Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret

As Shirley Hughes (illustrator and author) can be heard saying - it's a shame that children's books lost their illustrations over the years as children get to be more confident readers - a trend that graphic novels and this book do something to redress.

This book starts with a series of original drawings that slowly reveal the location of the story from a distant view of the world slowly focussing in to the railway station where the majority of thte action takes place. At over 500 pages this seems like a mammoth read, but as the book contains nearly 300 pages of drawings, photos and film stills the form of the book will encourage readers who may have never tackled a whole book before.

The story is of Hugo's fascination with an automaton - and through this how he finds out about his dead fathers fascination with old film - and discovers the true identity of the sinister old toy maker.

Anne Cassidy- Forget me Not

A real cracker of a novel from the author of Looking for JJ. A child goes missing in the middle of the night from what appears to be an ordinary suburban street, but there are repercussions for another family living in the street. Stella Parfit is watching horrified as she sees the tale unfolding in front of her, until the police arrive to interview her mother and the horror, fear and darkness of the situation unfolds.

A real thriller - very compassionate but totally honest - and a real cracking read for young people.

Ian Rankin - The Black Book

A treat - an adult book for a change! The fifth Rebus novel which underlined that Rankin joins the elite of crime writers. Wonderfully phrased and beautifully plotted this book reveals itself as you turn the page. As a colleague is attacked this draws Rebus into investigating a long unsolved case involving a hotel fire and a dead body. Rebus has to unravel the seemingly unrelated clues and hints. Dark and dangerous - and well worth a read.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

The Bone Magician by F E Higgins

This is the second book from the author of the 'Black Book of Secrets' although the events in this book run concurrently with those in the first book. The names of the characters and places in this novel are wonderfully inventive and add to the fantasy/horror aspect of the tale.

The Bone Magician is a sort of fairground side show where the dead appear to be raised and talk again - but somehow everything seems to be tied up with the Silver Apple Killer who stalks the street at night apparently killing any random passerby - and Pin himself is left wondering if he is the son of the killer as his father disappeared about the time the killings started.

A good read with just enough grime and horror to make it appeal to primary children with fluent reading skills.

Barnaby Grimes - Curse of the Night Wolf

Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell have created another winning formula for young people - a book about Barnaby Grimes - a sort of slightly skewed victorian courier service operative in a fantasy city where strange creatures can roam the night rooftops. This is a macabre new story, with lots of intrigue and horror (but not too terrifying!) It rushes on at a pace so that it is difficult to put down - and the turn of the page to reveal one of Riddell's detailed and fantastic illustration is always a joy.