Archives for category: For 9 – 12 Years

Image result for jemima small versus the universe

Published by Usborne

CORPULENT

FAT / HEAVY / LARGE

OBESE /  OVERWEIGHT

PORTLY / STOCKY/ STOUT

This is a story of comparisons. Those we make ourselves and those others make about us.

Jemima Small is larger than life.

She is larger than life, than average, in many things.

She’s funny, bright (very bright) and kind.

She is also larger than average, physically.

Which can make her feel like nothing at all. Of no importance. Of no use. It has been a gradual thing – incremental and a slow transition and it colours her life.

There are things she does and things she doesn’t do because she is deemed to be different. She doesn’t accept challenges which would mean she has to stand up and be someone, as no-one would want to see someone like her representing the school…

Jemima is, however, intelligent. Clever and knows all sorts of things that other people don’t.

We are all made of star dust.

Who we are is not what we look like.

We are all so much more than that.

 

 

 

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Image result for the butterfly circus chelu

Published by Walker Books

I have often wondered if I would have the nerve to soar through the air on a trapeze. I’m not sure – I DID once do a zip wire – which was nearly a failure as I didn’t want to let go of the tree – but enough of that. Maybe one day I will…

This is a story of two sisters. Both trapeze artists. One falls and though she survives she slowly realises she has a secret that she daren’t acknowledge even to her sibling.

This is a story of the circus. A story of sisters, jealousy, bravery and a shadow…

Marvellous –

Everyone should read this one – I love Rosa – it’s wonderful.

 

Image result for Peril en pointe lipscombe

Published by Chicken House

I had a ballet lesson or two in my extreme youth. My career was similar to that of Helen’s – as she states in the Acknowledgements at the end of this wonderful book – ‘Tragically, my own ballet career went down the plug-hole, age six, but that’s another story.‘ I think mine went down a similar hole…

This though, is a wonderful mix of ballet and espionage! An interesting mix – which works well as though Helen’s career may have been short, she made sure that the feel of a ballet school and the intense work that is put in to producing a production is soaked well into these pages. I thought that her life must have been in and around dance and ballet. So for those of you who know what it is to go ‘en pointe’ – you should’t be disappointed…and in all other respects this is a brilliant adventure story.

I have to say (I have a friend who is a Trekkie) that when discussing a mole (not the sort with a velveteen jacket – the other sort), our heroine says –

‘It can’t be Merv,’ I say. ‘He’s got a Star Trek thermos.’

Which made me laugh…

Into ballet? Read it. You like books set in schools?  Into mysteries and espionage? More reasons to read this…Thoroughly good.

 

 

Image result for the last spell breather julie pike oup

Published by Oxford University Press

NY Published – July 2019

Words. Children are often told to ignore words thrown to hurt. As though words can’t, though we all know that sometimes a hurtful word is just as bad as a thrown fist. We all also know that they can be positive. It’s all relative. This takes that a little further.

Words can heal – a spell if you like, but should be carefully administered. Carefully blown over the patient, otherwise issues may arise. A book damaged by fire has repercussions that are far from the usual and results in an adventure like nothing before. This has leanings towards the story of the Magician’s Apprentice, but develops into a tale all of its own.

This is an engrossing, charming tale of sisterly jealousy, bravery and a warning to take care of books…

 

 

Image result for the unexpected find ibbotson

Published by Scholastic.

A mystery. A storm and an extremely cold, not to say freezing Swedish winter. This is the story of a skein of three friendships twisted together and compelled to travel in the hope of finding the answers to their questions. It is a story of friendship, trust and bravery.

It is something we may all enjoy reading as the temperature rises in June – it is a long time since I read something that was so compelling and describes the sense of touch, in this case cold, so fundamentally.

Enjoy it. Something different for the Summer.

No idea if this really will be the cover…due out in June 2019

Image result for lily and the rockets chicken house

Published by Chicken House.

I cannot claim to be a football fan. If pushed, I might say I prefer rugby. Though I have no idea of the rules for either; there is a fluidity with rugby that I don’t see in football.

This though is a history of a sort The tale of women’s football – with a little colour added to make the story personal. You don’t have to be a fan of football, whether men’s or women’s to enjoy this – I thoroughly enjoyed it.

1917 – most young men were at the front. Women were working in munitions factories – but in their lunch-breaks they were getting together to play football…a kick-about…from there it was a short step towards proper teams and a league.

It is a story of comrades, friendship and promises made, broken and the start of something even bigger.

Things were very different then…

Image result for old ballet shoes

Published by Nosy Crow

This could be called the sister of Elizabeth Laird’s book Welcome to Nowhere. Though in that, the book details the progress of a family from Syria to the UK, No Ballet Shoes in Syria details what happens to a small family of asylum seekers once they have reached these shores. With what I suppose are literary flash backs of Aya’s home life before the war and the journey to England.

It is an emotional, beautifully written tale, using ballet as a central point of reference – with of course that connection to Ballet Shoes (Noel Streatfield). I know nearly nothing about ballet, however, the terminology and phrases used give a strong ballet-colour to this story.

Sadly a tale that is being repeated again and again in the news. This one reminds those of us who are so lucky, that their names aren’t refugee/asylum seeker, they are the Ayas of the world…

Nosy Crow haven’t given / published the cover that the finished title will have, so I have chosen this image from the Internet. It seemed apposite.

Note Catherine’s alter-ego Cate Shearwater is the author of the Somersaults and Dreams books – about gymnastics.

5 Things to Consider Before Trying Pointe Ballet. The picture is credited to ThoughtCo Ballet Dancers and Bruised Toenails. Pointe shoes.

Image result for pog kenny

 

Published by Chicken House

We looks at things and holds them close.

Things what remind us of family.

Powerful they become.

Memories of those who have gone before, laid down they are,

like layers of silt on riverbeds – and they sway,

this way and that with the current, and we hold,

and we remember.

T’is our duty to remember.

Pog. Padraig Kenny’s previous title was Tin – I rather like the fact that his books have titles that are one syllable: simple, but almost profound. I hope he continues with this – it could be quite a feature of his books. They are both brilliant (I reviewed Tin on this blog some time ago) – I loved Pog.

This is the story of Pog of the Burrows to the North, before the far reaches, Keeper of the Necessary, Guardian of the Dark, Pog of the First Folk. It is also the story of Penny and David who have recently moved with their father to their new house. A house with a difference. A house that seems to have more about it than it first appears.

This is an adventure with an endearing wonderful hero (we should all have a member of the First Folk in our lofts) that deals with grief, responsibility and bravery.

Them that’s dead is never gone.

 

Image result for midnight at moonstone flecker oxford university press

Published by Oxford University Press.

I was supposed to be reading another Pushkin title, however, I finished the book I had taken to work the day before yesterday, in my lunch break, and minutes after a parcel was put in my hands: two new proofs for me to read from OUP. This was one of them.

I can’t claim to know anything about fashion. I love old fabrics though – those with embroidery, interesting patterns to the weave – and colour. I do like good design too – though sadly I spend most of my time wearing trousers / jeans and t-shirts. More practical for lugging totes of books about…

This is a rather gorgeous and flamboyant story set in a museum of fashion – a miniature Victoria & Albert if you will. Kit is artistic – she is interested in colour and art. Her father isn’t. Can’t see the use of learning to sew…and would like her to attend the William Siddis Memorial School in London, an academic establishment with little time for the arts. Kit would not. She would prefer to study at St. Leopold’s…a school with a different emphasis. She runs away…

One reason I loved this so much was the other dimension to the story…Lara’s expertise is that of a costume expert at the V&A Museum in London (she’s been a senior textile conservation display specialist at the V&A for 15 odd years) and this colours the story beautifully. If anything I would have liked more input about the history of fashions and fabrics, however, it may be that it would have taken away some of the flow of this rather fun story.

You will have gathered that I loved it. The cover of the proof has a lovely sketch of a rather cross looking character with a fan and a dress with a rather large hooped skirt with the sort of decoration I love…with flowers sewn on to it. There’s an illustration on the back, of what is proposed as the cover that the book will have – which is a development, I think of that of the proof.

I would love for the book to have been covered with a photograph of some old 17th c / 18 c fabric…but perhaps that wouldn’t be so enticing for younger readers… The book, though, promises to be illustrated with fold out flaps – showing the costume detail in ‘full-colour’ detail…

I am hoping to have Lara and Trisha (the illustrator) to come for an event at Waterstones O2 – keep an eye on the Waterstones web site….all the detail will be there – if they say yes!

I do hope they do!

Image result for the tunnels below nadine

Published by Pushkin Children’s

Another brilliant book from Pushkin Publishing. I am London born and bred and so you would think that the tube has little to concern me. On the whole this is true, though sometimes when travelling in the deeper tunnels late at night, perhaps in a carriage with no one else around and you look out, you can see disused stations, areas underground that seem to go nowhere…dark places…that just might be places like The Black of Beyond…

This is a story of The Black of Beyond. An area where ‘legend has it that if you just keep walking you can end up walking from somewhere to nowhere.’ 

A story of wanderers, who are ‘confused inhabitants, ordinary dwellers, that have ‘wandered off’ and been lost in the Black of Beyond.’ 

Cecilia drops the gift her sister gave her and it rolls away and onto a train, and when she follows it, to grab it quickly and make her way back, she finds the train doors slide across and the train moves off trapping her, until it stops…and the doors open once more onto a (seemingly) deserted platform…

Eerie and clever this story is reminiscent of The Midnight Hour (Laura Tinder & Benjamin Reed) and another title, whose name that keeps escaping me – which is very irritating. That said the characters in this are very different. There is more than a little element of anthropomorphism about this – very cleverly done. A reflection of Nazi Germany  too – a tale of resistance.

I read a proof of this – it has charming chapter heading illustrations which I hope in the final version will be larger – more of a feature…it’s a book for those who have travelled on the tube, who have, perhaps, lost their relations, have gone one to somewhere else.