The Butterfly Club : Jacqueline Wilson

The Butterfly Club by Jacqueline Wilson My rating: 4 of 5 stars It’s been a while since I read one of Jacqueline Wilson’s books. I went through a phase of them when I got access to a new library (I say that like I was a burglar, but trust me I was legitimate and hadContinue reading “The Butterfly Club : Jacqueline Wilson”

Mistletoe and Murder : Robin Stevens

Mistletoe and Murder by Robin Stevens My rating: 5 of 5 stars Long term readers of my reviews will know that I adore what Robin Stevens writes. The Wells and Wong series are that delightful thing: a series which continues to get better with every book published. And that’s not easy; series are hard works.Continue reading “Mistletoe and Murder : Robin Stevens”

Binny Bewitched : Hilary McKay

Binny Bewitched by Hilary McKay My rating: 5 of 5 stars Binny Bewitched returns to the Cornwallis household and sees the family in disarray. Binny herself has misplaced something that wasn’t hers to start off with. James and his new best friend are engrossed in their own adventures, whilst Clem is acting particularly oddly. CoupledContinue reading “Binny Bewitched : Hilary McKay”

Blue & Other Colours with Henri Matisse

Blue & Other Colours: with Henri Matisse by Henri Matisse My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is a wonderful book. Genuinely. It’s rare to find board books that slip into non-fiction but do it so deftly, so unconsciously, so ‘without getting massively educational in the process and whoah yes I’m bored and I’m threeContinue reading “Blue & Other Colours with Henri Matisse”

This Is Not A Book : Jean Jullien

This Is Not A Book by Jean Jullien My rating: 5 of 5 stars Shall we start the week off with a very good book indeed? Yes. Of course we should. This is Not A Book by Jean Jullien is an outstanding thing; a board book that defies conventions and expectations by resolutely refusing toContinue reading “This Is Not A Book : Jean Jullien”

Shify McGify and Slippery Sam : The Spooky School by Tracey Corderoy and Steven Lenton

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam : The Spooky School by Tracey Corderoy My rating: 4 of 5 stars The thing about Nosy Crow books is that they, fairly uniformly, have a really high standard of design. It’s almost an unimportant skill, this, because when we read a book, we read a book and we don’tContinue reading “Shify McGify and Slippery Sam : The Spooky School by Tracey Corderoy and Steven Lenton”

There May Be A Castle : Piers Torday

There May Be a Castle by Piers Torday My rating: 5 of 5 stars I suspect there may be awards in this book’s future. It is a bath-go-cold sort of book; a wheeling, soaring skim through a car journey that goes very wrong and then into somewhere else. Somewhere other. And it’s in this otherContinue reading “There May Be A Castle : Piers Torday”

Looking at the Stars : Jo Cotterill

Looking at the Stars by Jo Cotterill My rating: 5 of 5 stars Amina tells stories. She has an imagination, a powerful one, and it’s been her companion throughout the war that has ravaged her country. Her family have felt the impact of this differently, but they are together. That is enough. That is enoughContinue reading “Looking at the Stars : Jo Cotterill”

What’s A Girl Gotta Do? Holly Bourne

What’s a Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne My rating: 5 of 5 stars “Activate yourself” That was the take-home quote from a talk I attended the other day. The speaker was Sandi Toksvig who was eloquent, smart and spoke painfully on the erasure of women from politics. Activate yourself. She started a political party.Continue reading “What’s A Girl Gotta Do? Holly Bourne”

No Castanets at the Wells : Lorna Hill

No Castanets at the Wells by Lorna Hill My rating: 5 of 5 stars These are the most beautiful books I own. The hardback editions of the Chalet School come close to them (that is, when I can sell my liver to afford one) but somehow they never quite reach the great grace of theContinue reading “No Castanets at the Wells : Lorna Hill”

The Chalet School and the Island : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Chalet School and the Island by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars It’s perhaps the context that I’m in right now, swithering from thesis research to thesis research, that when I reread The Chalet School and the Island, I was deeply amazed to find a book that I’d never read before.Continue reading “The Chalet School and the Island : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Are we there yet? : Dan Santat

Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat My rating: 5 of 5 stars There’s something rather extraordinary about Santat’s latest picture  book which investigates the imaginative potential of the road trip. Road trips are boring, really, unless you’re doing something. And if you are, then you’re not in the car. You’re eating something or photographingContinue reading “Are we there yet? : Dan Santat”

Fifty Shades of Feminism : eds Lisa Appignanesi, Rachel Holmes & Susie Orbach

Fifty Shades of Feminism by Lisa Appignanesi My rating: 4 of 5 stars Fifty Shades of Feminism is a collection of short, bitesize pieces from a range of “some of the most significant feminists of our time”. The list is impressive, juxtaposing Alison Bechdel with Elaine Showalter with Sandi Toksvig and Kathy Lette amongst manyContinue reading “Fifty Shades of Feminism : eds Lisa Appignanesi, Rachel Holmes & Susie Orbach”

The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo : Catherine Johnson

The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson My rating: 4 of 5 stars Rich, vivid storytelling; The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo is written with such power and verve that it made me greedy. I wanted more. Much more. Johnson’s novel is based on a real tale of a girl whoContinue reading “The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo : Catherine Johnson”

Three go to the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Three Go to the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars One of my favourite films is Stagecoach, which stars John Wayne. There’s a shot in this film (which you can see here) that makes John Wayne a star. The camera swings into him with such exuberance, and then whenContinue reading “Three go to the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Hilda and the Stone Forest : Luke Pearson

Hilda and the Stone Forest by Luke Pearson My rating: 5 of 5 stars Dynamism. Dynamics. They’re abstract concepts and yet, when I come to Hilda and the Stone Forest, they’re incredibly relevant. This latest episode in the rather lovely Hilda series is a book that thrives on movement and dynamic, swift lines and panels.Continue reading “Hilda and the Stone Forest : Luke Pearson”

Through The Mirror Door : Sarah Baker

Through the Mirror Door by Sarah Baker My rating: 4 of 5 stars I need to tell you a little bit about the background of this review. I was originally offered a review copy of Through The Mirror Door, which I declined. The reason for that is because I share an agent with Sarah BakerContinue reading “Through The Mirror Door : Sarah Baker”

The Brownstone Mythical Collection: Arthur and the Golden Rope : Joe Todd-Stanton

The Brownstone Mythical Collection: Arthur and the Golden Rope by Joe Todd Stanton My rating: 5 of 5 stars From the golden foiling on the front cover, to that rich and thick paper used throughout, Arthur and the Golden Rope is an absolutely beautiful book. I was very thrilled to receive a review copy ofContinue reading “The Brownstone Mythical Collection: Arthur and the Golden Rope : Joe Todd-Stanton”

An Island of Our Own : Sally Nicholls

An Island of Our Own by Sally Nicholls My rating: 5 of 5 stars Life for Holly and her siblings is hard. Ever since the death of their mother, they’ve been trying to survive together. But surviving is hard and living is even harder; money problems, family troubles, and keeping a two bedroom flat togetherContinue reading “An Island of Our Own : Sally Nicholls”

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child : JK Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling My rating: 3 of 5 stars It’s complex to rate Harry Potter and the Cursed Child because it’s a complex piece this. It is rather wonderful, rather strange, and rather odd all at once. I suspect it’s perhaps a little bit of a paradigm shift inContinue reading “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child : JK Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne”

A Leader in the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

A Leader in the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars Two Chalet School reviews in a row! I imagine you can guess that I am in a mood for comfort reads at the moment; I want fat, luscious, clean reads that I can just sink into and enjoy. PerhapsContinue reading “A Leader in the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

The Feud In The Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Feud in the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars The Feud In the Chalet School bears some deep similarities to Rivals of the Chalet School. Following the slightly dramatic incident of ‘their new school having burnt down to the ground overnight’, the new school St Hilda’s is forcedContinue reading “The Feud In The Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

My Gym Teacher is an Alien Overlord : David Solomons

My Gym Teacher is an Alien Overlord by David Solomons My rating: 4 of 5 stars It’s very hard to do funny in the world of children’s and young adult literature. It’s even harder to do funny that doesn’t shift over to being cruel. Louise Rennison was the queen at this, balancing her delicious andContinue reading “My Gym Teacher is an Alien Overlord : David Solomons”

Chloe Takes Control : Phyllis Matthewman

Chloe Takes Control by Phyllis Matthewman My rating: 4 of 5 stars I first came across the name of Matthewman in reading about my beloved Elinor M. Brent-Dyer. In the last years of her life, Brent-Dyer shared a house with Sidney and Phyllis Matthewman. There’s a fairly prevalent theory that Phyllis assisted with the writingContinue reading “Chloe Takes Control : Phyllis Matthewman”

Last Term at Malory Towers : Enid Blyton

Last Term at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton My rating: 4 of 5 stars There’s maybe three or four books locked up in this finale to the Malory Towers series, three or four other stories waiting to be told in this tale of pace and speed and so important moments are lost in chapters, andContinue reading “Last Term at Malory Towers : Enid Blyton”

The Riddlemaster : Kevin Crossley-Holland & Stéphane Jorisch

The Riddlemaster by Kevin Crossley-Holland My rating: 4 of 5 stars I was intrigued to receive this review copy from the publisher; Kevin Crossley-Holland is an author I’ve had a strange relationship with. I admire his writing, greatly, yet often feel quite distanced from it when reading. When spoken though, or performed, I would wedContinue reading “The Riddlemaster : Kevin Crossley-Holland & Stéphane Jorisch”

Killing the Dead : Marcus Sedgwick

Killing the Dead by Marcus Sedgwick My rating: 4 of 5 stars I recently picked up a batch of old World Book Day titles from my local second hand bookshop. World Book Day, for those of who are unaware of what that means, publishes a series of slim novella-esque titles each year for the princelyContinue reading “Killing the Dead : Marcus Sedgwick”

The New House Mistress : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The New House Mistress by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 3 of 5 stars I almost missed this book. I was settling into my traditional ‘let’s check the B section in the bookshop just in case but there won’t be anything there’ frame of mind, and when I saw The New House Mistress tucked behindContinue reading “The New House Mistress : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

First Term at Malory Towers : Enid Blyton

First Term at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton My rating: 5 of 5 stars And so my Blyton marathon reaches another great classic, her series of school stories set at the deliciously described Malory Towers. It’s a school set nebulously on the Cornish coast somewhere, but the detail is what makes this school sing. Turrets.Continue reading “First Term at Malory Towers : Enid Blyton”

Enid Blyton, St Clare’s and ferocious readability

I finished my St Clare’s reread last night. I’ve been reading these books as part of my research; they form one of the big aspects of my next chapter alongside the Malory Towers books. It’s been a long time since I read St Clare’s. I had fond memories but bare ones, you know? The sortContinue reading “Enid Blyton, St Clare’s and ferocious readability”

The O’Sullivan Twins : Enid Blyton

The O’Sullivan Twins by Enid Blyton My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’m going to be deliberately provocative here and begin with the assertion that this might be one of the best school stories out there. At first glance, this is a strange assertion to make: The O’Sullivan Twins is the second novel in aContinue reading “The O’Sullivan Twins : Enid Blyton”

Frozen Charlotte : Alex Bell

Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell My rating: 4 of 5 stars The first thing that caught my eye about Frozen Charlotte is that deliciously stark and scary cover. Eyes, staring, and the eternally terrifying premise of dolls. It’s a brilliant cover and one that stood out, rather immensely, from the rest of the shelf. AndContinue reading “Frozen Charlotte : Alex Bell”

My Brother Is A Superhero : David Solomons

My Brother Is A Superhero by David Solomons My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’ve had my eye on this for a while; this debut from David Solomons which is steadily racking up some very big award wins, and upon finding it in the library I leapt upon it with eager hands. I possibly shriekedContinue reading “My Brother Is A Superhero : David Solomons”

Nara and the Island : Dan Ungureanu

Nara and the Island by Dan Ungureanu My rating: 4 of 5 stars Think of a bright blue sky. Think of a blue that’s so dense you could almost walk on it. Think of a sky that’s so full of this thick, dense blue that there’s no clouds, nothing else but this blue. Think ofContinue reading “Nara and the Island : Dan Ungureanu”

The Pirates of Pangaea : Daniel Hartwell & Neill Cameron

The Pirates of Pangaea: Book 1 by Dan Hartwell My rating: 5 of 5 stars “Like H Rider Haggard. But with dinosaurs.” That was how I described this dynamic and rather wonderful comic from the team of Daniel Hartwell and Neill Cameron; the Pirates of Pangaea gives us boy’s own adventures, cut from the pagesContinue reading “The Pirates of Pangaea : Daniel Hartwell & Neill Cameron”

The books I don’t review

Oh, that title makes me think of some sort of bookish elephant graveyard! Rest assured, that’s not my intention; this post is to talk about all the books I don’t review. I read a lot of books (a lot, seriously, it’s like my superpower) and I don’t even begin to review half of them. AContinue reading “The books I don’t review”

The School in the Forest : Angela Brazil

The School in the Forest by Angela Brazil My rating: 4 of 5 stars “What! Go to school! To boarding-school! I won’t I tell you I won’t!” So begins The School in The Forest and the story of fourteen year old Jean Langton, a spoilt heiress who is both inevitably orphaned and inevitably romantic. HerContinue reading “The School in the Forest : Angela Brazil”

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone : JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling My rating: 5 of 5 stars So this is where it all begins. This is a slim, tight story about a boy who is a wizard, and it is a story which has come to provide a bedrock to contemporary children’s literature. Not just British, IContinue reading “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone : JK Rowling”

All aboard the Bobo Road : Stephen Davies & Christopher Corr

All Aboard for the Bobo Road by Stephen Davies My rating: 4 of 5 stars It’s been too long since I reviewed a picture book, and so I am indebted to Andersen Press for this review copy of ‘All aboard for the Bobo Road’. Written from the author’s own experience of life in Burkina Faso,Continue reading “All aboard the Bobo Road : Stephen Davies & Christopher Corr”

Unbecoming : Jenny Downham

Unbecoming by Jenny Downham My rating: 5 of 5 stars I finished reading Unbecoming, and I exhaled; one of those great shuddering breaths that rolls from your toes to your throat, and I felt clean. Cleansed. Whole. Unbecoming. Not just unseemly, inappropriate, but literally un-becoming. A process of being dissasembled and remade; of unmaking andContinue reading “Unbecoming : Jenny Downham”

Wild Lily : KM Peyton

Wild Lily by K.M. Peyton My rating: 4 of 5 stars It’s hard, sometimes, to write about KM Peyton without descending into ‘ISIMPLYJUSTLOVEHERANDYOUSIMPLYJUSTSHOULDTOO’ and so, I’ve taken my time over this review of her latest: Wild Lily, a novel of the 1920s and beyond, and of airplanes, and of foolishness/bravery/lovelovelove. One of the most foremostContinue reading “Wild Lily : KM Peyton”

The New Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The New Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars There’s a moment in this book, relatively early on, where Joey is advised to rub butter on a bruise and it is a moment which fascinates me to this day. Would the butter have to be salted or unsalted? How muchContinue reading “The New Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Asking for it : Louise O’Neill

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill My rating: 5 of 5 stars I start, I stop, I start again. I’ve written this a thousand times and still I’m not quite sure what to say. Perhaps I’ll always be like this with O’Neill’s work, perhaps I’ll always be unmade by her language. O’Neill’s second novel afterContinue reading “Asking for it : Louise O’Neill”

Silence is Goldfish : Annabel Pitcher

Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher My rating: 4 of 5 stars “From now on, every girl in the world who might be a slayer…will be a slayer. Every girl who could have the power…will have the power…can stand up, will stand up. …every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to beContinue reading “Silence is Goldfish : Annabel Pitcher”

The Adventures of Beekle – The Unimaginary Friend : Dan Santat

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat My rating: 5 of 5 stars Picture books are complex, complex spaces that speak of something quite vibrant and distinct when they’re done right. They’re slim, ineffably potent things that tell story as though it is pared from their very heart; each word laden withContinue reading “The Adventures of Beekle – The Unimaginary Friend : Dan Santat”

Max’s Bear : Barbro Lindgren & Eva Eriksson

Max’s Bear by Barbro Lindgren My rating: 5 of 5 stars The board book is an odd beast and one that it’s very easy to get wrong. They’re books that revel less in the text and more in the experience; of the pushing, the pulling, the chewing and the tasting. Board books are the booksContinue reading “Max’s Bear : Barbro Lindgren & Eva Eriksson”

Mango and Bambang : Polly Faber & Clara Vulliamy

Mango & Bambang: The Not-a-Pig by Polly Faber My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’ve never been the timeliest of book bloggers. A part of that stems from the books that I love; those richly layered books that speak of a classical sensibility and timeless potency, and those books about girls at boarding schools inContinue reading “Mango and Bambang : Polly Faber & Clara Vulliamy”

A Song for Ella Grey : David Almond

A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond My rating: 5 of 5 stars I think sometimes that if I were asked to direct somebody to one author in all of British children’s literature, right here, right now, then that author would be David Almond. Sometimes, yes, the shifts of the question and of theContinue reading “A Song for Ella Grey : David Almond”

The Lie Tree : Frances Hardinge

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge My rating: 5 of 5 stars A long time ago I promised myself I would read more Frances Hardinge. I had come across her work beforehand in the rather lovely short story compilation Under My Hat, and been beguiled by her writing. Hardinge is not in my comfort zoneContinue reading “The Lie Tree : Frances Hardinge”

The thing about jellyfish : Ali Benjamin

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’ve been thinking a lot about advance reviews and the timing of them. I worry, sometimes, about reviews being lost if I do them too early or lost if I do them too late. Noise. Volume. But then, as I think this,Continue reading “The thing about jellyfish : Ali Benjamin”

Wendy : Karen Wallace

Wendy by Karen Wallace My rating: 2 of 5 stars I had time for Karen Wallace’s stiffly written, dark, and yet strangely intriguing Climbing A Monkey Puzzle Tree, and so I came to Wendy with some interest. A prequel of sorts to the deliciously complex Peter Pan, Wendy tells the story of the Darling householdContinue reading “Wendy : Karen Wallace”

The Many Worlds of Albie Bright : Christopher Edge

The Many Worlds of Albie Bright by Christopher Edge My rating: 4 of 5 stars This eccentric, rather vividly compelling book is something that I think will mark its space very distinctly in the world. I’ve come across Edge before, most notably with his richly layered Twelve Minutes To Midnight series – Twelve Minutes toContinue reading “The Many Worlds of Albie Bright : Christopher Edge”

The Follyfoot Collection : Monica Dickens

The Follyfoot Collection by Monica Dickens My rating: 5 of 5 stars The horsey phase is, I think, a phase that so many people go through in their life. It is a phase that I went through and that a part of me remains lost in, despite not being near a horse for too long.Continue reading “The Follyfoot Collection : Monica Dickens”

Cherry Cake And Ginger Beer : Jane Brocket

Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer: A Golden Treasury of Classic Treats by Jane Brocket My rating: 5 of 5 stars It was when I saw the recipe for ‘St Clare’s Eclairs’ that I knew something very clear about this book. I am going to marry it. I am in such love with Cherry Cake AndContinue reading “Cherry Cake And Ginger Beer : Jane Brocket”

The Motherless Oven : Rob Davis

The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis My rating: 3 of 5 stars It’s hard to review this twisting, dark labyrinth of a book because reading it felt less like reading, and more like a theatrical experience. I’m conscious that that’s such a loose way to talk about reading for every text is full of theatreContinue reading “The Motherless Oven : Rob Davis”

Refuge : Anne Booth & Sam Usher

Refuge by Anne Booth My rating: 5 of 5 stars It’s hard to read ‘Refuge’ right now and yet, I think, this is perhaps one of the most vital books I’ve read this year. As I’ve watched the news over the past few days, weeks, I’ve become increasingly aware that there are moments in theContinue reading “Refuge : Anne Booth & Sam Usher”

A Reckless Magick : Stephanie Burgis

A Reckless Magick by Stephanie Burgis My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’d heard a lot about Stephanie Burgis’ Kat series; a sort of magical spin on a Jane Austen-esque universe. I took a while to get to it, because it’s a premise which is very much out of my norm. I don’t really readContinue reading “A Reckless Magick : Stephanie Burgis”

Shackleton’s Journey : William Grill

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is craft, this book. It’s hard to know where to begin with Grill’s masterpiece; whether to talk about the palette of clear and clean colours, or his use of space on the page and that conscious decision to let the visuals work forContinue reading “Shackleton’s Journey : William Grill”

A dog so small : Philippa Pearce

A Dog So Small by Philippa Pearce My rating: 4 of 5 stars A slim, tight story that gives so much more than it suggests, A Dog So Small always feels rather Tardis like to me. I have written before on the thick, luscious stylistics of Pearce’s writing; the summer heat of Minnow on TheContinue reading “A dog so small : Philippa Pearce”

The Rest of Us Just Live Here : Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness My rating: 4 of 5 stars I used to really hate the Richard and Judy book club. Every day, after Richard and Judy talked about in television, a thousand people would come into the library and ask for a copy of the book. The bookContinue reading “The Rest of Us Just Live Here : Patrick Ness”

The Vasa Piglet : Björn Bergenholtz

  The Vasa Piglet by Björn Bergenholtz My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’m distinctly conscious that the books I review tend to fit a particular canon of authors, style and language. Whilst some of that is perfectly understandable and self-explanatory (*cough*bit of a fan of the school story *cough cough*), there’s a point whereContinue reading “The Vasa Piglet : Björn Bergenholtz”

Peace Comes to the Chalet School : Katherine Bruce

Peace Comes to the Chalet School by Katherine Bruce My rating: 4 of 5 stars As a rule, I find the Chalet School fill in novels complex. A part of me welcomes their presence as it reflects that readerly hunger of mine for this series, and yet another part of me rampantly dislikes it andContinue reading “Peace Comes to the Chalet School : Katherine Bruce”

A United Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

A United Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars Full of the vibrant light and deft skill that characterises her early Tyrolean work, A United Chalet School sees Brent-Dyer working at the top of her powers. She’s on her way here to the great heights and nuances of The ChaletContinue reading “A United Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

New Beginnings at the Chalet School : Heather Paisley

New Beginnings at the Chalet School by Heather Paisley My rating: 3 of 5 stars First published in 1999, New Beginnings at the Chalet School has been in my consciousness ever since. Partially, it’s because of that searing front cover but also because of the fact that this was one of the first big non-EBDContinue reading “New Beginnings at the Chalet School : Heather Paisley”

The Dragonfly Pool : Eva Ibbotson

The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson My rating: 5 of 5 stars There’s nothing quite out there that reaches Eva Ibbotson at her very best. She writes like buttery crumpets on a midwinter’s day; hot, fat moments that can be tasted on your tongue, warmth in every word and that magical storytelling quality that makesContinue reading “The Dragonfly Pool : Eva Ibbotson”

Rainbow Beauty – Blueberry Wishes : Kelly McKain

Blueberry Wishes (Rainbow Beauty) by Kelly McKain by Kelly McKain My rating: 4 of 5 stars The debut to this series of books set in and around a small beauty parlour in Totnes, Peppermint Kiss, was something quite refreshing to me after a long run of duds, and I’m so pleased to see that BlueberryContinue reading “Rainbow Beauty – Blueberry Wishes : Kelly McKain”

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow : Katherine Woodfine

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine My rating: 5 of 5 stars The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow is a book that, perhaps more than most, starts with that delicious front cover. It is genuinely one of the more beautiful books that I have come across recently; a perfectly balanced cover imageContinue reading “The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow : Katherine Woodfine”

Sisters : Raina Telgemeier

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier My rating: 5 of 5 stars Telgemeier’s work is a joy and this book is life-affirming. ‘Sisters’, a sequel to Smile details the great joy and pain that is sibling life. Raina has longed to be a big sister but, upon the arrival of Amara, she rapidly learns that things aren’tContinue reading “Sisters : Raina Telgemeier”

Green Grass of Wyoming : Mary O’Hara

Green Grass of Wyoming by Mary O’Hara My rating: 5 of 5 stars There is something all encompassing about that moment when somebody discovers that they can love; that they can truly, madly and wholly love somebody or something. It becomes the everything that they are, the everything that they do. It is the air,Continue reading “Green Grass of Wyoming : Mary O’Hara”

Don Quixote (a Spanish language primer) : Jennifer Adams & Alison Oliver

Don Quixote by Jennifer Adams My rating: 4 of 5 stars I love this. It’s a board book which introduces some of the key words in and around the story of Don Quixote, in both English and Spanish. Each spread deals with one particular moment ‘castle / el castillo’ and delivers a vibrant, chunky drawingContinue reading “Don Quixote (a Spanish language primer) : Jennifer Adams & Alison Oliver”

First Class Murder : Robin Stevens

First Class Murder by Robin Stevens My rating: 5 of 5 stars It’s strange, sometimes, how books can make you long to read them and then freeze a little when you have them finally in your hands. And this was one: I love the work of Robin Stevens. I have adored Murder Most Unladylike andContinue reading “First Class Murder : Robin Stevens”

Doodle Lit : Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver

Doodle Lit by Jennifer Adams My rating: 4 of 5 stars Doodle Lit, the work of Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver, is a book that I specifically requested to review and my thanks to the publishers for the review copy. I specifically requested it for several reasons: the boom in colouring in books currently hittingContinue reading “Doodle Lit : Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver”

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland : Alison Jay

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Alison Jay My rating: 5 of 5 stars Alice in Wonderland is a text that has been subject to a most phenomenal process of transformation from its original publication to date. I suspect that there are very few other children’s texts which have been integrated so wholly into our culturalContinue reading “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland : Alison Jay”

The Secrets of Sam and Sam : Susie Day

The Secrets of Sam and Sam by Susie Day My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’m going to start this review by talking about another book. Stay with me, there’s a reason for this. I nominated Pea’s Book of Big Dreams by Day as my pick for the Carnegie last year. The Carnegie, for thoseContinue reading “The Secrets of Sam and Sam : Susie Day”

Max’s Wagon : Barbro Lindgren & Eva Eriksson

Max’s Wagon by Barbro Lindgren My rating: 5 of 5 stars I don’t review that many board books. A lot of this is due to the fact that they’re just not really things that come across my radar. Some of this is due to the fact that they’re always fairly well beaten up in anyContinue reading “Max’s Wagon : Barbro Lindgren & Eva Eriksson”

Fire Colour One : Jenny Valentine

Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine My rating: 3 of 5 stars Books like Fire Colour One make me realise the inadequacy of my rating scheme. So let’s make a pact for the duration of this review: ratings do not exist. This is a book which, quite fittingly, flares and fades and sometimes – justContinue reading “Fire Colour One : Jenny Valentine”

The London Eye Mystery : Siobhan Dowd

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd My rating: 4 of 5 stars It’s books like ‘The London Eye Mystery’ that make me consider how we use the word ‘good’. Good. It’s such a space of a word. It’s sort of phatic at points; things are good, we are good, everything is good, let’s moveContinue reading “The London Eye Mystery : Siobhan Dowd”

The River Singers : Tom Moorhouse

The River Singers by Tom Moorhouse My rating: 4 of 5 stars Rich, genuine and warm-hearted, ‘The River Singers’ is such a lovely book. Moorhouse, as evidenced by this book and also the talk I was privileged to hear him give at the FCBG Conference in 2015, knows the riverside world very well. In this,Continue reading “The River Singers : Tom Moorhouse”

Only Ever Yours – Louise O’Neill

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill My rating: 4 of 5 stars I finished Only Ever Yours last night and laid there for a while, thinking about how I could review this book. There is a problem for me here, and it’s one concerning my own narrative. It’s taken me a long time to figureContinue reading “Only Ever Yours – Louise O’Neill”

Minnow on the Say : Philippa Pearce

Minnow on the Say by Philippa Pearce My rating: 5 of 5 stars It’s odd to be able to describe a book as thick and dense with summer heat; a sensation somewhat removed from the cold practicality of reading the printed page, but Minnow on the Say somehow achieves that. It is a story fullContinue reading “Minnow on the Say : Philippa Pearce”

Y : The Last Man : Brian K. Vaughan

Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned by Brian K. Vaughan My rating: 5 of 5 stars I have a lot of time for Brian K. Vaughan. It started with my discovery of Runaways, a series that rapidly came to encapsulate some of the best things about comics for me. And with Pride, I realisedContinue reading “Y : The Last Man : Brian K. Vaughan”

The Chalet School at War : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Chalet School at War by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 5 of 5 stars It’s easy for me to be flippant about the Chalet School and, to be frank, it is a mode I adopt quite often when discussing this bizarre, brilliant and all too frustrating series. But it is not easy for meContinue reading “The Chalet School at War : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

Agatha Parrot and the Thirteenth Chicken : Kjartan Poskitt

Agatha Parrot and the Thirteenth Chicken by Kjartan Poskitt My rating: 4 of 5 stars I first came across Agatha Parrot at a conference I attended. This is the fifth title in the series but it’s immediately accessible to new readers. Two neat little illustrations at the start of the book, one of the schoolContinue reading “Agatha Parrot and the Thirteenth Chicken : Kjartan Poskitt”

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that every rainy day requires a very good book”

I wish I wrote this sitting in the kitchen sink but I don’t, I write it upstairs and I write it staring out onto a grey and rain spotted day. The sky’s a smudge of sadness and the roofs are slat-dark with the rain that’s pounded on them since first thing this morning. So what doContinue reading ““It is a truth universally acknowledged that every rainy day requires a very good book””

The Head Girl of the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The Head Girl of the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer My rating: 4 of 5 stars It always fascinates me how early this series shifts things; how early things change. The status quo of the first few books is already being changed at this point. Head girls have been and gone (my beloved BetteContinue reading “The Head Girl of the Chalet School : Elinor M. Brent-Dyer”

She Shall Have Music : Kitty Barne

She Shall Have Music by Kitty Barne My rating: 3 of 5 stars I first came across ‘She Shall Have Music’ during my Masters when I started to collate a list of children’s books featuring gifted and talented characters. It’s a topic that still fascinates me; this balance of the incredibly unique individual with talentsContinue reading “She Shall Have Music : Kitty Barne”