Category Archives: Books

The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst by Griselda Heppel

The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst: Griselda Heppel (Matador Books, 2015)The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst

Author: Griselda Heppel
Cover: Hilary Paynter (wood carving)
Publisher: Matador
Original Publication Year: 2015
Edition reviewed: PB 2015
Source: Author

About (from Matador):
In the shadows of Walton Hall a demon lurks. His name: Mephistopheles. In 1586, young John Striven struck a bargain with him in return for help against his murderous foster brother. Nice work for a demon – or it should have been. Because somehow, his plan to trap the 12-year-old went wrong. All he needs now is another soul, in similar desperation, to call on him.

Enter 13 year-old Henry Fowst. A pupil at Northwell School, Henry longs to win the Northwell History Essay Prize. Exploring the school’s sixteenth century library, he stumbles across the diary of a boy his own age beginning this 20th day of Januarie, 1586… Soon Henry is absorbed in John Striven’s struggles with his jealous foster-brother, Thomas Walton, who, it seems, will stop at nothing to be rid of him.

Then matters take a darker turn. Battling to escape his own enemy, Henry finds his life beginning to imitate John’s and when the diary shows John summoning ‘an Angellick Spirit’ to his aid, Henry eagerly tries the same.

Unfortunately, calling up Mephistopheles lands both boys in greater danger than they’d ever bargained for.

Griselda Heppel’s first book, Ante’s Inferno, was one of my favourite reads from 2012 and I eagerly awaited her second title. My knowledge of classics is fairly limited – I’m aware of the Faust legend in the sense that it involves someone making a pact with a devil – but no prior knowledge is assumed and this Fowst has more chance of redemption, if he can best Mephistopheles.

The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst is told from three viewpoints, mostly modern-day Henry and Tudor John but with the odd malevolent musing from Mephistopheles itself. Starting in the sixteenth century, we learn about John Striven and his murderous foster-brother; skipping forth and back to modern day where the Hall John Striven lives in is now a school (the same one attended by Antonia Alganesh in Ante’s Inferno) where Henry Fowst is on a scholarship.

Mephistopheles is attracted to both the boys’ misery and attempts to entrap them. Connected across the centuries by the old library of the Hall, Henry finds John’s old diary and willing to try anything to escape his bully (and protect his family from shame) he repeats the ceremony John tried to summon the devil…

Aimed for 10/12+, the novel is gripping and more-ish. Skipping between past and present leaves you needing more of each story, and wondering how they combine. I admit I couldn’t understand why Henry was so willing to summon Mephistopheles without finishing reading John’s diary first, but I’m no longer twelve and choices can seem a lot more limited when you’re being bullied. My children are a little young to read this yet, so this is from my viewpoint only, but I’m glad there was redemption available and the novel shows how it is possible to change from bad choices, even when things seem helpless.

With a mix of history, modern day, spooky school buildings, secret hiding places, supernatural goings on, and a tie-in to the previous novel (although each stand alone), The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst is an absorbing read. I look forward to the next novel (I hope there is a next novel!)

On a final note, there was one tiny scene that made me giggle when I read the book two months ago, and now I know it will make today’s children giggle too. Henry’s sister is singing in the bath: “She’s the top – she’s fantastic – she’s the strongest, she’s the smartest, Rachel FOWWWST!” – which of course I instantly heard to the tune of Danger Mouse. With the new Danger Mouse series, it’s even more spot on. Griselda’s writing is full of tiny observations that add up to a believable world. Highly recommended.

13 Spooky Reads for Halloween

With Halloween on the horizon, here are a selection of spooky reads for any age from birth and up. The lower age guides are not exact, every child is different, and there is no upper age limit for books as far as I’m concerned.

Most of these books were published this year, but I sneaked in a couple extra.

Boo!: Fhiona Galloway & Jonathan Litton (Little Tiger Press, 2015)0+: Boo!: Fhiona Galloway & Jonathan Litton (Little Tiger Press, 2015)

This colourful board book uses gradually decreasing eye-holes on each page as a variety of (extremely cute) spooks try to work out who said Boo! With rhyming repetition and bright colours this should catch the eye of babies. Toddlers will love the chunky pages (and that you can turn pages using the eyeholes!) and I can see this being one being quoted regularly. Danger Girl (6) also loves this, and the text is simple enough for her to read too. Not just for Halloween, a very cute not-all-that-spooky introduction to ‘scary’ staples (pumpkins, cats, witches, bats…) Did I mention it’s cute? 🙂

Ten Spooky Skeletons: Garry Parsons (Little Tiger Press, 2015)0+: Ten Spooky Skeletons: Garry Parsons (Little Tiger Press, 2015)

Glow in the dark alert! We all love a glow-in-the-dark book in the Chaos household, and spooky skeletons are even more of a hit. Not only the cover, but the final spread are glow in the dark. And not only that, but there are peek-through sections on every page too. This book is just too much fun! Garry Parsons is a fabulous illustrator, and his adorably cute skeletons rhyme and count bouncily through the pages. DG (6) and MG (8) both still enjoyed this book, though it’s probably aimed mainly at 2-5 year olds. I can’t recommend this one highly enough – will keep small ones amused for hours. (Note: a torch held near the glow in the dark pages in a darkened room recharges the glow quickly and is such fun. If you’re children aren’t scared in the dark, make sure the last pages have been left in bright light to ‘charge’ first, and then read by torchlight…)

Fright Club: Ethan Long (Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2015)3+: Fright Club: Ethan Long (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2015)

That gorgeous front cover drew me into my local bookshop, and although I didn’t mean to buy anything, I was shortly walking out with a copy (I say ‘shortly’ – actually there was a lengthy look at the shelves as usual, and an even lengthier chat about books, phone apps, and life with the fabulous bookshop people…) DG (6) was similarly drawn to this book first when I laid out a few suggestions for a bedtime story, although she did complain that it wasn’t scary enough! The monsters really are adorably cute (and, though it’s a shame I need to mention this at all, they are an actual equal mix of male and female characters – WOOHOO!!) and this is one we will read over and over. The story is funny, as a cute bunny tries to join Fright Club, and inclusive. Extremely gorgeous illustrations, fabulous layout, eye-catching cover. We love Fright Club.

The Ride-By-Nights: Walter De La Mere & Carolina Rabei (Faber & Faber, 2015)3+: The Ride-By-Nights: Walter De La Mere & Carolina Rabei (Faber & Faber, 2015)

Making classical texts accessible to the very young like this, allows an increased vocabulary to permeate into their minds. At least, that’s what I think, and I don’t think you can get more accessible than this beautifully illustrated poem. The pictures show both traditional witches flying through the stars (a basic introduction to constellations is in the text) and children trick or treating in a village. I was completely put off by ‘literature’ at school, but find this beautiful and compelling. I could read it over and over, and it makes a perfect bedtime story. DG (6) asked lots of questions as we went through it, and it’s a book that works as well wordless so toddlers and non-readers can pour over the pages alone too. Personally, I want the “And surge pell-mell down the Milky Way.” page as a print to put up. Beautiful.

Seen and Not Heard: Katie May Green (Walker Books, 2014) 3+: Seen and Not Heard: Katie May Green (Walker Books, 2014)

In Shiverhawk Hall, in the light of the moon, the children come out of their pictures and run riot. Although not described as ghosts, the children have a very ghostly feel in their old fashioned attire. Beautifully illustrated, this is less creepy and more fun (but if you think of them as ghosts, it can feel a lot spookier!) and children of any age will love the naughty things these children get up to. The text is full of lyrical phrases that are a joy to read aloud (Sticky ringlets, jammy ribbons, fizzy tummy, “I feel sick.”) and the muted palette shows their night time antics well. A gorgeous book, not just for Halloween.

No Such Thing: Ella Bailey (Flying Eye Books, 20143+: No Such Thing: Ella Bailey (Flying Eye Books, 2014)

Often in stories you find children who see shadows and sudden noises as signs of something spooky, which are then shown to be completely ordinary. Georgia in No Such Thing sees simple explanations for things moving round the house, getting broken, or going missing. It’s the pets, or her little brother, or something like that, because honestly who believes in ghosts?! There’s no such thing! But… If you look closely at the pictures, maybe you can spot the ghosts hiding? And in case you missed them, they might appear at the end too! Fabulous fun for children who want to believe in (gentle) spooks, and for keen spotters. A lovely autumnal read, for any time of year!

Mortimer Keene Ghosts on the Loose: Tim Healey & Chris Mould (Hodder Children's Books, 2014)6+: Mortimer Keene Ghosts on the Loose: Tim Healey & Chris Mould (Hodder Children’s Books, 2014)

Mortimer Keene books are a well loved series in the Chaos household, with five madcap adventures so far from Slime to Aliens to Dinosaurs to Robots. Ghosts on the Loose was the second in the series to be published, and might just be my personal favourite. Told in rhyme, this tale follows another of Mortimer Keene’s inventions gone wrong, with a host of horrific ghosts portrayed with aplomb by the extremely talented Chris Mould (who looks like he’s had a lot of fun inventing fiendish ghouls to fit descriptions including Hooded Black Monk and Victorian Hangman…) Designed to attract reluctant readers, the fun rhyming, copious illustrations, and clever links of characters between books (we like Mr Bevan, who teaches Shakespeare to Year Seven…) and including extra pages of plans, A-Zs, and tips, Ghosts on the Loose is a perfect Halloween read.

Pablo & Jane and The Hot Air Contraption: Jose Domingo (Flying Eye Books, 2015)6+: Pablo & Jane and The Hot Air Contraption: Jose Domingo (Flying Eye Books, 2015)

I cannot help but love a book which includes dialogue like:
“Muuum, Pablo and I are going out to explore that ruined creepy house on top of the hill, the one that’s filled with monsters and where the radioactive meteorite crashed!”
“Okay darling! Try not to die before dinner time!”
And this is following a page with a map of their local area including the haunted orphanage, the old graveyard, and the abandoned sawmill. Not only that, but this is in wonderful comic strip form. Bliss!

The first 15 pages Pablo & Jane and the Hot Air Contraption are a comic strip story, leading on to twelve double spreads packed with creepy critters and things to spot, finishing with a final six pages of comic strip story. This book can be poured over, delighted in, and absorbed for many hours. I find the picture search pages quite overwhelming in detail, which may be because of my aspie brain, but my children happily pour over the pages. I cannot do this book justice, so I recommend you read Mat Tobin’s wonderful review (and grab a copy as soon as you can!)

The Jolley-Rogers and the Cave of Doom - Jonny Duddle (Templar Publishing, 2015)6+: The Jolley-Rogers and the Cave of Doom – Jonny Duddle (Templar Publishing, 2015)

Bewitched pirates, hoards of gold, sea hags, and the magical interweb… “Hubble, flubble, toil and trouble, Lanterns burn and cauldron bubble. Bring us pirates on the double!” The Jolley-Rogers return in their second full length adventure, this time bewitched by sea hags with only Bones the dog left to take a message for help to Matilda. The scary hags have a cave full of gold – and bones. Shudder… Can ‘Tilda and a pint-sized Jim Lad get out of this dastardly dilemma? This isn’t a specifically Halloween story, but it’s spooky enough to count, and Jonny Duddle’s pirates deserve a place on any bookshelf. Packed with delicious illustrations, and some pretty spooky moments, one for pirate fans of any age.

Dixie O'Day and the Haunted House: Shirley Hughes & Clara Vulliamy (Random House, 2015)6+: Dixie O’Day and the Haunted House: Shirley Hughes & Clara Vulliamy (Random House, 2015)

Dixie and Percy are well loved characters in the Chaos household and in this, the fourth book of the series, the daring duo set off for a fun camping trip. Sadly anything that could go wrong appears to go wrong, and they end up escaping from a soaking wet tent and a grumpy farmer to a spooky old house where a friendly old lady offers them a bed for the night… This is a proper old-fashioned ghost story, with a familiar spooky twist for adults but a great introduction to the style for young children. As ever Shirley Hughes writing and Clara Vulliamy’s illustrations are a delight and the pages are also packed with maps, interviews and a quiz. Perfect as a read aloud, an early reader for confident youngsters, a tempting read for reluctant readers, and a joy for any age. Comfortably spooky, with a very friendly ghost.

Once Upon A Zombie Book One The Colour Of Fear: Billy Phillips & Jenny Nissenson (Toon Studio Publishing, 2015)8+: Once Upon A Zombie Book One The Colour Of Fear: Billy Phillips & Jenny Nissenson (Toon Studio Publishing, 2015)

Zombie Princesses. Zombie. Princesses. I don’t think I need to write any more to sell this! Once Upon a Zombie is a line of dolls, in the vein of Ever After High / Monster High, but also in the vein of Ever After High, the novel shows well realised characters and an interesting alternate world concept. Being able to travel to fairytale worlds via their writers’ graves is a new concept, and gives the potential of truly global appeal. This particular story starts in London, with two American sisters, and stories of chickpeas appearing in graveyards around the world… The start drags a little if you’re a 6yo (younger than the recommended 8+) so I summarised when reading aloud and DG (6) really liked the concept even though the writing style of the book was too old for her. There are some fun creepy videos on YouTube to promote the book, and the dolls are also available. Will appeal to children who love their fairy tales with a darker twist.

The Graveyard Book: Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell (Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2008)10+: The Graveyard Book: Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2008)

I’ve not read this for years (when it was published in 2008), but I couldn’t exclude it from a list of spooky books. The Graveyard Book is the tale of Bod, a boy raised by ghosts, and the ghosts who raise him, and the man Jack who means to find him and finish his job of killing Bod’s whole family. It starts with a knife, and Neil Gaiman is not one to shy from the creepy for children. It’s suitable for any age that can read, but some parents might find it a little scary.  For me, anything written by Neil Gaiman is worth reading, and this is one of his best, and Chris Riddell is a master (again, some parents might find the illustrations a bit scary!) A book I’d put on every child’s bookshelf.

The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst: Griselda Heppel (Matador Books, 2015)10+: The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst: Griselda Heppel (Matador Books, 2015)

With a mix of history, modern day, spooky school buildings, secret hiding places, supernatural goings on, and a tie-in to Ante’s Inferno (although each stand alone), The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst is an absorbing read. Skipping between past and present leaves you needing more of each story, and wondering how they combine. I’m glad there was redemption available and the novel shows how it is possible to change from bad choices, even when things seem helpless. Griselda’s writing is full of tiny observations that add up to a believable world. Full review here.

Disclosure: Some books received as review copies, others own copies.

Remember Remember the Fifth of October

Because it doesn’t rhyme.

I meant to do book reviews today but it was my aspie parents’ group in the morning and although I get a lot out of it, two hours socialising is wearing so my brain wasn’t up for it.

Or post writing.

Ah well.

Our Week in Books #39 & most of #40

Three quarters of the way through the year… I really need to get the short reads updated (if I can remember which ones weren’t on Goodreads at the time) and especially the picture books. Should be no problem getting Read 52 hopefully 🙂

Our Week in Books in Numbers
Year progress: 275/365 = 75.3%
Read 52: 45/52 = 86.5%
Picture books: ??/52 = 100+%
Short reads: 33/52 = 63.5%

Books reviewed: none?
Cumulative: 15

Books read (excl picture books):
lost track…

Books added to shelves:
Tough Guys Have Feelings Too – Keith Negley (review book from Flying Eye)
Beautiful Birds Colouring Book – Emmanuelle Walker (review book from Flying Eye)
The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat – Enid Blyton (bought from The Book People)
The Mystery of the Secret Room – Enid Blyton (bought from The Book People)
The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage – Enid Blyton (bought from The Book People)
The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters – Enid Blyton (bought from The Book People)
The Mystery of the Missing Necklace – Enid Blyton (bought from The Book People)
The Mystery of the Pantomime Cat – Enid Blyton (bought from The Book People)
The Mystery of the Vanished Prince – Enid Blyton (bought from The Book People)
The Mystery of the Hidden House – Enid Blyton (bought from The Book People)
The Mystery of the Strange Bundle – Enid Blyton (bought from The Book People)
The Mystery of the Tally-Ho Cottage – Enid Blyton (bought from The Book People)
The Mystery of Holly Lane – Enid Blyton (bought from The Book People)
The Mystery of the Missing Man – Enid Blyton (bought from The Book People)
The Mystery of the Strange Messages – Enid Blyton (bought from The Book People)
The Mystery of the Banshee Towers – Enid Blyton (bought from The Book People)
The Mystery of the invisible Thief – Enid Blyton (bought from The Book People)
Monster Mission – Eva Ibbotson (bought from The Book People)
The Secret of Platform 13 – Eva Ibbotson (bought from The Book People)
Which Witch – Eva Ibbotson (bought from The Book People)
The Beats of Clawstone Castle – Eva Ibbotson (bought from The Book People)
Mountwood School for Ghosts – Tony Ibbotson (bought from The Book People)
The Gorgeous Colouring Book For Grown Ups (bought from The Book People)
The Creative Colouring Book for Grown Ups (bought from The Book People)
The Magical City – Lizzie Mary Cullen (bought from The Book People)
The Tracing Paper Colouring Book – Felicity French (bought from The Book People)
The Ride By Nights – Walter De La Mere & Carolina Rabei (bought from The Book People)
Chris Riddell’s Doodle-a-Day (bought from The Book People)
Chris Riddell’s Doodle-a-Day (bought from The Book People)
The Jar of Happiness – Alisa Burrows (review book from Child’s Play)
Harper and The Scarlet Umbrella – Cerrie Burnell & Laura Ellen Anderson (review book from Scholastic)
Hooray for Bread – Allan Ahlberg & Bruce Ingman (second hand from charity shop)
Three Little Pirates – Georgie Adams & Emily Bolam (second hand from charity shop)
Pugs of the Frozen North – Philip Reeve & Sarah McIntyre (bought from Mostly Books)
Dixie O’Day and the Haunted House – Shirley Hughes & Clara Vulliamy (bought from Mostly Books)
Cumulative: 349

Library books borrowed: 4
Cumulative: 43

Books removed from shelves: none
Cumulative: 126

A reading challenge from http://liveotherwise.co.uk/makingitup

 

Our Week(s) in Books #36 – #38

Slightly better than the last gap, but still a bit rubbish. I really, really, really need to get back into blogging. I ‘write’ so many blog posts in my head than never end up here it’s silly. I have the blog brain, but lack the energy. Last week was a long week. Two bookish social events (three if you extend the week by another day), which is lovely but I’m not functioning that well now. Fortunately nothing else coming up, but I need to write up so many things it’s annoying. Ah well.

Our Week in Books in Numbers
Year progress: 264/365 = 72.3%
Read 52: 42/52 = 80.8%
Picture books: ??/52 = 100+%
Short reads: 33/52 = 63.5%

Books reviewed: none?
Cumulative: 15

Books read (excl picture books):
lost track…

Books added to shelves (including some older forgot-to-add ones):
M is for Autism – the students of Limpsfield Grange (review book from NetGalley)
Need – Joelle Charbonneau (review book from NetGalley)
Cleo – Lucy Coats (review book from NetGalley)
What Milo Saw – Virginia Macgregor (review book from NetGalley)
The Quality of Silence – Rosamund Lipton (review book from NetGalley)
Pirates in Pyjamas – Caroline Crowe & Tom Knight (review book from Little Tiger Press)
The Shepherd’s Crown – Terry Pratchett (bought from Amazon)
The Children of Green Knowe – Lucy M Boston (second hand from charity shop)
The Queen’s Nose – Dick King-Smith (second hand from charity shop)
NeuroTribes – Steve Silberman (bought from Mostly Books)
M is for Autism – the students of Limpsfield Grange (bought from Mostly Books)
Monty’s Magnificent Mane – Gemma O’Neill (bought from Poundland)
Jack and the Baked Beanstalk – Colin Stimpson (bought from Poundland)
Paddington 13 Book Set – Michael Bond (bought from The Book People)
Paddington 13 Book Set – Michael Bond (bought from The Book People)
Paddington 13 Book Set – Michael Bond (bought from The Book People)
Paddington 13 Book Set – Michael Bond (bought from The Book People)
Paddington 13 Book Set – Michael Bond (bought from The Book People)
Paddington 13 Book Set – Michael Bond (bought from The Book People)
Paddington 13 Book Set – Michael Bond (bought from The Book People)
Paddington 13 Book Set – Michael Bond (bought from The Book People)
Paddington 13 Book Set – Michael Bond (bought from The Book People)
Paddington 13 Book Set – Michael Bond (bought from The Book People)
Paddington 13 Book Set – Michael Bond (bought from The Book People)
Paddington 13 Book Set – Michael Bond (bought from The Book People)
Paddington 13 Book Set – Michael Bond (bought from The Book People)
The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness (bought from The Book People)
The True Meaning of Smek Day – Adam Rex (second hand from charity shop)
Fergus Crane – Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell (second hand from charity shop)
How to Write Really Badly – Anne Fine (second hand from charity shop)
Curse of the Mummy – Steve Jackson & Ian Livingstone (second hand from charity shop)
Forest of Doom – Ian Livingstone (second hand from charity shop)
Crypt of the Sorcerer – Ian Livingstone (second hand from charity shop)
Heartsong – Kevin Crossley-Holland & Jane Ray (review book from Hachette)
Ten Spooky Skeletons – Garry Parsons (review book from Little Tiger Press)
My Little World: Boo (review book from Little Tiger Press)
Ever After High 3 book Set (bought from WHSmith)
Ever After High 3 book Set (bought from WHSmith)
Ever After High 3 book Set (bought from WHSmith)
Hilda and the Troll – Luke Pearson (bought from Daunt Books)
Hilda and the Troll – Luke Pearson (bought from Daunt Books)
The Queen’s Handbag – Steve Antony (review book from Hachette)
Sir Scaly Pants the Dragon Knight – John Kelly (review book from Bloomsbury)
Old Bear’s Bedtime Stories – Jane Hissey (review book from Salariya)
Aliens Love Dinopants – Clare Freedman & Ben Cort (review book from Simon & Schuster)
Goth Girl and the Wuthering Fright – Chris Riddell (bought from Mostly Books)
A Great Big Cuddle – Michael Rosen & Chris Riddell (bought from Mostly Books)
The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Sugar Plum Fairy – Abie Longstaff & Lauren Beard (bought from Mostly Books)
Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse – Chris Riddell (second hand from charity shop)
Ghost Girl and the Fete Worse than Death – Chris Riddell (second hand from charity shop)
The Art of Being Normal – Lisa Williamson (second hand from charity shop)
Seen and Not Heard – Katie May Green (bought from Blackwell’s)
The Wolf Wilder – Katherine Rundell (review book from NetGalley)
Cumulative: 316

Library books borrowed: 5
Cumulative: 39

Books removed from shelves: 1 (I think)
Cumulative: 126

A reading challenge from http://liveotherwise.co.uk/makingitup

 

Our Week(s) in Books #22 – #35

 

Updated my spreadsheet at last. Well, mostly updated. There are gaps in authors, illustrators, and prices but I can fill that in for me later. It’s been so long that I’m not sure where I am with anything and I think there are a few books not on Goodreads at all.

Our Week in Books in Numbers
Year progress: 239/365 = 65.5%
Read 52: 39/52 = 75.0%
Picture books: ??/52 = ??%
Short reads: 31/52 = 59.6%

Books reviewed: 12
Cumulative: 15

Books read (excl picture books):
Might fill in later. Lots!

Books added to shelves:
The Moster Snorey Book – Leigh Hodgkinson (bought from Mostly Books)
The Fairiest Fairy – Anne Booth (bought from Mostly Books)
The Princess and the Giant – Caryl Hart & Sarah Warburton (bought from Mostly Books)
Crunch – Carolina Rabei (review book from Child’s Play)
Grandad’s Island – Benji Davies (review book from Simon & Schuster)
More – Tracey Corderoy & Tim Warnes (review book from Little Tiger Press)
No More Cuddles – Jane Chapman (review book from Little Tiger Press)
Poo in the Zoo – Steve Smallman & Ada Grey (review book from Little Tiger PresS)
Blog Giveaways – Di Coke (free Kindle)
How Many Legs – Kes Gray & Jim Field (review book from Hachette)
Follow Me – Ellie Sandall (review book from Hachette)
Peter Pan & Wendy illustrated by Shirley Hughes (review book from Hachette)
The D’Evil Diaries – Tatum Flynn (review book from Hachette)
The Ship of Ghosts – Gillian Philips (review book from Hachette)
Eleanor the Snow White Fairy – Daisy Meadows (review book from Hachette)
Mortimer Keene: Robot Riot – Tim Healey & Chris Mould (review book from Hachette)
Knight in Training: A Horse Called Dora – Vivian French & David Melling (review book from Hachette)
Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam: The Cat Burglar – Tracey Corderoy & Steven Lenton (bought at Mostly Books)
Nixie the Bad Bad Fairy – Car Lester & Ali Pye (bought from Mostly Books)
Katie McGinty Wants a Pet – Jenna Harrington & Finn Simpson (review book from Little Tiger PresS)
Pocket Pirates: The Great Cheese Robbery – Chris Mould (review book from Hachette)
Clariel – Garth Nix (bought from the Book People)
Zoe’s Rescue Zoo – (bought from the Book People
Zoe’s Rescue Zoo – (bought from the Book People
Zoe’s Rescue Zoo – (bought from the Book People
Zoe’s Rescue Zoo – (bought from the Book People
Zoe’s Rescue Zoo – (bought from the Book People
Zoe’s Rescue Zoo – (bought from the Book People
See Inside The Universe (bought from the Book People)
You Do the Maths (bought from the Book People)
You Do the Maths (bought from the Book People)
You Do the Maths (bought from the Book People)
You Do the Maths (bought from the Book People)
Tilly’s House – Faith Jacques (2nd hand from charity shop)
Tilly’s Rescue – Faith Jacques (2nd hand from charity shop)
Les Animaux – John Burningham (2nd hand from charity shop)
Ella Bella Ballerina and Cinderella – James Mayhew (2nd hand from charity shop)
Adelita – Tomie dePaulo (2nd hand from charity shop)
How To Live Forever (2nd hand from charity shop)
Alice By Accident – Lynne Reid Banks (2nd hand from charity shop)
Ladybird Cleopatra and Ancient Egypt (2nd hand from charity shop)
Polly and the Wolf Again – Catherine Storr (2nd hand from charity shop)
Sin City 1 (2nd hand from charity shop)
Sin City 2 (2nd hand from charity shop)
Russian Fairy Tales (2nd hand from charity shop)
Pushkin’s Fairy Tales (2nd hand from charity shop)
Will Grayson Will Grayson (2nd hand from charity shop)
Let it Snow (2nd hand from charity shop)
The Stone Pilot (2nd hand from charity shop)
Can’t see title in picture and can’t be bothered to find book right now ( (2nd hand from charity shop)
Hugless Douglas Goes To Little School – David Melling (bought from Mostly Books)
The Parenting Puzzle – (bought from Mostly Books)
Seed – (goody bag at YALC)
The IT Girl – (goody bag at YALC)
How Many Legs – (review book from Flying Eye)
Whatever Happened to My Sister? – (review book from Flying Eye)
Lottie Lipton 1 (review book from Bloomsbury)
Lottie Lipton 2 (review book from Bloomsbury)
Bound By Duty – Stormy Smith (free Kindle)
The Grumbug – Adam Stower (bought from Discover Story)
The Toucan Brothers – Tor Freeman (bought from Discover Story)
Blown Away – Rob Biddulph (bought from Discover Story)
The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow – Katherine Woodfine (bought from Tesco)
My Brother is a Superhero – David Soloman (bought from Tesco)
I Let You Go – Clare Mackintosh (bought from Tesco)
Enid Blyton Holiday Tales (review book from Hachette)
First Class Murder – Robin Stevens (bought from Mostly Books)
Dragon Knights (bought from Mostly Books)
There’s a Toucan on my Telephone – Jo Lodge (bought from Mostly Books)
The Island of Adventure 10 books – Enid Blyton (Birthday Present)
The Island of Adventure 10 books – Enid Blyton (Birthday Present)
The Island of Adventure 10 books – Enid Blyton (Birthday Present)
The Island of Adventure 10 books – Enid Blyton (Birthday Present)
The Island of Adventure 10 books – Enid Blyton (Birthday Present)
The Island of Adventure 10 books – Enid Blyton (Birthday Present)
The Island of Adventure 10 books – Enid Blyton (Birthday Present)
The Island of Adventure 10 books – Enid Blyton (Birthday Present)
The Island of Adventure 10 books – Enid Blyton (Birthday Present)
The Island of Adventure 10 books – Enid Blyton (Birthday Present)
Dead Cat Bounce – Seth Freedman (free Kindle)
Aspergers: Parenting a child with Aspergers (free Kindle)
Tree – Britta Teckentrup (review book from Little Tiger Press)
The Accidental Prime Minister – Tom McLaughlin (postage paid to The Mile Long Bookshelf)
Mango & Bambang: The Not-a-Pig: Polly Faber & Clara Vulliamy (review book from Walker Books)
Penguin’s Way – Johanna Johnston & Leonard Weisgard (review book from Bodlein)
Whale’s Way – Johanna Johnston & Leonard Weisgard (review book from Bodlein)
Dorrie and the Blue Witch – Patricia Coombs (bought from Mostly Books)
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Steig Larsson (Free Kindle)
I Have Asperger’s – Erin Clemens (Free Kindle)
Shogun – James Clavell (99p Kindle)
The Invisible Library – Genevieve Cogman (99p Kindle)
Trixie the Halloween Fairy (second hand from charity shop)
The Colour Thief – Gabriel Alborozo (review book from Bloomsbury)
The Snow Lady – Shirley Hughes (second hand from charity shop)
Doctor Who: Prisoner of the Daleks (second hand from charity shop)
Doctor Who: Sting of the Zygons (second hand from charity shop)
Doctor Who: Judgement of the Judoon (second hand from charity shop)
Happy Families: Mr Cosmo the Conjuror (second hand from charity shop)
Moshi Monsters Pick your path (second hand from charity shop)
The Crazy Collector – Diana Hendry (second hand from charity shop)
Frozen Book of Film (second hand from charity shop)
Basher’s Planet Earth (second hand from charity shop)
Basher’s Rocks and Minerals (second hand from charity shop)
Spiderwick Chronicles The Field Guide (second hand from charity shop)
Garfield The Great Lover (second hand from charity shop)
Apple Pigs – Ruth Gary Orbach (review book from National Trust Books)
The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst – Griselda Heppel (review book from Griselda Heppel)
Grey – E L James (£3.45 Kindle)
Imelda and the Goblin King – Briony May Smith (review book from Flying Eye)
Pablo and Jane and the Hot Air Contraption – Jose Domingo (review book from Fying Eye)
Faster Faster, Nice and Slow – Sue Heap & Nick Sharatt (bought from The Book People)
Red Rockets and Rainbow Jelly – Sue Heap & Nick Sharatt (bought from The Book People)
Alphabet Ice Cream – Sue Heap & Nick Sharatt (bought from The Book People)
How to Code: Step By Step Computer Coding Book 1: QED (bought from The Book People)
How to Code: Step By Step Computer Coding Book 2: QED (bought from The Book People)
How to Code: Step By Step Computer Coding Book 3: QED (bought from The Book People)
How to Code: Step By Step Computer Coding Book 4: QED (bought from The Book People)
Arabel’s Raven – Joan Aiken & Quentin Blake (bought from The Book People)
Arabel, Mortimer, and the Escaped Black Mamba – Joan Aiken & Quentin Blake (bought from The Book People)
The Spiral Stair – Joan Aiken & Quentin Blake (bought from The Book People)
Mortimer and the Sword Excaliber – Joan Aiken & Quentin Blake (bought from The Book People)
Basher’s Space Exploration (bought from The Book People)
Guinea Pig Party – Holly Surplice (bought from The Book People)
Doctor Who: Time Traveller’s Journal (bought from The Book People)
Cumulative: 263

Library books borrowed: 18
Cumulative: 34

Books removed from shelves: 23 (I think, maybe more)
Cumulative: 125

A reading challenge from http://liveotherwise.co.uk/makingitup

 

Katie McGinty Wants a Pet Week at Chaos Castle

This week we’re pleased to be part of Little Tiger’s Summer Stories. Chaos Castle has adopted Katie McGinty Wants a Pet by Jenna Harrington & Finn Simpson.

Click on the images to go to Chaos Castle posts.

On Monday, we looked Katie McGinty Wants a Pet and reviewed it (spoiler: we love it!)

Katie McGinty Wants a Pet: Jenna Harrington & Finn Simpson (Little Tiger Press, 2015)

 

On Tuesday we welcomed Katie McGinty’s illustrator, Finn Simpson, into the courtyard.

FinnSimpsonOn Wednesday we looked at six of the best picture books with slightly odd pets in Chaos Castle’s Demi-Dozen Delights series.

CCDDD

On Thursday (publication day!) we welcomed debut author, Jenna Harrington, to talk about Katie McGinty.

JennaHarrington

All week on instagram and twitter, our pet zebra popped up doing the things that pet zebras do. Like camping, going to the park, and generally being part of the family!

Pet zebras like back garden camping too #LTSummerStories #katiemcgintywantsapet

A photo posted by Anne-Marie (@chaoscastleuk) on

 

Autistic at YALC

Or any other busy conference really…

image

On Sunday I went to the last day of the three day Young Adult Literature Convention. It’s only its second year, and is held with the London Film and Comic Con (LFCC).

It’s only four months since I was diagnosed as autistic. Or technically, as having an “autistic spectrum condition” and I’m still fitting this into my self image and learning to own my autism. Because 39 years and 8 months of being undiagnosed autistic and of being “high functioning” and “coping” (Ha. Ha.) doesn’t lead to instantaneous acceptance or “feeling autistic”.

So. Autistic. Geeky conference. Day out without the children. Get to spend it with friend. Sounds great.

Considering that a much higher percentage of geeks are probably autistic spectrum than average population, my minuscule experience of LDCC made me think it pretty much sucked at autism friendly.

And I consider myself to have comparatively mild traits. Most of the time.

Not that I was going to LDCC, it was YALC. But I live in an Oxfordshire village and on a Sunday the earliest trains meant I got there after 11am, so LDCC was in full swing and the early entry for YALC was irrelevant.

If Jax hadn’t tweeted me that YALC was on level 2, I wouldn’t have known where to start. There was a huge mass of people. Dark corridors of people up and down in lines. Tables full of film and comic merchandise, blurring into a mass of colours. Cos players everywhere. People randomly stopping in front of you to take pictures of cos players. People all around. Noise all around.

(I don’t get cos play. I get being different but after several Joker / Harley Quinn couples, Batpeople of all sizes, Harry Potters, zombies, and hair in every shade of pink, blue, and green, it’s not so different any more.

I still want to dye my hair blue. I like blue.

Or maybe purple.)

I think it took me over twenty minutes to get from the entrance, and up a mere two stories to find YALC. Which was practically empty in comparison, and a much nicer set up to deal with.

The signposting at the venue was terrible. There were “maps” near stairs and lifts, if you could call them maps. I could just about work out what floor I was on from them, but it wasn’t easy to see where on the floor you were, and finding the stairs was a matter of walking around walls until you got lucky. And then the stairs were one directional, which was only signposted at the staircases. On A4 paper taped above the door.

There were also lifts. I got one from level one to level two. It was going down but I figured it would go back up after so I got on. Almost everyone else in the lift was also going up, but the staff member controlling it was going down first. Two people got out on the ground floor. Back at the first floor, one person got annoyed that the lift was going up.

I’ve spent my life thinking that everyone else got given a rulebook that I didn’t, and Sunday made that feeling even stronger. Fortunately I now know that most people did get that rulebook, but there are lots of people who didn’t either, and we rock at different things.

I openly stimmed. It’s not something I usually do, but I’m letting go and letting what happens happen. I sway back and fourth a lot without noticing usually. And clench fists. And open and shut zips. And bite lips. Okay, I stim a lot. On Sunday I noticed my hand doing some jiggling. I’m not sure what it did, I was concentrating on other things. It was a new one for me.

You may think I didn’t enjoy YALC. I enjoyed YALC. I may not have done half what I planned; I may not have heard three quarters of what was said at the workshop I did attend; I may have got frustrated (internally) at the staff member who didn’t seem to have been briefed on what she should be doing; I may have talked to only a handful of people, bought no books, and gone to no signings; I may have left earlier than I originally planned.

But.

But I experienced what it was like. I know how to get to a new place I didn’t know how to get to before. I learnt a bit more about how London Underground works to get the right train. I stood about three feet away from Tom Savini accidentally (Tom Savini!) I saw lots of lovely books to drool at. I listened to people be passionate about books. I rekindled my knowledge that publisher publicity people are very lovely.

I also learnt that I’m probably not really going to be a YA blogger. I like YA and read it for me, but my passion is for fiction aimed at younger ages. I feel a lot more comfortable with picture book people.

I also learnt that I’m a lot more of an experienced blogger than I give myself credit for. I know what I need to know, even if I’m not the best at implementing things. I need to believe in myself more.

And I learnt that spending the day with a good friend lets issues and anxieties fade away. But I think I knew that anyway 😉

Nonsense and Stuff

I’m somewhere in the middle of changing my social media accounts from @ChildLedChaos to @ChaosCastleUK so things will probably go wobbly while I do that.

I’m also currently not posting anything, but that isn’t on purpose. Actually getting the metaphorical pen to the virtual paper isn’t quite happening.

Instagram is probably where I’m most active at the moment.

I have lots of posts in draft: Cotswold Wildlife Park, The Story Museum, Little Tiger Press, lots of books. If only they’d write themselves.

Hopefully if the depression and anxiety tone down I’ll be at YALC tomorrow. In the meantime I’ll be bowing out of a friend’s birthday do because I can’t do socialising today.

I wish I could cancel my own birthday do. I only agreed to it because people told me I had to.

Clash of Clans appears to be my current mini obsession. And parenting books.

Our Week in Books #21 & #22

Other than on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram, I’ve not been doing reviews. I want to populate Chaos Castle but my procrastination skills are honed to exceptional levels. Sulk.

I am trying to be good with books, and will do some library reservations soon instead of buying all the picture books I want. I can do this. Review. Review. Review…

Our Week in Books in Numbers
Year progress: 139/365 = 38.1%
Read 52: 25/52 = 42.3%
Picture books: ??/52 = ??%
Short reads: 26/52 = 46.2%

Books reviewed: none published
Cumulative: 3

Books read (excl picture books):
George’s Marvellous Medicine (read aloud)
The Giraffe, The Pelly, and Me (read aloud)
Armageddon Outta Here
The Maleficent Seven

Books added to shelves:
A Slip of the Keyboard – Terry Pratchett (bought from Amazon)
The Curse of the Gloamglozer – Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell
The Giant of Jum – Elli Woolard & Benji Davies (bought from Amazon)
Armageddon Outta Here – Derek Landy (bought from Mostly Books)
The Secret Rescuers: The Storm Dragon – Paula Harrison & Sophy Williams (bought from Mostly Books)
The Maleficent Seven – Derek Landy (bought from Mostly Books)
The Nowhere Boys – Elise Macredie (bought from Mostly Books)
Dogs Don’t Do Ballet
Raising Steam – Terry Pratchett (bought from Sainsburys)
Batman Hush Part One – DC Comics Graphic Novel Collection #1 (bought from WHSmith)
Cheer Up Your Teddy Bear, Emily Brown – Cressida Cowell & Neal Layton (review book from Hachette)
Coming Up Roses – Rachael Lucas (£1.89 Kindle)
Cumulative: 139

Library books borrowed: none
Cumulative: 16

Books removed from shelves: none (I think)
Cumulative: 102

A reading challenge from http://liveotherwise.co.uk/makingitup