Archives for category: Genre Adventure

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 Firefly Press

There is an old adage that you should never judge a book by the cover. I believe that on the whole this is true (you can miss superb stories, by assuming things, just because of the illustration and design), however, I am also aware that sometimes a cover can lead to extraordinary books.

This is one such.

On the whole books about the environment can be a little worthy, this though is marvellous – which is just one of the reasons why I love it.

I have thought about reading the first book in this series before, but never got around to it, however, my colleague Tom (without whom my working life would be much more stressful), showed this to me yesterday and I fell in love. First with the cover, with its brilliant design and then found myself enchanted by this wonderful story. The plethora of insects, mammals and arachnid characters are colourful and superb – this is about intolerance, the environment and natural history – a gorgeous extraordinary mix – like nothing else I have come across… There are classical and binomial references too – and the details of the lives of the smaller wildlife, out in our gardens is carefully covered, and there are references too to the solar system and the more complicated aspects of physics…

It is one of those special books. The first volume is called Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, which I will read as soon as I can get hold of a copy. I am also excited to report there is a note in Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds that there is to be a third…about spiders – those glorious arachnids… called appropriately enough Aubrey and the Terrible Spiders.

These are books for anyone who is interested in our smaller fauna – with brilliant plots too…I could go on, but I had better not….

Oh, almost forgot – it has some lovely illustrations too – just enough, and not too many by Jane Mathews….

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 Chicken House

There are not many books where you can visit the skeleton of one of the main characters in a museum. This is the story of Maharajah who walked from Edinburgh to Manchester in 1872 and whose remains are to be found in Manchester Museum.

This fictional account of a true story relates the adventures of a young boy who becomes involved in a wager which has far reaching consequences for this urchin of the streets. It is a story of friendship, rivalry, bravery, and a tale of treachery too.

This is the story of an Indian Elephant – the elephant whose remains are in the museum. The story relates the story of an African pachyderm – but otherwise, in all essentials, the story is a true one. Jane Kerr has just added quantity of good quality adventure into the mix.

This is a wonderful book – sensitively and well written – a must buy. Then we must all travel up to Manchester to visit the original Maharajah.

NB. Just a small note – the wonderful elephant illustrated on the cover was done by Chris Wormell – a superb artist who has ‘done’ many other books too – and this one is one of his best… See also George and the Dragon / Two Frogs….to name just two beautiful picture books written & illustrated by him.

Published by Oxford University Press

There seems to be a herd of good adventure stories that have recently been published or are about to be – this is one of them. This is a piratical adventure set on pirate ships floating in the sky…with a land mass beneath. Full of swashbuckling energy, with wonderful characters and a brilliant plot too.

I’d like to make a boxed set of good adventure books for this age group –

The Huntress: Sea / Sarah Driver,

Jake Atlas and the Tomb of the Emerald Snake / Rob Lloyd Jones,

The Demon Undertaker  / Cameron McAllister,

A Very Good Chance / Sarah Moore Fitzgerald,

Black Powder / Ally Sherrick,

Fenn Halflin & the Fearzero / Francesca Armour-Chelu  &

Cloud Hunters / Alex Shearer (which sadly I read before I started this blog, and so has lost out a bit) to name but a few – its a good time for adventure.

This centres around Zoya – smuggled onto a pirate ship; however, things are nothing like they seem and the story becomes a whirlwind of a tale of fights, raids, islands in the sky, treasure, evil pirates (yes, it seems there are some good pirates out there as well as those good old-fashioned bad characters), friendship, bravery and family

Its superb…Enjoy it!

Published by Egmont

Not yet published due  out in April 2017

This is an extraordinary and wonderful volume. This is how pirate stories should be – a wonderful mix of fantasy, adventure and traditional swashbuckling – a tale to make your hair curl! A story for those who love something a little different, an unusual and brilliant tale – a tale of whale song, prophecy, danger, evil usurpers, terrodyls, squid, family, opals, sea-hawks, moonsprites, and destiny…

A superb use of language and a rollickingly good tale – the start of a brilliant trilogy – due out in April 2017

Published by Usborne

This a steam-punk of a book! A real joy to read – and I’m loving it. It starts with three stories, slowly being woven together, that of Lily at the beginning of the book, unhappy in a finishing school, and after her Dad goes missing she finds herself under the care of his housekeeper who is not to be trusted… Then there is Robert, the clockmaker’s son, taught by his father to mend anything that is broken, brave and resourceful, especially when it matters and lastly Malkin a sentient and rather glorious character, a fox made of cogs and wheels.

This is set in London in 1896. Servants are mechanicals, known for not having feelings, the objects of derision. If left too long without attention mechanicals can wind-down, to stand stationary – until metal fatigue takes them.

This is glorious – I have only read a third of it – and can’t put it down.

It is something special for the summer.

As I can’t seem to get the cover to import, or whatever the word is, I did some more investigating at home (this post was written in my lunch hour) and found the above – a part illustration from it. As a bonus it seems to be moving. Taken from Peter Bunzl’s site – amazing…if it will continue to work after I have saved it, I will be so pleased…a brilliant illustration for a brilliant book. We will see….the cover is superb…



Published by Harper Collins –

Ned’s father is protective, overly cautious, never takes a risk and his hobby is spending time with his son, making things together, oh, and television quiz shows.

Ned, however, is beginning to think that making things with your dad was ok, when he was younger, but he is now starting to believe that this isn’t a cool thing to be doing for someone who is coming up to their 13th birthday.

As for Ned? He is the ultimate in unremarkable. His results at school are always the same, teachers hardly realise he’s there, and he has only recently made two friends. Up to now the only friend he has had, is a mouse that he saved from a trap, who he has named Whiskers.

The day before his birthday, is also the last day of term and Ned returns home after texting his dad to let him know he would be there in the next few minutes and is greeted by his Dad telling him he was beginning to get worried…again

Then Ned realises that his dad is behaving more strangely than usual (even for him), especially when not only does he present his son with a tiny gift, but tells him not to open it ’till he reaches the circus – his father, his father who is so nervous about everything is going to take Ned to the circus… He then informs Ned that he will take him to the circus as soon as he returns…and before Ned can ask him what is going on, he bangs out of the door.

Hours later Ted hears a scraping noise at the back door, and hoping its his dad, Ned goes down to see something lit up by the security lights –

‘It was a clown, though nothing like the ones he’d seen in books or on the telly. He had the same shrunken hat, oversized boots and orange curly hair one would expect, but he was caked indirt. His make-up had cracked, like white clay left too long in the sun, and the few teeth he still had were gnarled black stumps.

The horrible scraping sound began again as the clown dragged a claw-like nail across the glass…’

It is then that Ned’s dad returns and this story spirals into a tale of darkness and adventure coloured by characters usually connected with the wilder and more curious side of circus life…

This is a brilliant read. I particularly like the characters of Whiskers and George, but to find out about them, you will need to read the book…








Published by Macmillan Publishing

This is a fun roller-coaster of an adventure. Three years before the story begins Brine was found floating in a rowing boat without knowing her name or where she came from. Since then she has been working for Tallis Magus – keeping the house clean, cooking, & washing his rather revolting socks whilst trying to avoid him and spending as much time in his library as she is able to do.

The third occupant of this house is Peter, a young fisherman’s son, who Tallis Magus is attempting to teach the rudiments of magic. So far he doesn’t show much potential.

When Tallis Magus plans to send Brine off to work with the island’s miser, to look after his house, incidentally much larger than his, and without a library, Brine is determined to do something about it. The fact that Peter too is about to have his life turned upside down (it is proposed that Peter should marry the daughter, who would then come and live with Tallis Magus), means that the two of them start to plan to escape together and this is the story of this rather buccaneering tale.

This is superb story of sunken galleons, treasure, evil and a most powerful magician, message carrying seagulls, (well you wouldn’t use pigeons at sea, would you?) a lovely ship’s cat and a plethora of other characters…

It is a tale of revenge…and contains, perhaps, the end of all stories…

Meanwhile do remember to buy a copy of this and sink yourself into a pirate-icle (I think I have just invented that word) adventure….


Published by Penguin, Random House

Not yet published at time of going to post: June 2016

I started this yesterday and I’m loving it. A superb adventure. A most uncommon adventure, to be precise. A unique fantasy – with extraordinary attention to detail and a plot full of tension. I have to admit to not having finished it yet – I’ve only got to page 149 of some 360 odd pages.  A brilliant story set in a world that exists beneath London.

Things are similar, but not the same; some things are sentient, many have abilities and uses which are unusual, not to say uncommon in London. A world with similarities to our own, but also with many important, extraordinary and uncommon differences.

It has some shades of Harry Potter, but is also something else altogether. Similar in feel, perhaps, but definitely not the same.  I am sure that when I have finished this, I will return to this post to give a fuller account of this book – which I hope and trust is the start of a series of books. If not I will be severely disappointed!

I have tried to find a picture of a nice black feather quill to illustrate this post. The significance of which I will leave for you to find out when you read the book. Sadly I  couldn’t find one that was quite right – so have resorted to this close up of black feathers, which I thought was rather beautiful. Though probably not as sinister as it should be.

Read this, and the following volumes in the series for which this is without doubt the first volume.

Or certainly should be.