Posts Tagged ‘Publisher- Faber and Faber’

The Graces

Laure Eve
the gracesEveryone said the Graces were witches.
They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.
They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.
All I had to do was show them that person was me.
Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

The Graces follows (you guessed it) the Grace family, but more specifically River. The rich, beautiful and powerful Graces captivate River, as they do with every one in her town. Why? – Because everyone believes Summer, Thalia and Fenrin Grace can do magic. So when the family seem to take River under their wing, welcoming her to where everyone has tried but failed to be, she commits herself to being a Grace. However, as River grows closer to the family she learns that becoming a Grace has a price and carries consequences she could have never imagined.

I went into this hoping it would either be a twilight-esque frustrating romance but nevertheless an unput-a-downable read or a kickass witch book with mind-blowing magic. Unfortunately though, this book was neither and all in all I found it rather underwhelming.

Although beautifully began I found the latter stages of the novel painfully slow and lacking clear direction. I felt the main character was very depressing and just not an enjoyable narrator. Additionally, I felt her obsession with the Graces was disturbing and to be honest I didn’t really want to learn more about them.
My main problem with the book was the lack of plot; it read like it hadn’t been planned and lacked any real climax. I also felt it was quite forced in trying to be dark and mysterious and therefore didn’t really create the atmosphere I was looking for.

One thing I did quite enjoy was the dialogue, which at times was sharp and easily read. Furthermore, I did like Summer’s character as I thought Lauren Eve had constructed her well, with her dimension being well written.

To conclude, I did find the beginning of the book quite enjoyable but once we were past the opening stages the plot lost most of it’s intrigue and thus failed to captivate me.

Verdict: What disappointed me the most was how much potential it had, the synopsis sounded so intriguing and I therefore went in with high expectations only to be let down.

Reviewed by Evie (14)

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: August 2016
Format: eBook
Pages: 352
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Age: YA
Reviewer: Evie (14)
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book
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Buddy Review: Memoirs Of A Neurotic Zombie

Jeff Norton
RGB ZombiecoverFRONT‘My name is Adam Meltzer and the last thing I remember was being stung by a bee while swinging at a robot-shaped pinata on my twelfth birthday. I was dead before the candy hit the ground.’
Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie is narrated by the hilarious Adam Meltzer – pre-teen, worrywart, and now zombie. Adam’s family gets the fright of their lives when he turns up at their door . . . three months after his funeral.
Soon Adam’s back at school trying to fit in and not draw extra attention to himself, but when he sees his neighbour Ernesto transform into a chupacubra, and the beautiful Corina (Adam’s number one mega-crush) turns out to be a (vegan) vampire, undead life is never going to be the same again.
A hilarious adventure caper – if Ferris Bueller met Shaun of the Dead – all about friendship and being yourself . . . even if you’re undead.

Posted by Faye and Caroline

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: August 2014
Format: ARC
Pages: 256
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Caroline & Faye
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Bookish Brits: Six Degrees Of Separation

6degreesThis video is based on a feature I first came across at YA Yeah Yeah (here) and is inspired by the Meme, Six Degrees Of Separation, created by Anabell Smith and Emma J Chapman (here)

Posted by Caroline

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#CountDownTo7th August : Interview With Emma Carrol

Big Book Little Book are absolutely delighted to host author Emma Carroll as she counts down to the August 7th release of her second novel The Girl Who Walked On Air . The Girl Who Walks On Air is a beautifully written middle grade novel which perfectly balances breath holding daredevilry and adventure with a compelling personal mystery.
TGWWOAAbandoned as a baby at Chipchase’s Travelling Circus, Louie dreams of becoming a ‘Showstopper’. Yet Mr Chipchase only ever lets her sell tickets. No Death-Defying Stunts for her. So in secret, Louie practises her act- the tightrope- and dreams of being the Girl Who Walked on Air. All she needs is to be given the chance to shine.
One night a terrible accident occurs. Now the circus needs Louie’s help, and with rival show Wellbeloved’s stealing their crowds, Mr Chipchase needs a Showstopper- fast.
Against his better judgement, he lets Louie perform. She is a sensation and gets an offer from the sinister Mr Wellbeloved himself to perform in America. But nothing is quite as it seems and soon Louie’s bravery is tested not just on the highwire but in confronting her past and the shady characters in the world of the circus . . .

Both TGWWOA and your debut, Frost Hollow Hall, are set in the Victorian era. What is it about historical fiction and this time period that inspires you?

To me, historical fiction gives you freedom to put characters in situations that wouldn’t occur nowadays- a 13 year old walking a tightrope without a safety harness, for instance. There weren’t health and safety laws, crash helmets, antibiotics. Danger is everywhere in historical fiction!

Reading your work you really get a feel for the Victorian era, but without feeling like you are being given a history lesson. It is obvious you have had to undertake a great deal of research in order to get the setting of your books just right. What is your favourite fact/ piece of research about the era that you didn’t include in your work?

When researching ‘Frost Hollow Hall’ I found out about post mortem photographs, where people had their picture taken with a loved one who’d just died. It was one of many Victorian grieving rituals which to us seem creepy, but at the time were a popular mark of respect. For The Girl Who Walked On Air I loved reading about Charles Blondin. I had no idea he’d cooked an omelette on a tightrope over Niagara Falls! What a nutter!

On the surface Frost Hollow Hall and TGWWOA are two very different novels. Where do you find your inspiration for such varied subject matter?

‘Frost Hollow Hall’ was inspired by my love of snowy winters and stories set in creepy old houses. I’d like to say ‘The Girl Who Walked On Air ’is inspired by my talent for tightrope walking, but I’d be lying, sadly. One day I was looking at pictures of C19th circuses. It got me wondering what would motivate someone to risk their life every day just for entertainment.

Both of your published works feature very determined young women. What do you think Tilly (Frost Hollow Hall) and Louie’s strongest personality traits are? What are their weakest?

Great question! I think Tilly’s biggest strength is her loyalty to Kit and to her family. Louie’s is her determination to succeed. She isn’t afraid of danger. Weaknesses? Tilly’s rather hot-headed and proud. Louie tends to get the wrong end of the stick sometimes, and she is a bit of a show-off!

Which of your Characters do you identify with the most? Why?

I recognise bits of myself in Tilly and Louie. I think I’m loyal to those I love. I can also be a bit hot-headed and jump to the wrong conclusion at times! They’re both much braver than me- I’d never walk a tightrope, or go up a pitch-black staircase at night. No way!

What is it that attracts you to writing fiction for young people, particularly for the 9-12 year old age range?

For the past 18 years I’ve worked as an English teacher, so I’m around young people a lot. That said, the age I write for is a bit younger than the age I teach. When I started Frost Hollow Hall, I wanted to write a good old-fashioned romp of a story, something that was engaging and uplifting to read. Faber pitched Frost Hollow Hall at the 9-12 market, and I’m so glad they did. School events with this age group have been awesome!

In Louie’s world the ultimate achievement is to become a showstopper. In order to achieve this dream Louie has to maintain her belief and self-confidence in her abilities in the face of external criticism and indifference. Gabriel’s struggles however are internal. He has to face his fears, fears exacerbated by his past experiences. For you how much was writing and publishing a novel about grit and determination in the face of external obstacles and how much was about facing your own internal obstacles?

Interesting question! Writing involves determination. It takes time. It can’t be rushed. Yet it has to fit in around a day job (for me, anyway) and family life. It is hard work- like always having homework, I heard someone once say! But I’d not change it for the world.

Like Gabriel in’ The Girl Who walked On Air’, I think most writers face internal struggles. Not a day goes by where I don’t think ‘ ugh that’s a terrible chapter/scene/sentence’ and when other people say it…well…it can hurt a bit. But at some point you do have to take a deep breath and let go.

Did you have to overcome any personal challenges in your quest to become an established author?

The hardest thing has been juggling a job I find challenging with one I’m desperate to spend more time doing. I’m still so new to all this, so ask me again in a few years time.

IN TGWWOA there is certain level of audience expectation that the circus performers continually push themselves to create and perform more daring stunts. While I’m sure that your publishers didn’t expect you to risk life and limb for the cause, how has your experience of writing a second novel differed from your debut?

Ha ha luckily no they didn’t! Writing The Girl Who Walked On Air to a deadline gave me my first real flavour of writing professionally ie less staring out of windows/checking twitter, more getting words down. I felt I understood the process of crafting a book better so when the editing began, I didn’t quite feel so overwhelmed.

Louie spends many years perfecting her craft before she is ready to share it with the world. Do you have any secret talents you would like to share with us? 😉

If I told you they’d no longer be secret, would they? 😉

While undoubtedly born with a natural talent, I loved that Louie did not just rely on her talent to achieve her dreams. It took practice, self-confidence, determination and commitment to the cause. In our society of instant gratification, reality TV stars and the desire to be famous for five minutes, how important do you think it is for young people, especially girls, to have positive role models like Louie in their life?

This is a very important question on a huge, huge issue. I’d like to think Louie embodies the qualities you mention, yet she’s also flawed. She has to work for what she wants, often doubting herself in the process. She’s an ordinary person doing extraordinary things. It’s vital for girls-and boys- to have positive female role models.

Who are your favourite literary role models?

I do have a soft spot for characters who defy the odds. Jane Eyre isn’t pretty or accomplished, but she knows her own mind. Katniss Everdeen isn’t privileged or highly trained yet she’s a survivor. Hazel Grace Lancaster is terminally ill and still manages to fall in love. It’s a satisfying arc.

Do you envision revisiting any of your characters? In particular, Daisy would love to know if you would ever write a sequel to Frost Hollow Hall?

You’re not the first to ask that question, Daisy! At the moment there are no plans for a Frost Hollow Hall sequel. But, never say never. In the final chapter I did deliberately keep a few story threads open…

Your debut novel Frost Hollow Hall is a ghost story and your current work in progress, “In Darkling Wood” (TBC) also appears to contain a supernatural element. What is it about the supernatural that interests you as a writer? And on a personal level would you believe in Kit (Frost Hollow Hall) if you saw him as a ghost?

As a child I loved anything spooky or ‘unexplained’- obviously, I still do! I think it comes with having an active imagination, the idea that we don’t ‘know’ everything and that some things are beyond our understanding.
Would I believe in Kit Barrington? Absolutely. I’ve never fallen into a frozen lake, but once when I was very ill, I had a dream about a work colleague who had just died. He sat on my bed and told me I was going to be all right. This was my inspiration for how Kit appears in Tilly’s dreams.

Are you able to tell us anything about your current work in progress?

‘Alice’s little brother Theo is dangerously sick. When a donor is found, he’s rushed into hospital for a heart transplant and Alice goes to stay with Nell, the grandmother she barely knows. Darkling Cottage is a strange old place, surrounded on all sides by an even stranger wood.

Meanwhile Flo is writing letters to her older brother Alfred. It’s November 1918. The war is over at last. She can’t wait for him to come home. There’s something in the wood she’s dying to show him. No one else will believe what she’s seen….’
The first wobbly draft is nearly complete.

emma carrollFrost Hollow Hall won The North East Book Award 2013. It was longlisted for the Brandford Boase Award 2014 and The Leeds Book Award. It was named a top book of 2013 by The Daily Telegraph, and was a LoveReadingForKids Book of the Year 2013.
When she isn’t writing, Emma Carroll teaches English part-time at a secondary school in Devon. She graduated with distinction from Bath Spa University’s MA in Writing For Young People. ‘Frost Hollow Hall’ is Emma’s debut novel for Faber. Her second, The Girl Who Walked On Air is out in August 2014. It is set in a Victorian circus. She is currently working on a third book based on the Cottingley Fairies story.
In another life Emma wishes she’d written ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier. She lives in the Somerset hills with her husband and two terriers. To learn more about Emma and her work visit her website here

Questions by Daisy and Caroline

countdownbuttonv2A huge thank you to Emma for taking the time to answer our questions. The Girl Who Walks On Air will be published by Faber and Faber on the 7th of August.
To learn more about the fantastic #CountDownTo7thAugust blog tour and to take a look at the full schedule visit the Count Down YA website here.

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Buddy Review: Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

April Genevieve Tucholke
between the devilYou stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…
Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.
Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?
Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery… who makes you want to kiss back.
Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Posted by Caroline and Faye

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: April 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
Genre: Fantasy, Gothic horror
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline and Faye
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: Debut book
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chicken mission amazonYoung chicken Amy Cluckbucket dreams of escaping from Perrin’s farm to a life of chicken adventure. One day Amy receives a summons to the Kung Foo School for Poetry in Tibet where she learns she is to become part of an elite chicken squad whose mission is to defeat evil predators. It sounds like a dream come true but Amy’s disappointed to find that fellow squad members Ruth and Boo don’t seem to want to make friends. Ruth is too busy inventing things and Boo has problems of her own.
The chickens travel to Chicken HQ to meet their mentor, Professor Rooster, and prepare for ther first mission …
Through a series of egg-citing adventures and hilarious mishaps the three young chickens learn the value of friendship and teamwork. But will they be ready to defeat their mortal enemy, Thadeus E. Fox?

My name is Professor Emeritus Rooster. This is a call to wings.

For too long chickens have been oppressed, ending up on humans’ dinner plates and in foxes’ tummies. Save for a few notable exceptions (I speak of the excellent Fox Busters and the brave determination of Ginger and Mac in Chicken Run), we have also been ignored in literature and film. Our enemies, on the other wing, are applauded. What, I ask you, is so great about Fantastic Mr Fox? The answer is nothing, if you are a chicken.

On the contrary it is we, fellow chickens, who are fantastic. And not just because of our eggs or our delightful singing voices. Chickens are at least as smart as humans. We have our own social hierarchy known as the pecking order. We protect our families and friends. We enjoy classical music and TV. (As you know, the Bird Broadcasting Corporation has been producing egg-cellent shows for over 50 years.) We make nests and roost in trees. We navigate by the sun and communicate over long distances by crowing at dawn. All hen-sational accomplishments, I think you will agree.

With this in mind I have commissioned one of the growing number of humans who are beginning to understand our capabilities – an author known as Jennifer Gray – to write a series of egg-citing adventures about what we can achieve if we put our minds to it. The books tell the story of three ordinary young chickens – Amy, Boo and Ruth – who are trained in combat at the Kung Fu School for Poultry (KFP) high in the mountains of Tibet. Together they form an elite squad whose mission is to defeat bird-kind’s most ferocious enemies. Operating under my watchful eye at Chicken HQ, and with the assistance of some of my brilliant inventions, these chickens mean business. Admittedly they cluck a few things up along the way but the important thing is they learn from their experience – another remarkable chicken trait – and kung through in the end. I trust that their story will inspire you to set up your own chicken cells to protect your roosts, and that one day you too will be immortalized in tales of chicken derring-do that will be passed down from generation to generation and into popular culture.

Chickens: our moment approaches. It is time for all 19 billion of us to stand up and be counted. Do not forget we outnumber humans three to one. Together we can do great things.

Forget Mission Impossible: it’s time for Chicken Mission.

jennifer greyJennifer Gray is a barrister and the author of the Atticus Claw, Chicken Mission and Guinea Pigs Online series. Atticus Claw Breaks the Law is a winner of the Red House Children’s Book Award. Jennifer lives in London and Scotland with her husband and four children, and Henry, a friendly but enigmatic cat.
To learn more about Chicken Mission visit the Faber and Faber website here

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Hog In The Fog

Julia Copus and Eunyoung Seo(illustrator)

hog in the fogThe tale of a hog in the fog.
This is the story of Candy Stripe Lil
and Harry the Hog who lived over the hill.
…and a foggy March day, roundabout three,
when Lil had invited Harry for tea.
Lil is expecting Harry the Hog for tea, but there’s a swirling fog outside and Harry is nowhere to be seen.
Lil sets off to find her friend. Luckily she meets Deer, Sheep and Crow along the way, who all join in the hunt to find the hog in the fog.

My four year old and I absolutely love this rhyming tale of friendship and identity.
Instead of reading about why we love Hog in the Fog, you can try the story out for yourself.
The team at Faber and Faber have teamed up with, Strictly star, Russell Grant to create this fantastic unabridged video.

Posted by Caroline

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: March 2014
Format: Hardback
Pages: 32
Genre: Animals, Friendship
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Finish It February: Week Four and Challenge Roundup

Personal Target: Finish/get up to date with four series

Books read this week: Three (but only one for the #FinishItFeb challenge)

Total challenge books read: Four challenge books

Series completed for challenge:Three

Overall feedback: Although I didn’t manage to fulfil my personal target for this challenge, I am really happy that I did managed to read four books, finishing three series and making a small dent in my personal TBR pile.

I feel really positive that I took the month of February to prioritise those books I have been desperate to read, which have unfortunately sat languishing on my shelves and gathering dust.

I have been really please with my book choices, falling very quickly back in to their distinctive worlds, and remembering what it was that I loved about the series’ in the first place.

I am hoping to continue to finish/get up to date with my in progress series over the next few months and I would definitely consider abandoning the review TBR again to prioritise my “own books”. But, for now I am determined to make more time for my own TBR alongside my review commitments. So, although the challenge is over and I have returned to scheduled programming 😉 my current audiobook choice is Sarah J Maas’ Crown Of Midnight, one of my #FinishItFeb picks.

The Fall (The Glimpse #3) by Claire Merle

the fallLondon, in the not-so-distant future. Society has been divided into Pures and Crazies according to the results of a DNA test.
But seventeen-year-old Ana, whose father invented the Pure test, has uncovered a recording with dangerous evidence that the tests are fake. Ana has escaped her father and made it to the Enlightenment Project – a secluded protest group living on the outskirts of the City.
Back in the arms of Cole nothing is simple. Some in the Project believe her presence jeopardises their safety, others interpret her coming as part of their prophetic Writings. When the recording Ana stole goes viral, the Project comes under attack. Now Ana’s father isn’t the only one looking for her. She’s come to the attention of Evelyn Knight, the Chairman of the Board – a powerful woman with a sinister plan. Ana must take greater risks than ever to unravel the truth and discover the secrets that lie beneath the Pure test. But unlike her father, the Chairman doesn’t want her safely home. She wants Ana’s spirit crushed, permanently. And she will destroy everyone Ana cares about to do it.

I love duologues and I really need to read more of them. They are the perfect solution for readers like myself who want more, more, more from their favourite characters, who wish to be re submerged in familiar worlds, who enjoy the anticipation of waiting for the next instalment. BUT without the agony of years of commitment to reach a conclusion, of series fatigue, of memory loss, filler, and the predictable formula of trilogies. I’m happy to have some questions left unanswered, to imagine my own epilogues, to be left wanting more without the expectation that I will receive it.

The Fall delivered just that. It was a great second instalment to a book I really enjoyed. A second, essential, economical part which moved the characters and story ARC forward, which answered the essential questions from the original and allowed me, the reader, to imaging my own endings. It made me want to go back to the first book and rediscover the story, and as a two book series, it is something that feels achievable despite my busy blogging schedule.

Verdict: I throughly enjoyed my time back in segregated London and I will be looking out for more from Claire Merle and investigating more duologues.

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: June2013
Format: eBook
Pages: 368
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book

Posted by Caroline

To learn more about Finish It Friday and to join in visit our link up post here. To follow the challenge on Twitter search for #Finishitfeb

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Gennifer Albin

Incapable. Awkward. Artless. That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret – she wants to fail. Gifted with the ability to weave time and matter, Adelice is exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, power and beauty, the ability to embroider the very fabric of life. It also means entering a world secrets and lethal intrigue. But unlike the others, Adelice isn’t interested in controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have and will do anything to hide her talent from the Guild. But when she slips up during her final test, her gift is identified. Now she has one hour to eat her mum’s overcooked dinner. One hour to listen to her sister’s school gossip and laugh at her dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything is OK. And one hour to escape. Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back…

Adelice is gifted, but she doesn’t see it that way. Taught by her parents to hide her gifts her world falls apart when she slips just once during testing. Dragged from all she has ever known Adelice is about to find out the truth about the world that she thought that she knew.

Crewel is part of a influx of dystopian novels following the success of the Hunger Games, but I can’t help feeling that this book is slightly different. Crewel definitely has a stronger sci fi based storyline than some of the other books currently around. So much so that I did find myself getting confused on occasion about certain aspects, but the science was never my strong point! At the same time the book also looks at common themes in dystopian fiction such as governmental control and the rights of women.

Adelice is a strong central character, one that I really enjoyed. She is feisty, sometimes recklessly so and so completely likeable. There were parts where I thought she may be a little flighty, especially when it comes to the hint of a ever present love triangle, but she does show growth and progression as a character throughout the book. The book is very much told from Adelice’s point of view and I did find the lack of insight into other characters frustrating at times. This is something that I think may be remedied in subsequent books.

This is a book that explores the issue of control. The control that government may have over its subjects in every part of their lives, including that which we would consider private. The control that men so often exert over women and the control that we do on occasion have to exert on ourselves. This makes the book incredibly thought provoking and although the setting is incredibly different from the world that I know I did find it easy to see how a society like this could come about.

The book was well written and fairly fast paced. Sometimes book that are quite thought provoking are long and more difficult reads. That was not the case here. It was a book that I motored through, hungry to find out more. There were a couple of twists that I did see coming from a mile off, but that really didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book.

Verdict: Well written and thought provoking with a very engaging main character

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: October 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Genre: Dystopian, Sci Fi
Age: YA
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: Debut Author
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Tim the Tiny Horse at Large

Harry Hill
In this new book of adventures, Tim has to deal with some big things such as: Birth, love, life and death! Tim faces up to fame, to his best friend Fly getting married and the responsibility of looking after his pet Greenfly…George

Tim the tiny horse at large is such a cool book. I really like how it is laid out and how some pages are full colour, which makes them really eye catching. It uses a mixture of real photo’s plus Harry’s extraordinary illustrations. It is great fun for people who like a good laugh. But is DEFINATELY for the older reader, even though it is laid out simply and easily and looks very childish, in Chapter 5 which is called Mr and Mrs Fly get a new addition we hear about Mrs Fly’s pregnancy only a day and a half after getting married!

Chapters 7 and 10 are my favourites because I really like the story about George the Greenfly and Chapter 10 should make you feel sad (won’t tell you why because it will give it away) but you can’t help but giggle.

Even though this is the second book about Tiny Tim, I’m really hoping on my next trip to the library, that I can find the first one in the series, as this book was so good (I’m actually hoping it’s a trilogy)

Verdict:This book is slightly crazy and a bit nonsense, but is still one of the best books I’ve read. I thought it looked it a bit babyish at first, but after having a sneak preview of the pictures in the library I changed my mind and decided to borrow it and I’m UTTERLY glad I did.

Publisher: Faber and Faber Ltd
Publication Date: October 2009
Format: Paperback
Pages: 176
Genre: Humour
Age: Middle Grade book review
Reviewer: Izzy (9)
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British Book
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