Archives for posts with tag: Book Review

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Simon & Schuster

I have never learnt to play chess – I could probably give an moderately educated guess at the possible moves for the pieces, but other than that, it isn’t something that has caught my attention.

That said, I know there are young players out there who will enjoy this story about a young boy determined not to learn  with his grandfather…who has made a list of things he would like to teach is grandson.

The challenges his grandfather sets him seem a little unlikely – he’d like to teach him how to (amongst other things) clean brass, the shower curtain and the patio slabs,  how to perform a knee dance, play chess, shred paper and mow the lawn.

In turn Felix decides that he would set his grandfather a challenge, one that he would be sure to turn down…on the understanding that if he tries, then he will (though reluctantly), learn to play chess…

This is a touching story that should entice everyone, chess players or not – though those who don’t play, may find themselves wondering about it and just perhaps…

A story of identity, chess, families and history…

 

 

Published by Simon and Schuster

This is the second book in the Windershins series of books and is just as enticing and magical as the first – A Pinch of Magic.

I am loving this – though have to admit to supping it gently. I received a special edition proof hardback to read – which is gorgeous, but not one I can read in the bath, or stuff into the top of my bag and carry around without giving it due respect…so it is taking me a while. I have though given it a lovely ribbon and attached a rather important tag, in the shape of a Russian doll to it, as a bookmark.

It is a real pleasure to get back to the three sisters and their grandmother…I often wonder what happens at the end of a book…what happens next.

This is gorgeous. There’s new magic, new characters, (including a wisp of one), the Russian dolls (thank HEAVENS for that set), a hag-stone, a map and of course Oi and Hoppit…the sisters and Granny – without whom…

Charlie gets kidnapped (yes, again)…Granny – well…you will have to read it to find out.

This is positively marvellous.

I love Michelle’s imagination including the little details – a pint of ‘Speckled Pig’ – I don’t drink, but would like a taste of that!

Michelle is coming to sign copies of the new paperback (sorry about that – the hardbacks were a definite limited edition) on the 29th of February – see Waterstones.com site for details! I can’t wait to see her again…

 

 

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Scholastic Children’s Books

This is a story of a lie. Not just a small, little lie, but one of those, spur of the moment, ‘no-one will realise’ lies, that expand and grow expeditiously – till they become all encompassing, all pervading.

Cole it seems, can paint. That’s what everyone is told and everyone believes. His first painting by any stretch of the imagination was a success. The only snag to this tale of joy is that everyone expects another…and he doesn’t know what it is that made the first so successful. What it was that made it ‘the picture’ – what made his ‘talent’ stand out to the artist who visited his school…

This is a story of repercussions. Of pressures. Of trying to do the right thing. Of new trainers…It’s also a tale of a mystery – a painting with a secret never solved…and a story of a sister…

 

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Published by Nosy Crow –

Our heroine is a thief. Our hero, an honest boy who would rather Chaya didn’t steal – and would certainly have advised her not to steal the Queen’s jewels, even if, as she believes, they wouldn’t be missed.

That is, if she had asked. Not that she would have taken any real notice if she had.

Friendship is a complicated thing at the best of times.

Chaya steals for all the good reasons…but, not everyone thinks that they are good enough.

The theft of the  queen’s jewellery has repercussions even Neelan can’t believe, though he might have had some idea. Though perhaps the adventure and theft of an elephant that results, were beyond even his imagination…

A proper adventure – saturated with the colours of Sri Lanka. Wonderful.

 

 

 

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Published by Macmillan Children’s Books

NY Published: Thursday 5th March

M.G. Leonard – the author of the phenomenal Beetle Boy series has collaborated with Sam Sedgman for this new book – a proper adventure – of the old school. Just as good as Beetle Boy – but about steam trains. 

Stupendous – a crime / adventure story for all of  M.G. Leonard’s fans, but also for those out there who are ‘into’ steam trains… It is the start of a series of four books – and you really need to get on to this from the beginning.

Harrison’s adventure starts as he joins a royal train, taking its last run through Scotland, before being retired. He is the only child on the train – and initially he’s really not that interested.

All that changes as the journey progresses and a bracelet goes missing…

You can pre-order copies of this now. It’s brilliant.

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Published by Chicken House

Will’s gran knitted. All the time. After she dies Will’s is given a rather decorative jumper that she made and though initially it seems small, he pulls it over his head to find it fits perfectly.

Then her knitting group arrive. Five strange elderly ladies, their hands clutching their knitting bags and wondering if they could have anything that Gertie had left – they would be very pleased to have anything at all.

It’s not long after that when things begin to be more than a little peculiar, not to say odd.

A man who left the village years ago, returns claiming to have known Gertie in his youth and not long after he leaves Wills house, Sophie, Will’s little sister, can’t her knitted dog, that Gertie had made.

Things are definitely not what they seem.

A story of…well knitting. Grannies. Magic. Jumpers. Woollen dogs. The Isle of Man TT races…of motorcycles…adventure.

Great fun.

Should have been published with a ball of wool and some needles…

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Published by Scholastic

Morgan has never been to school. She has been taught at home by her Mum’s best friend. The one thing she really wants though, is to go, however, she won’t be doing that (or learning to fly) until she has passed her Young Witch Exam…which so far she has spectacularly failed to do.

At the start of this story everything changes and she at last manages to pass her exam. She will be going to school, to make new friends, to be a ‘normal’ teenager. Though one with an extremely annoying familiar (yes, witches do have familiars) and the ability to practice magic. Though obviously she won’t be doing that…

Things though, don’t quite go to plan…

I loved this – funny and thoroughly enjoyable. I particularly loved her shape shifting familiar Merlin…

Lovely stuff.

 

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Published by Chicken House

Marina is the daughter of a Naval Commander and is sent away to boarding school as he leaves to take command of his ship once more. Wanting to say goodbye one last time and seeing a train at the station due to go to Portsmouth, just as she is about to take her train to school – she runs across and joins the sailors embarking to meet their ships.

What should be a relatively easy journey is complicated when she can’t find her father on arrival at Portsmouth. Worse his ship has no record of him…

This is a brilliant adventure story – with friendships made, some not what they seem to be, and promises made and broken. A tale of spies, ice, bravery and dogs…

A book to be read by the side of a fire…

Image result for wakenhyrst head of zeus  Image result for wakenhyrst head of zeus

Published by Head of Zeus

I picked this up as I am a fan of Michelle Paver’s children’s books – dipped into it and became absorbed in this story of medieval history, corrupted power, witchcraft and demons…

A long book in years (it covers five centuries) – a tale of obsession, academia, a diary, darkness, an image of a devil found in a graveyard and the love for a magpie.

I don’t usually read adult books as most will know, I sell children’s books and so need to know the minutiae of those and have little time to delve into the adult world.

This is a darker book than many – but a beautifully described descent into an all-pervading obsession and a life coloured by it.

A hauntingly brilliant book, as one would expect from an author who produced The Ancient Darkness Chronicles. (9-12)

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Anderson Press

February 2020

Compared to books in the 9 – 12 genre, there are fewer new good books for this age group. Many have lurid covers and publishers often have a bad habit of producing series of books with an excessive number of a titles in each – with little to commend them.

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There are a few collections that are, however, different. Darcey Bussell has a run of titles published a few years ago – well written and about ballet, as you might expect. Though there are quite a number – it isn’t excessive. The books are accurate with regard to the ballet – and youngsters ‘into’ ballet enjoy them.

Lucy Courtenay too has also produced a number of collections – each with a small run of titles about different characters/themes – pirates, animals and space penguins! This is the first of her new series.

The book reads like a young Enid Blyton title. A school story set underwater with wild seahorses. There are the usual concerns about teachers, other mermaids (some of whom are not friendly) and in addition Marnie Blue’s aunt, the famous singer, went to the school before her – and had a bit of a reputation.

You don’t have to buy just / all of the Daisy Meadows Rainbow series – there are other books coming out for youngsters in this age group.