J. E. Roberts
| Sea Campion is a tiny independent press. This is its first children’s book publication.|
The author, J. E. Roberts can write. He can write very well. And I enjoyed this short but atmospherically intense novel very much indeed.
Set in the Black Mountains (where the author lives) it is described as “an ecological adventure story for children 9 years old and above’.
Roberts succeeds in establishing a rapport with his main character Joe (a boy recently moved from the city who has an interest in Charles Darwin) but is also able to create vivid supporting characters, notably an old man and an old woman, and also Joe’s much younger brother, Ant. Less vivid is Gwen, the girl Joe befriends.
Nearing the climax of the story I feared the book might become too polemical, too message-driven, but in the end this was successfully avoided.
The book bears comparison with Bone Jack by Sara Crowe, albeit without the sense of menace, and deserves to find a readership in its own right.
The publisher is actively trying to attract more authors with work highlighting ecological issues.
| Sieb Posthuma, a Dutch author/illustrator, has produced a highly likeable story about a family excursion to a large department store. It’s instantly apparent from the opening page that we are in a world peopled by dogs. The bus driver in the first illustration is a dog. The car driver is a dog. The passengers are dogs. And rusty is one of three young dogs travelling to the department store with their mother.|
“It’s very busy inside,” [mom] says. “So what do we do?”
“We all stay together!” chant Rusty, Henrietta and Toby.
But of course they don’t.
Rusty is led astray by the smell coming from a customer whose basket shows that they have just come from the food department. He follows her into a lift and the adventure begins.
One of those picture books that works almost entirely because of the lively light-hearted illustrations.
| Jackie Morris’s gorgeous, double-page-spread artwork is accompanied by suitably grand, noble and lyrical prose about each kind of bear featured. And at the back, for the information hungry, there is a more prosaic paragraph of description.|
Another lovely book from this picture book artist.
Lucy Cooke, writer and main photographer
| This delightful photo-info-essay will make a perfect gift for any animal loving child. Lucy Cooke is a film-maker, photographer, zoologist, TV presenter (Talk To The Animals) and National Geographic explorer. The photos in this small hardback are sure to raise smiles and ‘Aww!”s. The text is unpatronising and humorous. The kind of title that bookshops might not stock so I’d recommend getting an order in fast if you want to give this to someone for Christmas.|