Archives for category: Scholastic

 

 

Published by Scholastic

May 2018

A re-imagining of The Little Mermaid.

I received a copy of The Little Mermaid in 1971 – for a prize for attendance at my first school. Not really sure about such a prize. I think my mother should have received it. The fact that I never missed a day was surely down to her. It was an Emerald Book, published by World Distributions and retold by Mae Broadley and illustrated by Jo Berriman – sadly I can’t find a picture on the Internet of it. So it must be rare and obviously, all the more valuable, because I won it at school…

That aside, I have just gone downstairs and found it. Yes, I still have it – its in ‘good’ condition. Well, what would you expect from a girl brought up by an antiquarian bibliophile? I suppose I should really say, the daughter of a bibliophile who collects antiquarian books. Dad may be in his 80’s, but he’s not antiquarian, yet. It is a hardback picture book version with illustrations which are slightly dated, (none the worse for that) and pale; the book wasn’t printed on art paper. So it was a subtly produced volume, the colours were muted. Rather lovely.

I vaguely remembered the story when I received my proof of The Surface Breaks, but not in any great detail. This edition, is without doubt a teen / YA book – written just as Hans Christian Anderson wrote his tales. Without doubt this is a new rendition he would have approved of.

It is a story of coming of age. The patriarchal oppression of women. Of bravery, love and ultimately, sacrifice. This is not a ‘Disney’ version of this tale – it is a strong punchy and determined shout. Dark and twisted.

The cover on the proof has some rather lovely mermaid scales – whether that will translate through to the finished book is in the lap of the ‘Book Gods’.

 

 

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Published by Scholastic (February 2018)

A rather good story written in, sometimes overly, colloquial English, quasi American. So much so, it did colour the book for me, and not positively. I am uncertain as to where it is set – perhaps in the US, but it could just as well be somewhere imaginary.  It is written in the first person and tells the story of a girl’s search for her father. It is the story of a rather marvellous witch, and of course magic. Good against evil. School bullies and their stories too. Ghosts. It is the tale of a dog, with a wagging tail – brave and true.

It is a most extraordinary book. If the story hadn’t been so good, I’m afraid I would have found the English would have brought me to a halt. Mainly as I think we should encourage ‘good’ clear language for young readers, so that becomes the norm (particularly for exams and the like), and the more interesting, should perhaps be for later, once clear good English is the practice.

That said, there were some rather nice ‘nuggets’.

Then she told Ma the whole of Culleroy would think I was being raised by mudskippers.

… his spider-brown eyes followed me around. They were deep-set as if someone had pushed them hard into his skull.

Bird song floated up from the valley. I smelled the breath of the forest: all sticky pine and baked herbs and wild flowers and hot grass. Insects hummed and rattled and zizzied; bees gathered on giant bushes of yellow flowers as if they were dropping into their local diner for pollen shakes; ants march and lizards flicked their tails and butterflies slashed their patterned wings.

Perhaps the colour of the language, the use of it, fits the book – anyway it is certainly one to enjoy.

It is not for the faint of heart – dark, but also rather wondrous.

Enjoy.

I read a proof – so the cover probably isn’t that shown above. Though it might be – the proof had a black and white rendition of that one. So, just perhaps…

Due out February 2018

Published by Scholastic (January 2018)

This is a story about families. Sometimes parents get things wrong. Sometimes they bring new people into the family who shouldn’t be there. This is a story of a young boy being brought up by his mother who decides that the man she hoped would become a loving husband and father, isn’t what he should be.

Her solution is to leave and to stay in a house that her new partner doesn’t know about. It is rather dilapidated, however, Nate realises that for the first time in ages,  his mother is happy. She’s singing again. Then when she doesn’t return from a brief shopping trip, Nate is surprised when an old friend materialises…

This is a touching story dealing with a serious subject in a very careful way. It certainly wouldn’t be for everyone. There is no direct physical violence, but it does cover psychological and the feeling of tenseness in the air.

The above illustration is from Garden Lovers Club – Mason Jar Light (with thanks, its just right for this) – as a light jar is a pivotal point in the story.

Published in the UK by Macmillan Children’s books, in the US, by Scholastic

I read the proofs publishers send me without reading their blub. This is essentially to ensure that I don’t start a story with any preconceived ideas. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised (a cover can be very misleading), sometimes disappointed.

I read this proof over 24 hours or so. It had a rather simple cover, just a drawing of a skeletal hand reaching up towards the night sky. Simple and effective.

The story reminded me a little of Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls. It left me in tears at work as I read the last few pages. Then again, I am a bit of an emotional wreck at the moment, post Pakka. That said, it is beautifully written and quite superb and as I explained to a mother and daughter recently, sometimes books that make you cry are the best books and shouldn’t be avoided.

Enjoy this, simply and beautifully written story of life and everything that goes with that – and if you haven’t read A Monster Calls read that too…

Sadly Kim Ventrella lives in Oklahoma City and so isn’t available for events…it would be superb if she were…. Looking for pictures of the cover, I came across the one above which is ‘connected’ (I don’t know what the correct term is) to Kim’s Internet site – I assume the dog is hers…he looks rather lovely. The cover above is the one Scholastic are using for their American edition of the book – to be honest I hope ours is similar to the design on my proof – more in tune with story…with a hint of darkness…

The Macmillan edition is out on the 21st of September 2017

Published by Scholastic

This is a charming, unique fairy tale. Alberto lives in a village,  where flying fish soar out of the sea, and the houses are brightly coloured. The only fisherman in the area is laughed at, after all what use is a fisherman, when fish regularly fall from the sky? Alberto though is a carpenter and spends his time making toys for his three children and household furniture to sell. It is a happy house, until things change, as they do in fairy tales and a sickness arrives at the bottom of the hill.

This is a small volume. The proof is printed in blue, with small illustrations that decorate each page. It is to be published in paperback, and I hope that Scholastic will make sure that the production reflects the appeal of the story.

The above illustration depicts the cover of the proof – which as those of you who are regular readers of this blog will know, quite often doesn’t reflect the end result – but it might give a little indication of how the book might look once it has been published. Which my proof states will be in May. Though often that too changes. Keep an eye out for this one though – a story of the traditional variety…

I have been asked to review my last post about this small volume by a customer who has direct experience of the subject; her son, born a daughter. He expressed his belief from a very early age and so, I have made a note that it should be within the 9 – 12 age group.

The use of the correct pronoun for suffers is important – and within this story, though initially confusing for those of us who haven’t come across sexual dysphoria directly, is right and proper – and not just a device.

This is an important volume – it is not a subject that is covered in fiction for children, it is a unique children’s book in my experience. As such may be of help to those who are affected by this.

Having looked on the NHS site dealing with sexual dysphoria, they suggest that anyone who has, or has a child who may be showing signs that they have it, that they should contact their GP who may well refer them on to a specialist Gender Identity Clinic.

 

 

Published by Scholastic

Due out in March 2017

This is Sylvia Bishop’s second book. I enjoyed her first, Erica’s Elephant when it came out, and  wrote a post about it. I have been selling it to all discerning young readers ever since. This, though, I loved. The Jones family, Netty, Michael and Property own the White Stag – a bookshop sited in an old pub.

They are happy enough, though financially things are not quite what they should be.

This is the story of what happens when all that changes, it seems for the better.

Property is our heroine, but she is certainly supported by other the other brilliant characters, including my favourite Gunther, a cat who has decided opinions about things and expresses himself very clearly – very much in the way my Pakka does.

It is a book about book forgeries. Its about dishonesty and it is about integrity too. I read this yesterday – and was amused by this element of the story. In the last year or so a real forgery has been discovered. A fake copy of a book by Galileo – about the moon and astronomy – Sidereus Nuncius (the English translation from the Latin, ‘Sidereal Messenger’). Dad and I saw the original book whilst we were in Italy in September  – so I enjoyed the connection with this – and the fact that it is a very small mistake the forgers made in both this fictional forgery and the real one, that meant they were found out.

The Montgomery Book Emporium is like no other shop I have ever heard of  – and I am certain I would enjoy working there – should one exist. It is a vast series of shops within one – each opening into a central ‘Front of Shop’ area. I think I would enjoy selling to the customers there, perhaps more than those at Watersones – if only because I would enjoy just moving around the shelves…Perhaps though, if I moved, ‘my’ customers would follow me to The MBE – then it would be even more special…

This is a book for book lovers, book SHOP loves and of course, cat lovers everywhere.

It is wonderful!

I couldn’t find a picture of the cover – so have cheated a bit – the above picture I thought was a suitable one – gleaned from the Internet…I thought he/she was rather beautiful. All bookshops should have their own cat…

kmpeyton-blind-beauty-cover-2-800-300x216Published by Scholastic

This is a wonderful story and should really be listed as a classic. This is the story of a young girl who’s father bred horses, but has since divorced his wife. She has gone on to marry her new husband, who is rich and runs his own stables, but without the passion and personal involvement that her x-husband put into his. Tessa’s new step father has money. Her father didn’t and doesn’t. Her stepfather doesn’t understand her and her mother now just infuriates her. This is the story of a family, of growing up, anger and frustration and the tale of a horse and dreams…It is probably my favourite ‘horse’ book for this age group. Black Beauty is rightly listed as a classic, but is so sad. This brings joy.

I should have written a post for this years ago, when I first read it. Then again, I didn’t have my blog. Apologies – another one I missed.

54738-large-gingerbread-housePublished by Scholastic Children’s Books –

Not yet Published – September 2016

Robyn Silver’s life is dull, torpid, and repetitive to say the least, however, having wished for a little excitement in her life she is astonished to find herself seeing things. Not very nice things either. Her large family are oblivious.

When her school is then demolished by trees uprooted which destroyed the roof, she and her fellow pupils find themselves being educated in a local large house, owned by a reclusive man who seems more than usually unwilling to have the school on his property.

Things combine to make her life a lot less dull – things liven up very quickly.

One piece of advice I will give following reading Robyn Silver The Midnight Chimes.

Never eat any gingerbread that is offered in a house made of sweets…

I read a proof – which of course means I have no idea of what the cover will be like – so decorated with gingerbread, which seems a suitable illustration for this book…

 

 

the-eye-of-an-asian-elephant-590x399

Published by Scholastic

Not yet Published June 2016

This is one of the most charming books I have read. Young Erica lives on her own whilst her uncle travels the world studying birds. He has been gone from home for around two years at the beginning of this small volume, and the money he has left for Erica to use, is getting a little low, which is a worry.

On Erica’s 10th birthday she opens her front door to find a rather confused pachyderm standing on her doorstep with a note attached stating that she has a Legal Right to the elephant. Feeling sorry for him she invites him inside…after all it can’t be good to be left on a doorstep without knowing who or why he has been left there.

Some damage is done to the door frame. More to the stairs and the bathroom, and Uncle Jeff’s bedroom also sustains some as the elephant takes up residency.

This is a beautiful story about friendship, bravery and practicality – it really is a wonderful little book, only 135 pages long, and there is a note in my proof to state it will be illustrated.

Due to be published on the 2nd of June, as a small hardback. I trust Scholastic will give it a good quality binding, such as one that the story deserves. Perhaps they might consider giving it a lovely dust jacket too.

I usually give away my proofs. This one I will keep, along with a copy of the finished volume. It is very special.

The cover doesn’t look to have been confirmed as yet, so I thought the above photograph of an elephant’s eye in such detail might give some indication of what it might be like to live in a small terraced house with a very large Indian elephant.