Sunday, 29 January 2012

New Books: US Published Books - February 2012

book cover of 

The Humming Room 


Ellen Potter
Ellen Potter - The Humming Room - Published by Feiwel & Friends -  28 February 2012
Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.
As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.
Despite the best efforts of her uncle's assistants, Roo discovers the house's hidden room—a garden with a tragic secret.
Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write.
Kathryn Littlewood - Bliss - Published by Katherine Tegen -  14 February 2012
Rosemary Bliss’s family has a secret. It’s the Bliss Cookery Booke—an ancient, leather-bound volume of enchanted recipes like Stone Sleep Snickerdoodles and Singing Gingersnaps. Rose and her siblings are supposed to keep the Cookery Booke under lock and whisk-shaped key while their parents are out of town, but then a mysterious stranger shows up. “Aunt” Lily rides a motorcycle, wears purple sequins, and whips up exotic (but delicious) dishes for dinner. Soon boring, nonmagical recipes feel like life before Aunt Lily—a lot less fun.So Rose and her siblings experi-ment with just a couple of recipes from the forbidden Cookery Booke.
A few Love Muffins and a few dozen Cookies of Truth couldn’t cause too much trouble . . . could they?Kathryn Littlewood’s culinary caper blends rich emotional flavor with truly magical wit, yielding one heaping portion of hilarious family adventure.
book cover of 

The Star Shard 


Frederic S Durbin
Frederic  S Durbin - The Star Shard - Published by Houghton Mifflin Books -  28 February 2012
This beautifully written fantasy tackles the issues of slavery and freedom.
Twelve-year-old Cymbril is a slave on Thunder Rake, a gigantic wagon city that rolls from town to town carrying goods to be sold by its resident merchants. The Rake’s master purchases a new slave, a mysterious boy named Loric who is one of the magical Fey. Because he can see in the dark, Loric’s duty is to guide the Rake through the treacherous wilderness at night.Cymbril and Loric secretly join forces to plan their escape—soon the two friends thread their way through a series of increasing dangers, encountering an enchanted market and deadly monsters as their one chance for freedom draws nearer.
book cover of 

Above World 


Jenn Reese
Jenn - Reese - Above World - Published by Candlewick -  14 February 2012

Thirteen-year-old Aluna has lived her entire life under the ocean with the Coral Kampii in the City of Shifting Tides. But after centuries spent hidden from the Above World, her colony's survival is at risk. The Kampii's breathing necklaces are failing, but the elders are unwilling to venture above water to seek answers. Only headstrong Aluna and her friend Hoku are stubborn and bold enough to face the terrors of land to search for way to save their people. But can Aluna's fierce determination and fighting skills and Hoku's tech-savvy keep them safe? Set in a world where overcrowding has led humans to adapt - growing tails to live under the ocean or wings to live on mountains - here is a ride through a future where greed and cruelty have gone unchecked, but the loyalty of friends remains true.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Eowyn Ivey - The Snow Child - Book Review

The Snow Child

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (1 Feb 2012)
  • Age - Teen
  • ISBN: 978-0755380527

When I received this book through the post, from the very lovely people at Headline, my first thought was whether this book really fitted into my area of interest. The synopsis sounded bleak, and yet the book cover suggested much more. The tactile title (impressed onto the brilliant blue cover) and the image of a girl and fox in a wood suggested that I should try this. Especially as I have already admitted to judging a book by its cover in an earlier book review.

The book was slow to start. In fact it was almost like peeling an onion - the more I read, the more layers of the story I uncovered. Set in the 1920's a middle-aged couple (Jack and Mabel) move to Alaska. They leave all of their family behind in order to make a fresh start for themselves. Interestingly, they choose the harshest of surroundings; the Alaskan wilderness. Written with such amazing detail, the Alaskan wilderness, is portrayed with crisp accuracy. At times I felt like I was really there; watching the snowflakes floating to the ground and smelling the icy cold rivers. 

The story is about the seeking of happiness and belonging. Coping with the grief of a lost baby, Jack and Mabel try to make a fresh start in Alaska. However, The Snow Child (Faina) enters the story and changes their lonely, isolated existence into one of initial joy. 

At first I turned the pages with trepidation, but then I wanted to know much more about this mysterious character. Initially I thought she was a figment of their imagination or perhaps a fanciful notion from a Russian myth. As a result, the suspense (for me) came from working out what was imaginary and what was real. 

Faina was an absolute joy to read - following her life as it unfolded beneath the sky. Particularly when she met Garret, one of the Benson sons, who helped out on the homestead. This friendship soon turned into more and of course everything started to change - soon Faina and Garret began to embark on their own life. The beautiful and touching ending will have you feeling a number of emotions and a deep longing for it not to be so. 

This is a fantastic story that has been written by a debut author. She has conjured up a magical adventure that I could not leave - the natural and savage beauty of Alaska was captivating. The book has left an everlasting impression on me; I loved every minute of it. 

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Aardman Animation’s: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! Movie Trailer

This film looks like a winner to me from the brilliant people who brought you Wallace and Gromit  and one my favourite films Chicken Run. Take a look on the Captain's Log Production Blog which is also great fun.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Book Trailer:Elizabeth Wein - Code Name Verity

Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Electric Monkey (6 Feb 2012)
  • Age - 11+
  • ISBN-10: 1405258217
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405258210
Two young women become unlikely best friends during WWII, until one is captured by the Gestapo. Only in wartime could a stalwart lass from Manchester rub shoulders with a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a special operations executive. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted to each other. But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France. She is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in "Verity's" own words, as she writes her account for her captors. Truth or lies? Honour or betrayal? Everything they've ever believed in is put to the test...

Monday, 23 January 2012

Scottish Book Trust: Liz Lochhead - Free Live Author Event Celebrating Burns

Scotland’s National Poet Liz Lochhead is to give a live broadcast to children across Scotland during a special Robert Burns celebration on Thursday 26 January at 11am. The Scottish Friendly Meet Our Authors Special Event, run by Scottish Book Trust, will be streamed live from BBC Scotland in Glasgow and available after to watch again for free from the Scottish Book Trust website. The broadcast will be most suited to children from P6 – S4 (9-16 year olds) and any fan of Scottish poetry.

Your readers can join over 10,000 pupils across the UK watching the event live by following this link:   Alternatively – I know I haven’t given you much notice – the event can be downloaded or streamed from next Thursday following the same link.

Liz will be celebrating the poetry of Burn’s as well as reading her own work. We’re sure this event is going to be really inspirational as no-one can make Burns come to life like Liz can.

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - Top Ten Books of 2011

                                               book cover of 

The Night Circus 


Erin Morgenstern

  1. Erin Morgenstern - Night Circus - Published by Harvill Secker - Sep 2011
  2. Ronsom Riggs - Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children - Published by Quirk - June 2011
  3. Carloz Ruiz Zafon - The Midnight Palace - Published by Orion/Weidenfeld & Nicolson - June 2011
  4. Brian Selznick - Wonderstruck - Published by Scholastic - Sep 2011
  5. Will Hill - Department 19 - Published by HarperCollins - March 2011
  6. Moria Young - Blood Red Road - Published by Marion Lloyd Books - June 2011
  7. Robin Jarvis - Dancing Jax - Published by HarperCollins - Feb 2011
  8. Patrick Carman - Floors - Published by Scholastic US - Sep 2011
  9. Cliff McNish - The Hunting Ground - Published by Orion - May 2011
  10. Patrick Ness & Siobhan Dowd - A Monster Calls - Published Walker - 5 May 2011
It's not always easy task to make a list like this. A great amount of reflection and thought has gone in to working out my favourite reads of 2011. Let me know what you think. 

Friday, 20 January 2012

EXCLUSIVE EARLY PEEK: M.G Harris - The Joshua Files 5: APOCALYPSE MOON book trailer 2012

We have a early sneak peek of the last book in the Joshua Files series. I'm very sad it's all coming to an end..... Thank you to M.G for letting us show you all this book trailer nice and early.

Something is very wrong with the 2012 Plan. Is it really on course to save the planet from the gigantic Electro-Magnetic Pulse that's due to shatter civilisation at the end of the year? After a narrow escape from US government agents Josh decides to risk his own life on a daring mission - a leap forward in time to discover the truth about 2012. He's jumped ahead far enough to glimpse a post-apocalyptic world in collapse. And to realise - it could be his destiny to stay.

New Books: Published February 2012 - UK Post Two of Two

Victoria Barry - Darkmoor:The Darkness Discovered - Published by Matador - 1 February 2012
The old Victorian vicarage has stood empty for over a decade in the village of Filius. With rumours of its haunted past, everyone stays away...Well, almost everyone! Ten-year-old Catherine Rose has become obsessed with the rundown ruin and makes daily diary entries about its only surviving inhabitant, the clever crow. When twelve-year-old Matthew Khan and his dad move into the vicarage, Catherine's obsession increases. Before too long, the newfound friendship traps them both into a cruel world mastered by the clever crow himself. As their fight for survival starts, they must discover the secrets that are hidden deep within the darkness and uncover the truth behind Crow and his precious vicarage. The only question is...Will you dare to delve into the darkness with them? Darkmoor: The Darkness Discovered is the first of a 5 part series, aimed for children aged 8 and upwards. It is a mixture of fantasy, mystery and adventure which, as a child Victoria loved to read for herself.

book cover of 

Freax and Rejex 

 (Dancing Jax, book 2)


Robin Jarvis
Robin Jarvis - Dancing Jax: Freax and Rejex - Published by HarperCollins - 2 February 2012
The second novel in the extraordinary, ground-breaking, genre-busting new trilogy from master of fantasy Robin Jarvis
Five months have passed since the publication of the devilish book discovered in Dancing Jax. It is on its ninth reprint and tens of millions of copies have been sold in the UK. The entire country is now under its evil spell.
Yet a tiny percentage of the population have proven to be immune to the words of Austerly Fellows. The number of unaffected children between the ages of 7 and 15 is only 49. With the critical eyes of the rest of the world turned towards Britain, the Ismus decides to send the children for an intensive holiday camp, where they will study the sacred text and learn to embrace it.
But after the holiday is over, the children are told their stay has been extended. A barbed wire fence is put up around the site. And it soon becomes apparent that the place is not a camp and the children are not guests. They are prisoners of war.

book cover of 

To Be A Cat 


Matt Haig

Matt Haig - To Be A Cat - Published By Bodley Head - 2 February 2012                                 Barney Willow thinks life couldn't get any worse. He's weedy, with sticky-out ears. Horrible Gavin Needle loves tormenting him - Barney has no idea why. And headteacher-from-hell Miss Whipmire seems determined to make every second of Barney's existence a complete misery! Worst of all, Dad has been missing for almost a year, and there's no sign of him ever coming home.

Barney just wants to escape. To find another life... Being a cat, for example. A quiet, lazy cat. Things would be so much easier - right?

Barney's about to discover just how wrong he is. Because he's about to wake up as a cat - and not just any cat. Gavin Needle's cat...

book cover of 

Will Gallows and the Thunder-Dragons Roar 

 (Will Gallows, book 2)


Derek Keilty
Derek Keilty - Will Gallows and the Thunder Dragons Roar - Published by Andersen - 2 February 2012
The West Rock is crumbling. Land is fast becoming more precious than gold. Sky cowboy, Will Gallows, having fled his home, is soon caught up in a bitter land feud between the cowboy settlers of the eastern arm and the elf 'braves' of Gung-Choux village. With battle looming, Will sets out to save his uncle from the hangman's noose.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

New Books: Published February 2012 - UK Post One of Two

John & Carole Barrowman -  Hollow Earth - Published by Buster Books - 2 February 2012 

Lots of twins have a special connection - being able to finish each other's sentences; sensing what the other is thinking; perhaps even knowing when the other is in trouble or in pain - but for 12-year-old twins, Matt and Emily Calder, the connection is beyond special. Together, the twins have extraordinary powers. They are able to bring art to life, or enter paintings at will. Their abilities are sought by villains trying to access the terrors of Hollow Earth - a place where all the demons, devils and creatures ever imagined lie trapped for eternity. The twins flee with their mother to the security of an island, off the west coast of Scotland, where their grandfather has certain protective powers of his own. But too much is at stake, and the twins aren't safe there either. The villains will stop at nothing to find Hollow Earth and harness the powers within...

book cover of 

Mortal Chaos 

 (Mortal Chaos, book 1)


Matt Dickinson
Matt Dickinson - Mortal Chaos - Published by OUP Oxford - 2 February 2012

The Butterfly Effect ': the scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. When a butterfly startles a young rabbit, and the rabbit makes a horse rear, it starts a chain of events, over the course of one day, that will change people's lives . . . and end people's lives. From a climber on Everest to a boy in Malawi . . . from a commercial pilot to an American psycho . . . the chaos knows no bounds. This heart-stopping adventure by writer, film maker and climber Matt Dickinson will leave readers breathless. It's the book Jack Bauer would have read as a teenager!

book cover of 



Michael Grant
Michael Grant - BZRK - Published by Electric Monkey - 28 February 2012

The most breathtaking and exhilarating ride you will take this year, this is the first in an incredible new action thriller series from Michael Grant, author of "Gone". These are no ordinary soldiers. This is no ordinary war. Welcome to the nano, where the only battle is for sanity. Losing is not an option when a world of madness is at stake. Time is running out for the good guys. But what happens when you don't know who the good guys really are? Noah and Sadie: newly initiated to an underground cell so covert that they don't even know each other's names. Here they will learn what it means to fight on a nano level. Soon they will become the deadliest warriors the world has ever seen. Vincent: feels nothing, cares for no one; fighting his own personal battle with Bug Man, the greatest nano warrior alive. The Armstrong Twins: wealthy, privileged, and fanatical. Are they the saviours of mankind or authors of the darkest conspiracy the world has ever seen? The nano is uncharted territory. A terrifying world of discovery. And everything is to play for...

book cover of 

Keeper of the Realms 

 (Crow's Revenge, book 1)


Marcus Alexander
Marcus Alexander - Keeper of the Realms:Crow's Revenge - Published by Puffin - 2 February 2012 ( Was Privately Published Under the name Who Is Charlie Keeper?) Not sure how much of the story has changed.
Book one in this new fantasy adventure series, Keeper of the Realms.

'I've just had a flesh-eating giant tearing around my house and now I'm in this strange land I don't know anything about!'
CHARLIE KEEPER has been forced from her home by a bloodthirsty and terrifying stranger.But in escaping she discovers her house holds the gateway to the REALM OF BELLANIA - a place of myth, magic . . . and an evil Lord with a very bad attitude.

NOW its fate rests squarely upon Charlie's shoulders. But before she can untangle the mystery that will save Bellania, she needs the answer to a life-changing secret her guardian, the dastardly Mr Crow, has been keeping from her . . . Just who is Charlie Keeper?


J. D. Sharpe and Charles Dickens - Oliver Twisted - Book Review


  • Paperback: 288 Pages
  • Publisher: Electric Monkey (6 Feb 2012)
  • ISBN- 978-1405258173
  • Age Range: Teen
It's a great start to the New Year when you get a book like this to read - a debut book by a new talented author. Although this author does also have another book that has been published under a slightly different name, but I'm not sure why? 

Oliver Twisted kicks off a new imprint from Egmont known as Electric Monkey. This is an exciting new imprint and if this book is a measure of the quality to expect then we are all in for a treat. 

"Flesh," the woe-begotten moaned at Oliver, baring teeth which were ragged and black. "Flesh" came another moan, and he turned to see two more behind. They began to shuffle towards him, barefoot. The world according to Oliver Twisted is simple. Vampyres feed on the defenceless, orphans are sacrificed to hungry gods and if a woe-begotten catches your scent it will hunt you forever. On the advice of a corpse, Oliver flees his ghastly orphan life to seek his destiny in the dark streets of old London Town, despite the perils of the woe-begotten zombie-infested journey. There he meets the shadowy Dodger, the evil old soul-stealer Fagin, and the menacing Bill Sikes, who is more beast than man. But will Oliver Twisted be the world's salvation, or its downfall?!
This book is an absolute joy to read. When writing about a famous character like Oliver Twist, the author could have easily made the mistake of changing the history, character and flavour of the original book. However, in this case, the author really develops the story creating a fantastic reading experience for all who read it. There have been some slight subtle changes made to the character and some creative changes to the story. However, most of the facts have been kept intact - well, nearly most.
Set in the authentic Dickensian time, the main characters Dodger, Fagin, Bill Sikes and good-old Bullseye are all featured in the story, but not as we know them. The book is an interesting slice of Victorian gore. Zombie woe-begotten corpses lurk around every corner waiting to feed on any scrumptious carcass of human flesh. With Vampires feeding on blood and orphans being sacrificed to the hungry gods - there are many dangers lurking within the pages, but these are only the start . . . . . 
I really enjoyed reading this book; it's definitely my kind of read. Set in Victorian London (my all time favourite period) with fast paced action and lots of dark monsters - there's nothing that's really not to be enjoyed! The twisted version of events, whilst still relatively in-keeping with the classic tale, will keep you gripped. Please Sir, can I have some more?

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books will be taking part in the above blog tour, so why not follow and find out more - if you dare........

Book Plug#4 - Astrid Lindgren Illustrated by Marit TŲrnqvist; - In the Land of Twilight

book cover of 

In the Land of Twilight 


Astrid Lindgren
Goran has an injured leg and he gets bored spending so much time in bed. But when his mother turns out the light at dusk, Mr Lilyvale knocks on the window and takes him to the Land of Twilight. Goran and Mr Lilyvale walk and fly around Stockholm when people from the daytime world are sleeping. 

Goran drives a tram and a bus. It doesnít matter that he has a bad leg in the Land of Twilight. They eat candy that grows on trees in the park, play with bear cubs and meet a moose. They even visit the King and Queen in the royal palace. At the end of their journey each night, Mr Lilyvale takes Goran home just before his mother comes in and turns on the light. 

This delightful story about the power of the imagination is set in a magical version of Stockholm, and painted in beautiful twilight tones.

Subject:Picture Book
Age Range: From 5 to 8
Published by:Floris Books
Publication Date:19 Jan 2012

About the Author(s)

Astrid Lindgren (1907-2002) was born on a homestead in SmŚland, Sweden. Her most famous book, Pippi Longstocking, was published in 1945. She is also well known for Carlsen on the Roof, her books about The Bullerby Children and The Tomten. Her books have sold around 145 million copies worldwide, and she has won many awards, including the Hans Christian Andersen Award and the International Book Award from UNESCO. Her books A Calf for Christmas and Goran's Great Escape, also illustrated by Marit Tornqvist, are published in English by Floris Books.
Marit TŲrnqvist was born in 1964 in Uppsala, Sweden and divides her time between the Netherlands and Sweden. She studied illustration at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. In 2011 she was awarded a Golden Plaque from the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava, one of the most prestigious children's illustration awards. She has illustrated several of Astrid Lindgren's picture books, including A Calf for Christmas and Goran's Great Escape, both published by Floris Books.

Thursday, 12 January 2012


Royal Mail is celebrating one of the nation’s best-loved children’s authors, Roald Dahl, with its first stamp issue of 2012.

The presentation pack of six stamps celebrates six of Dahl’s most famous books that children and adults alike came to know and love, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Twits and Matilda.

The stamps themselves recreate the magic of the Dahl books, using the beautiful illustrations of Quentin Blake.

For the launch, Royal Mail Stamps is running a competition on its Facebook page,, to win Roald Dahl's Scrumdiddlyumptious Story Collection featuring seven of his best-loved books, a pop-up book of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and a Roald Dahl presentation pack.

 The stamps are also available via the link here: also on the Royal Mail eBay store:

Fact: Roald Dahl would write most of his books in a dingy little hut at the bottom of his garden. 

Sophie Dahl asks for help to restore Roald's writing hut.

Sophie Dahl is leading a fund-raising campaign to restore and relocate the famous hut in which her grandfather Roald Dahl penned some of his best-loved children's classics. See More.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Coming Up - Simon Mayo - Itch - Preview

                                       book cover of 



Simon Mayo

We're very pleased to be publishing Simon Mayo's debut novel in March. Simon is best known as the broadcaster and host of Radio 2's award winning Drivetime show. ITCH is a fast-paced thriller filled with effervescent action starring an accidental school boy hero. Itch is 14 and loves science, especially chemistry. His hobby of collecting all the elements in the periodic table gets him into some highly explosive situations.

First he singes his eyebrows when an experiment with phosphorous in his bedroom goes wrong, then he gives his classmates arsenic poisoning. When Itch makes a discovery of a new element that's never been seen before which is potentially very valuable he has to use all his wits and scientific knowledge to stop others getting hold of it. As he's pursued from Cornwall to London and beyond he realises that this element could cause untold havoc across the world.

ITCH is published on 1st March, just before National Science and Engineering Week, and we'll have special periodic table posters, reading notes and a fabulous video trailer available.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Press Release: HarperCollins Signs Chris Columbus For New Book Series



New York, NY/ London (January 5, 2012)—HarperCollins Publishers announced today that it has preempted rights to a three-book middle-grade series, House of Secrets by iconic Hollywood director and producer Chris Columbus, co-authored by acclaimed young adult novelist Ned Vizzini. This is Columbus’s debut series for young readers with the first book slated for global publication in Spring 2013.

Master storytellers Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini have created a high-stakes fantasy,” said Balzer. “From the very first page I knew we had to publish this series. It’s an incredibly imaginative adventure with clever plot twists and nonstop action—not to mention a family that readers will immediately fall in love with. House of Secrets has all the hallmarks of a new classic."

Denwood added, “Combining classic adventure with sublime offbeat humor, and with three brilliant siblings at its heart, this has the potential to be the next big series. It's going to be epic.”
“The opportunity to write this novel is a dream come true," said Columbus. "I have lived with the characters of this novel and their world for many years, and was saving them for something very special. Working on House of Secrets with Ned has been a thrill.”
The Pagett kids had it all: loving parents, a big house in San Francisco, all the latest video games . . . But everything changed when their father lost his job as a result of an inexplicable transgression. Now the family is moving into Kristoff House, a mysterious place built nearly acentury earlier by a troubled fantasy writer with a penchant for the occult. Suddenly the siblings find themselves launched on an epic journey into a mash-up world born of Kristoff's dangerous imagination, to retrieve a dark book of untold power, uncover the Pagett family's secret history and save their parents . . . and maybe even the world.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Ivan Brett - Casper Candlewacks in the Claws of Crime - Happy Publication Day

book cover of 

Casper Candlewacks in the Claws of Crime! 

 (Casper Candlewacks, book 2)


Ivan Brett

I’m just leaving a school event in early December when a boisterous chap who’d been in my event sticks his head out of his classroom window.
“Oy, Ivan!” he shouts. “You’re an idiot!”
Most authors would be insulted by this, but not me. “Why thank you,” I reply, give him a wave and make to leave.
But he’s not disappeared back behind his window. He wants a proper response, and I’m not going to deny him. “But compared to you, I’m nothing.”
He grins, says “Yssssss”, and then his friend’s head pops up.
“What about me? Am I an idiot?”
“Yup,” I say. Even more than your mate.”
The second boy high-fives the first and they slip back into their classroom, satisfied.

My full-time job involves calling children idiots, and I love it. How did it come to this?

The Casper Candlewacks series, my first foray into publishing, is all about glorifying the idiot. And I don’t mean stupid people – I mean all of us. I want to celebrate everything that’s wrong with us, our clumsiness, our bad decisions, the ugly bits that we usually try to tuck away and hide. When I go into schools the first thing I do is prove to the kids that I’m an idiot. Then I let them prove they’re idiots, then we sing the idiots’ national anthem (‘How Much Is That Doggy In The Window, but backwards, if you’re asking. I’ll sing it for you if you ask nicely.) and happy in our shared idiocy we get on with the rest of the session.

Once you’ve got someone to be proud of their bad bits, what is there to be scared of? Nothing, is the answer. Nothing at all. How brilliant is that?

And that’s what I try to do in Casper Candlewacks. In the village of Corne-on-the-Kobb, idiots rule. But it makes for a whole lot more fun, and lets the crazy stuff that goes on seem absolutely normal. In Casper Candlewacks in The Claws of Crime, which is out today, we’ve got French cat burglars, huge bejewelled swords, an egg-boiling lie-detector, multiple defenestration and quite a few clobs round the head with a cricket bat. Where else but in a village of idiots?

Today (5th January) sees many books being published. The question is, which book do you pick to read? Sounds easier than it is as there's so much choice to select from. However, let me make it easier for you - if you need a pick me up, perhaps with a hobnob and a cup of laughter, then this is definitely the book to seek out. As every good idiot knows (myself included, so I'm told) then you'd be idiot not to read this book. Funny, zany and totally off the wall with mad ideas, it will have you feeling much better about the dark and dreary January we find ourselves in. By the way, did I tell you that I was an Idiot too... ?

Thank you Ivan for sharing some information about your new book. I hope the 'Claws of Crime' finds itself doing time on many bookshelves, both young and old. Anyway, out today, you should be able to locate a copy in your local bookshop - so what are you waiting for? Go and grab a copy.