Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Andy Briggs - Drone Racer - Interview (Q&A) - Published by Scholastic UK

It's brilliant to have Andy Briggs on Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books today to answer some questions on his latest book - Drone Racer. The book was recently published on the 6th September 2018 by Scholastic books in the UK. It's probably the first book to feature the sport of Drone Racing. Technology and gadgets are blended together in an action-packed story that will thrill all. I'm a very big fan of Andy's books as he always delivers super narratives and engaging fast-paced stories that everybody will love regardless of age and gender. 

Can you tell us about Drone Racer from a film directors point of view?
Drone Racer is an idea that I always felt fitted into those feel-good movies from the 1980s… but set now. I was brought up on sci-fi-adventure stories, such as ET, The Last Starfighter, My Science Project, Batteries Not Included, Flight of the Navigator, to name just a few. I wanted this to be that kind of story, one you would expect Spielberg to make during the height of those classic Amblin Films.
            With young protagonists, shadowy villains, and an artificially intelligent racing drone, my aim was to create an adventure my readers would love to experience themselves.

Describe this book in ten keywords
An action packed childhood adventure for geeks of all ages.

What makes Drone Racer an exciting read for children and why? Do you think adults will also love it?
Ultimately, as a creator I enjoy writing about worlds I know (at least in my head!) and adventures I personally would love to have. Drone Racer is very much that labour of love. Set against the canvas of the emerging new esport of drone racing (yes, it’s a real sport around the world, with very real prizes!), readers of all ages will experience a new, yet familiar world. 
            We enter the story through our three drone racing team members, Carson, Trix and Eddie, who are ordinary kids. Carson lives with his estranged father, Eddie is a bit of a geek who never seems to fit in, and Trix is an engineering genius –a girl who is shattering a boy oriented world. When they discover an artificially intelligent drone called Vanta, they embark on a spectacular adventure that takes them around the globe… as a mysterious force pursues them…

Has technology inspired you to write this book? If so, how?
Most of my books revolve around technology. My pervious series, THE INVENTORY, was about the world’s greatest gadgets hidden from the rest of the world and it allowed me to combine my two joys – cool tech and travelling the world!
            With Drone Racer, I had the opportunity to focus the entire book on the wonderful world of quad-copters – drones to you and me. It's a technology everybody seems to know about. They have been one of the most popular Christmas presents over the last few years and when I am on a school tour and ask the kids who owns a drone, I am amazed by the number of hands that go up. It’s pretty incredible.
            When I discovered drone racing as an emerging esport, I instantly saw a brilliant arena in which to set a story… I just needed a story.
            We’re all used to talking to our phones and home hubs, so why not drones. And what if they not only answer back, but have personalities of their own? That’s when I realized I could push the technology further by making Vanta artificially intelligent; turning her into a real character. It was a joy to blend tech with a fun main character!

What is your favourite gadget?
I suppose it would have to be the thing I use every day, my mobile phone. But I am tending to use the phone less as a phone, and more for assisting in using even better technology. I use it to fly a drone (of course!), via a headset so the screen becomes the view point of the drone’s camera. I’m now also using it with more and more augmented reality apps because that’s going to be the next big thing…

If this was ever made into a film which actors would you choose to play the lead characters in the book and why? 
Carson, Trix and Eddie are all young, so there are not that many actors who would fit the bill (although I have seen some amazing youngsters in the theatre lately). I think finding new talent, as they did with Harry Potter, would be the way to go. But for our bad guy, I always had one person in mind… the awesome Rachel McAdams. I’m not going to tell you too much about the villain… but she’s it!

We know you have a passion for 80's and 90's films. Which film do you think would work the best if it featured a Drone in a revamped version and why?
Ha! Brilliant question… the obvious one is Batteries Not Included as the little space aliens in there are, kinda, drones. If Goonies had a modern makeover then they would definitely have some kind of tricked out drone to help them on their adevnture!

I really love the book cover as it is very appealing, what are your thoughts on it? Do you think good book covers play a big part in the way we choose books to read?
The old saying, “you can’t judge a book by its cover”, is true. But that doesn’t mean people don’t do just that. These days it’s less the kids who are judging the covers but the retailers, such as Waterstones, who now – quite wrongly – have a say on cover design.
            I have to say, when I first saw the cover I was instantly taken back to the covers of my old Commodore 64 games (for young readers, that was a computer that had a whole 64k of memory. K, not Gb, and for that you got dozens of levels of coolness, music and animation. Now a similar game will take up a hundred Mbs on my phone!). It was as if I was looking at a cover from my past that was strangely also futuristic!

What tips would you give children who are interested in writing a sci-fi fantasy adventure? 

There is no such thing as a bizarre idea! Just go away and write it, and don’t worry if it seems too futuristic. The chances are, when your twice as old, your sci-fi idea will start becoming a reality. We need pioneers to think ahead, to try and second guess how the world will change – and we could all do with more adventures in our lives. If we can’t have them now, then let’s read about them.

Twitter: @abriggswriter

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's/Young Adult Book Picks September 2018 - US Post Two

Mary Downing Hahn - The Girl in the Locked Room: A Ghost Story - Published by Clarion Books (September 4, 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-1328850928 - Hardback 

Ghost story master Mary Downing Hahn unrolls the suspenseful, spine-chilling yarn of a girl imprisoned for more than a century, the terrifying events that put her there, and a friendship that crosses the boundary between past and present.

A family moves into an old, abandoned house. Jules's parents love the house, but Jules is frightened and feels a sense of foreboding. When she sees a pale face in an upstairs window, though, she can't stop wondering about the eerie presence on the top floor—in a room with a locked door. Could it be someone who lived in the house a century earlier?

Her fear replaced by fascination, Jules is determined to make contact with the mysterious figure and help unlock the door. Past and present intersect as she and her ghostly friend discover—and change—the fate of the family who lived in the house all those many years ago.

Kevin Sands Call of the Wraith (The Blackthorn Key) - Published by Aladdin (September 25, 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-1534428478 - Hardback 

Christopher Rowe is back and there are more puzzles, riddles, and secrets to uncover in this fourth novel of the award-winning Blackthorn Key series.

Christopher Rowe has no idea who he is. After being shipwrecked in Devonshire, he wakes up alone, his memories gone. Villagers tell him he was possessed by an unseen evil, and only became conscious after being visited by the local witch.

As Christopher tries to get his bearings, he realizes his current state may be far from coincidence. Dark events have been happening in this corner of Britain—village children are disappearing without a trace. There are whispers that the malevolent ghost of the White Lady has returned to steal the children away, one by one, and consume their souls.

Thankfully, friends Tom and Sally find Christopher and help him reconnect with his unique skills and talents, even as his memories elude him. But as motives and secrets are revealed, Christopher finds himself in a desperate race to reclaim his memories and discover the missing children before it’s too late.

Pete Hautman - Otherwood - Published by Candlewick (September 11, 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-0763690717 - Hardback 

What happened in the woods that day? Pete Hautman’s riveting middle-grade novel touches on secrets and mysteries — and the power of connections with family and friends.

“Hatred combined with lies and secrets can break the world.” Grandpa Zach used to say that before he died, but Stuey never really knew what he meant. It was kind of like how he used to talk about quantum physics or how he used to say ghosts haunted their overgrown golf course. But then one day, after Stuey and his best friend, Elly Rose, spend countless afternoons in the deadfall in the middle of the woods, something totally unbelievable happens. As Stuey and Elly Rose struggle to come to grips with their lives after that reality-splitting moment, all the things Grandpa Zach used to say start to make a lot more sense. This is a book about memory and loss and the destructive nature of secrets, but also about the way friendship, truth, and perseverance have the ability to knit a torn-apart world back together.

Daniel José Older - Dactyl Hill Squad - Published by Arthur A. Levine Books (September 11, 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-1338268812 - Hardback 

It's 1863 and dinosaurs roam the streets of New York as the Civil War rages between raptor-mounted armies down South. Magdalys Roca and her friends from the Colored Orphan Asylum are on a field trip when the Draft Riots break out, and a number of their fellow orphans are kidnapped by an evil magistrate, Richard Riker. 

Magdalys and her friends flee to Brooklyn and settle in the Dactyl Hill neighborhood, where black and brown New Yorkers have set up an independent community--a safe haven from the threats of Manhattan. Together with the Vigilance Committee, they train to fly on dactylback, discover new friends and amazing dinosaurs, and plot to take down Riker. Can Magdalys and the squad rescue the rest of their friends before it's too late?

Monday, 24 September 2018

P. G. Bell - The Train to Impossible Places - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books Review

The Train to Impossible Places is a fast-paced adventure starring 12-year-old Suzy, a science-loving realist who wakes one night to find a grumpy troll building a railway track through her hallway. Moments later the Impossible Postal Express, in all its physics-bending glory, thunders into the hall. Of course, Suzy has to jump aboard! She becomes a postie charged with delivering a package to the sinister Lady Crepuscular of The Obsidian Tower. Of course, the package is cursed. And of course, the fate of the Union of Impossible Places depends on Suzy. And so a magical fantasy adventure begins for Suzy...and all in her second best pair of PJs. 

The Train to Impossible Places is the debut middle-grade book by P.G. Bell. It will arrive into the impossible world and beyond with full steam ahead on the 4th October 2018. It is being published by Usborne Publishing (UK) in a brilliant hardback format. The book has been lovingly decorated with illustrations by the talented Flavia Sorrentino. It's an actual marvel, you only need to look at the dust jacket for it to get your attention. However, take a moment to also remove the dust jacket and marvel at the amazing piece of artwork underneath - it just needs to be seen and admired.

The book started as a bedtime story for Peter’s young son, who demanded ‘another amazing story’ the night after they’d finished reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Inspired by that story, The Train to Impossible Places grew into this epic story that will be loved by many people for many years to come. It's a story packed full of imagination that will instantly transport any reader into the fantastic plot. 

It's a beautiful engineered story full of whimsical characters and industrious landscapes that would not be out of place on the set of a magical film. The start of the book for me was slow going, just like the train, but it soon gathered pace until I was hanging on by my fantasy fingertips for the next page. You will hurtle through explosive amounts of action and arrive with brilliant bouts of humour. I especially loved the scene with the underwater ghost pirates fantasy gold. I think they should have their very own spin-off story. 

The book is littered with little cameo moments that are loaded with irony, just like the rails the Postal Express train runs on. All of these moments turn the narrative into a phantasmagorical dream making this one of the best creative MG fantasy stories for any dreamer, this year. 

It's full of magic, mayhem, mysterious marvelousness and endearing characters. As part of your journey, you will encounter some over-excited retired postal trolls and a frog trapped in a snow globe. You'll battle hard with a sorceress and an army of deadly stone statues. These are just a few of the examples that Suzy Smith (main character) finds herself facing. Written well, rich in detail and full of postal mayhem and exploding bananas, yes you will need to watch out for them all. 

This story once finished will leave you out of breath and will have you hungry for more. It's a surprise package with more to come in the next installment - I literally can't wait! What a brilliant book - it's a family read full of fun, wonder, and pure delight. 

Friday, 21 September 2018

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's/Young Adult Book Picks September 2018 - US Post

Sean Easley - The Hotel Between - Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (September 4, 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-1534416970 - Hardback 

A magical hotel, a mysterious tree, and a cryptic story about their missing father leads twins Cam and Cass on a worldly adventure in this enchanting debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and Wildwood

Twins Cam and Cass have never known their parents. They’ve been told their mother died, and Cass is certain their father abandoned them. Cam isn’t so sure. He wants to prove her wrong; he must.

Cam’s wish is soon granted in the form of a glistening, golden sign with elaborate flourishes that reads: The Hotel Between. With doors that open to countries all over the world, magical trollies, charmed corridors that can be altered on a whim, stone elephants that turn to life, sweets made from rocks; everything is possible in The Hotel. Cam has a hunch his father is somehow connected to this magical place, and may even be lost within its hidden halls.

Every journey has its risks, and The Hotel Between is full of dangerous secrets. If Cam’s not careful, his stay may be over before his vacation has even started.

Liesl Shurtliff - Time Castaways #1: The Mona Lisa Key - Published by Katherine Tegen Books (September 18, 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-0062568137 - Hardback 


From the New York Times bestselling author of Rump comes a thrilling new middle-grade trilogy about three city kids who get on the wrong subway train and wind up on a wild, magical mystery-adventure throughout time. Imaginative, daring, and packed with fun, Time Castaways is perfect for fans of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Libraryand Percy Jackson.
Mateo, Ruby, and Corey Hudson’s parents don’t have too many rules. It’s the usual stuff: Be good. Do your homework. And never ride the subway without an adult, EVER. But when the siblings wake up late for school, they have no choice but to break a rule. The Hudson siblings board the subway in Manhattan and end up on a frigate ship in Paris…in the year 1911.
As time does tell, the Hudson family has a lot of secrets. The past, present, and future are intertwined—and a time-traveling ship called the Vermillion is at the center. Racing to untangle the truth, the kids find themselves in the middle of one of the greatest art heists of all time.

And the adventure is just getting started.

Karsten Knight - Welcome to Doom Farms (Bonegarden) - Published by Independently published (September 4, 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-1718179325 - Paperback 

The first in a spooky new series perfect for fans of Goosebumps. 
When Kayla Dunn’s family moves from the city to the country town of Orchard Falls, she has one dream: to grow pumpkins big enough to compete in the annual Jack-o’-Lantern Festival. Desperate to win—and beat her next-door nemesis—she resorts to planting unusual, glowing seeds from a mysterious shopkeeper. 

Kayla should be overjoyed when her pumpkins grow faster and bigger than she ever imagined … but her first harvest is about to become a real nightmare. 

Because these pumpkins are blue and veiny. 

Because their vines seem to have a mind of their own. 

And because something terrifying inside them is longing to hatch.

Cherie Priest (Author), Tara O'Connor (Illustrator) - The Agony House - Published by Arthur A. Levine Books (September 25, 2018) - 

  • ISBN-13: 978-0545934299 - Hardback 

Denise Farber has just moved back to New Orleans with her mom and step-dad. They left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and have finally returned, wagering the last of their family's money on fixing up an old, rundown house and converting it to a bed and breakfast. 

Nothing seems to work around the place, which doesn't seem too weird to Denise. The unexplained noises are a little more out of the ordinary, but again, nothing too unusual. But when floors collapse, deadly objects rain down, and she hears creepy voices, it's clear to Denise that something more sinister lurks hidden here.

Answers may lie in an old comic book Denise finds concealed in the attic: the lost, final project of a famous artist who disappeared in the 1950s. Denise isn't budging from her new home, so she must unravel the mystery-on the pages and off-if she and her family are to survive...

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Barry Hutchison (Author), Lee Cosgrove (Illustrator) - Night of the Living Ted - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books Book Review

When Lisa Marie and her step-brother Vernon pop into town to get their dad a birthday present, they discover the Create-a-Ted shop is offering free Halloween bears! Making two grisly bears for themselves and choosing an Elvis bear named Bearvis for Dad, they head home. That night the shopkeeper brings the bears to life for nefarious purposes … but Vernon’s bear, Grizz, doesn’t want to be a slave to humans – he wants to rule the world! Converting the shopkeeper’s Stuff-U-Lator into a machine for turning living matter into stuffed bears, he begins to prowl the streets. Can the children and Bearvis save themselves – and the world – from being stuffed?

WARNING: No Teddy Bears were harmed in the making of this book - they were only stuffed!

One of the most asked questions we receive is: what books would you recommend for readers around the ages of six or seven that have a scary element to them but are not ghost stories? This for me would be a good start to answering this question. It is the latest book by Barry Hutchison entitled Night of the Living Ted. The first book in a brand new series, this has already been published by Stripes Publishing and is out in shops now. 

The book has been illustrated by Lee Cosgrove which makes it even more fun and appealing to this particular age group. The illustrations add life to a story that is already brilliant and very enjoyable. The book cover image is especially clever; it really gives the reader the idea of what to expect inside the cover. For me, it captures the essence that you will definitely love it and, if you don't then we will set the teddies on you. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Only five-star ratings on Amazon PLEASE. 

The magic of this book is that it will appeal to everybody regardless of age. You will laugh all the way through this crazy plotted story that harks back to the early books written by Barry Hutchinson's such as the INVISIBLE FIENDS series. The book is so funny that I found myself laughing on many occasions, especially if you are familiar with "THE KING" (Elvis Presley). The puns come quickly just like the action. The concept of the story revolves around Teddy Bears coming to life and wreaking havoc on their local neighborhood. Stealing, destroying and turning parents into slugs, what more could you want. It will both hook and transport you into the slightly sinister world of the author's childhood fantasies. (I think he might have read too many comics if you ask me!)

This book will provide great family entertainment. However, it also depicts the relationship between step-siblings and the feelings they have between each other. It develops another side to the story which just adds a little element of thinking.

You will never look at a Teddy Bear in the same way again. Those glassy eyes will be staring at you in a sinister way - you might want to watch your games console, just in case .... You'll certainly want the planet to be saved from these cuddly monsters. This is a five-star book full of fun, laughter and much much more .... Just watch your step and remember no teddy bear is to be trusted!

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's Book Picks September 2018 - UK Post Two

Patrick Ness (Author), Rovina Cai (Illustrator) - And the Ocean Was Our Sky - Published by Walker Books (6 Sept. 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-1406383560 - Hardback


From the multi-award-winning author of A Monster Calls comes a haunting tale of power and obsession that turns the story of Moby Dick upside down.
"Call me Bathsheba." The whales of Bathsheba's pod live for the hunt. Led by the formidable Captain Alexandra, they fight a never-ending war against men. Then the whales attack a man ship, and instead of easy prey they find the trail of a myth, a monster, perhaps the devil himself... With their relentless Captain leading the chase, they embark on the final hunt, one that will forever change the worlds of whales and men.

Andy Briggs - Drone Racer - Published by Scholastic (6 Sept. 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-1407188423

An action-packed novel that brings drone racing to life!

Carson and his friends love racing drones, and they can't believe their luck when they stumble across a discarded one at a junkyard. 
But this new find is full of surprises. When they power the drone up, it starts talking
And it's fast.
Really fast.
Carson's team could win big prizes in the racing leagues. 
Trouble is, someone wants their incredible drone back, and they'll stop at nothing to get it. How can three kids protect their new friend?

J. R. Wallis - The Black Amulet (Badlands 2) - Published by Simon & Schuster Children's UK (6 Sept. 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-1471157943 - Paperback  

Welcome to the Badlands ... a hidden part of our world populated by creatures which most people think exist only in fairy tales and nightmares.

Reunited with his parents, Jones is finally living the 'normal' life he's always wanted. But, despite leaving the Badlands behind, there's still magic inside him...

His two friends, Ruby and Thomas Gabriel, are struggling with their new lives too; Thomas Gabriel's magical abilities are fading away and Ruby is realizing she might never be accepted as a 'proper' Badlander in a world of monster-hunting men.

One thing could help them all - the Black Amulet, a magical artefact hidden for centuries by the most powerful Badlander that ever lived. But finding it won't be easy, and using it even harder, because things are never simple when magic is involved... 

Cornelia Funke - The Glass of Lead and Gold - Published by Pushkin Children's Books (27 Sept. 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-1782691983

It's a beautiful story set in an alternate London, and is full of magical characters you may have seen in the InkWorld and MirrorWorld stories!
 In a land of elves, mermaids and trolls, true magic is where you least expect it...
In the snow-covered city of Londra, young Tabetha survives by finding treasures in the mudbanks of the river Themse. On Christmas Eve, a sinister stranger asks her to keep her eyes open for a priceless, long-lost magical object: the Glass of Lead and Gold.

As word of the Glass spreads across the city, Tabetha finds herself with some unlikely companions, not least a one-armed girl and a rather impressive soup chef. But will Tabetha discover that there are even greater fortunes to be found than the magical Glass?

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

A. F. Harold (Author), Illustrated by Emily Gravett - The Afterwards - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - Book Review

Fact: Ember and Ness are best friends. There's nothing more to say about it. It is what it is. It is what will always be. Ember and Ness. Then Ness dies. It is sudden and unexpected and leaves Ember completely empty. How can this be? When Ember finds a way into the Afterworld, she determines to bring Ness back. Because that's what friends do isn't it? They rescue each other. They help. They never give up. Ember and Ness. That don't change. A powerful, poignant, darkly comic and deeply moving story about friendship at its most extraordinary.

This is another moving book by A. F. Harold titled "The Afterwards". On the 1st November 2018, this tiny little seed of a story will amble into the life of the reading world and beyond. It is delightfully and intelligently illustrated by the amazing Emily Gravett. You only get a glimpse of the illustrations inside the proof copy, however, you know they will fit seamlessly together like a fantasy glove. Working together in harmony they give the reader both the feel and the flavour of the story inside. For me, it's another masterclass of the author and the illustrator working and connecting together to deliver something special to the reading world. 

The book cover for me captures the story really well. It draws you in and makes you want to start reading. You instantly turn the pages which are filled with children's laughter and vibrant colour. It's a book filled with friendship, but the mood does dramatically turn to death. The rainbow of happiness is stripped back for the main two characters (Ness and Ember), falling through a sieve to land in a world of black and white. These are ordinary children about to embark on an extraordinary adventure like no other, but will there be a happy ending?

The reflective story takes shape the more you read. You'll be pulled and tugged through the emotional playground of life and what it means to be HUMAN, but more precisely what it means to be YOU. Everybody who reads this book will SEE it from a different perspective. It is very poignant and thought-provoking. A powerful narrative lies ahead with one that will seek answers to what lies within. It is a grown-up book written from a child's perspective as it is played out through two young children capturing the essence of true friendship. 

You can expect a straddle of mystery and a large slice of the author's personality. You'll navigate a family path of love, an endless amount of hope and perhaps even a handful of tissues. There is also a cat which is probably based on one of the author's own. This is a great book that has a fantastic reach into the human world and beyond. It's a story that will make you think and certainly reflect on life. Consider it as a train ride into the reader's past and when the last page has been turned, a journey into the reader's future. A brilliant and much recommended read. 

Friday, 7 September 2018

Mark Lowery - Charlie and Me: 421 Miles From Home - Short Extract

Here we have a short extract from the marvellous novel Charlie and Me:421 Miles From Home. This is a funny and sad story, which is full of kindness and loss. I feel this was a book that may have got slightly lost and swept under the carpet - it has appeared to have missed people's attention. Yet, it is a brilliant book and one that you should definitely track down. Read the synopsis and short extract to hopefully whet your appetite. It's out now in all good bookshops. 

Thirteen-year-old Martin and his younger brother Charlie are on a very special journey. They're going to be travelling 421 miles all the way from Preston to the very tip of Cornwall. They're hoping to catch a glimpse of the dolphin that regularly visits the harbour there. But is that the only reason they are going? 

It's a journey that's full of challenges and surprises. Martin adores his brother Charlie but he's not like ordinary kids. He's one in a million. He was born far too early, and ought to have died. And cheeky, irrepressible, utterly unique Charlie is always keeping Martin on his toes - especially on this crazy trip they are now on. Martin is doing his best to be a good big brother, but it's hard when there's something so huge coming once they get to Cornwall ...

I always try to help Charlie with his homework. He struggles at school because he can’t focus on things and he’s a bit hyperactive. Mum says this is common with kids who were born early. She’s always having rows with the teachers about it, because he can’t be expected to learn like everyone else, can he? And if they let him use his imagination instead of trying to stuff his poor little head full of useless information, then maybe he’d have a chance in life. 

She’s very sensitive when it comes to Charlie. And she’s sort of right – people think he’s thick, but in some ways he’s mega-smart. His brain’s just wired up differently that’s all. 

Even so, the teachers have got a point. When he was in Year Three, he brought a letter home saying: ‘Charlie did not complete today’s spelling test because he was pretending to be a tortoise.’ Dad thought this was hilarious and stuck it on the fridge. 

‘Times tables? On a Saturday?’ says Charlie, flinging the stick down. The baggy sleeves of his jumper swing round afterwards. ‘Child cruelty! I’m calling the RSPCA.’ 

‘What?’ I say, ‘The animal charity?’ 

‘Yeah,’ replies Charlie, as though this is what he meant all along.

 ‘I’ll tell ’em you keep a . . . a pig in a shoe box and . . . you throw darts at it and you make it smoke cigarettes. 

They’ll lock you up and then I’ll be safe.’ 

I snigger. ‘Come on. Which times table are you doing at the moment?’ 

‘The one times table,’ he says immediately. ‘One one is one. Two ones are t—’ 

‘Rubbish!’ I interrupt, giving him a friendly jab in the arm. ‘Nobody learns the ones. Let’s do the eights. One eight is eight. Two eights are . . . ?’ 
Charlie looks off into the distance and scratches his head. ‘Er . . . fourteen . . . ?’ 

‘Try again.’ 

‘Twelve . . . no, seventeen.’ 

‘It can’t be seventeen,’ I sigh. I try to be patient with him, but I’m pretty good at maths and working with Charlie can get seriously frustrating.

 ‘We’ve been through this. Seventeen’s not in any tables. It’s a prime number.’ 
This was a mistake. Straight away he’s talking about something else. 

‘Prime number? 

Is that like the Prime Minister?’ he says, and before I can answer he’s off: ‘If I was Prime Minister, I’d make everyone wear top hats.’ 

We reach a red light and I push the button. ‘What? Why?’ I say, my brain struggling to catch up. 

‘I like ’em. Plus then I’d be taller than everyone.’ 

‘But they’d all be wearing top hats too.’ 

He thinks for a second. ‘Yeah. But only the Prime Minister would be allowed to wear high heels.’

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's Book Picks September 2018 - UK Post

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books has handpicked some of the best reads from those coming out this September 2018. We have been thoroughly spoilt by the quality of so many books packing a great fantasy punch. Why not check out the post and maybe add some of them to your upcoming reading book pile. 

Kieran Larwood (Author), David Wyatt (Illustrator) The Five Realms: The Beasts of Grimheart - Published by Faber & Faber (6 Sept. 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-0571328444 - Hardback 

 The bard looks up at the three figures. They have black hooded cloaks and long robes. From the holes in their masks, three pairs of eyes watch him: cold, calm, emotionless.'Yes,' says the bard. 'They're bonedancers. You don't need to sound quite so excited, though. They have come to kill me.'

And so it is that the bard and and his young apprentice Rue are taken to Spinestone, the temple warren of the bonedancers. It is here that the bard is ordered to retell the tale that has got him in so much trouble . . . and so to the next instalment in the astonishing tale of Podkin One-Ear . . .
Podkin, Paz and Pook once again find their home under threat, but this time they are ready to fight! Podkin and the others leave for Sparrowfast to ask their uncle for the use of his magic bow. It's the one weapon that could save them all. But as they flee into the forest depths, it seems they have been betrayed . . 

Anna James - Pages & Co: Tilly and the Bookwanderers - Published by HarperCollins Children's Books (18 Sept. 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-0008229863 - Hardback

 A captivating, curl-up-on-the-sofa debut about the magic of books and the power of the imagination. 

Since her mother’s disappearance, eleven-year-old Tilly has found comfort in stories at Pages & Co., her grandparents’ bookshop. But when her favourite characters, Anne of Green Gables and Alice from Wonderland, appear in the shop, Tilly’s adventures become very real. Not only can she follow Anne and Alice into their thrilling worlds, she discovers she can bookwander into any story she chooses.
Tilly’s new ability could even help her solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago. But danger may be lurking on the very next page…

Ross MacKenzie - The Elsewhere Emporium - Published by Kelpies (13 Sept. 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-1782505198 - Paperback (Book Review Here)

The Nowhere Emporium has been stolen. The shop from nowhere has vanished without a trace. Will it ever reappear? As they search for the lost Emporium, Daniel and Ellie encounter magical bookshops, deserted islands, and an array of magicians (both dead and alive). Meanwhile a dangerous force is attacking the Emporium from the inside, waiting for a chance to break free. In this highly anticipated sequel to the award-winning The Nowhere Emporium, readers will once again be transported into a magical realm where imagination is power and anything is possible. Loyal fans will be astonished by the new wonders beyond the Emporium's doors as the gripping mystery unfolds.

Piers Torday - The Lost Magician - Published by Quercus Children's Books (6 Sept. 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-1786540515 - Hardback

'If you can imagine it, it exists ... somewhere.' The new spellbinding fantasy adventure from the bestselling, award-winning author of The Last Wild trilogy.
1945. They have survived the Blitz, but when Simon, Patricia, Evelyn and Larry step through a mysterious library door, it is the beginning of their most dangerous adventure yet. They discover the magical world of Folio, where an enchanted kingdom of fairy knights, bears and tree gods is under threat from a sinister robot army. 
The many stories of the Library are locked in eternal war, and the children's only hope is to find their creator - a magician who has been lost for centuries. 
What they find will change not just their own lives, but the fate of the world, for ever...