Archives for posts with tag: Harper Collins

The One and Only Ivan: Katherine Applegate

Published by Harper Collins.

This was published in 2012, so can’t be said to be a new title. I had a feeling that I had heard of it when I saw it on the trolley at work, a couple of days ago. I hadn’t read it though and wasn’t aware of the impact it would have.

Ivan is a silver backed gorilla. This is his story. In places it makes me ashamed to be a member of the Homo Sapiens race. We seem to be able to do so much good, but most of the time we don’t. We stand apart or actively behave in a way that no other creature would. Then suddenly we do the right thing.

This is Ivan’s story, almost, but not quite in his own words. Its moving. Funny. It made me cry. It made me wonder about us. So involved with ourselves. So little understanding. This is a story with heart, the heart of a Silverback Gorilla. They have large hearts. It’s a story for the brave, for those who think out of the box. For those who need to know. Its the story of friendship, a promise and of hope. A story of a Silverback, two elephants, a dog and a child who looks, a child, who sees. Its wonderful – a book you will never forget – a book that looks to the future. What’s more, its based on a true story.

Katherine Applegate lives in California. I wish she didn’t. It would be so much more convenient to have her living here. The pond is a rather large expanse for an author just to pop-across to sign some books. None-the-less – this book is going to be one of my SBOTM – at Waterstones Finchley Road O2 for June. I will, though have copies to sell once I can get the book in again – hopefully by the end of this week – it is one that should be in stock permanently.

On searching the Internet for a picture to illustrate this post, I have found there are indicators that this is to be made into a film/movie – READ THE BOOK FIRST. It isn’t out yet – but I believe that you will regret not doing so, if you don’t. It is a simple tale, but one that you need to read.

 

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Image result for bodacious shepherd cat

Published by Harper Collins

I received this through the post, from my oldest friend who lives in Cork, Ireland. It is of Irish decent. I have always liked the Irish (particularly this one) – and this is a superb book. It reminds me a little of the Derek Tangye stories set in Cornwall, I think, that I used to read many years ago.

This though, is set in Co. Kilkenny, Ireland on a sheep farm ( Zwartbles). Bodacious is the chief feline who oversees the work of the farm, from the dosing of the lambs in spring, keeping the rats and mice at bay, ensuring the eggs are collected from the egg-makers, walking the fields with The Shepherd, and accompanying The Shepherd when she is travelling on the quad bike…amongst other occupations.

This is a rather charming wonderful book of a cat whose responsibilities are taken seriously, with an eye on the wildlife and the stories he has been told: Bodacious’ own story is one to bask in – like a heat lamp…

It is really rather special.

The cat on the cover is credited to the author (along with the black faced sheep on the left), and though it doesn’t state so on the flap, I think the feline sitting with such certainty on the post is Bodacious.

It is a charming tale of an extraordinary cat. I too had an extraordinary cat, which is probably why the book was sent to me. Pakka and I would walk the common, and hunt together…though I think I was probably more of a hindrance.  Particularly when she might have caught a vole / shrew – which I would gain from her and then release. She went down rabbit holes too, whilst I waited ‘up-top’, so I do understand Bodacious’ appreciation of The Shepherd stopping and watching quietly. My new familiar is young still, so our relationship is in the early stages, but we are beginning to understand one another.

Image result for zwartbles crampton

Relationships such as these are to be celebrated. The author, though, seems to have taken this a little further: she has an appreciation and special relationship with most of the creatures that she has come across – this is a joy and a must buy for Christmas.

Though having read about the breed, I’m not sure that I don’t need a Zwartbles rug… Actually I know this to be the case…and Sakka would like it too, I’m sure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image result for lena jones agatha oddly harper collins

Published by Harper Collins

For some reason, I cannot fathom, we received just a single copy of this. Which I noticed on the shelf and nicked to read as it looked as though it might be a book for you Followers of Sue (FOS) and I am pleased to confirm it is.

Agatha Oddly is a fan of Agatha Christie. Actually she is a fan of detective novels in general, but in particular she is a fan of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot.

She reads detective novels, studies them and has been a detective herself for as long as she can remember. Though most of her mysteries are of the more prosaic sort.

She lives with her Dad in Hyde Park as he is one of the park’s horticulturists and as a result she knows the park well. What she doesn’t realise is what is  under Hyde Park.

When an elderly lady is knocked over by a motorbike rider in the park, just in front of Agatha, as she makes her way to school, she realises things are not quite what they seem.

1. Old lady knocked down in Hyde Park. The path was wide. Was this deliberate? What could the motive be?
2. Her perfume was expensive and she had an unusual tattoo (sketch overleaf). Something seems odd here – what is her story?
3.Business card says she is a member of the Royal Geographical Society – do they know more about her?

 

Her investigations have extraordinary consequences, just as the water supply in London becomes contaminated…

We have more copies of Agatha Oddly arriving (probably today, but I’m off) – so you can get copies, direct from the shelf from Waterstones O2, very soon, if not immediately.

Well worth dropping in for a good mystery.

This is also, I am pleased to say just the start of Agatha Oddly’s adventures. The next adventure is

coming soon…

Image result for pages and co anna james

Published by Harper Collins.

‘…do you ever feel like you read books, like more than other people?’

I have just spent the day just lying in the garden and reading this small proof.

Its brilliant.

Harper Collins should sell it along side copies of Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll) and The Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett).

Perhaps in a slip case.

Should you follow my advice and buy and read a copy of Pages and Co, the reason for this suggestion will be obvious.

It isn’t necessary for the reader to have read them, but you may enjoy Pages and Co a little more if you understand the references, and know about the characters. To those and quite a few other books too. If you haven’t read them – not to worry, you really don’t need to, but may find when you have finished Pages and Co, that you will want to…

This is a book of books, if ever there was one.

I always knew that libraries and in particular bookshops, were important, slightly magical places. I’m a member of the British Library and am now aware of the British Underlibrary as well and would be honoured to be a member of that too, and would love to work there. I have worked in bookshops for about 25 years all in – so I know about how magical they can be. Perhaps my experience would assist in my application….

This is stupendous. A celebration, if you would, of good writing,  good stories – simply marvellous. As I said, its a magical book of books.

Buy it when it comes out in September (2018) – you may find that it is available before publication – so its worth placing your orders…now. Place them with us at Waterstones Finchley Road O2, there’s just a chance we may have Anna James for an event – so signed copies may be available. Certainly worth the time and trouble.

I owe Amabel for this – she brought the book back from a Harper Collins Publisher’s ‘do’ this week, as she thought it was ‘for me.’ How right she was/is.

3rd August – NB:

My dad, has just mentioned that the illustration above, isn’t one of the proof I read. It has not title on the ‘boards’. He said I must change the picture. Instead, I thought I would leave it – it has such similarity, that I don’t think it matters.

My father is a perfectionist. Which means that leaving this as it was would not do. Sadly so am I, but in the interests of being ‘Sue’ – there is this warning. The picture above will not be the same as that you will find on the book, when you receive your copy!

 

Image result for boy under water adam baron

Published by Harper Collins

Cymbeline Igloo, nine, is friendly, relatively popular and good at sports. Apart from one. Swimming. Cymbeline Igloo has never been swimming. Not once. He’s never been in a swimming pool, let alone the sea, ever. This hasn’t been a problem, up until Miss Phillips statement  – and the fact that he panicked a bit…..and said it.

‘Er, I said. ‘Well.’ And then I said, and I don’t know WHY I said it, ‘Yearh, I’m like really epic at swimming.’ 

Which resulted in that challenge against Billy Lee which had repercussions far more serious than falling into the pool and displaying more of his anatomy than he would like. That and letting down Veronique Chang.

Cymbeline’s mother has a secret. Cymbeline believes it has something to do with swimming, however, he is unaware of quite what a secret his family is dealing with.

Both funny and touching. This is a book  about families, siblings and illness. About stories and essentially, love and…friendship, of course.

‘Billy and I were…friends now, as weird as that sounds. I felt guilty for making judgements about him and it made me realise that the bit you actually see of a person is like the ears on the hippos on the Discovery Channel. There’s much more underneath.’

This is a good book – it is Waterstone’s Book of the Month for Children from tomorrow. It is a must buy. 

I hope to have signed copies in Waterstones Finchley Road O2 at some point on Monday. Even if you can’t get hold of one of those, come and buy one..

Image result for explorers atlas harper collins

Published by Collins / Harper Collins

This is for those people who never grow out of asking questions.

My sister once complained that I still ask the impossible questions, (usually related to medical subjects) that I should have stopped asking when I left my childhood.

Clare is my elder by 4 years. I ‘put her through medical school’ (not really, but I was working whilst she was training) and now semi-retired, she was/is a consultant. So I expect her to know everything. At least anything to do with medicine.

This book is for those of us who don’t have a geologist in the family – who should know everything to know about Geography. It is, however, by no means ‘just a Geography book’ – there is so much more to this.

It is, I suspect the sort of book that will engender more questions, more ideas, more thoughts.

Page 121 for example:

A few facts about –

MADAGASCAR (You didn’t expect me to use any other country, I hope.)

4th largest island in the world.

Lemur – It’s a clade of primates which includes nearly 100 different species, all of them endemic to Madagascar.

Archaeoindris – With a body mass of 200 kg, it was the largest species of lemur, the size of a gorilla. Its extinction coincided with the arrival of the first humans to the island around 350 BC

Vanilla – 2nd most expensive spice after saffron. Madagascar is the 2nd largest vanilla producer after Indonesia. 

Avenue of the Baobabs – Beautiful & famous dirt road with many prominent baobab trees lining it. I have been there and can confirm that this is so.

Brookesia micra – The smallest chameleon and one of the smallest reptiles on the planet, roughly 3 cm long. It was discovered in the mid-2000’s and can only be found on the small rocky island of Nosy Hara.

Gondwana – The name of the ancient (sic) supercontinent, which once included Madagascar, Antarctica, India, Africa, South America and Australia.

The facts given in the book are split between Geography (1,051), History (667), Society (641), Flora & Fauna (384), Economy 9356) and Science (176)

There are a few ‘general’ pages about the globe at the beginning: Planet Earth (physical attributes), Greatest Explorers, Earthquakes & Volcanoes, Highest Mountains, Largest and Smallest Countries.

Image result for explorers atlas wilkowiecki madagascar

Each page includes a silhouette map of the country/ies  in brown, (with a scale) and if necessary (and logically) any surrounding islands / other countries included on the same leaf.  My only criticism is that it is printed in sepia and often in a very small point font – which isn’t perhaps the best colour for those with poorer eye sight, however, it is printed on cream paper and the paper is matt – not ‘Art Paper’.

The book is bound in boards and measures some 34.5 cm x 27 cm (13.5 inch x 10.5 inch) – so a larger format book, necessary for such an atlas.

I feel I should apologise – I have had this book for a while, but not got around to giving it the review it deserves.

 

 

 

 

 

Image result for sarah lean sand dog

Published by Harper Collins

Azi is waiting for his grandfather to come home again. He believes that without him he doesn’t belong on the island which has been his home for so long. His uncle tells him that his grandfather has gone to London, but London is a long way away, perhaps though, Azi will be able to go there, and bring him home. Surely he just needs a passport.

It isn’t easy being different, a gift from the sea, without his grandfather. All Azi wants to do is to go back to living with his grandfather by the beach.

This is a story of a monster, many tentacled and the man who leaves to fight the battle against it. Leaving a boy behind, misunderstanding and misinformed too.

This is also a story of new friendship, of friends both canine and human who support Azi, while he waits for his grandfather to return and its a story of hope…oh, and its also about turtles, coming to breed.

The picture below is taken from the Internet – a Loggerhead turtle off Kefalonia Island.

https://kefaloniaisland.org/stories/the-loggerhead-turtles-caretta-caretta-in-kefalonia/

Image result for greek breeding turtles beach

Published by Harper Collins

This series has been on my radar for some time, but I never picked one up until today. I borrowed the first volume from our shelves to read with my lunch. I haven’t put it down. I am presently reading a book on Madagascar (too heavy to carry to work), Alison Weir’s new paperback biography/fictional account of Anne Boleyn, a book on venom and now this – which I suspect will be my ‘main’ read until it is finished.

I’m only up to page 82. My favourite quote though, so far, was on page 28:

“Stuffed dogs, Miss?” I wondered aloud.

“Can’t stand the things. I like to see them dead.” replied Miss Fox

You can tell she’s not on the good side…immediately. Someone to watch.

This is something I am really enjoying. I should be having some time off soon (if all goes to plan), and if I do, I have a feeling I will be wanting to read all the other titles by Sophie Cleverly – The Whispers in the Walls, The Dance in the Dark, The Lights Under the Lake, and The Curse in the Candlelight.

Even the titles are intriguing.

What have I been doing?

I feel this series has been overlooked by the publicists, and the reading public. To my shame I have overlooked the books. They have not given the attention they deserve.

The Lost Twin (book one in the series) is a superb story. Scarlet has gone. Scarlet was brave, outspoken, determined and everything Ivy is not. Ivy though, has been enrolled in Scarlet’s school…to replace her…to become her…

It’s quite a thing to be told that you don’t exist anymore…

Its brilliant!

For twins and for people who are not twins – everywhere…

Published by Harper Collins

This is a rather clever book. I am not sure I would ever have wanted to live for ever. The world changes so fast, and not always for the better. I wouldn’t have minded being able to time travel, though, that would be different. As long as I was able to return to where I should be; today – now: 27th of December 2017 at 10.57 am.

This story, though, (unless everything changes), is about a boy who will essentially live forever. Like Peter Pan, he will never grow up; he will stay 11 years old and unless he has an accident, will never die.

For some, that sounds almost perfect. Alfie, though, finds his friends grow away from him. They don’t understand how he can stay a boy, when their interests begin to change. He is still playing football and with his cat and wants to stay with his mother. His interests are still those of an 11 year old boy. Friends never last long.

He and his mother live a very quiet life. His father died a long time ago from an accident on a ship and so they live in peace with his cat.

When his mother dies in a fire, Alfie finds himself alone and begins to think that perhaps he would prefer to grow up with his friends and to live a normal life. He has one opportunity to do this, a way of changing things. Other factors, however, are beginning to be brought to bear on his life – things are changing and being a boy alone, life is getting more complicated, more difficult.

This is about a boy and Biffa, his cat from around 1014 AD. living in the 21st C. It is clever and touching. What happens in the end, is for me coloured by Biffa’s survival – but for all that, this is a story of friendship, history and that peculiar yearning we have to ‘live for ever’. Do we really want to?

 

Published by Harper Collins.

It is now 02.15 – early in the morning. Dark outside and cold. I have just finished reading this small book, having gone to bed with it, and then to wake to finish it some while ago.

The dark can be disturbing. Actually outside now it isn’t really dark. There are street lights, pale now as it is early morning and they are run, I think on solar energy – and weaken in the early hours. There are Christmas lights too, shining from one of the houses, and someone has left their light on over their door. So not really dark at all.

Number the Stars is the fictional tale of one instance of what happened in Denmark during the war. Of what happened in so many different ways all over the country.

It follows the story of a family caught up in that terrible time, when the world was not only dark physically,  spiritually and in so many other ways.

It is simply and clearly told; it is the story of a great aunt who never was. A story of two girls, friends almost from birth. The God of Thunder falling into a milking pail. A story of young men and women doing what they could, and risking their lives for their country, and what was right.

It is the story of Denmark, Copenhagen and the Nazis…it is also the story of bravery, and hope. It is a remarkable, extraordinary story.

 

Sandi Toksvig wrote Hitler’s Canary – another book about the Danes – which is also superb, but is probably for readers who are slightly older than eight. I am a little ashamed that I haven’t reviewed that – but mention it here, as reference for those who would wish to read it. Both books are clearly and compassionately written.