Archives for category: David Fickling Press

Image result for Garvie smith books david fickling

Published by David Fickling Books

Well – what it is to work in the book industry. I was happily working away at my emails and came across one from David Fickling – would I like to read the latest Garvie Smith novel?

I think that you are probably aware that I’m a big fan of Garvie so the answer was a very quick affirmative. In due course a copy of Hey, Sherlock! arrived…

Garvie has now left school and has managed to land himself a job (the reasons for this I won’t go into) – putting up fences with his friends. It seems this isn’t one of his fortes – at the end of the job, it’s his section falls to the ground.

The owner of the house (and new fence), however, isn’t really that concerned. She’s more annoyed with her teenage daughter who has ‘gone off again’…but things aren’t what they seem.

The end of this period of Garvie’s life (it is best to read them in order, I think, if only for the character development) – had me on the edge of my seat in the tube. I nearly forgot to get off and get to work.

Garvie and his friends continue to entice and amuse. Garvie’s ‘people skills’ are still developing.  Inspector Singh, has all my sympathy and as for Garvie’s mother – well, there are developments there too – I’m not going to say more…

These are fantastic books.

My brother Peter, will be amused. I am not a natural ‘numbers’ person – however, though most of the time I don’t understand all the mathematics that Garvie thinks about:

‘He lay there unblinking, looking at the ceiling, thinking about mathematical sequences. In particular, recurring terms. Pascal’s triangle, for instance. The triangle is an infinite symmetric number pyramid, each number the sum of the two numbers immediately above it, starting with 1 at the apex. The strange thing is that the number 3003 keeps cropping up…’

Image result for fibonacci sequence in snail shellsI did, however, learn more about the Fibonacci sequence (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34…) and how that works. I knew of it, but only as phrase to do with shapes in nature. Snail shells use it – amongst other wonders of the world. I can now write the sequence without thinking about it…

NB. Well it just shows you…I have just looked up Pascal’s sequence too…which looks as though it deserves more investigation…when I have a moment or two… Perhaps if someone had shown this to me when I was doing maths at school, I might have become more curious about it…

Just flipped to the front of my copy of Hey Sherlock! and noticed the following list – which really does, perhaps explain why I love Garvie Smith:

  1. Lazy, rude, golden-hearted, aggravating, economical with the truth, kind (to those who deserve it).
  2. Highest IQ at Marsh Academy
  3. Lowest grades.
  4. Best mates with Felix (cat burglar), Smudge (stupidest boy at school and proud of it), Alex (who’s been selling something he shouldn’t).
  5. Wouldn’t dream of telling his mother he loves her. Besides, she wants to move back to Barbados and what is the point of that?
  6. Smokes, mainly tobacco.
  7. Liked by girls.
  8. Hated by the police, teachers, other boring adults.
  9. Exceptionally good at maths.
  10. Scared of dogs.

Perhaps its a good thing he’s a fictional character. Otherwise I think I would worry…






Image result for magic place wormell

Published by David Fickling Books

This is written and illustrated by the phenomenal Chris Wormell. A small octavo hardback stuff-filled with wonderful illustrations.

Image result for magic place wormellIt is the story of an aunt and uncle – ‘who were about as wicked and cruel as you can get’, a grey toy rabbit with floppy ears, a clever & intelligent cat,  named Gilbert and an orphan. It is the story of an escape and a chase across the roof tops, a tale of thefts and illicit gains and is a traditional proper tale of a search for happiness and a safe home…

In case you were wondering, I LOVED it. A book to give for Christmas as a special gift for anyone who likes a story with pictures. I think there’s at least one on every page – and for those who like good stories.

A MUST buy.

I am hoping that I can persuade Chris Wormell to come and sign copies at Finchley Road O2 (Waterstones) – it is a gorgeous book… Keep an eye on the Events Page on….

Image result for bog child siobhan dowd

Published by David Fickling Books

Engrossing. Moving. Bog Child is a story of obligation. Fear. Tradition. Love. A time and place of confrontation. Fergus lives in Ireland. His brother in prison. Set at the height of the troubles – this is an extraordinary book that merges ancient history with The Troubles.

Choices – fundamental beliefs challenged. A story of bravery and essentially, of families and hope.

Extraordinarily compelling. A slice of Irish history and a little more.

Image result for Bone Talk Courlay

Published by David Fickling Books.

I’m not surprised that this has been published by David Fickling Books. They often pick those books that go a little further, are a little bit more than the usual.

Some of you may be aware that I am interested in Madagascar. Both the animals, but also the anthropology. The more I learn about the people and tribes of Madagascar, the more I have fallen for the country. They are a fascinating ‘people’, if I can generalise like that, about an island with so many different beliefs and lives. Fascinating and awe inspiring.

This new book by Candy Courlay is set in the Philippines. A tale of a conflict of nations, of beliefs, traditional and new world concepts, sciences and understanding.

A story of a boy, who just wants to become a man. To celebrate that and to be someone his tribe and his father can be proud of.

This is an extraordinary story – which reminded me of Madagascar and the conflicts and problems that that country faces.

This is moving and is important. A book of differences. A book of people.

A book about responsibility.

A book about who people are.



Published by David Fickling Books.

They say you should never judge a book by its cover. I know it, but sometimes a cover can say so much and you know its the book for you. I knew it, as soon as I saw this in the publisher’s catalogue in the staff room a few days ago. So I ordered a copy. What else would you do?

After all, it has a chameleon on the cover.

Oh, it also has a hippopotamus, a key hole and some bees on it too.

Which are nice, however, I do like chameleons.

This is really something special. Helen Cooper is the author of a small ‘run’ of picture books about soup – Pumpkin Soup, Delicious and Pipkin of Pepper and another picture book title, The Bear Under the Stairs. This, though, is her first novel and what a novel it is.

Helen Cooper makes reference to a wide range of species in the story – there is an elephant shrew (a species I love, almost as much as chameleons),  a pygmy hippopotamus (the eponymous hippo), an okapi is mentioned…a russet kangaroo, nine giraffe (in bits), and an owl (named Flumery). The book is stuffed full of animals with simply superb characters, including the bees.  Ben isn’t sure about them. I think bees are beautiful, but I always show them respect. Actually I have learnt to give all animals respect and a little bit of space. The smallest can have the largest effect on the rest of your day… Then there are the human characters, both good and bad…including a (possible) witch in a bottle… I have learnt to give many human characters space too. Particularly any I think might be witches (especially if they aren’t in bottles)…after all two witches are supposed to be in my ancestry…so it could be said I should know a little about that.

This is a magical adventure with lovely illustrations, all done by the author. The animal characters are not the usual cat and dog types. These are different. Though there is nothing wrong with a cat and dog story…but there aren’t many stories with a chameleon called Leon in it…One of the reason for loving the book so much is that Helen seems to have investigated the behavioural traits of the animals and this is reflected in their characters and what they do – which is marvellous.

I haven’t finished it yet – only started it today when I got it at lunch…I’m up to page 138 …. but one of my favourite parts (so far) is about Leon.

Leon’s tongue shot out like a rocket and recoiled with a bee captured on one end. The bee had no chance, for a chameleon has an incredible tongue, twice the length of its body, with a bulbous ball of muscle at the end like a suction cup, which can move at ballistic speed – faster than a fighter jet. Naturally, the other bees arose in a fury.

‘Where’s your respect?’ Flummery hooted….

Leon turned his back. Languidly he plucked the bee from his tongue and dangled the struggling insect above his bucket-like mouth, murmuring, ‘Shall I swallow you? Shall I bite you in half and nibble your wings?… 

Read it out loud up to Christmas – make a tradition of reading it up to Christmas every Friday and Saturday night from the last Friday in November…till Christmas day.

Its wonderful.

I am hoping to have Helen come to Waterstones Finchley Road O2 in January to sign copies…but have only just sent an email about it to David Fickling Books. Keep your fingers crossed…



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.

unbecoming-coverPublished by David Fickling Books

This was one of those books that I couldn’t put down. Katie is trying to find out who she is and what she wants. She has a secret that she is not sure what to do with. Her father has disappeared and her mother is becoming more and more controlling. Her younger brother has issues too, and out of the blue her grandmother arrives into the family circle suffering from a progressive form Alzheimer’s. A time grenade walking into Katie’s family.

This is someone Katie has never met, never been introduced to and it seems both she and her mother have secrets too. What happened to her great aunt and who is this woman who claims to be her estranged grandmother? What happened between her mother and this woman? A complicated story about relationships, responsibilities and families. It is also the story of a young girl learning to take on more than she thought she could, who begins to investigate her history, her mother’s and her grandparent’s and in the process begins to find out exactly who she is and what she wants from life.






Published by David Fickling

This small octavo hardback, with a dramatic orange/yellow dust jacket attracted my attention at work this week. Published by David Fickling and bound in black boards, slightly smaller than many paperbacks it made quite an impact.

Everyone knows about how Icarus flew too close to the sun. This tale is modern, and just as dramatic. After all Icarus’ attempt failed because he used wax to glue his feathers; in this case spearmint gum is used. Lots of it.

This is a story of secrets, determination, families including all their failings and of course, friendship.

It is a hardback, with a hardback retail price of £10.99 – but worth every penny.