Archives for category: For 9 – 12 Years
Faber Children's Catalogue Highlights 9-11 Years by Faber - issuu

I remember the Paris catacombs. I stayed with my sister when she was a nanny for a French family – years ago. She wanted to visit the catacombs when we took a trip to Paris and said that if I didn’t like it, we could always back out – and not go around. We didn’t know they had a one-way turn-style…

This is a book with a mystery. Actually, several mysteries all tied in one glorious knot. Nell (Penelope) was looked after by Pear until she was seven, since then she has kept in contact by letter. Only to have these suddenly stop. Her Mum and Dad agree she can come with them on a business trip, as long as she doesn’t cause them any trouble…

They aren’t really interested in her at all. Her Dad is always busy and her Mum – she is more interest in the new handbag she has recently purchased. When Nell slips away to try to track down her friend – she is told that she has been evicted from her home and when she tracks down where she works, they deny all knowledge of her.

What is the truth? Where is she? Is she the thief that Nell is asked to believe? What does the red haired girl know? What is going on beneath Paris? What is causing the bloom of mould that is forming on the bread in all the bakeries? Is there a connection?

With lovely chapter heading illustrations by Kim Geyer…

Chicken House Books - House on Hoarder Hill

Chicken House.

‘Simon rolled his eyes skywards and muttered, ‘O, the ignominy of death.’

Hedy and Spencer are left with their grandfather, when their parents leave to go on yet another archaeological dig. To stay with their grandfather whom they have never met. Who lives in a strange … not to say spooky house on a hill. He used to be a magician (of the usual every day variety), now he is retired, the house is filled with artefacts – magical and strange – that Hedy and Spencer have to promise to positively never touch.

His behaviour though is a little odd – and then there’s the question of what happened to their grandmother…and the marks on the floor…that seem to be moving…the peculiar messages…the pleas for help…Simon, the ghost and the head of a stag and the rug made from the pelt of a bear…that have the ability to talk, if not to argue…

A book to disappear into – brilliant!




Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans | Waterstones

David Fickling Books

A story of magic. Not the ‘Whizzz-bang’ kind, more the conjuring and mystery sort. A story of families – of an uncle of the best sort. Everyone should have at least one uncle that is better, more interesting than the rest. I did…

Stuart is small, especially when compared to his parents. They are intelligent, though they have little common sense, in the general way of things. When his mother is offered a new job, his father proposes that it might be an idea if the whole family were to move with her.  A proposal that Stuart objects to. Not that that matters.

This is a brilliant tale – with a family mystery, a disappearing relative, a fire, an empty box and an inheritance that isn’t quite what it seems…and of course there’s that question of magic…

Stupendous. An author to watch, without a doubt!



Two cousins get lost in the Land of the Wimbley Woos in Wed Wabbit ...

David Fickling Books

I really should have read this one years ago.

This takes the idea of toys being more than just imaginary friends, just that step further. It’s a book about talents and abilities. It is also a book of jealousy and things just getting out of hand. A tale of bravery too – of so many sorts. It’s a very different adventure…and it is also about the need for understanding and dare I say it, just at the moment…its a book about the fact that everyone needs a hug or two…

I would like to say it’s brilliant. Then again, you know it is – I don’t review books that aren’t ‘up there’ – another one for you to buy when you visit Waterstones stores…


Simon & Schuster

The Vanishing Trick: Spangler, Jenni, Mould, Chris ...

Possibly, probably the best children’s book I read over lock-down.

Do look at the YouTube GIF – it is wonderful!

Leander, a thief from necessity makes a bargain with Madame Pinchbeck when he tries to sell his ill gotten gains to her… She, however, is not what she seems. Leander joins Charlotte and Felix in an adventure that is like no other I have read. A twisted story of theft, greed, magic, mediums and orphans…there is so much more to this than first appears. It’s brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Almost forgot – it’s illustrated by Chris Mould too – what more could you want?

Everyone should buy a copy.

Waterstones is now reopened…come and get your hands on a copy.

Stay safe –



Walker Books

A book for those game players out there – an adventure in different realms testing Arthur, Ren and Cecily’s nerve, brains and logic in a series of adventures along with a small dog – who isn’t quite what he seems. A book encompassing everything from computer generated characters, historical figures and mystery.

It is June’s Waterstone’s Book of the Month – and since we have been open since yesterday – available for everyone to purchase and enjoy.

I am sorry not to have written any posts since ‘lock-down’ – but I hope to get more up very, very soon.


Go safely & keep well.


Image result for winterborne home for vengeance

Published by Hachette Children’s Books

Just getting back into reviewing books after the initial confusion that has taken over the world. This should have been reviewed a few weeks ago – came out on 5th of March.

‘But you’re dead,’ she reminded him and

the scary glare

morphed into a mischievous gleam.

A heroine waiting for her Mother to come and collect her. April has lived in several homes over the years. It doesn’t matter, her mother is going to collect her and take her away. There would be some explanation. This is an adventure filled with bravery, friendship and a missing orphan

What’s more – and this is important, it’s the start of a new series! Which is fantastic.

I love the starts of series. The cover (UK cover) of this one, doesn’t really inspire me – the American version is much better – no matter. Order one from your friendly Waterstones / Independent web site today and get it soon – something to enjoy whilst the rest of the world runs in circles.

Image result for You won't believe this adam baron

Published by Harper Collins

By the author of Boy Underwater. 

Firstly Veronique Chang did not get a distinction in her Grade 5 Piano examination.

Then there was the issue of the blue jelly in Mrs Martin’s shoes.

Then Cymbeline actually won a game of scrabble…

and at the end of it all there were the sisters.

A story of history. Vietnam. Boats and a school…and one or two heroes & heroines too.

It made me laugh out loud. Made me cross when people would just keep talking to me when I was OBVIOUSLY deeply engrossed… Why DO people do that?

Buy this AND Boy under Water.




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Published by Orion.

and let him crawl away, leaving a fine trail of crumbs as he went,

like a specialised snail.


Honestly, Felicity. If you want sense, you’ve come to the wrong place.


Freddy gummed happily at her coat. Flick often wondered if her brother was



Oh, nothing too deadly, Jonathan said. ‘Spiders, bugs…that sort of thing.


At the moment I am reading about five different books – I am trying to finish one or two of them so that I no longer sleep in a bed that is filled with books sticking into various parts of my and the cat’s anatomy. This one – has really taken my fancy – its lovely.

A travel agency with a difference. Old suitcases stacked to one side. No brochures to be seen, but a dusting of sand across the floor and perhaps the odd puddle and on one occasion shards of a broken magnifying glass too…

This is a story of travel – to other universes. I hope and trust that there are some such out there, somewhere. Where things are done differently…

I have only go to page 154 – and I am loving Jonathan and Felicity’s adventures…there is something very special about this book.

I like to travel (Madagascar, in case you were wondering) – and this touches that urge in me too – with a mystery thrown in for good measure and, what is more turns of phrase, as those noted above, that I LOVE!

I want. No I need her to come and do an event, or at least a stock signing at Waterstones Finchley Road. Do keep an eye on Events – It is gorgeous!

Image result for unadoptables hana tooke

Published by Puffin…

My proof arrived carefully wrapped in gold paper in a box – with gold string. Sometimes publishers take a lot of trouble to ensure you are aware of their latest publication. Other times they seem to just throw them in a Jiffy – and they arrive any which way. This one – was one of the former – beautifully presented.

Inside the cover were illustrations of the five children – The Unadoptables, five orphans – who reside in the The Little Tulip Orphanage in Amsterdam. Each having arrived not as they should: wrapped in a cotton blanket, in a wicker basket and deposited on the topmost step.

They are in fact the oldest residents of The Little Tulip Orphanage. By now they should have been found new homes…

They have been there for too many years and Elinora Gassbeek, the matron of this extraordinary orphanage is determined to do something about it. They have to go – some how.

There should be a term for books about orphans and orphanages – perhaps ‘Orphanage Books‘  would do – this one is very different and great fun – perhaps because there are five important characters – all different… They did not arrive at the orphanage as deemed correctly by the establishment:

The first arrived in a tin box. She was named Lotta.

The second arrived in a coal bucket and beside the coal bunker. He was named Egbert.

The third was found in a picnic hamper, with no cotton blanket, no basket and not on the top step. She was named Fenna.

The fourth arrived clothed in a wheat sack…in a bucket. His name was Sem.

The fifth baby was found on the roof the the orphanage, in a coffin shaped basket and she was named Milou.

This is the tale of their adventures.

My beautiful proof is no longer as it should be. I had intended to give it to my colleague LJ to read – her sort of book (though it has no unicorns, it does have a black cat, of sorts) – and I thought she might enjoy it.

My fish-salad packed lunch leaked all over it.

The publishers have said they will send a second copy – which I will give her…

Read this – a rampageous book to be enjoyed by everyone. Lovely Chapter illustrations too…