Sunday, 21 March 2010

Janet Foxley’s Muncle Trogg wins the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Prize 2010



Janet Foxley has won the prestigious Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Award, beating off four other budding unpublished authors.
The other books in the shortlist were:
Miles Cain - A Song For Nick Moon;
Ash Walker - Hair; 
Chris Hill - Lucky Albion; 
Bea Davenport - The Serpent House.  
These are all worthy entries; it would be good to see them all in print very soon.
Congratulations to Janet, I will be looking forward to reading the published book shortly.


I have posted a small excerpt from the winning entry to whet the taste buds in anticipation of the forthcoming release - sometime next year, I think. I would really like to hear your views.


The only light in the Troggs’ home came from Ma’s fire. Now it threw the shadow of a larger-than-life Gritt on to the rocky wall, with a much-too-small Muncle dangling helplessly from his hand.
‘Ma!’ Muncle yelled again. His shadow swung wildly to and fro.
This sort of thing made him feel smaller than ever. At twelve he should have been able to stand up for himself. But at the moment he couldn’t stand up at all. Gritt had him firmly by the ankles. It wouldn’t have been so bad if Gritt had been his older brother, but Gritt was four years younger.
‘Ma!’ He was going to be sick if he stayed upside down much longer. It was a good thing Pa wasn’t home yet. Pa always took Gritt’s side. Gritt was the sort of son a giant could be proud of.
Ma Trogg peered through the cloud of steam above her cauldron. She was a handsome woman with an enviable number of bristly warts, but her broad yellow smile was too often clouded by an anxious frown. It was all wrong that she still had to worry about her eldest child when she had two younger ones to look after. But she would always worry unless Muncle could find some way of fitting into a world where he so obviously didn’t fit. And time was running out. In three days he would be leaving school. If he couldn’t find a job he was capable of doing by then, his prospects were bleak.
‘Gritt!’ roared Ma. ‘Put your brother down at once.’
‘But you told me to play with him till breakfast.’
‘I didn’t mean you should use him as a toy.’
‘Oh. All right.’ Gritt dropped Muncle as quickly as he’d picked him up.
Muncle’s smallness did give him one advantage: he was unusually agile. The moment Gritt let go, Muncle somersaulted in mid air, landing on his bottom rather than his head. It still hurt. Where every other giant had rolls of comfortable fat, Muncle had only skin and bone.
He wasn’t bad looking. He had an excellent complexion: coarse grey skin dotted with sparse hairy warts. He had Pa’s bushy eyebrows and fleshy nose. He had Ma’s bulging eyes and uneven teeth. It was just Muncle’s size that was wrong.
‘We can’t wait for your pa any longer,’ said Ma. ‘Come and eat, both of you.’
She unstrapped the wicker baby-basket from her back and set it down beside the table. Flubb grabbed her leather bottle and glugged the fungus porridge down eagerly.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Bologna Book Fair 2010 - Andrew Peters - Ravenwood - Rights Pick



Every year I say to myself that I would like to go to the Bologna book fair. But every year I never get there - hopefully one day I'll eventually make it.


This is the fair where most of the more exciting books get brought to the attention of various publishing companies. Some of the best children's books pass through Bologna and for the lucky few, their rights can be sold all over the world. Last year my Bologna post was based on new talent Barry Hutchison, and his new "Invisible Fiends" series, which was exhibited at the book fair and made a lasting impression last year.


This year I am going to highlight an epic debut fantasy novel called "Ravenwood", written by new talent Andrew Peters.
The book will be published by Chicken House in the U.K in May 2011, but will be first exhibited at the Bologna fair where the rights will be offered.


This is a little snippet of the book, however it may be subject to change before it is published. Hope you enjoy this exciting adventure and want to read it soon!



The arrow flew over his shoulder and thudded straight into a wooden post. Too close! If he hadn’t stumbled, the shaft would now be buried somewhere near his heart.  He imagined the blood blooming like a flower across his shirt, his body tripping over the edge of the branch to fall, lifeless to the earth - a mile below.
Ark was exhausted. Sweat coursed down his back and his calf muscles ached.  He flicked his head round: they were only a couple of hundred yards behind. This part of the high-way was wide and straight. Not only had the original, huge branch been carved flat, like all the smaller branch-roads, but it had also been extended widthways with beams and scaffolding. Now it was twenty feet across at the passing places. At this time of the afternoon, before brush-hour, the way was deserted - not that any bystander would mess with this lot.
Somewhere hidden up above, dark clouds squeezed out their downpour, filling the forest with echoing drips. Ark ran for his life though a mass of shifting shadows, the splash of his footsteps giving him away.
The guard paused, wiping rain from his eyes, taking careful aim for another shot. The boy’s drenched clothes were like a painted target; every item from the brown leather skullcap and grotty tanned jerkin, to the tight britches and worn stockings that had seen better days, screamed out ‘plumber’s apprentice’.
The rubber-soled creepers on the boy’s feet were standard wear this high up. No-one wanted to slip off the edge, especially in this weather. But the guard shuddered at the thought of what those shoes had trod in. In fact, his prey resembled one big, turdy stain, a brown blot on the treescape. As for killing a fourteen year old? It wasn’t a problem but the solution.
Straight ahead, the high-way ran towards a huge, hollow tree trunk. Ark bolted into the centre and hesitated, catching his breath. The dead tree was a crossroads. Its massive trunk supported the junction with branch lines leading off in three directions through carved archways. In a dark corner, ancient, moss-covered steps led down into the hollow depths. He was desperate, but going earthwards? He shuddered even to think of it. Which way?

Friday, 19 March 2010

Patrick Doud - The Hunt For The Eye Of Ogin ( The Winnitok Tales BK 1) - Book Review




Patrick Doud's "The Hunt for the Eye of Ogin" (The Winnitok Tales) is the author's first fantasy novel. Set in the land of talking creatures it follows the path of Elwood Pitch, a thirteen year old boy, who he is carried away to the land of Winnitok, in the otherworld of Ehm. Desperate to find a way back home to his family, Elwood's one hope is Granashon, the land's immortal protector. But Granashon is missing, and the power that protects Winnitok is fading fast.

When Elwood dreams of the Eye of Ogin, a legendary object with the power to see Granashon wherever she might be, he vows to find it. With his dog Slukee and two newfound companions, Drallah Wehr of Winnitok and her talking raven Booj, Elwood sets out on an epic quest.

I have been reading this book in segments, due to a busy week, but every time I left the story it stayed with me until the next time I picked up the book. It is well written for a debut book - the action adventure part is particularly good and some poetic moments thrown in too. The book has a slow build-up and could have done with a little more detail being developed on some of the lead characters. However the story is still a magical ride, with many battles and scrapes along the way. The book has an amazing plot which develops into a great ending. A classic family adventure for every one to read and enjoy.


I am really looking forward to the next book in the series entitled "The Mornith War" which will be published some time in spring 2011 by North Atlantic books in the U.S.

About the next book.
Three years and many adventures after the events of The Hunt for the Eye of  companions Elwood, Slukee, Drallah, and Booj are charged with a task beyond Winnitok’s northern edge. Arriving in the community of a charismatic prophet, they find that Granashon the Nohar has been attempting to settle a conflict between the prophet’s followers and a proud clan of wolf truans. But this threat to peace is overshadowed by another, as an unnatural scourge of spirits is burning the prophet’s fields with a ghostly green fire.  

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

New Children's - Book Picks For The Month Of April 2010 - U.K (Hardback)

We have a great month for the hardback book.. Lots of really  nice reads to get us excited and keep us entertained in the spring month of April.

Derek Landy - Dark Days (Skulduggery Pleasant:Bk4) Published by HarperCollins - April 1 2010
Book Synopsis:
It's the fourth Skulduggery Pleasant adventure! only Skulduggery Pleasant himself is lost on the other side of a portal, with only some evil gods for company. Can he possible survive? (Yes, all right, he's already dead. But still.) What can we say, without giving too much away? Not much, is the answer. But what we CAN say is that this book is hilarious, it's tense, and it's packed with all the eye-popping action, crackling one liners and imaginative set pieces you've come to expect. There's a new threat to our plucky heroine, of course. But that's not all. There's also the little fact of the Big Bad, the uber-baddy who's going to come along and really, really destroy the world. (Really.) And what we learn about that villain in this book will literally make your jaw fall off and your hair go white with shock. (Not really.) Will Skulduggery make it out of the Faceless Ones' dimension? Who knows. The problem is, he may not have much to come back to!


Caro King - Shadow Spell - Published by Quercus Publishing - April 1 2010
Book Synopsis: 
Simeon Dark is the most powerful sorcerer in the land of the Drift. Mysterious, cunning, a shape-shifter, only he can stop the evil Strood and save the Drift from dying. But where is he? Nin finds her way to Dark's mansion - a strange castle with a garden and lake spilling into the sky. There she finds a ribbon of shadowy light: could this be the unsaid spell and the clue to unlocking the mystery of Simeon Dark? Meanwhile, Strood is preparing his distillation machine, his pet tigers and some barrels of blood and is coming after her...Caro King has created a funny, rich, thrilling adventure, interwoven with fantastical creatures, myth and magic.
Philip Reeve - A Web Of Air (Mortal Engines:BK6) Published by Scholastic - April 5 2010 - (See Book Review)
Book Synopsis: 
Two years ago, Fever Crumb escaped the war-torn city of London in a travelling theatre. Now she arrives in the extraordinary craer city of Mayda, where buildings ascend the cliffs on funicular rails, and a mysterious recluse is building a machine that can fly. Fever is the engineer he needs - but ruthless enemies will kill to possess their secrets. The fabulous sixth book in the Mortal Engines series, from the brilliant.


Jon Mayhew - Mortlock - Published by Bloomsbury - 5 April 2010 - (See Book Review)
Book Synopsis: 
The sister is a knife-thrower in a magician's stage act, the brother an undertaker's assistant. Neither orphan knows of the other's existence. Until, that is, three terrible Aunts descend on the girl's house and imprison her guardian, the Great Cardamom. His dying act is to pass the girl a note with clues to the secret he carries to his grave. Cardamom was one of three explorers on an expedition to locate the legendary Amarant, a plant with power over life and death. Now, pursued by flesh-eating crow-like ghuls, brother and sister must decode the message and save themselves from its sinister legacy.


Darren Shan - The Thin Executioner - Published by HarperCollins - April 29 2010
Book Synopsis:
A brilliant and brand new story of swords, sand and sorcery from the endless imagination that brought you The Saga of Darren Shan and the Demonata. New characters -- same excitement, action and terror! In a harsh, unforgiving world of slavery and glorified executions, one boy's humiliation leads him to embark on a perilous quest to the faraway lair of a mysterious god. It is a dark, brutal, nightmarish journey which few have ever survived. But to Jebel Rum, the risk is worth it! to retrieve his honour! to win the hand of the girl he loves! to wield unimaginable power! and to become! THE THIN EXECUTIONER


Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell - Wyrmeweald (Wyrmeweald Trilogy) - Published by Doubleday - April 29 2010
Book Synopsis:
 Young pioneer, Micah, enters Wrymeweald full of hope to return home having made his fortune. But this is a land where wyrmes, fabulous dragon-like beasts, roam wild and reign supreme. In Wyrmeweald man is both hunter and hunted - and seventeen-year-old Micah may never return alive, let alone a hero...After a near-brush with death on the edge of a canyon, Micah soon finds a chance to prove his worth when he meets with Eli, a veteran tracker of Wrymeweald. They choose to defend a rare whitewyrme egg and its precious hatchling before it falls into the hands of a band of evil Kith. But the fledgling wyrme has its own guardian in the shape of the beautiful, brave and dangerous Thrace. Thrace, a Kin and a highly-skilled wyrme rider-assasin; and Micah, a would-be Kith, should never mix - but the magnetism between them is strong. Together they join forces on a mission to rescue the hatchling and seek vengenace for loved-ones lost at the hand of Kith bandits. Meanwhile the glorious whitewyrme colony of Wyrmeweald looks on as its land is encroached by gold-diggers and ravaged by bounty hunters. Is Exodus the only option? And if so, when - and where - will they flee too!


Eleanor Updale - Johnny Swanson - Published by David Fickling Books - April 29 2010
Book Synopsis:
This is the answer to smelly feet - wear a clothes peg on your nose. 11-year-old Johnny Swanson is in business. He's raking in the money with his advertising scams and his agony aunt persona, Ada Ardour, who offers advice on absolutely anything in return for a shilling. But his money-making schemes are getting him in too deep. Everything is spiralling out of control, and now his own mother is in mortal danger. There's only one thing for it:Johnny must assume another role - as undercover detective.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Chris Wooding - Havoc - Book Review



Book Review

Here is the next slice of book action in the world of Malice, where kids are trapped inside the real comic-book world, living in fear and fighting for away out. However someone is watching every step they take and will stop at nothing to keep them from escaping back to the real world .

The story finds Seth trying to find his way back into the comic book world, even though he'd managed to escape the twisted and evil clutches of Tall Jake. However after leaving his best friend Kady, he now wants to go back and save her. But Kady has her own mission in this book, to find and join the group Havoc (a rebel group of kids), who want to take a stand against Tall Jake. This dual storyline provides the opportunity for a great split plot, as well as a chance to be introduced to a new character - Alicia, who uncovers some of the darkest secrets from the creation of Malice.

The plot is told wonderfully, and draws you into the nasty world with its ghastly creations. The world of Malice leaks into the real world; there's no telling as to what might come through which is how the story keeps you on tender hooks.

A unique aspect about this book comes from the use of graphic novel images and extracts, which are beautifully illustrated by the talented Dan Chernett. They certainly plunge you deeper into the depths of the story, which I totally loved; it adds another dimension and layer to the plot.

The second book has a lot more going on than the first. I was engaged and completely hooked through every page. This series is rapidly becoming one of my personal favourites; Chris is a very skillful writer and has one of the greatest imaginations in the book world, in my humble opinion. 

Book published by Scholastic Children's - May 3 2010

Other sites of interest to visit are.malicecomic.co.uk and danchernett.moonfruit.com

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - New Books On The Blog - U.S



Marianne Malone - The Sixty-Eight Rooms - Published By Random House - Feb 23
Book Synopsis:
Almost everybody who has grown up in Chicago knows about the Thorne Rooms. Housed in the Children’s Galleries of the Chicago Art Institute, they are a collection of 68 exquisitely crafted miniature rooms made in the 1930s by Mrs. James Ward Thorne. Each of the 68 rooms is designed in the style of a different historic period, and every detail is perfect, from the knobs on the doors to the candles in the candlesticks. Some might even say, the rooms are magic.
Imagine—what if you discovered a key that allowed you to shrink so that you were small enough to sneak inside and explore the rooms’ secrets? What if you discovered that others had done so before you? And that someone had left something important behind?

Fans of Chasing Vermeer, The Doll People, and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler will be swept up in the magic of this exciting art adventure!


Laura Manivong - Escaping the Tiger - Published By HarperCollins - March 9
Book Synopsis:
When you're so skinny people call you Skeleton Boy, how do you find strength for the fight of your life?
Twelve-year-old Vonlai knows that soldiers who guard the Mekong River shoot at anything that moves, but in oppressive Communist Laos, there's nothing left for him, his spirited sister, Dalah, and his desperate parents. Their only hope is a refugee camp in Thailand—on the other side of the river.
When they reach the camp, their struggles are far from over. Na Pho is a forgotten place where life consists of squalid huts, stifling heat, and rationed food. Still, Vonlai tries to carry on as if everything is normal. He pays attention in school, a dusty barrack overcrowded with kids too hungry to learn. And, to forget his empty stomach, he plays soccer in a field full of rocks. But when someone inside the camp threatens his family, Vonlai calls on a forbidden skill to protect their future—a future he's sure is full of promise, if only they can make it out of Na Pho alive



Brandon Mull -Fablehaven, Keys to the Demon Prison -Published By Shadow Mountain -23 March
Book Synopsis:
Since ancient times, the great demon prison Zzyzx has protected the world from the most dangerous servants of darkness, including Gorgrog, the Demon King. After centuries of plotting, the Sphinx is on the verge of recovering the five artifacts necessary to open the legendary prison. Facing the potential of a world-ending calamity, all friends of light must unite in a final effort to thwart the Sphinx s designs and find a safe home for the five artifacts. To this end, Kendra, Seth, and the Knights of the Dawn will venture far beyond the walls of Fablehaven to strange and exotic magical preserves across the globe, where the end of every quest becomes the beginning of another. In this explosive series finale, allegiances will be confirmed and secrets revealed as the forces of light and darkness collide in a desperate struggle to control the keys to the demon prison.


Rick Riordan - The Kane Chronicles:The Red Pyramid - Published By Hyperion Books - May 4
Book Synopsis:
Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them--Set--has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe--a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.





Sherrilyn Kenyon - Infinity:Chronicles of Nick - Published By St Martin's Griffin - June 8
Book Synopsis:
At fourteen, Nick Gautier thinks he knows everything about the world around him, until the night when his best friends try to kill him. Saved by a mysterious warrior who has more fighting skills than Chuck Norris, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity. Nick quickly learns that the human world is only a veil for a much larger and more dangerous one. A world where the captain of the football team is a werewolf and the girl he has a crush on goes out at night to stake the undead. But before he can even learn the rules of this new world, his fellow students are turning into flesh eating zombies. And he’s next on the menu. Like starting high school isn’t hard enough. Now Nick has to hide his new friends from his mom, hide his chainsaw from the principal, and keep the zombies and the demon Simi from eating his brains, all without getting grounded or suspended! How in the world is he supposed to do that?


Friday, 26 February 2010

Stuart Webb - Lyme Hall - Book Review



Book Review 
Before I became an avid reader, I just collected books and very rarely read them. Instead they sat on dusty shelves, calling out to be loved and read, however they were rarely looked at.

Then I started reading an eclectic mix of articles in a publication called the "Book and Magazine Collector". Stuart, who is the author of this book, had a writing column which I really loved. He would on a monthly basis write about new 'up and coming' authors, as well as collectible books to look out for - I really miss reading his articles.

Anyway this is the second book that Stuart Webb has written, the first being "Aurora's Tears," which sold out as soon as it was published. The question has to be asked, did it fall into the hands of the book collectors or book readers, and will his second book follow likewise? On this occasion, I would like it to fall into the hands of the readers who will cherish it, due to its fantastic content and not monetary value.

I must admit, I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, and had no idea that I would end up enjoying it so much. The book has lots of charm and character that I instantly fell for, from the very first page to the last, as it is beautifully written with lots of great detail. It's a story that leaves you feeling it was well worth the journey that you take as a reader.

Rose is happy with her life: an expensive house in the city, loving parents and a best friend she can trust. She wants for nothing and lives life to the full. Then, without warning, her perfect world is torn in two. Forced to move to a country house she hates with a father she no longer understands, Rose is lost and alone. And when she begins to hear things that aren't there, see things that can't be real, her father doesn't want to know; all he cares about are the deer that are disappearing from the estate. Maybe, just maybe, if she can solve the mysteries herself, she can finally make him listen.

It's a classic ghost story with mystery that is wrapped up in Lyme Hall. Its past is both intriguing and captivating with notes of sadness, but when you get to the end it finishes on an upbeat tone. Stuart has drawn on lots of emotions including everyday issues such as bullying, bereavement - from the loss of a parent and difficult family circumstances, which gives depth to the story.

I love the part when William shows Rose around Lyme Hall, explaining the associated detailed history and folklore, as part of the tour around the great house. The unique characters are well written, they have roles which develop extensively through the story to create an interesting plot.


So the only thing I can really say is that this book needs to be read. I can highly recommend it, you will not be disappointed, so grab a copy (once it is published) but before they sell out. I have a feeling that this book may have a small print run and will disappear very speedily.



Book Published by Matador 1 March 2010 - For more details: http://www.troubador.co.uk

Book cover artwork by Chris Odgers - For more details: http://www.sawhorse.co.uk/

Friday, 19 February 2010

Andrew Newbound - Demon Strike - Book Review



Book Review
My attention was first drawn to this book from a 'new publications release list,' which was sent to me by the publisher. The synopsis was particularly intriguing and certainly enticed my curiosity, and so I was particularly pleased when I managed to get my hands unexpectedly on a copy last week.  

From the very start, I found myself galloping through the pages. Even when I could not see the type, due to night setting in when I was a recent passenger in a car, I still wanted to read on. The first thing that you find as a reader, is how well the story unfolds with ease. The particularly strong characters in the book make way for an entertaing read, with some feisty girl hero action against some nasty creatures, and a multi-layered plot which keeps you on your toes. 

The story unfolds as the Demons from the Dark Dimension pour through a portal to reek havoc on earth. Unfortunately the chaos then follows the two children - twelve-year old Ghost- Busters, in the way of Alannah Malarra and her sidekick Wortley. They find themselves in a whole lot of trouble when they entangle with the A.N.G.E.L,  an acronym for Attack-ready Network of Global Evanescent Law-enforcers whose job is to protect everybody from any Demon attack.

The children encounter some of the best monsters you're ever going to bump into in this book -  as well as a Winged Angel, who has a passion for breaking all the rules and treading a tight rope of sudden death. The book flows with great wit and some of the best character banter that I have read for a long time.

I enjoyed the many analogies that the author referred to throughout the book, they're absolutely brilliant and had me chuckling to myself. 

The book is aimed at a 9-12 year old audience but will have everyone wanting more,,just like me. We now have a start, to a fresh new series of books, with a great voice for the future. More adventures please but just wait until I clean the ectoplasm off my keyboard and straighten my wings in the cupboard ready for the next adventure!

Book Published By Chicken House - March 13 2010 

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Philip Reeve - A Web Of Air (Mortal Engines) - Book Review

Book Review
It's always a pleasure to read any book by Philip Reeve, and even more so when it's the sixth novel in the amazing Mortal Engines series - a stunning sequel to Fever Crumb. I'd like to say a big thank you to the lovely people at Scholastic for sending me this book. I felt incredibly privileged to have been able to read this book so early on in it's publishing life.

The book certainly lived up to my expectation, and even exceeded it. However, I don't want to give too much away regarding the story, as I definitely wouldn't want to spoil your enjoyment of reading it first hand. 

The story contains all of the non-stop action and detail that you would expect. Elements of SteamPunk are still evident throughout this book,but not as much as the other books.

The book is beautifully written and has a slightly different approach to that of the other five books. It has a poetic feel which places more emphasis on the different character relationships, an aspect that hasn't really been explored previously.

I love the incredibly detailed writing that Phillip uses to describe the funiculars. These are whole neighbourhoods which slide up and down crater walls - mansions which rise each evening into sunlight and clear air, before descending once more (at dawn) back into the city's heart. What a great idea.

The story is written against the breathtaking backdrop of Mayda, a place steeped in culture and tradition, making the foundations for a great epic slice of fantasy. The story unfolds with ease - but I wouldn't expect anything less from one of the finest writers at the moment in children's literature. I was gripped by every page until the very end, as this is an amazing book and one I shall visit again and again. I  recommend this book to everyone, even if you have not read any other of the books, as it will still work as a stand alone. All that I need now is a new book in the Larklight series - that will make my year!

Published by Scholastic Children's book April 2010

Friday, 12 February 2010

Meet The Gadget Show's - Jason Bradbury Event This Half Term - Atomic Swarm



Hi I have just been asked to mention this great event for all the family this half term.
He is doing a special half-term kids event at the South Bank - The Dot Robot Roadshow - an exciting one-hour author event with loads of cool robots, gadgets, a robot race and an awesome robot one of the audience can win. It's all part of the promotion around my 2nd Dot Robot Book Atomic SwarmI'd love you to be there!!! Everything you need to know is below.
*** MEET The Gadget Show's JASON BRADBURY - THIS HALF-TERM -  18th FEBRUARY, LONDON, SOUTH BANK ****
Thursday 18th Feb (11.30am) South Bank Centre, Purcell Room, London (1 min walk from Waterloo station)

Tickets are selling fast for THE event of this half-term - the Dot Robot Roadshow 2010 - at London’s South Bank Centre.
Meet Jason from The Gadget Show - see actual robots in action and witness a reading from Jason's latest book Atomic Swarm (published this week, by Puffin)
This unique author event is part of the Imagine Children’s Festival at London's South Bank Centre. Billed as ‘the UK’s brightest children’s festival’ Jason will be bouncing around the Purcell Room with robots, readings, gadgets and an amazing robot prize!
For MORE INFO and to BUY TICKETS to the one-hour show featuring a live robot race go to: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/find/literature-spoken-word/tickets/jason-bradbury-50560 OR call 0844 847 9910



The Dot Robot Roadshow is this half-term's main event - but Jason is also doing some smaller signings during half-term (18th, 19th, 20th Feb) at Waterstones in Milton Keynes, Basingstoke, Reading & Thurrock. For more info about these and to learn more about Jason's books check his blog: http://www.jasonbradbury.com

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Suzanne Collins - Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)

This finished copy now has a title, publishing date and front cover artwork. All that is needed is the synopsis to the most anticipated book of the year. Here is a sneaky preview of the book cover artwork.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Sam Wilding - The Second Gateway (Book 2 of the Denthan Series) - Book Review



 I read the first book in this series after finding it in a bookshop in Scotland; I was definitely looking forward to reading the second installment. However after three more trips back to Scotland, I still couldn't find a copy! I finally had to resort to the Internet, in order to obtain a copy of this book. On reflection . . . . it's such a shame that the book is hard to obtain in bookshops, as it is definitely worth tracking down a copy.
Anyway on with the review.....and if any one asks, the story is all about custard and meteors, which you will come to love with a passion.

The book starts with a great opening, that carries you on a mesmerising journey into the world of amazingly detailed creatures, against a stunning backdrop of Artilis. The book starts one year on with the zany villagers of Drumfintley, who are yet again, all that stand between a peaceful world and certain disaster. 

It takes you into a  wonderful adventure; a fantasy tale that has you hooked and captivated as you follow the main characters on their mission to find Craig. Sudden events lead to a range of climatic and varied action scenes.

This book has many great moments in it for me - the humour which is laced throughout had me in stitches many times. However one of my favourite parts, involved the encounter with the flying Centide, when the wizard performed his magic and the Centide ended up totally wrecking Mr Fyffe's Mondeo car. Unfortunately Mr Fyffe finds his car totally devastated, with the children and local vicar hastily fleeing from the scene. A classic moment in fiction - interpreted exceptionally well!

In my view this book is equally as good as the first, which is not always the case. The chaos and mayhem, within a fantasy world, is written very well. It has an orginal feel that leaves you wanting more. I'm desperate to see what happens in book three and hope there are many more to come. 

About the Author
BORN IN HELENSBURGH and educated at Glasgow University, Sam studied Zoology, working his way through his uni-years by playing in various rock bands in the UK, America and Holland. He began writing songs in the late 70s, poetry in the early 90s and eventually his first novel - 'The Magic Scales'. Sam currently writing book three in the Denthan series and continues to perform his 'Just Imagine' workshops. These sessions explore story forming and let children explore their own imagination. Sam works closely with the charity Asthma UK to raise awareness of the condition through his work.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

New Children's Book - Picks For The Month Of March 2010

We have lots of great and varied reads to offer in the month of March, there is a good selection of  interesting books. There are some particularly strong titles being published by Chicken House and Hodder Children's within this month. Interestingly, all the books mentioned are being published in paperback and no hardbacks - this is a first. I hope you manage to find a few books that entice you to read them. Love to hear any comments you may have. Thanks and enjoy.


Andrew Newbound - Demon Strike - Published By Chicken House - 1 March - (Book Pick)
Book Synopsis:
Demons from the Dark Dimension pour through a portal in the wall of Pittingham Manor, the mid-point for an attack on high. They're planning an assault. Into this chaos stumbles 12-year-old ghostbusting psychic Alannah Malarra and burglar Worley Flint. Up until now they've only ever faced tame treasure-hording ghosts, but this is something else. Their only hope is a plucky angel police patrol on a routine earth-monitoring mission. Enter Inspectre Flhi Swift and officers Yell and Gloom


Emily Diamand - Flood and Fire - Published By Chicken House -  1 March
Book Synopsis:
Flooded England, 2216 - Lilly Melkun has outwitted the bloodthirsty Reavers, who prowl the waters that cover most of England - and escaped to Cambridge. But Lilly is far from safe, because stil in her keeping is PSAI, the last hand-held computer in existence - a now malfunctioning treasure from the past. Inside the jewellike computer, is a sinister looking chip with an unknown purpose. Worse follows, when the professors of Cambridge plug it into an ancient mainframe computer setting in motion a fiery chain of events.


C.J Skuse - Pretty Bad Things - Published By Chicken House - 1 March
Book Synopsis:
SIXTEEN-YEAR OLD TWINS IN CANDY-STORE CRIME SPREE Twins, Paisley and Beau Argent are in the headlines again. Last time, they were the 'wonder twins', when as six-year-olds they were found alive in woods after three days missing following their mother's death - three days spent looking for their dad. Now at sixteen, life's not so wonderful. Out-cast and exploited by their money-grabbing grandmother they're still clueless about their dad's whereabouts. Until they discover an old letter from him. That's when they decide to hit the road - and make headlines again. Holding up fast-food joints might seem extreme but if they can get on the news, and tell their dad they need him, they might get the dream reunion they thought could happen.


Catherine Banner - Voices in the Dark - Published By Corgi Children's - 4 March
Book Synopsis:
Anselm Andros has always thought he had a normal life - confidante to his mother, Maria, confessor to his stepfather, Leo, a man haunted by the secrets of his past, and support to his sister Jasmine. But when the political landscape of Malonia starts to shift, this unassuming family begin to unravel. Even though they have spent the past fifteen years leading a quiet life, Maria and Leo's actions are forever linked to the turbulent history of Malonia and its parallel world, modern-day England. The voices from the past still echo in the present and Anselm must pull all the pieces together - whatever the cost.

Garth Nix - Lord Sunday( The Keys to the Kingdom) - Published By HarperCollins - 4 March
Book Synopsis:
In this seventh and last book of THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM, the mysteries of the House, the Architect, the Trustees, the Keys and the Will are revealed, and the fate of Arthur, our Earth, and the entire Universe is finally decided. Arthur has wrested the Sixth Key from Superior Saturday, but has fallen from the Incomparable Gardens; fallen not to the Upper House but to somewhere completely unexpected. Alone in enemy territory, as his mind and body are further transformed by the power of the Keys, Arthur must struggle with himself as much as with his many enemies. Meanwhile, Arthur's friend Suzy Blue plots an escape from her prison in Saturday's tower, as battle rages above and below. Saturday's elite force is pressing on into the Incomparable Gardens, while her massed sorcerers fight a desperate rear-guard action against the Piper and his Newnith army. On earth, Leaf has to cope with the aftermath of a nuclear strike. Responsible for all the Sleepers in Friday's private hospital, she needs all the help she can get, particularly as Leaf herself has become a target for intruders from the House. And the tide of Nothing continues to rise, destroying everything in its path ...


Chris Bradford - The Way of the Dragon(Young Samurai) - Published By Puffin - 4 March
Book Synopsis:
June 1613. Japan is threatened with war and Jack is facing his greatest battle yet. Samurai are taking sides and, as the blood begins to flow, Jack’s warrior training is put to the ultimate test. His survival – and that of his friends – depends upon him mastering the Two Heavens, the secret sword technique of the legendary samurai Masamoto Takeshi. But first Jack must recover his father’s prize possession from the deadly ninja Dragon Eye. Can Jack defeat his ruthless enemy? Or will the ninja complete his mission to kill the young samurai . . .


William Hussey - Witchfinder:Dawn of the Demontide -(Witchfinders) - Published By OUP - 4 March
Book Synopsis - See Book Review 
The first in a terrifying trilogy, read on if you dare: Jake could now see the demon fully. Its body was a mass of steely sinew, its arms roped with muscle. Six fingers sprouted from its hands, each ending in lethal talons. The thing did not possess a nose; instead a large hole, bubbling with green mucus, occupied the middle of its face. Mr Pinch's tongue flickered between his teeth and slurped across his fat lips. He was hungry. When a violent storm rages around the little village of Hobarron's Hollow, a young boy is sacrificed 'for the greater good'. His blood is used to seal a mystical doorway and prevent an apocalyptic disaster known only as the Demontide. Twenty-five years later, another boy, Jake Harker, is about to be drawn into the nightmare of the Demontide. Witches and their demon familiars stalk his every move, and his dreams are plagued by visions of a 17th Century figure known only as the Witchfinder. When his father is abducted, Jake must face the terrible secrets kept by those closest to him and a shocking truth that will change his life 
forever . . .


Malinda Lo - Ash -  Published By Hodder Children's Books - 4 March  -  (Book Pick)
Book Synopsis:
In the world of ASH, fairies are an older race of people who walk the line between life and death, reality and magic. As orphaned Ash grows up, a servant in her stepmother’s home, she begans to realise that her beloved mother, Elinor was very much in tune with these underworld folk, and that she herself has the power to see them too. Against the sheer misery of her stepmother's cruelty, greed and ambition in preparing her two charrmless daughters for presentation at court, and hopefully Royal or aristocratic marriage, Ash  befriends one of these fairies–a mysterious, handsome man–who grants her wishes and restores hope to Ash's existence, even though she knows there will be a price to pay. But most important of all, she also meets Kaisa, a huntress employed by the king, and it is Kaisa who truly awakens Ash’s desires for both love and self-respect...Ash escapes a life with her grim and self-serving stepmother and finds her beloved one...
ASH is a fairy tale about possibility and recognizing the opportunities for change. From the deepest grief comes the chance for transformation.

Robert Williams - Luke and John - Published By Faber and Faber - 18 March
Book Synopsis:
Luke's mum is dead. He finds himself in a small, scruffy northern hill town, with a near silent father, who he fears might be trying to drink himself to death. Then he meets Jon. Jon is massively strange. He wears 1950s clothes, has a side-parting and a twitch. The kids at school call him 'Slackjaw'. When Luke discovers his secret, Jon changes his life in more ways than he can imagine. Luke and Jon is a coming of age novel about family, bereavement and how lives can change forever in a single second. Written with great power, warmth and humour, it signals a hugely engaging and original new voice. Compelling and emotionally acute, it is a unique debut.

Annemarie Allan - Ushig - Published By Floris Books - 25 March
Book Synopsis:
 Ellen whistled again and repeated the old rhyme Aunt Marian had taught her. 'I call you once. I call you twice. I call you three times over'. Surely in a place as beautiful as this, anything that answered her call was bound to be friendly. While exploring a small loch above the village of Aldhammer with her brother Davie, Ellen repeats a childish rhyme to call something to her. What arrives is an ancient being with the ability to shapeshift and the power to destroy. Ushig is a kelpie, a water wraith, and his intentions are anything but pure. Dragged into a dark, parallel world, inhabited by the creatures of Scottish legend, Ellen must pitch her wits against primeval magic. Can she outsmart the predatory Queen of the Night? And what does Ushig stand to gain? Another unique and gripping tale from Annemarie Allan, presenting an innovative spin on characters from Scottish folklore in a very modern manner. If you thought you knew the story of the kelpie - think again!