Archives for category: For 5-8 Years

Image result for granny magic elka evalds

Published by Chicken House

Will’s gran knitted. All the time. After she dies Will’s is given a rather decorative jumper that she made and though initially it seems small, he pulls it over his head to find it fits perfectly.

Then her knitting group arrive. Five strange elderly ladies, their hands clutching their knitting bags and wondering if they could have anything that Gertie had left – they would be very pleased to have anything at all.

It’s not long after that when things begin to be more than a little peculiar, not to say odd.

A man who left the village years ago, returns claiming to have known Gertie in his youth and not long after he leaves Wills house, Sophie, Will’s little sister, can’t her knitted dog, that Gertie had made.

Things are definitely not what they seem.

A story of…well knitting. Grannies. Magic. Jumpers. Woollen dogs. The Isle of Man TT races…of motorcycles…adventure.

Great fun.

Should have been published with a ball of wool and some needles…

Image result for mermaid school courtenay anderson press

Anderson Press

February 2020

Compared to books in the 9 – 12 genre, there are fewer new good books for this age group. Many have lurid covers and publishers often have a bad habit of producing series of books with an excessive number of a titles in each – with little to commend them.

Image result for delphie and the magic ballet shoes harper collins

There are a few collections that are, however, different. Darcey Bussell has a run of titles published a few years ago – well written and about ballet, as you might expect. Though there are quite a number – it isn’t excessive. The books are accurate with regard to the ballet – and youngsters ‘into’ ballet enjoy them.

Lucy Courtenay too has also produced a number of collections – each with a small run of titles about different characters/themes – pirates, animals and space penguins! This is the first of her new series.

The book reads like a young Enid Blyton title. A school story set underwater with wild seahorses. There are the usual concerns about teachers, other mermaids (some of whom are not friendly) and in addition Marnie Blue’s aunt, the famous singer, went to the school before her – and had a bit of a reputation.

You don’t have to buy just / all of the Daisy Meadows Rainbow series – there are other books coming out for youngsters in this age group.

 

 

Image result for the dragon in the library

Published by Nosy Crow –

There are some out there who don’t enjoy a good book. I was one, once. Though I did enjoy being read to. I just didn’t see the necessity of learning to read for myself. That is until I visited the Tutankhamun exhibition…but that is another story in itself.

This then is for those out there who think that books and dare I say it, LIBRARIES are rather dull and not for them.

How different things would be if there happened to be a dragon living beneath these extraordinary and wonderful depositories of escapism and other things…

Kit’s friends are ‘into’ books – in a big way – never happier than sitting with a nose stuck into a new novel…she though, would rather spend her time outside – there are trees to climb, places to go…not least the local cemetery… ‘...with its spooky stone angels and matted undergrowth full of cool insects and – one blissful day – a rat….’

When Kit finds herself visiting her local library with her friends things turn out very differently from the way she thought it would…there are wizards and dragons involved and magic too… There is a little of Pages & Co / Anna James (see previous review) in this – however, this one is for those who are a little younger – none the less a book to enjoy over the summer. You never know it may mean a visit to a library, or perhaps to a bookshop – to look at books

Illustrated throughout by Davide Ortu – which is always a bonus…after all what is the use of a book without pictures? 

 

Image result for milton the mighty teeniest superhero

Published by Chicken House

Size isn’t everything – Milton could be the biggest super hero ever. Particularly if Emma Read’s book has as much influence over our interest in spiders as Maya Leonard’s books have had with beetles.

You will be aware that spiders are not insects – as arachnids, they have eight legs and eight eyes. They are pretty amazing creatures, often miss-understood. Especially by us.  We often don’t seem to take the time and trouble to find out about something before we scream and run away.

Image result for milton the mighty teeniest superheroYes, there are spiders out there that are venomous. In this country we don’t have any venomous spiders that would cause us any problems (that is unless you happen to be a fly – if so you are, you are a rather intelligent one), that said all wild animals should be given respect whether they are venomous or not.

This is the story of Milton who happens to look like a Black Widow spider. That’s because he is a spider, and does look similar, but actually he’s a False Widow spider – which is a very different kettle of fish.

This is a story of mass hysteria, bravery of the eight-legged and two-legged sort and a celebration of all things arachnid.

For younger readers, this is an adventure for those who aren’t sure about these extraordinary creatures that eat all those flying creatures that bite…and it’s also for those of us who are all too well aware of how fantastic spiders are.

Image result for The snowman morpurgo

Published by Puffin

Raymond Briggs wrote The Snowman – well actually the picture book was published back in 1978 – It was a story without text.

Then Aled Jones sang that song, when it was released as a film in 1982

This though, is a review of Michael Morpurgo’s re-‘writing’ of the book. It will be available as a chapter book with beautiful soft illustrations by Robin Shaw this October.

I’m rather surprised this hasn’t been done before, but there you go. It seems that it is the 40th anniversary of the original book. Michael Morpurgo has written a book that reflects the magic of the original. Though I do remember a scarf being left behind…I must read the original again. The tone is just right for those who enjoy a proper story at bed time and are looking for more than a book of pictures.

A book for Christmas…

Actually, he sang it rather well…looking at it now. Then, it was played everywhere…This rendition was recorded from Top of the Pops…now there’s a name to conjure with.

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.

 

Published by Frances Lincoln

The second book in the Story Orchestra series. Last year they published The Four Seasons – which sold and sold and sold… I had hoped that they would do the 1812 this year, what fun to have cannons going off, but they did, I suppose the next best thing…The Nutcracker – ideal for Christmas and just as a wonderful piece of music.

I love this series…I haven’t been able to find a small button I can transport to this blog so you can have a blast of Tchaikovsky – maybe next year I will find out, and maybe they will do the 1812! Go and see this ballet if you can – the Coliseum is doing it this year… It really is a ballet, possibly the ballet, everyone should go to, at least once.

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?

 

 

 

Published by Egmont

The first thing that struck me about the proof I received was the illustrations and the wonderful cut-out cover. I know that you aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but, as I think I have said before – its the first thing you see… Sadly I can’t find any reference to the illustrator of this – on the book, apart from a reference to the copyright of the text and illustrations being that of the author. Her work as an illustrator should be celebrated.

This is a perfect book for October and of course Halloween.

Unicorns are to be feared. Glitter to be avoided at all costs…and fairies – well, one fairy is known to have eaten Tangine’s mother… What more can I say?

My favourite character in this book is the head teacher in Catacomb Academy – Miss Inspine, who happens to be a skeleton.

“Now!” said Miss Inspine. “Right. Please open your books at page thirty-two, the questionnaire on Angel-Kitten History. You have fifteen minutes.” And with that she took off her head and put it in the cupboard for some peace and quiet.

I sometimes want to be able to do that…

She caught sight of Tangine and heaved such a big sigh of relief that her skull fell off.

Miss Inspine was so shocked that her whole skeleton disconnected into a big pile of bones.

It is a gothic tale of a spoilt sprout. A tale of differences and a tale of rumour misconception and secrets.

This is a fun book – will be stuffed full of pictures (by the author, no less) and a giggle for the autumn… There are exclamation marks triplicated (see previous posts), but for this sort of book, it is not really important. It isn’t a literary piece, (it’s not meant to be), it is a book to giggle over. I think this might be a new term for me, a ‘giggle book’.

There is a bit on the back which says it is to be published on the 5th of October 2017  – so look out for it. I hope that it will be published with a similar cover to that they used for the proof. It will certainly be something to enjoy in the run up to Halloween…Perhaps you could organise a Scream Tea to celebrate All Hallows!

I hope and trust there will be a second volume – there is a last mystery that still needs to be resolved.

 

 

Published by Oxford University Press

Well done Oxford! This is a lovely book about a young boy and his brother. All brothers have their irritations and Arthur’s brother seems to be one big one. He sometimes struggles with day to day things. He doesn’t like crowds, change, loud noises and headphones… In desperation and in the hope of making his parents notice him, Arthur decides the only thing to do is to leave home…

‘Arthur rushed up to his room, searched under his bed for his survival tin, and stuffed his lucky crystal into his coat pocket. Then he crashed down the stairs and flung open the front door. He barged past the polar bear who was standing on the doorstep and hurtled off down the street, running as fast as he could. He wanted to get as far away from his house, his brother and his stupid parents as possible. He wasn’t going to let a polar bear or anything else stop him.’

This is a gorgeous small volume about siblings, parents, football, the world cup and of course polar bears, and one in particular.

It is not ‘out’ yet – due to be published next month with what looks to be some lovely line drawings (incomplete at the moment in proof form) – a book for everyone with a sibling…