8 – 10 Junior/Middle continued were

part for change. of Success,

wider movements measured

sometimes in Nobel prizes, was not the main motivation. True, you can gather some of this even from these short accounts of their lives. But it is coated with the gloss of celebrity. Final semantic quibble: you can say they changed the world; you can say they made history; but, as there are no famous women historians (or time travellers) in the book, none of them, in any sense, ‘changed history’ CB

HerStory: 50 women and girls who shook the world


Katherine Halligan, ill. Sarah Walsh, Nosy Crow, 112pp, 978 1 78800 138 0, £16.99, hbk

With a playful

the social-media equivalent of their library hideout – something to be avoided at all cost. The plot is very funny and the

text is full of witty one-liners (the girls’ encounter

with football is

particularly good for this). As ever with McLaughlin’s comedies, there’s more to the story than humour alone and he slips in some sharp comment on society and how we live. His own illustrations add to the fun. MMa

She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History


Chelsea Clinton, ill. Alexandra Boiger, Philomel Books, 36pp, 978 0 525 51699 6, £12.99 hbk

This is the follow up to Chelsea Clinton’s

more it imperial?) roster

parochial (or of

is women

determined to make their mark, She Persisted: Thirteen American Women Who Changed the World. Addressed specifically to young girls, this picture book

features a fully illustrated

double page spread for each woman. There is a short paragraph about their achievements and an apposite quote from them. In each biographical section the mantra ‘she persisted’ is highlighted, so that even the child whose mind might wander will not fail to get the message. There is a good selection of past and present high achieving women from a variety of countries and fields of endeavour, some of whom may well be unfamiliar. It’s a handsomely produced book which will help to satisfy the current hunger for female iconography. I do have some misgivings about it. Not about highlighting the achievements and contribution of women (he adds quickly) but about the way in which it comes across here as implicitly tied to the notion of individual success as being the most important goal in life. Many of these women were driven by other motives: a thirst for knowledge, a need for self-expression, or a sense of justice, for instance. Some

title indicating the

dominance of men in history, this book looks at 50 women separated by time and place of birth, from a range of ethnicities, living very different lives, but all significant in different ways. Some of these individuals will be well known, such as Elizabeth 1 whose story is the first to be told and Anne Frank whose story completes the

volume. Others however will

be less known with contributions which are frequently overlooked, such as Ada Lovelace in the history of computer programming or Rachel Carson significant in the modern environmental movement. The book is organised into five

colour coded sections with leaders, artists,

teachers problem and solvers, heroes

healers, and

dreamers grouped together. Readers interested in researching a particular field, for example women in science, will find this structure helpful. It is also a great volume to pick up and browse as within each section there is no specific order so turning the attractive double page spreads become an enjoyable process discovery. The

of mini biographies

include a final paragraph indicating how each individual was involved in ‘shaking the world’.


include art work, photographs of the more recent subjects and close ups of aspects of their work. Quotations from many of the individuals are an interesting addition. The timeline at the back of the book helps to place them in a historical, sorry herstorical perspective and there is a useful glossary which clarifies key terms and concepts. This attractive volume is a great

addition to the recent flurry of books which have been produced highlighting and

the significant but frequently unrecognised

role women

celebrating have

played in throughout time. A highly topical publication in the centenary of The Representation of the People Act giving some women the right to vote for the first time. SMc

26 Books for Keeps No.230 May 2018

Dog Town HHH

Luize Pastore, ill. Reinis Petersons, trans. Zanete Vevere Pasqualini, Firefly, 194 pp, 978 1 910080 726, £6.99, pbk

Luize Pastore won the Latvian

Literature prize for the Best Children’s Book of 2013 with this book, which is also being made into an animated film. Imaginative Jacob goes to stay with his uncle in Maskatchka, a suburb of the city of Riga, where he discovers a pack of talking dogs and, with his cousin Mimi, helps them foil a plan to redevelop its streets of wooden houses into a skyscraper city. It’s an interesting story and apparently has some local resonances that it might be useful for a non-Latvian reader to know about. If the talking dogs are a fantasy (I believe) then Maskatchka is very much a reality. A working class district which also housed much of Riga’s Jewish community before the Second World War, it does indeed have distinctive wooden architecture. It is also a neglected part of Latvia’s capital with a reputation for crime. So Pastore’s transformation of it into a place of adventure for a child with an open mind and a big imagination, while acknowledging the district’s material poverty, honours both of its present sense of community and its future possibilities. In this context, the story itself has big possibilities, which I didn’t feel were realised. Partly, this may be the fault of

the translation, which unfortunately, while making perfect


The Nothing to See Here Hotel HHH

Steven Butler, ill. Steven Lenton, Simon and Schuster, 188pp, 978 1 4711 6383 8, £6.99 pbk

In this funny fantasy story, Frankie Bannister welcomes readers to the rather unusual hotel that he runs with his parents. You won’t find any decent reviews of the hotel online, because his parents

write horrible

ones in order to put off prospective punters. Nor will you see many guests stumbling upon the hotel, despite its proximity to Brighton beach. This is because The Nothing to See Here Hotel is not really for human guests; that would be far too normal. Giant spiders, banshees, cyclops

and trolls are more familiar clientele. Indeed,

the Bannister family are

descended from trolls, and enjoy their living looking after wacky, wonderful creatures in need of a break - serving up cockroach

eggs. Life is happy and peaceful. That is, until an unexpected visitor arrives to ruin everything. Goblins are but

ground, ridiculous

rarely seen above Prince Grogbah has

made an exception. He arrives with a

procession, including

the Royal Nose Blower, Royal Blister Burster and Royal Toilet Flusher. His presence clearly spells trouble and it isn’t long before cannonballs are

puree and unicorn just

reads throughout like a translation. CB

flying and goblin pirate ships are on the horizon. There’s also a lot of embarrassing nudity. The Nothing to See Here Hotel is crammed with colourful details, and the feast of fantastical fairy creatures offer much in the way of comedy and silliness. The story races along at an enjoyable pace, despite the singular setting, and Frankie, as first-person narrator,

repeatedly breaks from

the narrative to chat with the reader about how they might be feeling about the story so far! Though the characters are all lively

and original, few of them are explored in great detail, but this won’t detract from

most readers’ enjoyment.

Steven Butler has given readers a ticket to the world’s weirdest hotel, and they might just want to stay for more than one book. SD

Noah Scape Can’t Stop Repeating Himself


Guy Bass, Barrington Stoke, 978-1-7811-2772-8, £5.99 pbk

Noah Scape is a child who knows exactly what he likes. He doesn’t understand why his teacher, Miss Fiddy, won’t

let them learn about

dinosaurs in class all day, or why Mrs Tuckin, the dinner lady, insists that he has meat pie for lunch on Tuesdays when he wants spaghetti and tomato sauce. Noah becomes increasingly fed up with not getting what he wants and decides that everyone else in his life needs to be more like him. The next day when Noah comes into school, there’s someone else sitting in his seat- him! The following day, the two Noahs become four, and then eight, and so on. After a few days, Anne Finally, the local news reporter, pays Noah a visit and points out that if he continues to double at his current rate, there will be over a billion Noahs attending the school by the end of the month (1,073,741,824 to be precise!). At first, Noah is delighted with how things are everyone


turning out because him and

everyone agrees with his opinions. However, when he’s outvoted by 63 of his duplicates, he quickly realises that he still can’t always get his own way and that events are spiralling out of control at a frightening rate. Noah Scape is a highly readable

book from the author of the Stitch Head series, Guy Bass. It is part of the acclaimed dyslexia-friendly range published by Barrington Stoke and, although edited to a reading age of 8, would

be enjoyed as well as across

Key Stage Two. The book subtly raises issues around how children manage OCD and autism in a school environment,


demonstrating how rapidly numbers increase

after repeated

and will maintain their throughout.

The slightly doubling.

It’s a short, pacey book, perhaps no more than half an hour for some children, interest

ambiguous ending also provides an excellent opportunity for discussion and prediction. JBid

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