Sarah Webb’s summer children’s books roundup for the Irish Independent:
Summer roundup of children’s books from the Daily Mail in which Sally Morris picks out:
THE SCARECROWS’ WEDDING by Julia Donaldson, Illustrated by Axel Scheffler (Alison Green/Scholastic £12.99)
MY TEACHER IS A MONSTER by Peter Brown (Macmillan £11.99)
THE JOLLEY-ROGERS AND THE GHOSTLY GALLEON by Jonny Duddle (Templar £5.99)
JUMBLECAT by Archie Kimpton, Illustrated by Kate Hindley (Hot Key Books £5.99)
EDEN by Joanna Nadin (Walker £6.99)
AMERICAN SAVAGE by Matt Whyman (Hot Key Books £6.99)
VALENTINE JOE by Rebecca Stevens (Chicken House £6.99)
When The Times dispensed with the services of its longstanding specialist reviewer, Amanda Craig, a while ago there was an understandable sense of disquiet in children’s books circles.
It seems to me that Alex O’Connell is proving to be a very satisfactory in-house replacement. She gives the impression of being reasonably well-read in the field, and I have been pleased to see that she is prepared to write properly critical reviews as well as rave recommendations.
This is a summer roundup, so all the books mentioned are being recommended of course, but she still manages to be proportionate in her praise.
Holly Smale’s third Geek Girl outing is summed up thus: “It’s certainly not a hefty plot but the characters are loveable and it’s a funny feelgood read for the holidays.”
Sally Green’s Half Bad is accurately described as “It’s probably not the new Harry Potter, nor is it the next Hunger Games, but this is the first in a rather promising fantasy trilogy .”
She confesses to a ‘serious crush’ on Meg Rosoff’s novels, and is able to tell us why: “Rosoff is brilliant on what bonds us; examining special relations between older and younger children (Mila becomes close to Matthew’s baby son and his dog) and what divides us.”
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Here is a list of the books included in the roundup:
Journey by Aaron Becker
Hermelin the Detective Mouse by Mini Grey
Jonathan Cape, £11.99.
Tiny, the Invisible World of Microbes by Nicola Davies and Emily SuttonWalker, £11.99.
The Queen’s Hat by Steve Antony, Hachette, £11.99.
The Pilot and the Little Prince: the Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sis
Pushkin Children’s, £12.99.
The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig by Emer Stamp
Paws and Whiskerschosen by Jacqueline Wilson, illustrated by Nick Sharratt
The Fastest Boy in the World by Elizabeth Laird
Macmillan, £6.99, 8 plus.
The Executioner’s Daughter by Jane Hardstaff
Egmont, £6.99, 10 plus.
The Cat Who Came in Off the Roof by Annie MG Schmidt
Pushkin Children’s, £7.99.
Geek Girl: Picture Perfect by Holly Smale
Harper Collins, £12.99 (hardback) 11 plus.
Scarlet Ibis by Gill Lewis
OUP, £8.99, 9 plus.
TEENS / YOUNG ADULT
Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Half Bad by Sally Green
More Than This by Patrick Ness
Kate Kellaway’s Easter roundup of picture books for The Observer:
- The Yes by Sarah Bee
- April The Red Godlfish by Marjolaine Leray
- Rabbits Don’t Lay Eggs! by Paula Metcalf
- Hog In The Fog by Eunyoung Seo
- Tell Us A Story, Papa Chagall by Laurence Anholt
- Hope Is A Girl Selling Fruit by Amrita Das
- Snowy by Berlie Doherty & Keith Bowem
- Shh! We Have A Plan by Chris Haughton
Christmas 2013: best fiction for teenagers – reviewed by Geraldine Brennan
Mysteries and thrillers dominate a strong, thought-provoking list.
Vango: Between Sky and Earth by Timothée de Fombelle (Walker £14.99) is the first volume of an adventure trilogy in a sparkling translation from the French by Sarah Ardizzone – surely another strong contender for the Marsh award for children’s literature in translation (her translation of De Fombelle’s Toby Alone won in 2009). Another resourceful loner takes on the forces of evil in 1930s Europe, with some of the edge of John Buchan and early Graham Greene in the storytelling.
Christmas 2013: best fiction for 8- to 12-year-olds – reviewed by Lucy Rock
Exhilarating flights of fancy featuring giants, witches and dinosaurs can make long journeys endurable this season…
Tonke Dragt‘s The Letter for the King (Pushkin £16.99) is an epic coming-of-age story of knights, duels, honour, loyalty, friendship and love. At 450 pages it needs to be captivating, and it is. Why it has taken 51 years to be translated from the Dutch is as much a mystery as the purpose of Tiuri’s quest. He has to deliver a secret message across the Great Mountains in a journey that is fraught with danger. Dragt plays around with good and evil, teaching Tiuri that people are not always what they seem. The story is elegantly crafted using straightforward language, and nothing happens that isn’t central to the plot.
Christmas 2013: best picture books for children – reviewed by Kate Kellaway
What is amazing about Now Open the Box by Dorothy Kunhardt (The New York Review Children’s Collection £9.99), first published in 1934, is how fresh it feels today: yellow, scarlet and black are its colours and it is exuberant. It’s about a tiny scarlet dachshund, a circus dog who knows no tricks but is adored for his size. One day, calamity strikes: he grows to a normal size. He is about to be evicted from the circus for ordinariness when he is saved by a phenomenal growth spurt and becomes a gigantic circus pet. A boldly told, wayward tale, though if there is a moral, it is perhaps best not to dwell on it. (2+)
I’m delighted to see Daniel Hahn shares my enthusiasm for the writing of Hilary McKay. Other books he raves about in this piece include The Good Little Devil and Other Tales, by Pierre Gripari, translated by Sophie Lewis from the Pushkin Press; Chris Riddell’s Goth Girl; Oliver and the Seawigs by Reeve and McIntyre; and Phoenix by SF Said and Dave McKean.
And well done to the Independent for giving so much space to the Christmas roundup this year. I’m really looking forward to next week’s instalment, which will presumably be YA recommendations.
no one is better at putting words into the mouths of her child characters than Hilary McKay, as her Casson family series has demonstrated so delightfully over the years. Now she’s back, with Binny for Short (Hodder, £9.99), in which Binny’s family, struggling to make ends meet since the death of her father, move to a shabby little house by the sea. (The family includes six-year-old James, a classic McKay creation.) Binny for Short is warm and shrewd, blissfully funny, and deeply endearing in equal measure.
Top 20 best books of the year for children
as picked by METRO…