Clockwork

A book I read pre-blog … and Philip Pullman

Clockwork by Philip Pullman In a wonderful interview and Q&A  article in the Guardian on Sunday (do go and read it), author Sarah Perry asks Pullman what he’d most like to be remembered for, and his reply is his novella Clockwork. Then children’s author SF Said then asks why Clockwork?  Pullman replies: It is the most perfectly Read More

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Not one, but two reworked fairy tales illustrated by Chris Riddell

I love Chris Riddell’s illustrations and children’s books. Amazingly he has only had one post to himself since I started this blog (see here), although he has featured in several others. Even here, he will be sharing this post with the two authors of some newly published reworked fairy tales… I had put these two Read More

Marianne Dreams

Revisiting a children’s classic from 1958

Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr In the Puffin edition (above), this book was my favourite contemporary children’s novel as I was growing up.  I read it in the late 1960s, not once, not twice, but countless times.  The story of a bed-bound girl whose drawings came to life in her dreams both entranced and scared Read More

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L Baum

The Wizard of Oz is one of our favourite family films at Gaskell Towers, and my daughter and I are really looking forward to going to see the new production at the Palladium during the Easter hols. It struck me though that I’d never actually read the original book, and the OUP very kindly sent me a Read More

Last dragonslayer

Fforde does YA and it’s Ffabulous Ffun!

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde Jasper Fforde has written a new book, and if it wasn’t for heroine being two weeks short of sixteen, no swearing, and no overt classic literary references, you’d be hard pushed to know that it was for young adults.  I expect that many grown-ups will read it anyway and some Read More

Dead Mans Cove

Tracey Beaker meets the Famous Five

Dead Man’s Cove by Lauren St John Lauren St John is the author is a series of books for older children set in Africa. The White Giraffe and its sequels are heartwarming and well-loved, although I admit we’ve not read any of them (sadly, my daughter is not a fan of what she considers ‘animal tales’).  However her Read More

Mozart Question

How music can save your life …

The Mozart Question by Michael Morpurgo Previously included in a collection of autobiographical writings and short stories (Singing for Mrs Pettigrew: A Storymaker’s Journey), the The Mozart Question was later published separately as an edition lavishly illustrated by Michael Foreman’s hazy watercolours. The former Children’s Laureate, Morpurgo, tells a simple tale about an important subject… A young reporter gets Read More

Hugo Pepper

A delightfully quirky children’s adventure

The problem with getting into your forties and beyond is that you inevitably need reading glasses.  I managed to lose mine for a whole day this weekend, but luckily I found them this morning – phew!  So yesterday I had to read with my old glasses (which are now perfect for computer work, but no Read More

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An great adventure read for 11+

The Secret Ministry of Frost by Nick Lake This novel for older children of about eleven upwards was our book group choice for May/June. As a group, we haven’t read a novel aimed primarily at a younger audience since the penultimate Harry Potter, (as opposed to adult books that are great for younger readers too). Read More

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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