Results matching “ultimate book guide”

James Patterson's


It was an Observer magazine colour supplement article about the best-selling author James Patterson (haven't read any of his books, but he came across as well-sorted OK guy) that led me to this site, one that I certainly should have been more aware of before!

Excellent user-friendly site design. Useful as the UK's Ultimate Book Guides are, I can't help but feel a site like this would be more suited to the needs and habits of today's families.

ACHUKA gives ReadKiddoread a big thumbs up.

Ultimate Book Guide Launch Gallery

Guest Pass to the rest of the set...

As a search of this blog will reveal (if you scroll down after clicking the link), I was not an immediate fan of the Ultimate Book Guides. Coming to them from the point of view of someone who was used to contributing to works of reference such as Larousse Dictionary of Writers, H. W. Wilson's World Authors and the New DNB, I initially found the tone irritatingly enthusiastic and exclamatory and, in the worst instances, such as the entry (unrevised in the new edition) for The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer, vacuous.

But I was missing the point. These are not books for the reference shelf, but hands-on guides intended to encourage and help young readers to move on from one book to the next. In this context, the range of contributors and the pervasively jolly and upbeat tone are essential ingredients.

The first Guide for 8-12's is now five years old, so a revised and updated edition is timely. The first book had 288 pages. The new one has 416, but is more compact in its dimensions (a much better size for reading and carrying around) and only has room for two entries per page in comparison to three in the earlier edition.

Additions include recent titles by the likes of Frank Cottrell Boyce (a shame he is not one of the contributors), A Dog Called grk by Joshua Doder (a shame neither Chris Priestley the contibutor nor the Next? sidebar make reference to the fact that this is the first book in a sequence rather than a one-off title) and Fly By Night by Frances Hardynge. Caroline Lawrence who was only represented in the first book by The Thieves of Ostia, Book 1 in her Roman Mysteries series, now deservedly has her entry retitled to refer to the series as a whole. I was pleased to see Rodman Philbrick's Freak The Mighty in this new edition, and although losses from a book of this type are to be regretted and can be somewhat poignant, they are inevitable. I noted that there were no longer entries for The Ennead by Jan Mark or Farm Boy by Michael Morpurgo, though bouth authors remain sufficiently represented by other entries.

Entries receive one, two or three dots "as a rough indication of the relative difficulty of a title". This is a new feature and although much better than any attempt to give age advice, the allocation of the dots does appear to relate to age appropriateness rather than reading difficulty. Morris Gleitzman's Once, a very accessible and easy book to read from the point of view of vocabulary and simple sentence structure, is given three dots, presumably because of its subject matter. As the entry itself says, "it is a quick read and written in simple language, but the subject is not for young children." All credit to the editors for including the title in this book, rather than reserving it for the teen guide.

As important as the entries themselves, are the sidebars giving suggestions for what to read next. At the book's launch party, Leonie Flynn announced that the Ultimate Book Guide blog would henceforth be having a Book Of The Week entry (each Monday) with the all-important What To Read Next as an essential feature. Those present at the launch were encouraged to contribute. ACHUKA will blog the next few recommendations to help spread the word.

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Then by Morris Gleitzman - ACHUKA review

Morris Gleitzman
January 2009

Last summer I was sent a very early proof copy of the new novel by Morris Gleitzman, a sequel to Once, a book published at the same time as and - media-attention-wise - unjustly overshadowed by The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas.

I have always had the highest regard for Gleitzman and regard him as one of the very best writers for the young of the past twenty years.

For months that proof copy lay untouched. A second proof copy arrived. I did not read that either. I had, I realised when I finally started reading the book in its final published format, been nervous of encountering ten-year-old Felix again in case any further adventures had a reptrospective lessening of the impact of the first book, read with so much admiration.

Picking up from the end of the previous book, Felix is accompanied by six-year-old Zelda (not his sister) and from the first words, "Then we ran for our lives..." this is the story of how they together attempt to escape being captured by Nazis.

We see many atrocities through child's eyes (the most painful of all at the end of the book) but there is sufficient good fortune and good deed-doing to make this an ever-hopeful edge-of-the-seat read. The character of Genia - a woman who makes her home a safe-house for Felix and Zelda, giving them different names - is strongly drawn and helps ground the central part of a novel which might otherwise, as its title suggests, have been a then-fortunately-then-unfortunately continuum.

Another grounding motif is the figure of Richmal Crompton, described by Carol Ann Duffy in The Ultimate Book Guide as 'the patron saint of childhood'. Certainly, in this book the creator of William acts on more than one occasion as the guardian saint of Felix, helping him to avoid potentially fatal dangers.

Gleitzman's style is always highly accessible, so this book can be highly recommended for any child who is ready to confront the horrors of Nazi tyranny. Thank heavens there is no age-banding on its cover.


Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Education and Skills, has invited every maintained secondary school in England to choose 20 free books for their library as part of a �600,000 initiative to encourage more teenage boys to read for pleasure.

Schools will be able to select the books from a new �Boys Into Books� list commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills and created by the School Library Association (SLA). It has put together a collection that incorporates classic novels with action, adventure, fantasy, crime, horror and sports titles, as well as fact-based books, history and humour.

[Press release continues, with info. about of titles on the list]

Ultimate Teen Book Guide

Melvin Burgess (seen here with Leonie Flynn) was one of a host of authors present for last night's launch party for The Ultimate Teen Book Guide.

Daniel Hahn, the book's co-editor with Leonie Flynn and Susan Reuben, included in his talk a special tribute to an absent contributor, Jan Mark.

David Almond, who wrote the book's introduction, was one author unable to attend the event, as he was away in America. The bar, however, was serving a cocktail named after him, reputed to be very potent. ACHUKA stuck to red wine.

I was not an immediate fan of the first 'Ultimate' book (for 8-12s), although I warmed to it, and wrote in February 2004:

Hahn has several entries in the book and I am getting a feel for his style now - familiar, informal, conversational. "I laughed loads as I read this, and really, really wanted Nick to make it. And I readily confess to a big old lump in my throat at the end..." That's good. It makes me read the Tom Sawyer entry in a different light. That doesn't make it any better an entry, but I can hear Hahn's voice now, and it comes across as sincere and genuine - the voice of a warm-hearted advocate of children's books. I hope I haven't made an enemy of him.

Well, this new book is fantastic - infectiously enthusiastic for the books its multitude of contributors recommends. I'm hardpressed to think of any obvious omissions. There are one or two surprising inclusions (notably very recent novels of dubious durability), but the game of seeing what one's favourite authors recommend is endlessly fascinating and revealing.

Heartily recommended

Mock Matey

Telegraph | Education

Andrew Cunningham, reviewing the book in The Telegraph on Saturday, welcomed the The Ultimate Teen Book Guide but voiced regrets over its length, the lack of colour inside and some of the wince-inducing commentary:

The guide's worst failing is the matey, mock-teenage tone too many of its adult reviewers affect. There's nothing teenagers despise more than adults trying to talk their language. One of the biggest offenders is Catherine Robinson, who peppers reviews with slangy terms stuffed with phoney teen-appeal, such as "seriously cool stuff!" and "lurve". Her comments on Rebecca (definitely in my all-time top 10) are particularly cringe-making: "One of my fave books ever - and if the ending doesn't leave you open-mouthed with disbelief� I'll eat my PC!"

Blue Peter Shortlists

The shortlisted titles for the Blue Peter Book Awards are:

The Book I Couldn?t Put Down
Fat Boy Swim by Catherine Forde (Egmont)
The Garbage King by Elizabeth Laird (Macmillan)
Montmorency by Eleanor Updale (Scholastic)
Stealing Stacey by Lynne Reid Banks (Collins)
When Mum Threw Out the Telly by E F Smith (Orchard Books)

The Best Book with Facts in it
Brilliant Brits: Shakespeare written and illustrated by Richard Brassey (Orion)
Who is Emily Davison? by Claudia Fitzherbert (Short Books)
I Spy: Shapes in Art by Lucy Micklethwaite (Collins)
Journey into the Arctic by Bryan and Cherry Alexander (OUP)
The Ultimate Book Guide edited by Daniel Hahn (A and C Black)

The Best Illustrated Book to Read Aloud
Atticus the Storyteller?s 100 Greek Myths by Lucy Coates, illustrated by Anthony Lewis (Orion)
Man on the Moon written and illustrated by Simon Bartram (Templar)
Quiet! written by Paul Bright, illustrated by Guy Parker Rees (Little Tiger Press)
The Smartest Giant in Town written by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
The Woman Who Won Things written by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Katharine McEwen (Walker Books)

The Judging Panel
Elizabeth Attenborough - Formerly Publishing Director, Puffin Books, now Children?s - Book Consultant
Liz Barker - Current Blue Peter presenter
Lucy Lethbridge - Journalist, writer and previous winner of a Blue Peter - Book Award for Ada Lovelace (Short Books)
Richard Marson- Editor, Blue Peter
Nick Sharratt - Illustrator and previous winner of the Blue Peter Book of the Year with Eat Your Peas! (Red Fox)

The Judging Process
The group of adult judges decide on a shortlist from which the Young Judges select their category winners and the overall Blue Peter Book of the Year.

Ultimate Guide

I am warming to The Ultimate Book Guide [see Feb 3rd entry]. I have just read Michael Lawrence's recommendation for Five Children And It. It's so good it makes you wish that the alphabetical list of contributors at the back of the book also included page references for their contributions. I hope Michael Lawrence has written about other books, but I shall have to flip through the book to find out.
There are even times when I find the rampant shriek marks welcome, as in Hilary McKay's introduction to The Sword In The Stone. "How I envy the people who have not read this book! They have a present still to unwrap! An unexpected piece of luck! An extra holiday!" This is better than the trailing wow lines - "leaves you breathless!" "three great sequels!" "Don't miss out!" "lots of fun!" - but I now find there are fewer of these than I thought.
Oh, I've just spotted another entry by Michael Lawrence. Excuse me a moment.


Mm, OK, but not as good as his Nesbit entry. This short entry for Jill Paton Walsh's Gaffer Samson's Luck is rather more subdued. On the opposite page I see Daniel Hahn (he of the ghastly Tom Sawyer entry) writing about Frindle by Andrew Clements. Hahn has several entries in the book and I am getting a feel for his style now - familiar, informal, conversational. "I laughed loads as I read this, and really, really wanted Nick to make it. And I readily confess to a big old lump in my throat at the end..." That's good.
It makes me read the Tom Sawyer entry in a different light. That doesn't make it any better an entry, but I can hear Hahn's voice now, and it comes across as sincere and genuine - the voice of a warm-hearted advocate of children's books. I hope I haven't made an enemy of him.

Lindsey Likes... | eG weekly | Passport to the world

Lindsey Fraser's Guardian Education selection is The Ultimate Book Guide edited by Daniel Hahn and Leonie Flynn

"This is an ambitious project - annotated recommendations of over 600 books for readers aged eight to 12. Each book is recommended by a named individual, many of them well-known writers in their own right. And each recommendation is accompanied by a series of related recommendations." LINDSEY FRASER

I haven't looked carefully enough at this book to give a considered view yet, but first impressions are that the huge number of contributors (mostly well-known authors and leading names in the children's books world) produce entries that vary enormously in their usefulness.
The entry (by one of the chief editors) for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is particularly vacuous: "... is a famous story... Oh, I didn't mention that besides being a very famous, classic story, it's also a pretty old story, written (and set) in the nineteenth century... this old, famous, classic book is also really, really good! Tom is a great hero... and Mark Twain is a very funny, lively writer..."
The tone of this suggests that the editors seriously imagine their primary audience is aged about 8 years old, whereas if there is any audience at all for a book of this kind it will be found amongst parents, teachers, librarians - all of whom are likely to find its exclamatory tone (about half the entries end with a shriek mark) annoyingly ingratiating.

I'm going to show it to my Book Group (7-11 yr olds) and will see what they think.