Archive for the ‘Children’s literature’ Category

Oh yes, I adore Brambly Hedge and having all the stories together in one big hardback anthology is such a treat. Every customer who has seen the book in store have admitted that they are buying the book more for themselves than their children…and good for them I say.

This anthology features lots of stories from the little mice and even has a lovely Christmas story in it. I think Brambly Hedge takes us back to those days of innocence and their wistful nature makes me long to live in a warm and cosy little burrow, decorating my little house with holly and eating lots of food I’ve collected for the winter.

The characters are adorable and Jill Barklem’s illustrations capture the warmth of each and every one of them with delight and love.

You just have to get this book is you ever read Brambly Hedge as a child. Whether you’re getting it for yourself or sharing the joy with a loved little one; this book must be on your shelf!


Jill Barklem

HarperCollins Children’s Books


£14.99 HB

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Have you got magic beans?

‘Magic Beans: A handful of Fairytales’ is one of those must have books for anyone who ever had a collection of fairytales. Told by masterful story tellers such as Michael Morpurgo, Malorie Blackman and Anne Fine; old classics get a new take in this beautiful new collection.

This will appeal to a whole new generation looking for wonder and fulfillment and will take adults right back to that moment of realising escape and possibility comes in the form of a fairytale. Featuring best-loved tales such as Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel and The Little Mermaid, this is a charming hardback book brought to life by magical illustrations.


Various authors


David Fickling Books

£9.99 HB

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Oh The Wombles, a cult British Classic. They are the Wombles of Wimbledon and always have themselves a Wombling Christmas and now you can too with this beautiful hardback treasury of Womble tales with beautiful illustrations. At work we even sell Womble stuffed toys.

The Wombles have certainly experienced something of a comeback in the past year with the paperback stories being reissued. This classic treasury will I think be as much of a gift to the children as it is to the adults giving them. The colour illustrations really bring to life the charming nature of the different Womble characters, it really is a delight.

Suitable for…everyone. That’s the beauty of Beresford’s writing.

Who is your favourite Womble?


Elizabeth Beresford


£14.99 HB


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On the second day of advent, this bookseller brought to you not one…but two books.

Adventure Classics for Boys by Daniel Defoe and Robert Louis Stevenson features three classic tales ‘Robinson Crusoe’, ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘Kidnapped’ in a lovely navy blue, gold embossed hard back with fantastic illustrations throughout. This book and the version for girls marks the return to a classic books theme this Christmas with so many old editions celebrating anniversaries and being reissued. It’s lovely that a new generation can enjoy the also enjoyed. You just can’t beat an adventure thriller. Suitable for 8-12’s.

ADVENTURE CLASSICS FOR BOYS, £9.99, Egmont, 9781405254656

Adventure Classics for Girls by Johanna Spyri, Susan Coolidge and Anna Sewell is suitably pink and features the three lovely stories ‘Heid’, ‘What Katy Did’ and ‘Black Beauty’. I love these stories and they remind me of long hot summer’s building a den in the fields by my house. A time of innocence and this book captures it all. Suitable for 8-12’s.

FAMOUS CLASSICS FOR GIRLS, £9.99, Egmont 9781405254663

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When I first found out about this book, I was thrilled. It’s not often to come across well-written, mature Christmas fiction for children. Other than A Christmas Carol, what is really out there that explores the true meaning of Christmas?

I was also equally thrilled to discover Eddie Izzard is to star in the BBC adaptation, to be shown this Christmas so make sure you look out for it…but read the book first!

Lost Christmas is all about a boy named Goose, whose parents have been tragically killed in a car accident. Living with his crazy Grandma and dog called ‘Mutt’, Goose feels pretty down on his luck. (Think Tiny Tim meets Charlie Bucket). Goose does have one friend; but he’s hired Goose to help him commit crimes across Manchester.

One day, Goose meets a man who is capable of finding anything and everything. When Goose loses his dog, it seems fate has drawn them together and he must rely on this strange man; Anthony, to find his beloved dog.

Anthony poses many questions: Who is he? Can he really help Goose find his dog? And more importantly…how?

I loved this book from start to finish…literally. The hardback book is beautiful and in-keeping with the festive theme. It would make a wonderful gift for girls and boys. It’s difficult not to become attached to Goose. He’s completely lost his way through no fault of his own and I couldn’t help but root for Goose and Anthony as they help one another find things they have lost.

It’s a charming, sad but often funny tale of life and love set amongst the dodgy side-streets of Manchester but the anticipation of Christmas never goes away. Quite like A Christmas Carol and the film, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ I couldn’t help but hope that the magic of Christmas would win out in this book…and I wasn’t disappointed.

Lost Christmas is David Logan’s first book, and what a triumph it is. He writes with compassion and understanding for his characters; like he too understands what they’re going through.

A perfect gift for 9-12 year old girls and boys. Or, in fact anyone looking for a little magic this Christmas and the chance to believe in something great.


David Logan

Quercus Books


£8.99 HB


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You may have recently seen my excited tweets talking about this great new book and with it, I want to share the fantastic interactive website full of games, features and bits about the book.

Hailed as the new ‘Harry Potter’, ‘The History Keepers’ aims to fill the void Harry and co. left behind. My review of this fantastic book will be coming soon but for now, here’s a link to the website.


where you can create your own characters. You choose the era the character comes from and after uploading your picture you can choose all sorts about your hero. And here’s some more information  on what the book is all about…

“When Jake is kidnapped by strangers on a stormy London night he discovers his loving parents have been leading a double life and are now missing, lost somewhere in history. He is plunged into a world of secret societies, dangerous double agents, and a terrifying countdown to oblivion. Transported by a Spanish galleon back to 19th century France, he finds himself in the headquarters of The History Keepers – a remarkable league of time-travelling special agents. The History Keepers preserve the true course of history against those who would change it for their own gain, such as the diabolical Prince Zeldt.  Driven by a sense of adventure and a desire to reunite his family, Jake makes the most thrilling – and dangerous – decision of his life.


Damian Dibben has worked extensively as a screenwriter on projects as diverse as Phantom of the Opera and Puss in Boots. Dibben, who lives on the South Bank with his dog Dudley, has lived in London all his life. He was born in Eaton Square to a family of famous eccentrics from whom he inherited his sense of humour and a love of London and history. His passions include cosmology, archaeology and natural science, all of which have informed this remarkable debut.”

The History Keepers: The Storm Begins 

 Damian Dibben 

 Doubleday /  HB/ £12.99 / out now

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Every so often, I come across a book which makes me stop what I’m doing, find a quiet corner and take a good look at it. In the most recent case, Wonderstruck; the new book by Brian Selznick caught me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting another book so soon having so recently been bowled over by the re-issue the The Invention of Hugo Cabret and the film hype surrounding it. Hugo Cabret was originally published in 2007, but this was the first I had heard of it.

Wonderstruck is a beautifully crafted book. On par with Hugo Cabret (winner of the esteemed Caldecott medal) it’s haunting in its beauty both in prose and illustration. Both complement one another perfectly. People are often surprised to open Selznick’s books and discover that the majority of pages are filled with stunning illustration sketches. It’s like a picture book for older people and in my experience, those are often the best kind.

“Ben’s story takes place in 1977 and is told in words. Rose’s story in 1927 is told entirely in pictures. Ever since his mother died, Ben feels lost. At home with her father, Rose feels alone. When Ben finds a mysterious clue hidden in his mother’s room, and when a tempting opportunity presents itself to Rose, both children risk everything to find what’s missing. Rich, complex, affecting and beautiful, WONDERSTRUCK is a staggering achievement from a uniquely gifted artist.”

I really cannot recommend this one enough. It makes a beautiful gift for someone and is something wonderful for you yourself to open up and get lost in.

Quite simply…it’s storytelling at its best.


Brian Selznick



September 2011


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