Posts Tagged ‘Publisher-Hodder’

Cover Reveal: The 100 Society

We are delighted to take part in the cover reveal of The 100 Society by debut author Carla Spradbery.

9781444920093.jpgFor sixth form art student Grace Becker, The 100 Society is more than just a hobby; it’s an obsession.
Having convinced her five classmates at Clifton Academy to see it through to the end, Grace will stop at nothing to carry out the rules of the club: tagging 100 locations around the city with a letter of the alphabet. But, with each step closer to the 100-mark they get, the higher the stakes become.
When the local newspaper runs a story on The 100 Society, the group soon catches the attention of a menacing stalker – the Reaper – who seems intent on exposing their secret, teasing Grace with anonymous threats and branding their dormitory doors with his ominous tag.
As the once tight-knit group slowly unravels; torn apart by doubt and death of a student, no-one is above suspicion. With time running out, Grace must unmask the Reaper before he destroys everything she cares about forever…

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Five Go Off In A Caravan

Enid Blyton

A caravan holiday for the Famous Five is bound to be an adventure! And when they stumble across a circus troupe, the gang are thrilled. But some of the circus people have more sinister plans than just clowning around…

I devoured the Famous Five books when I was a child, so when I spotted this in Oxfam I felt a trip down memory lane was in order. It was very much how I remembered it and I still enjoyed it. Of course my adult eyes do read things a little differently it’s not all as perfect as I used to think, I mean who would let four kids (at least if they are supposed to be between 10 and 14 years old) go off alone in a caravan these days?!

In this story the Five go off on hols in modern horse drawn caravans. They set up home in some hills above a lake next to which a circus camp is having its summer break. They befriend Nobby, a boy and Pongo, a chimpanzee. It transpires the Five have accidentally parked their caravan on top of the entrance to some caves in which the rogues from the circus, one of which is Nobby’s uncle, are using to store stolen goods. Lots of exciting adventures ensue as the mystery is discovered and subsequently solved.

I had forgotten that in these stories some pretty horrible things happen, the baddies are pretty bad; Nobby is badly beaten by his Uncle on a couple of occasions, the Uncle also throws a stone at Pongo and tries to poison Timmy and he and his partner in crime enclose the children in the caves and keep them prisoner. None of this is particularly graphic and I don’t remember being put off by it as a child, I think it must have washed over me as I was too busy wondering what was going to happen next!

The other thing that really stood out for me reading it now was the language. It was great to read all those Famous Five phrases ‘Golly’, ‘Super’, Top speed’ ‘good sort’. When I was younger I also didn’t notice how patronising they could be to other people. There is a lot of mention of how Nobby’s manners are not as good as theirs but he is good in his own way! However I think that you don’t expect Enid Blyton to be politically correct. The books are very much of their time and none the worse for that.

The best things about the story were that I still enjoyed reading about the children, the pace of the book is good and the story draws you in. I still wanted to know what was going to happen! It also made me remember the copious amounts of tongue sandwiches and ginger beer that were consumed. I still think that growing up as one of the Five would have been Super!!

Verdict: Still great, I will definitely be passing these on to my girls later on, and like me they might well need a square of chocolate and some water fresh from the crystal clear stream to sup as they read it 😉

NB Since writing this I have just read another that I got at the same time, soooo sexist!! Might have some discussion about that with my girls when I let them read them.

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Publication Date: March 1999 (new ed.)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 224
Genre: Action, Adventure
Age: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: British Book
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Theodore Boone: Half The Man, Twice The Lawyer

John Grisham

A perfect murder
A faceless witness
A lone courtroom champion knows the whole truth . . . and he’s only thirteen years old
Meet Theodore Boone
In the small city of Strattenburg, there are many lawyers, and though he’s only thirteen years old, Theo Boone thinks he’s one of them. Theo knows every judge, policeman, court clerk—and a lot about the law. He dreams of being a great trial lawyer, of a life in the courtroom.
But Theo finds himself in court much sooner than expected. Because he knows so much—maybe too much—he is suddenly dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial. A cold-blooded killer is about to go free, and only Theo knows the truth.
The stakes are high, but Theo won’t stop until justice is served…

I have enjoyed many of John Grisham’s books and was interested to see how his writing would translate into a children’s book. I wasn’t disappointed.

As the blurb indicates Theo is a 13 year old who loves the law. His parents are both lawyers and he has learnt loads about the American judicial system and law. At school other students come to him for advice when they, or someone they know, are in trouble. Theo always seems to have the answer!

Theo is a likeable character, and despite his unusual amount of knowledge he has a normal life. He knows where he fits in the scheme of things (not in the popular league) and has ups and downs that all children do; homework, parents and so on. Then he finds himself in a situation where he does not have the answer and he’s promised not to tell! This can be a huge dilemma for any child, let alone when the information can prove ‘whodunit’ in a murder trial and that trial has already started.

This is still very recognisably Grisham. The writing is pacey and keeps you hooked as gradually more and more is revealed. Even though you know from about half way through the book who committed the crime there is still a bit of tension (not as much as the adult books, but I don’t think that you would expect that). It is interesting watching Theo deal with his moral dilemma about what to do, he can’t break his word, but he can’t let a criminal walk free. Also Grisham manages to explain how the court works and the ins and outs of the laws that cause part of the problem without being boring or patronising. There is much in there that a young reader might not know and they will be hugely educated about how the courts work (or at least the American ones) by the end of the story.

Verdict: A great starter for getting children into court room drama!

Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Publication Date: March 2011(2nd ed.)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
Genre: Crime Fiction
Age: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: None
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Carnegie and Greenaway Awards: My Name Is Mina


David Almond

There’s an empty notebook lying on the table in the moonlight. It’s been there for an age. I keep on saying that I’ll write a journal. So I’ll start right here, right now. I open the book and write the very first words: My name is Mina and I love the night. Then what shall I write? I can’t just write that this happened then this happened then this happened to boring infinitum. I’ll let my journal grow just like the mind does, just like a tree or a beast does, just like life does. Why should a book tell a tale in a dull straight line?
And so Mina writes and writes in her notebook, and here is her journal, Mina’s life in Mina’s own words: her stories and dreams, experiences and thoughts, her scribblings and nonsense, poems and songs. Her vivid account of her vivid life.
Mina is different. Not like other children her age. She tries to do as she is told in school but she can never quite manage it. The other children know she is different and mostly stay away. But Mina likes it like that, at least that is what she tells herself. Homeschooled and isolated, Mina starts a journal. One that talks of school, life and word. Lots of words. It also talks of a family who move in down the road and their son, a boy called Michael.

This is the prequel to ‘Skellig’. A book that I have yet to read, I almost read the book before I read ‘My Name is Mina’ but in the end decided not to, a decision I’m still not sure about. I do know something about the storyline in ‘Skellig’ and am now very much looking forward to reading. I have a strange feeling I may return to ‘My Name is Mina’ to reread when I have finished it.

I was told my another school librarian that this was perhaps a book about a child, but would be enjoyed more by adults. Whilst I do see her point I would be inclined to disagree. It isn’t for any child, I think it would take a more mature child to read and enjoy this, but they would get so much from it that it would be worth that bit more concentration we would need. Through Almond’s words we are transported into this world of a child who doesn’t quite fit. A child who sees the world in a very different way to the rest of us. Any child/ teenager will no doubt relate to parts of Mina’s personality and may well come away with a greater understanding of other facets of her personality. As an adult working in education I found it fascinating. I liked and admired Mina and hated the idea of her being ‘caged’ by the educational establishment, but at the same time understood how frustrating for the establishment to deal with Mina. A child who isn’t doing as she is asked because she wants to be difficult, or because she is lazy, but because she sees the world in such a different way that she doesn’t know how to do as she is asked. I hope that it will change the way I deal with young people, as I firmly believe that there is a little piece of Mina in all of us.

The journal format of the book, and parts of the way it is written meant that I sometimes found it difficult to follow. I had to go back and check which timeframe I was in sometimes, or even just read ahead and hope that it would eventually become clear. But this is part of the magic of the book, the darting around between time and subjects is part of what really helps you understand who Mina really is, someone who is different, not bad, not wrong, just different.

Verdict: Compelling reading for both children and adults who will come away having learnt a lot, maybe even about themselves.
Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Booksl
Publication Date: September 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
Genre: Growing up, Issues
Age: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British Book
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The Blue Balloon

Mick Inkpen

A boy and his dog, Kipper, find an ordinary-looking blue balloon with extraordinary powers. By folding out the pages, readers can make the balloon grow, change color, and carry the boy and Kipper high into the universe

This is the current favourite bed time story in our house for both my 2 yr old and my 4 yr old. It makes sharing a bedtime story so much easier when you stumble across books they both adore!

Lots of children love balloons and this definitely appeals to that fascination. The story is simple, a boy finds a balloon and it turns out to be an extraordinary, indestructible and very thrilling. This balloon can change shape, size, colour and even better, it doesn’t pop. It will even fly you to the moon.

This is all made more exciting by the different bits to pull or open out in the pictures. The enormous balloon has a page that opens out 4 times the size of the others. When the balloon is stretched a part of the page ‘stretches’ too, and so it goes on.

Verdict: The girls love the story and the pictures. It is a great book.
And for anyone interested in useless bits of information; this is also the story in which Kipper (the dog) makes his first appearance before going on to have his own series of books

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Publication Date: July 2006
Format: Paperback
Pages: 42
Genre: Picture book
Age: Picture books, Early Readers
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: British book
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Skellig

David Almond

When a move to a new house coincides with his baby sister’s illness, Michael’s world seems suddenly lonely and uncertain. Then, one Sunday afternoon, he stumbles into the old, ramshackle garage of his new home, and finds something magical. A strange creature – part owl, part angel, a being who needs Michael’s help if he is to survive – Skellig. With his new friend Mina, Michael nourishes Skellig back to health, while his baby sister languishes in the hospital. But Skellig is far more than he at first appears, and as he helps Michael breathe life into his tiny sister, Michael’s world changes forever.

Skellig is a really great book stuffed with adventure, mystery and suspense. Michael moves house and while exploring, discovers something very strange in the shed. Michael then meets the mysterious Mina who loves birds and even acts like them in strange ways. They become friends and together, help the mysterious creature in the garage while constantly worrying for Michael’s prematurely born baby sister who may die. My favourite part was when Michael and Mina finally were able to take Skellig into an old building after Skellig has been teetering on the brink of death for ages!

This book is fantastic for anyone who loves an easy read, jam-packed with adventure. Apart from the great features this book possesses, this book wouldn’t be great for younger readers since it contains some complicated words and no pictures to help in their understanding. There is also a little swearing, but nothing major!

Verdict: Congratulations to David Almond and a little bit to William Blake, the famous poet who also features in this book.

Reviewed by Jack (11)

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Publication Date: August 1998
Format: Paperback
Pages: 176
Genre: Fantasy
Age: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Jack (11)
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British Book
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Miaow

Little Kipper Miaow!

Mick Inkpen
Created by master storyteller, Mick Inkpen, there is a whole range of “Kipper” books to choose from: classic picture books, TV tie in picture books, novelty board books, sticker books, pop up books and much much more.
Kipper and Tiger find a kitten stuck in a conker tree, and attempt to get it down again.

Kipper is always popular in our house and this story is a current favourite for our youngest (17mths). These board book format “Little Kippers” have a simple story and are perfect for the little reader. She really likes being able to hold the book herself and can turn the pages (not always at the right time, I might add, and some pages are more popular than others!).

The concept of this story really appeals to Sienna as she understands what it means to be “stuck” somewhere. The light-hearted twist at the end has provoked comment from her older sister, who is now old enough to really understand the story. She also likes counting the conkers with Tiger.

The illustrations are lovely, clear, water-coloured drawings, and Kipper can be found, and pointed at, on most pages. If he isn’t there, one of his friends will be. They are closely related to the story and make it easy to follow even if the understanding of words is limited.

Verdict: As always, Kipper appeals to everyone, and this is another great addition to your Kipper collection.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Publication Date: July 2007
Format: Board Book
Pages: 18
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Picture Book
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: N/A
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