I’ve just started listening to George on audiobook on my way to work and am really enjoying it. I started Uki and the Outcast last night and just know it’s going to be as wonderful as the Podkin stories.
I think that qualifies as a good reading week! I absolutely adored the sheer escapism in Explorers on Witch Mountain and Explorers on Black Ice Bridge. I really like the child characters who all have wonderfully distinct personalities, and also have a deep bond of friendship. I also really liked Felix who is Stella Starflake Pearl’s (the ice princess) adoptive father. He gives the BEST advice and is what I call an all-round good guy! The action is non-stop and exciting. The creatures they meet along the way are just brilliant – I have no idea how someone can imagine some of them, but I loved the diversity and both the humour and tension they infused into the stories.
I also read The Raven’s Call by one of my absolute favourite authors. This is a beautifully told short adventure with some wonderful imagery, perfect for younger readers. The ravens have come back to the king’s rookery, but Alys notices that her beloved birds have been changed: they have speckles of white on their feathers and silver on their beaks. What has changed them, and why? Ravens are the protectors of the Kingdom, so Alys must make a journey to tell the King of their change. The ravens go with her, and what she discovers strikes fear into her heart … will the ravens she loves be able to protect the kingdom from a terrible danger? The illustrations which accompany the story are absolutely gorgeous.
I listened to Here in the Real World on audio and, whilst I wasn’t sure of it at first (despite hearing so many wonderful things about it), it really grew on me as I continued to listen. I really liked the portrayal of the friendship between Ware and Jolene, the link with the environment, and how he had the strength be himself rather than feeling he had to live up to others’ expectations. I do think maybe this is one I need to re-read in paperback to appreciate fully.
I also finished Another Twist in the Tale. This is an absolutely wonderful twist on the story of Oliver Twist and tells the story of Oliver’s twin sister, Twill, who was abandoned on a rubbish heap shortly after her birth as females had very little value! This story follows the Dickensian trait of casting a light on the darker side of Victorian society: the social injustices; gender inequality; treatment of the poor, especially children; poverty and the lengths the young had to go to in order to survive; and, the exploitation and cruelty towards children. These issues are brilliantly woven into the story through the lives of the young characters who are brave, resourceful, strong and determined, despite what life has thrown at them. I loved that they formed such close bonds and looked out for each other: they were a family. The ending is gorgeously heart-warming and joyous!
Finally, I read How to be a Hero which is just brilliant! I loved the hapless thief-who-wants-to-be-a-hero Whetsone and determined-but-still-with-a-lot-to-learn Lotta, a Valkyrie-in-training. The humour really is hilarious with lots of mishaps and mistakes. There is also plenty of information about the Vikings which is perfectly blended into the story. Year 4 study the Vikings in mu school, and I can definitely see this being a great introduction that will have them laughing-out-loud – and learning lots!
I’m really looking forward to reading The Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club next as I’ve enjoyed the The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club so much.
What have you read? Have you read any of these?