We’ve reached the end of 2016 and the kind AWW reviewers have gifted me with some fabulous children’s and young adult book reviews!


ruby red shoes london knappBrona has continued her excellent reviewing with a handful of children’s reviews including Ruby Red Shoes Goes to London by Kate Knapp and Wormwood Mire by Judith Rossell. Ruby Red Shoes Goes to London is the third book in the quiet and calm Ruby Red Shoes series and follows Ruby on a trip to London.

“The Ruby Red Shoes series rejoices in family and home. All the books embrace a zen-like approach to life. Ruby and her grandmother appreciate being in the moment. They remember to feel grateful for all that they have and take time to be at peace.

“Knapp’s illustrations add to the overall feeling of cosiness and gentleness. Lots of interesting and funny details can be spotted on each page. Her attention to creating a complete package that appeals at every level makes the wait for each book worth while.”

wormwood mire rossell Wormwood Mire is the follow up to Rossell’s highly acclaimed Withering-by-Sea.  Another book of adventure and mystery, it follows Stella Montgomery who has been ‘sent-away’ to have proper tuition.

“The pacing and tension in book two is tremendous. Fast-paced and convincing, Rossell has created a believable world that lives on the edge of feyness. Wormwood Mire is far more complex and engrossing than book one and takes us down a completely different path. A path full of gothic adventure and lots of family secrets.”

Weezelle brought along 14 extra reviewers for a look at Bronwyn Houston’s Return of the Dinosaurs. The 5 year olds were enthusiastic listeners for a kindergarten group reading session. When asked if they enjoyed the book, their response was firmly in the positive.

“The kids were rapt as we read through the story and saw the dinosaurs doing all sorts of mischievous things: ‘eating’, ‘swimming’, ‘splashing’, ‘playing’.  We all decided they wouldn’t be scared of noisy airplanes.”

Debbish also included an extra, intended-audience reviewer to look at Corinne Fenton’s Counting on You. Her five-year old co-reader was introduced to the idea of ‘counting on’ being about something else than numbers with this sweet book.

“I found the book itself delightful. It ends on a bit of a high note, which I found really touching and even Pickle (being a boy ‘n’ all) kinda shrugged and screwed up his face in a (shy) way he does when something is a bit sentimental or sweet . . . And it ends with the sentiment of… when things go bad,  you’re always there. See? Very sweet and a good opportunity to remind kids that there are people around who love and care about them. And who they can rely (or count) on.”

Young Adults

black-spring-croggan Jennifer reviewed Black Spring by Alison Croggon, a book she was wary about as it is inspired by Wuthering Heights – one of her favourite reads. She was pleasantly surprised by both the similarities and differences from the classic novel, but found that she liked it best when she thought of it as its own book, rather than a ‘inspired-by’ book.

“While I could recognise aspects of ‘Wuthering Heights’ in the structure of the story, and in similarity of characters and in echoes of language throughout the novel, ‘Black Spring’ has its own tale of betrayal and vengeance. Magic, rather than family, defines the world. The land that Lina and Damek inhabit is a bleak land, full of superstition, suspicion and watchfulness, ruled by wizards and the harsh, strict rules of vendetta.”

Lpagens crusade jinksouise from A Strong Belief in Wicker read Catherine Jinks’ Pagan’s Crusade – a book which was almost surprisingly popular with Young Adult readers during the 1990s:

“Twelfth century Jerusalem is really an odd choice of setting for a kids book isn’t it? It did put me off a bit, but then I really wouldn’t want to read adult books covering this era either. It’s also not a setting or time that I know an awful lot about, and I presume most kids wouldn’t either. Although my copy published in 2000 shows it was reprinted 7 times since 1993, i.e. roughly once a year, so it must have been quite popular. “

Louise found the book one that you settle into, particularly finding the humour in it as it went along.

gemina kaufmanCassandra would like you to stop reading this right now to go and read Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. (Please don’t run away just yet!) This follow up book to the very popular Illuminae uses the same found-footage, alternate format style, this time following new characters confronting the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

“Whichever way you do it, get this series. Love it. Name your children after it.”

Rochelle reviewed Threader by Rebekah Turner, another science fiction novel looking at concepts of ‘talents’ and related ‘citizenship’. Rochelle described the book as ‘awesome’:

“I was quickly pulled into Threader and could hardly put it down. In the near future, corporations rule, and to be a Citizen is to have access to the better things in life. There is a growing number of people with abilities, and at the moment it is still a choice whether you register your ability or not. If you do, you can train in a Corp facility, become a Citizen and gain a promising future.”

I hope you all get more wonderful books during this present giving season – I’m looking forward to sharing more of your children’s and young adult reviews in 2017!

Despite oMelina Dthers hinting that I am supposed to ‘grow up’ at some point, books for young people continue to play a huge part in my reading life. This has served me well, when I became a teacher and was known for always having a book recommendation at hand. I’m currently writing novel studies as teaching resources, enjoying the rich world of picture books with my four-year-old and baby, revisiting some of my favourite authors and reviewing books when I manage not to lose my blog . . .