The thing about picture books is that I read so many delightful ones one after the other, particularly thanks to Storyweaver. I finish one, another is recommended to me and I read it … And so, I don’t end up writing about any of them! Here are a few that stayed with me.
The Best House of All, written by Natasha Sharma and illustrated by Kaveri Gopalakrishnan, is a delightful read, with the best kind of protagonist of all – an enterprising little girl. I love the repetition and the illustrations, and I think the book is perfect to use in class too.
The Grand Patch-up, written by Karthika G and illustrated by Tasneem Amiruddin is another lovely story, a story of friendship, quarrels and making up. Quarrels may be simple, but to the children involved, they’re always silly. Sometimes, a little extra effort is required to make up after an argument – and this book is about just that.
Would You Rather … by John Burmingham is a mad, fun book that made me giggle and smile right through. It’s an imaginative story, full of crazy choices. My favourite – would you rather an elephant drank your bath water, an eagle stole your dinner, a pig tried on your clothes or a hippo slept in your bed?
Last month, I read just one chapter book that I really enjoyed – Amra and the Witch by Arefa Tehsin. Everything seems to be going wrong for Amra – it’s a bad, bad day. When he drops a jar of maize flour, he needs to find out whether his mother caught him or not. The only person who can give him an answer is the mysterious and frightening witch. But before he goes to the witch, he needs to go to school, where things continue to go wrong …
I enjoyed the writing style and the illustrations, which went perfectly together. And I loved Amra’s mad best friend Veerma!
Somehow, I seem to be reading and enjoying more science fiction of late than I ever did as a child. Cosmic is the story of 12-year-old Liam, who looks like a full-grown adult. Naturally, he takes advantage of it. When a competition for the best dad comes his way, he pretends to be a father and ropes in a classmate to be his daughter. The prize is a thrilling ride in something called the Rocket.
The Rocket turns out to be true to its name – and the ride takes Liam and four other children into space. Things go wrong and it seems likely that they will be stranded in space forever, unless Liam lives up to his pretend-role of being a father and comes up with a plan to save all of them.
The Great Chocoplot is part of British Library’s The Big Friendly Read reading challenge, and I understand why – the madness of the story is very Dahl-esque. News reports predict the great Chocopocalypse – there will be no more chocolate in the world! Jelly Welly (aka Jennifer Wellington) is alarmed. Among other things, she is determined to conduct a proper scientific experiment to verify the truth of the prediction. Can existing chocolate really disappear?
With her grandmother’s help, Jelly begins to investigate. She must find out whether it is a dastardly plot or a natural disaster. The Great Chocoplot was a fun read!
Young Adult Books
I’m quite choosy about the YA I read and last month, I left many, many books incomplete. If they’re too dark, too depressing or too frightening (all subjective terms, I know), they don’t work for me. Also, of course, if I find them silly and over the top.
One book that did work for me, though, was Running Girl. Even though it was a little longer than I would have liked, the story kept me hooked. Garvie Smith is a wonderful character, and the twists and turns of the plot were excellent. I’ve read another very different book by Simon Mason too, Moon Pie, and both made an equally powerful impression on me.
Running Girl is a murder mystery. A beautiful, ambitious girl is killed, and Garvie, who once dated her, is determined to figure out who the murderer is. In the beginning, the mystery is just another puzzle that exercises his above-average mental capacities. Soon, though, he realises that murder and violence cannot ever be just a puzzle. His mother warns him that one day, he will go too far. As he solves the mystery, he realises what “too far” really means.
Can anyone ever read enough books? I just finished reading the first two in the Unmarriageable series by Mary Lancaster and I enjoyed them! If I’m choosy about the YA I read, I’m even more choosy about the adult fiction I read. I do often enjoy historical romance, though, and Mary Lancaster’s books are pacy and fun. I will probably read others by her too!