Archives for category: Puffin Books

Image result for frostheart jamie littler

Published by Puffin Books.

Initially I was disappointed. Not by the story – which is full of adventure, bravery, excitement and friendships made (and lost) – but because of the binding. Somewhere a mistake has been made. This is a paperback with a double front cover. The outer with a hole to see through, to the second. Which can be a lovely device, however, the second ‘board’ is too thick, which means that unless careful, the spine and hinge can be damaged.

That said the essential thing is the story – and that is a rollicking piece of fantasy fiction – a place of ice, snow and lurkers

The creatures were wet, sleek and serpentine, longer than two men, with six frost-white eyes that blinked, slightly out of order*, and gaping jaws filled with ice-sharp fangs and drool-slick tongues…’

Our hero is Ash, young, alone and a Song Weaver…

The Fira, the people Ash had been left with are so scared of signing and Song Weavers in particular that singing has been banned.

All Ash wants to do is to sing – to develop his strange powers, that might just have an affect against the lurkers. Not being allowed to sing, however, means that he doesn’t know, can’t find out…and then, after his last bout of illegal singing Alderman Kindil persuades Tobu, the mysterious yeti-outsider, to take care of him, outside of the village. Away from everyone and his friends.

A brilliant wild adventure – a book that is the start of a series…as Ash joins the Frostheart – a type of ship crossed with a sleigh in the hope of finding his parents…

This is the book of the month for October. Visit Waterstones Finchley Road O2 – and I will ensure you will benefit from this promotion…

*I thought that was a lovely touch…blinking slightly out of order is even better than blinking out of order…wonderful.

Oh – I forgot – the book is illustrated throughout – superbly…

Image result for frostheart jamie littler



Image result for max kowalski didn't mean it

Published by Puffin Books

‘…and always wait for the weather.’

Not many big brothers would hold a funeral for a desiccated bifurcated dead worm for a younger sister.  This is, however, one of the first things that the hero of this story does at the beginning of this book. He is his father’s eldest child. He is ‘stepping up’ – taking on the responsibility for his family, when his father disappears.

This is a story of families. Of siblings. Of hiding out. Sticking together and responsibilities…a tale of a trip to Wales, of learning to climb, a pink rolling suitcase stuffed with money and a mystery…

I haven’t finished it yet – but it keeps distracting me from what I should be doing….

There are probably lots of definitions of what it is to be a ‘man’ – this small volume (I have finished it now), gives one such definition… Stepping up isn’t what youngsters are supposed to be doing. Theirs is the time for experiments, challenges, support and love.

A book of the mountains and of Wales too. Stupendous. Loved it.

Image result for The snowman morpurgo

Published by Puffin

Raymond Briggs wrote The Snowman – well actually the picture book was published back in 1978 – It was a story without text.

Then Aled Jones sang that song, when it was released as a film in 1982

This though, is a review of Michael Morpurgo’s re-‘writing’ of the book. It will be available as a chapter book with beautiful soft illustrations by Robin Shaw this October.

I’m rather surprised this hasn’t been done before, but there you go. It seems that it is the 40th anniversary of the original book. Michael Morpurgo has written a book that reflects the magic of the original. Though I do remember a scarf being left behind…I must read the original again. The tone is just right for those who enjoy a proper story at bed time and are looking for more than a book of pictures.

A book for Christmas…

Actually, he sang it rather well…looking at it now. Then, it was played everywhere…This rendition was recorded from Top of the Pops…now there’s a name to conjure with.

Related image

Published by Puffin

Back in April 2015 I wrote a post about the first volume of this series: A Murder Most Unladylike. Since then Robin Stevens has written a further eight volumes. At the moment there are seven full sized books and this one A Murder Most Unladylike Mini Mystery.

This is a small nugget of a book – truly a pocket book. Set around London’s Museums and in particular The British Museum. I am a fan of the British Museum, and in particular the Egyptian Galleries – and this small volume’s denouement occurs in those extraordinary rooms.

It starts with a Treasure Hunt that Daisy’s uncle Felix sets his niece to celebrate her birthday. Which results in a visit to the British Museum and the Rosetta stone…

The story is just 148 pages in length, however, there are some interesting notes about the B.M., Egypt and hieroglyphs and just a snifter, a small mouthful, from Robin Steven’s new book in the series Death in the Spotlight.

If you are fans, or even if you are not – you may be excited to hear that

Robin Stevens

is coming to Waterstones Finchley Road

to sign copies of this new volume on the

28th of October…at 11.30 am!

If you haven’t tried these yet,  I suggest you come and purchase the first volume – A Murder Most Unladylike, and have it signed.

If you are a fan, I have no doubt you will have all the books in the series. Come and buy the latest and meet your favourite author!

We still have a few copies of The Case of the Missing Treasure, which was published for Waterstones and those along with the rest of the series, will be available to be signed and purchased.

I hope to see all of you there and in particular those of you I now think of as Followers of Sue (FOS)!


Published by Puffin / Penguin Random House

This is a story of kidderlings, sprogs – children, a story of stinkerful creakers. Its a story of bravery, a boy scout, a king, missing parents, and those entities that live under the bed. 

It is a story of rubbish, beds, shadows, sunlight, sliminess, flaky toes, a jacket and dozy dust.

I believe there are to be four different editions of this new book by Tom Fletcher – my proof had an illustration of Scratch on the cover. Your book might also have Scratch. Then again it may have Grunt, Gugg or even Sniff, my favourite.

This book explains very nearly everything and why, contrary to general belief, there might be something under the bed, but, just perhaps, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing…it all rather depends. An essential volume for those that find their parents have strayed into Woleb…


This is due out as a hardback on the 5th of October and is worth every penny… 339 pages of suitably scary reading…not for parents with faint hearts!

Tom Fletcher published The Christmasaurus last year – for which I also wrote a post. This too has many, many illustrations by the author.

Published by Puffin Books.

Some of you may have read The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd, some years ago. This volume continues the adventures of Ted Spark – just three months after he solved the mystery of what happened to Salim, his cousin who, (if you didn’t guess, or know) disappeared off the London Eye. This is Ted’s second mystery – set around the theft of a picture from the Guggenheim museum in New York.

I have dipped into The London Eye Mystery, but haven’t yet managed to read it; it sells itself by word of mouth, and I do like to encourage new good books. I have read enough though to be happy to include it in my piles, with the notation that though not read by me yet, I believe it to be good. I will be reading it very soon; I loved The Guggenheim Mystery – its brilliant and extremely well written.

Ted Sparks is rather a unique character – and having a trip to New York to see Salim should be a holiday to remember, but not for his aunt being arrested for theft….

Robin Stevens is the author of the Wells and Wong detective novels.  There are six so far, and are very distinctive cover wise, with very bright covers. I have read the first in the series (I have too many books to read to try them all) – and wrote a post about it some time ago. This is very different – set mainly in New York, and is a brilliant bit of deduction.

So, for all those potential Poirots, Christies, Holmeses, Chestertons e.t.c that are out there – do read the Wells and Wong books, but start with The London Eye Mystery (Siobhan Dowd), then this and then disappear into Murder Most Unladylike. They will keep you out of mischief for some time to come!

Do remember, though, to read as wide a range of authors as possible – it is very easy to just follow one; only to miss out on new potentially superb authors. Its important for your health to eat a wide ranging diet, the same is true for reading – your English will improve if you read many different authors…(they use different words, and their use of language is different)…. It makes reading more interesting and food, quite extraordinary…

The titles in the Wells & Wong series so far run to six:

Murder Most UnladylikeArsenic for Tea, First Class Murder, Jolly Foul Play, Mistletoe and Murder and Cream Buns and Crime.

There are also two mini volumes: The Case of the Blue Violet and The Case of the Deepdean Vampire.


Published by Puffin

One of the joys of working in the Children’s section of a bookshop is the books you come across. Those books that as an adult you aren’t supposed to read (though I can never understand why you shouldn’t), unless you have a ‘reason’ to do so – like, working in the Children’s section of a book shop. I’m not sure I would care about it, even if I didn’t, but since I do, if I need an excuse, that’s what I’m using. At least that is the one that seems to be acceptable to those who feel I should have an excuse for reading such marvellous stories as Flour Babies.

I have seen the book on our shelves for years. Never picked it up – but did so the day before yesterday and became entranced by it. I finished it yesterday – which is the way of things; good books ‘go’ faster, but this is one of the funniest books I have ever read – touching too – simply one of the best books, ever.

It tells the story of 4C, their teacher Mr Cartwright, our hero Martin Simon and the yearly Science Fair – they are not what you might think of as the brightest pupils in the school – they are in fact those pupils that have slowly settled to the bottom of the heap, however, Mr Cartwright is ever hopeful that something might be made of them, some of them, perhaps. Since they haven’t passed any exams, they have lost out on the more interesting experiments for the fair, exploding custard tins and the like and have the choice of: textiles, nutrition, domestic economy, child development, or consumer studies. The start of the book begins with them voting for which of these subjects they should use as their topic for their contribution to the school’s annual fair. None of them seem inspiring, apart from domestic economy, which might, but probably won’t, have something to do with food.

This book is a joy, a real gem – this is a small excerpt from it…from pages 98 – 99 which is the beginning of a discussion the pupils have that is frankly superb.

‘Or cook and eat them.’

Mr Cartwright felt obliged to step in at this point to pull 4C’s lively discussion back on the rails.

‘No, I don’t think so, George. Not cook and eat them.’

‘Oh yes, sir.’ George was adamant. ‘They taste exactly like pork. I read it in a book.’

The general clamour for more information was almost drowned out by potential individual     researchers.

‘What book?’

‘Do you still have it?’


‘What about crackling? Do babies make proper crackling?’

A book for boys, girls and parents – and perhaps (with consideration to page 99), those who might become parents through a ‘slip’ or intentionally.

Simply marvellous. The book made me laugh out loud on the tube, tears falling down my face whilst my bemused fellow commuters looked on in wonder when I explained that ‘No, its not an adult book, but everyone should read it…’

It is a pity, I think, that it isn’t required reading in schools across the country.

Read it.

Published now by Penguin.

This charming black and white story originally published in 1936 is one of the oldest children’s books that is still in print.

American, with black and white possibly lino illustrations it tells the story of Ferdinand, a bull in Spain who is a rather peaceful fellow. More inclined to sit under his cork tree than to run around with the other young bulls, who are always butting their heads together. He likes to smell the flowers. His mother (as mothers do), worries about him, but he is content to just smell the flowers. That is until he has the misfortune to sit on a bee…

Gorgeous naïve illustrations that I have loved since I was a child… When I first helped set up the Children’s Books section in Harrod’s and came across this – I was so pleased, it was like meeting a very old friend again.


Published by Puffin

I am about a third of the way into this proof sent to me by Puffin. I am always pleased when I know a book to be right – and want to review it before I have finished it.

This is one such.

Charming and delightful. Beautifully and touchingly illustrated by Shane Devries.

The prologue sets the scene. A dinosaur egg survives frozen in the ice until an elf finds it in the snows of the North Pole and with a little help from some other wonderful characters returns with it back to Santa… Meanwhile William Trundle is living happily with his Dad and doing all the usual things, enjoying school and only being slightly exasperated by his Dad’s teasing. Then there is Brenda Payne. We all know / knew a Brenda Payne at school – this new girl is something else. I trust that the book will have a suitable ending… Somehow, I know it will.

If this isn’t the book for Christmas this year (good grief, I’m talking about CHRISTMAS in July) – then I will be greatly disappointed.

Tom Fletcher is the author of the Dinosaur that Pooped… collection of picture books – this one, has little reference to faecal matter, and is a proper Christmas adventure story – with a delightful dinosaur as a central character. What more could you want? It is to be published in October and really should be bought around then, and read to young story lovers (or not so young) until Christmas morning, it should be read around teatime – when quantities of crumpets should be eaten.

It is lovely – a very special volume…and, strange to tell, it is quite refreshing to read about the North Pole in July – I’m really enjoying this book.

It will, the information on the back of the proof states, be published on the 6th of October – actually it states it will hatch then. There is a very important egg in the story.  It will be released as a hardback at £9.99 – If the completed volume lives up to the potential shown by the proof, it will be a book to treasure for the future. To be a traditional part of Christmas.

Puffin haven’t released the cover onto the Internet yet. Shane Devries artwork in the proof are charmingly sketch like. I am unsure if the proof’s illustrations are indicative of those that the finished work will have. To illustrate this post though, I have snitched the above illustration from Google – an example of Shane’s coloured work, which would do just as well. So no cover illustration for this one – but keep an eye out. Put it on your list for Christmas. This is a ‘must’ buy and can be purchased from all good bookshops…who may if you are lucky also offer you other similar delights…



I remember this with great affection from my childhood. Most books Beatrix Potter wrote and illustrated were small, but as my family would say, perfectly formed…

This was, I believe the only exception (I might be wrong about that, but I don’t think so.) As you will be aware she was quite determined that most of her books were to be small enough for small hands to hold with ease – and that has on the whole been continued to this day – though there are a few ‘spin-off’ titles that are larger, incredibly, there are even some illustrated by someone else. Further there are other Peter Rabbit books that have been written by different authors. It has to be said that hers, the original books are perfect and don’t need to be abridged, re-written and certainly don’t need their illustrations changed.

Sorry – this was meant to be a post about The Fairy Caravan – so I shall return to that.

This book is larger, and the story longer than her other titles, and the tale is centred around a guinea-pig named Tuppeny. He runs away from home to join a travelling circus. He has many adventures, but one in particular struck me as a child. The guinea-pigs with smooth hair were looked down on my those with rosettes and long hair in the story and if I remember correctly did more menial jobs. I’m afraid I can’t quite remember whether it is Tuppeny or another guinea-pig, but one of them listens to a travelling salesman who specialises in the treatment of hair, and his elixir promotes hair growth…

The guinea-pig takes a dose of this potion, with interesting results.

My copy was a hardback, with a bright yellow dust-jacket.

Puffin have recently published a new edition – in paperback with her illustrations too, including a section of coloured plates. Which is wonderful – just what this age group needs – good writing, and well illustrated.