A young balletomane, Clair-de-Lune, lives alone with her austere grandmother, Madame Nuit. Her mother (La Lune) died whilst dancing a dying swan ballet, and she has been mute ever since. Such overtly symbolic names emulate the methods of fairy tale, which sets the mood for this story.
In a world where war dominates the media, and power and violence often go hand in hand, Alice Hoffman offers a timely reminder of the strength of mercy, humanity and compassion.
Being young and in love but apart is the best of times and the worst of times. The anticipation of being together is wonderful, each letter brings a surge of optimism but the on-going trial of being separated by distance can seem impossible to overcome.
Sylvia Van Ommen
Winged Chariot Press
Made available in the English language through Winged Chariot Press, a unique publishing venture supported by the Arts Council England and aimed at brining European picture books to the English market, ‘Sweets’ is Dutch author, Sylvia van Ommen’s debut picture-book. It’s two-tone appearance is misleadingly unadorned and simplistic, for though instantly accessible, there is nothing simple about this narrative!
So begins the friends’ eschatological enquiries about heaven, acceptance into an after-life, familiarity and of the unknown. If this sounds pretentious or outside the realms of the plausible for a picture book, at heart this is a deeply perceptive and sensitive story about the relationship between two friends, that relationship’s endurance and its respective partners’ ability to share.
Catnip are a new publishing venture incorporating the established Happy Cat Books list. One of many exciting publications featured within their list this year is the award-winning Jackie French’s ‘Callisto’ series. Perhaps most familiar to readers in the UK as the author of the thought-provoking ‘Hitler’s Daughter’ Jackie French is an author whose breadth and diversity of work frequently broaches territory that is both challenging and uncharted!
A & C Black
There’s a beautiful fullness in the symmetry between the opening and close of this novel as Katie and her friend Pauline climb their tree. The tree itself is grounded in the presents with far-reaching roots… from the boughs of the tree is a standpoint with an enviable panorama into the future.
A & C Black
Orion Children’s Books
Richard Brassey’s ‘Brilliant Brits’ series continues with its eighth title, this time focusing on formidable Queen of the Icini, Boudicca. As with other titles in the series the book begins by exploring popular facts ‘ and sometimes fallacies ‘ about its subject. Then begins its account proper, pieced together from accounts by Roman historians Tacitus and Dio and corroborated through findings of archaeological artefacts.
They speak the same language and share a lot of our values but America is clearly not simply the home counties with better shopping.
Corgi Yearling Books
Despite the promise of the title, there’s not a whiff of a crime for at least six chapters. Instead leisurely scene setting and character introductions fill the pages. But if you can get through the slow start, you’ll be rewarded by some engaging situations and unexpected plot twists.