Archives for category: Simon & Schuster

Simon & Schuster

The Vanishing Trick: Spangler, Jenni, Mould, Chris ...

Possibly, probably the best children’s book I read over lock-down.

Do look at the YouTube GIF – it is wonderful!

Leander, a thief from necessity makes a bargain with Madame Pinchbeck when he tries to sell his ill gotten gains to her… She, however, is not what she seems. Leander joins Charlotte and Felix in an adventure that is like no other I have read. A twisted story of theft, greed, magic, mediums and orphans…there is so much more to this than first appears. It’s brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Almost forgot – it’s illustrated by Chris Mould too – what more could you want?

Everyone should buy a copy.

Waterstones is now reopened…come and get your hands on a copy.

Stay safe –


Published by Simon and Schuster

I haven’t got very far with this yet – but it is quite an extraordinary volume.

It is a brilliant piece of fantastic fiction and adventure that (so far) involves an evil ice queen, a young boy with his arctic fox cub, and a young girl frozen alive onto a musical box.

It is intriguing, well written and (so far), quite wonderful – It has all the elements to making this a very, very good story. At the moment I am at home writing this up, and outside it is cold, with rain/sleet – a day for snuggling down with a good book. Which I intend to do – with this one. Though I think I might put the fire on first.

‘…Flint found himself wondering whether birthplace, parentage and appearance were really the things that you should list people under. Somehow courage and loyalty seemed better markers.’

‘Belonging is not about knowing your tribe. Its about trusting people whatever their tribe.’

Read it – I know this is a ‘good one’.

Later…I seem to be savouring this volume – not finished yet – but it is a brilliant and a superb read. An absolute ‘must by’. Good thing Waterstones is making it the Children’s Book of the Month for January! Go out and buy a copy – and get another book in the promotion for half price (if cheaper than this), or get this one for half price, if the other is more…

Or just buy, borrow or beg a copy. It isn’t expensive. It’s a paperback and its good.




Published by Simon & Schuster

There are other picture books about pigs. One is quite famous, but has none of the style, literary merit, humour and pure pleasure that the Olivia books by Ian Falconer give.

They are the only pig books really worth having…

They are something else – superb illustrations about a small piglet and her adventures. My favourite is about her trip to Venice with her parents and little brother. Pen and wash illustrations. It is a must buy. Oh, as is Olivia Helps with ChristmasOlivia and the wrong Toy

Sorry. Let me get this right – buy all of the Olivia books. Though perhaps (if you think you haven’t got the finances for that at the moment), start with Olivia Helps with Christmas and Olivia goes to Venice… You could buy a copy of Olivia Helps with Christmas, for Christmas and be a very kind person and buy Olivia goes to Venice – for now

There is a picture of Olivia, exhausted on her hotel bed, with a night view of Venice through the window. I showed Dad my copy and he laughed, and said – ‘That’s exactly what you did, when we first visited…’

Buy them.

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Published by Simon and Schuster

This is a beautiful picture book. One to treasure. Superbly illustrated – a book of gardening magic and wonder. I have fallen quietly in love with this simple story. Everyone should have a copy. Stunning and a masterful collaboration of story telling and illustration.

Buy this.

For some reason it reminds me a little of Mr Rabbit and the Present by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Sadly now out of print.

Published by Simon & Schuster

This is book is a Russian doll of stories, each fitting in the other. Centred around Alice a young author who always finishes her tales. Well, always, apart from this one. This is Alice’s story, and Midge’s, her younger brother’s. When Alice disappears along with Twitch his cat, Midge is taken aback when he thinks he sees his sister, but she doesn’t acknowledge him. Then she disappears completely and a rather talkative black cat arrives. Similar in some ways to Twitch, but slightly different physically, and Twitch never spoke and certainly didn’t drink tea…

This is the first Michelle Harrison volume I have read (which is embarrassing), but she is known for her superb writing (in particular The Thirteen series) – and I’m only sorry I have only just got around to reading her.

If stories, magic, adventure, danger, mysteries and puzzles have proven good ingredients for good books before, then this is one you can’t afford to miss.

This kaleidoscope of stories is frankly fascinating and intriguing.

Enjoy it –

Published by Simon and Schuster

A number of this charming book arrived in the store today. Published as a small octavo hard back with a wonderful dust jacket – it is very distinct.

There are not enough good quality books for this age group. It is often difficult to find books that are well written, with a good engaging plot and pictures that complement the book. This small book ticks all those boxes…

At least so far; I have only just started it, however I am confident that I am very unlikely to change my mind about it.

I picked up a copy and started to read it on the shop floor. Not something that is really approved of; we are there to sell books, not to read them. So most of my knowledge comes from those I either buy, or receive as proofs and read on the train and in bed, just before my cat gets too irritated and pushes the book out of the way, or knocks the pile by my bed to the floor.

I have so far read to the end of chapter 4 – and I’m thoroughly enjoying the story – I want to know all about Shylo and Horatio’s history too – I’m curious to find out why Horatio is in such a tatty condition.

I have recently set up a small table for books for this age group that shouldn’t be missed. It will be put there when I get into work tomorrow.

It starts with the definition of different types of rabbit… Please see the entry for the play Toad of Toad Hall, the play for which I have written a post, which references different types of rabbit – so this pleased me from the beginning.  The Rabbit Kingdom, it seems, is made up of six different types:

Buck – A male rabbit.

Bunkin – A country rabbit.

Bunny – A young rabbit.

Doe – A female rabbit.

Hopter – A large, strong and clever rabbit

and lastly – perhaps the best,

Thumper – A Special Forces commando rabbit.

It starts with our hero Shylo, a young bunny visiting Horatio, a rabbit with a bit of history. He lives on his own on the outskirts of the warren near the farm and Shylo is not supposed to go anywhere near the farm and certainly never to speak to Horatio…

He has visited Horatio at least once before to listen to his stories about The Royal Rabbits of London and Horatio’s adventures. I’m afraid Shylo hasn’t been very honest with his mother; making up stories about where he goes when he is supposed to be out foraging.

I have just reached the part when Maximilian his eldest brother catches up with him…

Its superb – beautifully written, and illustrated by Kate Hindley with gorgeous black and white pictures which are full of character.

If I can I’d like to have an event for the book – but that is something I will have to look into tomorrow. The book though should be purchased by everyone – at just £11 (less 1 penny) it won’t break the bank and further will encourage those younger readers with parents of a wise, discerning and sensible disposition to try something new.

Buy it. Waterstones Finchley Road O2 have some signed copies. At least they did this evening. We may run out in the next few days.



Published by Simon and Schuster January 2017

Mathew Corbin is an only child and  he spends the majority of his time in his bedroom, watching people go past in the street. He writes everything down along with the times people go out, when they return, and how often they water their pot plants.

Life is not easy for Mathew. He believes that he is responsible for a tragedy in his past and this colours everything he does, and doesn’t do. Life is prescriptive, threatening and painful. He suffers from a form of obsessive compulsive disorder.When a neighbour’s small grandson goes missing Mathew decides that he has to do something, even if it can’t be very much, since going outside isn’t really on the cards.

There are obvious correlations between this and Mark Haddon’s book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, though this is much more suited for younger readers.

Ultimately this is a positive book, dealing with a severe mental disorder and that worst nightmare of a missing child…



Published by Simon and Schuster

This is a book about a journey into the past and future of a family. It is a story of secrets, some generations old, others just a few weeks / months. It is a story of life, survival and choices. Choices made with the best of intentions, with the knowledge that once made we can never go back and take that path again. It is also a story of love, for partners, and children. It is another remarkable story by Clare Furness an author who seems to be able to write extraordinary stories about people and relationships. (She is also the author of The Year of the Rat). This one, is a story of hope, and ultimately – about what is important in life. A touching and rather glorious story, which affected me more than many other stories have done – it stayed with me all day yesterday, as I finished it… A remarkable volume.