Monday, July 1, 2024

The Ice Children by M. G. Leonard, illustrated by Penny Neville-Lee

 


2023 

Bianca and her younger brother Finn argue over a glittery book that Finn has taken from the library. Then five year old Finn is found frozen in a local park. Gradually more and more children turn up frozen in the park.

Bianca realises it is to do with the strange book which it turns our never was in the library catalogue.  Each frozen child has a copy of the book.  She finds the factory where the books are made and meets the strange team of twins Pitter and Patter, Jack (Frost) and Quilo who disguise themselves as one grown-up man.  

Bianca manages to obtain a copy of the book; she too is frozen and is taken to the land of Winterton. Here she meets the Snow Queen who had taken a liking to her brother. Yes, here are echoes of the Hans Christian Anderesen story and also of the Narnia chronicles. And just as in Andresen’s story, the ice children have a shard in their hearts.

Winterton is a magical place with fairground rides, hot chocolate fountains and marshmallows that grow on trees.    

The Snow Queen is dying because of climate change.  Winter is disappearing. And if something doesn’t happen to reverse the warming of the planet all of the children with the splinters in their hearts will die at the time of the winter solstice. They will know nothing of it but will continue to live happily in Winterton.

Bianca finds another way and shows the grown-ups what they must do. The children are unfrozen and returned to their families, all determined to fight climate change and save winter and the Snow Queen

There are some monochrome pencil illustrations throughout.

There is a little information about both the author and the illustrator at the end of the book.  

The text is quite dense, blocked and in a serif font with difficult ‘a’s and ‘g’s.  It is double-spaced. 

Find your copy here  

Note, this is an affiliate link and a small portion of what you pay, at no extra cost to you,  may go to Bridge House Publishing. 

 

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick



Britt Pfeifer wants to prove herself and so sets out on a trekking trip with best friend Korbie. Britt has been dating Korbie’s brother, Calvin but he dumped her just before the school prom.  The trip starts off badly; Britt and Korbie get stuck in a snow storm.  They find shelter in a cabin but they are in even more danger now; two criminals on the run are sheltering there.

All is not as it seems. Britt gradually finds out that the real criminal is neither Shaun nor Mason (whose real name is Jude). Calvin has killed five young women, apparently because of his jealousy of their success.  He has been holed up in family cabin, pretending to have been attending Stanford. Britt also witnesses him killing Shaun.

Calvin’s father had persistently bullied him. We are led to believe that is why he behaves the way that he does.

Calvin attempts to kill himself by hanging but Britt and Jude rescue him in time.  However, he has suffered brain damage.  He will still probably get a life sentence but not in normal jail.

Britt’s friendship with Korbie is ruined.

However, she goes to college, makes some good friends and meets up with Jude again in the summer.

This is a fast-paced novel, with well-drawn characters and a convincing setting.

It is 401 pages long.   

Find on Amazon  

Note, this is an affiliate link and a small portion of what you pay, at no extra cost to you,  may go to Bridge House Publishing.  

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

 


2012 

teen, upper secondary  Key Stage 4, ages 14 -17, Dashner  James, science fantasy, thriller

This is the second book in the Maze Runner series.  Thomas and his comrades have now got out of the maze but have to face more trials.  They have to cross a dessert plain to arrive at safety.  WICKED set them countless trials and for much of the time they cannot be sure about the outside people they are dealing with, or indeed about each other.

This actually poses many questions for the young reader: do the young people here have free will or are they being manipulated?

Relationships change and no one is really sure whom they can trust. Or is this just part of what WICKED is doing to them?

Thomas is told everything is being done so that he and his comrades can help save the world. A pandemic has occurred, triggered by sun spot activity and therefore named The Flare. It gradually changes its victims form well-adjusted humans into something that resembles the archetypal zombie. Society needs to be reconstructed and made safe.  

There is a love interest. Thomas gets close to Teresa, with whom he communicates telepathically. Then there is Brenda.

Aris, a male, at one point seems to have replaced Teresa and towards the end of the novel Thomas finds he can communicate telepathically with Brenda and Aris as well.   

This second book ends on a cliff-hanger – making us all want to tackle the next one.

The novel is 360 pages. It uses an adult font and the text is blocked. The language is quite sophisticated.

Find your copy here 

Note, this is an affiliate link and a small portion of what you pay, at no extra cost to you,  may go to Bridge House Publishing.  

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Wilding by Isabella Tree and Angela Harding

 


2024 

I hesitated to put his book on this site even though it is marketed as a children’s book and indeed I purchased it as such. In fact, anyway, it wouldn’t be out of place in a primary or secondary school library though interest in it would be restricted to those who are passionate about the environment.   

Primarily, though, I would define this as a picture book for adults – a rather odd concept in the UK though this is a strong genre in France and Belgium and other French-speaking countries.  The voice here is of one adult speaking to another. But children can often understand adults.

Isabella Tree and her husband Charles decided to rewild their 3,500 acre farm in West Sussex over twenty years ago.

The book opens with a note form the illustrator about her experience of working at Knepp.  After a brief introduction by Isabella Tree we are given an outline history of the farm including the all import years form 2000 up to the present day.

There is a lot of information about what happened and all of this is illustrated in detail.  Pictures really give us more detail about processes and indeed what everything looks like.  So, as in a picture book for pre-schoolers the pictures add to the information in the text, expect that this is non-fiction. The last few pages contain ideas for what we can do in our own environment.

There is a useful glossary at the end and then a list of further resources. This would be very helpful for a student who is conducting a project about rewilding.   

The book, in hard back, and large format is 96 pages long.  It uses a serif font but the text is ragged right. Each section of text is short but packed with information.

Find on Amazon 

Note, this is an affiliate link and a small portion of what you pay, at no extra cost to you,  may go to Bridge House publishing.  


Thursday, April 18, 2024

A Tempest of Tea by Hafsah Faizal



2024 

Spendthrift is an innocent tea room by day and by night a den for vampires, where they can enjoy a different sort of tea and indulge in all sorts of vampire behaviour

Protagonist Arthie and her companion Jin, who is like brother to her, face the closure of the tea room. The reasons behind it are sinister and they have a battle to keep it open. We have some chapters from Arthie’s point of view and some from Jin’s. A third character, Flick   also has chapters to herself:  she has been under house arrest and is sufficiently rebellious towards her mother that the young adult reading this will be pleased. She is a forger and aids Arthie and Jin with her talent.

There is much violence and bloodshed – perhaps quite appropriate for a novel that has vampires in it.

The ending is disheartening but it does leave the story open for a sequel.

The book, in hard back, is 335 pages long. At the front there is a map of White Roaring, the town where the adventure is set. There are also pictures of documents, perhaps some of the ones that Flick forges. The text is blocked and uses a serif font.

The novel is divided into three parts. The chapters are short, particularly in the third part and this helps to maintain pace and tension.       

Find your copy here 

Note, this is an affiliate link and a small portion of what you pay, at no extra cost to you,  may go to Bridge House publishing.  


Sunday, February 18, 2024

Dim Sum Palace by X. Fang

 


2023               


Liddy’s family are planning a visit to the Dim Sum Palace the next day. Liddy dreams of following a delicious smell and ending up at a sumptuous palace where she is made in to a dumpling and almost eaten by the Empress. However, the grand lady realises just in time that Liddy is there and then the two of them share the feast. Within the dream, Liddy falls asleep and is carried back to her own bed. The family visit the Dim Sum Palace the next day; it’s just an ordinary restaurant in an ordinary street. But the food is delicious.    

This is a conventional picture book in that more story is put into the pictures. In particular there are some interesting illustrations of the kitchen at the palace in the dream, the street in the town in real life and the actual Dim Sum Palace. These are all very busy pictures with a lot that the child and adult might discuss.

The end papers show all sorts of Dim Sum treats.  It is an education and the book is likely to make you hungry.

There is a little bit of a joke for the grown-ups; they will no doubt know what a real Dim Sum Palace looks like and may smile at the little girl’s expectation.

The text is printed in a serif font which has difficult ‘a’s and ‘g’s.  This is reasonable as the text will most likely be read by an adult.  The font size is large so reading glasses may not be needed.  

 

Find on Amazon 

Note, this is an affiliate link and a small portion of what you pay may go to Bridge House publishing.  

The Ice Children by M. G. Leonard, illustrated by Penny Neville-Lee

  2023   Bianca and her younger brother Finn argue over a glittery book that Finn has taken from the library. Then five year old Finn is...