I wish I’d written…

Kate Pankhurst experiences ‘illustrator envy’ reading Jane, the Fox and Me written by Fanny Britt and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault.

Kate Pankhurst’s latest book, Fantastically Great Women Who Made History, 9781408878903, is published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books, £6.99.

This graphic novel set off my ‘illustrator envy’ alarm button and the story of Héléne, a bullied teenager who finds escapism in the world of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, is beautifully poignant, truthful and hopeful. It’s an illustrated book where the words and pictures complement each other perfectly. The illustrations are stunning on lots of levels. Firstly, the characters are just so well observed (as I say, ‘illustrator envy’ alarm). They are stylised, but their bodies have depth and move in such an expressive and human way that when, for example, Héléne is walking home from school lonely, lost and friendless, you really feel that. There are lots of clever visual storytelling devices used too – where Héléne feels most lonely, at school, the illustrations reflect that using lots of white space. Colour is used sparingly to reflect glimmers of hope and Héléne’s growing confidence, and there are some wordless double page spreads that will make your heart melt a bit. After re-reading the book I need to sharpen my pencils and play

with rubbers, shading and line (you’ll see what I mean if you get hold of a copy)!

Good Reads

Jane, the Fox and Me, 9781406353044, written by Fanny Britt and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, is published by Walker Books, £15.

Our Good Reads were chosen by young people at the Glenthorne High School, Sutton. Thanks to the pupils and to the school’s librarian Lucas Maxwell

The Guggenheim Mystery HHHH

Robin Stevens, Puffin, 978-0-1413-7702-5, £9.99

This book is packed full of adventure. Ted and Kat visit the beautiful art museum where a priceless painting is stolen. Their aunt Gloria is arrested. Ted and Kat travel around America to find clues and prove Gloria’s innocence…

Warcross HHHHH Marie Lu, Penguin, 978-0-2413-2142-3, £12.99 Warcross is the best book ever! Hanie is my favourite character, as she is kind, funny and I love the way she can practically read someone’s mind. I also like Emika’s father, even though he is dead for the whole book. I like him because he is creative and caring. My least favourite character is Ren as he is

By K.M.

always portrayed as the villain. My favourite points in the book are when Emika hacks into both the opening ceremony and the final battle. This is because there is the most suspense and action. I also liked when Emika finds out that Zero is Sansuke who got kidnapped and the bomb drops. However, I didn’t enjoy when Heidio controlled people’s mind with the Nero-link or the pirate’s den as they had a little too much suspense.

By G.I

Word Nerd HHHHH Susin Nielsen, Andersen Press, 978-1-7834-4460-1, £7.99

Word Nerd is an amazing book because it can teach you about real life situations. It is about a boy called Ambrose who has had a near-death experience. He is pressured by bullies (nicknamed the three stooges) along with the stress of not having a father. His neighbour’s son Cosmo has just come out of prison and Ambrose notices one thing they both have in common: they both play Scrabble! Cosmo secretly drives Ambrose to Scrabble club every week but soon it all goes out of hand.

By L.N.

The Book of Dust HHHH Philip Pullman, Penguin Random House and David Fickling Books, 978-0-3856-0441-3, £20.00

The Book of Dust is about a boy called Malcom and his daemon Asta. He takes a dangerous journey to help unravel a challenge that


change his life. This is an amazing book as it shows life from a much

different angle. This prequel to the book His Dark Materials could not be any better. Recommended for everyone, this book is a must-read!

By K.G. Books for Keeps No.229 March 2018 19

for Peculiar Children HHH Ransom Riggs, Quirk Books, 978-1-5947-4902-5, £9.999

This book is about a boy growing up, listening to all of his grandfather’s stories and believing them. When he gets older, his grandfather gets very ill and forgets things, having lots of mental breakdowns about monsters trying to capture him. One night, the boy travels to visit his grandpa Poertman at his home. He finds him covered in blood and wounds, dead in a wood. His grandpa said some weird last words, telling him to go to an island where he will be safe from the monsters. The boy has lots of nightmares, trying to figure out what his grandfather meant. None of the doctors or his parents believe him and think that he has gone crazy. The boy doesn’t know whether to listen to what his grandfather said or just ignore it. This is a great story.

By J.A.

Miss Peregrine’s Home






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