Rescue In Ravensdale by Esmé Cartmell

Rescue in Ravensdale by Esme Cartmell My rating: 4 of 5 stars Oh this was interesting. I picked this up from one of my local bookshops with a healthy section in vintage children’s fiction. I’ve found some interesting titles there before and this, with the local – ish, connections caught my eye. I didn’t knowContinue reading “Rescue In Ravensdale by Esmé Cartmell”

Welcome To The New World by Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan

Welcome to the New World by Jake Halpern My rating: 4 of 5 stars A thoughtful and eloquent “graphic novel and true story” Welcome To The New World is the story of an arrival. The Aldabaan family, originally from Syria, have arrived in America at the same time that Donald Trump has arrived in theContinue reading “Welcome To The New World by Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan”

Danger at Dead Man’s Pass by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman

Danger at Dead Man’s Pass by M.G. Leonard My rating: 5 of 5 stars I was just looking back at my prior reviews of this series and every single one has five stars. And so it is with Danger At Dead Man’s Pass that takes the series to somewhere spooky and spectral and (when theContinue reading “Danger at Dead Man’s Pass by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman”

The House on the Edge by Alex Cotter

The House on the Edge by Alex Cotter My rating: 4 of 5 stars I was catching up on some long overdue review copies this weekend and The House On The Edge was on top of the pile. It’s a Nosy Crow book which always means quality – the way they present their titles andContinue reading “The House on the Edge by Alex Cotter”

Wonder Pony by Marie Spénale

Wonder Pony by Marie Spenale My rating: 4 of 5 stars God, I found this so incredibly charming. It’s a rather deliciously eccentric comic which details the adventures of Louison at her new boarding school. That includes all the normal parts of new school life – making friends and finding a place in the worldContinue reading “Wonder Pony by Marie Spénale”

Guest Post: Rachel Playforth on The Melling School series by Margaret Biggs

[I am so thrilled to bring you this guest post today on the Melling books from the lovely Rachel Playforth. Rachel is a poet, editor, crossword setter and librarian. She has poems in the recent anthologies:  Night Feeds and Morning Songs by Ana Sampson (Hachette UK) and These Are The Hands – Poems from the Heart ofContinue reading “Guest Post: Rachel Playforth on The Melling School series by Margaret Biggs”

The 1933 Girl’s Own Annual

(What are heatwaves made for if not to enjoy books that are eighty-eight years old?) If you’ve never come across a Girl’s Own Annual, you’re missing out. They were yearly bindups of the Girl’s Own paper – a publication that ran from 1880 – 1956 – and included work from authors as legendary as NoelContinue reading “The 1933 Girl’s Own Annual”

The Admirable Crichton by J M Barrie

The Admirable Crichton by J.M. Barrie My rating: 5 of 5 stars I came across the film first. The Admirable Crichton (1957) caught my eye because of the mention of Kenneth More – an actor who I’d enjoyed in some other films of that period, despite his rather wonderful ability in them to be nothingContinue reading “The Admirable Crichton by J M Barrie”

The Abbey Girls Go Back To School by Elsie J. Oxenham

The Abbey Girls Go Back To School by Elsie J. Oxenham My rating: 2 of 5 stars I keep trying with EJO and she keeps testing me and yet, I keep coming back. Why I cannot quit this series, I do not know. I keep putting them all in a bag to go to theContinue reading “The Abbey Girls Go Back To School by Elsie J. Oxenham”

A Company Of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson My rating: 5 of 5 stars I think sometimes Eva Ibbotson can be so perfect that you can’t quite figure out how she can be better, and then she writes: “At which point there entered a deus ex machina.It entered in an unexpected form: that of a lean,Continue reading “A Company Of Swans by Eva Ibbotson”

The Yearbook by Holly Bourne

The Yearbook by Holly Bourne My rating: 5 of 5 stars I have such time for what Holly Bourne does. I like how smart and fearless and honest her writing is. I really like how she’s unafraid of giving people complex endings. Life isn’t neat. Things don’t cleanly web together. We knot, we fray, weContinue reading “The Yearbook by Holly Bourne”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

Princess Anne by Katherine L. Oldmeadow

Princess Anne by Katharine L. Oldmeadow My rating: 2 of 5 stars Princess Anne by Katharine Oldmeadow is a pleasant enough diversion from the world, but it was fairly unremarkable. It reads like a sort of Sara Crewe / Abbey Girls / Pollyanna mash-up, which is delightful but not the sort of thing I’m everContinue reading “Princess Anne by Katherine L. Oldmeadow”

A Traveller In Time by Alison Uttley

A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley My rating: 5 of 5 stars It’s interesting how you can sometimes come to the right book at the wrong time. The first time I read this book, I was in the basement of a dusty university library and I was late for my shift. I skim-read andContinue reading “A Traveller In Time by Alison Uttley”

This Is A Dog by Ross Collins

This Is a Dog by Ross Collins My rating: 4 of 5 stars There’s a lot to love about this vivid, bold and deeply emphatic takeover of a picture book by a dog. It is nominally ‘My First Animal Book’; a Ladybird-esque introduction to a series of animals, but that’s not good enough for theContinue reading “This Is A Dog by Ross Collins”

The Key To Flambards by Linda Newbery

The Key to Flambards by Linda Newbery My rating: 2 of 5 stars I have a lot of time for the work of Linda Newbery, and KM Peyton is something of a legend for me, and so the thought of them coming together on this project was something special. The Key To Flambards is ‘FlambardsContinue reading “The Key To Flambards by Linda Newbery”

Dobbin And The Silver Shoes by Elizabeth Clark

Dobbin and the Silver Shoes: And Other Stories by Elizabeth Clark My rating: 3 of 5 stars This isn’t the first time I’ve come across Elizabeth Clark; I reviewed The Farmer And The Fairy a while back and enjoyed her greatly. She’s a classic sort of storyteller, somebody who delivers stories that feel slightly anachronisticContinue reading “Dobbin And The Silver Shoes by Elizabeth Clark”

How To Be An Astronaut And Other Space Jobs by Dr Sheila Kanani and Sol Linero

How to be an Astronaut and Other Space Jobs by Dr Sheila Kanani My rating: 5 of 5 stars How To Be An Astronaut isn’t just a ‘space’ book, but rather a ‘careers but in space’ book. It’s a unique twist for a perennial topic in children’s non-fiction; space, the Romans, the Tudors and animalsContinue reading “How To Be An Astronaut And Other Space Jobs by Dr Sheila Kanani and Sol Linero”

Brave Deeds For British Boys by Charles D. Michael

And now for something completely different… I don’t often cover ‘boy’s own’ books, because I only have so much nerdiness to go around, but every now and then something slips through the net. The latest one was Brave Deeds For British Boys by Charles D. Michael (c. 1913) which I picked up on the veryContinue reading “Brave Deeds For British Boys by Charles D. Michael”

The Million Pieces of Neena Gill by Emma Smith-Barton

The Million Pieces of Neena Gill by Emma Smith-Barton My rating: 4 of 5 stars Neena Gill’s brother has disappeared without a trace and it’s taken a toll on her family. They’re all just trying to get through another day without him, and nobody can quite do it without falling apart a little bit more.Continue reading “The Million Pieces of Neena Gill by Emma Smith-Barton”

The Same But Different Too by Karl Newson and Kate Hindley

The Same But Different Too by Karl Newson My rating: 5 of 5 stars There are many things about libraries that I love* but I think story time might be the thing I love the most. It is a curious privilege to work and to watch it happen; the prams gravitating together, the parents satContinue reading “The Same But Different Too by Karl Newson and Kate Hindley”