Archives for category: Illustrated

Published by Pushkin Books – September 2017

Translated from Swedish by Peter Graves

My proof was/is an oversized paperback, 8 x 6, and about 2 inches thick. Some 589 pages, including the last which is an illustration.

This is the story of Sally Jones, a ship’s engineer who’s captain is wrongly accused and convicted of murder.  It tells the tale of her adventures trying to find a way to prove his innocence. There are many circumstances and people out to prevent her from succeeding – and it is a wonderful tangle of adventure, travel, three humped camels, accordions, music, sailing, friendship, bravery and the odd fight too! I’m afraid I haven’t finished this yet, reaching only page 260 – mainly because I have been reading Sally’s adventures before I go to sleep, and not carrying  it around with me.

Sally Jones is talented, clever and observant, and also happens to be an ape, which means that though she can’t talk, she can certainly communicate, and is literate too. Being an ape amongst humans, however, adds to her problems. She won’t be able to help her captain from the inside of a zoo…

The illustrations at the head of each chapter are superb – full of wonderful detail – beautifully illustrating each chapter – so each is unique, these are not devices, but pictures to be studied and enjoyed as much as the story.

This is, I’m afraid another success for Pushkin. I seem to be a bit of a fan of this publishing house – but there you go – good books deserve good reviews, and Pushkin keep producing good books, and it is obvious they must have good authors to write them. The publisher’s info. states that it should be published on the 7th of September – in a jacketed hardback (just as it should be) – the illustrations alone are worth the extra cost. Buy this for anyone special you know, who like a good book – I am sure you know someone and it would be a delight to receive as a Christmas Prezzie – or ‘seasonal gift’ – whatever you like to call the holidays around December…

Published by Harper Collins.

I think I like most animals. Well, apart from hissing cockroaches – somehow I don’t seem to appreciate cockroaches. They tried to have me handle one in a zoo once. They thought we would have a meaningful meeting of minds. After all, I had just handled a snake or two, and a large rose kneed tarantula (named Rosie) amongst other creatures, so I suppose it was a reasonable assumption. I had to explain that though I was sure Hissing Sid was very nice in his own way, I didn’t want to have him walk from hand to hand, as I had with Rosie. I had, I remember to be quite firm about it…anyway, he survived to be presented to someone else and I was relieved that, to quote Stanley Holloway, that the Manager didn’t have to be called for…

This volume is about the friendship between a young boy and a fox. Friendships with animals should never be just brushed aside. They are as important as those we have with homo sapiens, at least that is what I have found. This starts with the heart rending description of a boy having to release his friend back into the wild…’for his own good.’ Which never really helps as a statement. We know in the front of our brains that perhaps it is, but, then again, perhaps it isn’t. You can never be sure…and there are ways of doing things, and sometimes they shouldn’t be done at all.

I remember once, and only once, walking with Pakka on the common. She took over long to come and I needed to go.  So I left the common without her. Then worried all the way back to find in the middle of the afternoon that she obviously hadn’t been home since that morning…so went out onto the common, called once and she bolted out from the undergrowth calling back as she ran straight to me. She had obviously been searching since the morning. I never did it again, and could never do, what this boy is encouraged to do by his father. Pakka and I lived together with respect for one another. She would wait for me on our walks, and I for her. She supported me, and we watched out for dogs and foxes, because she liked to chase them.  I was there for her when the seagulls flew to close and found her when the magpies ganged up and had her pinned down; we ran home together, she along side me.

This is a superb little book – a story of war, and the powerful connection between a boy and his fox – with illustrations by Jon Klassen, an emotional rollercoaster of the most extraordinary kind…

 

 

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 Pushkin Children’s Books

Translated from the Polish by Eliza Marciniak

This is another Pushkin title that shouldn’t be missed. This story of a retired policeman and his dog investigating a theft of a rather special music box. It is charming and beautifully illustrated by Jerzy Flisak.

Detective Nosegoode spends his days playing the flute, and growing radishes. (I’d love to know why he grows radishes. A most peculiar vegetable to grow, I always find them to be too bitter.) He reads the paper to his dog, with whom he discusses the news.  Cody is a rather unique dog.  When the music box disappears Cody has his own views about what has happened and the strange man in the village, with the fake moustache and the poison bottle.

I wanted to illustrate this with a picture of Blackbeard, however, I can’t find a source on the internet. Trust me – it is a wonderful picture. As is the one of the poison bottle.

A book about bravery. Theft. Doing what is right. Poison, treasure and temptation.

As always with Pushkin the design of the book is up to their usual high standard. Lovely paper with nice red, thick card covers. These have the French fold and are as a consequence a little more sturdy, and look more professional. It is set in c. 12 point, I think – though this might be wrong. It is beautifully set in what my Dad refers to as black! Beautifully clear and ‘set’. Though I suppose that phrase is a little redundant now-a-days. The illustrations are bold and give the impression of lino cuts – though this might be inaccurate. This is a super little book.

It is one of three titles. The others in the series are:

Detective Nosegoode and the Kidnappers & Detective Nosegoode and the Museum Robbery.

 

This is a stunningly beautiful slim small volume. It contains a simple tale of a small group of people; adults, children and a dog.  Adrift in the sea in a boat. They don’t have much to share: their stories, a scarf, a scrap of food, the warmth and affection of an animal and a violin. The violinist, who couldn’t leave his instrument behind, plays some music and tells his story and that of the violin in his hands…

This is a book about freedom – hope and bravery.

 

 

 

 

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 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 Faber & Faber.

I shall never think of mackerel in the same way again.

This is a beautiful book, unlike any I have read before. Billy’s ‘thing’ is Natural History, the strange and peculiar; the interesting facts about animals that make the subject so fascinating. His hero, is also one of mine – Sir David Attenborough, who makes regular visits to Billy in his daydreams, as his mind wanders away from life when he doesn’t want to deal with the more challenging things that it periodically throws at us all. He watches all David’s programmes, and he knows that he has all the answers to everything – to all the questions, he just has to listen and he will answer.

Billy is different, not the usual boy. Being different isn’t good, at least that is what Billy has found. His class find him strange and as Billy knows that isn’t always good in the animal kingdom.

Then a new boy arrives at school, another boy who is interested in Natural History. He though is different from Billy; he can’t swim, and Billy can. Patrick though, can do other things…and is willing to wait for his friend, when many others wouldn’t.

The imaginative text – which is so peculiar to the book is reflected in the use of typeface  – which along with the illustrations makes this very unique.

It is a beautifully illustrated volume – the book has superb free and paste-down endpapers and a lovely dust jacket with fish swimming on them – and one in particular, a mackerel facing Fish Boy on the front. It is handsomely designed and the pictures really contribute to making this a very special book – they make it more of a gift and rather special.

It has been published in hardback, but it would have been a disservice to both the story, design and illustrations if it hadn’t been. It costs a little more, but you receive more than you pay when you purchase such a volume.

Buy it.

Image: Anne Cecile

Wide Eyed Editions

This is a book like none other that I have come across. An exploration of the world of nature using coloured lenses to bring clarity to the pictures.  I wish that I didn’t know about the science behind it, and for those who don’t, it will be a simply magical volume. Without doubt Carnovsky’s illustrations in three colours make this book the extraordinary volume it is. This is not a story book, this is a non fiction book showing animals and vegetation like never before. It is not only a beautifully illustrated book – it is full of information too. A wonderfully remarkable volume that should be given to all good little girls and boys  who enjoy natural history.

The lenses are set carefully into the inside of the front boards for safe keeping.

It is beautiful and extraordinary.

Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

This is so much more than a story book. Beautifully illustrated it relates the story of Isabelle and her friend and companion, Pickle her dog. Vibrant and a superb gift it details the four seasons as they occur throughout their adventure.

What really makes this a superb volume is the music. Each page has a button which when pressed plays a small excerpt of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to go along with the story. It brilliantly allows young people to experience a gorgeous piece of classical music mixed with a lovely narrative and beautiful illustrations. The rendition is as good as many CD’s I have heard play; it is not a ‘noisy’ book – it does not fit into that genre – the book plays music.

I am pleased to note that there are to be more books like this produced by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books. I am hoping that the next piece will be either, the Nutcracker or perhaps better still, the 1812 – what fun to have a book with cannons!