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All reviews tagged with Corgi

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13 Pairs of Blue Suede Shoes

Light-hearted and upbeat, this chirpy book will resonate with more reflective readers of 8 and over with its spot-on analysis of the social complexities of the lives of pre-teens. While the main storyline is absolutely hilarious (what is more embarrassing when you’re 11 or so – a dad who’s an Elvis impersonator, or one who…

Against the Tide

This is a one volume trilogy of books about the fisher folk of 19th century Sandwick Bay. Sometimes the same characters or later generations of the same families crop up in each book and because their lives interweave, the stories take on saga-like proportions. A Synge-like mixture of fascination, fear and respect of the sea…

Animal Surprise!

In his onomatopoeic tour de force Gunson invites his young audience (2–4 years) to open and unfold Animal Surprise! Each colourful double-page spread is dedicated to the activities and routines of an animal. The double-page spread is actually tripartite, with the final third hiding under a fold on the right hand page. Simplicity is the…

Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad?

This is  a terrific picturebook and one that will be treasured by all dinosaur lovers. I have enjoyed my fair share of dinosaur books over the years and approached this one with a mental challenge to “surprise me” but was instantly delighted with its fresh appeal and mischievous sense of fun. Dave and his dad…

Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon

For those readers familiar with fantasy adventure stories, this book will feel like a close friend. It contains the trademark traits of a book of this genre – magical creatures, queer lands, conflicts, evil powers and much more. The story’s anti-hero, Bartimaeus, does good but his personal qualities are appalling – selfish, entirely conscience-free, lazy,…

Blue Moon Day

Blue Moon Day is a collection of short stories, each separated by part of a single story, like layers in a delicious and satisfying cake.  This overarching story is about a girl who, once in a blue moon, concocts a reason to stay home from school to read. She accompanies her mum in the car…

Bud, Not Buddy

‘…I don’t know when it happened, but it seems like my eyes don’t cry no more.’ Ten-year-old ‘Bud not Buddy’ has lived in a children’s home for four years since his mother died. Precious mementos of their life together are kept in his suitcase, which he takes everywhere with him. Sent to a foster home…

Bumped

In the not-so-distant future, a virus ensures that the only members of society capable of getting pregnant are teenage girls. Fertility and control over the female body are familiar topics for dystopian fiction to address, but McCafferty’s take on them is unusual. Rather than a grim, grey world, the reader is presented with a fast-moving,…

Child X

This novel is about 13-year-old Jules, whose parents’ marriage breaks up and who finds herself at the centre of a case regarding her paternity, which gives rise to a media frenzy – photographers in the garden, news crews in the schoolyard. She’s cruelly teased at school, loses her best friend and has heart-wrenching experiences as…

Cloud Busting

It comes as no surprise to learn that Cloud Busting won a Smarties Silver Book Award. It’s a cautionary school tale in verse on a familiar topic – an uncool new boy, a growing secret friendship, cruelty, betrayal, and finally, a heart-sore lesson. But it’s the mastery of the telling, and the apparent effortlessness of…

Dogbird and Other Mixed-up Tales

This is a first ‘chapter’ book – but with three stories in one and 186 pages, it is rather bulkier that the normal fare for this age group. This is only a problem if it intimidates a tentative soul with just an experimental toe in the water, otherwise it’s good value for money. The three…

Gifted

If you want to solve a complicated murder, everyone knows you need a forensic sorcerer. If you want to solve it without a serious headache, that sorcerer had better not be fifteen-year-old Frank Sampson. Frank is called in when the Bishop of Oxford is found at his desk one morning, lacking one major attribute: his…

Goal!

Robert Rigby’s book is the first in a series of official tie-in novelisations of Mike Jefferies and Adrian Butchart’s movie trilogy Goal! The films, scheduled for release between now and 2007, were shot in some of the most impressive football stadiums in the world and feature cameos from the likes of Beckham, Raul and Zidane.…

Katie Milk Solves Crimes and So On

The backdrop to this book has an almost timeless quality where the reader is at once transported into the underbelly of boarding school life. Katie Milk, a Londoner, has been uprooted from her mom and granddad to attend a boarding school in the heart of the country. Her healthy curiosity is aroused when she meets…

Lockwood and Co. The Screaming Staircase

In a world where ghosts are an epidemic and the merest touch from one can kill, only agencies of children with psychic talents can keep London safe. Lockwood and Company is one of these agencies, run by the dashing Lockwood, assisted by George Cubbins, the sarcastic and slightly disgusting researcher, and Lucy Carlyle, who is a headstrong new…

Lockwood and Co. The Whispering Skull

The second instalment of Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood series sees Lucy, George and Lockwood on another mysterious and incredibly dangerous mission. Called in to assist on a routine cemetery clearance things deteriorate quickly when they discover a mysterious iron coffin containing a robed skeleton and a strange mirror. Thefts, a murder, some really powerful ghosts and a mirror which…

Love Hurts

Love Hurts is a collection of excerpts and short stories, chosen and introduced by the resident UK Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman. The book brings together the best and the brightest of the YA genre, offering readers the perfect chance to broaden their literary horizons and to discover some new favourites.  The collection’s theme is one…

Merciless Reason

Look out world, Nate Wildenstern is back. He’s been lying low in the colonies for the last three years, trying to come to terms with the Serpentine inside his chest that endows him with disturbing powers and avoiding the wrath and havoc of his crazed genius brother Gerald who is hell-bent on making an engimal…

Miss Mouse’s Day

This cleverly illustrated picture book depicts the adventures of Miss Mouse, a stuffed toy, and her human companion through the day. Together they get dressed, have breakfast, enjoy a spot of painting and dressing up, have fun in the garden (and in the mud) before settling back in for the night. This is a story…

Pawnee Warrior

This book is about bullying. It is excellent in the way it portrays the absolute terror which the victim feels and also the frustration, anger and pain which his parents, grandmother and friends suffer for him. It is suitable for any age but particularly those at the upper primary level as it deals with boy/girl…

Rain

For thirteen years, Rain and her artist mum, Max, have lived happily together in their colourful old bus, moving from place to place. Rain’s never been that bothered about fitting in, or about finding the dad she’s never known. But all that changes when their bus breaks down and Rain goes to school at last.…

Rat Runners

Nimmo, Scope, Manikin and FX inhabit a technology-saturated police state under constant surveillance, an ever so slightly skewed, futuristic version of London where the populace are constantly observed, tagged and tracked by the ominous presence of WatchWorld. They must use their youth and skills to navigate this city, walking the tightrope between the law and…

Rules of the Road

Award-winning Rules of the Road is Joan Bauer’s first novel to introduce the gutsy, hardworking, troubled 16-year-old, Jenna Boller. Jenna has an after-school job working at the Chicago branch of Gladstone’s shoe store where she has become the expert shoe salesperson. She comes to the attention of Mrs Gladstone, the elderly company president, and is…

Seeker

Quin Kincaid has spent her entire life training under her father and uncle to become a Seeker; to protect the weak and fight wrongdoing. However, the night she finally takes her Oath is the night it all falls apart. She learns the terrible truth of her mission and realises that her reality has been fabricated…

Shredder

Intended for ‘new readers’, this book is divided into five chapters and contains plenty of illustrations. The amusing, sometimes zany, drawings interact well with the factual text of the narrative. Our narrator is Shredder, the class Gerbil. One pupil is also rather rodenty looking, but she wears a uniform and sports pigtails. The layout is…

Spellbook of the Lost and Found

One stormy Irish summer night, Olive and her best friend Rose begin to lose things. At first, they lose small things like hair clips and a charm bracelet, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something bigger – something she won’t talk about, and Olive is worried she might lose her best friend. Then…

Spoofer Rooney

Twelve-year-old Michael Rooney, more commonly known as Hopper or Spoofer, is left alone when his father goes into hospital with a mystery illness. His mother lives in England with her boyfriend and takes little interest in his life beyond presents and promises. So Hopper goes to live with his Uncle Maddy, a volatile, bad-tempered antiques…

The Deadly Dare Mysteries

This trio of adventure stories is centred on a group of four school friends. Theo, the main protagonist, is an only child from an apparently middle class background whose parents are still together. The other three children come from more complicated family backgrounds; Bullet and Ricky live with their mothers, while Angela has no parents…

The Flappers: Ingenue

The second installation of Larkin’s Flappers series hits the ground running as we are thrust back into the fraught, melodramatic world of 1920’s mobsters, flappers, and jazz ingénues. Our protagonists’ exploits are brought alive by Larkin’s opulent depiction of New York’s smoky speakeasies, lavish parties and seedy underbelly in a gripping, high-strung adventure. Having four…

The Grave

This is a strange and interesting famine story which is valuable because it tells a rarely told story of the relationship between Ireland and Liverpool in the 1840s, inspired by an event which the author claims really occurred in 1973. When a new school was being built in St Oswald’s parish, Old Swan, Liverpool, it…

The Hawthorn Crown

Anyone who has grown up in Ireland will have heard of changelings at some time, the fairy children left behind when human children are stolen by fairies. Our sympathies usually go with the human family, but Helen Falconer invites us to consider things from the perspective of the fairy child—especially when she grows up into…

The Last Leg

Richard Kidd undoubtedly has a wild and busy imagination and an ability to click into the mind of an 11-/12-year-old. This zany, madcap story has a slightly slow build to a satisfyingly high level of intrigue and tension, in spite of some utterly daft and implausible plot twists. The novel is divided into two parts,…

The Moon Riders

Set in the time of the Trojan wars, this novel tells the story of Myrina, a tattooed ‘Amazon’ of the nomadic Mazagardi, and her struggle to preserve her life and her culture as war engulfs the land. The story shows considerable background research in archaeology and mythology. Readers familiar with Homer and the plays of…

The People of Sparks

‘Don’t worry,’ said Maddy. ‘People didn’t make life, so they can’t destroy it. Even if we were to wipe out every bit of life in the world, we can’t touch the place life comes from.’ This interesting and often provocative tale is frequently ill served by a lack of pace and the author’s determination to…

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants

Occasionally a book comes along which overcomes its silly title and gives us a beautiful picture of teenage friendship. My heart was in my boots as I picked this book up, but I quickly realised that it is quite different from some of the recent offerings we have had. Four young girl friends from different…

The Tiger Bone Thief

Following his well-received The Giant Goldfish Robbery, Kidd has given us, as the blurb says, another thrilling mystery. The Tiger Bone Thief is an exciting, action-filled story peopled with an assortment of characters from colourful to downright nasty. The story is told in the first person by Jimmy, who gets a Saturday job at the…

Under Pressure

Craig and Darren are two highly talented 13-year-olds desperate to succeed when selected for inclusion in the youth team of their favourite football club, City FC. Their initial euphoria is soon tempered when an array of obstacles both on and off the pitch threaten to turn their dreams sour. Tony Bradman is at his best…

Web of Darkness

This dark thriller aims for the heart of where most people share their photos, their stories and opinions: the internet. Lily is an ordinary British teen about to sit her GSCEs; she loves Black Adder, social networking and her best friend, Tilly. Their lives are ripped apart when a cybernetic psychopath, ‘The Spider’ and his…


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