On slow book collecting

I’ve been thinking a lot about the art of book collecting. It is an art, I think, for it comes with its own peculiarities, rhythms and language, and one can spend a thousand years studying it and yet still somehow not quite understand the twists of fate and circumstance that bring a book into yourContinue reading “On slow book collecting”

Peggy’s Last Term by Ethel Talbot

Peggy’s Last Term by Ethel Talbot My rating: 5 of 5 stars I recently finished a substantial bit of writing (finished, I say, in that way that Substantial Drafts Are Never Finished Oh God Oh God) and I decided to celebrate by sleeping for three weeks and then reading Peggy’s Last Term by Ethel Talbot.Continue reading “Peggy’s Last Term by Ethel Talbot”

How To Be Brave is out in one month!

Publishing is so strange. Everything seems to take forever – there’s things you can’t talk about to people for aaaaaaages, and then all of a sudden, you’re writing a post telling everybody that your debut children’s book is out in precisely one month (July 1st for the UK; July 6th for the US). Strange, yes,Continue reading “How To Be Brave is out in one month!”

Otherland by Louie Stowell

Otherland by Louie Stowell My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is the story of one very challenging night in the lives of Myra and Rohan. Born within seconds of each other – and dying, too, before the doctors bring them back – they celebrate each other’s birthday/deathday each year together. The only problem isContinue reading “Otherland by Louie Stowell”

You can now pre-order signed editions of How To Be Brave

We are now officially on the countdown to 1st July when my debut How To Be Brave is out and I am very happy to have some news to share with you. If you pre-order through the delightfully lovely Book Nook in Hove, you will get your book signed! personalised! and also support a gorgeousContinue reading “You can now pre-order signed editions of How To Be Brave”

Night of the Red Horse by Patricia Leitch

Night of the Red Horse by Patricia Leitch My rating: 5 of 5 stars There’s a point in the Jinny books where they step up into a whole new gear, and I rather suspect that it’s here. The Night Of The Red Horse picks up the themes that have been within the series and flipsContinue reading “Night of the Red Horse by Patricia Leitch”

Ponds, children’s literature, and Hayao Miyazaki

The stories that we read as children stay with us. Sometimes practically: dishevelled, bruised, cracked-of spine; or sometimes more metaphorically as a memory, or a feeling we can’t describe or even fully realise. This is because literature is a continuum: everything we read talks to everything we’ve ever read before and to everything we’re yetContinue reading “Ponds, children’s literature, and Hayao Miyazaki”

Guantanamo Voices: True Accounts from the World’s Most Infamous Prison, edited by Sarah Mirk

Guantanamo Voices: True Accounts from the World’s Most Infamous Prison by Sarah Mirk My rating: 4 of 5 stars I was trying to explain why Guantanamo Voices worked so potently for me to somebody and I think it centres on the inescapability of the image. If I were to say to you, for example, theContinue reading “Guantanamo Voices: True Accounts from the World’s Most Infamous Prison, edited by Sarah Mirk”

The Lost Café Schindler by Meriel Schindler

I’m increasingly conscious of the narrowness of history. Growing up in Britain in the nineties meant that our history was a very specific thing. You would have been forgiven for thinking that Britain had historically hopped from period to period; romans! tudors! victorians! the! modern! day! everything else in between just sort of happened! (Or,Continue reading “The Lost Café Schindler by Meriel Schindler”

The Life and Time of Lonny Quicke by Kirsty Applebaum

The Life and Time of Lonny Quicke by Kirsty Applebaum My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’ve had a lot of time for Kirsty Applebaum’s previous work, so when Nosy Crow sent me a proof of The Life And Time of Lonny Quicke, I was fascinated to see what she did with it. The premiseContinue reading “The Life and Time of Lonny Quicke by Kirsty Applebaum”

Where Happiness Begins by Eva Eland

Where Happiness Begins by Eva Eland My rating: 4 of 5 stars Oh this is nice. Eland’s carving herself something of a delightful and rather elegant niche here, discussing complex and often challenging emotions with a lightness of touch and a beautifully wistful style. Having previously looked at sadness in When Sadness Is at YourContinue reading “Where Happiness Begins by Eva Eland”

How To Be A Hero by Cat Weldon

There are some stories that tell you what human experience is and what it will be. Myths. Legends. Folklore. I love them. They’re the DNA of the human experience and there’s always something fresh and thrilling to be found in the telling of them, whether it’s Vikings, or Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis (and hisContinue reading “How To Be A Hero by Cat Weldon”

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

I mean, where do you begin with a book like this….? The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë My rating: 5 of 5 stars I think that sometimes there are stories that you do not meet at the right time in your life, that somehow neither you nor it are right for each otherContinue reading “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë”

How to Be Brave has a US cover!

I am so very happy to share with you all the cover for the US edition of How To Be Brave. It’s been designed by Trisha Previte and illustrated by the amazing Flavia Sorrentino and every time I look at it, I see something different. I love it so much. I have been so luckyContinue reading “How to Be Brave has a US cover!”

How To Be Brave is now available to pre-order!

What is life, eh? How To Be Brave is now available for pre-order, adding on Goodreads, reading and reviewing via Netgalley, and generally swooning over. (Let us all guess which one I am doing the most of). Thanks so much to the amazing Thy Bui for the cover and the team at Pushkin for makingContinue reading “How To Be Brave is now available to pre-order!”

Vy’s Special Gift by Ha-Giang Trinh and Evi Shelvia

Let’s start the year off with a good, good picture book. I get a lot of emails from people asking me to review things here and there was something about this one that made me say yes. And oh, I’m so glad I did. Wild, beautiful, fiercely distinct artwork, and a story that’s full ofContinue reading “Vy’s Special Gift by Ha-Giang Trinh and Evi Shelvia”

The Answers to the First Quite Niche Children’s Literature Christmas Quiz

As promised, here are the answers to the quiz I posted on December 24th. How did you do? 🙂 Round One: Boarding School Stories A lot of H D’s at the S = A Lot of Hot Doctors at the Sanatorium Eleven M having breakfast at F = Eleven Maynards Having Breakfast At Freudesheim OneContinue reading “The Answers to the First Quite Niche Children’s Literature Christmas Quiz”

The First Ever Quite Niche Children’s Literature Christmas Quiz

Hello! I have been thinking for a while that I wanted to start a new Christmas tradition on this blog, and this year felt like the perfect time to do precisely that. So! Here is the First Ever Quite Niche Children’s Literature Christmas Quiz! (I am very excited). There are no prizes, other than gloriousContinue reading “The First Ever Quite Niche Children’s Literature Christmas Quiz”

Dogger’s Christmas by Shirley Hughes

Okay. So you know we’re a fan of Shirley Hughes here at DYESTT Towers. There’s nobody out there who can quite do what she does and we are SO lucky to be able to read it. (You can probably imagine my face when I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of Dogger’s ChristmasContinue reading “Dogger’s Christmas by Shirley Hughes”

Luna Rae Is Not Alone by Hayley Webster

Luna Rae is Not Alone by Hayley Webster My rating: 5 of 5 stars There are a lot of new things in Luna Rae’s life. New home, new school, new friends. It’s a lot to deal with and the one she thinks might help would be winning the school’s baking competition with her mum. TheContinue reading “Luna Rae Is Not Alone by Hayley Webster”

The Accidental by Ali Smith

I’ve been wanting to read a lot more Ali Smith for a bit, and The Accidental felt like a perfect place to start. It’s easy, I think, to be a little bit intimidated by the authors and the books that win all of the awards because sometimes it can feel like you’re missing something ifContinue reading “The Accidental by Ali Smith”

Some Carefully Curated Lists of the Best Children’s Books To Buy This Year

Hello! I have been putting together some lists of children’s books to buy which, I suspect if you’re reading this blog, might be up your street. One of the things to mention is that these are affiliate links which mean that I do get a referral fee but I’m not doing it for that. IContinue reading “Some Carefully Curated Lists of the Best Children’s Books To Buy This Year”

Kidnap on the California Comet by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman

Once when I was very little, I got press-ganged (they called it ‘being part of the Brownies’ and ‘community action’ but honestly, press-ganged) into helping clean up the local station. Can you imagine the sight? A gang of four foot nothing children in brown outfits depressedly cleaning windows. Amazing. A hundred years ago, and I’mContinue reading “Kidnap on the California Comet by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman”

The Most Popular Girl In The School by Bessie Marchant

You know when you just finish reading a book and go ‘huh, so. what. just. happened?’. That’s The Most Popular Girl In The School in a nutshell. I read it and had to have this little moment where I flicked back through to check that I hadn’t imagined it all. But I hadn’t. Honestly, everythingContinue reading “The Most Popular Girl In The School by Bessie Marchant”

Girls In Green by Elisabeth Morley

I’m going to apologise in advance for this review of Girls In Green, but honestly – this book. It starts in a normal place and then BOOM we’re up a tree and BOOM there’s stitched up pillowcases and BOOM somebody’s about to cark it in the pond. What I’m trying to say is there’s aContinue reading “Girls In Green by Elisabeth Morley”

Ballet for Drina by Jean Estoril

[Can I tell you a secret? I only discovered in the last few years that Jean Estoril was a pseudonym for the legendary Mabel Esther Allan..and I’m still not quite over it. Fun fact: “Jean Estoril” is almost an anagram for “neorealist” and this has entertained me ever since…] Ballet for Drina by Jean EstorilContinue reading “Ballet for Drina by Jean Estoril”

Chester House Wins Through by Irene Smith

[This has been on my TBR pile for a while, and today I felt like it was the time. I sort of thought it might be brilliant – I rather like it when books tell me off for waiting to read them – but reader, it wasn’t. However, Chester House Wins Through does have theContinue reading “Chester House Wins Through by Irene Smith”

The Monsters of Rookhaven by Pádraig Kenny

The Monsters of Rookhaven by Pádraig Kenny My rating: 4 of 5 stars The first thing to recognise about The Monsters of Rookhaven is how beautiful it is. It’s a really rather perfectly put together book, which is always a good sign. It tells you that the publisher understands this book, that they know whatContinue reading “The Monsters of Rookhaven by Pádraig Kenny”

A Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voigt

[Back when lockdown ended, and the world opened up again, one of my first visits was to a street in my town that’s full of charity shops. Each charity shop has its own character. One is very good for antique crockery (I’ll save my blog on cake-stands for another day), another is curiously obsessed withContinue reading “A Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voigt”

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively

[Hello! I’ve been reading some not great books recently – hence the great gap between the last review and this. You know the sort of thing I mean? The book that you read a couple of pages of and realise instantly that they’re not for you. That. A lot of them, suddenly, all at onceContinue reading “Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively”

Welcome To Your Period! by Yumi Synes and Dr Melissa Kang

Welcome to Your Period! by Yumi Stynes My rating: 5 of 5 stars Welcome to Your Period! is funny, frank and fearless and I loved every inch of it. Even though I’m roughly three thousand years old at this point (hello 2020!), it took me back to the sex education classes we all received atContinue reading “Welcome To Your Period! by Yumi Synes and Dr Melissa Kang”

A Future Chalet School Girl by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

A Future Chalet School Girl by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 3 of 5 stars It recently hit me that there were still a few titles to do in my review of the Chalet School series and, that A Future Chalet School Girl is quite poor in every definition of the word, so where elseContinue reading “A Future Chalet School Girl by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Red King’s Dream : Or Lewis Carroll in Wonderland by J. E Jones and J. Francis Gladstone

The Red King’s Dream: Or Lewis Carroll in Wonderland by J.E. Jones My rating: 3 of 5 stars So, before we begin: I am no Alice scholar, nor am I particularly fond of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I enjoy it but it’s never been one of those books that has particularly resonated with me norContinue reading “The Red King’s Dream : Or Lewis Carroll in Wonderland by J. E Jones and J. Francis Gladstone”

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta My rating: 5 of 5 stars It’s always a good sign when a book looks as stunning as The Black Flamingo does. This is a treat of design, all the way from that luscious front cover full of colour and style and power through to the pages themselves whichContinue reading “The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta”

“When you can’t speak, you sing, and when you can’t -” : musical theatre, Glee, and Naya Rivera

I never wanted to perform myself. Still don’t. The amount of interest I have in getting up on the stage can be measured in one hand. Musical theatre wasn’t – isn’t – for me. But watching it? I can’t imagine anything better. There’s something so intoxicating about watching people sing and dance their way acrossContinue reading ““When you can’t speak, you sing, and when you can’t -” : musical theatre, Glee, and Naya Rivera”

The Last Word and Other Stories by Graham Greene

The Last Word and Other Stories by Graham Greene My rating: 4 of 5 stars I think I’m in love with Graham Greene now and I’m not sure how to feel about that. In many senses, I’d written him off as somebody who wrote about things that I wasn’t interested in. A sweeping statement IContinue reading “The Last Word and Other Stories by Graham Greene”

The School by the River by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The School by the River by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars I reread The School by The River for a lecture I attended online this week, one concerned with the role of memory and how the act of reading is in itself situated across our lives. What does it mean toContinue reading “The School by the River by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota

The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota My rating: 3 of 5 stars It was only when I finished The Year Of The Runaways that I managed to figure out what wasn’t working for me. There’s a lot here that does; it was nominated for the Booker in 2015 and rightly so, it’s aContinue reading “The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota”

The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolf edited by Susan Dick

The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolf by Virginia Woolf My rating: 5 of 5 stars I am circling around the work of Virginia Woolf, dipping in my toe every now and and then and trying to figure out what this author is for me and what her work can be. I struggled a lotContinue reading “The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolf edited by Susan Dick”

In the Shadow of Death by Rūdolfs Blaumanis

In the Shadow of Death by Rūdolfs Blaumanis My rating: 5 of 5 stars [I am very grateful to my friends at Latvian Literature for securing me a review copy of this. As ever, my opinion is my own. I’d not be writing this if it weren’t…] First published in 1899 and based on aContinue reading “In the Shadow of Death by Rūdolfs Blaumanis”

The Lord Of The Rings film trilogy by Peter Jackson, the art of storytelling, and season eight of Game of Thrones

It’s not a good sign when you watch something and think, quite clearly, of something else that did it better. But that was what happened on my watch of the final season of Game of Thrones, a season that was derided by pretty much every critic I read and person I know as appalling. TheyContinue reading “The Lord Of The Rings film trilogy by Peter Jackson, the art of storytelling, and season eight of Game of Thrones”

Some News

Originally posted on Big boots and adventures :
My debut children’s book HOW TO BE BRAVE will be out in 2021 in both the UK and US, and I am SO excited to introduce you to this world. Here’s a few tweets on the topic.. https://twitter.com/PushkinPress/status/1253679947840978944 https://twitter.com/BryonyWoods/status/1253707711155449856 https://twitter.com/chaletfan/status/1253681561964167171 https://twitter.com/chaletfan/status/1253682523655323649

Seven Men of Gascony by R. F. Delderfield

Seven Men of Gascony by R.F. Delderfield My rating: 4 of 5 stars (And what do we do in a a pandemic, but turn to the stalwart classics of the bookshelf?) I do not remember the first time I read Seven Men of Gascony but I know that it was a long time ago. ItContinue reading “Seven Men of Gascony by R. F. Delderfield”

Trials For The Chalet School, an audio review

I’ve been contemplating doing some audio content for a while (I feel like I need to hashtag that liberally but I honestly can’t bear it, so forgive me). The current situation in the world has given me that opportunity and so, here we are with a review of Trials For The Chalet School – aContinue reading “Trials For The Chalet School, an audio review”

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami My rating: 4 of 5 stars A lyrical exploration of tragedy, The Other Americans is an incredibly poised and eloquent novel. One night Driss Guerraoui crosses the road and is killed by a speeding car; the novel follows what happens next, spiralling through a series of chapters told byContinue reading “The Other Americans by Laila Lalami”

Cynthia Voigt, Americana and the texture of literary things

“Dicey looked out over the tall marsh grasses, blowing in the wind. If the wind blew, the grasses had to bend with it.” I don’t remember the first time I read Cynthia Voigt. I do, however, remember what it was that I read. A book called Homecoming. A title that bore little resonance to myContinue reading “Cynthia Voigt, Americana and the texture of literary things”

About that secret project I've been working on…

Hello! So, over the past few months, I have been working on a small secret project and now I can tell you all about it. Essentially, I got increasingly grumpy and decided to do something about it. Grumpiness is a very good motivational factor! My grumpiness centred about the increasing realisation that the women writersContinue reading “About that secret project I've been working on…”

Unexpected Archive Delights : 1920s Children’s Book Adverts

I am constantly surprised by archives. I know that’s an incredibly strange thing to say and one that sounds even stranger when you are supposed to know what you are looking at, but it’s true. I am surprised by archives; the way they give me something that I request that comes with a thousand otherContinue reading “Unexpected Archive Delights : 1920s Children’s Book Adverts”

Orion Lost by Alastair Chisholm

Orion Lost by Alastair Chisholm My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’m always interested when a book does something differently, and this really does. Orion Lost is a big, meaty science-fiction story set aboard a space-ship where everything suddenly goes wrong. And the only people who can put things right are the kids – thirteenContinue reading “Orion Lost by Alastair Chisholm”

Glass Town by Isabel Greenberg

Glass Town: The Imaginary World of the Brontës by Isabel Greenberg My rating: 5 of 5 stars I am increasingly conscious that I am moving closer to the world of the Brontës, falling in love with it, and not being remotely mad about this, not at all. I would have fought against this a fewContinue reading “Glass Town by Isabel Greenberg”

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo My rating: 5 of 5 stars (The dizzying joy of finding a copy of this in the charity bookstore, when you’re still the 449302nd reservation on the library copy…) Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo is a novel of such utter articulacy that I scarce know how to handleContinue reading “Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo”

The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman My rating: 1 of 5 stars Here’s the thing: I admire what Pullman can do; I admire the way he can articulate things; I admire the worlds he has creates with all of their wild wonder and glory; but I do not admire this book. It is overlong, overwroughtContinue reading “The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman”

The Highland Falcon Thief by MG Leonard and Sam Sedgman

The Highland Falcon Thief by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is such a lot of fun. I went into The Highland Falcon Thief thinking well, I am ancient and absolutely have no interest whatsoever in trains, and I came out and realised that I loved it. There isContinue reading “The Highland Falcon Thief by MG Leonard and Sam Sedgman”

Animal Farm : The Graphic Novel by Odyr

Animal Farm: The Graphic Novel by Odyr My rating: 5 of 5 stars There’s a part of me that can never quite cope with Animal Farm, having read it as a pony-loving child and immediately bonding with Boxer. For those of you who know the story, you’ll know now why I can’t quite cope withContinue reading “Animal Farm : The Graphic Novel by Odyr”

Lorna at Wynyards by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Lorna at Wynyards by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars Lorna at Wynyards by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer is a lot of fun and, I suspect, worth five stars for the fabulously awful “JO BETTANY IS MY FAVOURITE AUTHOR I HAVE ALL HER TITLES AND OH YES SHE IS ALSO A FAMILY FRIENDContinue reading “Lorna at Wynyards by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’d waited a while to read An American Marriage, forced by a long reservation queue (always a good sign), and I was not disappointed. It’s a novel that I went into a little blind, conscious of the noise about it and the factContinue reading “An American Marriage by Tayari Jones”

Polly Piglet by Enid Blyton

Polly Piglet by Enid Blyton My rating: 1 of 5 stars “And what did you do when you finished reading Polly Piglet by Enid Blyton?” “Well, my imaginary friend who has been invented to help me make a rhetorical point on the internet, I screamed. And then I screamed some more and a little moreContinue reading “Polly Piglet by Enid Blyton”

Children’s Picturebooks : The Art of Visual Storytelling by Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles

Children’s Picturebooks: The Art of Visual Storytelling by Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles My rating: 4 of 5 stars A revised edition of their original 2012 text, Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles ‘Children Picturebooks : The Art of Visual Storytelling‘ (2019) occupies a space somewhere between academia and coffee table. It offers a general introductionContinue reading “Children’s Picturebooks : The Art of Visual Storytelling by Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles”

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood My rating: 3 of 5 stars I have had complicated feelings about The Testaments ever since it was announced, ever since it was nominated for the Booker, ever since it shared the prize with Girl, Woman, Other, ever since all of this and more. It is not that I dislikedContinue reading “The Testaments by Margaret Atwood”

In The Grip Of Winter by Colin Dann

In the Grip of Winter by Colin Dann My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’ve been picking my way through the Farthing Wood series, driven by an urge to revisit these emotionally scarring books of my childhood. Though somebody like Richard Adams will always have the crown of accidentally emotionally traumatising children (Plague Dogs! GeneralContinue reading “In The Grip Of Winter by Colin Dann”

Burt Lancaster : a watching and reading guide

I remember the precise moment I understood Burt Lancaster. Or, at least, I remember the precise moment I understood that person he was on screen – the person he wanted to let me see. It was From Here To Eternity (1953) and it wasn’t the scene you might think. Though the film is justifiable notableContinue reading “Burt Lancaster : a watching and reading guide”

It’s a No-Money Day by Kate Milner

It’s a no-money day by Kate Milner My rating: 5 of 5 stars It’s difficult to tell you how important this gentle, soft book is and so I hope you will forgive me if I jump straight to the punchline: It’s A No-Money Day by Kate Milner should be on your shelves. And if youContinue reading “It’s a No-Money Day by Kate Milner”

Annotated: Sabre The Horse From The Sea by Kathleen Herald

My research has been recently turning towards juvenilia – stories written by girls, for girls, and what that tells us about being a girl – and it bought me to an extract of Sabre The Horse From The Sea by Kathleen Herald (in: Where Texts And Children Meet, eds. Bearne and Watson). It is anContinue reading “Annotated: Sabre The Horse From The Sea by Kathleen Herald”

Walking Distance by Lizzy Stewart

Walking Distance by Lizzy Stewart My rating: 4 of 5 stars Existing within the city – within the world – is often no simple nor straightforward thing, particularly for a woman and Walking Distance by Lizzy Stewart is no simple nor straightforward thing. It is a complex, challenging, reflexive, and occasionally deeply wonderful meditation onContinue reading “Walking Distance by Lizzy Stewart”

The Dead Queen Detectives : The Crown Jewels by Bevis Musson

The Dead Queen Detectives : The Crown Jewels by Bevis Musson My rating: 4 of 5 stars One of the things I like to do is tweet about when I’m going to a comics convention and ask for advice on what to buy. I know what I like – feminist, girl-focused comics – and IContinue reading “The Dead Queen Detectives : The Crown Jewels by Bevis Musson”

Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise by Katherine Rundell

Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise by Katherine Rundell My rating: 3 of 5 stars My stance is clear, I think, and has been so for a while: children’s literature is important and to assign a value judgement upon it, indeed to assign a value judgement uponContinue reading “Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise by Katherine Rundell”

Sensible Footwear : a girl’s guide by Kate Charlesworth

Sensible Footwear: A Girl’s Guide by Kate Charlesworth My rating: 5 of 5 stars It’s difficult to talk about Sensible Footwear by Kate Charlesworth without telling you what an utterly wonderful book it is. It is simply wonderful, this powerful, personal and political story of LGBTQI+ history within the United Kingdom from the 1950s toContinue reading “Sensible Footwear : a girl’s guide by Kate Charlesworth”

Adapting literature for television: (or, why doesn’t The War of The Worlds work for me)

My house has been watching the recent BBC adaptation of The War of the Worlds, and we have been disappointed. It is not that the story itself is at fault, for it is not. There isn’t much of HG Wells’ work that is. The problem resides in that notion of adaptation, of taking something thatContinue reading “Adapting literature for television: (or, why doesn’t The War of The Worlds work for me)”

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann My rating: 4 of 5 stars The fact that it’s a book consisting of an internal monologue of a housewife, the fact that it’s juxtaposed against the story of a lioness in the wild, the fact that ‘the fact that’ reappears so much in the first few pages that youContinue reading “Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman”

The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

The Snail and the Whale Festive Edition by Julia Donaldson My rating: 4 of 5 stars I like what Julia Donaldson does. Her partnership with Axel Scheffler has clearly been fulfilling for the two of them, though I wonder sometimes whether their other work has been consumed by The Monster We Must Not Name ThatContinue reading “The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler”

Plus+ : Style Inspiration for Everyone, edited by Bethany Rutter

Plus+ by Bethany Rutter My rating: 5 of 5 stars Every now and then I am reminded of an interview I read with Beth Ditto, back in the dawn of time when newspapers were still newspapers and still made of paper and print. The author wondered, in the way that was clearly his wont, atContinue reading “Plus+ : Style Inspiration for Everyone, edited by Bethany Rutter”

Mischief at St Rollo’s by Enid Blyton

Mischief at St Rollo’s by Enid Blyton My rating: 3 of 5 stars Mischief at St Rollo’s is never going to change the world. It’s a typically Blytonian school story; new kids go to a school, thing happen, shenanigans, shenanigans, end of term, I can’t wait to go back! It’s not high literature nor isContinue reading “Mischief at St Rollo’s by Enid Blyton”

We are all Greta : Be Inspired to Save the World by Valentina Giannella, illustrated by Maneula Marazzi

We Are All Greta by Valentina Giannella My rating: 3 of 5 stars We Are All Greta is interesting to me, as it touches on something incredibly potent and present within children’s books and yet a something that is, at present, somewhat under-explored. Some of this under-exploration can be perhaps ascribed to the nature ofContinue reading “We are all Greta : Be Inspired to Save the World by Valentina Giannella, illustrated by Maneula Marazzi”

Hansel and Gretel by Bethan Woollvin

Hansel and Gretel by Bethan Woollvin My rating: 4 of 5 stars Hansel and Gretel but not as you know it; the kids are horrible little things and the witch, Willow, is – well, not quite what you think. I’ve known of Bethan Woolvin’s stylish work for a while and so, when I received aContinue reading “Hansel and Gretel by Bethan Woollvin”

The Misadventures of Frederick by Ben Manley and Emma Chichester Clark

The Misadventures of Frederick by Ben Manley My rating: 5 of 5 stars There’s something to be said for subtle, soft strangeness in the world of picture books and The Misadventures of Frederick bathes in that with utter delight. Frederick is a boy who lives inside a mansion and very rarely goes out. He’s bored,Continue reading “The Misadventures of Frederick by Ben Manley and Emma Chichester Clark”

The Rabbit, the Dark and the Biscuit Tin by Nicola O’Byrne

The Rabbit, the Dark and the Biscuit Tin by Nicola O’Byrne (author) My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’m increasingly falling in love with books that are a little bit strange. I think we tend to search for the level in children’s literature; we look for the planes that can help us understand these strangeContinue reading “The Rabbit, the Dark and the Biscuit Tin by Nicola O’Byrne”

Shakespeare for Every Day of the Year edited by Allie Esiri

Shakespeare for Every Day of the Year by Allie Esiri My rating: 4 of 5 stars Beautifully produced, this is something to wallow in. Shakespeare for Every Day of the Year does precisely what it says on the tin; three hundred and sixty five extracts from Shakespeare for every day of the year. It coverContinue reading “Shakespeare for Every Day of the Year edited by Allie Esiri”

Monica Turns up Trumps by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Monica Turns Up Trumps by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars The more I read of Elinor M. Brent-Dyer‘s connectors, the more I’ve come to realise that she is an author of extremes. She is either very good or very bad, and only sometimes does she land in the middle. Were IContinue reading “Monica Turns up Trumps by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Book Fair 101: everything you needed to know about book fairs

I came up with the title of my autobiography over the weekend. Inspiration struck just after I’d picked up a lovely copy of one of the Moomin annuals, displayed face out on a bookstall at York Book Fair. It was priced at £750. My autobiography is, perhaps unsurprisingly, going to be called: Books I haveContinue reading “Book Fair 101: everything you needed to know about book fairs”

A Song For Summer by Eva Ibbotson

A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson My rating: 4 of 5 stars Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to begin with Eva Ibbotson and then, I realise, it’s here. A sunlit, simple day where breakfast was buttery toast and the world’s open to explore. She’s simple that way, instinctive; food features heavily, sunlight idyllicContinue reading “A Song For Summer by Eva Ibbotson”

Judy, Patrol Leader by Dorothea Moore

Judy, Patrol Leader by Dorothea Moore My rating: 4 of 5 stars Oh man, I loved this! Judy, Patrol Leader by Dorothea Moore is a new venture to me; new author, much more ‘Guide’ orientated then many of my normal reads, and yet it’s a delight. A rampant, utter, delight. It’s vivid, heartfelt, ferociously readableContinue reading “Judy, Patrol Leader by Dorothea Moore”

The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay

The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay My rating: 5 of 5 stars I have such time for what Hilary McKay does, and The Time of Green Magic is a joy. Wild, rich, fantastical, and full of intense, palpable danger, it’s a dream. McKay is good, so good, and the day she is givenContinue reading “The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay”

Midnight Is A Place by Joan Aiken

Midnight Is a Place by Joan Aiken My rating: 3 of 5 stars I’ve never wholly clicked with Joan Aiken. I think, sometimes, some of it stems from my preferences; I like stories with a particular taste and style and frame. I like being able to handle them and know what I’m going to getContinue reading “Midnight Is A Place by Joan Aiken”

New Class At Malory Towers

Malory Towers: New Class at Malory Towers: Four brand-new Malory Towers by Enid Blyton My rating: 3 of 5 stars Malory Towers is having a moment. The past couple of years have seen theatre adaptations, news of the rights being sold to the BBC, and the publication of this: four new Malory Towers stories fromContinue reading “New Class At Malory Towers”