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Friday, 22 June 2018

SOUTH WALES EVENING POST CHILDREN'S BOOK REVIEW JUNE 23-24 2018



This week my children's book reviews include two inspirational football stories for boys and girls just in time for the FIFA World Cup, a board book of hilariously silly rhymes and the epic conclusion to a thrilling fantasy adventure.




Also in the Weekend section of The South Wales Evening Post


Enjoy!



BOOK OF THE WEEK 


DREAM TEAM BY ALAN GIBBONS

CHILDREN 8+
Cairo is captain of East End United, but his temper keeps getting his team into trouble. He and his friends are ordered to look up football history to see if this will inspire them before they lose every game. This football story focuses on teamwork and friendship while packed with football facts from controversial players to inspirational leaders. Pitched perfectly for football fans this is also accessible for reluctant and dyslexic readers.
ISBN 9781781127711 PB Barrington Stoke £6.99




RHYME FLIES BY ANTONIA PESENTI
PICTURE BOOK 2+

From a ringing alarm croc to a glass of fresh orange goose this chunky board book takes us through a fun-filled day of silly unexpected rhymes. Lift the giant flaps and you will find cheese on toast becomes sneeze on toast. The gross-out laughs will delight children as they try and guess what rhyme will be revealed. It helps build pre-literacy and vocabulary with its stylish, bold artwork perfect to catch the eye of the very young.
ISBN 9780714876399 HB Phaidon £ 12.95





DO GOALKEEPERS WEAR TIARAS? BY HELENA PIELICHATY
CHILDREN 7+

Megan decides to start her own all-girl football team despite many obstacles. An entertaining series focusing on a team of independent girls who are willing to do anything to follow their passion. Each book focuses on a different member of the team spanning family, divorce, school and dyslexia. Full of inclusive messages and diverse characters it will score highly with a wide range of boys and girls who enjoy the beautiful game.
ISBN 9781406383324 PB Walker £5.99


STORM BY SARAH DRIVER
CHILDREN 9+

The epic and thrilling conclusion to the The Huntress trilogy. Mouse must enter the land of the bloodthirsty Fangtooths in search of the last opal to defeat an ancient evil. It will be her biggest challenge yet as she battles to save the world. A beautifully woven fantasy led by a courageous heroine and her colourful crew which will appeal to all fantasy and adventure lovers. For fans of Philip Pulman and Abi Elphinstone.
ISBN 9781405284691 PB Egmont £6.99

Friday, 15 June 2018

SOUTH WALES EVENING POST CHILDRENS BOOK REVIEW JUNE 16-17


This week my children's book reviews include a boy who grows dragons, two picture books featuring a dinosaur daddy and a Tiger daddy that are both perfect for Father's day and a scarily funny adventure in which a young boy must ask for some ghostly help.

Also in the Weekend section of The South Wales Evening Post


Enjoy!




BOOK OF THE WEEK

THE BOY WHO GREW DRAGONS BY ANDY SHEPHERD
CHILDREN 7+

Tomas is shocked to discover a strange tree at the bottom of his grandparents garden which hatches dragons! Flicker, the first dragon is an excellent pet but like all baby's very unpredictable. He eats everything, and even his poo is highly flammable! An hilarious rip-roaring adventure complemented by Sara Ogilvie's lively illustrations which will fire the imagination for independent readers. An alternative way to encourage children into the garden. Perfect for fans of Roald Dahl and Cressida Cowell.
ISBN 9781848126497 PB Piccadilly £5.99



I LOVE YOU DINO-DADDY BY MARK SPERRING
PICTURE BOOK 3+

It's not easy being dino-daddy but it's a lot of fun. Whether it's a trip to the park or playing games at home he always has time for his two roaring little dinos... This funny and endearing story show the lengths dads will go to entertain their little ones. This delightful padded board book is a celebration of a father's relationship with his children and is the perfect gift for Father's Day.
ISBN 9781408893449 Bloomsbury HB  £7.99




RAJ AND THE BEST DAY EVER! BY SEB BRAUN
PICTURE BOOK 4+

Raj and Dad are going on an adventure, and they have big plans. But then Dad leaves his wallet at home and Raj thinks their day will be ruined. But all they need is their imagination and each other's company. This is the perfect celebration of a father and son relationship and how being together is more important. The energetic and colourful illustrations really bring their escapades to life. A great gift to share on Father's Day.
ISBN 9781787412347 PB Templar £6.99



EMBASSY OF THE DEAD BY WILL MABBITT
CHILDREN 9+

When Jake opens a box containing a severed finger he accidentally summons a reaper who is determined to drag him into the Eternal Void. To escape his grim fate, Jake must ask for protection from the Embassy of the Dead, but it comes at a price. This illustrated adventure is full of excitement, friendship and ghosts! A great combination of funny and scary perfect for fans of Skulduggery Pleasant and Who Let the Gods Out?
ISBN 9781510104556 PB Orion £ 6.99

Monday, 11 June 2018

MIRROR MAGIC BLOG TOUR JULY 11th

Mirror Magic Blog Tour June 10th 


My interview with Claire for my blog Drawing on Books

Can you describe your book Mirror Magic in one sentence?
A pair of Victorian orphan siblings return to their birthplace of Wyse – the only town in Britain where magic still works…

Where did your idea for Mirror Magic come from?
It started with a conversation with my agent. The BBC adaptation of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel had just been on TV and she said she’d love to see a middle grade version. I, in my usual fashion of opening my mouth without thinking, said 'I can do that!’
Of course once I started to write, it became a very different thing. I drew inspiration from Victorian gothic novels and my favourite Dr Who episodes, which have humour and creepiness in equal measure.

What is your favourite part of the book?
It’s near the end, so I won’t spoil it for you. But I love the twin towns of Wyse and Unwyse and the way magic has been downgraded to a tourist attraction so that no one takes it seriously – until it starts to go wrong.


Who is your favourite character? or Which character do you most relate to?
The Book. I used chapter headings in my last two books (The Accidental Pirates series) and this time I decided to turn the author of the chapter headings into a character. And so I have a sarcastic, grumpy magical book which has a habit of making random, nonsensical pronouncements. It’s basically me before I’ve had my morning pot of tea.


As a professional writer what has surprised you most that you didn't expect?
The joy of working with an editor. The back and forth with someone who can see the potential of your book and is determined to bring it out, despite your incompetent writing. I hadn’t appreciated how much work an editor puts into a book before. It’s immensely satisfying to see a story take shape over several rounds of editing. A good editor will push you beyond your capabilities and make you a better writer.


What is a typical writing day for you?
Small goals is what works for me. For a 55,000 word book, I set a large number of tiny goals – write 500 words, edit a scene that isn’t working, sort out a character’s background. I have a weekly to-do list with space to tick off tasks as I do them to give me a sense of achievement.
I usually sit down to start writing by nine o’clock. Sometimes I work at home and sometimes I meet a friend in a very nice cafĂ© half an hour from home, which also helps me get a bit of exercise in before I start work. I write for two or three hours at a stretch and I try to remember to take a lunch break.
My word count for the day varies wildly. I aim at 2,000 words, sometimes I go way over and I can celebrate, on other days I struggle and end up deleting more words than I write but as long as I can keep ticking off goals in my notebook I know I’m heading in the right direction.

What is your favourite quote?
It comes from Reverend Stowe. He’s the Wyse vicar in Mirror Magic, and a member of Freedom For Fair Folk which campaigns for fairy rights. “Some people fear the unknown,” he says, “but in the end it’s always better to be shaped by our kindness than our fear.”
That, to me, is the heart of the book, as we live in an uncertain and frightening world, and fear can drive us to act very unkindly. Far better to be shaped by our kindness.

Who is your favourite literary hero or heroine
The recent BBC adaptation of The Woman in White has reminded me how much I like Marian Halcombe. She’s not conventionally beautiful – Wilkie Collins describes her as ugly – but she’s clever, brave and utterly terrific. She can face down evil men, climb about rooftops at night, play chess and argue politics. She could easily have been jealous of her pretty sister, but she loves Laura fiercely and will sacrifice anything to protect her. An all-round brilliant woman.

Are you working on your next book and if so can we have a sneaky clue what it's about?

I thought you’d never ask! My next book is called Storm Hound and it is my favourite book in the world (that’s probably just because I’m in the middle of writing it.) Storm is the youngest hound of Odin’s Wild Hunt – the hounds of Annwn, as they’re called in Wales. Unable to keep up with the pack, he crashlands just outside Abergavenny and is horrified to find he has shrunk to the size of a mortal puppy. He’s rescued and adopted by a family who have problems of their own, but Storm’s fall has been noticed, and soon the little Welsh town is filling up with strange people seeking to steal the stormhound’s magic.

There’s a sneak preview of Storm Hound at the back of Mirror Magic, and it’s coming out early next year, so you won’t have too long to wait.

Thank you Claire for a fascinating interview. Mirror Magic is my Book of the Week in the South Wales Evening Post. Review below. 

BOOK OF THE WEEK
MIRROR MAGIC BY CLAIRE FAYERS
CHILDREN 9+

Orphans Ava and her brother move to Wyse, set between England and Wales, and are catapulted into an ancient mystery. Wyse connects to the magical Unworld through mirrors. But why is the magic disappearing? In this Victorian adventure, Ava joins forces with a fairy, Howell, to protect a magic book of prophecy that could save them all. The charismatic cast of characters, creepy skeletons, enchanted hats and a snappy dog will keep young readers spellbound.
ISBN 9781509870066 PB Macmillan £6.99
5/5 Stars


Claire’s bio:

Claire Fayers was born and brought up in South Wales, an area of the country sadly deficient in dragons. Having studied English at University of Kent, Canterbury, she built a successful career writing short stories for women's magazines until the lure of magic became too much and she wrote The Accidental Pirates: Voyage to Magical North. It was selected for Waterstones Book of the Month and shortlisted for the FCBG Children's Book Award 2016, and its sequel, The Accidental Pirates: Journey to Dragon Island, was published in 2017. When she's not writing, you'll find Claire at her allotment. Mirror Magic is her third book with Macmillan Children's Books.




Claire’s links:

Twitter: @ClaireFayers
Facebook: /clairefayersauthor
http://clairefayers.com



Friday, 8 June 2018

SOUTH WALES EVENING POST CHILDRENS BOOK REVIEW JUNE 9-10

This week my children's book reviews include a magical middle grade adventure, a story of evolution, a thriller for car fans and an hilarious coming of age tale based in a bookshop.


Also in the Weekend section of The South Wales Evening Post.

Enjoy!




BOOK OF THE WEEK


MIRROR MAGIC BY CLAIRE FAYERS
CHILDREN 9+

Orphans Ava and her brother move to Wyse, set between England and Wales, and are catapulted into an ancient mystery. Wyse connects to the magical Unworld through mirrors. But why is the magic disappearing? In this Victorian adventure, Ava joins forces with a fairy, Howell, to protect a magic book of prophecy that could save them all. The charismatic cast of characters, creepy skeletons, enchanted hats and a snappy dog will keep young readers spellbound.
ISBN 9781509870066 PB Macmillan £6.99


NB. Watch out for my interview with Claire on on my blog June 11th.




MOTH BY ISABEL THOMAS & DANIEL EGNEUS
PICTURE BOOK 4+

A remarkable evolution story of the Moth. It captures the struggle of animal survival against the background of an evolving human world. A unique and fascinating introduction to Darwin's theory of Natural Selection. The striking inky illustrations imagine the peppered moths adaption to it's surrounding world of light and dark. The glorious atmospheric pictures of nature versus the city are dramatic and evocative. A visual spectacular that is a fascinating introduction to the extraordinary resilience of our natural world.
ISBN 9781408889756 HB Bloomsbury £12.99




THE STIG PLAYS A DANGEROUS GAME BY JON CLAYDON & TIM LAWLER
CHILDREN 8+

Sam arrives in a strange new school to find a kid has gone missing and everyone is addicted to a mysterious computer game. When he meets some new friends including Ford Harrison and Minnie Cooper events take a dangerous turn. Can the man in the white suite help them? The Japanese style illustrations drive this action-packed adventure forward and will have you on the edge of your seat. Perfect for car and computer game fans.
ISBN 9781848126459 PB Piccadilly £5.99



BOOKSHOP GIRL BY CHLOE COLES
YOUNG ADULT 14+

Paige Turner is determined to save the bookshop that she works in from closing down. Can she run a successful bookshop campaign while fighting her attraction to a beautiful fellow artist, Blaine? A ribald, anarchic contemporary tale of the ups and downs of being a teenager, set against the backdrop of our declining high street. Genuinely laugh out loud moments and a feminist heroine that will have a considerable appeal. A perfect Summer read.
ISBN 9781471407116 Hot Key £6.99


Friday, 25 May 2018

SOUTH WALES EVENING POST CHILDREN'S BOOK REVIEW MAY 26-27 TH



This week my children's book reviews include a powerful tale of compassion, an enchanting bedtime story about finding dragons, an intriguing whodunnit set on a train journey across Europe and teenage thriller of obsession, fame and forgiveness. 

Also in the Weekend section of The South Wales Evening Post.

Enjoy!


BOOK OF THE WEEK 


THE DAY WAR CAME BY NICOLA DAVIES & REBECCA COBB
PICTURE BOOK 5+

This powerful picture book portrays a little girl who lives in a war zone. Seen through the eyes of a child whose life has been torn apart, we share her hopes as she embarks on the dangerous journey to a safer country. Will she be welcomed? In aid of Help Refugees, this spotlights the right of every child to be safe and to have an education. A tale of humanity and compassion that is worth sharing.
ISBN 9781406376326 HB Walker £10



WISHING FOR A DRAGON BY BECKY CAMERON
PICTURE BOOK 4+

Olive, Barney and Ella are whisked away on a whirlwind adventure in a hot air balloon, just before bedtime. The enchanting pen and wash illustrations capture in detail their madcap escapades with pirate teddy bears, tigers, unicorns and a friendly dragon. It is a celebration of children's imagination and their boundless energy. The action-packed quest highlights the importance of make-believe and will appeal to all children's inner explorer.
ISBN 9781444936223 HB Hodder £12.99



THE SECRET OF THE NIGHT TRAIN BY SYLVIA BISHOP
CHILDREN 9+

A missing diamond, one curious girl, an unexpected detective and a handful of suspects. Can the young girl, Max unravel the mystery of the diamond as they travel by train across Europe? A deliciously quirky adventure full of action, humour and an array of characters that Hercule Poirot would relish. Peppered with engaging illustrations by Marco Guadalupi, this roller coaster ride will whiz the reader through fascinating European cities while trying to solve this intriguing whodunnit. All aboard!
ISBN 9781407184401 PB Scholastic £6.99


ALL OF THIS IS TRUE BY LYGIA DAY PENAFLOR
YOUNG ADULT 14+

When four Long Island teenagers are befriended by the elusive author of their favourite book, Fatima Ro, they can't believe their luck. A year later they are shocked her latest book has been based on their darkest secrets which they shared with her. The story is revealed through interviews, emails and personal journals that slowly uncovers obsession, revenge and betrayal. An intriguing look at the culture of celebrity and forgiveness. For fans of We Were Liars.
ISBN 9781408890936 PB Bloomsbury £7.99


Friday, 18 May 2018

SOUTH WALES EVENING POST CHILDREN'S BOOK REVIEW MAY 19-20 TH

This week my children's book reviews include a thrilling cycling adventure, a board book about all different types of boats, a kids introduction to vegetarianism and a coming of  age drama dealing with domestic abuse. 

Also in the Weekend section of The South Wales Evening Post.

Enjoy!


BOOK OF THE WEEK

CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS BY DAVID BRAYLEY
YOUNG ADULT 12+
Professional road cyclist Daniel must remember what inspired his love for racing if he want's to succeed in the toughest race of his career. This adventure is interwoven with family loyalty, betrayal and a mystery surrounding legendary racer Fausto Coppi. Peppered with sporting facts it transports us through the beautiful Gower Peninsula to Italy as we follow Daniel's quest. This is perfect for enthusiasts of all ages as it captures the agony and ecstasy of cycling.
ISBN 9780993510199 PB Scratching Shed £7.99


BOARD BOOK 3+


BOATS ARE BUSY BY SARA GILLINGHAM 

An illuminating board book identifying different types of boats from oil tankers to cruise ships. Young children will love the bright primary colours and strong shapes capturing seafaring life. It is also fascinating to learn how boats communicate with each other. Different nautical flags show a variety of messages such as when fishing nets are in the water or when dangerous cargo is on board. A brilliant, informative book for little sailors and sea lovers alike.
ISBN 9780714876719 HB Phaidon £7.95

CHILDREN 9+



LIVING ON THE VEG BY CLIVE GIFFORD & JACQUELINE MELDRUM

It's National Vegetarian Week and this is a fun accessible guide for children on how to live a vegetarian life. It's full of tips, facts and delicious recipes that clearly outline what it means to live without eating meat and how to do it healthily. It explores different terms such as pescetarian and vegan, while looking at animal welfare, pollution and key information about nutrition. The jazzy layout and bullet point facts make it easily digestible.
ISBN 9781526306098978 HB Wayland Books £12.99

YOUNG ADULT 12+


ME MAM. ME DAD. ME. BY MALCOLM DUFFY

Danny's Mam has a new boyfriend and life seems good until cracks start to show. This tense thriller tackles issues of domestic violence which brings to light a subject that is too often hidden away. At it's heart is a teenager's love for his mother and the lengths he will go to protect her. The story doesn't pull its punches but is liberally laced with hope and humour which makes it a memorable and touching read.
ISBN 9781786697646 HB Zephyr £10.99