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Review: Tin by Padraig Kenny

Tin cover

You must read this wonderful début! It’s full of ingenious inventions, great bravery and enormous heart.

Meet Christopher. He is a ‘proper’, a human orphan, growing up in Mr Absalom’s junk yard amongst a motley crew of robot mechanicals. There’s Jack who could be sold as a ‘real boy’, Round Rob made from a cooking pot, Manda who’s just a little bit wonky everywhere, Gripper the giant who’s as kind as he is strong, and Estelle, the other ‘proper’ who helps out ‘like a real grown up’.

Together they embark on a thrilling journey of discovery, adventuring to Ironhaven and the Crag, finding their inner strength and undiscovered skills.

This is a world like ours (in the 1930s) but filled with glyphs and mechanicals, Blakes and Runcibles.

A winning combination of Pinocchio with The Wizard of Oz and a bit of I, Robot.

I thought it was a delightful story of friendship, love, and what it means to be human.

What would your robot look like? Would you like to be a robot?

ISBN 9781911077657 pbk

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Posted by on 30/01/2018 in review

 

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Review: Teacup House: Meet the Twitches by Hayley Scott and Pippa Curnick

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Here’s a lovely book for an ’emerging reader’ who likes a good balance of words and pictures on their page. And a sprinkling of (possible) magic…

Meet the Twitches is the debut in a proposed series with words by Hayley Scott, and pictures by Pippa Curnick. As expected with the wonderful Usborne books, this is a perfect paring with a lovely balance of plot, contemporary interest, humour and ‘sweetness’ for a story in this age range.

Stevie (and her Mum) moves from her tower block flat to a cottage. On their departure, Nanny Blue gives her a teacup house, four rabbits and their own box of furniture, food and books. This is the Twitch family of four beautifully dressed grey rabbits: Gabriel, Bo, Silver and Fig.

However, an element of mild peril has to be added, and in this first adventure, Gabriel (Daddy) Twitch falls out of the box, getting lost in the vast wilderness of the new cottage’s garden.

Will he return to his family? Who is the most inventive Twitch? Do rabbits really like carrots?

And what does Stevie think of her new home? Will it ever feel like home?

And why does Mum already know about the Twitches…?

There is a hint of magic (‘There was a funny feeling in the air…’) and the action is divided between the Twitch family and Stevie and her mum, rooting the magical, inventive story in a ‘real-world’ situation. I love the way that even the tiniest event can be an enormous adventure. I am looking forward to seeing how Stevie’s garden grows, and some of the stories in the Twitches’ impressive book collection.
I will be whole-heartedly recommending this little series as it develops to young readers – and their grown ups.

ISBN 9781474928120 pbk February 2018

With thanks to Stevie Hopwood at Usborne for the proof; you were right – I loved it!

 

 
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Posted by on 15/01/2018 in review

 

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Long Live (Stephen) King!

 

Despite being a self-confessed ‘book tart’, willing to give almost anything a try, I have read very little of the perennially popular Stephen King. Some of his books are older than I am, and he’s still churning them out with unnerving regularity.

So, where to start on my month’s (or so) adventure? I read Carrie about a year ago; The Green Mile a few years before that, having enjoyed the film. I don’t like horror, although am happy  to be thrilled or chilled at least a little.

I thought I’d start with his magnum opus: The Dark Tower. I’m not a natural reader of fantasy but I can see the power of a good storyteller and an absorbing world; both of which were clear from the first few pages.

Like a skilled chef, King assembles an array of ingredients to whisk and blend together to create a uniquely flavoured and filling feast. Pulling together elements from Spaghetti Westerns, to Lord of the Rings, to classic Fantasy iconography and Arthurian legend. And then of course, the ‘meat’ is the questing knight of Browning’s epic poem from 1855. Starting a large series of novels mid story was a brave move but it’s intriguing; who is Roland the Gunslinger? Where and when is this alternatiVe world? What is the Dark Tower? Why does Roland have to reach it? Will he? And why do I find myself caring?

Having read the first two parts this month, I will now pause in the quest, leaving 6 further episodes for another time. I am now invested into Roland’s quest; I like Eddie and Odetta/Susannah and share their disorientation; i am concerned for Jake who’s made a cameo reappearance. And, of course, I am keeping an eye out for the Man in Black, although the lobstrosities make me feel quite sick! Whatever the Dark Tower might be, it’s drawing me to itself.

To my surprise, King has shown himself to be a master storyteller, unafraid to draw upon many sources and themes, and write an unashamedly good adventure story.

If you already knew that, where should I go next? Under The Dome is coming on holiday with us; I hope it will not disappoint.

 
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Posted by on 28/07/2012 in End of month review

 

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