Wednesday, 29 March 2017

~Review~ Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Number in series: 1
Publisher: Quirk
Rating: 5/5

A tragic event happened in the forest, to Jacob's grandfather

 
While clearing out his newly deceased grandfather's house, sixteen year old Jacob realises all the stories he heard growing were lies. The invisible boy?  The levitating girl? Lies. He decides to set out to Wales and find 'The Bird' his grandfather mentioned in his dying words.
What Jacob finds turns his world upside down. He'll never look at the stories as lies ever again.
 

What I think:

I thought this book was really original and unforgettable. The photos included in the book are amazing and a wonderful bonus. I would love to see the film and read the other books in the series (Hollow City, and Library of Souls) 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, 25 March 2017

~Review~ The Bubble Boy by Stewart Foster


Title: The Bubble Boy
Author: Stewart Foster
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Rating: 5/5

Joe lives in a bubble

 
He has SCID, which means he gets ill easier than other people. He lives in a hospital, and he can't remember a life before he moved in. Guests are rare as they could bring fatal germs into his bubble. One day, a new nurse, who believes in aliens and craziness, steps into Joe's life and turns it upside down.
 

What I thought:

I thought The Bubble Boy was moving and exciting. You're always on edge whenever Joe gets ill, and you wonder what will happen next. I couldn't put this book down. Suitable for kids aged 10+

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

~ An interview with Abi Elphinstone! ~

  Interview with children’s author, Abi Elphinstone


       Abi Elphinstone's first book was The Dreamsnatcher, about Moll and her friends finding out about Moll's parents, and the adventures they have on the journey of discovering the truth. Moll goes deep into the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare, and finds out that she is special, and important. The second book in the series, The Shadow Keeper,  reflects on the first book and now they are in hiding from the Shadowmasks and the dark magic. The third book, The Night Spinner, has recently come out.
Abi is also has a story in an anthology, Winter Magic, and she edited the stories.
I got the pleasure to interview her, and here are the answers:



1.      When did you want to start writing?

I wrote a few stories when I was little but mainly I was outdoors having adventures – climbing trees, building dens, mixing flower petal potions – and it was only when I turned 23 years old that I started writing children’s books properly. My most recent book, The Night Spinner, is filled with places I explored as a child in Scotland (where I grew up), and so I think narratives were spinning through my head when I was younger; it just took a few years to get them down on paper.

2.      Where did the idea of The Dreamsnatcher Series come from?

The Dreamsnatcher is, in many ways, like an extension of my childhood (minus the witchdoctors and the tree ghouls). I didn’t have to create Moll’s outdoor woodland world; it grew out of my own. And before long it was filled with a cast of invented characters: a headstrong gypsy girl, a wildcat, a fortune-teller, a witchdoctor, tree ghouls and vapours. Once I’d written the words of the ancient Bone Murmur, Moll’s adventure had begun… To research this book, I watched one of the last ‘real’ Romany gypsies, Pete Ingram, ‘play the bones’ and carve catapults, I studied wildcats prowling, eating and sleeping in the New Forest Wildlife Park and I travelled to Zanzibar, in Africa, to research sinister witchdoctor masks. With my second book, The Shadow Keeper, I wanted to build on Moll’s world. I wanted to make it bigger, to make the adventure bolder. And this story started simply as a map, a roughly sketched journey across beaches and marshland, fishing villages and smuggler coves. And as I thought back to the excitement of scaling crags to find gulls’ eggs with my father and the fear and adrenalin of unexplored caves and cliff jumps, little by little my map – and Moll’s world – began to grow. To research The Shadow Keeper, I spent time foraging in the Norwegian fjords, abseiling into caves, hang-gliding over the sea and learning how to fire a bow and arrow. In The Night Spinner I wanted to take my characters home to the ‘northern wilderness’, to the re-imagined Scotland of my childhood. The Rambling Moors are actually the Angus moors and glens beyond my parents’ house, The Clattering Gorge is really the North Esk River outside Edzell, the tiny village our house perched on the outskirts of, the Barbed Peaks are in fact the Cairngorms in Aberdeenshire and the Lost Isles are the rugged islands on the west coast of Scotland. I then filled these places with the magical creatures I had imagined there as a child: a giant called Wallop, a goblin called Kittlerumpit and a gorge full of witches.

3.      How would you describe your books?

I usually describe them as fast-paced adventures with a little bit of magic. But I loved The Times’ description of them recently: ‘Famous Five or, rather, four, with messier clothes and fewer home-baked treats for tea.’

4.      Who/what inspires you?

My mother was hugely instrumental in my journey to becoming a published children’s author. She told me never to give up and that helped when I faced 96 rejections from literary agents on the three books I wrote before my debut, The Dreamsnatcher.

5.      What are your current projects?

Drawing on my time living with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia and my adventures dog-sledding across the Arctic, I’ve just finished the first draft of my fourth book – a standalone set up in the frozen north. This is a story about an eagle huntress, an inventor and an organ made of icicles. But it is also a story about belonging, even at the very edges of the world. It will be out in January 2018 and I am now pulling together ideas for a brand new series, to start in 2019.

            6.      What is it like being a writer?

Busy but exciting. Most days I’m out visiting schools (in 2015 I spoke in 97 schools and in 2016 I spoke in 76 schools) or speaking at literary festivals so the majority of my writing is done on trains to and from events. But on the rare days I have at home, I’m able to escape into my writing shed in the garden and write there. But writing can be intense, lonely and full of self doubt so it’s a nice balance getting out and meeting readers as well as staying home to dream up plots and characters.

7.      What are your latest books?

The Dreamsnatcher, The Shadow Keeper, The Night Spinner and Winter Magic. They are available in all good bookshops and on Amazon.

       8.      Can we contact you and how?

Most children contact me through my website (www.abielphinstone.com) or Instagram (@moontrugger) while adults often use Twitter (@moontrug) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/abi.elphinstone/).
 
 

 



 

Saturday, 18 March 2017

~Review~ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Original Screenplay) by J.K Rowling


 Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Author: J.K Rowling
Publisher: Little Brown
Rating: 5/5

Newt Scamander has arrived in New York

When his magical case full of beasts is lost and some beasts escape, he is thrust into am adventure he'll never forget. With some friends helping him, will he be able to track down the mischevious beasts and to restore New York to normal?
 

What I think:

I think this script is really good, and I would like to see the film. I think it's exciting and fun! Suitable for everyone aged 8+
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

~Review~ Swimming To The Moon by Jane Elson

Title: Swimming To The Moon
Author: Jane Elson
Publisher: Hodders Children
Rating: 5/5


Bee's life has been changed since Moon-Star started at her school.

A bendy tap dancing freak, Chrystal Kelly, has double dared her to enter a sponsored swim, but Bee can't swim, or back out. She has no idea what to do until Moon-Star comes into her life. They create a pact - Bee to teach Moon-Star how write and read, and Moon-Star to teach Bee how to swim. Will it be successful?
 

What I think:

 
I think this book is great, as it tells readers that they can overcome fears. Bee is scared of water and swimming, so it's relatable with lots of children. I found this book interesting and original. Great for kids aged 8+

Sunday, 12 March 2017

~Review~ The Other Alice by Michelle Harrison

Title: The Other Alice
Author: Michelle Harrison
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Rating: 5/5

Midge's sister, Alice, has gone missing and instead of her, Tabitha, a talking cat has turned up

Midge has no idea of what's happening, so sets out to find out where his sister is and why characters from an unfinished story of Alice's are coming to his world. With Piper and Gypsy, can he find the truth and stop it from killing Alice? Every story has a villain, but can they all find her and return Midge's life to how it was before?

What I think:

This book is full of fairytales, magic, riddles and adventure. It shows how imagination has a powerful effect lives and how a story may stick with you forever. Great for everyone aged 9+

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

~Review~ A Room Full of Chocolate by Jane Elson

Title: A Room Full of Chocolate
 Author: Jane Elson
 Publisher: Hodder
 Rating: 5/5

       Grace's mum has found a lump on herself

Grace doesn't want to stay with Granddad  while her mum is in hospital, and wants things to stay the same. But it can't . She must move away and make friends at her new school. Grace misses her mum so much, and it doesn't help mean Lucy Potts at school. When she meets Megan and her pig, Claude, her life gets a little bit better.

What I think:

This book made me cry, it was so sad. It's full of amazing characters, who you get to know as time goes on. Great for boys and girls aged 11+