Archives for category: For 8 and upwards

Published by Bloomsbury

This was wonderful – I loved it. Not least as it takes you back to another era. A better time, a period of stiff upper lips and honour. This is a brilliant story of the old style with gorgeous language:

“…almost squeezed the pip out of poor Sponge here…”

“…frightfully dangerous…”

“…Mildew’s southern most lip began to quiver…”

“…Mildew’s upper lip began to lose some of its structural integrity…”

Along with the two main characters being named Mildew and Sponge.

What more could you want or need or indeed expect to have? Well, it seems you can have a lot more for your money –

A book of mysterious ghosts, Vikings, Romans, werewolves, a time machine….a school with a cloister, with extraordinary school teachers who are remarkable in themselves…adventure and it will be stuffed with illustrations. I know this to be true, because my proof has little boxes set within the text to give an indication of where they will be when the book is published. They have also said that Chris Priestley wrote it and that it will be illustrated by him. They have printed that on the cover of the proof. So there!

The only problem is, I’m afraid is that it hasn’t been published yet – but they state on the inside cover that you will be able to buy copies on the 5th of October, which I believe is a Thursday. A good day on which to buy a new book – this one will be perfect. Funny, full of interest, good English (for those of you who know this to matter)….a wonderful book on so many fronts.

Put Thursday the 5th of October in your diary.

As sometimes happens when I have read a book before its published, the cover has not been put on the Internet yet. I have found though the above sketches of the Werewolf Boy – so that will have to do.

Ps. Sorry, I forgot to say – this is the start of a series…and also that Chris Priestley is an author to ‘follow’ – he also wrote Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror – which are brilliant. Slightly surprised I have never done a post about that volume…I suppose I read it before I had this blog – buy that too – and you can buy it now – its already published.

 

 

 

 

Published by Faber & Faber

This is a superb book – I started this yesterday afternoon, in my tea-break. Then continued reading on the way home on the train and then just before sleep. This morning I read it between having my shower and getting dressed, then on the train again, this time on the way to work. Sadly I had no time at lunch, but finished it this evening as I came home again.

The legend of Podkin One-Ear is related by a story-teller, one who tramps the lands to tell tales at times of celebration. The legend he relates is full of good old fashioned adventure, with a young rabbit, the son of a chieftain and his older sister and younger brother up against an evil taking over their world. At the start of the tale, he does have both his ears…

I can only say I loved it – was captivated by the story, which was enhanced by the illustrations by David Wyatt – just enough to give extra flavour to the legend.

 

This will be a classic, without any doubt. I usually pass on my proofs to local youngsters. I’m afraid this time, I’m keeping this one. Simply one of the best books I have read for a very long time, which is particularly pleasing for this age group. For them, there isn’t enough good writing, so I’m always pleased when I come across something this good for our younger readers…though anyone sensible, who is older than that will enjoy it too…

Published by Walker Books

David Almond’s books are quite extraordinary, no two seem to be alike – each is a masterpiece. I’d love to know where he gets his ideas from. This is the story of a bus driver. Bert has been driving his bus, on the same route, every day for ten years. He knows every bump, curve and passenger – he has dealt with all sorts of people, the young, the foolish, the friendly, confused, lost and bemused. Things are becoming a little predictable. Until one day he feels a fluttering in his chest and begins to panic and stops the bus. The complaints that result from this unauthorised and unwanted stop, he doesn’t hear, he is too concerned with what the fluttering means. Is this the end? Before the book has really got started? By page 12?

Actually it is just the beginning. This is a lovely, kindly book about people. About how people want to be seen to be bigger than they really are. It is about art classes and art teachers – it is about hope. It is also about bullies, and friendship, but mainly its about Angelino Brown – as unique a character as any David Almond has written about before.

I thought I had written a post about Clay or The Boy who Swam with Piranhas, one of my favourite David Almond books, but it seems I haven’t yet – so along with this one – have a look at those too, along with I suppose, Skellig, probably his most famous book…

 

 

Published by Pushkin Children’s Books

This is probably the most extraordinary cat book I have ever read. Part love story, part adventure this really has something for everyone. Liberally illustrated by Andrezej Klimowski and translated from the Russian.

Baguette likes to lie in a window space watching the birds. The love of his life was slender and striped, her nose was as pink as a rosebud, her whiskers as white as snow on New Year’s Day, and her coat shone like a diamond necklace…

The black cat Noir lives close by and is a rival for Purriana’s affections and tries to encourage Baguette to leap to the birds (and his death), but Baguette is more intelligent than that…

It is great fun – very different from any other cat book I have read. Whether Baguette wins the paw of Purriana is for you to find out – another rather special book from Pushkin Press.

Published by Chicken House

I’m not sure I believe in Bigfoot. I’d like to believe that there are places still out there that no one reaches, where such entities might still survive. I sometimes feel we are all pervading as a species, and that this isn’t a good thing at all.

This though is a rather fun volume. Lemonade has moved recently to Willow Creek after her mother has died. The place is very different from home and she’s not sure that she will stay, if given the chance to return home. She meets though a rather earnest young naturalist / explorer, who is fascinated by all things Bigfoot and has set up his own detective agency to investigate any sightings…. This is funny, hopeful and really a rather lovely book – full of hope, acceptance and to be frank bravery.

Just remember – should you ever see Bigfoot, the first thing to do is to take a photograph.

It was a wonderful read – and I loved the cover too!

 

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…

Published by Harper Collins –

This is due to be published next month – 26th of January 2017

This is a book about passion. A book of dreams, of hope and desire. Its a story of believing in yourself and being a hero – its funny, heart warming and really rather wonderful.

This is about a boy who stands up for himself and his peers – for what is right, who goes, just that little bit too far…and what he achieves in the end is something rather special and important.

Never give up on your dreams – but do try not to have the police involved…

A super book for those cold winter months and the inevitable return to school…I loved it.

Published by Harper Collins

I had a copy of Bottersnikes and Gumbles bottersnikeswhen I was a child that I enjoyed reading. Over the years I have remembered it, at irregular intervals, but no one else seemed to remember it at all. It was almost as though I had dreamt the book.

The only detail I  could recall, apart from the fact that I had really enjoyed it, was that the Bottersnikes were not unlike very large, bad tempered blackberries, with enormous ears that got very red and hot when they were angry.  The Gumbles were a rather naïve and benign group of creatures, not unlike large marshmallows who were more intelligent, but would come into conflict with the Bottersnikes who weren’t very friendly. The Gumbles could be squashed into different shapes or flattened, without any harm coming to them, which was a good thing, because whenever the Bottersnikes got hold of them that is what they would do.

You will understand why I should think I had dreamt reading such a book. I once looked the title up on the Internet and found copies being sold for rather more than I wanted to spend. So I left it – still with that vague feeling that it was all, irrespective of the fact I had found reference to it on the computer, a figment of my imagination.

Then, after about 19 years of working in Waterstones a customer arrived and dragging a copy out of the back of his rucksack asked, ‘Have you ever heard of this, and if you do, have you got any in stock?’ and gave me a copy of Bottersnikes and Gumbles. I remember he was rather surprised by my reaction. We talked about the books and he left me feeling as though something  had come out of my dreams to accost me in real life, which was a little disconcerting.

Then yesterday. I was putting out stock and came across a copy of The Adventures of Bottersnikes and Gumbles, which is a compilation of various stories taken from the books – so not exactly my book, but none the less I was astonished to find it sitting on our shelves. I feel as though these truly extraordinary characters and books gently haunt my bookselling life, from my childhood.

On reading the back of this new book I find that the stories are Australian – which seems very right – where else would you find such creatures?

The selection of stories are taken from: Bottersnikes and Gumbles, Gumbles on Guard, Gumbles in Summer & Gumbles in Trouble.

I would have preferred the books to have been published in their entirety, (perhaps as a boxed set), but at least they are now represented on our shelves in The Adventures of Bottersnikes and Gumbles.

 

 

 

Published by Egmont

This is a superb little volume. Beautifully binding Welsh myths, magic, and a modern story of friendship and bravery. It is a story of loss, but also of finding things again.

Gwyn’s grandmother gives him a collection of eclectic items for his birthday. A brooch, an old damaged toy horse, some dried seaweed, a whistle and a scarf. She tells him he might be a magician, someone from the old Welsh myths. Gwyn’s parents wish she wouldn’t fill his head with stories…

When Gwyn releases his gifts to the wind he receives things in return. Extraordinary and often beautiful things, though one is certainly dangerous.

The brooch becomes a beautiful silver spider and her webs become something mystical and beautiful allowing him to see another world.

Gwyn’s sister Bethan disappeared on the mountain behind their farm four years ago and the family still mourn and wonder about what happened to her. Gwyn is told by his Grandmother that should he be the magician she thinks he might be, then perhaps he will have his heart’s desire. Perhaps, just perhaps, Bethan will be found, and will return to her family…

A mythical and rather beautiful book for Christmas –

 

 

Published by Canongate.

This is the new book (the second) in the Christmas Series by Matt Haig and is due out at the very beginning of November. The first book, A Boy Called Christmas came out last year as a hardback, and will be out this year as a paperback, and both books should be bought as a pair for the season and read allowed to all good little children, and any bad, who haven’t been found out yet.

This is a Christmas story (hence the red type face, I thought it would look seasonal), and is full of hope and the belief in Christmas. Amelia has only one thing she wants for Christmas, but there is a very good chance that Christmas, might not happen at all and she has found herself in a workhouse – at Christmas.

It is full of possibly impossible things (though that rather depends on your point of view), and a others which are decidedly not impossible. There is a cat, with a rather determined and brilliant character, a mouse, the Northern Lights, a troll, (actually several of these) a jealous and rather lonely newspaper editor, truth-telling pixies, and story-telling pixies too…and of course there is Father Christmas…

The books should be bought together, and read as bed time stories in the lead up to the end of the winter term – a superb couple of books for everyone to enjoy…both illustrated by Chris Mould. Read and enjoy!