Posts Tagged ‘lauren st john’

I always get customers coming in saying something along the lines of ‘My child has read this, they absolutely loved it, can you recommend anything similar?’ Sometimes, it’s hard to recommend anything similar, and sometimes I’m tempted to suggest something quite different, so the child has a broad reading range but in the case of a customer the other day asking for books similar to Enid Blyton I just had to recommend two fantastic authors whose books I really admire, and love.


Lauren St. John – She’s won the Blue Peter Fiction award and has a huge following. I particularly love the Laura Marlin mysteries set in Cornwall. Orphan Laura is forced to move to her Uncle’s weird house in Cornwall and longs for a life of adventure- just like the ones in her favourite books and it’s not long before she find some at Dead Man’s Cove, a place her Uncle has forbidden her to go to…

The second in the Laura Marlin series ‘Kidnap in the Caribbean’ was published last month by Orion and we follow Laura all the way to the Caribbean and things are a little different there. Cornwall certainly doesn’t have pirates and sharks on the shore! It’s another fantastic book in this series. Well written, with a really loveable, charming character – books like these are rare and certainly echo the fun, innocent nature of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books in which going out to play meant finding your own adventures!

I also can’t stop raving about Helen Moss and her book ‘Adventure Island: Mystery of the Whistling Caves’. It might be the cover which appeals, but it also might be the mysterious action packed story in which three children and a dog make their own investigation when the local whistling caves suddenly go quite and lots of treasure goes missing.

This is good old fashioned story telling with a modern setting – I loved it. Also part of a series, ‘The Mystery of the Midnight Ghost’ is out now.

The Laura Marlin Mysteries 1: Dead Man’s Cove (978-1444001488)

The Laura Marlin Mysteries 2: Kidnap in the Caribbean (978-1444000214)

Lauren St John

Orion Children’s Books


Adventure Island 1: Mystery of the Whistling Caves (978-1444003284)

Adventure Island 2: The Mystery of the Midnight Ghost (978-1444003291)

Adventure Island 3: The Mystery of the Hidden Gold (978-1444003307)

Adventure Island 4: The Mystery of the Missing Masterpiece (978-1444003314)

Helen Moss

Orion Children’s Books


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Mailbox Monday is hosted by the Printed Page over at http://printedpage.us/ and is a weekly meme looking at all the books I have received in the past week, either for a review or books I have bought myself. I’ve got a great list to start with.

‘The Elephant’s Tale’ by Lauren St John. Paperback published 1st July 2010, by Orion.

Book description (via Amazon): It’s the first day of the December school holidays and Martine has lots of fun planned for the next few weeks, not least spending time with Jemmy, her beloved white giraffe, and her best friend, Ben. But her plans for a peaceful holiday are soon shattered when a sinister man informs Martine and her grandmother that Sabuwona is about to be repossessed. The nature reserve, and everything in it, will no longer belong to them. Martine is determined to save the home she’s grown to love. When Grace has a vision about a unique herd of Namibian elephants, she knows she must travel to Namibia to learn their secrets. This could be the answer to all their troubles … The fourth thrilling African adventure, written with all the zest and skill that has endeared so many readers to THE WHITE GIRAFFE, DOLPHIN SONG and THE LAST LEOPARD.

I picked up a proof copy that got sent to work of the paperback edition, can’t wait to delve into this. St John is always very popular and looks set to continue this tradition. I think children find the books very helpful in growing up whilst still maintaining that important form of escapism through the Afican lands.

‘Usborne Children’s World Cookbook’ Hardback published 28th May 2010 by Usborne.
Book description (via Amazon): This is an exciting new edition of the cookbook that takes adventurous cooks on a gastronomic trip around the world. Stylish, mouth-watering photographs will inspire readers to be adventurous with new flavours and cuisines. Different cooking techniques are clearly illustrated, and accompanied by information on ingredients from around the globe. Simple, illustrated step-by-step instructions explain exactly what cooks need to do, making each recipe 100 per cent fail-safe.
This book is quite simply, stunning. It has what a lot of adult cookbooks don’t and that’s format and coherence. The book is indexed through food type and food by region and the pictures are beautiful; colourful and diverse and really portray the traditions of each country. Kids will love getting their hands dirty and cooking recipes. There are some basics like the classic English scone… “scown” or “scon”? and pancakes and there are some more exotic recipes such as Hungarian goulash and Thai chicken in coconut sauce. The recipes are laid out in a step by step basis so that children can follow easily. There are real photographs of the the end result as well as the native people enjoying their food customs and ways of life. Children will learn as much about all the countries as they will about food.
A fantastic book, I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’ve always been a supporter of Usborne books because I remember the ‘first experience’ books so fondly, especially ‘Going to School’. When I found that book again and looked back at the photography, the memories of reading that book over and over came flooding back. When customers ask for educational books I always point them in the direction of Usborne and they seem very satisfied.
Look out this week for an additional review on other cooking related books for children that will go down a treat…mmm “Revolting Recipes”.
‘Cake Girl’ by David Lucas. Hardback published October 2009. Andersen Press.
Book description (via Amazon): The witch was alone on her birthday – again! So she bakes a Cake Girl, and tells her to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and dance, and smile, and make her laugh – and do all the housework…’And then’, said the Witch, ‘I’ll eat you’. What will Cake Girl do? A delicious new picture book from the creator of “Halibut Jackson” and “The Robot and the Bluebird”.
Oh, I must have cake on my mind. I can’t help but feel sorry for the poor cake girl, mainly because I want to eat her too! Check out David Lucas’s books because he’s writen some great ones, my other favourite being ‘Nutmeg’. I bought this book to add to my collection because I think it’s lovely. Reminiscent of the down-on-luck princess in a fairy tale, and even The Nutcracker, this is a charming book which will lift anyone’s spirits and satisfy a sweet tooth craving (for an hour or so I’m sure).
‘Penguin by Design: A Cover Story 1935-2005’ by Phil Baines. Published May 2005, Penguin (Allen Lane).
I’ve wanted this book for so long and now I’ve got it. It features all the book covers from the past 70 years by Penguin. It’s fascinating to see art change through book design and you will find some real classics in here. Each design is a representation of our culture and really pays tribute to the book inside hiding beneath the cover. Penguin continues to be at the forefront of publishing and I love their retro, vintage designs; specifically the new Nancy Mitford fiction editions. I will of course have to have them all. You can also get postcards featuring book covers and a fun game in the same style as the book.
That’s my mailbox done for the week. I know I’ve got some more stuff on the way for next week so I better get reading.


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