Archive for June, 2013

Introducing…Pruedence

We are delighted to welcome *drum roll*…Pruedence

Pruedence is an experienced blogger and the creator of The Library Mouse, a fantastic book blog specializing in YA and bargain books. Due to increasing demands on her time( read more here) Pruedence has decided reduce her workload by joining forces with a team of bloggers. The Library Mouse’s loss is our gain, and we are over the moon that she has decided to join the Big Book Little Book team.

Pruedence in the public eye is a fulltime healthcare professional. In her own private environment she’s a book addict. Her drug-books of choice ranges from Young Adult, New Adult, Adult, to the occasional Middlegrade covering a variety of genres.

When not at work she can be found curled up in just about any comfortable location indoors or outdoors with her trusty ipadmini-kindle or paperbook, with Ludovico Einaudi’s classical music playing in the background lulling her into a place free from space and time. And if you look carefully you will also always spot a giant mug of tea within reaching distance so that the least amount of disturbance is brought to her reading by movement.

She is a very firm believer of C.S. Lewis’s saying “You can’t get a cup of tea big enough book long enough to suit me”

Posted on:

Copy Cat

Mark Birchall

Copy Cat cover artCat was small and Dog was big, and whatever Dog did, Cat did too…
Dog is fed up with Cat copying everything she does. But when Cat stays away, Dog discovers she is lonely without him.
A charming story about friendship, sharing and play.

This book arrived in the Bookstart bag and was initially put to one side, but I found it the other evening and after a quick leaf through, decided it would be ideal as I currently have a four year old who goes to preschool and, and a younger almost three year old who trails around after his big brother as if they are joined together by invisible string – often to his big brothers annoyance!

As the description says, this is a most charming story. Dog is always off on adventures and Cat follows along and is always there… Dog starts to get a bit annoyed at this and turns around one day and calls Cat a ‘copy cat’. He then plans a trip by himself but Cat still manages to turn up and this time he is quite mean to Cat and makes it clear he wants to be left alone.

Well, as you might guess, Cat disappears and Dog begins to realise that it’s not so much fun after all, playing on your own the whole time. It’s good that we get to see that Dog misses Cat and goes round to say sorry.

This is a great book to facilitate discussion about playing together and being friends. Whilst Joshua may get frustrated with Samuel and want to be left alone at times it was good to chat with him about how a lot of the things they do together – playing rugby/football, bouncing on the trampoline or riding up and down on their scooters wouldn’t be quite so much fun if Joshua was always doing it alone, and particularly for them as siblings it was good to remind them how lucky they are to have each other and to be thankful that they have a friend who is always there to play with.

Verdict: A great book to facilitate discussion about playing together and being friends.

Reviewed by Lesley

Publisher: Childs Play Inc
Publication Date: April 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: None
Posted on:

The Night Itself

Zoe Marriott

the night itselfA breathtaking new urban fantasy trilogy from the critically acclaimed, award winning author of The Swan Kingdom and Shadows on the Moon.
When fifteen year old Mio Yamato furtively sneaks the katana – an ancestral Japanese sword – out of its hiding place in her parent’s attic to help liven up her Christmas party costume, she has no idea of the darkness she is about to unleash on modern day London, or the family secrets that she is going to uncover.

I don’t travel well. If my mode of transportation doesn’t consist of my own two feet, or a vehicle I am steering then there is a good chance it will inspire nausea. In the case of flying it will also inspire a racing pulse, breathlessness, fidgeting and sweaty palms. It’s not that I have an irrational fear of flying (well, not really) it’s just that I take no pleasure from spending hours in an uncomfortable enclosed space, traveling at hundreds of miles an hour, miles off of the ground in a tin can (see I’m completely rational).

This spring, in order to spend time with my gorgeous niece on her first birthday, I had to undertake my first unaccompanied flight. Prior to now I have always had friends, my husband and/or my children as travel companions to distract, entertain and soothe me. Knowing my travel weakness I prepared to endure the experience and counteract my bodies ‘fight or flight’ response with fiction. As a result I have spent the last couple of weeks considering the pros and cons of The Night Itself as an inanimate travel companion.

1. OCCUPYING A RESTLESS MIND

PRO
Time suck.

Having arrived at the airport earlier than the compulsory one hour prior to my flight, I settled down in a coffee shop with a large latte and my gorgeous ARC in the hope of occupying myself until it was time to board my flight. Zoe immediately grabbed my attention with Mio’s distinctive voice and the foreshadowing of trouble. Once captured, my attention was retained by the humorous dialogue, the realistic relationships, an action packed pacey plot, original world building and the compelling mystery of the Katana.

CON
Running.

Unfortunately for me, I got a little too involved in the storyline and I missed the initial publication of my boarding gate number. This resulted in me having to run (an activity that does not come naturally) for my gate in order to make my flight.

2. COUNTERACTING MY URGE TO FIGHT, FREEZE OR FLEE.

PRO
Laughing, smirking, swooning

One way I’ve found to reduce my anxiety is through the experience of other emotions, I can’t panic if I’m laughing (unless it’s the nervous or hysterical variety of course!).

I identified with Mio’s distinctively British voice. Her humour, observations and turn of phrase, had me smirking along with her and I couldn’t help but love the banter between Mio and her feisty BFF Jack. In fact while I loved the action, the character development and the world building of The Night Itself, what I enjoyed the most were the relationships. Whether functional and supportive or estranged, established or developing, past or present, familial, platonic or romantic, it was the relationships, which grounded the story in realism, and elicited my emotional connection to the book.

CON
Giggling like a loon in a public place;

Snorting with laughter,
Knowingly smirking,
Gasping, breath holding and squirming with tension,
and, crying snot bubble accompanied tears…
Whether you consider this to be a con, of course will all depend on how you feel about public displays of emotion.

3. DISTRACTING ME FROM MY IRRATIONAL FEAR.

PRO
Books not drugs!

I found The Night Itself to be the perfect distraction to my inflight anxieties. Having spent the duration of the flight sat next to a fellow reluctant flyer, who had resorted to prescription drugs to get her through the experience, I can say that the adventures of Mio and Co were much better at inducing calm than valium (ok so it’s not exactly the most scientific of tests, a randomized control trial it is not, but it worked for me).

Prior to reading The Night Itself, my knowledge of and exposure to Japanese culture was pretty much limited to sushi (pass the salmon sashimi). Zoe’s obvious passion for Japanese culture was contagious, and she presented the cultural references in such an non elitist way that instead of feeling intimidated by my lack of experience I found the topic refreshing, and I fascinatedly gobbling up every tit bit and reference. I have subsequently found myself Googling elements, like the Kitsune (fox spirits) to satisfy my newly inspired curiosity.

CON
Errrr

Nope, sorry I can’t see any cons for this one.

Verdict: I adored The Night Itself, the first book in Zoe Marriott’s London based urban fantasy trilogy, and I will be adding future installments to my travel essentials.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: July 2013
Format: ARC
Pages: 368
Genre: Urban fantasy
Age: YA/Teen
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
Posted on:

Room On The Broom

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler(illustrator)

room on the broomThe witch and her cat are happily flying through the sky on a broomstick when the wind picks up and blows away the witch’s hat, then her bow, and then her wand! Luckily, three helpful animals find the missing items, and all they want in return is a ride on the broom. But is there room on the broom for so many friends? And when disaster strikes, will they be able to save the witch from a hungry dragon?

So, today at the Supermarket it was ‘Room on the Broom – LOOK!’ followed by ‘Pleeeaaase’, which, as it was on offer, I couldn’t refuse! I’d barely got the milk in the fridge before we flopped on the sofa with great excitement to read Joshua’s newest addition to his collection!

As you might imagine, this is another truly wonderful story. ‘Room on the Broom’ is told in delightful poetry, has great humour and the witch is very friendly and likeable. This is perfect for pre-schoolers – the rhyming means they can pick up the flow very quickly and the humour makes us all chuckle out loud. This is a funny story about how the witch keeps having to stop and ‘land’ due to various items falling off of her and how they end up collecting passengers along the way. Joshua was particularly excited to find out that a dragon is involved and of course Alex Scheffler’s illustrations capture us along the way.

Verdict: If you don’t have it – put it on your list! Your pre-schooler will thank you!

Reviewed by Lesley

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s books
Publication Date: April 2010
Format: Board book
Pages: 28
Genre: Picture book
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: British book
Posted on: