Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

If you’re a fan of Shaun Tan, then you will not be able to resist this collection of Tan’s work, sketches and doodles. Filled with his amazing illustrations and artwork and with Shaun’s own commentary throughout. This collection is published like a genuine sketchbook and you get a real sense of the artist’s world and what drives and inspires him. Also included are previously unpublished illustrations not yet associated to a story. Tan is revealing in both his notes and images throughout. A real treat.

I find Tan’s work haunting, beautiful and honest so this book is a real treat; a rare insight into a very well respected artist.


The Bird King by Shaun Tan

Templar Publishing



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I’ve been meaning to buy this book for a while now, and today I did because I opened up the book to a random page, and what was the book featured? Jane Hissey’s ‘Old Bear’ 

I remembered it so clearly from my childhood and was immediately charmed and it put a smile on my face for the rest of the day. ‘1001 books you must read before you grow up’ (so much more charming than ‘before you die’ is part of the 1001…. series and is a great book to delve into every now and again where you can reminisce, travel back to your childhood or discover a classic you never even knew about. The book is updated ever few years so also has contemporary titles in there such as Harry Potter and Jacqueline Wilson’s books. Fantastic.

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This is a fantastic reprint of an original atlas book that will please adults who can reminisce of their Geography lessons and charm children with the old-fashioned maps.
We first got this in store over Christmas and it proved quite popular as people loved looking over Bartholemew’s maps with the map catagories of political, economical and historical. Some people have complained the print size is too small but this is still a nostalgic and fun look back at an old favourite, or perhaps in some cases a despised subject. Who said Geography was all about colouring in?

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‘Stones into Schools’ by Greg Mortenson

Greg Mortenson is the author of Three Cups of Tea and this new book picks up where the first left off. I’m so glad Mortenson has continued his writing but with the overwhelming success of Three Cups of Tea, i’m not surprised. He has been an inspiration to me for his relentless work and unwavering ethic for hard work.

‘Stones into Schools’ is a personal account of Greg’s missions to educate the children of Afghanistan; particularly girls, through building schools and specific literacy plans. Quite frankly, Mortenson is a selfless man and I’m quite ashamed at how naive I am to the plight of these children who, through no fault of their own have no access to education and without Greg’s help would have gone on to live uneducated and worthless lives.

Through his overwhelming desire for change and his heartfelt attitude towards everyone he met, Greg did change the world and actually made it a little bit better.

If you haven’t read Three Cups of Tea, do so; it’s quite integral to this new story and will give you a little understanding towards Greg’s feelings. However there is a little recap of the original story at the front of this book.

Written in first person narrative, the book is undoubtedly inspirational but it’s not without its politics and terrifying moments including a kidnapping by the Taliban which shows just how much Greg risked for these children. 

This book will show us that change is tangible, it’s right there if we make the effort, but it also highlights the ongoing problems and abhorrent situations some of these children and indeed adults are in and we must continue on a path of change, because without education we cannot evolve, let alone survive and I wholeheartedly agree that every child in this world is entitled to an education. Why can one child be taught about how the universe was created and not another? Each child, like ourselves has the chance to change the world, but we are responsible for giving them that opportunity through our own existing wealth of knowledge and indeed, our wealth.

Read this book, be inspired, never forget how priviledged some children are and how reading and literacy skills are fundamental to our society and growth. A truly heartwarming, terrifying and shocking book.

Greg Mortenson is my hero and I think it’s safe to assume he is the hero of a lot of people out in Afghanistan. Who is yours?

ISBN:  9780141047140

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It’s that time again…



The book blogger hop is hosted by jennifer over at www.crazy-for-books.com and is a weekly meme where bloggers sign up to her site every week and hop away to find new bloggers. Each blogger who signs up lets people know what sort of books they review so it’s easy to find fellow bloggers. It’s great fun and a friendly atmosphere.

I have adapted this a little and chosen five of my favourite blogs of the week and from the hop and feature them on my blog. Here are my five for the week:

1. Pixie Stix Kids Pix

          http://pixiestixkidspix.wordpress.com/ The owner of this blog is a professional in the children’s book industry so knows there stuff. There most recent post is a commentary on children’s publishing in the digital age- well informed.

2. Silly Little Game Called Life

           http://sillylittlegame.blogspot.com/ Now I don’t just recommend this blogger because she gave me a blog award last week. On closer inspection this is a great blog reviewing mostly paranormal/fiction. A diverse site.

3. Smitten with Books

          http://www.smittenwithbooks.blogspot.com/ An informed blog reviewing young adult fiction and if you have been following my posts you will know the subject of this genre has been of great interest to me lately.

4. Reader Buzz

          http://readerbuzz.blogspot.com/2010/03/book-blogger-hop-say-hello.html Drew my attention for her reviews of picture books, be sure to check her out.

5. Tales of Whimsy

           http://www.talesofwhimsy.com/ A clear and well laid out blog. reviews a range of books and is also niche through the christian chick lit reviews.

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The next book in the Christmas countdown is one close to my heart. At least, the original is close to my heart. It’s the follow on book from The  Jolly Postman.

It’s the Jolly Christmas Postman and it’s just heartwarming. Now some may find the idea of a human postman delivering post to domesticated animals a little disconcerting, but come on people it’s a picture book; the epitome of the disconcerting. But it’s the imaginative that you embrace when you open up  a picture book and it reaps rewards if you do it with an open mind.

What I love about this book and indeed, the original is the interactive element as we open the post delivered to each character (I wont dwell on the face we are surely breaking some privacy laws here) Janet and Allan Ahlberg are you the reason behind the tragic youth of today?

Another aspect of the book to ignore is the fact that the jolly postman is delivering letters on Christmas Eve. This does not happen, but again I digress.

The Ahlberg’s have once again triumphed as this innovative book will please any child learning the fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Little Red Riding Hood and Humpty Dumpty are the highlights for me.

An uplifting, unceremoniously British picture book which reminds the adults to get to the post office in good time.

ISBN: 9780670886272

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Continuing with the christmas countdown of the ultimate books for Christmas is number 9.

The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett

The Rabbit Problem

This is the most wonderful picture books, my words cannot give it justice. It is truly inspiring and more importantly, it is fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

As a hardback book this will keep well which is a good thing because trust me, you will read this book again and again, whether you’re with a child or not.

The rabbits have a problem, there’s a growing amount of them beyonds mathematical comprehension. We’re talking seriously squished bunnies here! This is a year in the life of a rabbit family, displayed in a calendar style book as they face a monthly challenge on top of their growing brood. This book is just wonderful because it teaches things without realising it. Being in calendar form, it gives the book a contemporary edge over other picture books and gives the book a clear format and the kids will surely have a favourite month.

There are great interactive elements with flaps and pop ups. I recommend you look at this book before you buy it just to experience it and fall in love with it like I have. The illustrations veer away from the traditional with each rabbit being as individual as the storyline itself.

Emily Gravett has created a real treasure of a book here and I can’t wait for more people to realise how great it is.

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I have finally found a free moment to myself to share with you what I think, are great Christmas titles to read this festive season.

Christmas, for me is a time to wallow in the joy that such a time can bring. The joys of christmas range from that familiar scent of mulled wine, to the classic Christmas Carol tale but most importantly, it is making the effort to spend time with friends and family, most of whom we lose touch with throughout the busy year.

Christmas is that opportunity to stop (after all the shopping and preparations have been made of course) and relish the wonderful moments, not least of all those wonderful moments and memories we create when reading a book, whether this be alone or with a mass of kids surrounding you.

I truly believe that the written and spoken word is the most powerful thing we have to our disposal in this world. Words have the power to make us smile, to make us cry and to inspire. Most of all they create memories and nostalgia in the form of the written word. For that reason, many of the books in my ‘Christmas Top 10’ list have a traditional feel that relates back to times gone by that many would love to wallow in once again.

Whether you read a children’s book to relish in your childhood memories, take a book to the local hospital to share or are gathered round a big fire with the family…whatever you’re doing, and wherever you are; enjoy these books for what they are. Pure joy, happiness and escapism.

CHRISTMAS BOOKS TO READ AND SHARE- We start the countdown with:

10. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Illustrated by Quentin Blake

I adore Quentin Blake. His illustrations for Roald Dahl fill up most of my memories about my childhood books and I relish looking through all the books he has illustrated in. There is something so comforting and familiar about his art and he will always be a national treasure in my heart. This book is formatted as a hardback and has a very authentic traditional feel to it, which is fitting for the tale of A Christmas Carol. Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without re-visiting this tale and I think we will all appreciate the tale in this lovely gift style book. ISBN:9781843651215Quentin Blake's a Christmas Carol


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