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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

Dancer In The Wings by Lorna Hill

Dancer In The Wings by Lorna Hill My rating: 4 of 5 stars The more I read of the authors I read, the more I become convinced that there is a fine line between ridiculous and genius. So close and yet sometimes, so very much one or the other. It is the problem, I think,Continue reading “Dancer In The Wings by Lorna Hill”

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”

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”

The World of Elsie Jeanette Oxenham and her Books by Monica Godfrey

The World of Elsie Jeanette Oxenham and Her Books by Monica Godfrey My rating: 2 of 5 stars This isn’t a subtle biography by any means. It’s written from a very particular standpoint; one that I do accept, occasionally understand, but can’t ever describe as high literature. Godfrey is a fan, The World of ElsieContinue reading “The World of Elsie Jeanette Oxenham and her Books by Monica Godfrey”

The Abbey Girls In Town by Elsie J. Oxenham

The Abbey Girls in Town by Elsie J. Oxenham My rating: 4 of 5 stars Once you do an Abbey reread, you can’t stop. Though I was much more intrigued by the middle-aged spy drama happening in the background of this cover, and disappointed that it did not appear in the actual text itself, thisContinue reading “The Abbey Girls In Town by Elsie J. Oxenham”

To Kill A Mockingbird by Haper Lee, adapted and illustrated by Fred Fordham

To Kill a Mockingbird: A Graphic Novel by Fred Fordham My rating: 5 of 5 stars It’s kind of terrifying to adapt something because you’re not just adapting the thing in question. You’re trying to adapt the aura of it; some books have this indefinable something about them that you can’t ever pin down inContinue reading “To Kill A Mockingbird by Haper Lee, adapted and illustrated by Fred Fordham”

El Deafo by Cece Bell

El Deafo by Cece Bell My rating: 4 of 5 stars Sometimes, due to library reservation queues and the like, it takes me a long time to get to a book. And that’s a good thing, because it tells me that it’s being talked about, that it’s being passed from hand to hand fever-quick andContinue reading “El Deafo by Cece Bell”

No Ballet Shoes In Syria by Catherine Bruton

No Ballet Shoes in Syria by Catherine Bruton My rating: 5 of 5 stars Aya is eleven, Syrian, and seeking asylum in Britain. Her mum, her, and her baby brother have escaped from the war in Syria – but her father got separated from them on the way. Her whole family is suffering from theContinue reading “No Ballet Shoes In Syria by Catherine Bruton”

A Girl’s Stronghold by E.F. Pollard

A Girl’s Stronghold by E.F Pollard My rating: 4 of 5 stars Delightfully nutty in the way that only turn of the century children’s literature can be, this starts as something quite typical and then escalates to quite the heights. Were I the sort of scholar to throw around labels in a willy-nilly sort ofContinue reading “A Girl’s Stronghold by E.F. Pollard”

“Us” An Old-Fashioned Story by Mrs Molesworth

Us by Mrs. Molesworth My rating: 4 of 5 stars First published in 1885, ‘Us’ is a fairly typical piece of children’s literature for this age. The good are good, the bad are bad, and the upper classes are full of moral upstanding-ness and the lower classes (particularly gypsies) are the worst. They are prejudicesContinue reading ““Us” An Old-Fashioned Story by Mrs Molesworth”

A trio of board book reviews

I have a trio of board books to bring to your attention today! When I’m sent something to review, it doesn’t always get to the point of being reviewed. Sometimes we don’t click, sometimes there’s very little I can say about it, or sometimes it’s so out of my remit that I wouldn’t know whereContinue reading “A trio of board book reviews”

I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’ve been meaning to read Alice Oseman’s work for a long while. It’s always a good sign when her books fly in and out of the library, quicker than swifts in summer, because that means they’re being read. Fiercely, voraciously, passionately.Continue reading “I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman”

So You Think You’ve Got It Bad? A Kid’s Life in Ancient Greece by Chae Strathie, illus. Marisa Morea

So You Think You’ve Got It Bad? A Kid’s Life in Ancient Greece by Chae Strathie My rating: 4 of 5 stars This was fun. ‘So You Think You’ve Got It Bad? A Kid’s Life In Ancient Greece’ isn’t the pithiest of titles (and indeed, a structure paralleled by others in the series such asContinue reading “So You Think You’ve Got It Bad? A Kid’s Life in Ancient Greece by Chae Strathie, illus. Marisa Morea”

Charlie Changes Into A Chicken by Sam Copeland

Charlie Changes Into a Chicken by Sam Copeland My rating: 4 of 5 stars There’s something rather appealing about a book that displays its intent so clearly. Charlie Changes Into A Chicken gives you everything from page one, and continues to do that on every page that follows. It’s determinedly readable (seriously the drive behindContinue reading “Charlie Changes Into A Chicken by Sam Copeland”

You’re Not A Proper Pirate, Sidney Green! by Ruth Quayle and Deborah Allwright

You’re Not a Proper Pirate, Sidney Green! by Ruth Quayle My rating: 4 of 5 stars You’re Not A Proper Pirate, Sidney Green! is a lot of fun. I can’t imagine things not looking up after a read of this. It really is genuine, exuberant, ‘drop it all at once and have an adventure’ fun.Continue reading “You’re Not A Proper Pirate, Sidney Green! by Ruth Quayle and Deborah Allwright”

The Skylarks War by Hilary McKay

The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay My rating: 5 of 5 stars Endlessly beautiful, in that way that only Hilary McKay can be, The Skylarks War is perfect. I thought it might be on page ninety-seven, and then when I finished it and let out a great gasping sob at that ending, I knew itContinue reading “The Skylarks War by Hilary McKay”

Harriet Takes The Field by Catherine Christian

Harriet Takes The Field by Catherine Christian My rating: 5 of 5 stars I loved this, even though I knew nothing about Catherine Christian before I saw it. Turns out she was a prolific author with credits spanning over fifty years and topics as diverse as Arthuriana, Guides, and Egyptian history, and that’s an achievementContinue reading “Harriet Takes The Field by Catherine Christian”

A Stranger At Green Knowe by L. M. Boston

A Stranger at Green Knowe by L.M. Boston My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’ve always had a messy relationship with the Green Knowe stories. They’ve appealed to me less than I suspect their components ought. In other words a mysterious story set in a strange house in the English countryside should have been myContinue reading “A Stranger At Green Knowe by L. M. Boston”

Return to Gone-Away by Elizabeth Enright

Return to Gone-Away by Elizabeth Enright My rating: 3 of 5 stars It’s always a little difficult coming to a series ‘second book in as it were’ as you do tend to miss a lot of what’s gone on. It took me a while to figure out who was who, and what was what, andContinue reading “Return to Gone-Away by Elizabeth Enright”

A Dangerous Mission by Bessie Marchant

A Dangerous Mission by Bessie Marchant My rating: 4 of 5 stars The more I read of Bessie Marchant, the more I enjoy her. She is a writer who hybridises Elinor M. Brent-Dyer at her Ruritanian best with the entirety of the Boy’s Own Genre, and makes it her own. She is rather fabulous, andContinue reading “A Dangerous Mission by Bessie Marchant”

Circe by Madeline Miller

(A brief note from the editor; this is a blog concerned with children’s and young adult literature. Circe is arguably neither. Yet it is remarkable and this blog will always find a home for the remarkable story. This is something to give to those readers breaching the edge of young adult and looking for somethingContinue reading “Circe by Madeline Miller”

Milly-Molly-Mandy Stories by Joyce Lankester Brisley

Milly-Molly-Mandy Stories by Joyce Lankester Brisley My rating: 4 of 5 stars Frequently charming and really rather beautifully done, this 90th anniversary edition of the Milly-Molly-Mandy stories is a lovely thing. It’s been a long time since I read Milly-Molly-Mandy and if you’re the same, here’s a brief refresher. Written in the 1920s, MMM isContinue reading “Milly-Molly-Mandy Stories by Joyce Lankester Brisley”

The Ink House by Rory Dobner

The Ink House by Rory Dobner My rating: 3 of 5 stars Spectacularly produced, somewhat slender in the story department, and full of some rather intensely beautiful artwork, The Ink House is somewhat of a paradox. It’s beautiful, first and foremost; written and illustrated by Rory Dobner, an artist with a substantial and impressive commercialContinue reading “The Ink House by Rory Dobner”

Dancing Peel by Lorna Hill

Dancing Peel by Lorna Hill My rating: 4 of 5 stars There’s not much I wouldn’t do for one of these glorious Esme Verity covers. The daughter of Lorna Hill, Verity has a great grace to her artwork and I love it. The light. The richness. The softness. This is good, classical artwork and ratherContinue reading “Dancing Peel by Lorna Hill”

Mary And Frankenstein by Linda Bailey and Júlia Sardà

Mary and Frankenstein by Linda Bailey My rating: 5 of 5 stars It has been a long time since I have read something so perfect as this, and if it doesn’t win the Kate Greenaway Medal this year, or at the very least make the shortlist, then I’ll hand in my badge. I’m not sureContinue reading “Mary And Frankenstein by Linda Bailey and Júlia Sardà”

Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich, with Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich My rating: 4 of 5 stars I think that to understand this book, you need to understand the context of Dear Evan Hansen itself. Dear Evan Hansen is a musical that’s rather wonderful, even when you just listen to the soundtrack and have to hit Wikipedia to work outContinue reading “Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich, with Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul”

Tales Out Of School by Geoffrey Trease

Tales Out of School: A Survey of Children’s Fiction by Geoffrey Trease My rating: 3 of 5 stars Epochal at its time, this book sought to locate children’s fiction as an object of serious critique. It came during a powerful point in the history of British children’s literature, that mid-twentieth century that saw so manyContinue reading “Tales Out Of School by Geoffrey Trease”

We Rode To The Sea by Christine Pullein-Thompson

We Rode to the Sea by Christine Pullein-Thompson My rating: 4 of 5 stars “This was my first book…” writes Christine Pullein-Thompson in the introduction to the 1973 Collins edition, “…It is the book which made my name. I hope you enjoy it.” And how can you not when this is Pullein-Thompson at her deliciousContinue reading “We Rode To The Sea by Christine Pullein-Thompson”

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed My rating: 4 of 5 stars A quietly, precisely told story, Amal Unbound is careful about itself and careful about the story it tells. It is also rather unrelenting, quietly bold and ultimately, rather powerful. It’s the story of a Pakistani girl named Amal who, when forced into indentured servitude,Continue reading “Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed”