Title: The House with Chicken Legs

Author: Sophie Anderson

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Usborne Publishing

The Blurb

Marinka dreams of a normal life, where her house stays in one place long enough for her to make friends. But her house has chicken legs and moves on without warning.

For Marinka’s grandmother is Baba Yaga, who guides spirits between this world and the next. Marinka longs to change her destiny and sets out to break free from her grandmother’s footsteps, but her house has other ideas…

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Oh dear.

I bought into the hype of The House with Chicken Legs. Everyone was raving about it. Twitter went nuts. Teachers were singing its praises.

For me, I felt a little confused.

Ok so the story is of a young girl who has a destiny to become the next guardian. The one who helps the dead cross over to the other side. I don’t understand why the house had to have legs like a chicken.

Also, as one of my students who attends book group said to me, “this book could have ended half way through it.” Sadly, I have to agree.

It was not for me.

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson is available now.

For more information regarding Sophie Anderson (@sophieinspace) please visit www.sophieandersonauthor.com.

For more information regarding Usborne Publishing (@Usborne) please visit www.usborne.com.

Title: Tilly and the Book Wanderers

Author: Anna James

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Book

The Blurb

Since her mother’s disappearance, eleven-year-old Tilly has found comfort in stories at Pages & Co., her grandparents’ bookshop. But when her favourite characters, Anne of Green Gables and Alice from Wonderland, appear in the shop, Tilly’s adventures become very real. Not only can she follow Anne and Alice into their thrilling worlds, she discovers she can bookwander into any story she chooses.

Tilly’s new ability could even help her solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago. But danger may be lurking on the very next page…

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Every once in a while a book will come along that makes you reminds you just why you fell in love with reading. Tilly and the Book Wanderers is that book for me.

It is the story of Tilly, a young girl who lives with her grandparents. Her mother disappeared when she was a small child and she never met her father but growing up with in her grandparents care and indeed in their book shop has been a pretty wonderful experience.

However, when a strange visitor comes to the shop a whole new world opened up to Tilly. One that is almost unbelievable but by golly it is fabulous.

Anna James truly brings new meaning to the term getting lost in a book. The adventures that Tilly goes on have made me jealous. Had I encountered this sort of magic when I was a young girl I would have been even more enchanted than I am as a 35 year old.

Tilly and the Book Wanderers is such a special book that I am keeping my copy for when my niece is a bit older. I want her to feel the magic of such special story telling.

Tilly and the Book Wanderers by Anna James is available now.

For more information regarding Anna James (@acaseforbooks) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Harper Collins Children’s Books (@HarperCollinsCh) please visit www.books.harpercollins.co.uk/children/.

Title: Posted

Author: John David Anderson

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Walden Pond Press

The Blurb

In middle school, words aren’t just words. They can be weapons. They can be gifts. The right words can win you friends or make you enemies. They can come back to haunt you. Sometimes they can change things forever.

When cell phones are banned at Branton Middle School, Frost and his friends Deedee, Wolf, and Bench come up with a new way to communicate: leaving sticky notes for each other all around the school. It catches on, and soon all the kids in school are leaving notes–though for every kind and friendly one, there is a cutting and cruel one as well.

In the middle of this, a new girl named Rose arrives at school and sits at Frost’s lunch table. Rose is not like anyone else at Branton Middle School, and it’s clear that the close circle of friends Frost has made for himself won’t easily hold another. As the sticky-note war escalates, and the pressure to choose sides mounts, Frost soon realizes that after this year, nothing will ever be the same.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

What would happen if a school banned all mobile phones? As someone who works in a high school I relished the idea that is presented in John David Anderson’s middle grade novel – Posted. Mobile phones are a bloody pain in the bum. The time it takes to tell the child to put it away, the subsequent argument, then the removal of the phone from the student and then the subsequent argument, then the phone call to the parent and what do you know, the subsequent argument. Yes, I feel that phones should be banned in schools.

What John David Anderson points out is that young adults are savvy, and they will find a way and in a sort of devolution the students of Branton Middle School resort to post it notes. Essentially, life goes on but in the tradition of school – kids are mean and the arrival of new girl Rose shows us jjust how mean people can be. Is the fight to get access to phones really worth it when people get hurt along the way.

I really enjoyed Posted. It shows how quickly and easily people can fall into a life of bullying and how you really need your people around you to make sure that you get through high school unscathed.

Posted by John David Anderson is available now.

For more information regarding John David Anderson (@anderson_author) please visit www.johndavidanderson.org.

For more information regarding Walden Pond Press (@WaldenPondPress) please visit www.facebook.com/waldenpondpress.

Kasey and IvyTitle: Kasey and Ivy

Author: Alison Hughes

Pages: 192 Pages

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

The Blurb

Through twenty-six letters to her friend Nina, twelve-year-old Kasey chronicles the often humorous observations and impressions of her unexpected, month-long stay in a geriatric ward for the treatment of a rare but treatable bone disease (“osteo-something-something-itis”). Kasey tries to make her life less dull by wearing her own nightgowns, surrounding herself with her favourite stuffies and developing an unusual exercise routine. Hospital food, insomnia and the germy communal bath are enduring sources of dread, but some new (and unexpected) friends make her life bearable.

The Review

What a gorgeous story.

Kasey and Ivy by Alison Hughes is the gorgeous tale of a young girl who has to spend a prolonged period in hospital. Her thoughts are tracked in her almost daily letters to her friend at home. Through them we learn of the comings and goings of the hospital and the inertia that Kasey feels and her desperation to be able to go home along with her acceptance and curiosity about the other patients.

As someone who has spent a lot of time in hospital I found Hughes’ descriptions as painfully accurate. Even down to the less than tasty food.

Kasey and Ivy is such a good story that is completely heart-warming and is definitely best read in one sitting.

Kasey and Ivy by Alison Hughes is available now.

For more information regarding Orca Book Publishers (@orcabook) please visit www.orcabook.com.

4 Stars

Title: Rooftoppers

Author: Katherine Rundell

Pages: 278 Pages

Publisher: Faber & Faber

The Blurb

Winner of the Blue Peter Book Award and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, and shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal.

Already being proclaimed a classic in children’s literature and compared to the likes of Roald Dahl and Eva Ibbotson, Katherine Rundell’s Rooftoppers merges fantasy and historical fiction with sophisticated lyrical prose and vivid imagery that will delight middle grade readers, tweens, teens, and parents and teachers alike.

Join plucky heroine Sophie, her eccentric guardian Charles, and her intrepid orphan allies on the rooftops of Victorian Paris, as they encounter suspense and adventure that will keep kids of all ages on the edge of their seats right to the heartwarming end.

My mother is still alive, and she is going to come for me one day.

Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. Found floating in a cello case and swaddled in a Beethoven score, she is the only recorded female survivor of a shipwreck on the English Channel. But Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help…

Charles, a fellow survivor and an eccentric scholar, finds Sophie and brings her home to his London bachelor flat. Raised in a quirky home filled with music, words and love (though questionable diet), Sophie grows into a free-spirited tomboy with a taste for Shakespeare and the unshakeable belief that anything is possible. And you should never ignore a possible.

So when the child welfare agency in its bureaucratic wisdom threatens to send Sophie to an orphanage, the optimistic girl and her odd guardian flee to Paris on a quest to find her mother, starting with the only clue she has – the address of the cello maker.

Secured in an attic to evade the French authorities, Sophie escapes through the skylight and meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers – homeless urchins who tightrope walk above the busy streets below, dining on pigeons and snails alongside the gargoyles and bell tower of Notre Dame. Together they set out on an unimaginable adventure, scouring the city for Sophie’s mother before she is caught and sent back to London – and most importantly, before she loses hope.

Readers who enjoyed the Lemony Snicket books, Ellen Potter’s The Kneebone Boy, Cornelia Funke’s The Thief Lord, and Sally Gardner’s I, Coriander will want to put Rooftoppers on their “Must Read” list.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Rooftoppers is an absolute dream of a story.

I work in a high school and I have been challenged with getting a group of reluctant readers to start to enjoy reading so I chose Rooftoppers. Having not read the book before you may be wondering why I chose this book. Was it the plethora of excellent reviews that it has received over the years? No. Was it the cover? Pretty as it the cover is, no. The fact is that I chose it because we have several copies in the school library and I have a limited budget.

I was incredibly lucky though because Rooftoppers is a magical story of unlikely friendship, parental love and how it is possible to choose your family.

Sophie is a heroine to fall in love with. She is fearless and feisty and everything a young girl should be. Her guardian, Charles is quirky and memorable. And the cast of characters that she meets along the way are brilliant.

I am so glad that I chose this book for my readers!

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell is available now.

For more information regarding Katherine Rundell (@kdbrundell) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

For more information regarding Faber & Faber (@FaberBooks) please visit www.faber.co.uk.