April 2008 Archives

Author Signing

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Guardian Blog
diverting Guardian Blog item about authors signing another authors' books... ...

Guardian Review

Diane Samuels reviews Toby Alone by Timothe de Fombelle, translated by Sarah Adams

A big story about tiny people, this first volume of Timothe de Fombelle's award-winning two-part French saga takes the notion of discovering the universe in a grain of sand and applies it to a tree. Toby, the eponymous hero, is 13 years old and only a millimetre and a half tall; for him the distance from root to topmost leaves is an epic trek. This Lilliputian world is the setting for an ecological allegory, a microcosmic exploration of humanity's relationship with nature and a rites-of-passage adventure story...

Blog Disappearance Explained

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Apologies for the unavailability of the blog for past several days.
The ACHUKA server was apparently becoming overloaded and the highest traffic area of the site had to be temporarily disabled to maintain stability of the rest of the ACHUKA site.

I am happy to report that the whole site has now been reinstated on a new more powerful server. I am personally finding the site responds a lot more quickly and everything seems to be functioning well. But when a site is moved from one platform to a slightly different platform I'm aware that somethimes internal links can become garbled, so please report anything that you find not working properly.

I'm not aware of anything Big & Bloggable that has happened in the past week, but if there was anyhthing that you think should have been reported here, give me a nudge.
I'll be catching up with the weekend reviews shortly.

Fig Roll Shortage

I'm very partial to a fig roll or two - indeed, I survived many a weekend as a university student on a packet of rig rolls, a loaf of bread and some peanut butter - so this article caught my eye.

If the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil can trigger a tornado in Texas, then it is perhaps no wonder that Britain's current fig roll shortage can be traced back to wasp problems in Turkey. We were alerted to the absence of the legendary biscuit by a concerned reader. Further investigation revealed that supermarket shelves are indeed empty. Some branches of Sainsbury's have even put up notices, informing customers of the current crisis, which began with hard times for the pollinating fig wasp of Anatolia...

Unfortunately I'm not able to think of a children's books connection. Perhaps a blog reader can oblige?

New FT launch

From the photography point of view I'm looking forward to the new FT Weekend format to be launched this Saturday:

The larger-format magazine will slash the word count of its stories and let the pictures speak for themselves. "It is quite a bold statement for us to say that we are going to plunge into photojournalism," says Barber. "If I have an ambition it is that the FT can tell stories with photographs," adds Davis....

but good to read also that "Book reviews (presumably including children's reviews) will move from the magazine back to the newspaper, this time in the Life & Arts section..."

Worth a read... + resulting comments

Fowl deeds will rise

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Guardian Review

Philip Ardagh reviews Chicken Dance by Jacques Couvillon

It's a rare skill to be able to bring a fictional family so convincingly to life, and with such humour, too. This is what puts Jacques Couvillon in the ranks of Frank Cottrell Boyce and the Australian writer Martine Murray. By the end of the book we've been so completely and convincingly drawn into Don's world - his family, his on-off relationship with his friend Leon Leonard, his dreams and ambitions - that he lives on beyond the story.

What is the DFC?

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It's a new weekly children's story comic launching next month. Visit the website for 'early bird' subscription offers...

Maurece Sendak feature

Maurice Sendak is widely recognised as an outstanding children's author, but he is more than that. He is an artist whose flair for visual storytelling is almost unmatched today. Jonathan Jones paids tribute in last weekend's Guardian magazine.

Very Highly Recommended, especially for the suggestions of possible influences, from Hogarth to Oldenberg and Runge.

Times And Place

The children's illustrator and author Helen Oxenbury, 69, spent her childhood in a turn-of-the-century house on the Suffolk coast, roller-skating, cycling along the scenic paths and sharing plates of chips...

Carnegie / Greenaway Shortlists

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The CILIP Carnegie Medal Shortlist 2008

Tricia Adams, Chair of the Judges, comments on the CILIP Carnegie 2008 shortlist:

"As adept storytellers and masters of their craft, these writers employ great lightness of touch in dealing with eternal themes from an historical perspective. Each one illuminates something different about the world we live in today, making the past accessible and relevant to the present. This is strong, imaginative writing for young people that unlocks history way beyond the classroom."


Orion (Age range: 10+)

ISBN: 9781842552735


Penguin (Age range: 12+)

ISBN: 9780141382807


Macmillan (Age range: 10+)

ISBN: 9780330443111


Walker Books (Age range: 12+)

ISBN: 9781406303315


Scholastic (Age range: 12+)

ISBN: 9780439955331


Penguin (Age range: 12+)

ISBN: 9780141383439


HarperCollin (Age range: 12+)

ISBN: 9780007214457

The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal Shortlist 2008

Tricia Adams, Chair of the Judges, comments on the CILIP Kate Greenaway 2008 shortlist:

"2008's shortlist is a really delightful mixture reflecting the very best of the quality of illustrators at work at the moment. There are a mixture of techniques, styles and appeal reflected in this very strong shortlist - something for everyone who appreciates the illustrator's art from babies to adults."


Walker Books (Age range: 5+)

ISBN: 9780744570175


Walker Books (Age range: 3+)

ISBN: 9781844280650


Macmillan (Age range: 6+)

ISBN: 9781405089487


Macmillan (Age range: 0+)

ISBN: 9781405089494


Bloomsbury (Age range: 9+)

ISBN: 9780747579229


Macmillan (Age range: 7+)

ISBN: 9781405050579


Puffin (Age range: 0+)

ISBN: 9780141500591

Goof family read, says Adele Geras

Parents are being urged to read to their children, and the chapters here are exactly the right length for this. This is a perfect family book because the adult reader will share the pleasure of the listening child....

Adele Geras reviewing The Battle For Gullywith by Susan Hill

Best New Illustrators

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Best New Illustrators

piece by Ian Beck, in The Times

Nim's Island

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Nim's Island

Jodie Foster grew up on-screen in the 1970s, acting beyond her young age in such films as "Taxi Driver" and "Freaky Friday." Now Abigail Breslin, who starred in "Little Miss Sunshine," is doing the same.

Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin co-star in "Nim's Island."
The two were brought together for the adventure comedy "Nim's Island," opening Friday, a film adaptation of the 2002 children's book by Australian Wendy Orr.


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Jacqui And Colin Hawkins daughter stars in Mike Leigh film...

Hawkins had "quite a magical childhood": her parents, Jacqui and Colin, write and illustrate children's books, and Sally and her older brother were immersed in their irreverent world of fairy-tales, pirates and witches. "They were always drawing, and it was incredibly creative to be around that," says Hawkins. "I was encouraged to draw and paint and express myself and create things. And I wasn't pushed academically; I could just be what I wanted to be. My parents have a strong work ethic, but their attitude to life, their philosophy, is: whatever makes you happy."


Set Pieces Strung Like beads

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Susan Hill

Feature from The Independent by Nicolette Jones about Susan Hill and her new children's novel The Battle For Gullywith

"I wanted to write a story children would want to get into," she says. "I wanted parts that were lovely, warm and magical to balance off the sinister bits. And I love doing scenes lit from within or without. Like the scene in Hardy's The Return of the Native where Clem Yeobright and Damon Wildeve are dicing on Egdon Heath at night, lit by glow-worms. I have... set-pieces I want to do and then I join them up like a string of beads. I even do it with the crime novels."

Writing About The Holocaust

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Writing about the holocaust...

I missed this piece by Nicolette Jones when it was published in the Telegraph back in January.

Blogging it now as it's such a useful review of recent young adult novels about the holocaust and different views of the subject.


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New Wiki Entries

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Many thanks to Vinoescarlata for making a series of significant entries about Philippine children's books in the achukawiki

Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week

Once Upon A Time In The North by Philip Pullman

an exquisite object, finely produced, with skilled and handsome woodcuts [by John Lawrence] of the streets and harbour of "Novy Odense" on the Barents Sea, which has the atmosphere of a frontier town in a western... NICOLETTE JONES

creative reading

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creative reading, originally uploaded by panta rhei.

by the same photographer as previous photo post

Guardian Review

Kathryn Hughes on Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson

Anyone who loves Montgomery's original books (she went on to produce a whole series) will probably be able to read this prequel without minding the occasional jarring note. What may grate, though, is the cover design in which the UK publishers have clothed this Anne of Green Gables for a new generation. While the story works hard towards achieving historical and geographic authenticity, Puffin has given us Anne as a deracinated figure in what appears to be modern dress.

Doesn't 'grate' with me :)
What do you think?

Picture Book Decline

...most picture books cannot be published for British readers alone--but the international market is less welcoming than it was. Americans are favouring home-grown talent, says Wayne Winstone, who sells children's books, and eastern Europeans and Asians are developing their own distinctive styles of illustration. Michael Rosen blames the obsession with synthetic phonics for reducing children's reading horizons to badly drawn leaflets. For Jane Ray, an illustrator, a "culture of safety" among publishers has much to answer for....

Teen Fiction Reviews - Observer

Missed this over a week ago. Reviews by Geraldine Brennan.

Guardian Blog

Interesting Guardian blog discussion about reviewers and reviewing, with contributions by Adele Geras, Meg Rosoff and (just now if briefly) myself.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2008 is the previous archive.

May 2008 is the next archive.

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