Archives for posts with tag: Orion Children’s Books
The Night Bus Hero by Onjali Q. Rauf | Waterstones

Published by Orion

NY Published: October 2020

My proof of this got left in the garden – so is very wrinkled and the plastic came off the cover too – so it isn’t in the best of condition. A pity as this was brilliant. Hector is in trouble. Well, I’m afraid there is nothing new in that – he’s always in trouble. He is, what a school teacher referred to as a ‘lost cause’. Written from a bully’s perspective this is a remarkable story not usually told. He’s a thief, a bully – but not a liar. He likes to see the expressions when he tells the truth…it is so unexpected…and usually not good news either.

This was brilliant – another one from Onjali to disappear into – a story of truths and hope too.

Not sure if signed copies will be available – but it looks as though Waterstones will be publishing an edition signed by this brilliant author (see picture above) – try Waterstones.com & of course your local branch – we will order it for you! I would do that soon – just in case! If you do manage to get you hands on a signed copy – don’t leave it in the garden…

The Lost Soul Atlas by Zana Fraillon | Hachette Childrens UK

Published by Orion

‘Well, I may have read it a little wrongly, like. Because it wasn’t sandwiches so much as Sand Witches. They is a bit like mosquitoes. Except that they is the size of large rats and wear pointy black hats, and they zoom through the sand on little broomsticks so they can suck your blood for their potions, and are unfortunately quite hard to squash.’

This book is bigger than the sum of its parts. It is an extraordinary volume – the search for safety, love and truth. The story of children of the streets – a tale of a raven, a beautiful, characterful raven, meeples (who are a joy), a boy and his father and a girl too.  A tale of the afterlife, riddles and memory hungry gods. Giant spiders with…bugles. There is Terry Pratchett within these covers – a book of dreams and hopes. Of homelessness too and yearning.

Fight the forgetting.

‘Ohhhhh, scrimpkins. Scrimpity scrumpity scrimpkins. Nonono…’

The Water's Daughter by Michelle Lovric

Published by Hachette

Staggerin’ seahorses!

Another fantastic tale from Michelle Lovric with mermaids (yes, the mermaids are back! Which is wonderful – they are perhaps my favourite characters), a heroine with a remarkable sense of touch (to say the least), a land-lover of a hero (in Venice), a rather wild and fascinating Djinni and a wonderful feline Afreet…to mention just a few of the extraordinary characters in this story of revenge, history and power.

I loved it. My Dad, now aged 90 – has got a copy and is now settling down to read it, having fallen for Michelle’s writing back in 2009…

An atmospheric book rich in both plot and language – dark as Michelle’s books so often are, so not for the squeamish. Definitely for those who enjoy that wonderful thing – a very good book -weirdly this is beginning to sound as though I’m advertising Mr Kipling’s cakes…apologies… as much as the story, I enjoy the language. The characters that are so full and so intricate and so in character (if that makes any sense at all) – and of course Venice, herself.

If I never sold you a copy of The Undrowned Child – a lamentable situation, if ever there was one – then buy a copy of this. Sadly The Undrowned Child is now no longer in print – but you may be able to find a copy out there, but in the mean while – enjoy this latest celebration of Venice and revenge…

Image result for tiger heart penny chrimes orion

Published by Orion / Hachette

This debut novel was one I picked up at work as the cover attracted me to it when it came into the store a few days ago. Sadly I wasn’t sent a proof – otherwise this would have been read and reviewed well before publication.

This is rather different – set in a period that is a curious mix of Georgian and Victorian history. Which you would think would be confusing, however, it isn’t – it’s rather an interesting merge of the two. Filled with characters – a young chimney sweep falls down into what should have been a normal room, in a normal residential house, and finds herself in a cage – set against the fireplace which contains a rather large

tiger…

This is full of colour. Fly attempts to escape (without returning up the chimney – for reasons you will understand if you read her story), and what is more she decides to try to return the tiger to the wild. It’s a story of freedom & equanimity; from avarice, captivity, bondage, and slavery. It’s a roaring, brilliant tale.

Part and parcel, and dare I say beauty of this story – this peculiarly hybrid Georgian and Victorian adventure, is the patois used between Fly and her cullies. For those more unused to the phrases there is a guide to their gutterling…at the back, however, it isn’t necessary to keep referring to it – the story flows without interruption. It is though, a pleasure to read once the story has been finished and should be a source of amusement and perhaps will help such phrases and words such as half-inching, snaffle, termagant, varmint and addlepated to be more widely used…

This is marvellous. It is proper slumdinger of a story with just the right of sorrow and joy mixed…

It reminded me of another book I read some years ago (but don’t seem to have reviewed, for which apologies) – The Boy with the Tiger’s Heart, by Linda Coggin – I think I must have read it before I started this blog. If you like tigers…then this is another for you…

 

Image result for the star outside my window orion

Published by Orion Books

This is the story of Aniyah – who at 10 years old finds herself in foster care after her Mum disappears. She has always had a thing about the solar system – and she knows deep in her heart that special people never really leave – they become stars in the solar system. Which is of some comfort.

When Aniyah hears that a new star, that has been recently recorded, is to be named in London she is determined to make sure it has the right name. Though she appreciates the care of her foster Mum – she knows she only has a couple of days to reach London and with the help of two other children living with her, she plans her trip carefully…

This is a story that deals with domestic violence. Onjali has written another strong story about a difficult subject, both delicately and thoughtfully. Her previous title The Boy at the Back of the Class has also been reviewed on this blog. She is definitely an author to watch.

 

Image result for where the river runs gold

Published by Orion Books –

Freedom Fields Family

Stronger Together

Education, Healthcare, Work Experience, Training

Food, Fresh (air), Fair (treatment), Freedom and Fun

A Family for Life

This book is by way of a warning.

A dystopian novel set after the last bees have gone. A distant memory. Where there were meadows, fields and trees there are now bricks, mortar and steel. Food is hard to come by. People make do and their children are sent to the Freedom Fields to help pollinate crops by hand.

This is the tale of a sale of hair and the last tendrils returned as a skein to be kept and given as a gift. Of free-thinking. Resistance. Seeds and hope. It’s a tale of families and siblings. A story of belief.

Themba and his sister Shifa’s adventure begins as they realise that the Freedom Fields Family isn’t quite what the brochure suggested and there’s that secret too…

Brilliant. Read it. Enjoy it. Trust in the bees.

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The Wishing Bones

Published by Orion Books

‘Let’s not be counting our vultures,

till they be hatched.’

Those of you who frequent Waterstones Finchley Road O2 will be well aware of my passion (I think that’s the best word to describe it) for Michelle Lovric’s Undrowned Child – which I reviewed way back in 2009 on W.com and then again, a few years later and since then a number of times on my blog.

This is Michelle’s most recent Venetian tale. Once more, not for the feint-hearted: a story of murders, mystery and mermaids. A different tale – one of orphans, reliquaries and the trade in sacred relics…and so much more.

Another volume that seems to have been well and truly soaked in the waters of the canals in Venice. If you have read The Undrowned Child then this is one to reawaken that urge to visit Venice whether literally or within the boards of a book. If you haven’t read The Undrowned Child, (I can’t see why you might not), then these two volumes make a wonderful pair of Venetian mysteries and will without doubt encourage you to visit (should you not have done so already), or to return to La Serenissima.

This then is a story of reliquaries and the trade in the remains of saints. If all the claims made around various saints are true, then a number of them, it would seem, had more than the usual quota of limbs, amongst other things. This story is about where those may have come from. A story that is as dark as many of the stories that colour Venice’s history.

Not for the feint-hearted, as I said, but a book for those who can acknowledge the darker side of this extraordinary city,  a book like no other. Apart from that other one, I may have mentioned…

Image result for the list of real things orion

Published by Orion Books

I am beginning to have a ‘thing’ about Sarah Moore Fitzgerald. So far I have loved every one I have read.

What is real? A question we often ask small children, in an attempt to curb their often enthusiastic imaginations. We ask if it actually happened. Was it something they saw with their own eyes? All well and good, until you find that just perhaps, what they have seen, which you believe not to be real, actually might be. Who says that we are right to bring these flights of fancy down? As long as they learn the ‘truth’ and what a lie is – what does it matter? Many years ago I knew an elderly lady who informed me that those I love will be waiting for me after I die – by that I mean my non-human friends.

I rather like to think she was right. Who’s to say that she wasn’t? I hope she met all her dogs and cat when she died. She certainly believed it. There is no more reason to disbelieve our meeting people and ‘other animals’ we have loved, after we die, than there is to believe we do. It could be Grandpa was laughing at my attempt to cut bread as thin as he used to do, and perhaps trying to help…we just don’t know.

The loss of anyone can be haunting – sibling, parent, friend, or ‘pet’ (which is such an inadequate word). Recently I have been haunted by Pakka…I keep seeing her out of the corner of my eye, she’s there, and then she’s gone. Who’s to say she isn’t really there. Trying to guide me and young Sakka to a greater understanding. I might think it was my new friend, except the colour is different; Sakka is more toffee than Pakka was, she’s a beautiful rich caramel. Pakka though, was a gorgeous sandy shade. She was my familiar, friend and confident. Intelligent and took no nonsense from anyone. Canine or otherwise. This one, well…she’s young, you know.

This book is about death. Life too. About belief. Hope, families and siblings. It’s about finding out who you are, what you believe is important and how all of that changes.

Its also about younger sisters. I don’t have one of those. I am one. I am the one who asks the impossible questions, the perhaps, a little mad one.

This is another wonderful book from the Fitzgerald stable – another one to disappear into, one that you won’t want to let go.

 

Published by Orion.

I have just returned from 18 days in Madagascar – a trip to the North. Of which I will probably write a post at some point or another, once I have recovered. A land of infinite variety and fascination.

There are a few disadvantages to going on holiday at this time of the year – Christmas was coming just before I left and whilst I was away, it came in like the proverbial hurricane it always is. I am astonished by how much stuff is ‘needed’ by young people, when I compare what the average Malagasy child has – it really puts ‘our’ now probably more ‘traditional’ Christmas – a season of ‘want’, in perspective…

I will stop ranting now and let you know about one of the other disadvantages. You can miss out on good books – unless you have kindly colleagues who let you know about them on your return. Young Amabel found this one whilst I was away and raved about it so much when I walked into the department on Monday I knew I would have to read it.

It has, I’m sorry to say, a rather unexciting dust jacket.

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The boards of the book though reflect the content  and are wonderful (they even have gold highlights) – with just enough flavour to indicate the darkness of this inventive and superb adventure – I am loving it – At the beginning of the book Morrigan Crow has an appointment with death. She knows when she will die – the date is in the diary. Her stepmother, however,  proposes that there is another side to death; life – and whilst her family and Morrigan sit down to her last meal – a ‘celebration’ of sorts, her stepmother informs her husband that she is pregnant – ‘It’s like…the circle of life. One life may be snuffed out, but another is being brought into the world. Why, it’s practically a miracle!’

The book is superbly complex, and filled with clever ideas… It is a new world for everyone to enjoy. It is one to savour; funny, scary and a little mystical. If you like magic – with a twist, and I suppose if you liked Harry Potter – you will almost certainly love this, and in someways Jupiter reminds me a little of Dr Who… which is frankly quite glorious…

This is a fantastic book and everyone should have a copy for Christmas.

Do not be put off by the cover, (or the majority of the pictures which illustrate the chapter headings) they do not reflect the intricacies and sophistication of the story. Then again, do not let my enjoyment of the darkness and the complexities of the tale to put you off either.

It has the right balance and is marvellous.

They just shouldn’t have published it with a dust jacket – as Amabel said, ‘naked’ it is superb. The dust jacket, just lacks a little something.

They should just have dared to go bare!

I have only one other complaint. I like to ask good authors to come for book-signings at Finchley Road O2 – Jessica Townsend lives in Australia – and even if I managed to persuade her to come, I doubt that Waterstones would be willing to cover her travel expenses. If, however, she should read this – and is coming anyway to the UK – a very warm welcome would await her in Finchley Road O2 Waterstones. Just let me know…

 

 

3910c2e251c43d86ef0aff1c5089b35bPublished by Orion

Having just written the post for Clare Balding’s The Racehorse who Wouldn’t Jump and referred to this wonderful book within that post, I suddenly realised I hadn’t reviewed this one. It is the start of a trilogy and is something else altogether.

It is superbly written and has a brilliant plot too. Not everything goes according to plan in this superb volume, and there are tense moments as the challenges come thick and fast. A very human and hopeful tale of a young girl, her dream and of course a horse. Superb. An extremely good author that can be relied upon to provide a story of passion…brilliant. Enjoy the trilogy…