Archives for category: Pushkin Children’s Books

Image result for the dead world of lanthorne ghules

Published by Pushkin Press.

Two headed creatures with long investigating tongues…

The tongues explored Edwin’s legs slowly and carefully, peeling themselves away after each touch. They moved up to the hollows at the backs of his knees and then curled themselves around each knee, squeezing it tightly.

A baby kidnapped in the depths of the night.

A jealous sibling, furious and hurt.

Diets of raw and over-ripe food…

A dim world with little colour. Apart from shades of grey.

A people who have a taste for the unusual…especially at times of celebration…

This is a gloriously Gothic, but fun adventure.

A warning to those who think a pen-friend might be just what they want – they may get more than they bargain for.

I loved it – Edwin and Lanthorne are brilliant characters and Aunt Necra – well… I am glad she wasn’t an aunt of mine! I would love, though to have a tame snarghe – I suspect one would be a very useful addition to a household…

‘They can work things out. Good boy.’

One of the heads stopped snarling and fixed Lanthorne with an unfriendly stare.

‘ Good girl, too. Good boy and girl.’

The two heads went back to snarling…

Due to be published October 2019 – just in time for Halloween.

Place your orders now.




Image result for lenny's book of everything pushkin

Published by Pushkin Books

Holy Batman!

Lenny’s mother wins a competition at the beginning of this hugely touching and emotionally charged brilliant volume. She is one of the lucky winners of the Burrell’s Build-it-at-Home Encyclopedia set.

Some of my followers may not know what an Encyclopedia is, or, I should say was. Before the Internet existed you could buy sets of books that contained everything you need to know about everything. A dictionary in a way of everything from the universe, through wildlife, geography, languages, people, sciences, philosophies, religions…everything there was to know was contained in these sets of books. A famous example was the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which was first published (the Internet tells me) in 1768. The last time it was printed (it is now available on the Web), was in 2010 and it was bound in 32 volumes and it would have been printed in a very small font too.

So Lenny’s mother won a set of these and this book is punctuated with letters between her and the General Sales Manager who, as is the way of the world, rather hopes that she can gain some sales out of this situation.

Lenny mean while becomes entranced with beetles…her brother with birds of prey…and birds in general. Every Friday the children run down to get the latest instalment, the latest letter.  The books become point of importance, of reference, if you will, to the family, and particularly for Lenny’s brother who seems to be perpetually growing and doesn’t seem to be able to stop.

This is a wonderful book. It deals very sensitively with the big questions of life and death. It is an emotional volume, but one that shouldn’t be missed. It’s a book that EVERYONE should read.


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.



Image result for maddy alone pushkin

Published by Pushkin

My big sister (whom I have mentioned before), would have loved these. Actually she would probably love them now.

A series of books for those who are into the theatre, drama and performance.

Pamela Brown is sadly deceased, however, Pushkin books are reprinting these rather lovely books – and they keep sending me the proofs…I have just finished Maddy Alone, enjoyed The Swish of the Curtain some time ago and yesterday I received a proof of Golden Pavements.

The Swish of the Curtain relates how seven children get together to organise and perform in their own theatre. In the second volume Maddy Alone, the older children have left home and are now attending drama school, leaving Maddy behind. She is disappointed to hear they wouldn’t be returning at the end of term and this precipitates a state of siege – much to her mother’s frustration. The story of what happens when a Maddy finds out about a local legend and she makes a friend is when the story really begins. It is  perhaps a traditional story, but generally better written than many, and when Maddy runs away…

I shall enjoy Golden Pavements, I’m certain and I hope and trust the fourth in the quartet, Blue Door Venture will be sent to me soon too…

These were originally published in the 1940s – they are good, solid stories about things that can happen. No fantasy here…nothing nasty – what I refer to as ‘friendly’ books. They are, I suppose, from another time, maybe more innocent, but none the less the books are a joy.

I’m not sure what I did with my proof of The Swish of the Curtain.I shall have to see if I can find it. Clare is following this blog and may well want to read it…

There is a lovely quote about The Swish of the Curtain allegedly by Dame Maggie Smith, no less –

“I wanted to act before I read this book,” Dame Maggie Smith once said of Pamela Brown’s classic children’s novel The Swish of the Curtain, “and afterwards there was no stopping me.”

Well, after that – this is obviously a ‘must-buy’ series…


Image result for the beast player pushkin

Published by Pushkin

This volume has a really distinctive cover, that everyone seems to pick up and admire. Another brilliant book from the Pushkin ‘stable’ – a Japanese fantasy to another world.

Erin’s mother cares for the Toda – serpents that are central to the success of the army and the safety of the kingdom. It is a job that involves ensuring they are healthy, fit and well. Ready to go to battle as soon as necessary. It is a dangerous job, the Toda controlled by silent whistles… Erin’s mother though is good at her job, she is different, though. Some would say she shouldn’t be looking after the Toda at all. Many are suspicious.

When the Toda under her mother’s care die, Erin is forced to escape, as her mother is executed…

An extraordinary and unique tale of intrigue, danger and adventure. Something different for the Summer….


Published by Pushkin Books

This is a rather pretty little hardback. Just 88 pages. It tells the story of two children caught in a snow drift, and taken in by a dog.

I have always liked Irish Wolfhounds – long legged and full of character. This relates the story of the poet, and his relationship with his dog, and the dog’s relationship with the children. Its about love. How someone can be with us, even when they are gone. This is a poignant little volume. It contains a small amount of poetry and is a moving story.

At the moment the book is a reflection of my life, in away. I know that someone I cared about and lived alongside and with me for many years is no longer here. I find, however, that she is also with me, as the poet is with the dog, in this small volume.

Its a rather special.

The picture below is off the Internet – credited as The Pinnacle of Nobility – on Pinterest.


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 Pushkin Children’s Books

Translated from the Polish by Eliza Marciniak

I am sorry to report that the picture that I put up transformed itself into another – which had nothing to do with Det. Nosegoode – so I have removed the picture that relates to this – it had a red cover and was similar in style to the others in the series. See below…

Very odd…

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.

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 Pushkin Press –

Once again a superb book published by Pushkin Press.

This is a book for all those cat lovers out there – those who know cats as felines / cats, not as ‘kitties’ or any other derogatory and disrespectful term… These cats mean business.

Set in India in the heart of old Delhi – it is atmospheric and superbly crafted. Three main types of cats live in the area – indoor cats, most of whom never go out, the Wildings a group of felines living with respect for each other, their prey and other species around them and another group the Ferals – enclosed in a shuttered house who’s Big Foot is coming to the end of its life…They are not respectful. They kill for pleasure and enjoy any torment that they can cause in the process.

This is not a cat book for those of a delicate nature. It is a beautifully observed extraordinary volume. There is life and death in this book – beautifully described and detailed…

As to characters – each is distinctive and as different as you might wish from a book that isn’t about cats – some cruel, some wise, and the kittens, almost mindlessly falling and tumbling though life and the dangers that are set against them.

It is marvellous.

There is a note in the back which states that the story continues in a volume called The One Hundred Names of Darkness. Which I will be ordering, of course, as soon as I return to work tomorrow. I hope and trust it will be as good. Looking on the computer – there is a note that states this title won’t be available till November. Irritating, but I expect I will survive.

My only complaint – and it is a severe one, is that Nilanjana Roy, lives in India, which I suppose is reasonable, considering the setting of this book. It does mean though that it is unlikely I will ever meet her and she probably won’t come and ‘do’ an event in Waterstones. Which is a great pity. I have been told though, that I can have a single title table for this – and will organise this as soon as the weekend is over.