Archives for posts with tag: Book Review

Image result for max kowalski didn't mean it

Published by Puffin Books

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 of 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….

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Image result for the dragon in the library

Published by Nosy Crow –

There are some out there who don’t enjoy a good book. I was one, once. Though I did enjoy being read to. I just didn’t see the necessity of learning to read for myself. That is until I visited the Tutankhamun exhibition…but that is another story in itself.

This then is for those out there who think that books and dare I say it, LIBRARIES are rather dull and not for them.

How different things would be if there happened to be a dragon living beneath these extraordinary and wonderful depositories of escapism and other things…

Kit’s friends are ‘into’ books – in a big way – never happier than sitting with a nose stuck into a new novel…she though, would rather spend her time outside – there are trees to climb, places to go…not least the local cemetery… ‘...with its spooky stone angels and matted undergrowth full of cool insects and – one blissful day – a rat….’

When Kit finds herself visiting her local library with her friends things turn out very differently from the way she thought it would…there are wizards and dragons involved and magic too… There is a little of Pages & Co / Anna James (see previous review) in this – however, this one is for those who are a little younger – none the less a book to enjoy over the summer. You never know it may mean a visit to a library, or perhaps to a bookshop – to look at books

Illustrated throughout by Davide Ortu – which is always a bonus…after all what is the use of a book without pictures? 

 

Image result for Peril en pointe lipscombe

Published by Chicken House

I had a ballet lesson or two in my extreme youth. My career was similar to that of Helen’s – as she states in the Acknowledgements at the end of this wonderful book – ‘Tragically, my own ballet career went down the plug-hole, age six, but that’s another story.‘ I think mine went down a similar hole…

This though, is a wonderful mix of ballet and espionage! An interesting mix – which works well as though Helen’s career may have been short, she made sure that the feel of a ballet school and the intense work that is put in to producing a production is soaked well into these pages. I thought that her life must have been in and around dance and ballet. So for those of you who know what it is to go ‘en pointe’ – you should’t be disappointed…and in all other respects this is a brilliant adventure story.

I have to say (I have a friend who is a Trekkie) that when discussing a mole (not the sort with a velveteen jacket – the other sort), our heroine says –

‘It can’t be Merv,’ I say. ‘He’s got a Star Trek thermos.’

Which made me laugh…

Into ballet? Read it. You like books set in schools?  Into mysteries and espionage? More reasons to read this…Thoroughly good.

 

 

Image result for evie and the animals haig

Published by Canongate

NY Published: June 2019

Evie has a talent. Something that makes her different from everyone else. She is unique.  She is able to communicate with animals with her mind – telepathy. Her Dad would prefer she kept her talent to herself, but it’s difficult, especially when she comes across animals that are suffering. She feels she has to do something about it – which makes her life complicated – especially with explanations…

This is about daring to be who you are and something else – kindness.

It is a lovely book – not only is it a  beautiful story, but it is also beautifully illustrated by the fantastic Emily Gravett.

Due to be published in June, in hardback (I know), but sometimes you should buy a book in hardback – when the format compliments the story – which will be the case with this, I have no doubt at all.

I am so excited by this – I have asked Matt’s publicist whether he will come in to Finchley Road O2 to sign copies. It’s the weekend. Hopefully early next week I will hear that he is coming…I will let you know… Perhaps Emily will be wonderful and come too – it would be FANTASTIC to have both visit the store – we could have a stupendous and wonderful duel event…

 

 

 

Image result for milton the mighty teeniest superhero

Published by Chicken House

Size isn’t everything – Milton could be the biggest super hero ever. Particularly if Emma Read’s book has as much influence over our interest in spiders as Maya Leonard’s books have had with beetles.

You will be aware that spiders are not insects – as arachnids, they have eight legs and eight eyes. They are pretty amazing creatures, often miss-understood. Especially by us.  We often don’t seem to take the time and trouble to find out about something before we scream and run away.

Image result for milton the mighty teeniest superheroYes, there are spiders out there that are venomous. In this country we don’t have any venomous spiders that would cause us any problems (that is unless you happen to be a fly – if so you are, you are a rather intelligent one), that said all wild animals should be given respect whether they are venomous or not.

This is the story of Milton who happens to look like a Black Widow spider. That’s because he is a spider, and does look similar, but actually he’s a False Widow spider – which is a very different kettle of fish.

This is a story of mass hysteria, bravery of the eight-legged and two-legged sort and a celebration of all things arachnid.

For younger readers, this is an adventure for those who aren’t sure about these extraordinary creatures that eat all those flying creatures that bite…and it’s also for those of us who are all too well aware of how fantastic spiders are.

Image result for malamander thomas taylor walker

Published by Walker Books

Why I never received a proof of this, I don’t know – I thought I was on everyone’s list for pre-publication Children’s books. I must have fallen off a list…

I have only just started this – it arrived at work today and I nicked one to read whilst having my lunch – it is wonderful.

Lost and found. Lots of things get lost – there’s a big Lost Property Office run by T.F.L. which reputedly has some very strange things in it.  I have a transparent box in which I keep lost property for a month – mostly odd toys and the odd glove. Harrod’s had a very efficient and very busy system when I worked there… Generally the items that I took down to the Lost Property Department were things like glasses, gloves, hats, purses and once a wallet that was bursting at the seams (it couldn’t close), with £50 notes, all on their edge, forcing the opening so that it bulged apart by about three inches… I never knew of a person, though to be left, or for that matter to be found in such a place…

This is about a young Lost Property Officer working in a hotel. He looks after lost things. There is though, a mystery around the town and the hotel. A baby that was left (before his time) and the parent’s of that child went missing…leaving just two pairs of shoes and some luggage – now no longer safely stored in his office…

I am LOVING this – and won’t say more at the moment (I can’t, I haven’t finished it yet) – but I can tell you it has some fantastic characters in it – and I’ve only just reached page 44 – I can’t wait to find out about the man with the hook, or about Lady Kraken, Mr Mollusc, or the Belgium chef and of course what happens to Violet (and what happened to her)…let alone Herbie….

There are fantastic pictures of fish throughout the book – vert wild looking and chapter headings illustrations as well. This, I am certain, is a book that everyone will want to read…

It is now 08.51 and I’m going to tweet about this quickly and go to bed, to curl with this very good book and find out what happens next…and the answers to those tantalising questions!

Image result for the unexpected find ibbotson

Published by Scholastic.

A mystery. A storm and an extremely cold, not to say freezing Swedish winter. This is the story of a skein of three friendships twisted together and compelled to travel in the hope of finding the answers to their questions. It is a story of friendship, trust and bravery.

It is something we may all enjoy reading as the temperature rises in June – it is a long time since I read something that was so compelling and describes the sense of touch, in this case cold, so fundamentally.

Enjoy it. Something different for the Summer.

No idea if this really will be the cover…due out in June 2019

Image result for extraordinary birds sandy stark-mcginnisImage result for extraordinary birds sandy stark-mcginnis

Published by Bloomsbury

Everyone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it. Is it reckless? Maybe,

but what do dreams know of boundaries?

Amelia Earhart

This is something quite unique. A story of recovery, hope and bravery. A story of continuation and existence. A story of hope. This is December’s story. Her last foster home from which she hopes to fly. Literally.

She is known to leap from trees. She has been known to leap from a barn roof. She hopes that the scars on her back will at last allow her wings to unfold and so prevent her from falling.

It is Henrietta’s story too. A bird to be released back into the wild, if all goes well. The training of Henrietta is different from that I have known from my experience of falconry – there the bells are attached to the tail feathers or leg furniture. They are not there to attract the bird’s attention, that is usually done with a whistle or cry. In this the bells attached to the glove do just that.

This is a unusual and quietly compelling tale of the emergence of trust…and hope and of flight.

Not yet published – and I have found two possible covers – I prefer the bottom one – it seems to capture what the book is about much more clearly…

Image result for lily and the rockets chicken house

Published by Chicken House.

I cannot claim to be a football fan. If pushed, I might say I prefer rugby. Though I have no idea of the rules for either; there is a fluidity with rugby that I don’t see in football.

This though is a history of a sort The tale of women’s football – with a little colour added to make the story personal. You don’t have to be a fan of football, whether men’s or women’s to enjoy this – I thoroughly enjoyed it.

1917 – most young men were at the front. Women were working in munitions factories – but in their lunch-breaks they were getting together to play football…a kick-about…from there it was a short step towards proper teams and a league.

It is a story of comrades, friendship and promises made, broken and the start of something even bigger.

Things were very different then…

Image result for old ballet shoes

Published by Nosy Crow

This could be called the sister of Elizabeth Laird’s book Welcome to Nowhere. Though in that, the book details the progress of a family from Syria to the UK, No Ballet Shoes in Syria details what happens to a small family of asylum seekers once they have reached these shores. With what I suppose are literary flash backs of Aya’s home life before the war and the journey to England.

It is an emotional, beautifully written tale, using ballet as a central point of reference – with of course that connection to Ballet Shoes (Noel Streatfield). I know nearly nothing about ballet, however, the terminology and phrases used give a strong ballet-colour to this story.

Sadly a tale that is being repeated again and again in the news. This one reminds those of us who are so lucky, that their names aren’t refugee/asylum seeker, they are the Ayas of the world…

Nosy Crow haven’t given / published the cover that the finished title will have, so I have chosen this image from the Internet. It seemed apposite.

Note Catherine’s alter-ego Cate Shearwater is the author of the Somersaults and Dreams books – about gymnastics.

5 Things to Consider Before Trying Pointe Ballet. The picture is credited to ThoughtCo Ballet Dancers and Bruised Toenails. Pointe shoes.