Archives for posts with tag: Chicken House

 

Published by Chicken House

I once had a balloon flight. I was a member of a group called S.P.I.C.E. (Special Programme of Initiative Challenge and Excitement, if I remember correctly), and had become rather ‘hooked’ on anything to do with flying: I skydived, flew a helicopter, a Mark 2 (I think) Provost Jet, experienced a basic aerobatics flight, followed by a second that was to competition standard, flew a glider, a tiger moth (including doing a loop the loop), and had a lesson in a small plane. I also had the flight in a balloon. It was remarkably peaceful and as though the world was turning beneath, rather than we flying above it – it was most peculiar.

This is about the race to construct and fly the first controlled balloon flight. Its about a young fingersmith (pick-pocket) who is employed to steal a box at the start of this intriguing and rather wonderful story. Which seems a simple enough proposal…initially.

Her adventures, though, are just beginning; as a result of a spur in the moment decision she becomes caught in the ropes dangling below a balloon and finds herself being carried above the trees and a barn…the river below a silver slither of brightness.

When she recovers, (which takes a while) she is offered a job working for the family from whom she was to steal the box…and its not long before her disappointed previous employer appears on the scene…

This is (remarkably) the story of the Montgolfier hot-air balloon -which was unveiled before King Louis XVI of France in 1793. I’m afraid I knew nothing of the two Montgolfier brothers, however, the Internet (the modern day encyclopedia), makes this reference:

On 19 September 1783, the Aérostat Réveillon was flown with the first living beings in a basket attached to the balloon: a sheep called Montauciel (“Climb-to-the-sky”), a duck and a rooster. The sheep was believed to have a reasonable approximation of human physiology. The duck was expected to be unharmed by being lifted and was included as a control for effects created by the aircraft rather than the altitude. The rooster was included as a further control as it was a bird that did not fly at high altitudes. The demonstration was performed at the royal palace in Versailles before King Louis XVI of France and Queen Marie Antoinette and a crowd. The flight lasted approximately eight minutes, covered two miles (3 km), and obtained an altitude of about 1,500 feet (460 m). The craft landed safely after flying.

I don’t know what has happened, but 2018 looks to being a quality year for Children’s writing. This is superb – I have even had to put it down at intervals, because I have been too scared to read what happens next.

Out now. Buy it, read it, and pass it on.

NB – I note two authors. Neal Jackson won The Big Idea Competition in 2014 – and Emma Carroll was asked by Chicken House to write the story based on his idea. So you have two authors. Magic.

Advertisements

Published by Chicken House

A story of crime fighters, but not the usual kind. These are from a freak show – each different from the norm and from one another as they could be: grotesque and curious.

This is the story of missing mud-larks, murder, dastardly deeds, murder and mayhem. Set in Victorian London – the Great Exhibition has opened its doors to the great and the good, but otherwise London was still one of the most aromatic places in the world, and not in a good way.

This is a story of misbegotten characters, and the search for perpetual beauty.

Funny, disturbing, engrossing – a book by the author of  The Legend of Podkin One-Ear and The Dark Hollow. Perhaps for slightly older readers – Superb.

 

Published by Chicken House (February 2018)

Are you proper, or have you been constructed, made to do a job. Do you need to sleep? If you cut yourself, do you bleed? Do you have a soul? Or are you made of metal?

If you are proper, you are real – flesh and blood. If not, then someone, somewhere, made you. If you are adult sized, and look proper, but aren’t, then you are probably illegal.

This is a story of identity. Of lies. Belief and friendship. Gripper, Jack, Manda and Rob are mechanicals. Christopher though is different. They live with Absalom, who runs what amounts to being a junk yard, from which he resources much of his materials… Life is hard, but they support one another. There is time to make the odd snowman between bouts of work…

I haven’t got far with this yet – but it is superb. 148 pages in (of 329) – it has already given one twist, that I didn’t see coming…a twist that results in far reaching changes…

It comes out in February – buy it, and enjoy it….

I am reading a proof – the above illustration of the cover-to-be may not be the one that is actually used. So it is no indication of how good this is. Trust me. I know.

 

 

Published by Chicken House January 2018

A tale of sacrifice. Of ice. Friendship and love. This slim volume published by Chicken House is a little different. This is the story of a young girl who is allergic to the sun. She can never go out without cover, never bask in its light, or stroll around a garden. She couldn’t play with other children as a child, and has to go ‘full hat’ if she goes anywhere at all, covered and sheltered from the sun, irrespective of how hot it might be. Her life has revolved around doctors including one who refers to her mother as ‘Mummy’. Life is to be endured, not enjoyed. Her life is curtailed. Controlled.

Until the night she slips out after dark…

A remarkable story, its ending not as many would expect, but the right ending none-the-less.

It is a cold story – full of ice.

It is a story of fears: fear of change, fear of life, but also one of hope and promises and sacrifices…

A book to read in front of a roaring fire.

 

Published by Chicken House

I have been lying in bed this morning (04.30) reading this and have become immersed in a Tudor England that never was. Well, probably wasn’t. The book is like one of those chocolates I used to ask to try when I was small. Adult chocolates that looked so inviting after an evening meal. Dark and glossy in the box. Invariably I would take a bite and find myself wishing I hadn’t, but Dad would always do the honourable thing and eat the rest for me. This is a dark chocolate book, rich and powerful, with adult flavours. A chocolate none the less, but perhaps not for those younger readers.  I am loving it.

The proof came with a detached cover/cardboard sleeve. Many proofs come with a standard proof cover – one that is used for all proofs from a particular publishing house. The title and author being the only things that change. Sometimes these come with a separate card with the proposed cover printed on it, as this one has. Sadly they are often damaged; they are a nice addition to the parcel. I am pleased to say the one that came with this book is not only in mint condition, but is stunning – and reflects the rich tones of this wonderful volume. The illustration above doesn’t indicate the beauty that will be the final version. My cardboard sleeve has gilt letting. I trust this will be the case on the finished book.

This is glorious mix of Queen Elizabeth, Mary Queen of Scots, (both of whom display extraordinarily different dimensions to their lives than that are currently recorded as accepted history), John Dee, (similarly), witchcraft, witch-finders,  an acting troop,  and a young gentleman called Walter Raleigh. Within the story is a personal tale of growing love…but how that develops, I can’t say – I haven’t finished this one yet.

For those who know a little of Tudor England and the players within that chapter of our history, this is a joy. For those who know a little less, this will be a joy of another flavour all together, but a joy none the less. A little like the difference between good Madagascan chocolate with all the berry flavours and strength and those Belgium chocolates that Mum’s friend Mark Severin used to buy my mother. Both glorious, but very different.

 

I am not quite sure what is happening, but several books recently have had the theme of witches and witchcraft – this is the most intricate and in some ways, most fun, so far. Then again, each has its own value and this certainly isn’t for younger readers… Each book is a different type of chocolate – and so can’t really be compared. The Tudor period was not a safe or happy one for many, and people who were different weren’t treated in the way they should. This is a wonderful twist to my favourite period of history.

This book has the depth, colour and flavour that one might expect from an experienced author, with many volumes ‘under their belt’. It is, however, Nicholas Bowling’s debut. This is an author to watch.

I forgot – the book isn’t out yet (I have a proof), it is due out in November as a paperback. This could so easily have been put in a hardback – it would have sold easily. Buy it. Definitely a book for the winter evenings.

 

 

Published by: Chicken House

Since I wrote my post about this volume one of my customers has been in touch and sent me the following email:

Firstly, I’m very grateful that you recommended The Girl of the Ink & Stars to me. I found it REALLY interesting and wanted to tell you some of the parts I most enjoyed.

Next, what really pleases me about this book is that it hooks you in as you read along. Karen Millwood Hargrave (the author) is brilliant in the style she writes in – it’s funny but also sad and terrifying! All mixed into one book! This is only the first book I’ve read of Hargrave’s and I think I will start to read more!
 
And like I said before, I really am grateful that you recommended the book.
 
Kind regards,
Anya Daniels
I asked Anya if she would be happy to have her name and review quoted on my blog and following her confirmation I am now posting it here for her.

Published by Chicken House

This is the second book written by Kiran Hargrave – the first The Girl of Ink and Stars has just won the Waterstones Book Prize for 2017 – it was good, but not as good as this.

Ami lives on an island with her sick mother. She does most things for her as her condition worsens, however, life is good – the island is beautiful, there is fresh water, fruit, butterflies and they are together. When Ami is taken from her island to an orphanage as a result of a directive, she worries about her mother, but soon finds herself also worrying about the other children. They also have been taken from their parent’s and families to protect them; as their beautiful home is designated as a leper colony.

Moving, and rather beautiful this is the story of love, friendship, bravery and ultimately people. It is a much better book than The Girl of Ink and Stars – though that one shouldn’t be missed either. It is just that this one has much more depth.

Enjoy both – they are not connected (apart from being written by the same author), so it is no matter in which order you read them.

 

Published by Chicken House

There are not many books where you can visit the skeleton of one of the main characters in a museum. This is the story of Maharajah who walked from Edinburgh to Manchester in 1872 and whose remains are to be found in Manchester Museum.

This fictional account of a true story relates the adventures of a young boy who becomes involved in a wager which has far reaching consequences for this urchin of the streets. It is a story of friendship, rivalry, bravery, and a tale of treachery too.

This is the story of an Indian Elephant – the elephant whose remains are in the museum. The story relates the story of an African pachyderm – but otherwise, in all essentials, the story is a true one. Jane Kerr has just added quantity of good quality adventure into the mix.

This is a wonderful book – sensitively and well written – a must buy. Then we must all travel up to Manchester to visit the original Maharajah.

NB. Just a small note – the wonderful elephant illustrated on the cover was done by Chris Wormell – a superb artist who has ‘done’ many other books too – and this one is one of his best… See also George and the Dragon / Two Frogs….to name just two beautiful picture books written & illustrated by him.

Published by Chicken House

This is a mix of a piratical escapade, science fiction, fantasy and pure adventure. The story of Bert who on a school trip to a museum finds himself drawn into the glass and then into a world of danger and intrigue. It is a story of a boy who goes ‘magic’ as his fellow pupils like to refer to those who believe in such phenomenon – it is Bert’s story and it’s a story of an unlikely friendship between him, a pirate and a girl with two metal legs. It is a wild adventure, with magic, a city in the clouds and airships…There is something for everyone in this extraordinary story.

Another good book from Chicken House…

Sadly the picture of the cover failed to stay…

 

Published by Chicken House

I have only relatively recently started my blog in earnest. I am, I suppose a cautious beast – particularly since some person destroyed my computer some while ago – which meant I lost a lot of work and photographs. What particularly angered me, though wasn’t so much the loss, I think, (though that still makes me grind my teeth), but the fact they got absolutely nothing from it. Nothing at all*.

This books is essentially about the responsibility we have when using blogs and similar social media. This time, its not the teenager who is abusing the social niceties – it is Scarlet’s mother. She is doing what all parents do – talking about her daughter. What she has done. What she hasn’t done. What she eats. What she doesn’t. The fact that she went out. That she didn’t. What her gym kit smells like at the end of a day of sports. The difference is that all of it is on Scarlet’s mum’s blog, along with photographs to make it more interesting.

Scarlet is beginning to retreat – to disappear, when she investigates a noise from the house next door and finds a cat, an empty house, a modern kitchen and a cook book…

This is a wonderful read about friendship, responsibilities and families…a lovely book to snuggle down with.

* I must admit though to having had two witches in my ancestry. I like to think that those who do such things are cursed – after all I must have inherited something from those two ladies.

I may never know what has happened to the computer abusers, but then again, they never knew the trouble and distress they caused me.

It still happened though, so you never know…