Una Leavy: Magical Celtic Tales
Published by O'Brien 10th October 2016
Storytelling has always been at the heart of Celtic societies. From firesides
to books, these tales have been passed from generation to generation. Some are
well known, such as the Irish legend of Diarmaid and Gráinne, while
those less frequently told, including The Magic Pail from Cornwall,
deserve their place in this unique collection. Tales from all celtic lands,
including Brittany, The Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales, meet here.
Skillfully retold by author and poet Una Leavy and brought to life by
Fergal O’Connor’s lively illustrations. Read of giants and dragons, of
fairies and princesses: all beautifully illustrated and told for a new
generation of children.
Superb Brian Froud-type illustrations make this a perfect introduction to Celtic myths and tales in a most handsome volume from O'Brien. Stunning.
Elizabeth Jane Howard: The Amazing Adventures of Freddie Whitemouse
Published by Mantle 7th November 2016
From the much-loved author of the Cazalet Chronicles comes Elizabeth Jane
Howard's first children's book, The Amazing Adventures of Freddie
Whitemouse, following the magical journey of a mouse who wishes to be
anything but himself. The trouble was that Freddie really did not like being a mouse. 'It's just
a phase,' his mother said, but it wasn't . . . Little Freddie Whitemouse, of No.16, Skirting Board West, simply hates being
a mouse. Mice are terribly small, frightened of everything, and aren't allowed
to have any fun at all. Instead, he longs to be a fierce tiger, king of the
jungle floor; or someone's treasured dog, able to run and play all day. So when a sorcerer toad hears Freddie's pleas and offers his assistance,
there is really little else Freddie could ask for. So as not to make any rash decisions, Freddie agrees to spend a week as each
animal. But what will he discover on his amazing adventure? And will he ever
want to be just a plain old mouse again?
Delightful fantasy tips a nod to Beatrix Potter, who really started it all... the stories are charming and magical.
You are here: Books Monthly »
The Children's Books Page »
Classic Nursery Rhymes Illustrated by Dorothy M Wheeler
Published by Bloomsbury 6th October 2016
Featuring gorgeous artwork from Enid Blyton's illustrator Dorothy M. Wheeler
this book of classic nursery rhymes is the perfect gift. Original artwork from
1916 illustrates nursery favourites including Little Jack Horner, Jack and Jill
and Humpty Dumpty. This stunning hardback is a must-have for Christmas. Dorothy M. Wheeler (1891-1966) was an illustrator who worked primarily in
watercolours and ink. She illustrated books by authors such as Enid Blyton and
Anne MacDonald and the artwork in this book was one of her first published
projects. Chris Riddell is a much loved illustrator and acclaimed
political cartoonist. He won the 2013 Costa Children's Book Prize for Goth Girl
and has won the Nestlé Gold Award and two Kate Greenaway Medals. He is
co-creator of the hugely successful New York Times bestseller The Edge
Last month it was Chris Riddell's own book series, Ottoline, which got my attention - this month he's written the foreword to this exquisitely illustrated book of cleassic nursery rhymes, the illustrator in question being Dorothy M Wheeler. This is a really handsome book, and for Mums and Dads who ;play, there are pioano accompaniments - absolutely brilliant, delightful and beautiful!
Len Vlahos: Life In A Fishbowl
Published by Bloomsbury 12th January 2017
Jackie's life wasn't perfect, but at least it was normal. That is, until her
dad received a terminal cancer diagnosis. Then he went and did what anyone faced
with mountains of medical bills and a family to support would do: he sold his
life to the highest bidder. Which turned out to be a TV station. Suddenly everyone from psychotic millionaires to cyber-savvy nuns wants a
piece of Jackie's family as they become a reality TV sensation. Jackie's life
spirals out of control just as her dad's starts to run out, and meanwhile the
whole world is tuning in to watch her family fall apart . Acidly funny and heartbreakingly sad, Life in a Fishbowl is an
exploration of the value of life and what memories mean to us. Perfect for fans
of Patrick Ness.
A little too serious for my tastes - I prefer adventure stories when I put on my children's reading hat - this is very good but a little like something you might be asked to read during school hours and not something to relax with.
Cat Mantra: Actual Reallity
Published by The Book Guild 28th September 2016
Join Josh Mantra and his ever-faithful digital companion Tate as they travel
throughout time and space battling foes, and saving innocents from impending
disaster. From the old Wild West, to black holes in space a galaxy away, you
won't want to miss a beat! Josh Mantra is a typical 12-year-old kid, living a
typical 12-year-old kid’s life – with school, friends, family and video games.
On his birthday, he receives a very special gift from his dad, something that is
to change his life forever. An Actual Reality crystal, capable of projecting his
life force ANYWHERE, and ANYTIME. But this isn't just for fun. He has been
chosen by the Inter Dimensional Federation (IDF) as the ONLY being capable of
succeeding his dad on life-saving and life-changing missions throughout the
multiverse. He has to go through rigorous testing to make sure he is up to the
job, and not long after that, his first mission begins, battling a reptilian on
a far away world the size and with the appetite of a Tyrannosaurus Rex! A few
missions in, Josh discovers that it's not just about saving people in distress.
There are some bad guys out there… The Inter Dimensional Empire (IDE) has a VERY
different agenda to the federation: Divide and Conquer. The IDE have the same
capabilities as the IDF. They are are two incredibly technologically advanced
organisations, but only one can emerge victorious…
G H Cawser: The Heroes of Elwhen
Published by Matador 28th October 2016
John and Sally-Anne are city born and bred, but enjoy spending their summers
on Uncle Ned's farm. They believe they've already experienced thrills aplenty,
but there is far more in store for them than they could ever have imagined. With
their cousin Gerald, they make one last trip to the top of mysterious Barrow
Hill and from there find themselves drawn into a place of enchantment and wonder
- the mysterious land of Elwhen. After being captured by a witch named
Belldonna, the youngsters become embroiled in a struggle that threatens the very
fabric of their newly discovered world. Their overriding wish is to return home,
but everything is thrown into turmoil when they are coerced into searching for a
magical amulet - the Jewel of the Isle. The situation only worsens for the trio
when they discover that the jewel already lies within the witch's grasp, and is
adorning the neck of a captive she is holding in her dungeon. Acting on a plan
formulated by their wizardly friend, Mr Thurlan, the children agree to undertake
a perilous return journey to the witch's lair, but even the best laid plans go
wrong...Comparable to the Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, The
Heroes of Elwhen is the first in a six book series that explores the world and
characters of Alva. Written in a timeless style, the plots thicken and unfold as
the tale progresses, drawing the reader through several twists and turns. The
Heroes of Elwhen will appeal to children aged between 7 and 11 who enjoy fantasy
tales like The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.
A stunning story by someone who knows how to engage and keep children interested. Reminiscent of children's tales from long ago...
Bryony Supper: The Inventing Tubes
Published by Matador 28th November 2015
'The Pasta Kidz(TM) and Petz Adventures' are humorous, zany, magical and
chaotic stories that bring together the pasta-themed Kidz - including Sarah
Spaghetti, Ricki Ravioli, Camilla Cannelloni (above) and their creative Petz -
Mumbo the Macaroni Dog, Spud the Spaghetti Horse and Val the Vermicelli Snake
(above) together in unusual circumstances, engaging with strange magical objects
that have a life of their own. The songs, music and humour, told in specially
invented pasta language, will engage 4-to-7 year olds in a fantasy world of
friendship. The plots and messages reinforce how the Kidz are unique, with
different personalities and their own needs. Each tale shows how they help each
other, usually with their own individual Petz, and throughout the series we see
how their personalities and friendships develop especially when encountering new
characters, like the evil and huge Pasta Beasties! In The Inventing Tubes, the
first Pasta Kidz(TM) adventure in a series of up to forty books, Sarah and Marc
Macaroni try their hand at inventing fun objects - and get a very grumpy
PastaBall to play football with. But Sarah proves that the sport is not just for
boys and she tries her hand at inventing her own ball! Every highly-branded
Pasta Kidz(TM) and Petz story, illustrated in beautiful, full-colour detail,
contains a moral message and will both inform and entertain young readers.
Angela Fish: Ben And The Spider Lake
Published by The Book Guild 28th October 2016
In the summer holidays Ben, his family, his dog Scoot, and his best friend
Jess, stay in a cottage near the Dark Mountains. Ben and Jess find out that
there's a lake inside the mountain called Spider Lake and the wonder if this is
the lake that Ben's Gran has told him about. Scoot gets into trouble when he
finds a way through a cave onto the path around the lake where Ben and Jess meet
a white owl called Hiboo and a mysterious lady. When Ben arrives home from his
holiday, he finds that the lane at the back of his garden is going to be dug up.
He worries that the spiders living under the lane will not only lose their home
but they could end up getting hurt. Ben tries to find Lox, guardian of the
spider kingdom to warn him. Ben and Jess try desperately to think of somewhere
that the spiders can live, but with only four weeks until the workmen arrive,
can they find somewhere in time?
Barney Saltzberg: Hug This Book! Illustrated by Fred Benaglia
Published by Phaidon 24th October 2016
An energetic, heartfelt, and humorous ode to book love. You can spin and twirl and dance with this book.
You can listen while someone else reads it.
You can take your book to lunch.
Just do not try to feed it.
Expertly whimsical illustrations accompany this rhyming celebration of the printed book, and the attachment many of us all feel to our very favourites. The imaginative humour is balanced by earnest devotion, traits to which the young audience will relate. A sure-to-be favourite, this title will draw giggles and snuggles ... with the book itself!
Of course, you can hug a book - to your chest - though it's not the same as a cuddly toy. I prefer to read books, and would opnly consider hugging one if it was in danger of being taken away from me...
Bill Mevin: Peggy
Published by Matador 28th November 2016
Peggy the flying pony - a descendent of Pegasus - is given to a young girl by
Zeus himself...Susan is a schoolgirl who loves ponies but doesn't have one of
her own because her Father can't afford to buy her one. The day before her
birthday, she goes for a country walk and encounters the Greek god Zeus in the
woodland. He presents her with a winged pony, called Peggy - a descendant of
Pegasus. Her wings can magically be made to disappear and she understands every
word spoken to her. Susan is overjoyed but is aware that she needs to keep
Peggy's wings secret. Zeus gives her a letter to show to her parents that it's a
genuine gift and Susan sets off home with her new friend. Her attempts to hide
Peggy's retractable wings produce slapstick-style comedy and she is helped by
the local farmer's son Mickey, in whom she confides about Zeus' gift.
Unfortunately, her secret is discovered by an eccentric villain who wants Peggy
for himself..."Years ago I provided an illustration of a jockey to Horse and
Hounds, and reading through the printed magazine was inspired by teenagers' love
of ponies. I forgot all about it until I found the issue this year - which led
me to write Peggy!" comments Bill, on the catalyst for his novel being born. He
also takes inspiration from Enid Bagnold's National Velvet.
small print: Books
Monthly, now well into its eighteenth year on the web,
is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul
Norman. You can contact me here.
If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me
remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this
publication. If you want to send me something to review, contact me via
email and I'll let you know where to send it.