Monday, 10 June 2019

Five New Favourites

I have read so many amazing books recently!  My TBR pile is growing daily and I am loving this Golden Age of Children's Fiction.
Please continue to read for five of my newest favourites!

The Steam Whistle Theatre Company
Vivian French
Walker Books

Uncaster is the scene for this magnificent book.  A fantastic cast of characters bring this Victorian theatre adventure to life.  The Steam Whistle Theatre company is heading North from London to find their fortune. At the same time, Magician Baby Bubbles and his thieving mother are on the run and also planning to set up in Uncaster.
Competing for business and money brings out the worst in this community and before long trouble finds them all.  From ruined costumes, fights, thieving, and orphans, there is plenty to keep a reader amused.
I loved the characters and truly felt their personalities shine through, and I was rooting for the theatre company from the very beginning.  Even when it looked as though they were doomed!

Is there a happy ending for the Steam Whistle Theatre Company?
Read this book to discover more- it is an excellent way to spend an afternoon, or morning or evening.

An Unlikely Spy
Terry Deary

Brigit, the main character, is a young girl, full of fierce determination, like her mother Aimee.  She stands up for herself and sometimes has to face the consequences and ultimately the bullying that comes from being German at the start of WWII.
After being evacuated to Wales, Brigit makes a bold choice to escape and follow her mother who is a secret spy being sent behind enemy lines.  Tough training, strict rules and an unhappy sergeant make life hard for the pair.  Then comes the news that they are being sent on a mission.
France, danger and the resistance become her life and we see how brave, bold and determined Brigit truly is.  She helps to set bombs, destroy factories and take down phone lines all for her country.
A fast paced, exciting read and one I devoured in one morning- I just couldn't put it down.
This story follows on from The Silver Hand, also by Terry Deary, in which we meet Aimee and Marius and learn about their roles during WWI.  Aimee and Marius are Brigit's parents.
You can read An Unlikely Spy as a stand alone but I have ordered The Silver Hand to complete the story of Aimee.
An enthralling read and one I recommend highly.

Media of The Good Thieves
The Good Thieves
Katherine Rundell

I had been anxiously awaiting a copy of this book and it arrived just before half term.  Another book to be devoured in one sitting- I see a pattern here!
I loved Vita, setting up against her opponent, New York and could tell she was going to be as fierce and full of fight as I had hoped.
This is a New York style mafia heist as its best.
Vita's grandfather has been swindled out of his family home by a mafia man.  Vita and her mother come to try to convince the grandfather to move home with them.  Vita, decides to take matters into her own hands and so begins a dangerous chase to try and get back what is rightly theirs. Enter in some new friends with extraordinary talents and you have an incredible adventure, fast paced, full of fight and determination.
This is Katherine Rundell doing what she does best.  Letting the reader loose in a world brought to life through wondrous descriptions with characters who almost leap off the page.
One to be read, shared and cherished.

Starlight Watchmaker RGB.jpgThe Starlight Watchmaker
Lauren James
Barrington Stoke

This was an unexpected story and I admit I was surprised at the cast of characters.  It is an ingenious plot in a shorter book, perfect for those students still building their reading stamina.
 It has all the elements of a larger book and is completely engrossing.  This will capture your attention and imagination quickly and you will find yourself reading to the end.
From the first meeting of Hugo, the android watchmaker, to the budding friendship with Dorian, a green diplomat from another world, I was transported to the mystery of the missing quantum energy.
Who is stealing the energy? Is it for sinister reasons?
There are twists and turns and surprises underground.
A brilliant read and one I can't wait to share with schools.

The Secret DragonThe Secret Dragon                                               
Ed Clarke

Mari is a scientist, just like her Dad.  She loves discovering fossils and recording everything just as a scientist would.
A chance discovery takes Mari by storm and together with new friend Dylan, they must work together in the name of science.
The tiny dragon, nicknamed Gweeb, causes endless amounts of trouble for Mari and Dylan.
Mari is headstrong, scientific and has few friends.  Dylan is new in town and both are in need of friendship.  They learn a lot from each other and from Gweeb.
This is an excellent book full of hope, dreams and friendships.  It is also a book about working together and understanding the world around you.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in the hills of Wales with Mari, Dylan and Gweeb.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Moon Landing Anniversary- 2 books to celebrate

When we walked on the Moon
David Long and Sam Kilda
Quarto Publishing Group
Publishing 4 June 2019

I, like many others, am curious about the space race, the moon landings and the history of space travel.  This gem of a book is brilliant.  It answered more questions than I realised I had.
With the 50th anniversary of the moon landings fast approaching, books about space travel are becoming more and more popular.
This book will take you from the first moon landing with the famous lines "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind", all the way to the last Apollo mission several years later.  Sadly, I was unaware of just how many men had travelled, landed on and explored the surface of the moon.  This book will continue the journey of these brave men into the history books.  I found it fascinating to read about what scientific experiments they were doing, the amount of rocks they brought back and the danger of moon dust to their suits.
The illustrations are superb, with a real historical feel to them.  I found myself studying the control centre one looking at the fine details and imagining the scientists spending days there trying to save Apollo 13's mission and astronauts.
This book belongs on every Non fiction shelf under the topic of space.  It is an excellent book full of facts about the landings and the men who landed.  I haven't come across a book that explains the landings and gives a brief bio of each astronaut before and I thoroughly enjoyed every page.

The Race to Space
Clive Gifford and Paul Daviz
Quarto Publishing Group
Published May 2019

This is a stunning book documenting the Space Race between Russia and the United States- beginning after WWII and continuing through to the construction of the International Space Station.  Russia and the US, competed against each other in the race to explore space and the moon.  Rivals for a long time but now relying on each other to further this exploration of space.

The illustrations are stunning, bold and colourful.  They bring an interesting subject to a new generation of space explorers.  Children can access the short snappy facts alongside the brilliant pictures.

As we near the anniversary of the lunar landing, space is becoming hugely popular and children are keen to learn more about this new frontier.  New books are needed to continue this interest, especially one like this with its excellent layout and use of illustrations.

I loved the use of quotations from key people in the space race- some are etched in our minds and it is important new generations understand this part of history.

Fascinating and thorough- it is one to enjoy for all ages.

Five New Favourites

I have read so many amazing books recently!  My TBR pile is growing daily and I am loving this Golden Age of Children's Fiction. ...