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In Reviews


The Upside Down River: Tomek’s Journey

Tomek sells everything essential in his village grocery shop, from rubber hot-water bottles to bear knives. The essential worth of a bear knife will be confirmed before long in this novel first published in France in 2000, where it has sold more than a million copies. Andersen are making it available in English through Ros […]


Cuckoo Summer

In the summer of 1940 Tommy is living with his aunts on their farm in the Lake District, and has befriended an evacuee girl living on the next farm called Sally Smith.  A German plane has come down and the pair find the navigator hanging in a tree.  He is not dead however, and Sally […]


Women Who Led the Way: Great Explorers and Adventurers

  ***** Mick Manning and Brita Granström, Otter-Barry, 48pp., 9781913074432 £12.99 hdbk   Starting from Aud the Deep-minded from ninth-century Ireland, who travelled to Iceland, and coming right up to 2019 with Arunima Sinha, the first female amputee to climb Mount Everest, this excellent book covers 21 female pioneers in double page spreads, and 12 […]


The Sky over Rebecca

This is a haunting tale, both literally and metaphorically, about a young Swedish girl Kara and what happens when she discovers mysterious footprints and then a snow angel in pristine snow, near a lake.  She sees these as she is going home on the bus and decides to investigate.  What she discovers is an impossibility, […]


A Little Bit of Hush

Squirrel is trying to get her babies to take a nap, but they just can’t get to sleep, because the other residents of their tree are SO NOISY! Squirrel sets off to visit Owl in the hope that he can offer some help for the problem and there, from amongst his various pots and jars, […]


Where Do Wishes Go?

This is Debra Bertulis’s first collection of children’s poems, some of which have already appeared in anthologies. For the most part these are not poems that describe the physical world, use striking images, or make unexpected connections to encourage us to see our surroundings anew. Rather, Bertulis is most interested in exploring people and relationships, […]


A New Adventure (The Magic Faraway Tree)

Jacqueline Wilson has written a new adventure in the world of the magic faraway tree, as originally created by Enid Blyton. A reviewer turns to this book with some apprehension; many readers have treasured memories of Blyton’s text. This reviewer is among their number. Could Wilson create a text that would do justice to its […]


A Bear’s Guide to Beekeeping

Readers will love the humour dancing through this wonderful picture book. To begin, capturing some bees must be the first target. Look out for the would-be beekeeper bear’s rehearsal of the waggle dance! Each spread has speech bubble comments from a pigeon, who finds the bear’s bumbling quite incomprehensible. Page after page there are explanations […]


Ellie Pillai Is Brown

The eponymous Ellie Pillai is aged 15, a British Indian girl from a sleepy English village. Her mother and father are extremely over-protective, having lost her younger brother Amis to leukaemia at the age of twelve. For her GCSE examinations her parents want Ellie to take computer science. They want Ellie to be qualified for […]


Rebel Skies

This is a wonderful rendition of a world that has a resonance towards ancient Japan; however, it is very different, having sky ships, flying cities and also a belief in what we would call origami.  Kurara is a servant girl on board an airship called the Midori, but she has a secret skill, in that […]


Zo and the Forest of Secrets

Zo and her mother, stepfather Jake and their baby Tayo have moved home to Saaman Bay in Trinidad. Zo’s beloved father, with whom she often used to set out on exploratory walks, has stayed in New York where the family used to live. Zo has decided she will run away into the local forest where […]



We are immersed in the drama from the opening line of this gripping novella; a teenage girl, Cassie, is missing. The story takes place in Scotland, moving from Perth to the most north westerly tip of the British Isles, the significantly named Cape Wrath. It is set in the recent past, as worries about the […]