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Published by Walker Books

This is a rather lovely unique adventure story. A fantasy novel which is a little different. The characters are intricate and well developed. It has a reflection of Charles Dickens, but is also something totally different. No 13 has no memory of anything outside the orphanage where he has grown up. Part fox, part boy he is naive and struggles to survive in an orphanage run by evil Miss Carbunkle. Things don’t look good, and they don’t look likely to change either, until another groundling persuades him that together they can escape…

It has elements of steampunk, has brilliant language and clever ideas – this is something special and like nothing else I have read. Animals that are people at the same time are well mixed into the story – each with their own abilities and idiosyncrasies. Some are more animal than others. Some are more child.  There is even an aye-aye like boy, who is similar to the character of the Artful Dodger in Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.  Which I suppose has meant I am even more pro this story than I might have been, having become a little infatuated with all things Madagascan…

This is a tale of bravery, mechanical beetles, adventure, and character – frankly something that will take you away from the everyday…into another world.

My proof is a fat hardback – an inch and a half or so thick, and some 450 pages. Illustrations will be prolific, and if the chapter heading devices are anything to go by, should be suitably atmospheric…Mira Bartok is both the author and illustrator.

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Published by Walker Books

David Almond’s books are quite extraordinary, no two seem to be alike – each is a masterpiece. I’d love to know where he gets his ideas from. This is the story of a bus driver. Bert has been driving his bus, on the same route, every day for ten years. He knows every bump, curve and passenger – he has dealt with all sorts of people, the young, the foolish, the friendly, confused, lost and bemused. Things are becoming a little predictable. Until one day he feels a fluttering in his chest and begins to panic and stops the bus. The complaints that result from this unauthorised and unwanted stop, he doesn’t hear, he is too concerned with what the fluttering means. Is this the end? Before the book has really got started? By page 12?

Actually it is just the beginning. This is a lovely, kindly book about people. About how people want to be seen to be bigger than they really are. It is about art classes and art teachers – it is about hope. It is also about bullies, and friendship, but mainly its about Angelino Brown – as unique a character as any David Almond has written about before.

I thought I had written a post about Clay or The Boy who Swam with Piranhas, one of my favourite David Almond books, but it seems I haven’t yet – so along with this one – have a look at those too, along with I suppose, Skellig, probably his most famous book…

 

 

Published by Walker Books

This is a wonderful science fiction volume, set initially in Norway and then in London. It is the story of William Wenton a boy fascinated by all things to do with codes. It doesn’t matter in what form – they just draw him to them, and he enjoys pitting his wits against those who think they can out-wit him. His parents moved to Norway with him when his grandfather disappeared, some eight years before the book really begins. At the same time, everything about him was changed. Even his name. The book begins with a mystery and then spirals down into something quite extraordinary. It contains everything you might want in adventure, including sentient doors…

I had hoped that Bobbie Peers would be willing and able to come and be an author for one of my school events I hold each year. Sadly, this was not to be. He lives inconveniently in Norway (a place I have always wanted to visit), & it is too far to expect an author to travel. Further Waterstones won’t contribute in any practical way travel expenses of that calibre. Which is a pity – this is an excellent book and I would have loved to have included Bobbie in our yearly celebrations.

If you would like to read something engrossing and enticing, this is for you.

 

Published by Walker Books.

This post was started as a review of Truth or Dare. Then I remembered Trouble, also by Non Pratt and expected to find an earlier post about that brilliant volume. For some reason, that I don’t know, it never got on to the site. So it has a mention at the end – as these are both books to sink into…

I have never ‘played’ Truth or Dare. Not even when the Internet didn’t exist. I sometimes wonder at the repercussions for those who now become involved in these challenges, particularly now that they can be viewed by everyone who has access to social media. I suppose I didn’t like the idea of where such encounters might lead. Would I have spoken the truth, would I have done something dangerous, just to be part of a group? I don’t know – I avoided the issue.

This is book is about two brothers, a dare that went right, and dares that perhaps didn’t end in the way the participants expected. It is a tale with a heart. It covers the phenomenon of social media dares – Internet sites that, to quote one, states: ‘…a social media where users upload video proof to earn street-cred.’ Which isn’t something I have ever worried about. In this book the dares, are on the whole, performed for another result entirely. Well, most of the time…

The book comes in two parts. Claire’s and then Sef’s story; you read hers and then (with my proof) turn the book over to read Sef’s. Claire’s starts in September. Sef’s in August; the story ends in the following February.

It is the story of bravery – and not just as a result of the dares. Friendship and of course trust. It is also about facing the truth, however hard. It is also about how small things can change lives irrevocably. It is also the story that begins, in a way with a small bat.

A bat. Flying mammal. As in blind as a…

This is an enticing book – one that will get under your skin. It is a rollercoaster of a ride with death just a page turn away…

Do you dare to read it?

Non Pratt also wrote Trouble which came out some time ago – a book about teenage pregnancy which was enticing, and extraordinary. Sadly I either hadn’t set up my blog then, or I just didn’t get around to reviewing it, which would be strange, as I became totally involved with the book.

So, buy the two as a pair – they make good siblings and are brilliant reads.

I have removed the pictures from this post – as they have reverted to the Walker Books logo – not much help when searching for them. I have replaced it with this rather nice Edward Gorey illustration. I think its rather fun…

Published by Walker Books

This is a ‘good one’ as my colleague texted me, when I mentioned I was finishing it yesterday. That is an understatement. This is a story of a young boy and a monster that comes calling. Exactly what it says on the cover. It is an extraordinary book of hope and acceptance, love and bravery.

I hope that the film I am going to see on Thursday will live up to the book. I am concerned that this might not be the case. My friends, however, all say that those involved with the production of this film of this book are ‘good’, and to have hope that it won’t be a debacle.

I firmly believe that if a book comes out, and a film is then made of it – that you should read the book first and that the reverse of that statement is true too. The Hobbit, (the films) has small nuggets of wonder, (when we first glimpse Smaug and when he spins to get rid of the gold that was covering him, for example), but the films were in my view nothing to do with the original tale as Tolkien wrote it.

If it is worth making a film of a book, then the book must, therefore, be a good one. Why else would you do it?

I never understand why film producers should muck about with plots that the author was happy with when it was published. A part of the book which is intrinsic to the story – that story which was so good that it resulted in the film maker being interested in making a film in the first place. So I’m a little concerned. Never-the-less I have a ticket for Thursday and I hope, as advised, that this one will be different and will have at least the soul, the essence of the book.

If so, I will quietly cry in my seat, as I did in my lunch break yesterday, as I finished this extraordinary book.

I should have read this many years ago – but never got around to it. The film, I admit pushed me into going back to it now, and I knew as soon as I started it that I would love it just as much as I did The Knife of Never Letting Go.

This is not just a good one – its marvellous, full of heart. It is an extraordinary story.

Read it, before you go and see the film.

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Published by Walker Books

This is superbly illustrated by Nicola Bayley – the detail and colours are perfect and fit the story beautifully. This is a book to treasure. A lovely story – with gorgeous illustrations – definitely for those who love cats…

Simply magical.

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Published by Walker Books

Not Yet Published June

I initially thought this was going to be a book about swimming. Which it is. It is also a story of accepting who you are. It is a tale of dreams, and hope too…

Lou Brown is about to attempt to win a race that will result in her training to become an Olympic swimmer. It all rests on this one race.

As her fingers touch the end of the pool she is certain she has won – there have been no sounds of the others for some while and she has been pushing herself to keep ahead of the pack ever since.

The results are not what she or her best friend expect.

The results are so much more than just becoming another player in Olympic dreams.

I found this book enticing and funny – I loved it – to the extent of being annoyed that my lunch break just wasn’t long enough to allow me to reach a point where it was good to stop. I shouldn’t have to go back to work when I’m in the middle of a good book at lunch…

Brilliant.

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Published by Walker Books

This reminded me of Georgette Heyer – but Georgette Heyer with a demonic / satanic twist. Regency London and a young heiress and debutante is about to be introduced to London society. She is of course looking for that perfect marriage, after all that is what young ladies are supposed to aspire to. There are of course highly suitable men on the ‘circuit’, as it were and of course an anti-hero to set hearts a-flame.

What is the secret that surrounds Lady Helen’s mother? Did she betray England? What is the truth about Lady Helen’s ancestry?

It has lovely detail, a clever plot and is the start of a trilogy.

Something to really get your teeth into!

Sadly I don’t think the cover that this has been given gives the book its due – which is a pity and the book might be overlooked as a result.

As always, never judge a book by its cover… I thoroughly enjoyed it and await the second volume with interest.

 

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Published by Walker Books

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

I haven’t finished this yet – but it’s so good, I have decided to review it now – as it has really caught my imagination. Fenn Halflin lives in a world of water and marshes – under the care of a man whom he refers to as Grandfather. His life though is uninteresting and though he feels the pull of the water, he is never allowed to swim, but does so behind his grandfather’s back…

This world of water, split between those who live on the land and others more in tune with the sea, has references to our lives too…the flotsam and jetsam often reflect our lives. The water that engulfs so much of Fenn’s world is the result of rising waters… again a reflection of what is happening in so many parts of the world…

Clever, intriguing and wonderful – a brilliant adventure. Really superb. Due out in June this year – no indication of the cover has been circulated yet – however I thought that the above picture by Turner is a good reflection of the atmosphere within the book…It’s marvellous!

I finished the book today – and the finish is exactly right. What is even more pleasing is that the book is the first of two and now I can’t wait for the second book to come. Marvellous.

 

Published by Walker Books

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

When Uman walks late into class no one is prepared for what happens. Uman pushes limits. Asks questions that no one thought to ask, or if they did, dared to. He is an enigma. He’s different and not afraid to be.

He sits next to Gloria that first day, and tells her she is ready for change. It is the start of a friendship diverse from everything she has come across. He doesn’t talk about his past, just asks questions and pushes for answers.

He skips classes, and has obviously always done so. Gloria never has. Till now.

An unusal and rather wonderful story. Another book about living life, and not allowing it to go by. Not that I suggest we all follow in Gloria’s and Uman’s footsteps…but perhaps the essence of the story could be mixed into our own.

Question 21 – What would you have done?

This cover has a notation on the Internet stating it is the one they will use in the US. Their covers are often wildly different from those used to publish the same book in the UK.

Keep an eye out for this book in what ever cover they give it.

Enjoy.