Wednesday, 22 June 2016

An ovedue reading roundup!

Having a passion for anything can sometimes lead to disappointment, particularly if you have set your hopes on it and so it can be with reading.  I have a passion for reading; I want to read every book that comes my way, I then want to share the joy that I have experienced.  Rarely is there a book that I do not enjoy and because I am reading for myself as well as to share with others I am conscious of the fact that even if I did not enjoy the book others will, it may just be that it was not quite the book for me.  This happens.  Very rarely am I ever truly disappointed by a book.  Very often I love a book and the books take me by surprise with their enjoyability!
And so it is, as someone with a passion for books and reading that I read A LOT!  Usually a book a night, thus with a train journey into and out of London this week I had the chance to read more …
From Usborne and Tamsyn Murray came Tanglewood Animal Park: Baby Zebra Rescue a delightful story that is perfect for animal lovers.  Zoe and her little brother have grown up around zoo’s – that is where their parents work and now they are about to live in their own zoo, but all is not well, with poorly and injured animals, a physical structure in need of repair and a very moody vet’s son to contend with will the zoo open on time and will everything be in place?  This is a charming story for those who love animals yet at the same time also a story about friendship, understanding and learning to give and take.
Sedric and the Roman Holiday Rampage by Angie Morgan, Egmont, continues the medieval adventures of Sedric and the gang, this time trying to undo all the trouble caused by Baron Dennis’ rather unpleasant son.  Packed with humour and delightfully illustrated by the author this is a wonderful addition to the series and will have readers laughing with every turn of the page.
Moving up the age groups I came to Magrit by Lee Battersby (Walker Books).  This is a sparse and haunting tale, appropriately set in an abandoned cemetery where Magrit lives with her friend Master Puppet.  They live happily and peacefully until a passing stork drops a bundle and despite his best efforts to dissuade her Master Puppet sees Magrit growing ever closer to the new addition with unfortunate consequences.  A masterful and moving story, delicately and beautifully told.
Then the book that truly took me by surprise, Songs About a Girl by Chris Russell (Hodder Children’s Books).  As a book about a boy band and a young girl I am sure you can imagine where I thought this was going … but it didn’t.  This is an honest and truthful story about the trials and tribulations of fame, about understanding people and friends, how they work and why.  Charlie is a great character the true geek yet hiding a streak of rebellion whilst Melissa, the archetypal best friend may not be all that she seems and the same applies to the boyband.  With a rollercoaster ride of emotions this book is packed with page-turning elements and is a really good read.

Father’s Day was last Sunday and what better way to celebrate that by asking dad to read you a story about … Dad’s?
If your dad is new to his role then you could start off with School for Dads by Charlotte Guillain and illustrated by Ada Grey (Egmont) through which your dad will learn about how not to be late for pick up, how to pay attention to you and not his phone and how sometimes the children just need to take charge!  Dad’s will learn an lot from this delightful book, children will love the action in the pictures and it will have created a wonderful sharing experience too.
The Best Bit of Daddy’s Day by Claire Alexander (Egmont) anthropomorphises the roles of father and son into Daddy and Bertie, two dogs, both delightful and appealing to small children.   Bertie’s daddy is a driver of wonderful trucks and diggers and of course Bertie would love to do this too so when he discovers a special surprise waiting for him at school it seems that their days may well be just the same.  This is a lovely, simple story, about understanding, overcoming anxiety and sharing experiences.
Amazing Daddy by Rachel Bright (Orchard Books) features two pandas, Daddy Panda and Little Panda sharing a day together all their special moments.  Celebrating the special relationship between father and son this is a warm, loving book and the perfect title for father’s day.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Another installment of great reading...

Following her last reading marathon reviewer Bridget Carrington has been stoically reading all the books I send her (and believe me my pile is still huge as you will soon see when Summer Armadillo goes live - all the Also Out books are the titles I have been reading)!

So now I bring you Bridget's latest thoughts on some of the latest goodies that have found their way to her ...

I’m writing this just before midday on April Fools’ Day, when anything can happen! Something really good that has happened recently is the way in which teachers try to engage children with reading, despite the shackles with which state education tries to prevent us.
New ways to read books are always fun, and John Fidler, himself a teacher, has come up with a winner. Little Red Riding Hood, The Wolf, Grandma and the Woodcutter from Creative Education Press is an intriguing modern variation on an old idea used by musicians who shared a single score while sitting around a rectangular table. Originally produced in monochrome, but now brought fully to life in simple colours, Fidler’s retelling of the Red Riding Hood traditional tale appears on the page as a central square which cleverly contains a four-part image, each part facing a different side of the square, and illustrating the text which is written along the square’s outer edge. Each side tells the part which Red Riding Hood, the Wolf, Grandma and the Woodcutter plays in the story. This way four readers could sit round the book and each read/play the part of one of the characters, while building up the complete story. It’s a pretty traditional telling though not as gruesome as Perrault’s original, and the illustrations maintain a folky feeling somewhat reminiscent of Eastern European art. This is a beautiful book for all sorts of reasons, and I look forward to seeing more of Fidler’s work.

Although all are about castaways, Olivia Levez’s debut novel The Island, from Oneworld’s YA imprint Rock the Boat, is about as unlike Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe or O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins as you could imagine. Frances (Fran to her few friends, and Frannie to her brother, who she calls Monkey) describes herself as ‘cold as rock, hard as stone’, resulting from the traumatic family situation which has resulted in her beloved little brother Johnny being taken into care. Her anger at what she sees as a betrayal by a trusted teacher has resulted in her ending up in court, but instead of a custodial sentence she becomes part of an experiment to place young offenders in a situation where they will work co-operatively to help communities in the developing world. The plane taking Fran and other workers crashes, but she survives and reaches an uninhabited island, where she has no option but to learn how to survive, and eventually discovers that there are at least two other survivors. In the very short unnumbered passages which comprise the novel Fran recounts in turn both her current situation and the events which have brought her to it. While this takes time and patience for the reader to navigate, we gradually see what the drivers were for her anti-social behaviour, and to realise the close and enduring bond which exists between Fran and Johnny, to whom she has been a surrogate mother. At the book’s end we see Fran, a dog and a gravely sick survivor on a makeshift raft, attempting to find civilization and medical help. There’s much to think about underlying the immediate story, and we’re left not knowing how things end. Perhaps Levez will write a sequel? She has practical tips for lone desert island dwellers 

Monica Hesse’s The Girl in the Blue Coat (Macmillan) is a move away from the author’s previous YA sci-fi fiction. Instead her journalist self has painstakingly researched an aspect of the Dutch Resistance movement and while the novel revolves around a Dutch Jewish teenage girl, the result is an interesting alternative to Anne Frank-related books. The Girl in the Blue Coat herself only appears towards the end of the book, and the ‘heroine’ Hanneke is not Jewish, and indeed her Aryan good looks allow her to undertake her Black Market activities under the noses of the occupying German soldiers. When one of her regular Black Market customers asks her to try to find Mirjam, a Jewish girl she was hiding, Hanneke is reluctant. Still unable to come to terms with the death of her boyfriend during the invasion of the Netherlands, and emotionally crippled by her guilt at having encouraged him to join up, Hanneke seems a somewhat remote, aloof and unfeeling character, but as she gradually understands what the student members of the Resistance risk to move Jewish children to safety, and to record everyday life under the Nazis she becomes increasingly, if still reluctantly, determined to find and save Mirjam. There are several twists in the story, with a major one right at the end of the book, but possibly the greatest interest lies in Hesse’s carefully constructed account of life under the regime. While with Anne Frank’s account we learn about life in hiding, through Hanneke’s experience we appreciate the restrictions to ordinary everyday life – school, work, romance, travel – that occupation imposed on those Dutch citizens who were supposedly free to live their lives.

Somehow the Manson murders seem an odd topic for a YA novel, and Alison Umminger’s My Favourite Manson Girl (Atom Books) is an odd book. In this Bildungsroman, fifteen-year-old Anna tells her own story and we learn that she has ‘borrowed’ her step-mother’s credit card to enable her to run away to LA to join Delia, her older sister, a bit-part actress in the movies. Her home life has been disrupted by her mother’s new relationship with Lynette – now her step-mother – and the birth of their child, Birch, and despite her deep love for the new sibling, she cannot cope with the change of home and school. Needing to pay back what she ‘borrowed’ and at a loose end while Delia is filming, Anna accepts a job researching the Manson murders, for a film that Delia’s obsessive ex-boyfriend is planning. While we learn a lot about Anna, about life on the edge of the starry world of movies, and about relationships, both relating to family life and sexuality, we also unpick the reasons behind what drove Charles Manson’s group of adoring girls to commit murder for him. This may still intrigue US readers, but fifty years on from those events it’s unlikely that this part of the story will resonate with many UK YAs. Somehow I feel a potentially good novel about the complexities of growing up has been side-tracked by the Manson element.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Something Old Something New

Now I really must apologize, a PhD deadline, for submitting my first chapter, rather took precedence over the Blog for a few weeks but it is Monday morning, it is my birthday tomorrow and I always like to start the new birthday year with a new challenge, this one is going to be to keep the Blog updated by writing a new one each and every Monday ... if I have not posted by 1pm  you must email/Facebook/Tweet me and remind me to do it ...

So for week 1 of the new mission a blog written by reviewer and all round fantastic book reader Bridget Carrington with plenty on offer to get your teeth into ...

Something old and something new came through my letterbox in February. The old comes in welcome reissues by the New York Review of Books of two classics: James Thurber’s splendid fairy-tale from 1950, The 13 Clocks, with its original illustrations by Marc Simont, and from 1964, 

The Pushcart War by another American author, Jean Merrill, with its original illustrations by Ronni Salbert. Thurber’s is a wonderful story, well-known beyond its country of origin, while Merrill’s less familiar work, reset in the future, time having caught up with the 1964 original, provides an amusing but cutting commentary on the often ridiculous origins of war. While there may be other editions out there, the NYRB specializes in faithful reproductions of classic twentieth-century children’s texts together with the illustrations which went with them in their original form, something that’s often missing from later re-publications. The NYRB is an occasional series which has returned to us several otherwise hard to come by titles, mainly American, but notable also for British authors such as Eleanor Farjeon, Leon Garfield, E. Nesbit and (to my great pleasure) Barbara Sleigh’s delightful Carbonel stories.

The new includes two picture books and two Australian YA/New Adult novels. I’m not quite sure what distinguishes a New Adult novel from a YA novel. One definition classes it as YA with added sex and swearing, but this clearly ignores many noteworthy and award-winning YA novels written in the last fifty years. Equally, as she doesn’t include sex and swearing, should we count Jane Austen as an up-and-coming writer of Young Adult rather than New Adult material? If it’s only that the protagonists are older, but the subject matter remains coming-of-age related angst/relationships/romance it seems a false distinction. Perhaps this just shows how unhelpful it is for publishers to pigeonhole books into categories based on age…

Australian author Laura Buzo’s second novel Holier than Thou (Allen and Unwin) is classified as New Adult, and her main protagonist is twenty-four, a graduate in her first job as a mental health social worker. There is sex and there is swearing, but there’s an awful lot more to this deeply thoughtful narrative. Holly tells her own story, starting with a crisis at work, but then ranging to and fro through her high school and university life to examine her relationships with her parents, her sibling, her friends and her boyfriends. In an interview Buzo herself describes the novel as being ‘about the trajectory of grief, and of friendship, family, loss, loyalty, work and the nuts and bolts of morphing into adulthood.’ She adds, ‘It is sad and I don’t pull punches, but I never forget to bring the funny as well.’ All this is true, and Buzo makes an excellent job of it, particularly in examining Holly’s reaction to her father’s death, and her search for a man whose intellectual as well as physical charms would make a suitable permanent relationship. Has she made the right decisions by the end of the novel? If Buzo gives us a sequel, we might find out, but otherwise it ends as real life so often does – in resigned uncertainty.

Michael Adams’ YA novel The Last Girl (Allen and Unwin) envisages a post-apocalyptic Australia in which almost the entire population is suddenly affected by The Snap, whereby they can all hear what everyone else is thinking, and which results in a considerable amount of violence and a great number of deaths. Following this the majority of the remaining citizens enter a catatonic state, apart from a few who have a physical anomaly which appears to shield them. Sixteen-year-old Danby is one of those, and after the Snap-related deaths of her father and step-mother we follow her attempts to help her learning disabled younger step-brother, and to reach her vulnerable real mother’s remote home. Along the way we see convincingly portrayed scenes of mass hysteria, devastation and horror, and are introduced to Nathan and Jack, to both of whom Danby is attracted. There are complex and interesting moral dilemmas raised, particularly when it comes to choices over resuscitation of the catatonic, and we are promised even greater decisions to be made in the two following novels, The Last Shot and The Last Post.

In Time Travelling Toby and the Battle of Britain written by Graham Jones and illustrated by Neil Parkinson (GroBags) we have the curious combination of a cheery comic style, featuring the eponymous hero and his brothers being taken by his time-travelling sports car to the Battle of Britain, with a rhyming text which seems at variance with the serious nature – bombing and death – of the setting. Parkinson’s illustrations are bright and attractive, but would be better employed in more appropriate texts. Further volumes are planned, Apollo Moon Landing and Battle of Trafalgar and there is a website:

Far more interesting is Burn: Michael Faraday’s Candle written by Darcy Pattison and engagingly illustrated by Peter Willis (Mims House), which is adapted from Faraday’s own Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, turning his 1848 six-part scientific series on The Chemical History of a Candle into a text which younger readers could understand. Faraday himself published the full lectures as a book in 1861, and advocated that several of the experiments could be undertaken by children at home, so Pattison and Willis are following in a noble tradition of engaging children with practical science. Pattison accurately puts the subject in context, with a brief explanation of what the RI Christmas Lectures were and who attended, followed by Faraday’s own words explaining how a candle burns, and followed by detailed information about Faraday, the Lectures, and an explanation of the terms and ingredients. The text is varied in type, size, colour and style on the page, while the illustrations are placed in a nineteenth-century world, bright, inviting, amusing and accurate, providing a lively visual interpretation of both historical and scientific matter. As I would unreservedly recommend it for every primary school book shelf, it would be helpful to relate the concepts to UK curriculum stages, as they have with the US NGSS, but other than this, this is an excellent book, which should engage and entertain young people as the Christmas Lectures themselves continue to do into the twenty-first century.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Spring has Sprung - books and Easter

It's the first day of Spring, what better way to come back to the Blog and make up for my remiss in not keeping you updated!

It is also the perfect day for all things outdoors and fun, plus as Easter is almost upon us some Easter activity doesn't go amiss either.

This afternoon I've been busy celebrating Spring, being outdoors and organising an Easter Egg Hunt for the local community in which my School is located. Over 50 families and 100 children came along for some fun and games all of which was fantastically supported by the gerous publishers of children's books and so it is that I extend my thanks to:

Egmont - I cannot extend a big enough thank you for providing me with enough Thomas the Tank Engine books for every family to take one home. 

PenguinRandomHouse and Walker Books - the children loved their stickers, thank you!

Bloomsbury, Hodder, HarperCollins - thank you very much for the books that went into our raffle and were much sought after!

Nosy Crow - the children loved the balloons and the outdoor goodies were perfect for the raffle, there were some very happy children... :)

Children made their own baskets, went on a hunt and then had the chance to meet the Easter bunny for their chocolate prize and extra gifts, they then all piled ono the School Quad to play games and enjoy the great outdoors.  May Easter nests were consumed along with yummy biscuits, colouring in was done and a great time had by all.

The books we had were perfect too - Thomas and the Easter Egg Hunt was a real hit not only with children who love Thomas already but with them all as they sat with parents and began to share the story - so lovely to see.  Emma the Easter Fairy was a popular choice among the older children and the bundles of books much sought after which was heartwarming to see - so many children who knew their book characters and were keen to get a new book.

So a large group of children in Leatherhead Surrey have this afternoon had their first Easter Egg hunt, played outdoors as the National Trust and their books urge us to do and they have hopefully all gone home ready to read and keep books alive and well.

Let's hope we can have more such occasions and grow more small people into big readers!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

An Award Winning Book

Here at Armadillo Magazine we focus on literarure for children and young adults but occasionally something comes to our attention that we think it is important to share, this Blog post is about such a something … important for its coverage of a minority group of fiction writers read on to find out more and be inspired for your own reading if not for the reading of your children, just yet at least …

The Prize The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016 

The Winner Anuradha Roy for Sleeping on Jupiter 
Anuradha Roy is Economist Crossword Prize for Fiction winner for her novel The Folded Earth.  Her first novel, An Atlas of Impossible Longing, has been widely translated and was named by World Literature Today as one of the sixty essential books on modern India. Anurdha lives in Ranikhet.

The Plot … A train stops at a railway station. A young woman jumps off. She has wild hair, sloppy clothes, a distracted air. She looks Indian, yet is somehow not. The sudden violence of what happens next leaves the other passengers gasping.
The train terminates at Jarmuli, a temple town by the sea. Here, among pilgrims, priests and ashrams, three old women disembark only to encounter the girl once again.
What is someone like her doing in this remote corner, which attracts only worshippers?
Over the next five days, the old women live out their long-planned dream of a holiday together; their temple guide finds ecstasy in forbidden love; and the girl is joined by a photographer battling his own demons.
Evil and violence lie beneath the serene surface of this town becoming evident when lives overlap and collide. Unexpected connections are revealed between devotion and violence, friendship and fear as Jarmuli is revealed as a place with a long, dark past that transforms all who encounter it. This is a stark and unflinching novel by a spellbinding storyteller, about religion, love, and violence in the modern world.

16th January 2016; Sri Lanka:  In a glittering ceremony, the US $50,000 DSC Prize along with a unique trophy was awarded by Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to Anuradha Roy.
The six  shortlisted authors and novels in contention for the DSC Prize this year were Akhil Sharma: Family Life (Faber & Faber, UK), Anuradha Roy: Sleeping on Jupiter (Hachette, India), K.R. Meera: Hangwoman (Translated by J Devika; Penguin, India), Mirza Waheed: The Book of Gold Leaves (Viking/Penguin India), Neel Mukherjee: The Lives of Others (Vintage/Penguin Random House, UK) and Raj Kamal Jha: She Will Build Him A City (Bloomsbury, India).
Now in its sixth year, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature is an established international literary prize that awards the best work in South Asian fiction writing each year. This year the DSC Prize received 74 entries with entries from publishers from the South Asian region as well as the UK, US, Canada, Australia and South Africa amongst others. The Prize specifically focuses on South Asian writing.  It is not ethnicity driven by the origin of the author and is open to any author whose story is based on the South Asian region and its people.  

The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016 was judged by a five member jury panel comprised of Mark Tully, Chair of the jury panel and renowned journalist; Dennis Walder, Emeritus Professor of Literature at the Open University, UK; Karen Allman, highly respected book seller and literary coordinator based in Seattle, USA; Neloufer de Mel, Senior Professor of English at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka; and Syed Manzoorul Islam, celebrated Bangladeshi writer, translator, critic and academic.

Speaking on the occasion, Mark Tully on behalf of the jury commented “We had a shortlist of six outstanding books. Their excellence made our task particularly difficult. We chose Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy because of its elegance, flair and readability. It raises many issues succinctly and with commendable economy of words. The South Asian setting is described faithfully and evocatively. Among the issues raised are the power of memory and myth, religious hypocrisy, sexuality, abuse and other forms of violence. The novel contains powerful portraits of both major and minor characters. We believe this book will be a source of inspiration to other writers.”
Surina Narula, MBE and co-founder of the DSC Prize said The winning novel highlights the changing dynamics in South Asian life and culture in a unique way.
The last five winners of the DSC Prize have been Jhumpa Lahiri (The Lowland:  Vintage Books/Random House, India), Cyrus Mistry (Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer: Aleph Book Company, India), Jeet Thayil (Narcopolis: Faber & Faber, London), Shehan Karunatilaka (Chinaman: Random House, India) and HM Naqvi (Home Boy: Harper Collins, India). Each of these winners has gone on to be published internationally and their work has reached a larger global audience which has been one of the central visions of the DSC Prize.

Read this year’s winner or one of the previous and find out for yourselves how great this literature is.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Books with meaning

Now I know all books have meaning, to any author or illustrator associated with them, to their editors and publishers but perhaps most of all to their readers ... and so with this in mind I have two very special books to recommend.

Both books are from Nosy Crow, a small, independent and very high quality publishers whose books each year are few but amazing.

The first book, a Christmas title with a supremely important message is linked to the ongoing refugee crisis and as such is Nosy Crow's way of doing something to help by raising money and also helping parents to address the difficult questions children may raise when they see the news coverage.

The book is incredibly moving, so beautifully written it will take your breath away and its text is so well matched to its illustrations that although the story may seem familiar it is also at once new and different.  No money will go to Nosy Crow if you buy this book, all those involved in its sale and distribution have waived their fees, and only the printing costs need to be covered which means £5 from each and every copy sold will go directly to War Child 

This is an important book not only this Christmas but throughout the year too, those who have children in the family or who work with children will find it moving and invaluable and I encourage you all to find a copy.

So what is its story? It is the Christmas story focusing on the fleeing of Jesus and his parents from the soldiers of Herod, into sanctuary in Egypt.  Told from the perspective of the donkey who carries them on their journey this is a clever, thoughtful, lyrical and beautiful book.

Another, completely different book from Nosy Crow yet still a very special one, is The Many Worlds of Albie Bright by Christopher Edge.   Published on 14th January this is a short insight for you into what promises to be an early hit in 2016.  I ma quite certain that this book will find its way into the hearts of children and adults alike with its honest and curious Albie searching for meaning after loosing his mother to her battle against cancer.  Whilst the book is amusing, easy to read and fun it is also serious at its heart and helps us all, adults and children alike, to understand how we can cope when we lose a loved one and also how the universe and quantum physics may have a bigger role to play than we could ever imagine!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

A Christmas Round-Up

What a wonderful selection of Christmas books have been made available this year for readers of all ages and whilst for the younger members of our audience many of these have a Christmas theme some are just very good books that Christmas allows the leisure of time to read!

It is with enormous thanks to Macmillan books that I present you with the first part of my selection, a wonderful parcel of goodies that arrived in my office just this week , part two is a pair of books from Hot Key Books and Picacdilly Press' Christmas highlights, then if you head over to Armadillo Magazine you will see a great selection from a variety of publishers to read this Christmas (these are featured as a round-up in the Also Out section but don't forget all the other great books that we feature too!)

Now back to my current selection, sitting next to me on the desk and begging for readers just like you are ...

The Macmillan Alice, Advice for Modern Women: What Would Alice Do? with a foreword by Lauren Laverne.  In this wonderful pocket-sized book are selected quotes from Alice on the themes of Inspiration, what to do when having a bad day or a tough day at work - keep your sense of humour and remember that each day will come to a natural end!.  And so it goes on with plenty of wit and humour these selected quotes will help you get through the day and maybe even encourage you to read Alice all over again, a real treat and beautifully illustrated too.

If getting through the day means having a good colouring in or doodle session then Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: A Colouring Book could be just what you need and in fact is featured in the Winter edition of Armadillo.  Or why try something from our current Children's Laureate, Chris Riddell's Doodle a Day should keep many a doodler happy for an entire year ... packed with Chris' own illustrations and plenty of tips and hints this book could create some master doodlers in a year's time!

Three stories in one slim book make up the very special The Christmas Star: A Festive Story Collection from Eva Ibbotson.  Read and discover how a young Viennese girl discovers the magical meaning behind the family celebrations or how the words of a fortune teller can change the life of a family and finally a heroic fish who, destined for the Christmas dinner plate wins over his would-be eaters!

For comedy at Christmas try William at Christmas by Richmal Compton or for comedy of a non-christmasy but still very funny type why not pick up Mooneboy: The Fish Detective by Chris O'Dowd and Nick V. Murphy, the hardback has a great front cover cut out feature and the story - well it is just a laugh a page!

A Thousand Nights by E. K, Johnston is a classic re-imagining of the famous 1,001 Arabian Nights story and has been reviewd in Armadillo so I won't go into detail again here suffice to say it is an arresting, clever and unusual read.
Another title already mentioned in our main magazine is Julia Donaldson's What the Ladybird Heard Next with its glorious glittery cover this is a must read for fans of the little ladybird and the wonderful creative imagination of Julia Donaldson and her illustrator Lydia Monks.

From Hot Key and Macmillan not only two charming books but they were in a delightful red envelope complete with snowflakes and a mini candy cane, quite charming.  snowball: The Baby Bigfoot is a delightful addition to The Secret Animal Society series by Ruth Symes and illustrated by Tina Marchington.  The story is perfect for younger readers with its mix of fantasy and reality, the delightful characterisation and the warm appealing story.  Lily and the Christmas Wish by Keris Stainton is a magical Christmas story abut how wishes really can come true, in the most unexpected of ways.  This magical story of mix-ups is a delightful read, perfect for sharing at Christmas and ideal for helping to realise that there are many ways in which wishes can come true - not always for the best ...

To conclude this blog two very Christmasy titles, from Macmillan imprint Campbell books Busy Santa a board book introducing the youngest of readers to the busy time that Santa has every Christmas with plenty of options to 'push, pull and slide' keeping little fingers busy... then The Best Christmas Present Ever by Ben Mantle with its glorious glittery snowy cover and wonderful story of love and friendship at Christmas what could be a better way to round off this Blog?

As always your comments welcomed...