RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

  • Princess Gardener, The
    Michael Strelow
    Thanks for the advanced copy of this one. Over to my ten year old daughter to tell us what she thought...

    I love this book because after the first page or so, I felt like Eugenie was my best friend and I'd known her all my life. The storyline is intriguing and once the action had started, I couldn't put the book down. If I had to rewrite the book, I would not change a thing! I would 100% recommend the book to anyone who likes adventure and fantasy. I feel like this book will be a bestseller!

    ~ Dan Pawley, NetGaley

  • Emajen
    Ashley Ledigo
    I'm a compulsive doodler but I never dreamt that my harmless little scribbles could be dangerous.
    Please tell me one of them' s not twitching itself into a living nightmare as I write this. I'm afraid to go to bed.
    Loved the book though. More please.

    ~ Debbie Taylor - Dip.D'Ets.Bil./ BEd./ MA

  • Emajen
    Ashley Ledigo
    The cruel and callous Crevitos, hell-bent on universal domination, comes head to head with the resourceful and courageous Destiny and Anthony, via a weird and wonderful collection of 'creations' - physical manifestations of our own absent-minded doodles.

    Parallels with the adult world we know - oppression, exploitation, avarice - are inescapable, but this children's fantasy in the grand manner culminates in a nail-biting denouement which will leave kids of all ages wanting more. And there is just a hint that more there may be.

    ~ Chaz Burrows - Dip.Hum./ BA

  • Emajen
    Ashley Ledigo
    ‘Emajen’ was recommended to me by a colleague as an excellent read for children in Yr 5 and above. It did not disappoint.

    Powerful descriptive writing brings ‘Crevitos’ to life in the first chapter, setting the scene for what is to come. We learn that Crevitos has been drawn as the powerful leader of ‘Doodleland’ in a comic strip, but that he has gained his freedom from his creator…..an original start that left me eager to read more.

    Little tasters of his power and cruelty continue between chapters in which we see the relationship between the main characters (Destiny and Anthony) develop through their mutual love of animals. We then see the two youngsters begin an exciting journey together to save the parallel world of Emajen.

    The contrasts in characters are important throughout the book; just as we have been unsettled by the fury and evilness of Crevitos and the gruesome and vivid descriptions of the way he treats ‘creations’, we are taken away to calmer places by the whimsical doodles and charming Sadler and Squib who lighten the mood. The roller coaster of emotions between chapters adds to the impact as the tension builds to an exciting climax.

    I was captivated from the start and look forward to reading ‘Emajen’ to my class; I have no doubt they will love it. ~ Jenny Goodfellow - Bsc PGCE

  • Emajen
    Ashley Ledigo
    An engaging fantasy for young readers! I enjoyed reading Ledigo's debut novel. Her complex multi-world story was well-paced and intriguging. I appreciated her optimistic caring voice and look forward to reading more about Ledigo's characters and worlds. This particular book would appeal particularly to young readers, ages 9-12, who are horse-lovers as horses are spotlighted in this fantasy! A good debut! ~ Helen T, NetGalley

  • Mistflower - The Loneliest Mouse
    Krystina Kellingley
    It's an exciting story with lots of adventure that will attract children to it. The book is also appealing to adult readers for its wisdom and spiritual undertones. The beautiful story of Mistflower, who decides to take care of a kitten, is really touching and it evokes a lot of love and compassion amongst readers. The challenges, the adventures, the other animals in the story and the delightful pictures make it an entertaining story for kids. What makes the book more appealing is that it teaches kids to love other creatures, to have compassion and to value friendship. The story can also inspire them to be more kind and loving. The characters of Mistflower and Silk are lovable and their friendship is intense, tender and comforting. It is a beautiful story of wisdom with touches of spirituality conveyed with elegance and subtlety to readers. ~ Readers' Favorite, https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/mistflower

  • Melody's Unicorn
    Richard Swan
    Melody’s Unicorn is just lovely. It took me back to my childhood when I loved to read about fairies, dragons, unicorns, and all of the other entities that we believe do not exist but secretly think they possibly do. Thoroughly enchanting! Melody’s Unicorn is definitely the type of book my bookish childhood self would have jumped on. And I have no qualms about saying how much I enjoyed it as an adult! ~ Jade Hughes, From The Inside www.jadeannahughes.com

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    This ‘song’ of fiction, is a delight and full of messages ‘of the moment’. Susan Elizabeth Hale has created a short novel that will delight and intrigue youngsters and oldsters alike!

    Having just returned from my childhood place just outside Oxford this story chimed in so many ways. Oxfordshire, like my current county of residence – Worcestershire, is seeing huge residential developments, and I wonder both about the impacts of housebuilding and supporting infrastructure, as well as the loss of green space and, yes, trees. In fact my childhood place of play that included a large horsechestnut is now a housing estate and did sadden me somewhat. This novel follows the journey of a family embroiled in a residential development both from the building perspective and the deeply connected tree-realm perspective. The novel follows Emma, her tree totem “annie” and her tree colleagues, and the rest of her family, on a bit of a rollercoaster ride from her grannie’s and mother’s childhood experiences in nature through to her own underground adventures.

    The story has elements of alice in wonderland, lord of the rings and traditional wandertales that make this an enchanting and yet deeply moving and connective story of ‘family’ and nature. While there were times when the two sides of the argument followed stereotypes a little too literally for me, in the end the suspense, lyrical writing and poetry won through and kept me in the story to the final sentence. The narrative weaves in both the deeply spiritual and heartfelt attachment we have for trees and includes even the most recent findings of the hidden lives of trees. It really gets to the ways in how trees ‘communicate’ in both the ‘scientific’ sense and, more importantly for me, the metaphorical sense. Ways we communicate are explored and, in the end, the rhythmical singing that is true to the human self wins out.

    Jon Cree, Director of Forest School Association and Training Co-ordinator FSC Bishops Wood Centre.

    I commend this book to any children and youngsters engaged with trees, particularly 7 years up to 14, including those participating in a Forest School programme.
    ~ Jon Cree, Forest School Association Newsletter

  • Firebird Chronicles, The: Through the Uncrossable Boundary
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    Through the Uncrossable Boundary is the sweeping conclusion to the adventure that introduced us to Scoop and Fletcher and their story-centric world. It’s a true adventure story that will become an instant classic, made up of stories, characters and a literature inspired world that, no matter how old you are, you will want to revisit over and over again. ~ Emily, That Weird Girl Life blog

  • Alyssa Chronicle, The
    Michael Strelow
    PRAISE FOR MICHAEL STRELOW: '... illuminates the beautiful and mysterious transformation that occurs when we listen carefully to the world.' ~ Scott Nadelson, author of Between You and Me

  • Wonderful Earth
    Mick Inkpen
    Nick Butterworth
    This re-issue of a book originally published in December 2003 by Hunt and Thorpe is very welcome. It has lost none of its appeal over the years, in fact anything with the names Butterworth and Inkpen attached will attract attention and full marks to John Hunt Publishing for the opportunity to introduce this book to a new readership.

    This is the creation story told and illustrated in a clear and fun way that young people will enjoy being told and adults will enjoy telling! I have already read and re-read right through with a smile on my face and a longing to share it with a youngster, which I will at the earliest opportunity. A glorious book, long may it be in print. ~ Mary Bartholomew, The Goodbookstall

  • Firebird Chronicles, The: Through the Uncrossable Boundary
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    A New Kind of Magic…

    Daniel Ingram-Brown’s latest installment of The Firebird Chronicles is as magical and overwhelmingly awe-inspiring as its preceding books. It doesn’t matter how stressful your supposedly ‘adult’ day has been, Ingram-Brown never fails to evoke the child within me and within anyone that has the pleasure of reading his work.

    Through the Uncrossable Boundary envelops the reader in the same entirely unique world created throughout this series. It is a world of wonder and beauty, of wordplay and clever anecdotes, of extremely talented adventurers and their fearsome rivals. I have loved the first and second books in The Firebird Chronicles series and the feeling of total nostalgia brought on by them. However, Through the Uncrossable Boundary takes the magical and brings it so close to home you can feel it in the very pages.

    As always, I don’t want to spoil the plethora of twists and turns this book takes you on its enthralling journey through seas of singing fable fish and treacherous beast-infested waters. Nonetheless, I can promise you that every page is as compelling as the next. As always, Ingram-Brown’s pure talent for description causes your mind to manifest the entire world he creates and you can feel yourself right there alongside him (and Fletcher and Scoop, of course).

    This is a book for all ages- from the young, inquisitive mind to the adult longing to feel the excitement that only a wonderful book can evoke. Through the Uncrossable Boundary strikes the perfect balance between magic and reality, bringing the world of Fletcher and Scoop closer to home than we could ever imagine. Dreams become reality in this story and, once again, Daniel Ingram-Brown has created a perfect example of the necessity of the written word. As long as works such as Through the Uncrossable Boundary continue to blossom from the brilliant minds that write them, there will always be a future in which books are vehicles for the unimaginable.

    An impeccable read that amazes and inspires. I shall most certainly be on the lookout for more of Ingram-Brown’s phenomenal works of magic. ~ Dani, Dani Reads blog

  • Firebird Chronicles, The: Through the Uncrossable Boundary
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    Take the first book's magic, the second book's adventure, and multiply them by 100... you've got a book that's bigger, bolder and even harder to put down than the last! ~ Charlotte, Wonderfully Bookish blog

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    " A magical tale embroidered with extraordinary beings. Interlaced with mystery, ancestal hoops, the woof and warp of human alignment, Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation whisks us into the tapestry of a child's love, doubts and hopes. Needling dreams (deferred, besmirched, resurrected) cavort with communal and familal patterns of destruction and reformation. Troubles, tumbles and triumphs present as timely companions to choice. An engaging sensory treat affirms the One Heritage: the power of family, friends, cooperation. Imagination struts upon a stellar look to weave and woo the potency of sound." Author of Rain Weavers (poetry) and The School House (juvenile fiction.)
    Judith Hamilton author of Rain Weavers (poetr) and The School House (juvenile fiction) ~ Judith Hamilton

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    I have just finished reading Susan Hale’s wonderful book Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation to my three children. They have been so inspired by Emma and her bravery in this beautiful story.
    Rachel Wood, artist
    ~ Rachel Wood

  • Firebird Chronicles, The: Rise of the Shadow Stealers
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    I really enjoyed reading this book. I think those who enjoy the Harry Potter or Percy Jackson books will greatly enjoy this magical adventure. Fletcher and Scoop are loveable heroes you can't help but root for!
    ~ Lily Greer, NetGalley

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    This magical tale, aimed squarely at tween girls, explores several important elements -- the controversy surrounding urbanization, the joys and challenges of multi-generational relationships, and the bonds between siblings and peers even in old age -- to name just a few. All those complex relationships are interwoven throughout the story where trees are disguised as old women, where animals talk, where music is the lifeblood of the earth, and where good wins out over evil. The story moves quickly via humorous, age-appropriate dialogue as a family comes together around shared values and a deepening respect for one another. A worldview that clearly sides with the preservation of natural resources is my reason for giving it 4 stars instead of 5. The urban developers are clearly cast as the "bad guys" in this novel, so if your tweener knows family members/friends who clear land or build condos for a living, expect some hard-to-address questions to emerge. Otherwise, I highly recommend this easy-to-read, enjoyable story. My daughter and I read an earlier version when she was about 10 years old, and we both loved it, even in unedited form. ~ Vicki Garlock, Amazon.com

  • Firebird Chronicles, The: Rise of the Shadow Stealers
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    My read over the course of this past week has been, without a shadow of a doubt, the most magical piece of fiction I have read since the last time I browsed the Disneyland travel brochures. Daniel Ingram-Brown’s Rise of the Shadow Stealers has captivated my imagination completely and given me a sense of nostalgia I wasn’t sure I would feel again after the trauma of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

    As part of The Firebird Chronicles series, Rise of The Shadow Stealers follows the fast-paced story of Fletcher and Scoop. What is so great about these two is the realism that is evoked by their characterisation despite the ‘less-than-realistic’ world that they find themselves in. If you put the destiny and the magic aside for a second, Fletcher and Scoop are two very eager, confused and sometimes extremely stroppy young adults. It’s completely believable, relatable and utterly fantastic.

    Ingram-Brown’s attention to detail is second-to-none and the world he creates for us as the reader is exquisite. His use of description and language constantly conjures up different scenes that are pure, unadulterated magical goodness. There’s a brilliant use of made up names and places: ‘Fullstop Island’, the ‘Creativity Craters’ and, my personal favourite, ‘Noveltwist Cordial’. This ability to play with literary terms that can seem so daunting is exactly why these books are so fantastic for children. Without this becoming a lecture, having worked in schools I can tell you that children do not enjoy reading. That’s not a generalisation but, from my experience, they want to read but it fails to excite their lively minds (hence we are living in the generation of iPad children). Anyway, I digress…. because this book is challenging for a young reader as it stretches their imaginations to a limit that cannot be achieved on a screen. I have already recommended it to the local primary school. I’ve recommended it to all my adult friends. My family. Everyone I know. I think I should stand in the middle of Leeds and shout it out for everyone to hear.

    Clearly, I am a fan.

    Being right in the midst of that post-graduation ‘nothingness’ moment, I can honestly say that reading Rise of the Shadow Stealers has given me so much creative drive. It’s the kind of fiction that you read that makes you long to be a writer and, in my opinion, that is the best kind of fiction. I have already gushed about being given these books to review but I am so grateful that I have had the chance to read it. I can’t wait to read the next one! It is a book that pushes the imagination and makes you want to step into this magical world (in true The Pagemaster style).

    Oh, and Mr Ingram-Brown? I really think you should make ‘Noveltwist Cordial’, ‘Epiphany Tea’ and ‘Blank-verse buns’ a thing because they all sound delicious. ~ Dani McDowall, Danireadsx.com

  • Ghost Boy
    Stafford Betty
    This is a wonderful book about a kid named Ben and a dead girl his own age. She appears in spirit many times throughout the book, giving him advice and hinting why they feel such love for each other. I compare this book to the Magnus Chase series in the sphere of inter-worldly connection. This is one of the best books I have ever read, and I can predict that people who pick it out over all the other books that are available will not be disappointed. ~ Isaac Haney, 12-year-old reader

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    A Magical Environmental Story with Fabulous Characters

    I’ve had the best few days of my life reading Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation. In fiction this is my favourite book this year. If I could give it 11 out of 10 I would. The story comes alive in front of you. There are fabulous characters. The tree spirits are comical. That’s probably my favourite part of the book. Emma’s quest is one that any child’s imagination would just love. It’s a wee bit like Harry Potter in that adults can enjoy it just as well as children. It’s very well written and for those who are spiritually minded you’ll see a lot of themes like the Hero’s Journey. I would hope that Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation would turn into some kind of series because the little heroine herself is a cracking wee character. It’s a lovely wee book with a lovely wee message but it’s also a huge book with a huge message that can be absorbed by children about saving our envirornment. This is a book for you and your kids to enjoy together. I’m going to keep it for my grandchildren so I can read it to them.

    Colette Brown, author of Maybe the Universe Just Isn't That Into You!: Spiritual Responsibility in a Fluffy Bunny World and over 10 books.

    For a full You Tube review watch
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEdfbU6u-ps&feature=share ~ Colette Brown, You Tube

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