Archives for category: Orion Publishing

The Wishing Bones

Published by Orion Books

‘Let’s not be counting our vultures,

till they be hatched.’

Those of you who frequent Waterstones Finchley Road O2 will be well aware of my passion (I think that’s the best word to describe it) for Michelle Lovric’s Undrowned Child – which I reviewed way back in 2009 on and then again, a few years later and since then a number of times on my blog.

This is Michelle’s most recent Venetian tale. Once more, not for the feint-hearted: a story of murders, mystery and mermaids. A different tale – one of orphans, reliquaries and the trade in sacred relics…and so much more.

Another volume that seems to have been well and truly soaked in the waters of the canals in Venice. If you have read The Undrowned Child then this is one to reawaken that urge to visit Venice whether literally or within the boards of a book. If you haven’t read The Undrowned Child, (I can’t see why you might not), then these two volumes make a wonderful pair of Venetian mysteries and will without doubt encourage you to visit (should you not have done so already), or to return to La Serenissima.

This then is a story of reliquaries and the trade in the remains of saints. If all the claims made around various saints are true, then a number of them, it would seem, had more than the usual quota of limbs, amongst other things. This story is about where those may have come from. A story that is as dark as many of the stories that colour Venice’s history.

Not for the feint-hearted, as I said, but a book for those who can acknowledge the darker side of this extraordinary city,  a book like no other. Apart from that other one, I may have mentioned…

.Image result for The boy at the back of the class

Published by Orion

‘So…I’m scary? Just because I look different?’

Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. Some can be confronted, others are not so easily dealt with. Some of the largest bullies in the world are those with the greatest power, who abuse that power, and abuse people, with the result that there are over 6.5 million refugees trying to escape.

This is a story about one of them. This is the story of Ahmet who arrives at school in the middle of the term and takes the last seat at the back of the class.

He’s nine.

This is an extraordinarily moving account of friendship, bravery and hope. It is the story of a small group of children wanting to do the right thing – against all the odds. Their naivety – a belief that in the end all will be well, if they can just make sure everyone know, that the adults out there, would do the right thing too, lends the story a piquancy that wouldn’t otherwise be there, which colours the story.

The book is illustrated sensitively and touchingly by Pippa Curnick – and her pictures add their own bit of seasoning to this extraordinary book.

‘Sometimes all you really need is somewhere to cry without anyone ever knowing.’

This is a story of hope.

Part of the royalties of this book will go to aid refugees.

It should be read along side Elizabeth Laird’s Welcome to Nowhere – it is, in effect another side to her story…

If you don’t do anything else (and don’t read it), buy it anyway. It will help, just a little, but it will help someone somewhere out there, who is looking for a new place to call home, somewhere they can live in the peace we all take so much for granted.

Better still, buy it and read it. Then tell everyone else to, and get them to buy and read it too.

This is not a book to share – its a book to be bought.

Though perhaps we could subsidise all members of both houses of parliament to have a copy, along with Elizabeth Laird’s book.

Its time we started to care.

I’m sure Waterstone’s could do a promotion for that many copies and I would be very happy to process them through the till.

I have, but one criticism, (it is very small) – it’s this. The word ‘gotten’ is used and though, that in itself lends some colour to the book, for those who are also studying English for exams, as well as reading a good book, it should perhaps have been exchanged for another. It is of no serious matter, but none-the-less it is one that should not be used, unless of course the book is meant to be written in American.


Published by Orion Children’s Books.

I made some very (extremely) brief notes about this book on my mobile as I finished reading it. I had no paper to hand, so typed it slowly by index finger (I do have an oppossable thumb – I’m just not of the generation that grew up with a mobile); some words to denote what I thought, and what the book is about.

So here is a very different review of a rather good book:





























The cover was designed by Rob Biddulph – and to be honest that was what caught my eye. That old adage, ‘never judge a book by its cover’ – is true, however, it is what is first seen, and what first appeals, though I do, generally, read anything that comes into my hands…a well designed cover can entice and excite…as this one does.

I now want to go to India to see leopards…

Published by Orion

“Ned was the reason why Mr Doyle had to get a pacemaker fitted.”


“And besides, according to most of our teachers, you are not supposed to give power to wild boys on horses. It only encourages them”

Another superb book from the Orion stable.

This is a book about friendship, horses, and being your own person. It is about horse racing, bravery and standing up for what is right. It is about finding out that not everything fits neatly in boxes and that it is rare for people to do so too.

I marked two small points in this book – both made me laugh out loud and they are quoted above…

Ned is something else. I wish I had met Ned when I was a child – wild, different and silent. He doesn’t attend school very often. Ned, though is special – an extraordinarily talented boy – wild, determined, and exceptional. He reminds me a little of my favourite uncle –

This is a story with characters that almost engulf the book.

Minty’s parents though, are parting…things are not right at home. An understatement, if there ever was one. Her father’s stuff is in a skip in their drive, her mother is smiling fake smiles and talking about “turning new leaves”, “starting again” and “new lives”.

The trouble is Minty rather liked the other one – the one before her parent’s began to talk earnestly in whispers, and started smiling fake smiles at one another and then there is Ned.

Ned who doesn’t ‘do’ school. He is the boy that the teachers shrug about. Who glowers at everyone and has something to do with horses…

K M Peyton’s Blind Beauty was my favourite ‘horse’ book. Now I’m not so sure – I suspect it is this, a glorious celebration of being different, bravery and friendship. They should both be sold together – I feel they are a pair of siblings…

I wish I could ride like Ned…I wish I could have a relationship with a  horse like he has with Dagger… but that would entail so much more…

It is superb.