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December 2016 Book of the Month Just the right size to slip into a stocking or hang on a tree this little book beautifully conveys the real message of Christmas. Papa Panov has everything he needs in his little shoemakers shop, though he’s often lonely. Dozing by the fire on Christmas Eve he dreams he hears Jesus telling him he’ll visit the next day. Papa Panov waits by the door but doesn’t see Jesus. He does however invite in other passing people, sharing his food and fire with them and giving them gifts. The story has a gentle momentum that young children will appreciate and gently points out the joy of sharing and of helping others. Illustrations by Tony Morris catch the Christmas spirit too and this is perfect Christmas reading. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: Who’s got your back? Fans of Holly Black and Cassandra Clare’s Magisterium series will be itching to get their hands on this the third adventure. They might expect it to provide a lull in the action, after all Callum has proved that Constantine Madden, the Enemy of Death, is himself deceased and he and his friend Aaron are being lauded by the mage world as heroes. No chance! It appears that someone knows Callum’s secret, ie that Constantine’s soul lives on inside him and a taut story of twists, secrets and suspicion follows. There’s enough back story for new readers to pick up on what’s going on but frankly it would be a shame to start here when this series has so much to offer. The fantasy setting is original and well-realised, the stories action-packed and thought-provoking too, particularly on the subject of good and evil; one to recommend therefore to fans of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. ~ Andrea Reece
This is one of the best-loved family stories of all the classics. When Roberta, Peter and Phyillis’s father is arrested their life is turned upside down. The children move to the country and the railway that runs nearby becomes their greatest source of adventure. One day, they come up with a brilliant plan to make use of the friends they’ve made through the train to prove their father’s innocence and bring him back safely. Will it work? A book to treasure and return to again and again and features the complete and unabridged text. If you love a good story, then look no further. ~ Julia Eccleshare
There are fairy tales from all over the world gathered together in this very attractive collection some of which, such as Dick Whittington and Goldilocks and the Three Bears will be very familiar to the audience, while others such as The King’s Pudding, an Indonesian story of the little deer who outwits a tiger, will likely be brand new. Told briskly and cheerfully in short sentences they’re just right for children to read on their own, but also make ideal bedtime reading. There are bright, bold full colour illustrations on every page and a glossary at the back with information on the origin of the stories too. ~ Andrea Reece
Stories, gods, heroes and villains from the world’s great mythologies are all featured in this compact and appealing information book. It is therefore filled with great stories, some familiar, others less so, but it also compares the different myths, examining the recurring themes so that young readers are prompted to think about what myths are for, and why mankind needs them. It’s fascinating stuff and the lively, colourful design and layout make the book very accessible for young readers. This is a book that not only provides huge amounts of information but that will also inspire an ongoing interest in the subject. ~ Andrea Reece
Set in the glamorous seventies, this lively retelling is bursting with colourful period detail as Rapunzel goes from being a tower-block prisoner to a free and groovy girl. Lynn Roberts had added some funky seventies attitude to the traditional tale of the girl with the long hair and alongside David Roberts' fabulous illustrations this really does create a fantastic reimagining of this classic tale. Great to share with young story lovers this is also a humorous nod to the 1970's and each page is filled with fab, fun loving pictures that will be enjoyed both by the young and old. Simply awesome.
The story of Jack, the giant and that beanstalk gets a fresh, lively retelling in this super picture book. Stephen Tucker’s jolly rhyming text is great fun to read aloud and full of new information, did you know for example that the giant originally stole the hen and the harp from Jack’s mum? Nick Sharratt’s illustrations are as comically expressive as ever and he has great fun with the flaps: the giant’s hand extends to (almost) grab Jack, and there’s a marvellous 3D pop-up that plunges the giant head first into Jack’s mum’s compost heap – ‘he’s still stuck there today!’ All this and a CD of the story read by the inimitable Anna Chancellor too. ~ Andrea Reece
This particularly jolly retelling of the story of the three little pigs and the wolf is enlivened by Stephen Tucker’s funny, rhyming text, Nick Sharratt’s typically bright and comic illustrations, and by an inspired used of flaps. As the three little pigs leave home to make room for new brothers and sisters and start building their houses, the wolf is shown in his kitchen: lifting the flaps reveals the cupboards to be completely bare! The collapse of the straw and stick houses is dramatically depicted via more lifting of flaps, while a 3D pop up on the final page drops the wolf neatly into the little pigs’ stew! Great fun and it comes with a CD of the story read by the inimitable Anna Chancellor too. ~ Andrea Reece
Soman Chainani's New York Times bestselling series comes to life in this handbook full of everything students at the School need to learn in order to survive their own fairy tale. With full-colour illustrations the handbook includes character interviews, diary excerpts, brand-new short stories and much, much more.
July 2016 Debut of the Month | In 3: magic – underdogs – proving your worth Young readers who’ve ever felt second best will identify strongly with apprentice witch Arianwyn. After she fails her witch assessment, horribly publicly, she is sent to the little town of Lull to be their not-quite-qualified witch. It’s not long however before she starts to prove her real abilities. Kind and generous, and a much better witch than anyone realises, Arianwyn soon makes friends not just with the townspeople but some of the magical creatures that live nearby too. Even the arrival of the school’s arch bully doesn’t seem so terrible, though it turns out to have dangerous consequences for Arianwyn and everyone in Lull. Full of spells, cheery characters and a real sense of magic this is an exciting story and Arianwyn will win lots of friends. This is recommended for fans of The Worst Witch and Diana Wynne Jones’s Chrestomanci series. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from Barry Cunningham, Publisher ‘We’re all a bit hopeless sometimes, aren’t we? But Arianwyn has worse luck than most! After she flunks her witch’s assessment, she’s declared a lowly apprentice and posted to an out-of-the-way town. Now, Arianwyn must rely on her talent and personality to pull her through. But what if it’s not just about the odd spell going wrong – what happens if there’s a really bad dark magic threat on its way? Arianwyn’s got some great new friends – despite the arrival of an old rival – and there’s this nice boy from the Civil Witchcraft Authority to help. It’s going to be all right … isn’t it? James Nicol, please write another brilliant story – NOW!’
This second collection of stories and poetry featuring Dan and Una and their adventures with the fairy, Puck, is a classic to treasure. Rewards and Fairies was originally published by Macmillan in 1910. The collection includes If, the nation's favourite poem and features original illustrations by Charles E. Brock.
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