Thursday, 28 April 2022

The Best Children's US Book Picks April 2022 - Picked by Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

 

Emily J . Taylor - Hotel Magnifique - Published by Razorbill (April 5, 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎978-0593404515 - Hardback (Age: 11+)

Hotel Magnifique opened the door to a sumptuous and glittering world of magic and mysteries and left me enchanted. Perfect for fans of Caraval and The Night Circus.” –Erin A. Craig, New York Times bestselling author of House of Salt and Sorrows and Small Favors
 
Decadent and darkly enchanting, this lavish YA fantasy debut follows seventeen-year-old Jani as she uncovers the deeply disturbing secrets of the legendary Hotel Magnifique.


All her life, Jani has dreamed of Elsewhere. Just barely scraping by with her job at a tannery, she’s resigned to a dreary life in the port town of Durc, caring for her younger sister Zosa. That is, until the Hotel Magnifique comes to town.
 
The hotel is legendary not only for its whimsical enchantments, but also for its ability to travel—appearing in a different destination every morning. While Jani and Zosa can’t afford the exorbitant costs of a guest’s stay, they can interview to join the staff, and are soon whisked away on the greatest adventure of their lives. But once inside, Jani quickly discovers their contracts are unbreakable and that beneath the marvelous glamour, the hotel is hiding dangerous secrets.
 
With the vexingly handsome doorman Bel as her only ally, Jani embarks on a mission to unravel the mystery of the magic at the heart of the hotel and free Zosa—and the other staff—from the cruelty of the ruthless maître d’hôtel. To succeed, she’ll have to risk everything she loves, but failure would mean a fate far worse than never returning home.



Catherynne M. Valente - Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods - Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books (April 26, 2022) - ISBN-13:978-1481476997 - Hardback (Age: 7+)

From New York Times bestselling author Catherynne M. Valente comes an inventive new fantasy following a boy journeying away from the only home he’s ever known and into the magical realm of the dead in order to fulfill a bargain for his people.

Osmo Unknown hungers for the world beyond his small town. With the life that Littlebridge society has planned for him, the only taste Osmo will ever get are his visits to the edge of the Fourpenny Woods where his mother hunts. Until the unthinkable happens: his mother accidentally kills a Quidnunk, a fearsome and intelligent creature that lives deep in the forest.

None of this should have anything to do with poor Osmo, except that a strange treaty was once formed between the Quidnunx and the people of Littlebridge to ensure that neither group would harm the other. Now that a Quidnunk is dead, as the firstborn child of the hunter who killed her, Osmo must embark on a quest to find the Eightpenny Woods—the mysterious kingdom where all wild forest creatures go when they die—and make amends.

Accompanied by a very rude half-badger, half-wombat named Bonk and an antisocial pangolin girl called Nev
er, it will take all of Osmo’s bravery and cleverness to survive the magic of the Eightpenny Woods to save his town…and make it out alive.

Stacy Hackney - The Sisters of Luna Island - Published by Simon & Schuster Books (April 12, 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎978-1534488694 - Hardback (Age: 7+) 

Little Women gets a Nevermoor twist in this bewitching novel about a young girl tasked to break a centuries-old curse or risk losing her beloved sisters.

Twelve-year-old Marigold Lafleur is the last of a long line of aromages: witches who blend scents into practical charms using aromagic. But ever since a terrible accident injured her father and damaged Luna Island, Marigold and her sisters, Birdie and Lou, have vowed to abandon their family legacy and mama’s way of life. Shunned by their neighbors and overlooked by their parents, Marigold relies on her big sisters above all else.

But when Marigold discovers a secret curse that threatens her family, her sisters can’t stop the impending danger. It’s up to Marigold and her best friend, Sam, to uncover the origins of the curse and break the spell. To do so, she must learn to trust her instincts and believe in her own unique magic or risk losing her beloved sisters forever.

Amy Kim Kibuishi - The Realm of the Blue Mist: A Graphic Novel (The Rema Chronicles) - Published by Graphix (April 5, 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎978-1338115130 - Paperback (Age: 7+) 

Enter the rich and fantastical world of Rema in the first installment of this middle-grade graphic novel series with sweeping adventure and light romance!

Tabby Simon is determined to learn what happened to her father, who was found dead after researching a tree that leaks a mysterious mist in her neighborhood. She is unexpectedly led to Rema, a distant world of magic and beauty that is periodically invaded by a nearby planet desperate for resources. While Tabby searches for the truth surrounding her father's death, she meets a handsome blue-haired boy named Philip. He has his own dangerous secrets, but has promised to help Tabby get home. As she learns more about this strange world, Tabby discovers that she is destined for something far greater than she ever could have imagined.

Monday, 25 April 2022

Alake Pilgrim - Zo and the Forest of Secrets - Book Review - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books



Are you looking for a fantastic read this summer? Then look no further as we definitely have the book for you. This is a fantastic middle-grade adventure - a Caribbean masterclass of storytelling - by debut children's author Alake Pilgrim. Zo and the Forest of Secrets will be the first book as part of a new series which will be published on 2nd June 2022 by inclusive publisher Knights Of. The story is based on the island of Trinidad & Tobago which gives this plot a wonderful backdrop to base the story. It really gives it a multicultural infusion as it breathes life into the story with descriptive panache.   

The story has been inspired by the idea that "every child deserves to be the hero of their own stories". Lenny Henry raised a similar point recently stating that he wanted to create characters that young children could identify with as this was something he found difficult as a child. As an avid young reader, he often wanted to go on a fantasy journey with a character that looked and felt like him. Therefore, it's important that books provide children with a sense of enjoyment but also enable them to identify with the story whether this is through the characters, settings, story themes/topics etc. In this book, the author reflects the connections with different countries to her own island of Trinidad & Tobago. 

There are a number of topical and important themes that are covered in this book such as family, friendship and eco-consciousness. However, what I really loved about this book is its brilliance and uniqueness - it's 100% bonkers. The story starts with a shroud of mystery and strange unexplained visions. When Zo finds a lost boy called Adri drowning in the river, she must uncover the mysteries of the forest to find their way home. The journey brings more surprises including a spider with a mechanical twitching arm called Cap'n Peg! This character actually brought tears to my eyes as I was laughing so much. I'm really looking forward to more antics in the next book through the eyes of the main character and their unusual cluster of spiders

The synopsis does not really do this book justice in my opinion. What the story has to tell is a different narrative. It's a read for a seasoned armchair explorer willing to undertake a fantasy exploration through an exotic forest. Expect to encounter an abandoned facility that may hold a few answers whilst encountering a cavern full of disturbing nightmarish creatures called X. You'll dance, skip and hop from one dangerous situation to another whilst smelling the flora and fauna along the way. You'll fully immerse yourself in colour and song as you join one of the best imaginative fantasy journeys this year. Take my advice and give this book a read. You can pre-order from all good bookshops. 

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

The Best Children's Book UK Picks April 2022 - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

Jamie Russell - SkyWake Battlefield - Published by Walker Books (7 April 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1406397529 - Paperback 

Caught up in an alien war on a distant galaxy, Casey and her team are fighting for their lives – but which side should they be on? The second in an exciting and original debut sci-fi adventure trilogy for the gaming generation.

Casey and hundreds of other SkyWakers are now stuck on the planet Hosin, thousands of miles out in space, forced by the Red Eyes to fight the elusive Squids. Casey and her squad, the Ghost Reapers, are determined to rescue the other gamers and return to Earth – but when the strangely compelling Squids enter Casey's mind, begging for help, Casey faces an impossible decision. With the team split in two and Casey's brother on the other side, home seems further away than ever. How can Casey save the planet if she can't keep her friends?


Skye McKenna - Hedgewitch - Published by 
Welbeck Flame (14 April 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1801300087 - Paperback 

First in a five-book series for readers of NevermoorThe Worst Witch and The Dark Is Rising.

Cassie Morgan has run away. After seven years spent waiting for her mother to return, she flees her dreary boarding school and sets out to find her. But the world outside her school is full of hidden magic and children have been going missing.

With the help of a talking cat and a flying broom, Cassie escapes to the enchanted village of Hedgely. There she will begin her training in the practical skills of witchcraft with the Hedgewitch, who watches over the Hedge, the vast forest that marks the border between England and Faerie.


Matthew Fox - The Sky Over Rebecca - Published by Hodder Children's Books (14 April 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1444964707 - Paperback 

There was a single trail of footprints, the first I'd seen all morning. They were fresh tracks, I saw, the edges of the impressions in the snow quite hard. Small feet. Like mine. Someone my age. 
Then they stopped.

When mysterious footprints appear in the Stockholm snow, ten-year-old Kara must discover where they've come from - and who they belong to. They lead Kara to Rebecca, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl, and her younger brother Samuel. Kara realises they are refugees - from another time, World War Two - and are trying to find their way home.

The grief and loneliness that Rebecca and Samuel have endured is something Kara can relate to - feeling like you're always on the outside looking in - and she finds herself compelled to help them. Through her eyes, we rediscover the magic that lies in the world around us, if only we have the courage to look for it.

Kara is a heroine for modern times: fragile but fierce, in this utterly compelling story from a stellar new voice in children's literature, Matthew Fox.

Justyn Edwards (Author), Flavia Sorrentino (Illustrator) - The Great Fox Illusion - Published by Walker Books (7 April 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1529501940 - Paperback 

Secrets and illusions abound as a group of young magicians competes for the prize of a lifetime in this gripping adventure, the first in an enthralling new series from debut author Justyn Edwards.

Magic is about dreaming what is impossible and making it possible. It's the innocent young mind in all of us that loves it. We want to be filled with wonder. We want to believe. I want the winner of this competition and the recipient of my legacy to dare to dream big. So, let The Great Fox Hunt begin."

Thirteen-year-old Flick Lions has won a place on a new television show, in which young people compete to win the legacy of the Great Fox, one of the world's most famous magicians. But Flick isn't interested in uncovering the Great Fox's tired old magic tricks – she's after something much more important. The magician destroyed her family, and this is Flick's only chance to put things right. Inside the Fox's house is a secret that will change the world of magic for ever, and Flick will go to any lengths to find it.

Saturday, 9 April 2022

Simon Packham - Has Anyone Seen Archie Ebbs? - Book Review Blog Tour - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

 

I'm delighted to be able to introduce this debut middle-grade children's book by actor and musician Simon Packham. Has Anyone Seen Archie Ebbs? is a fantastic poignant read that will be published this April (2022) by the Welsh publisher Firefly Press. The book starts with the introduction of the main character, Archie Ebbs. Life is brilliant, the summer term has just begun and we find him watching YouTube, eating chocolate brownies, as well as laughing and joking with his friends. The PERFECT life, however, the script does not run to plan just like his recent YouTube hit video The Revenge of the Fruit.

 The story is a really intriguing one. It's very cleverly written and highlights a series of issues that some families and people might relate to. It highlights the devastating effect that homelessness can have on a family and children's lives. In this plot, the subject is tackled in a brilliant and somewhat surreal but imaginatively quirky way. The story cleverly reveals the stark realities of the situation in a sad and funny way. 

The characters really danced and jumped off the page to bring one of the best stories that I've read so far this year. It's a modern and fresh take highlighting an important topic that doesn't feature much in stories. In fact, I loved this book so much that I couldn't help but go through a roller-coaster of emotions with all the characters - each and every one of them. This is a great class read for children to discuss but I would highly recommend it to everyone. 

It's a real pleasure to be on the blog tour for this book. One of the characters you will come to love is Charlie Ebbs's sister Izzy. Her boyfriend is called Clint and he plays an important role in the book. Here we have a little fun character bio that has been put together for the book tour. However, as you're here why not check out all the other stops too by taking a look at the list above (on the right). BUY HERE.