Thursday, 28 May 2020

Free Poems and Prose for Children in Lockdown - Published by Cranachan

Island-based publisher Cranachan has launched a free, illustrated anthology of poems and stories for children aged 8-12. Stay at Home! Poems and Prose for Children in Lockdown is a collection of 40 lockdown-themed contributions by writers based in Scotland. 

The new book, which is available for free and available on the Books from Scotland website and on Amazon, is described as “a book about lockdown– the good bits, the bad bits, and the ugly bits when nobody could get any toilet roll. It’s divided into three sections – Life in Lockdown, Everyday Superheroes, and the World Beyond Our Windows.” 

Stay at Home!, illustrated by Darren Gate, aims to help children reflect on their time in lockdown. There is something in the anthology for everyone, from the serious to the hilarious, with short stories, flash fiction, poems, letters and diaries (including some in Scots) all giving their take on lockdown life topics such as kitchen haircuts, birthdays, home-schooling, daily exercise, pets, nature, neighbours–and even toilet roll alternatives.

The collection is edited by debut novelist Joan Haig and comprises work written especially for the lockdown volume, from well-loved children’s authors and new writers including: 

Raisah Ahmed, Annemarie Allan, Dean Atta, Nayanika Basu, Pamela Butchart, Philip Caveney, Maisie Chan, Suleman Chebe, Alastair Chisholm, Justin Davies, Lari Don, Elizabeth Ezra, Matthew Fitt, Kerry L Fleming, Merryn Glover, Laura Guthrie, Joan Haig, Yasmin Hanif, Robert J Harris, Callum Heitler, Barbara Henderson, Diana Hendry, Emily Illet, Lindsay Littleson, Joseph Lamb, Elizabeth Laird, Joan Lennon, Caroline Logan, Janis Mackay, Alan McClure, Miranda Moore, Raman Mundair, Alex Nye, Rachel Plummer, Ross Sayers, Linda Strachan, Chae Strathie, and Victoria Williamson.

Explaining her motivation for creating the book, Haig says: “Originally, I had an idea at the start of Lockdown for a recipe book from children's stories and contacted a few authors then to gauge interest. It was pointed out that ingredients were short in the shops and I gave up thinking about it! But I still felt that there was an opportunity to do something incredibly positive through writing in the Covid crisis, to reach out to children, but also to bring together children's authors in Scotland.” 

The book’s publisher, Anne Glennie of Cranachan, added: “It is the job of writers to record and to make sense of this new world. We are living through an historical moment in time–and this collection does not shy away from that reality but explores it, and hopefully, helps children come to terms with it as they recognise themselves and their experiences in its pages.”

Stay at Home! Poems and Prose for Children in Lockdown launches on 28th May and is available to read for free here: and is free for download on Amazon.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

J. R. Wallis - The Book of Mysteries (Tales From the Badlands 3) Guest Post + Book Reading

Hello Everybody. We hope you are keeping well. Today, we are rather pleased to be celebrating the release of the third book in the Tales From the Badlands series by J. R. Wallis. This book is entitled The Book of Mysteries and will be published by Simon & Schuster Children's books on the 28th May 2020. 

We are doing a lovely virtual book tour to celebrate this fantastic slice of fiction heading into the real world for you lovely people to read. This is the second stop with the first one calling at Book Monsters yesterday. Follow the link HERE if you missed it. Whilst tomorrow’s reading will take place on Miss Clevland's fantastic BLOG so be sure to visit this for the next part in the story reading. 

We are particularly excited to announce a giveaway for a copy of The Book of Mysteries @enchantedbooks on twitter. Why not head over there now for your chance to win a fantastic copy? 

Finally, there is a really interesting guest post from the author about writing Endings below.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Philip Caveney - The Book of Secrets - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

It's always a real pleasure to read a new book by Philip Caveney. This is his latest offering, a thumping rip-roaring theatrical comedy that has been published by an independent publisher (UCLan Preston, England). The book was published in April 2020 and is another fantastic stand-alone Middle-Grade novel. It's very reminiscent of the author's previous epic book series SEBASTIAN DARKE which are all fantastic and very much worth seeking out if you're not familiar with them. 

The book starts with Boy riding across the desert with fantastic plans for the future. No sooner does he start his adventure when things begin to go badly wrong for him. Whilst on his way to the great city of Cherabim armed with the BOOK OF SECRETS, which contains his late father's brilliant inventions, he is cheated, robbed, and left for dead in the desert. One of the brilliant reasons I love reading books by Philip Caveney is that he always comes up with something different and exciting to read. He has a fantastic imagination and leads the reader to amazing places and unimaginable situations. 

As you follow BOY throughout this epic adventure you will encounter a brilliant group of eccentric travelling actors. Lexi, Pompio, and Grud (all fantastic characters) will charm you both on and off the stage.
The only problem is that their latest star is no longer part of the troop and they are looking for a new leading man - I wonder who might end up with this role? Events start to take on a medieval fantasy that is brilliantly captivating and highly addictive. The book is told with witty dialogue, funny banter and comical incidents that will leave you walking a tightrope of action on a stormy day.

Can Boy track down the all-important Book of Secrets? Can he lead the troop to theatrical success? These are all questions you will be asking yourself and ones that you will not be able to resist finding out the answer to. I can highly recommend that you raise the curtains and take the final bow in reading this magical escapade that has been written by one of the best authors around. It's full of surprises, mysteries, thrills, and more importantly tales of friendship with a hint of romance. Buy it and escape into a fantasy bubble for a few hours - leave these troubled times temporarily. With this book you'll find yourself clapping wholeheartedly for an encore.

If this review has not piqued your interest then why not read this one which has been written by a very harsh critic. Please follow me this WAY to find out even more. 

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Ewa Jozefkowicz - Girl 38: Finding a Friend - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

One of the books I have read recently is the second book by Ewa Jozefkowicz entitled Girl 38: Finding a friend. It was actually published in March 2019 by Zephyr so I am a little bit behind with this one. Ewa's debut novel The Mystery of the Colour Thief was shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Prize 2019. This second book builds on the same characteristics of her debut story, but with a little added extra superpower layered into the storyline. 

The first part of the story follows Kat, a 12-year-old girl, who loves working on her super-heroine in her Comic: Girl 38. Kat is lonely as her parents are busy working long hours and, at school, Gem is no longer her 'best friend'. This part of the plot draws out the narrative with a considerate and heartfelt approach.   

The second part of the story is told through the creation of Kat's inventive super-hero, a comic that she starts to write. It's a place that Kat loses herself in, an imaginary world that pulls into the contemporary thread fantastically. This helps to water down the tension, seriousness, and the dark situations that the characters face in the book. 

The final part of the storyline is also the most compelling. It is the real-life story told by Ania, Kat's lonely next-door neighbour. The story is set at the time of WWII in Poland retelling the encounters by Ania such as her daring leap to freedom, and her search for her lost friend, Mila. Unfortunately, she was taken away by soldiers to a 'walled village' at the outbreak of the war. This part explains the terrifying, darkest times and the emotions that Ania faced through her ordeal. It is told in snippets that all pull the story threads through a rollercoaster of events creating a magical performance. It really softens the heartstrings and makes it a joy to read. 

All the stories relate to unlikely friendships both new and old as well as overcoming fear in the darkest and bleakest of times. However, it also teaches us about courage, bravery, and superhero powers as Kat unravels the mystery of the girl in the painting. This is all done with an imaginative flair by a writer who understands how to keep a reader engrossed. It encompasses the darkness as well as showering the reader with light, love, and warmth told through great storytelling.

This is a fantastic thought-provoking read that will be loved by everybody regardless of age. It shows both human frailties and strengths in a blink of an eye. It is a fantastic adventure from start to finish - a book to savour and reflect upon. 

Monday, 18 May 2020

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - Favourite Children's Publisher 2020 - Winners Post

Hello Everybody. We had a lockdown idea to find your favourite children's publisher by giving you the chance to vote from 24 different children's publishers. Overall, we had an amazing response with the contest receiving over two thousand votes. Over half of these were from the final where more than 1200 votes were cast. It has been really exciting to watch and follow over the last five weeks. The whole experience has been a real privilege and a pleasure to host.

I would like to thank everybody involved in this all the publishers, authors, and voters for sharing and supporting this little adventure. A story of Winners and no losers.  We have had fun and excitement at times like these it's great to see the love for our children's book community once again. We love you. 

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books would love to take this opportunity to Congratulate CRANACHAN PUBLISHING for winning the first-ever favourite Children's Publisher of the year 2020. You are the shining jewel in the Scottish Crown of publishing.  Thank you all once again and enjoy your day. 

Friday, 15 May 2020

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's & Young Adult Book Picks US - May 2020

Celesta Rimington - The Elephant's Girl - Published by Crown Books for Young Readers (May 19, 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-0593121221 - Hardback - Age: 8+

An elephant never forgets, but Lexington Willow can't remember what happened before a tornado swept her away when she was a toddler. All she knows is that it landed her near an enclosure in a Nebraska zoo, and there an elephant named Nyah protected her from the storm. With no trace of her birth family, Lex grew up at the zoo with Nyah and her elephant family; her foster father, Roger; her best friend, Fisher; and the wind whispering in her ear.

Now that she's twelve, Lex is finally old enough to help with the elephants. But during their first training session, Nyah sends her a telepathic image of the woods outside the zoo. Despite the wind's protests, Lex decides to investigate Nyah's message and gets wrapped up in an adventure involving ghosts, lost treasure, and a puzzle that might be the key to finding her family. As she hunts for answers, Lex must summon the courage to leave the secure borders of her zoo to discover who she really is--and why the tornado brought her here all those years ago.

Mari Mancusi - Dragon Ops - Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (May 12, 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1368040907 - Hardback - Age: 8+

One wrong move, and it's game over.
Welcome to DRAGON OPS, the world's first augmented-reality video-game theme park. Set on a once-deserted island, our three beta players-classic gamer geek Ian; his adventure-seeking sister, Lily; and their too-cool-for-gaming cousin, Derek-have been lucky enough to score an invite to play before the fully immersive experience opens to the public.

But once inside, they find themselves trapped in a game taken over by a rogue AI dragon called Atreus, and suddenly the stakes go beyond the virtual world. With no cheat codes, guidebooks, save points, or do-overs, they'll need all their cunning and video-game hacks to beat the game? and survive in real life.

Action-packed and unputdownable, Dragon Ops will thrill gamers and reluctant readers alike with high-tech adventure and electrifying twists and turns.

Peter Lerangis - Throwback: The Chaos Loop - Published by HarperCollins (May 5, 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-0062406415 - Hardback - Age: 7+

Peter Lerangis, the New York Times bestselling author of the Seven Wonders and Max Tilt series, returns with the second installment of his electrifying trilogy about a boy who discovers that he alone can alter the course of history.
Ever since Corey Fletcher found out that he’s the world’s first “throwback,” with the power to not only visit history but change it, he’s been spending as much time in the past as possible. Corey loves using his skills to fix problems and help his friends and family. But as Corey becomes more and more addicted to rewriting history, he learns that time travel might change him in ways he may never be able to reverse. 
Aware now that he can’t keep going into the past forever, Corey decides to use the trips he still has to change history in the most meaningful way he can imagine: by stopping Adolf Hitler. But when Corey travels back to World War II-era Germany, he quickly learns that the forces of history are strong and that it’s going to take a lot more than his good intentions to turn back the tides of evil—or even to survive them.  
Get ready for a time-warping adventure with a historical twist in the second book of the Throwback trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Peter Lerangis, whose books have sold over five and a half million copies worldwide.

Kevin Emerson - Lost in Space: Infinity's Edge (Lost in Space (2)) - Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (May 19, 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-0316425971 - Hardback - Age: 8+

The second thrilling, original novel based on Netflix's smash hit Lost in Space! This all-new story focuses on twelve-year-old Will Robinson and his closest friend and greatest protector--a mysterious Robot with a dangerous past.

The Robinsons--Will, his two teenage sisters, and their parents--are members of a colonist group who had been traveling across the galaxy to establish a new home, only to have had their ship attached and stranded on an alien planet. Just when they had finally managed to get off-world, the Robinsons were thrown off course yet again and were sent drifting toward an unknown location.

Now, six months later, the Robinsons are stuck on an inhospitable water planet with no contact from their fellow colonists or from Will's beloved Robot. The twelve-year-old doesn't have any friends in his new home until he discovers a mysterious girl...from the future. Her name is Clare, and she desperately needs Will's help to save her family. Will is eager to bond with his new friend, but--little does he know--something sinister lurks just beneath her surface. Can Will find a way to help Clare while keeping his own family safe?

Monday, 11 May 2020

Philip Caveney - The Book of Secrets - Guest Book Review

This is an unlikely source for today's reading entertainment from the shady but real deal Danny Weston. This is his opportunity to sing the praises of Philip Caveney's latest shindig The Book of Secrets. Sorry, I've got that all wrong as Danny Weston said it was a pile of horse manure. In fact, he is quoted as saying 'He will never be as good as me, so get over it'. 

This review is the witness and testament from the Plague Doctor. Otherwise known as the skeleton of death with the oversized hooter from the world-renowned books the CROW BOY Trilogy. These books have been published by bad-ass Fledgling Press and can bought from their SITE.

So, are you ready to hear his thoughts about The Book of Secrets? Sure you are. Enjoy and stay safe in these crazy times. 

Greetings, fiction fans. Your friendly neighbourhood plague doctor here. Some of you (the lucky ones) may have read of my exploits in the Crow Boy trilogy, where I keep coming up against that pesky time-travelling intruder, Tom Afflick. Despite coming from the future and knowing nothing about life in the various eras in which we meet, he keeps getting the better of me. Curse him!

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that being a plague doctor is no bowl of cherries. In fact it’s sometimes quite depressing. So in those rare moments when I can find time to lose myself in a good book, I tend to seek out stories that are designed to lift my mood a little. You know the kind of thing - something that will make me smirk, chuckle and even (very occasionally) laugh out loud.

The other day, one of my patients, who clearly wasn’t going to be around long enough to finish reading it, handed a book to me, saying that since he was a bit short of cash, maybe I’d take it as part-payment for my services. I reluctantly agreed but in the end, I was glad I did!

It’s called The Book of Secrets and it’s set in this strange desert world where the climate is clearly a lot warmer than my home city of Edinburgh. It’s about this boy called er… Boy (to find out why, you’ll need to read the book) and he’s the possessor of an amazing invention, created by his late father, that can actually turn sand into water. I know, incredible, right?

Boy is on his way to the city of Ravalan, where he intends to enter the invention in a great competition that’s taking place there - but in the desert he meets up with a rascal called Gordimo, who steals the invention and leaves Boy for dead.
Now, before I go on, let me tell you that a part of me really identified with Gordimo. Yes, I appreciate he’s supposed to be the villain of the story, but as a bit of a villain myself, I really admired his cunning and evil trickery. Just saying!

Anyway, Boy is rescued by a troop of travelling players led by a fearless girl called Lexi. She’s part elvish and it’s clear from the word go that she and Boy have taken a bit of a shine to each other. Lexi’s theatre company is in dire need of a new leading actor and they ask Boy if he can help out. Since they’ve just saved his life, he can hardly say no, right?

And this is where the laughter starts because Boy is useless as an actor and accidentally turns the very serious play they’re performing into a slapstick comedy. Weirdly though, it’s a much bigger success because of this! There are lots of other characters. I particularly liked Pompio, who is a ‘boobo,’ a kind of ape-like creature who can talk and who spends most of his time making sarcastic comments about everyone he meets. (Reminded me of myself when I was younger and more care-free.) And there’s this big clumsy oaf called Grud who despite his size, is actually very gentle and child-like. I wanted to hate him, but somehow, he got to me. Grrr!

So, can Boy get to Ravalan before Gordimo does? Can he retrieve his wonderful invention and claim the (massive) prize money? And can he cope with being the new comedy hit on stages at every town the theatre troupe visits?

Well, as I said earlier, read the blessed book. 

Now it’s time for me to put on my bird mask and head off to do battle with that pesky Tom Afflick again. Honestly, who said that it was a quiet life being a plague doctor? 

I bid you good day and I hope you enjoy The Book of Secrets as much as I did.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Children's Books Published May 2020 - Twitter Round Up Post - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

Hello Everybody, I hope you are all safe and well. I thought we would do a post to help support authors, illustrators, publishers, and hardworking bookshops who are currently facing extraordinary times. With everybody turning to social media and online sites to promote their books or businesses, it can be a whirlwind of noise. At times like this, some books may go unseen by people (including me!) which is the inspiration for this post. A recent @Enchantedbooks tweet post as highlighted some of the fantastic books that are weathering the fantasy storm this month (May 2020). 

We've put a collection of the books from this tweet that covers a diverse range of books for children which can be loved by adults, especially the ones I have missed mentioning previously.  We will also try and put in Independent books sellers links with each selection which might help small or independent businesses at a time like this.  We have a graphic novel, picture book, and an assortment of books that we thought you might be interested in reading and buying. I would like to thank you all who responded on twitter it was fantastic to hear from.  I'm also happy to put other book shop links if any of you come forward. I did best to put them all on here and it might be a feature we will do regularly again. Stay safe and well and happy reading. 

Metaphrog - Bluebeard - Published by Papercutz (19 May 2020) - Graphic Novel Hardback - Age: 8+ Buy Here From Page 45
The award-winning duo, Metaphrog, transform the classic folktale into a feminist fairy tale, about the blossoming of a young child to womanhood striving for independence. Eve spends an idyllic childhood of long summer days with her sweetheart Tom, and together they dream of exploring the world. But that dream is soon shattered as she comes of age. The mysterious Bluebeard is looking for a new bride and has his sights set on Eve, and rumor has it that his former wives have all disappeared. What will Eve find in the castle beyond the enchanted forest? A forbidden chamber, a golden key, and the most terrifying secret take on a new life in this gothic graphic novel.

Tim Allman (Author), Nick Shepherd (Illustrator) - Max Takes a Stand - Published by OUP Oxford (7 May 2020) - Paperback - Age: 7+ Buy From Blackwells Here

This fun, anarchic series revolves around a boy called Max and his mission to make the world a better place. In each book in the series, Max tries to save the planet through positive direct action, with hilarious results but real heart too. Unfortunately, not everyone reacts so positively to Max's methods-but nothing can dampen his passion!

Josh Lacey (Author), Beatriz Castro (Illustrator) - Hope Jones Saves the World - Published by Andersen Press (7 May 2020) - Paperback - Age: 8+  Buy Here From Hive (Read Extract Here)
My name is Hope Jones. I am ten years old. I am going to save the world. 
Hope Jones New Year s resolution is to give up plastic, and she s inspiring others to do the same with her website When she realises her local supermarket seems to stock more unnecessary plastic than food, she makes it her mission to do something about it. She may be just one ten-year-old with a homemade banner, but with enough determination, maybe Hope Jones really can save the world.

Angela Woolfe - Roxy & Jones: The Great Fairytale Cover-Up - Published by Walker Books (7 May 2020) - Paperback - Age: 8+ Buy Here From Waterstones

A hilarious modern fairy-tale mash-up set in a world in which witches are real, magic is real and fairy tales are not only real ... but recent history.
Once Upon a Modern Time, in the city of Rexopolis, in the Kingdom of Illustria, lived twelve-year-old Roxy Humperdinck, half-sister to Hansel and Gretel (yes, THE Hansel and Gretel, not that she knows it). Enter Cinderella ("Call me Jones") Jones, who most definitely does NOT want to marry ghastly Prince Charming and is far too busy hunting for lost relics of the Cursed Kingdom. But now she needs Roxy's help. And Roxy's about to discover the truth about her world and her family: that witches are real, magic is real and fairy tales are not only real ... but recent history.

Sylvia Hehir - Deleted - Published by Garmoran Publishing (28 May 2020)  - Paperback - Age: 12+ - Check Out The Publisher Here
How much worse can Dee's life get? Having already suffered a traumatic break up with her boyfriend, her best friend is now warning her off the handsome new boy in the village. So what if his dad is a traveller? And that's without all the problems she's having with her mobile phone. A young adult romance with a hint of mystery.

Julia Rawlinson (Author), Tiphanie Beeke (Illustrator) - Fletcher and the Summer Show Published by Graffeg Limited (10 May 2020) -  Hardback Picture Book - Buy Here From Publisher

Combining emotive, lyrical storytelling with an engagement with nature, the adventures of Fletcher coincide with the characteristics of the four seasons, inspired directly by author Julia Rawlinson's experiences with her own children and their inquisitiveness about nature.
The character and book series have been widely used in educational settings as a springboard for exploration of language, illustration, storytelling, friendship and the natural world.
As summer begins, the wood comes alive with new sounds, but without a distinctive one of her own to join in with, Rabbit feels left out. With the help of his friends, Fletcher decides to put on a show where everyone's talents can shine. The second of four Fletcher titles themed around the passing seasons.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Christian McKay Heidicker - Thieves of Weirdwood - (A William Shivering Tale) - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

At times like this, we all need a jolly and interesting story. If you are a kid who loves a magical fantasy or a big kid (like me) who just wants to escape into a world so different from our very own then this is the book for you. This is a William Shivering tale written by Christian McKay Heidicker. Thieves of Weirdwood is due to be published in the US by Henry Holt and Co this month (May 2020). It is the first book in a planned series that has all the magical ingredients to keep you entertained.

One of the things you can not miss about this book is the fantastic book cover illustration which has been produced by the talented illustrator Eric Deschamps. Check out more of his great work here It really draws the reader to the book and makes you want to turn the pages inside. Once you enter this story, the book also has many great black and white illustrations by Anna Earley which really enhances the total reading experience.

One thing I have recently discovered about this book is that you can download an interactive Weirdwood Manor story app that is rather fun and great for keeping the kids entertained. Here is a link if you are interested ( 

We are introduced to the brilliant Arthur and Wally, who are twelve-year-old thieves, looking to do a big job to pay off their debts. However, when Arthur spots some wealthy strangers leaving a deserted mansion he identifies an opportunity too good to miss. At this point, the strange just gets stranger! The reader is heading for a real treat as this story explodes into a fantasy extravaganza full of action and deadly peril that will have you hooked. 

These 'chalk cheese' thieves unravel a secret headquarters of a magical order who protect the balance between the REAL and IMAGINARY worlds. The nightmare soon begins as darkness descends into magical chaos consuming the reader. The bones in your body will quiver and shiver in an extraordinary world. From dolls that kiss and change you into porcelain and giant tentacle monsters that rip you from your comfy armchairs.

This is a very imaginative story full of complex twists and turns. All of which are told in a quirky narrative that blurs the real and imaginary with a flourish of the quill pen. It's very dark and atmospheric as you travel between the realms. The book has so much going on but the real question is: can they steal enough money to pay off the debts and save their home (Kingsport) from being just a tale? That's for you to get on board and find out. This is a fantastic start to a new series with much more to come. Make sure you check it out as it's really easy to buy a copy in the UK even though it has been published in the US and Canada.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Jenny Pearson - The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates - Blog Tour

Good Morning. Welcome, Everybody to Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books.  I hope you are all faring well and keeping safe.  It's a great pleasure to be apart of The Super Miraculous Journey of the Freddie Yates blog tour. This is one of my favourite funny books of the year. It has bags of humour and features many fantastic characters. If you like to find out more about the book please check my book review Here. 

Today's stop features a post by Jenny Pearson. It talks about her favourite books with heaps of humour and heart. What are your favourite funny books? Please let us know what yours are on the blog or share them with us on twitter using the #Freddie Yates and tag us all in the tweet. 

Happy reading and enjoy your day. 

While I hope there are lots of funny parts in the Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates, from accidental pant snuffling to exploding toilets, I wanted to make sure it was also packed full – like Phyllis’s pear and potato turnovers – with some heartfelt moments.  I love books that have heaps of heart and humour and I’m going to share with you some of my favourites. 

Frank Cottrell-Boyce is an absolute genius. I love all his books. All of them. I first read Millions and adored Damian – he has such a unique look on the world which is both endearing and amusing – I laughed, I cried, and I became a lifelong fan at that moment. I then read Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth and I could not have loved that alien-dog more. Framed, Cosmic, The Forgotten Coat, Broccoli Boy, Runaway Robot – honestly, if you haven’t read any of Cottrell-Boyce’s books, do yourself a favour and read them all. They are so so good. You will thank me for this, trust me. 

Lara Williamson is an author who knows how to create wonderfully loveable characters who take you on an emotional rollercoaster of laughter and tears. If you haven’t met Beckett (The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair), Dan (A Boy Called Hope), Adam (Just Call Me Spaghetti-Hoop Boy), and  Mabel (The Girl With Space in her Heart), you simply must get yourself acquainted. 

The Charlie Changes into a Chicken series by Sam Copeland is a firm favourite in my class, and as a teacher, I have had so many parents tell me how this is the series that got their child into reading. It is incredibly funny – from the narrator teasing his readers and arguing with the publishers and his illustrator, to the footnotes and the hilarious plot – this series guarantee laughs and lots of them. But alongside the laughter, Copeland deftly touches on childhood anxieties including illness, loss of a parent’s job, and divorce.

The Best Medicine by Christine Hamill is another one of my favourite books. Twelve-year-old Philip writes hilarious letters to his hero, Harry Hill, looking for advice to help him achieve his goal of becoming a comedian. But Philip’s life is interrupted when his mum gets breast cancer. What follows is a story which is heart-warming, uplifting, moving and also very funny. 

Jenny Pearson has been awarded with six mugs, one fridge magnet, one wall plaque, and numerous cards for her role as ‘Best Teacher in the World’. When she is not busy being inspirational in the classroom, she would like nothing more than to relax with her two young boys, but she can’t as they view her as a human climbing frame. She has recently moved to the North East of England and while she has yet to meet Ant or Dec, she has learned how to use canny in a sentence. Which is dead canny, like.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's Book Picks - May 2020

This is my post for some of the best new children's books being published this May 2020. Through these extraordinary times, we are encouraging you to support small independent book shops up and down the country. Therefore, if you fancy reading any of the below books and are thinking of buying a book or two then why not support them - buy directly and let us do our part to support them in these difficult times.  We have put some links for some suggestions for you to get books from. 

Thomas Taylor - Gargantis (The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea) - Published by Walker Books (7 May 2020) - ISBN-10: 1406386294 - Paperback - Age: 7+ - Pre-order a signed copy here from The Book Nook - HERE 
There's a storm raging in Eerie-on-Sea. Has the mighty Gargantis come back from the deep...? When an ancient bottle is found washed up on the beach after a ferocious electrical storm, all the residents of Eerie-on-Sea seem to want it ... but should they in fact fear it? Legend has it that the bottle contains an extraordinary secret that spells doom for the whole of Eerie-on-Sea. Could it be true that the vast sea creature Gargantis has awoken from her slumbers, and is causing the large cracks that are appearing all across the town? Finding themselves entrusted with the bottle, Herbie and Violet discover they will need to ride the terrible storm and pacify the creature if they want to save Eerie-on-Sea from sliding into the ocean and being lost forever
Lindsay Galvin - Darwin's Dragons - Published by Chicken House (7 May 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1912626465 - Paperback - Age: 8+ (Sorry Postponed Until March 2020)
Robinson Crusoe meets How to Train Your Dragon in this wonderful adventure from Lindsay Galvin!
Syms Covington has landed the job of a lifetime - cabin boy and fiddler on Charles Darwin's Beagle. But when he is separated from the crew during a storm, his life takes a truly extraordinary turn. Shipwrecked on a Galapagos island, he makes a discovery that could change the world - and make his fortune. But should he share his find, or will it lead to the extinction of a legendary species? There's one person who could help, but he's busy writing a book ...  Book in three words. Daring, Discovery, Adventure. 

Liz Flanagan -  Rise of the Shadow Dragons (Legends of the Sky) - Published by David Fickling Books (7 May 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1788451444 - Hardback - Age: 9+ - Read the first chapter Here buy from Kenilworth Books Here 

Jowan wants only one thing: to have a dragon of his own. Then disaster strikes, and his world suddenly turns into a darker and more dangerous place. But a new friend and an astonishing discovery could lead him to what he has always wanted ... if he is just willing to take a leap of faith and brave the impossible. He needs to act fast though - a volcano is waking up!
Nick Mohammed - The Young Magicians and the 24-Hour Telepathy Plot - Published by Puffin (7 May 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-0241331088 - Paperback - Age: 7+ - Buy Here
The Young Magicians are back - and this time the mystery is an attempted murder! The second fabulously funny, trick-filled adventure from rising-star comedian and actor, Nick Mohammed! 
Follow Alex, Jonny, Zack and Sophie as they use their amazing real magic skills to get to the bottom of an impossible-seeming crime. The gang are away at a magic convention when thy discover something unspeakable - someone is trying to poison the president of the Magic Circle! The secret society is stumped - but can our intrepid illusionists get to the bottom of who's trying to do in President Pickle?

Friday, 1 May 2020

Richard Lambert - The Wolf Word (Everything with Words) - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Book Review

The Wolf Road has been written by poet, Richard Lambert, and is soon to be published by Everything With Words this October (2020). I've thought long and hard about this book as it is so different from my usual reading material. In my opinion, you will either love or hate it depending on your own outlook and connection with the unique style and writing of this book. Some readers may just not connect with it or the issues that the book tackles such as coping and denial. However, if you do connect with it (like I did) then it will be one of the best books that you will read this year.

When you start on the road of this narrative the path is very tragic and hard-hitting. There really appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel. Lucas is the main character of the book and the story is told from his viewpoint. Unfortunately, he is involved in a car accident that kills both of his parents. Some books would play down this situation, but not this book. It faces the loss and grief head-on placing it at the epicentre of the plot. However, there is a little sense of mystery and a little glimmer of fantasy magic as Lucas has only one memory from the car accident. He remembers that it was a wolf that caused the crash but how? and what actually happened?

The book really resonates with me when he has to leave his family home to go and live with his nan in the Lake District. This is an area I can relate to very well. The story for me really comes alive as the setting of the book takes a vital hold on the plot. It's told in a poetic way that grips the reader. The detail and description of the wild and beautiful landscape cut through the hard and relentless element of grief, loss, loneliness, and bullying which have a huge stronghold on the story. This really is one of the many strengths of this story. At certain points, the climactic story leaves you clinging on for dear life.

There are so many great things to mention about this book such as the situations the characters face. They feel very real to me as they have been particularly well narrated. Another strong point is that it's not predictable in any way, you have absolutely no idea where the author is going to take you. However, this makes it particularly engaging and keeps you guessing throughout.

I loved this book so much - it really made me reflect on life, especially at a time like this. It's a powerful book about coping and dealing with grief, having the courage, determination, and understanding to find out who we are as a person. The book helps us in showing us the way. A wolf that comes in the dark and leaves in the light showering the reader and the characters with a beam of sunshine. We are not in charge of our own destiny just like Lucas, however, we can poke it in the right direction with the choice of stories and memoirs we keep in our heart. This is a story that will stay with me for a very long time. It's an incredible debut book from a fantastic new literary voice.  Many thanks Mikka for the opportunity to read and breathe this book.