Monday, 21 December 2015

The Gates by John Connolly and The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

My fourteen year old doesn't rave about books (or rave at all, I hope!) Anyway, I grabbed The Gates
from the young adult section of our library last week. I don't usually get anything there as its predominantly "coming of age love story" 's, which are not his cup of tea.

Anyway, this "is really good." That's a rave review in fourteen year old boy language, by the way.

In the other bedroom, my twelve year old could not put The Silver Sword down, which made me very proud.
Such a great story.

Friday, 11 December 2015

books for teachers, best friends, husbands and in-laws

For teachers: At Sea and The Grand Duchess of Nowhere. Everything by Laurie Graham is both good and feel-good. I'm getting Mr Starlight for my mother in law too.

For best friends: Clothes Music Boys. According to reviews, this is a brilliant read and I LOVE the title. I met my besties last night and brought these along for them. We have all spent many an hour discussing clothes, music and boys over the past two plus decades, so it was the obvious choice.
These are for my husbands stocking. I wanted something exciting and something funny and it was a coincidence that they are both from the same series. Unfortunately, this edition of Three Men in a Boat has tiny text, too tiny for anyone over forty five, so I'm going to look around for a different copy. The Riddle of the Sands font is perfect though, and its pretty apt with the 1916 centenary coming up. I think he'll love them.

Oh, and I've ordered this and this for my father in law. Both reportedly very good reads.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower or John Howland's Good Fortune by P.J. Lynch

It has been said already that The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower is stunning, and it really is. I wonder has the phrase "visual feast" been used? Because it is that too. It seems unfair that an artist like P.J Lynch turns out to be a pretty great writer too. The voice of John is pitch perfect. How many writers could turn their hands to painting and pull it off this well?

All I can add is that what I liked most about this book was how the illustrations and storytelling synced so perfectly. Both the words and the pictures pull you right into the characters heads.

See, here are the lads talking about one of the girls..
And here she is, playing with the younger kids..

Maybe writers and illustrators  working closely do this too, but in this book it seems particularly perfect.

Here is young John, standing up to the First Mate. And the First Mate taking note.

Its an epic journey that does not end when he reaches America and really, falling  off the Mayflower was only one episode in an eventful life. 

Another illustration to dive into.
This is Samoset who welcomed the hungry Englishmen.

This a Thanksgiving story, a pilgrim story, a story of religious persecution. A story of tolerance and kindness and survival. I would only add that when I started reading this to my boys, they asked me, who were his "people"? And why did the King of England not like them? Some simple notes on this period of history and the Separatists would have been very useful.

It was my twelve year old who enjoyed it the most, so definitely a picture book for older kids. Even adult ones. 

Friday, 4 December 2015

Darkmouth by Shane Hegarty

Every time we go to the library my ten and twelve year old will have a quick look at the "new books" shelves and usually grab the latest scary/ghoulish/parentless adventure with the opposite-of-pretty cover. More often than not these are returned unread but last week, this one, Darkmouth was a hit.
My ten year old described it has half Harry Potter, half Skullduggery Pleasant. In other words, fantastic.
With manageable, well spaced text and a few illustrations too. For ages eight or nine up, I'd say. 
P.s. and if you are feeling generous, this is book two.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Required reading for every Irish teen (that they will LOVE)

I was racking my brains, trying to think of something my fourteen year old would really enjoy reading. Something funny and well written that would fill the gap that Ross O'Carroll Kelly had been occupying for the past few months. And then I slapped my head - Barrytown! The Commitments! The Van! The Snapper! I could'nt see them separately in the library, but luckily, found this doorstop.

 He hasn't put it down, but when he does, I'm grabbing it. I had a quick peek and as you would expect, the books are as funny and great as ever.

And if like me, you are heading to school this week for the parent teacher meetings, you could do worse than having The Moor's Account in your handbag. It passed the waiting times outside various classrooms very nicely.