pages long, but I think I can safely say that this is brilliant. I am staying at my parent’s house at the moment as my water tank has decided to leak everywhere and, trying to live without water on tap, as it were, was proving difficult. This has been a wonderful distraction.

Seth is The Last Chance Hotel’s pot-scrubber. He has a nose for spices and herbs. He is a very good chef, just like his father, however, he doesn’t get much chance to practice due to the owners of the hotel and their daughter  Tiffany.

This is part mystery, part crime, and part magical fantasy. When a rather important guest is murdered Seth finds himself the main suspect, as it was after eating his rather special pudding that the deceased died. The repercussions of his death are far wider than Seth realises. His only friend is his black cat, appropriately named, Nightshade…without whom the story would have had a very dark turn indeed.

This is a book to savour. To enjoy sitting with your cat beside you in peace – for once not climbing bookcases or disappearing into the backs of open drawers. It is marvellous with many different elements, or, if I may, flavours.

Buy it, find a corner in which to read it and disappear into a whole new world…

Stupendous:

‘The traveller flung back the hood, revealing a dark domed head, the skin hatched with wrinkles like a raisin and a monstrous scar running from the corner of his bulbous nose to the corner of his lip so it was lifted as if in a permanent sneer. It was much the same look as Tiffany achieved without needing the scar.’

 

 

Image result for The Extincts cossanteli

Published by Chicken House

Never judge a book by its cover. I started this proof, whilst reading at least three others. Which isn’t such an irregular event, however, I was thinking of finishing and reviewing White Rabbit Red Fox before starting anything else.This proof, though, seems to have an axolotl on the cover. For those who are unaware these are fascinating salamanders, which keep their larval features throughout their lives – which makes them rather curious. You can buy them as pets, but its a complicated business, and I suspect they’d prefer to be wandering around the rivers of Mexico…

Related imageSo when I began the proof it was with the hope that an axolotl would be involved in this story. I have to admit that I have only reached page 56 – which isn’t very far to be fair, but there isn’t a salamander (whether a Mexican axolotl or not) in the first few pages… so this is to be part one of a two part review…because there is bound to be one, or at least something very similar in the story….

This is a funny and wild book, about a boy whose bicycle is stolen. He needs a new one – urgently, however, since his Dad left, there hasn’t been much money for replacement bikes, and so he applies for a job that is advertised in the local shop.

This is a book about animals. Not the usual sort (though there are dogs and cats in it too)  for example there is an early mammal from the early Mesozoic era, and a baby legendary kraken…that keeps escaping from the bath… Since visiting Madagascar, I find I have quite an interest in creatures that are early forms of more recent ‘editions’….and this book ticks that box beautifully.

George (named after the Saint that went around the country killing rare animals) lives with his two older sisters, and his Mum, who runs a shop full of candles and bells. The job he applies for was advertised with the following notation of the qualities that would be required by the applicant:

Interest in Wildlife Necessary. Must be the Right Person. No squamophobes.

I would hope that I would fill this criteria – and if you don’t know what a squamophobe is, you had better read the book. I hope that the word squamophobe becomes an entry in the next edition of the OED.

This has made me laugh out loud. It is a joy.

‘I have my mother’s hair,’ began Prudence, at last. ‘And her eyes. That’s what everybody says. I don’t have any of the rest of her. She’s dead. So’s my Dad. He was killed. By a hippopotamus.’

A ripple of interest washed through the class. You could see Miss Thripps wondering if she had made a mistake. 

‘Hippos are very dangerous beasts,’ she said. ‘Did it happen in Africa, dear?’

Prudence shook her head. 

‘Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London.’

The blurb that came with the proof states it will be a reissue, with a gorgeous new cover. So it isn’t a new book – so you may have seen it before. The new edition (with the gorgeous new cover) is out in now…

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.

 

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!

Image result for alice dent incredible germs chicken house

Published by Chicken House

‘Finally, if you are lucky and live that long, we’ll teach you to shine and sparkle. Sparkling’s Compulsory.’

This small proof arrived a couple of days ago – and I found myself gently pulled into this rather extraordinary story of world domination, happiness, and germs – or at least the prevention of the spread of germs. There’s probably a word for that (I hope it isn’t hygiene, that would be boring) – the dissemination of germs!

Alice Dent’s parents are more than usually concerned about germs. So, when the Best Minister begins to suggest ways to prevent the spread of things like the common cold, by banning birthday parties, dirty children, and would you believe, giggling, the situation begins to get more than a little serious. Her parents already ban Alice to her room, wear face masks and and disinfect every thing should she so much as sniffle.

The trouble begins right at the beginning of the book, when Alice finds that she is having an unbelievable urge to sneeze, and though she tries every way she can to prevent it, her parent’s soon realise that she has a cold, and once again she is locked into her room for the duration. It is when some strange and rather forbidding men come to take her away, and she hears her parents agree to her removal…that she realises that she has to do something about the situation at once

She escapes through her bedroom window…but finds herself caught by the local police, and as she gives a false name, take her in to care…to Tryton Mell, a school that claims to turn grubby good-for-nothings into politely perfect pupils…

Different and clever – this would make a good companion book to The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones / Will Mabbit.