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Find the latest books for fans of fantasy stories and magical tales! We have extracts to download for most of our books plus expert reviews.
Translated by the award winning Laura Watkinson | Available for the first time in the UK, this new translation is a real treat for fans of the breakout sensation Letters For the King, which brought the multimillion bestselling Dutch author Tonke Dragt to the attention of a UK audience for the first time and which then went on to win Children’s Book of the Year. Since then translator Laura Watkinson has continued her mission to bring us more of the award-winning author’s books. Written as twelve tales, the story of identical twins Laurenzo and Joacomo is perfectly suited to reading and sharing over the twelve days of Christmas! Each tale is a complete and satisfying adventure set in the wonderful fictional medieval world created so vividly in the Dragt books. The boys may be so identical that they can take turns to go to school, but they have very different talents and temperaments. Hard-working Laurenzo wants to make beautiful things and becomes a goldsmith; Jiacomo loves travel and adventure and in one tale is tempted to use his wiles to become an excellent thief. Although he gives up the immoral life, his skills come in very useful as from a case of mistaken identity involving the Knight of the Red Rose to the pursuit of the precious silver cups of Talamura, the brothers find themselves caught up in wild adventures that require all of their combined wisdom and cunning. A highly satisfying and totally absorbing read with prose that would be a joy to read aloud in class too.
December 2020 Audio Book of the Month | Like its hero, the story Peter Pan will never grow old and retains all its power to enchant, tempt and enthral readers; how wonderful that this new audiobook version should be available for Christmas, as it is magical family listening. A host of stars take turns to narrate but it’s a particular passion project for Joanna Lumley, who is directly involved in the recent transformation of author J.M. Barrie’s childhood home, Moat Brae, into a new national centre for children’s literature and storytelling. She reads the opening chapters and therefore sets the tone beautifully for the story that follows. Young listeners will be captivated by the joyful sense of freedom and rebellion, while adults will hear the strains of melancholy and loss of innocence beneath. A story to resonate with everyone, whatever their age, and especially when it is told as well as it is here. Listen to an extract, the opening chapter from Peter Pan, read by Joanna Lumley.
November 2020 Book of the Month | Book 7 Chronicles of Ancient Darkness This seventh book in Michelle Paver’s awe-inspiring Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series that began with Wolf Brother is a triumph of storytelling that myth-loving readers will wolf down (pun entirely intended). The sense of adventure and human spirit is exhilarating, and Paver’s passion for nature, for wildlife, for the world’s wondrous wilds is an immersive joy. Torak and Renn have been in the Forest with their Wolf Brother for two summers when Renn leaves him without word. Though realising that “she would have had to deceive Torak for days into order to prepare for her journey”, accomplished tracker Torak does what he must, and what he does best: he and Wolf embark on a quest to the Edge of the World beyond the Far North to find their friend. Alongside dealing with the ominous threat of ice bears and the “beyond good and evil” Sea Mother, Torak is desperate to discover what drove Renn to this place. The sense of demonic danger is powerfully palpable, the writing rich, yet exquisitely sparse and smoothly readable, and the entirety of this enthralling adventure is laced with an uplifting sense of camaraderie, love and legend.
Taken from an original story by E.A Wyke-Smith, published in 1927 and acknowledged by Tolkein as an inspiration for The Hobbit, which has been brought back to life, with the agreement of the author’s family, by a writer who has already demonstrated her storytelling skill with her previous books - The Extincts and The Halloweeds. The glorious cover and internal line drawings by Melissa Castrillón are just perfect for this perfectly whimsical and imaginative tale. We have two feisty characters, Pip and Flora, who run away from the Sunny Bay Home for Superfluous and Accidentally Parentless Children, ostensibly in pursuit of their newly acquired puppy, but really in search of adventure- which they find in bucketloads as they dive through a gap in a yew tree into another world! A world where they meet the eponymous Snergs - the creatures who are so hobbitlike in their physique and their obsession for communal feasting. They did not realise they already knew a Snerg - the delightfully comic and more than slightly gormless Gorbo who had just been sacked from Sunny Bay. He becomes their guide to the world, as they come up against the Snerg’s arch enemies, the Kelps, and witches, ogres, cinnamon bears and all sorts of monstrous vegetation. Told with great verve and wit, this would make an excellent read-aloud. The adventure is fast paced and with just the right amount of peril and mystery and a very satisfying resolution. The characters grow and develop and the hapless Gorbo actually saves the day and brings harmony to both the worlds. This could make a fascinating book to read alongside The Hobbit and is a real delight in its own right.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2020 | Ted Hughes’s strange, compelling, fairy-tale adventure feels more relevant today than it ever has. This new edition is illustrated by Chris Mould and his Iron Man is spectacular – huge, awe-inspiring, but also vulnerable and expressive. Mould captures all the humour of Hughes’s story as well as the mystery, and he is equal to the big themes the story presents, creating unforgettable images for this unforgettable fable. This is a book that will appeal to readers of all ages, and every child should know this story.
(Contains: potions, princesses, peril, a magical quest and a serious crush) When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn. Enter Samantha Kemi - an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam's family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they've fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the Zoro Aster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and enemy, in the meantime? And just to add to the pressure, this quest is ALL OVER social media. And the world news. No big deal, then.
The spellbinding sequel to Tom Fletcher's bestselling magical adventure, The Christmasaurus. 'She is the best-kept Christmas secret of all,' whispered Santa Claus. 'Which is surprising, because Christmas itself would not exist without her. She is older than time itself, yet still as young as tomorrow. She is known only as the Winter Witch.' One year has passed since William Trundle's incredible adventure with the most extraordinary dinosaur: the Christmasaurus. Now, William is swept back to the magical North Pole, where he meets the mysterious, icy Winter Witch - whose power to control time allows Santa Claus to make the long journey all around the world every Christmas Eve. And when they learn that the fate of Christmas itself hangs in the balance, William and the Christmasaurus must work with the Winter Witch to protect it... Full of magic and music, humour and heart, and a friendship like no other, The Christmasaurus and the Winter Witch is the most enchanting Christmas read for the whole family.
November 2020 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2020 | Everything that is wonderful about Christmas (and some things that aren’t!) is thrillingly spun about in this deliciously magical and madcap adventure. Homeless Blanche has never had any real Christmas but when the mysterious Rinki gives her a magical bauble and some mince pies on Christmas Day everything changes. Rinki and Blanche are firm friends forever and together they are about to rewrite the Santa story. Santa Claus, elf magic, delicious Christmas food and drink, and a wonderful sleigh ride are all thrown into the mix as a very merry Christmas for all – except the sinister Mr Krampus – follows. You can find more wintry & festive stories in our Best Books for Kids this Christmas collection.
Three children, and a tiger, must make their way alone across India while the chaos and violence of the 1857 Rebellion rages around them. The three are very different: Bea is the orphaned child of English parents, desperately searching for her baby brother; Jacques is French, formerly part of a circus double act, and accompanied by another circus performer, tiger Tonton; and Pingali, third orphan, formerly a servant to the Governor of Agra, now out on his own. They meet all kinds of dangers but see them through in the spirit of Jacques’ favourites, the three Musketeers, ‘all for one, and one for all’. The three – four if you include Tonton – are great characters and their adventures are always credible, no matter the scale of the dangers they face. Robin Scott-Elliot does a great job of depicting the landscape of India and the political background to their adventures too. All in all, this is up there with a trip to the circus for thrills and breath-taking excitements.
November 2020 Book of the Month | Hot on the hilarious heels of The Fowl Twins, this second instalment of Eoin Colfer’s new Artemis Fowl series is a boisterous banquet of entertaining, fantastical adventure. Colfer is a master when it comes to compelling his readers to turn the pages at breakneck speed while making them splutter with laughter. All manner of mayhem (and serious menace) is unleashed when Artemis Fowl’s younger twin brothers Myles and Beckett take the Fowl Jet for an unauthorized spin and end up having to ditch it in the Atlantic. Unsurprisingly, Artemis Senior isn’t best pleased. In fact, as a result of their “missile crisis”, he bans the boys from all “fairy-related antics”, and from “fraternising with known criminals except myself”, and they’re placed under house arrest. But despite being out of sight, they’re certainly not out of mind and Myles is abducted, resulting in Beckett and pixie-elf hybrid Lazuli embarking on a tense trans-continental chase. Meanwhile, it falls to brainier brother Myles to figure out what’s really going on. Fuelled by razor-sharp dialogue and ingenious plotting, this second book in the second-gen Artemis Fowl series is as fresh and funny as the criminal mastermind’s very first adventures. The contrast between the twins makes for a whole lot of laughs, and Lazuli is a dream of a larger-than-life character (notwithstanding her small stature!).
An irresistible new edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone created with ultra-talented designers MinaLima, the design magicians behind the gorgeous visual graphic style of the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films. This is where the adventure begins, as Harry Potter discovers that he is no ordinary boy but a wizard of great reknown, as well as expected at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Moreover, at Hogwarts, he encounters "He Who Must Not Be Named", a master of magic whose ambition is more dark and terrifying than Harry can possibly imagine.
Following the critically acclaimed Stepsister, this is the Carnegie medal winning authors second ‘ feminist’ fairytale and one that could not be more pertinent to our times. The heart is a powerful symbol and princess Sophie has continually been told that she is too weak, too kind-hearted, too emotional to ever be queen. This is the ‘poison’ which has been constantly dripped into her ear sapping her confidence and self-belief. So far, so familiar, but what makes this tale so psychologically engrossing is that we see the effect of ‘poison’ on the wicked stepmother too. The author refuses to believe that an all-powerful queen would really be bothered by the trifling concerns of beauty and the question to the mirror becomes ‘who will bring about my fall?’ Adelaide is herself the victim of patriarchy and a cruel childhood and it is the King of Crows, the embodiment of Fear, that speaks to her from the mirror and manipulates the attacks on Sophie. With the familiar elements of the fairy tale fleshed out and the alternative 17th century Germanic setting vividly peopled by creatures both whimsical and deadly and with marvellous new characters like Will the archer and Arno the grave robber to educate Sophie about social justice and to support her quest to become the true queen to protect her people, this is a hugely engrossing and beautifully written tale. Its message that kindness and love have the power to defeat cruelty and pain empowers all girls to value their own strength and to let no one’s poisonous words destroy them. Highly recommended.