Curiouser and Curiouser

Once again the New York Review of Books Children’s Collection widens our horizons! I’ve enjoyed many of the titles they’ve rescued from the out-of-print cupboard – my favourite so far has been Barbara Sleigh’s Carbonel, which I loved as a child, and read to countless classes through the years! The latest addition to their dozen or so classic titles is The Curious Lobster, a collection of Richard W. Hatch’s Mr Lobster stories, originally published in the US in 1935 and 1939. Here, they are complete with the distinctive illustrations by Marion Freeman Wakeman. We need first to understand that the adjective ‘curious’ refers to Mr Lobster’s curiosity about the world outside his accustomed ocean


If you are a regular visitor, you may have noticed that I like to theme my blog posts, saving up books on a particular subject to group together.This post will be no exception – but today the theme is a bit less obvious. Today, the theme is books that have made me smile and brought sunshine into my day - as I hope they will for you in these difficult times! First, a bright and sunny book specially designed to make you smile. 50 Ways to Feel Happy by Vanessa King with Val Payne and Peter Harper (QED) is an Action for Happiness title that aims to help promote not just happiness but health and well-being too. Browsing the fifty tips, there are not only practical ideas of things to make and do –

Thunder of Freedom Part II

As I said in Part 1 of this blog, a large number of books have been published to coincide with the centenary of (partial) female suffrage. Last time I looked mainly at fiction so now I’m focusing on some excellent non-fiction which has a wider perspective beyond the events leading up to 1918. First, a work of 'faction', Mona Golabek’s The Children of Willesden Lane (Franklin Watts). Based on the childhood experience of her mother Lisa, Jura Golabek and her co-writer Lee Cohen tell how in 1938, 14-year-old Lisa Jura was a musical prodigy in Vienna who hoped to become a concert pianist. Her dreams were interrupted when Hitler’s armies advanced, forcing her parents to make the difficult decisio

Thunder of Freedom - Part I

Happy International Women's Day for Sunday! Over recent years, no one can have failed to notice the celebration of the centenary of the granting of (partial) suffrage to women. In the years which led up to 1918, women worked tirelessly, and courageously, to ensure that their cause was constantly in the public eye. The centenary has resulted in an avalanche of books, and there are some stand-out titles both fiction and non-fiction, which aim to show readers - from tots to teens - why women became activists. The winter edition of Armadillo highlighted Sarah Ridley’s excellent survey Suffragettes and the Fight for the Vote and Sheena Wilkinson’s inspiring novel, Star by Star. There have been so

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