Radcliffe

Superstition and fear – Your worst enemies in Puritan times…

Witch Child by Celia Rees Right at the beginning of this remarkable novel, Mary’s grandmother is tortured, tried and dies for being branded a ‘witch’. Rees lets you know exactly what was in store for the poor women who as healers, herbalists and midwives, were routinely denounced as witches when something went wrong in the Read More

Radcliffe

There are faeries everywhere – but not all can see them …

The Thirteen Treasures by Michelle Harrison The debut novel from this young author is full of proper faeries, the kind with an ‘e’ from British folklore. They’re there right from the beginning, when Tanya’s faery tormentors decide how to make her day – not! For fourteen year old Tanya has second sight – she can Read More

Radcliffe

“If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?”

The Kiss of Death by Marcus Sedgwick Now this is a proper novel about vampires – and they don’t even make an appearance properly until late in the book, however, they are mentioned in the blurb, so I’m hardly giving the game away. It’s also a proper book about Venice, set in the 18th century Read More

Radcliffe

A Cinematic treat for readers of all ages…

The Invention of Hugo Cabret: A Novel in Words and Pictures by Brian Selznick This book has a fascinating concept. It’s a chunkster of over 500 pages that can be read in just a couple of hours for over half the pages are pictures – black and white pencil drawings mostly. But it’s not a Read More

Radcliffe

Sheer Poetry – a remarkable read

Cloud Busting by Malorie Blackman This is unlike any other children’s story I have ever read. A series of 26 short poems, telling the story of Sam and Davey, and all about bullying and friendship, secrets and lies, and the terrible thing that happened one day … Told entirely in Sam’s voice, the poems are Read More

Radcliffe

A realistic novel of pampered pets and fearsome beasts in Ancient Rome

Tiger, Tiger by Lynne Reid Banks Two tiger cubs brought to Rome – one is destined for the arena; the other is defanged, booted and becomes a much loved pet for the Emperor’s daughter Aurelia who is twelve. She begins to fall for the tiger’s handler Julius, to her cousin Marcus’ dismay. When a prank Read More

Radcliffe

Tempus Fugit – Time flies when you’re having fun!

Tanglewreck by Jeanette Winterson There is much to like in Winterson’s novel for older children (upwards). I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope it might have a sequel some time. This fast-moving Fantasy/SF novel, (it’s a bit of both), about the power to control time, owes a lot to Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. It Read More

Radcliffe

Boxwatch: GW goes TG

GW for the uninitiated stands for Gardener’s World – the much loved and very long running programme on the BBC that’s recently had a makeover and new presenter. TG stands for Top Gear – the hilarious boys’ own car programme with Jeremy Clarkson and co, one of the most un-PC things on telly, also beloved Read More

Radcliffe

The real King Arthur …

Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve Arthurian myth and legend is one of my favourite reading themes.  If asked about my favourite movies, Excalibur [1981] comes 2nd (after The Blues Brothers). I saw that film the week it came out at the Odeon Leicester Square and was immediately smitten with the Arthurian bug.  A few years Read More

Radcliffe

What to read next …

I’m really enjoying my Easter holidays reading literature for children and young adults – I still have a few more lined up for next week, but once we get to Monday 20th and it’s back to school, I shall be returning to grown-up fare! I’ve found it very rewarding reading these novels, they need just Read More

Radcliffe

One New Year a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love …

When the Snow Fell by Henning Mankell A coming of age novel set in a small lumber town in northern Sweden during the 1950s. Joel’s mother left when he was seven, so he’s grown up looking after himself and his father, who’s prone to the odd bender and never has any money. Joel has reached Read More

Radcliffe

Another modern classic novel for older children

The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban This Pinnochio-esque tale for older children written in 1967 of a clockwork Daddy mouse and his child is a modern children’s classic. Deservedly so, it features a road trip for the discarded and broken wind-up mice full of adventure, peril and featuring a nasty rat-baddy, also much Read More

Radcliffe

Beware of black buttons – Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline by Neil Gaiman is a deliciously scary children’s novel that is destined to become an absolute classic. Think Clive Barker for kids, but with a sense of humour and you’re about there. ***SLIGHT PLOT SPOILER ALERT*** Coraline’s family has moved into a new flat. Her parents are too busy to talk to her so Read More

Radcliffe

Vive le livre! Long live the book!

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner is a dazzling historical novel for older children and young adults – and fair blew this forty-something adult away too. I absolutely loved it! This is the Paris of the late 1780s, just before the revolution. Yann, a gypsy youth who has second sight, assists his friend and mentor, Read More