Archives for posts with tag: Harper Collins

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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

Published by Collins Modern Classics.

First published in 1964 –

I suppose I first read this in the early 1970’s and I always remember that I loved it, though I couldn’t tell you what the book was about. Somewhere at my parents’ house there is probably the copy I read amongst other old editions of classic Penguins and the like.

Recently Collins Modern Classics have published a new edition of it – copies of which I found on our shelves at work the other morning, and so, I have been reading this once more.

The book is set in America – and has many Americanisms as a result. There are parts that I found I didn’t understand. Whether I understood them when I was ten or eleven, I don’t know.

This is the story of the eponymous Harriet the spy. At the beginning of the book she lives with her busy parents, a cook and her nurse with whom she seems to have the closest relationship. She has all the material things she could need. She has friends at school, but spends most of her time alone, recording details of people’s lives in a black book. Some of which are not the kindest of observations. When her nurse leaves to get married, Harriet finds herself bereft – and her gathering of information gains pace. Even hiding as she does in people’s houses to listen and to observe them at home, the details carefully recorded.

When her book is found and read by her peers at school their reaction to what she has written is dramatic.

The book is about stories. About the truth, and whether it should be told. About lies. Friendship, families, growing up and the differences between people; backgrounds, lives and beliefs…

Parts of this reminded me of my youth. Being told that some mathematical problem was simple, and that they would show her, reminded me of being told something similar. It may have been simple for them, but never seemed to be to me. However often they tried to show me.  Then there are the episodes of Harriet’s anger at the world, and everything and everyone in it, that also resonated with me too…

An extraordinary American tale – more American ‘flavoured’ than many I have read for some time. Some terms of reference, as I said at the beginning, seemed nonsensical to me, but didn’t affect my enjoyment of this book and my return down memory lane.

 

 

 

Published by Harper Collins

This is one of those colourful, enticing and fun picture books that explain everything you need to know about, in this case – imaginary friends.

Kevin the friend everyone should have – he’s ever so tall and he’s ever so wide. And ever so smiley….Has only one tooth, he’s as strong as a gorilla…has lots of pink spots on fur that is vanilla…. A larger than life character who happens to be blamed for everything that Sidney has done… when, however, the circumstances are reversed, Sidney realises how unfair he’s been…This is a wonderful book.

We were lucky enough to have Rob come into the store today and illustrate one of our glass wall panels – its really superb. What’s more he has kindly signed our stock of Kevin – so visit us soon, they are selling out fast.

Published by Harper Collins.

I think I like most animals. Well, apart from hissing cockroaches – somehow I don’t seem to appreciate cockroaches. They tried to have me handle one in a zoo once. They thought we would have a meaningful meeting of minds. After all, I had just handled a snake or two, and a large rose kneed tarantula (named Rosie) amongst other creatures, so I suppose it was a reasonable assumption. I had to explain that though I was sure Hissing Sid was very nice in his own way, I didn’t want to have him walk from hand to hand, as I had with Rosie. I had, I remember to be quite firm about it…anyway, he survived to be presented to someone else and I was relieved that, to quote Stanley Holloway, that the Manager didn’t have to be called for…

This volume is about the friendship between a young boy and a fox. Friendships with animals should never be just brushed aside. They are as important as those we have with homo sapiens, at least that is what I have found. This starts with the heart rending description of a boy having to release his friend back into the wild…’for his own good.’ Which never really helps as a statement. We know in the front of our brains that perhaps it is, but, then again, perhaps it isn’t. You can never be sure…and there are ways of doing things, and sometimes they shouldn’t be done at all.

I remember once, and only once, walking with Pakka on the common. She took over long to come and I needed to go.  So I left the common without her. Then worried all the way back to find in the middle of the afternoon that she obviously hadn’t been home since that morning…so went out onto the common, called once and she bolted out from the undergrowth calling back as she ran straight to me. She had obviously been searching since the morning. I never did it again, and could never do, what this boy is encouraged to do by his father. Pakka and I lived together with respect for one another. She would wait for me on our walks, and I for her. She supported me, and we watched out for dogs and foxes, because she liked to chase them.  I was there for her when the seagulls flew to close and found her when the magpies ganged up and had her pinned down; we ran home together, she along side me.

This is a superb little book – a story of war, and the powerful connection between a boy and his fox – with illustrations by Jon Klassen, an emotional rollercoaster of the most extraordinary kind…