Archives for posts with tag: Publisher: Macmillan

Published by Macmillan Children’s Books.

I recently organised a school event for Elizabeth Laird and at the end one of the boys asked Elizabeth Laird which was her favourite book, that she had written. It was obviously a very difficult question; her reply much the same as many parents’ – she loves them all, however, she did go on to say that the character Ben, in the story, was based around her younger brother, and so perhaps, if pushed this is her favourite.

This is the story of Anna’s family – her Mum, Dad, little sister, Katy and their new baby brother Ben. It is a tale of growing up, of accepting responsibilities, of acknowledging who you are, and who other people are too – along with realising that love comes in many forms and ways. It is a story of a family dealing with someone special, who though severely disabled, has a massive impact on the family.  Sometimes in a good way, and at other times taking all the attention.

The preface explains just a little about Elizabeth’s relationship with her brother Alistair – the positives and the negatives. Superb.

 

Published by Macmillan Children’s Books.  I thought I would start this post with a quote from the book.

‘I’ve got a time-out card.’ I say this almost under my breath, turning away so that the only people who can hear me are the teacher and Tabassum. It’s not a state secret, but my parents seem to think life will be easier if my Asperger’s is on the need-to-know basis. I’m not sure it works, but nobody bothered to ask me….

I knew this would happen when Miss Young laminated this time-out card. Half the teachers are terrified in case I start climbing on the tables or setting fire to the desks….’

Grace’s father travels… He works on television, producing natural history programmes. Often he is away for months. Grace’s mother on the other hand is making sure that everything runs properly at home & that the ‘situation’ that is Grace, is being taken seriously. Leah her younger sister observes all this with a wry look on life that made me laugh as I read this wonderful tale of a family being a family – with all the challenges that brings and a few extra on top.

It is superb.

The illustration above is one of Edward Gorey’s pictures – I am a fan of his work (see the Gashlycrumb Tinies post) – and since there isn’t a reasonable picture of the proof, let alone the cover to be used for this book – I thought I would use this…as a sort of stand in for an image.

The proof states that The State of Grace is due to be published on the 6th of April 2017

 

 

Published by Macmillan January 2017

I hope that Macmillan will publish this book in such a way that it looks as though it has been covered by a hoar frost. This is the story of the turning of the seasons, the power of Autumn, of frost, and the power of Spring and of nature itself. It is a remarkable and wonderful tale of trickery, death, hope and of friendship. It is the tale of spirits, of life itself. I loved this. There are some aspects that are similar to the Percy Jackson series (Rick Riordan) – however, I prefer this – a more elemental story, darker in some ways and something I can really relate to having walked my estate this morning through a hoar frost; the grass a pale green, crunchy under foot.

This book should give the designers at Macmillan a chance to really make something of it. The proof I read had a lovely owl on the cover, but not quite the owl that I would have chosen. It does not depict the dark side as much as it should and there is little or no frost – just some snow like designs dotted around the bird of prey. I have searched the Internet in my usual way to give you a picture of what the actual published book will look like – and the above seems to be the design that Macmillan are using.

I’m afraid, I hope this isn’t the case.

Whilst owls are important in the story, surely this book is about frost, that spiky extraordinary stuff that makes designs on metal, leaves, grass and water… Some while ago I wrote a post on this blog about rime – the patterns found on cars – perhaps Macmillan can find something of the sort to make this volume really stand out – it certainly deserves something of the sort. Something that makes you think it will be cold to the touch – not shinny – cold… We will see what they can do! The pictures below are copies of those I took early one morning of the ice patterns on the tops of cars… I would be very happy for them to be used for this volume…

2014 Mobile Pictures Car Frost 011

2014 Mobile Pictures Car Frost 022

2014 Mobile Pictures Car Frost 013

2014 Mobile Pictures Car Frost 020

 

Published by Macmillan January 2017

Elizabeth Laird has always written gripping tales based more often than not on facts she has gathered to give substance and reality to her stories.

This volume is no exception. This is the story of Omar and his family, the story of the Syrian refugee crisis and it is the story of people. It is pure luck that I live in a society that at the moment allows me some freedom of speech. Certainly more than many others. I write a blog about children’s books. I have the freedom to write what I like. I go to work where  I encourage children to read, to think about their society whilst doing so – about what is right, wrong and the responsibilities we have to  one another. My sister trained as a doctor and became a consultant – our circumstances could and would have been so different if we had just lived somewhere else. This is a story of a family whose life is the other side of the coin. Omar at the beginning of the book dreams of selling postcards; enough postcards so that he can perhaps purchase a donkey. Then a whole herd. He is bright, not in a school sense perhaps, but with common sense and with the habit of working hard as a back bone to his beliefs. When things change dramatically in Syria, those dreams are quickly and irrevocably destroyed.

This is a story of immense bravery and hardship and is a tale of those whose lives this Christmas aren’t like ours. I wonder how my family would have survived. If I am honest, I am not sure we would have. There are many books being published about dystopian societies – many extreme examples. This small volume’s story, however, is more poignant and has more impact than they have.

Everyone should read this. Should you purchase a copy of the hardback of this book, (and at just £9.99 there is no reason why you shouldn’t) 50pence from that sale will go to an international agency supporting the Syrian refugee crisis. Not much, perhaps, but every little counts.

Elizabeth Laird is an author who choses stories that are often edgy and strong.. They are often based in fact and deal with issues most of us will never have to face and often would prefer not to acknowledge. This book is a must read. If you purchase no other book in 2017,  (which I admit is unlikely), but should that be the case, then it should be this one.

A moving and extraordinary tale of bravery, resilience and families.

Her last comment is to propose that we might wonder what happens next to Omar and his family after the end of the story. She observes that that is down to us.

Other titles she has written include: The Garbage King, The Prince who Walked with Lions, Oranges in No Man’s Land, Red Sky in the Morning and Kiss the Dust.

Published by Macmillan Publishing

This is a fun roller-coaster of an adventure. Three years before the story begins Brine was found floating in a rowing boat without knowing her name or where she came from. Since then she has been working for Tallis Magus – keeping the house clean, cooking, & washing his rather revolting socks whilst trying to avoid him and spending as much time in his library as she is able to do.

The third occupant of this house is Peter, a young fisherman’s son, who Tallis Magus is attempting to teach the rudiments of magic. So far he doesn’t show much potential.

When Tallis Magus plans to send Brine off to work with the island’s miser, to look after his house, incidentally much larger than his, and without a library, Brine is determined to do something about it. The fact that Peter too is about to have his life turned upside down (it is proposed that Peter should marry the daughter, who would then come and live with Tallis Magus), means that the two of them start to plan to escape together and this is the story of this rather buccaneering tale.

This is superb story of sunken galleons, treasure, evil and a most powerful magician, message carrying seagulls, (well you wouldn’t use pigeons at sea, would you?) a lovely ship’s cat and a plethora of other characters…

It is a tale of revenge…and contains, perhaps, the end of all stories…

Meanwhile do remember to buy a copy of this and sink yourself into a pirate-icle (I think I have just invented that word) adventure….

 

Various publishers have produced editions of this over the years. Macmillan though have just published a lovely little hardback – all edges gilt, in their Macmillan Collectors Library collection, with nice endpapers, pale blue cloth boards, with blind blocking on the front and a dust jacket…

This could be my favourite book. It is beautifully written, funny, an extraordinary observation of an English family abroad, full of natural history and animals. It makes me laugh every time I read it and it is a pure piece of pleasure for me. I have several copies. I don’t have one to read in the bath, or to read without too much care in the garden, however, and must buy a cheep copy for that purpose.

The BBC recently did a series based on the volume. The characters were almost perfect, but what happened in the film didn’t bare much relation to that in the book. Which wasn’t to be expected, but don’t rely on what you saw being an indication of what you will experience when you read it.

Should you not be aware Gerald Durrell collected animals from the age of about 2 – and grew up to be one of the greatest naturalists and conservationists of the 20th Century; setting up the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust and the zoo on the same island.

This volume is about a short period he and his family made to Corfu when he was aged about 10. It is about the people of the island, the animals, the island itself and of course his family. It is superb.

The animals included in the story include the following:

Roger, Gerald’s faithful dog, who travelled with the family to Corfu. Caterpillars, nameless, who also travelled to the island, transported in a jam jar. Widdle and Puke, two puppies given to Gerald for his birthday…crab-spiders, earwigs, a pigeon called Quasimodo, rose-beetles, a tortoise named Achilles, trap-door spiders, and oil beetles…amongst others, not including the scorpion, that was central to such a wonderful episode in the book that always makes me laugh till I cry.

All of which give a wonderful back ground to the story of Larry, Leslie, Margo, Gerald and of course his mother, Spiro, Lugaretzia and Theodore – and that’s without mentioning Larry’s various friends who arrive regularly and en-mass to add to the confusion.

It is a very English book – and is marvellous.

One day I shall have to purchase a first edition – if I can find one that is signed, that will be all the better.

If you haven’t read this, then, you really should.

 

 

 

 

Published by Macmillan Children’s Books

Supporting Book Trust (20 pence from the sale of each of these goes to the Book Trust).

There are probably hundreds of colouring-in books that have been published in the last few months or so. Some are better than others.

They contain designs of every sort and type of subject you can imagine: mythical, self-help, (anti-stress / calming etc), literary, seasonal, religious, geographic, magical, oriental, animals (numerous numbers of these of a vastly different types), architecture, shapes, therapy, and botany, to name just a few. Everyone seems to be doing it – our tables are laden with large and small square books.

They are often listed as Adult Colouring books. They aren’t really ‘adult’ in the sense of content of a film being 18+ They are just full of detail, well, some are, and it is assumed that any listed as adult must be more complicated and, therefore, be more difficult to do.

In my view this does not mean that children don’t have the patience or ability to colour these books. They do – it’s just that suddenly adults have been persuaded that this is the ‘new’ thing. I suppose it is for them.

There is only one practical art book that I have regularly sold (previously the subject of a post on this blog) – Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered (by Quinten Blake and John Cassidy) and now there is this new book by Chris Riddell.

This small paperback is full of 366 things to draw, colour in or doodle – one for every day of the year.
Stuffed with drawings from Chris Riddell’s work, some of which I have seen before, others I haven’t. I have bought two copies – an extravagance, but a necessary one.

I intend to use one and to colour in, draw and doodle as directed…The other I shall keep as it is – and perhaps one day I will meet him again and be able to ask him to sign both copies for me… It is a practical art book for fans of his work and suitable for everyone from around six through to 110..or as long as they can hold a pencil, and see.

My favourite date in the book is March the 14th – a Story Starter page… Yes the book includes space for you to write too…should you wish…

It doesn’t go into the ‘science’ particularly, of how to draw, it is more of an encouragement for everyone to start and to keep drawing. Both Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered and this complement each other and should be bought as a set…

In addition to being filled with his wonderful art work – 20 pence of the sale of each volume goes to the Book Trust – a charity that promotes reading….and what could be better than that?

Published by Macmillan

ISBN 9781447283553

Not yet published – August 2015

This is a tale about witchcraft and witch hunts. A tale of a witch who doesn’t know of her abilities and quite why her mother has kept her away from everyone. Until the day her mother is trapped by a demon and she is left on her own.

Well, not quite. A small dormouse with an attitude takes up the position as her familiar and with this diminutive but determined friend she sets out to find her mother and things take a very dark turn.

A book about witches from another perspective.

Brilliant.

Sadly there doesn’t seem to be a cover published yet – so I thought I would illustrate this post with an image of a dormouse to celebrate Hazel’s familiar…