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Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2018 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award March 2017 Debut of the Month In a sparely written but richly imaginative story, Chloe Daykin sensitively explores what it feels like to see the world just a bit differently. Billy loves the sea and uses swimming as a way of escaping the difficulties of his unwell mother. But his love of the sea also makes him the butt of his class mates’ jokes as it marks him out as different. Billy increasingly creates an alternative world for himself inspired in part by the lessons about animals that he has learnt from David Attenborough’s programmes. But when a new boy arrives in the class Billy finds someone who understands him. Fish Boy is a debut novel to savour. ~ Julia Eccleshare The Branford Boase Judges said : 'the friendship between two outsiders is very touching indeed’; ‘a unique internal voice beautifully described’; ‘interesting and surprising'.
In a nutshell: stoat-ally wonderful story; friendship, fun, upsets Young readers will love Ermine, star of this new series by Atticus Claw author Jennifer Gray. Ermine is a stoat which, in fictional terms, gives her carte blanche to behave as both adult and child: she’s independent enough to travel around solo but, like a child, ignorant of how the adult world works. As guest of Michael S Megabucks and his young son, Ermine is looking forward to exploring New York but a mix up at the airport means that she accidentally leaves with a priceless stolen diamond. Crooks Harry and Barry Spudd are no match for Ermine and the lively, fast-moving adventure that follows is full of slapstick humour, while giving readers a real sense of New York too. At the end Ermine is packing her bags for Sydney and it will be well worth tagging along for more fun and adventure. Highly illustrated by Elisa Paganelli this is great for newly independent readers, who will also enjoy the equally cosmopolitan Violet stories by Harriet Whitehorn and Alex T. Smith’s new series Mr Penguin. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: magic, friendship, adventure Like a crisp layer of new snow in sunshine, Alex Bell’s novel sparkles with excitement and adventure. In the tradition of fairytale heroes Stella is an orphan, brought up by the explorer who discovered her abandoned as a baby. Though she looks like a snow queen with her white hair and blue eyes, Felix and his relaxed, happy upbringing have given her a warm heart, something that turns out to be very important. Stella longs to be an explorer too and, against the strict rules of the Explorers Club, Felix takes her on a trip to the Icelands; but it’s when she and three other children are separated from the grown-ups that the adventure really begins. Can Stella, Shay, Beanie and awful Ethan make discoveries, and make it home? The setting is magical, the cast of characters hugely appealing and the chain of adventures that befall them thrilling. This well-written, charming and imaginative adventure story is highly recommended. Andrea Reece
November 2017 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2017 Beautifully illustrated, this is a lyrical picture book celebrating the power of the imagination. When Eliza finds a stone the exact shape of an egg on the beach she takes it home and cherishes it. She dismisses her mother’s view that it is far too heavy to be an egg and cares for it just as if it is one. As the seasons turn, the egg changes. It becomes increasingly bird like and a little egg turns up beside it. Eliza’s care for her stones and her imagination about their potential makes them come alive for her and for readers who, like her, enjoy breathing life into inanimate objects. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for November 2017 Christmas Dinner of Souls by Ross Montgomery Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers Katinka's Tail by Judith Kerr Lucky Button by Michael Morpurgo Pick A Pine Tree by Patricia Toht The Stone Bird by Jenny McCartney The Lion and the Unicorn and Other Hairy Tales by Jane Ray The Song from Somewhere Else by A. F. Harrold
It isn't often that a non-fiction picture book has been so admired here in the Lovereading office. The stunning, stylish lino-cut prints capture the beauty and the drama of a whole host ofwinged creatures but in the writing the reader will discover the background to these incredible birds - from the andean flamingo and the bald eagle to the toco toucan and the wandering albatross - did you know the latter spends the first 5-10 years of its life at sea soaring over the waves with barely a flap of its wings? This really is a book like no other, to share amongst the family and for grown-ups as a lavish coffee table book to be admired. Magnificent...
In a nutshell: Scottish island set animal story with a hint of myth and magic Kerr Thomson follows up his well-received debut The Sound of Whales with a new story set on the same remote Scottish island. It’s home to Innis who loves its wild emptiness and particularly ‘the Barrens’, home to thousands of birds. The story weaves a 21st century threat to the island’s tranquillity – planning permission for a massive wind farm – with much older myths: could there be wolves again on Nin, or could a centuries old legend offer a chance of a different future? It makes for thrilling reading, island life vividly described as is Innis’s friendship with his neighbour Kat and rivalry with new arrival Lachlan. ~ Andrea Reece This is a story to recommend to fans of Gill Lewis’s novels particularly Sky Dancer.
Paddington’s new adventures on the big screen have reminded everyone of just why the little bear from Darkest Peru is such a favourite in his adopted homeland. Paddington is generous, warm-hearted, an innocent who brings out the best in those around him (even hardened criminals in this new story), but inadvertently causes chaos on a regular basis. That’s certainly the case in this new story and film. The plot hinges on a beautiful pop-up book of London: Paddington wants it for Great Aunt Lucy, but someone a lot less nice is after it too. Anna Wilson’s lively story version captures all the fun and excitement of the film, and all that we love about Paddington too. Andrea Reece
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | November 2017 Book of the Month In a nutshell: gripping, sometimes heart-breaking story of a dog and his boy Guardian award-winner Andy Mulligan brings his own sensibility to a much-loved model - boy and dog form special relationship - adding a particular humour, seriousness and depth. It’s love at first sight for Tom and Spider, but a series of accidents results in Spider running away from home. The animals he meets are almost universally cruel, their animal natures leading them to torment Spider and other animals too; a vixen offers to help him home but loses her life in the process. Things get bleaker still, until Spider finally fights his way back to Tom. A thrilling climax allows the two of them, both bullied, to emerge as heroes. Original, thought-provoking and with a dark humour, this is an ultimately uplifting read, and very memorable. Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: gentle, heart-warming story of a little girl and her puffin Christmas is coming but Polly can’t seem to get in the right mood: Neil her puffin friend is preoccupied with his girlfriend who is hatching their egg, and when she and her mum make a special trip from their island home to Edinburgh to see Father Christmas, Polly takes the wrong list with her and then loses her puffin toy. Jenny Colgan understands all the ups and downs of being a child, and how frustrating it is when nothing is really in your control, and describes it very well here. Fortunately, reading the Christmas story with her mother cheers Polly up and then on Christmas day, the puffling hatches. With its short text, lively adventure and charming illustrations this is particularly good for newly confident readers, but lovely for sharing too. ~ Andrea Reece
The Twelve Days of Christmas is an important element of the Christmas celebrations and Anna Wright’s version is beautiful, original and witty. From the gorgeous partridge gazing out at us on the first page, bird and pears on the tree both embellished with gold brocade, to the twelve woodpeckers drumming on the trees in a snowy wood, animals feature for every one of the lines. Perhaps my favourite is the fifth day, when five handsome frogs twirl gold rings, or the eighth day, illustrated by a sow feeding her eight piglets. Young children will enjoy talking about the animals but this is full of appeal for older children and adults too. ~ Andrea Reece
Hear the best-selling book The Bear and the Piano come to life with this special gift-edition sound book. A young bear cub finds a piano in the forest and after a first hesitant ‘PLONK’, he returns to it every day for years until he has grown strong, and the sounds that he makes on the piano are melodic and beautiful. The other bears love listening to him but one day a girl and her father overhear his concert and persuade him to go with them to the city and play in front of thousands. Swapping the tranquillity of the forest for the bright lights of Broadway brings the bear fame, but he misses his friends and decides to return to play again for the most important audience of all. It’s a beautiful story, and illustrates perfectly the effect of music on performer and audience. Litchfield’s illustrations are very special indeed: he plays beautifully with light and shade, in both the forest and concert hall scenes, to create atmosphere and to illuminate his hero and his message. ~ Andrea Reece
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