Sunday, 27 March 2011
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
This is a command: get yourself to Daunt Books on London's Marylebone High Road sometime before 24th of March! An utterly lovely experience awaits you. The Picturebook World of Polly Dunbar is an exhibition of over 60 original artworks from Polly Dunbar’s books, featuring all her much-loved characters – Ben and Penguin from Penguin, Tilly, Hector, Pru and the rest from the Tilly and Friends, Lizzie and her Dad from David Almond’s My Dad’s a Birdman, and many more. And if you haven’t been to Daunt Books (as I hadn’t) then you can have the double pleasure of seeing the exhibition and being in a proper ‘booky’ bookshop. Everything is wooden and there are galleries and staircases and books lining the walls – you will want to live there.
It’s also a lovely setting for Polly Dunbar’s illustrations. Her books already seem like classics. The illustration ‘You be saucer, I’ll be cup’ from Here’s a Little Poem is an example – it feels like a picture I’ve known since I was a child, even though I’ve actually only just seen it! Seeing the original artwork allows you to look at this picture in detail – and there is a lot to see. The picture is made up of different textures, with the stars, characters and background cut from different types of material, and the flowery tablecloth is made from what looks like pink glittery wallpaper. Her characters seem familiar, like old friends, even though we’ve actually only met quite recently. I think especially with the Tilly and Friends series, because each book follows one of the gang, the characters’ personalities just leap off the page. This was the same even seeing one page from a book as an artwork on its own. My particular favourite is Hector the pig, and it was fun to go through the exhibition finding him in different pictures. Each picture is a story in itself, and even if you haven’t read the book it’s from you can tell immediately what is going on, and how the characters feel about one another.
18th - 24th March 2011
83 Marylebone High St
London W1U 4QW
Monday, 21 March 2011
Thursday, 10 March 2011
Thursday, 3 March 2011
Have you enjoyed a wonderful World Book Day? Found a book to enjoy or perhaps one that you are considering buying with your voucher? We have had a wonderful day, buzzing with books and ideas for stories as well as suggestions on how to use our vouchers. But all is not yet over for on Saturday the adults have World Book Night, this may have come under some criticism but it will be interesting to see how it goes. I don't think I will brave the cold and crowds in Trafalgar Square but I will be curled up at home with my next new book from the ever growing pile.
If you are looking for a book to read, having been inspired by World Book Day or in preparation for World Book Night then why not try Factotum by D M Cornish, published by David Fickling books? Reviewed here for you by Armadillo reviewer Simon Barrett it is the third in a brilliant trilogy that can actually be read on its own but why miss out on a great series?
Rossamund Bookchild: Founderling, Lamplighter and now Factorum or personal servant to Europe, the most feared monster-slayer in all the Half-Continent. Together they travel to her residence in the city of Branden-Brass, escaping the evils of Winstermill, only to find that scandals travel faster.
Here in the city Rossamund at last finds out his true identity. He is a rossamunderling: a manikin or monster in the form of a man. Rossamund however still needs to discover his true purpose in a life full of contradictions. He is a monster deeply loyal to a monster-slayer. Men call him a sedorner -- someone who sympathises with monsters – while monsters call him humbuggler, a hypocrite who acts the opposite of what he says. Somehow he must be himself in a world where men can be monsters too, such a man as Pater Maupin, who becomes Rossamund’s most deadly enemy.
Factotum continues the epic story of the half-continent in which men and monsters war and half-forgotten myths of monster-Lords come to life in the most unexpected places. The author, D M Cornish, continues to expand the horizons of the Half-Continent and the things that inhabit it, whilst delving deeper into its history and the origins of men and monsters through the footsteps of Rossamund. Along with the Branden Rose, Rossamund is joined by his once guardians and sea-salts, Craumpalin and Franistart. There is plenty of adventure and desperate to the death struggles as well as enjoyable sojourns in which Rossamund and his friends taste the delights of life. It all reaches a fierce and bloody end in which friends and foes lie dead or mortally wounded.
For young adult readers of fantasy the Monster Blood Tattoo series will continue to sate your appetitie and make you hungry for more.
Tuesday, 1 March 2011
So I have been busily reading away though I must confess that half term found me finally finishing Anna Karenina - a moving and powerful story and Emma Kennedy's hilarious 1970s holiday memoir The Tent, The Bucket and Me. It was lovely to indulge in some adult reading but I do miss my children's books. There is something very special about the way in which writers of chidren's book use words and language with such skill that they can be as entertaining and fulfiulling for an adult as a child. There is also something very special and priviledging about being able to read such books.
One book that stays with me and I find myself regularly recommending is Toon Tellegan's Letters to Anyone and Everyone. Tellegan has a magical way with words, making them powerful, touching, amusing and compelling. Not only does he prove that letter writing is not a lost art but that short stories can be built from the simplest of letters. Accompanied by the gentle and calming illustrations of Jessica Ahlbery, Tellegan has created one of a series of such books that Boxer Books, the small, indpendent publisher discovered and thankfully shared with us. So special is this particular book in fact that it recently won the Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation. This award is fully deserved and will, I hope, bring this wonderful author and his very special skill to a much bigger audience.
I can not recommend the book more highly and suggest that you all make an effort to find and read a copy, you will, I promise, be transfixed!