Archives for posts with tag: Oxford University Press (OUP)


This is a stunningly beautiful slim small volume. It contains a simple tale of a small group of people; adults, children and a dog.  Adrift in the sea in a boat. They don’t have much to share: their stories, a scarf, a scrap of food, the warmth and affection of an animal and a violin. The violinist, who couldn’t leave his instrument behind, plays some music and tells his story and that of the violin in his hands…

This is a book about freedom – hope and bravery.






Image result for coyote summer thebo

Published by Oxford University Press

The story of a troubled, young, rich and indulged teenager uprooted from her secure and comfortable life in London and left in the wilds of Kansas on her aunt’s farm. This is a moving, brilliantly written superb tale of growing up, responsibilities and taking on the challenges of disappointment, whilst working towards something important. Life on a Kansas farm is far harder, both physically and mentally than she expects and she is driven to continue her love of dancing out in the wilds, in private, with just a coyote looking on. Dancers should definitely read this…

It is a wonderful book, something for the Summer holidays and one to disappear into – I think it is better than her first book, Dreaming the Bear which is always a very good sign – and something that really pleases me too, it has the right ending – buy it.

On searching the Internet for photographs of the cover, it seems there was a film also called Coyote Summer, released in 1996

This looks to be a better story – I haven’t seen the film though!

Published by Oxford University Press

There seems to be a herd of good adventure stories that have recently been published or are about to be – this is one of them. This is a piratical adventure set on pirate ships floating in the sky…with a land mass beneath. Full of swashbuckling energy, with wonderful characters and a brilliant plot too.

I’d like to make a boxed set of good adventure books for this age group –

The Huntress: Sea / Sarah Driver,

Jake Atlas and the Tomb of the Emerald Snake / Rob Lloyd Jones,

The Demon Undertaker  / Cameron McAllister,

A Very Good Chance / Sarah Moore Fitzgerald,

Black Powder / Ally Sherrick,

Fenn Halflin & the Fearzero / Francesca Armour-Chelu  &

Cloud Hunters / Alex Shearer (which sadly I read before I started this blog, and so has lost out a bit) to name but a few – its a good time for adventure.

This centres around Zoya – smuggled onto a pirate ship; however, things are nothing like they seem and the story becomes a whirlwind of a tale of fights, raids, islands in the sky, treasure, evil pirates (yes, it seems there are some good pirates out there as well as those good old-fashioned bad characters), friendship, bravery and family

Its superb…Enjoy it!

Published by Oxford University Press

Well done Oxford! This is a lovely book about a young boy and his brother. All brothers have their irritations and Arthur’s brother seems to be one big one. He sometimes struggles with day to day things. He doesn’t like crowds, change, loud noises and headphones… In desperation and in the hope of making his parents notice him, Arthur decides the only thing to do is to leave home…

‘Arthur rushed up to his room, searched under his bed for his survival tin, and stuffed his lucky crystal into his coat pocket. Then he crashed down the stairs and flung open the front door. He barged past the polar bear who was standing on the doorstep and hurtled off down the street, running as fast as he could. He wanted to get as far away from his house, his brother and his stupid parents as possible. He wasn’t going to let a polar bear or anything else stop him.’

This is a gorgeous small volume about siblings, parents, football, the world cup and of course polar bears, and one in particular.

It is not ‘out’ yet – due to be published next month with what looks to be some lovely line drawings (incomplete at the moment in proof form) – a book for everyone with a sibling…

Published by Oxford University Press

How can I not have written a post about Olga Da Polga in my blog before now? Unbelievable!

Not including the Sawdust family, (the family in these stories), these charming stories are about a very opinionated guinea-pig, her friends Noel the cat,  Graham the tortoise, Fangio an hedgehog, Fircone & Raisin, (Karen Sawdust’s two hamsters), Venables,  a toad who lives in the Sawdust family’s garden and of course Boris, Olga Da Polga’s boy-friend.

Olga’s is a very self possessed guinea-pig and believes she knows everything there is to know about a wide range of subjects. It is important for her to make sure that she is the centre of attention, to make everything exciting and to ensure that everyone (particularly Noel the cat), knows how vital she is in the great scheme of things and to this end she has the habit of exaggerating, just a little.

Her exaggerations get her into various scrapes, some more serious than others; once resulting in her escaping her run to go with Fangio to the local dump, and then there was the time when she fell, and couldn’t move. When life gets a little out of hand, and to attract attention Olga has a habit of making her views known by squealing very loudly – Wheeeeeee! Wheeeeeeeeeee! Wheeeeeeee!

In all the titles are: The Tales of Olga Da Polga, Olga Meets her Match, Olga Carries On, Olga Takes Charge, Olga Moves House and Olga Follows her Nose.There are also various compilations.

These books are suitable as stories to be read allowed, are particularly good for bed-time (each chapter is a separate story), and are well written – as one might expect from Michael Bond. They are also good for those who are becoming ‘fluent’ as they say with their reading…Though, to have the best experience of Olga, they should be read allowed, with the recipient of the story tucked under and arm. When read allowed, her squeals should be made loud and with as much intonation as possible.

These stories are superb – and as a result of Olga’s propensity for squealing…and are, therefore, almost interactive too!

They have recently produced a coloured editions of The Tales of O da P – when I grew up they were only in black and white and in paperback. The new illustrations by Catherine Rayner are perfect – though I still love the originals…too!

Enjoy them!




Published by Oxford University Press

Not yet published at time of going to post – June 2016

This story is about overcoming the odds when they are stacked against you. Finding friends in unexpected places and about wildlife and the environment.

There are some lovely descriptive passages about water-boatmen, snails and deer – in fact the natural history passages bring these elements beautifully to life, and add another strain of colour to the book. It is an impassioned plea for all things wild, both creature and environment. The end of the book is deep and touching –

A book for people who care. It is, perhaps, a book of hope.



9780192745545Published by Oxford University Press

Not yet published at time of going to press: March 2016

Really a book for those who are beginning to be confident with their reading. A magical tale of two siblings who arriving at their new house are sent out to explore and find a railway at the bottom of the garden. On that really isn’t there, except it is.

A new way to a new world – instead of a wardrobe, a workshop at the end of the garden pulls them into a world of magic and danger. There is always the possibility they might not manage to return in time for fish fingers.

The responsibilities of an older brother are such that though Leo thinks some of what Ella gets up to are perhaps unwise, what is an elder brother to do, but to follow on behind and make sure things don’t go horribly wrong…

I’m afraid I don’t think the cover is inspiring – which is a pity; there is more to this book than this implies, and sometimes it really is the cover of a book that sells it to new readers…and perhaps persuades them to try something new…


Published by Oxford University Press

Not yet Published at time of going to Post – Early February 2016

This volume seemed to come from the same mini genre as My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons (see post on this blog) that was published a few months ago.

It was great fun, and had the feel of a Saturday night’s fantasy film, not least as it is partially a graphic novel as well as straight prose, which works very well. A light, but fun read…  Cathy Brett’s illustrations are just right and add a little edge to the story.


Published by Oxford University Press

Not yet published at time of going to Post: February 2016

A touching and extraordinary story about an unbelieveable friendship. I find good  human – animal and animal – human relationships fascinating and extraordinary. Particularly those where the differences in power are so enormous. My cat as a small kitten would snuggle down under the covers, tucking herself under my chin. A small handful of feline. Her bones so fragile, but she trusted me not to hurt her…

This is an emotionally charged book, one about responsibility and about life.

Those of you who are like-minded will be pleased to know that the main character does not wake from a dream. It is much more than that. So much more.

Published by Oxford University Press

Not yet published at time of going to press – October 2015

If Nelly says she will do something, you can be certain that she will. This enterprising young sailor sets out on a journey to find her father who left home over a year ago, only leaving a list to himself that read

‘1.Don’t forget N’s birthday.

2.Back in a year.

3.Don’t go native.’

Captain Peabody, Nelly’s dad, had of course, forgotten Nelly’s birthday, hadn’t returned within a year, and it certainly looked as though he had gone native. This is the story of Nelly’s voyage of discovery along with her friend her turtle, Columbus who goes along for the trip, but isn’t of much practical use, not being able to tie a knot or reef a sail.

This is a wild book – the proof had illustrations in the first two chapters which are fun and will be extended throughout the completed volume. It is full of sea adventures including pirates, a giant squid, storms, the possibility of turtle soup, whales and a whirlpool, not to mention the start of the break up of her boat. Full of unconventional not to say weird and wonderful characters and wildlife (illustrated snails, an idea my sister would love).

This is a book to be revelled in.

The above illustration is of the cover of the proof – so isn’t representative of that which the publisher’s will use when it is released.