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In a nutshell: Mr Toad roars back for 21st century adventure | Tom Moorhouse ingeniously breathes new life into Toad of Toad Hall in this engaging chapter book. In an inspired bit of plotting, the young heroes of his book Teejay, Ratty and Mo, descendants of the original Wind in the Willows characters, discover poor Toad frozen in the icehouse beneath Toad Hall, left there years ago by the Weasels who have their beady eyes on his property. Before you can say ‘Poop Poop’ Mr Toad has thawed out and in typically enthusiastic manner is embracing our brave new world and its shiny gadgets. The style is very different to Kenneth Grahame’s but Moorhouse captures the absolute essence of Mr Toad, who is the same impetuous, childish character, alternately egotistical and generous, foolish and brave. The story rattles along with regular nods to the original, and Holly Swain’s illustrations add to the adventure, humour and general warmth. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: two kids on a death-defying treasure hunt through Egypt’s ancient monuments. Adventure stories don’t come more action-packed than the exploits of Jake Atlas. As the book opens, the Atlas family are about to fly off to Egypt on a working holiday (Mum and Dad are Egyptologists) and the family tension is so strong you can almost hear it twang; tension of a different kind quickly racks up when Jake’s parents are kidnapped. To save them he and his twin sister Pandora team up with a couple of unscrupulous if well-equipped tomb robbers. After years of academic failure Jake can finally use his true talents, dodging explosions, outthinking the bad guys, even wrestling a giant snake. It’s great fun, the Egyptian settings giving it an extra edge and the developing relationship between Jake and Pan (and latterly their parents who’ve been keeping secrets of their own) gives it a cool credibility too. This is definitely one to recommend to fans of the Alex Rider books, and readers would also enjoy Defender of the Realm by Nick Ostler and Mark Huckerby. ~ Andrea Reece
Gert-Jan is being kept prisoner and although the hidden treasure rightfully belongs to him, his uncle is determined to seize it for himself. As Mr Van der Steg, with the help of his pupils, sets out to rescue the boy, he becomes more and more entangled with the strange history of the Seven Ways, the House of Stairs and the powerful Conspiracy of Seven.
Roald Dahl's Matilda in glorious full colour! Matilda - Roald Dahl's best-loved story - though now over 25 years old, is as fresh, funny and poignant as when it was first published in 1988. The story of a child genius, it has been adapted into film and, most recently, a hugely successful, award-winning musical with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. ** note the extract is taken from Matilda with black & white illustrations.
Mabel Lucie Attwell was one of the best-loved children’s illustrators of the last century and her warm, gentle illustrations for Alice in Wonderland will have the same effect on readers today as when they were first published in 1911. Alice is a pretty little girl with untidy red hair and inquisitive look. Colour plates and line drawings are both full of life and expression, and there’s none of the sentimentality that characterises Attwell’s work for younger children. This is a very handsome edition and will make a lovely Christmas gift. ~ Andrea ReeceBoth this edition of Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan and Wendy are introduced by Webster Wickham, great-grandson of Mabel Lucie Attwell.
Mabel Lucie Attwell was one of the best-loved children’s illustrators of the last century and J. M. Barrie himself requested that she illustrate Peter Pan. For many adults her versions of Peter, Wendy, Tinkerbell and the Lost Boys will be the most familiar, remembered from their own childhoods, and her illustrations catch both the cosy safety of the nursery, and the dreamy magic of Neverland. Colour plates and line drawings are both full of life and expression and she gives Peter and Wendy a clear childlike innocence . This handsome edition will make a lovely Christmas gift. ~ Andrea Reece Both this edition of Peter Pan and Wendy and Alice in Wonderland are introduced by Webster Wickham, great-grandson of Mabel Lucie Attwell.
The most loveable of Bears returns with brand-new stories from some of the most beloved children's authors writing today: Paul Bright, Brian Sibley, Kate Saunders and Jeanne Willis - each will transport you back into the Hundred Acre Wood for more adventures with Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore and the rest of the gang. This selection of short stories are perfect bedtime reading for ages six and up. With decorations by Mark Burgess, in the style of the cherished illustrations by E.H. Shepard. This book will delight fans old and new.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | In a nutshell: nonstop surprises in the Big City | This is the fourth adventure for Ottoline and her best friend Mr Munroe, and it is every bit as enchanting, witty and surprising as the first. The emphasis is on friendship in this story: with her parents still roving the world for interesting items to add to their ever-growing collection of objects, Ottoline holds a dinner party. Guests include the dashing Purple Fox, a new friend, who has introduced Ottoline to some of the city’s most exciting inhabitants and hidden secrets. She’s able to repay him by drawing his attention to something lovely that he’s failed to see. Chris Riddell’s illustrations are as dazzling as ever; it’s worth lingering over every page to revel in the fluency of his line and to look out for the myriad little details. Ottoline is a delight for readers of all ages. ~ Andrea Reece
Selma Lagerlöf’s story of Nils, the mischievous young boy shrunk to the size of a thumb when he gets on the wrong side of an elf, is a classic in Sweden and this much shortened version of his epic adventures will excite many young readers in this country. Nils and his animal friends are wonderful characters, no young reader will be able to resist Akka from Kebnekaise, the wild geese leader. Not only does the book contain 22 different episodes, perfect bedtime reading, but each is accompanied by striking, atmospheric illustrations and exquisite die-cut pages. There’s even a map at the very back so that readers can follow Nils’s journey around Sweden. An unusual and unusually beautiful book. ~ Andrea Reece ***For many years a picture of Nils Holgersson on the back of a goose in flight appeared on the reverse side of the Swedish 20 krona banknote (only recently was he replaced by Pippi Longstocking!)
September 2016 Debut of the Month | In a nutshell: discover a secret fairy world under Hyde Park | London’s parks are the starting point for this lively story of adventure and enchantment. Rowan’s mother disappeared suddenly seven years ago and life has been difficult ever since. Giving in to tears under a great beech in Hyde Park, one of her mother’s favourite places, Rowan is magically transformed into a fairy. As in Peter Pan, the fairy world is both inviting and unnerving, and when it emerges that she has particular powers it becomes a place of real danger for Rowan despite the friends she makes. A quest, a story of transformation and lost things found, this is an appealing mix of excitement, humour and magic. ~ Andrea Reece One to recommend to fans of classic stories of magic such as The Box of Delights or Moondial.
Winner of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2016. A deluxe edition of the thrillingly reimagined fairy tale by the magical partnership of award-bedecked, bestselling Neil Gaiman and Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell. | Award-winning Neil Gaiman shows all his story telling skills in this gripping fusion of familiar fairy tales told in a dark-hearted version with some original characters. Especially a bold-hearted queen. Not far from where the queen lives, a princess is under the spell of an enchantress who has put a whole country to sleep. Despite it being the eve of her wedding day, the bold queen decides to take action. Slipping into her mail shirt she arms herself with her sword and sets off out of the palace accompanied by the three dwarves who will lead her through the tunnels…The dark magic, great courage and spell-binding imagination that power this story is perfectly realised in Chris Riddell’s awesome illustrations.