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All reviews tagged with Orchard

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Amadans

Jimmy and his friend, Nita Nextdoor, ‘all teeth, curls and ferocity’ are intrigued by badges, bearing the message ‘AmadansAnonymousComingtogetyou’. At the mention of the word ‘Amadan’, Jimmy’s Grandad (a man of few words since his budgie died) becomes agitated and warns Jimmy ‘Beware the Stroke Lads, boy! … They’ll root you to the spot, and…

Arrow

“Fairies of the Oak” said Rob. “We are at war”. This book is the third in a series and it starts smack bang in the middle of a plot that seemed pretty involved and a little alienating to someone who hadn’t read the previous two. Perhaps if I had done so, I would have enjoyed Arrow more…

Contagion

The first instalment of Terry’s newest trilogy Contagion takes the reader on a fast-paced journey through Scotland, from the isolated Shetland Institute to the idyllic village of Killin. It is in Killin that Shay first meets Kai. Shay was the last person to see Kai’s sister Callie alive before her mysterious disappearance a year ago.…

Dino Duckling

In a little nest, some eggs begin to crack open. 1, 2, 3 little ducklings emerge and with a bang, one dinosaur duckling crashes out. Little Dino Duckling worries that he is different to the others, but Mama Duck is full of wise words to reassure him. In this feathered family Dino Duckling learns all…

Divine Freaks (Kitty Slade)

Out of the hustle and bustle of the exciting and eccentric Portobello Market in London emerges the story of Kitty Slade, a girl with a strange secret. At age 13, Kitty develops the rare and decidedly bothersome (but kind of cool) condition of Phantorama – the ability to see ghosts. She then finds herself being…

Don’t Put Your Pants on Your Head, Fred

Fred is having problems getting dressed in the morning. His sister Kate offers some sound advice but Fred just can’t seem to get everything in the right order. He turns for help to the local army sergeant but that’s not much use as the soldiers are equally confused by clothes and dressing. Hart’s text is…

Fire World: The Last Dragon Chronicles

Sixth in the series, Fire World opens on the planet Co:pern:ica, an alternate universe where Counsellor Strømberg is talking to Professor Harlan Merriman and his wife Eliza about their son David. David has been seen as a threat, someone they call an ec:centric who is believed to be a danger. In the world of Co:pern:ica, these…

Heist Society

Katarina (Kat) Bishop belongs to a dynasty of highly successful art-thieves, but following the death of her mother she decides to ‘go straight’. She cons her way into one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the world and begins a fresh start. However, her former life won’t let go of her so easily. This…

I Am NOT Sleepy and I Will NOT Go To Bed

This latest picturebook by Lauren Child has the same characters and many of the same features as its predecessor, I Will Not Ever NEVER Eat a Tomato, which won the Kate Greenaway medal for 2000. It is a bedtime story, told by Charlie, about his younger sister, Lola, who refuses to go to bed and…

I Really Want That Unicorn

Chloe Crocodile really wants that unicorn. But there is more at stake in this book than a unicorn, even a Big Sparkly Mellow Yellow Unicorn, and, ultimately, Chloe learns that friendship is more important than winning or unicorns. Chloe and Veronica must both bake rainbow cakes, make magic castles, sew unicorn fairy costumes and then…

Little Mouse

Little Mouse tells the story of a day in the life of a small girl, who is very keen to remind the reader that though her mother calls her 'Little Mouse', she is nothing like a mouse. In fact she is 'tall' like a giraffe, 'strong' like a bull and 'brave' like a lion. The simple…

Maggot Pie

When Jiggy McClure pees into the Piddling Pool for the 1001st time, he conjures up a genie who grants him three wishes. In the best tradition of complete idiots he wastes his wishes and incurs the wrath of JR (Jimmy Riddle, the genie). Forget turbans and curly shoes, JR is a bolshie teenager with dreadlocks…

Only The Good Spy Young

Cammie is no ordinary girl. She attends the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women-but she and her friends are not spoiled heiresses, they’re spies. The fourth book of the Gallagher Academy series, “Only The Good Spy Young” leaps into action with Cammie discovering one of her teachers is a double agent, working with the very…

Revenge House

In this teenage novel the sudden tragic death of Antonio Micheli precipitates a major upheaval for his grieving wife and daughter, Lesley and Sophia, who move from the city to the quiet countryside. Many teenagers will identify with the rows between mother and daughter. For Lesley it was a move from the dangers of North…

Ruby’s Potty

As the parent of an 8-year-old long out of potty training (thank goodness) I was brought back to those heady toddler days with a bump on reading this clever, well-written book. Ruby’s Potty chronicles little mouse Ruby’s voyage of potty discovery – from her initial encounter with the strange pink plastic object to her final…

Side by Side

It’s so wonderful to see two visual thinkers collaborate on a project; something special happens during the process and Side by Side is a perfect example of that unity. Rachel Bright’s use of language is upbeat and tender. Small children adore rhyme, and it’s such an accessible way to hear this lovely story about the…

Snakes’ Elbows

What do you say about a book you wish you’d written? Not fair seems a reasonable start. But I couldn’t resent Deirdre Madden for long. The sheer joy and whimsy of this story had my kids and I postponing breakfast so we could check on Barney Barrington’s. Food is masterfully handled in this tale of…

The Dark

I have to admit I know almost nothing about Lemony Snicket. I have seen the film adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events, but it is like a distant memory. What really got me into reading this new picturebook was seeing Jon Klassen’s name on the cover. I am a great admirer of his ‘hat’ titles where…

The Fire Ascending (The Last Dragon Chronicles)

The Fire Ascending is the seventh and final book in The Last Dragon Chronicles. The series itself deals with an overarching plot and several worlds with many interacting characters, so the last installment may not be the best place for the uninitiated reader to begin. Nevertheless, D'Lacey ensures that unfamiliar readers will be able to follow…

The Mighty Crashman

Every now and then something a little bit special appears that reminds us that excellent literature can transcend any perceived differences between adult and juvenile genres. The Mighty Crashman is one such book. Chronicling the relationship between two 13-year-old boys – John Patrick Coogan aka ‘Crash’ and his neighbour Penn Webb – it is a…

The Salt Pirates of Skegness

I have to say that my heart sank when I was handed this book – another pirate book to review! A big fan of the many pirates of the wonderful Margaret Mahy, I have found few writers to meet the exacting standards of pirate-ness set by that remarkable writer. But I have to confess that…

Tiger in a Tutu

Max is a Parisian zoo tiger with an unbridled passion for all things ballet. His self-esteem is knocked, though, when it transpires that the citizens of Paris would rather not be audience to an eight-foot-tall escaped tiger leaping and plié-ing his way across the city. What’s a tiger to do with all of his balletic…

Where Mermaids Sing

This novel begins with Alice driving her young daughter to the place where she ‘stopped being a child’, a beach in Cornwall. Through a long flashback, the reader finds out that it was there that Jasmine, one of Alice’s best friends, was swept out to sea during a storm. For Alice, this tragedy is incomprehensible.…

Where the Fairies Fly

Jane Simmons is best known for her award-winning ‘Daisy the Duck’ books and this is her first book with a child, rather than an animal, as the protagonist. Where the Fairies Fly is all about Lucy, a girl who loves to tell stories, and Jamie, her little brother who can’t sleep. Lucy has a large…


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