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Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8+. How do you see off the school bully? Sick of being picked on and called ‘chicken’ the narrator of this story thinks up a dare to show up Darren Bishop, the school bully. A farm boy himself he is quite at home with the big bully Olly and he dares Darren to come up close too. When Darren Bishop flees from the field his bullying days are over but there’s a twist in the tale…Is anyone really safe from the bully? A gripping story with a surprising ending. ~ Julia Eccleshare Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 7+
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
Katherine Rundell, author of Rooftoppers, Wolf Wilder and The Explorer, fills her first picturebook with the wit, verve and touches of whimsy that distinguish her novels, as well as with a series of typically striking images. Theo is spending a lonely Christmas Eve at home while his parents work late, when four battered old decorations he’s just discovered and added to the tree, suddenly come to life. The robin, tin soldier, angel and rocking horse are a demanding bunch, particularly the horse which eats anything and everything. Following their orders, Theo takes them outside and helps each find what they need, before they in turn transform his Christmas. Emily Sutton’s illustrations are perfect for the story, matching both its sense of tradition and anything’s-possible-magic and adventure. A story that is just right for Christmas but worth reading any day of the year. ~ Andrea Reece
Following up the excellent A Year Full of Stories, Angela McAllister has travelled the world again to collect together wonderful folktales, this time with an animal theme. There are tales of tigers, pandas and jackals, of buffalos, bears and coyotes, as well as cheetahs, warthogs and ostriches, all of them told in the direct, robust prose of the best storytellers. Great for reading on your own and just the right length for bedtime, each story will capture the reader’s or listener’s imagination, and quite often leave them with something to think about too. Aitch’s watercolour illustrations highlight the stories’ individuality, but give them a universal feel too and it’s as lovely to look at as it is to read. ~ Andrea Reece
Tonke Dragt’s The Letter for the King has been acknowledged as a classic of Dutch literature since its publication over fifty years ago, but it took until 2013 for it to find a British publisher. Pushkin Press took it on and published it to huge acclaim, the story of young squire Tiuri’s trials as he sets about carrying out the final wishes of a dying man captured the hearts of readers in the UK. Now comes the sequel, and some may think it even more thrilling than the original. Tiuri, now a knight, has another mission: he will go into the Wild Wood to search for one of the King’s knights who has gone missing. There are lots of rumours about the Wild Wood, about robbers, woodland spirits, Men in Green, but Tiuri’s adventures will be stranger still. Not many books are genuinely spellbinding, this one is. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from Adam Freudenheim, Publisher of Pushkin Children’s Books I was thrilled and proud by the amazing response we had to the first book we published by Tonke Dragt, The Letter for the King. We have since had countless children and teachers writing to us, asking when the next book is coming out. Well – here it is at last. And what a book it is! I really believe The Secrets of the Wild Wood is even better than The Letter for the King. Tiuri is older, and the plot is darker, more complex – and even more gripping. But it still retains that grand atmosphere of mystery and suspense that drew so many children (and their parents) to the world of knights and squires, and to the dark secrets of the Wild Woods…
Deep in the woods, in a crooked house full of stairs, a young boy is kept prisoner by his uncle. He cannot meet other children, or have any friends. He holds the key to a secret. Meanwhile, in a quiet village, Frans the schoolteacher invents incredible stories of perilous deeds, shipwrecks, desert islands, and haunted castles to entertain his pupils, in which he is the hero. Then one stormy evening, a mysterious letter blows onto his doormat, summoning him to a meeting. Suddenly, Frans is on a real-life mission, one in which he will encounter magicians, secret passages, conspiracies, hidden treasure, a black cat with green eyes and a sealed parchment which predicts the future. He will learn the secret of the Seven Ways. He will find seven allies. And he will make a fearsome enemy. The adventure has begun...
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016. Shortlisted for the 2015 Guardian Children's Book prize. Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2014 | Witty, tender and full of insights into life love and politics, this is a brilliant book in its own right as well as a worthy tribute to E. Nesbit’s classic Five Children and It. The year is 1914. Anthea, Robert, Jane and Cyril, who has just enlisted, are now grown up, the Lamb is a schoolboy and even Edie, an addition to the family since the original, is old enough to meet the extraordinary and magical Psammead when he re-enters their life. All the children are longing for some new adventures but has the Psammead still got his magical powers? As befits the serious times, the Psammead plays an invaluable role in helping the family understand the First World War while also sorting out problems from his own past. Action-packed, funny and thoughtful this is a book to fall in love with.
First published in 1873, and actually set in 1872, Jules Verne’s classic adventure still feels fresh and exciting and has lost none of its power to entertain and enthral. The story of Phileas Fogg and his valet Passepartout and their eastwards race around the globe and against the clock is full of incident, not to mention the romance of travel and the thrill of mankind’s efforts to conquer the world. With frequent full page colour illustrations, including a rather beautiful but useful map, this is a particularly handsome edition and the novel itself is made for serial – or bedtime – reading. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: brave rabbits continue their fight against a terrifying enemy The story of rabbit hero Podkin One-Ear continues in this exciting new adventure. The first book in The Five Realms series won the Blue Peter Book Award and readers will be pleased to hear that the second matches it for excitement, thrills and humour too. Early on in the proceedings, Podkin discovers another lost object, this time the Moonfyre brooch, which brings him extra special abilities. He’ll need them as he and his comrades battle on against the terrifying army of the Gorm. As told by the Bard (who readers now know to be Podkin’s little brother), the story grips from the first page, filled with action, detail and a good pinch of magic. Epic stuff, and proof that it’s the size of your heart that matters most, not how big you are. Illustrations by David Wyatt add to the excitement. ~ Andrea Reece
Kipling’s Jungle Book stories and poems remain some of the best-loved children’s literature, his stories of Mowgli, Bagheera, Baloo and Shere-Khan, and of Rikki-tikki and Toomai, retaining all their power to fascinate and intrigue young readers. Complete and unabridged, this version features lively colour illustrations throughout, certain to appeal to its audience. It also includes a short biography of Rudyard Kipling himself, just enough to introduce the man to modern children. ~ Andrea Reece
A high-speed chase through the backstreets of Lagos and an unexpected bomb explosion in the jungle - it's all in a day's work for soldier Sean Harker. This is the second book from Andy McNab drawing on his own experience as a troubled teenager who found purpose when he joined the army. Particularly known for his non-fiction, he is also a talented writer of thrillers and this series for the teen market will not disappoint.
In a nutshell: upstairs downstairs mystery with added magic Pattern, lady’s maid and the central character in this excellent new series, is a heroine in the Jane Eyre mould: quiet, invisible to the outside world, but brave, fierce, clever. She needs all those qualities too to protect her mistress, the young Duchess of Elffinberg; the duchess is threatened not just by a dragon outside the castle, but by some of those on the inside, who she should really be able to trust. The two girls become friends, and the stage is set for a terrific story of courage, friendship, courtly intrigue and magic. Detective series starring young women are very much in fashion and this will appeal to fans of Robin Stevens’s Murder Most Unladylike books, but readers should also look out Stephanie Burgis’s The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart, another spritely and inventive story of magic and intrigue. ~ Andrea Reece
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