Thanks to Sylvia Evans, Librarian.
The Other Darker Ned
Anne Fine, Mammoth, 0 7497 0185 4, £3.99 pbk
The main characters in this book are called Ned and Ione. Ione lives at the end of the garden in a summer house and she is always eavesdropping on her father. Ned has recently been wed to a very scatty woman called Caroline who works for Ione’s father. As the holidays drift by Ione has images of another Ned in a distant place, where there is no food or anywhere to live.
Ione decides to help this other Ned by holding a jumble sale and collecting money. She sends the money off and soon after she sees images of this Ned and he has food, drink, and a place to live. Her and Ned and Caroline all get up to some great adventures as well. This is a great book about a girl who achieves her ambition with her friends. You really get stuck into the storyline, when the end finally comes you don’t want it to end.
I think that this book is aimed at people aged 10+. It goes into some good detail and the characters are really distinguished. My favourite part is when Caroline plaits her hair into Ned’s and they both end up in knots. This book is not one I would usually have picked up but it turned out to be great.
Sylvia Waugh, Red Fox, 0 09 930167 9, £3.50 pbk
This is a story about a family that includes Vinetta and Joshua – the parents, Poopie, the twins, Appleby, Googles, Granpa Mennym (Sir Magnus) and Grandma Tulip who all live in 5 Brocklehurst Grove as well as Miss Hortensia Quigley and mysterious Nuova Pilbeam.
The whole family lives in a very ordinary house, very ordinary town, very ordinary street and has very ordinary neighbours. And you too would think that the Mennyms too were ordinary. FAR TOO WRONG. The Mennyms hold an astonishing secret for 40 years. But now the secret is about to be revealed. Just when a letter from Australia arrives through the letterbox. As soon as Granpa Mennym reads the letter, he quickly tells everyone and puts the whole family into great fear and shock. Now what will they do?
When I first read this book and I didn’t know ‘The Secret’ the book didn’t really seem to be really interesting but once I knew what it was, not only did things get more interesting but also more and more things started to happen.
At the end everything went back to normal. I really enjoyed reading this book and I advise you to read it too!.
The Time-Travelling Cat
Julia Jarman, Collins, 0 00 674634 9, £3.99 pbk
Ka has chosen to live with Topher a boy who is 10 years old. Ka is a cat, but not any old cat, she is an Egyptian cat. Topher adored her and then she runs away. He looks everywhere but he cannot find her. The only clue is a word she pressed and did three times on a computer, Bubastis. What is it? He meets a bird that goes back in time and he goes searching for Bubastis to see her again.
I think that if you like Egyptology you will like it more than others. Ka is a strange amber cat to me and Topher is just a kid on the block. It has myths and I would range it 9-13. I think it is a strange, but interesting book, with a lot of magic!
It reminds me of Egyptian life and is a great read for fictional readers.
Robert Karlsson Bourke
Geraldine McCaughrean, Oxford, 0 19 271721 9, £9.99 hbk
This book tells the story of the discovery of gold in the small Brazilian town of Serra Vazia, and how it takes over and almost destroys the townspeople’s lives. Two young children take it upon themselves to try and stop the Gold Rush before it is too late and the entire town collapses into the ever widening pit (barranco) being dug in the main street by the gold prospectors (garimpeiros).
The main characters in the book are Maro and Inez da Souza, the drugstore owner’s children, who become the only voice of common sense in the town, along with Father Ignatius the priest and Senhora Ferretti their schoolteacher. My favourite character is Inez because she is the most sensible and level-headed person in the story. Although Inez, La Senhora and Maro get the miners to leave town, new dangers emerge as heavy rain brings flooding. The Gold Rush may have been diverted, but not without Serra Vazia paying a price. The moral of the story is that greed is destructive. At the end of Gold Dust we see a new road being built through the town which, like the baby Pepita’s christening, symbolises a new beginning.
I would recommend this book to 11-14 year-olds. It is exciting and gripping from the beginning, with many interesting and eccentric characters combined with an unusual plot. I would give this book 10/10.