BfK 5 – 8 Infant/Junior continued The Great Dragon Bake Off HHH

Nicola O Bryne, Bloomsbury, 32pp, 978-1-4088-3956-0, £6-99, pbk

For the most ferocious of dragons, life at the Ferocious Dragon Academy involves

good at being very BAD. Our hero, Flamie is particularly ferocious, BUT his outstanding feature is his passion for baking pastries. Whilst others are

learning to become very

perfecting dastardly dragon skills, he sneaks to the kitchens and perfects his pastry and cake making skills. Come finals day, Flamie is told by Miss Puffitup that he has failed all his exams, so in order to graduate, he must perform the most dastardly dragon deed of all…kidnap a princess ……and eat her. Kidnapped she is, and the illustrations help the text so well as we see the bond quickly developing between captured princess and failed

8 – 10 Junior/Middle New Talent Cogheart HHHH

Peter Bunzl, Usborne, 362pp, 978-1-4749-1500-7, £6.99 pbk

When Lily’s deportment teacher confiscates the magazine she’s reading

educational value at all Lily replies, ‘It teaches piracy and air combat.’ ‘And what young lady needs to know that?’ asks her teacher. Actually it turns out this is exactly what Lily needs to know. This is a steam-punk world

– Victoriana with airships, and mechanical talking servants and animals. When her father’s airship is seems

‘mechanimal’, Malkin, to deliver a letter to his beloved Lily and tell her ‘the secret’s in the safe’. Malkin is chased and nearly fatally injured by two mirror-eyed baddies, but luckily he’s saved by clockmaker’s son, Robert. Together Malkin and Robert make sure Lily receives the letter, albeit in a damaged form, and the message.

box from the safe in her home before the baddies catch up with her. She soon guesses it contains the perpetual motion machine – the Cogheart of the title. It must be very

The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop


Clare Balding, Illustrated by Tony Ross, Puffin, 264 pp, 978 0 1413 5792 5, £9.99 hbk

This is Clare Balding’s first children’s book, featuring a feisty 10 year-old heroine called Charlie Bass who longs to own her own pony. In a wonderful quirk

buys a racehorse at an auction, and finds that he comes with his very good friend, a naughty pony called Percy. Charlie’s whole family, who live on a farm, all have to work together to make the racehorse, called Noble Warrior, into a true champion. Charlie is a warm-hearted character

with 24 Books for Keeps No.220 September 2016 of fate, Charlie accidentally imminent, attacked he and asks

death his

telling her it has no Missing Arabella HHH

Kathryn Siebel, Oxford University Press, 240pp, 978 01 9274 5866, £6.99 pbk

valuable because everyone’s after it, and Lily, Robert and Malkin are chased all over the place. It’s quite a shock to find out what the Cogheart does, and where it actually is. Lily is a cheery heroine who

Lily manages to retrieve a locked

makes the best of things even when she finds out her father’s terrifying secret. She doesn’t let Robert dwell on his father’s sad demise, and has little sympathy for his fear of heights. It’s an enjoyable, fast- paced romp, and rather fittingly for a book containing so much clockwork, it reaches a climax on Big Ben. RW


who wins everyone over with her enthusiasm

rest of the family are huge fun, and there’s a real feel-good factor to the story. Children who are interested in horses will find out lots about training racehorses, and what happens in the run-up and during big races. There are also themes to explore such as modern-day farming, with the Bass family in danger of losing their farm, and feelings of exclusion, as Charlie is made fun of at school because of her looks and her background. This has the feel of a classic children’s animal story, with a satisfying outcome, and it will appeal to many readers – children and their families.


determination and courage, and know-how. The

This first novel is a tale of separated twins that plays engagingly with the conventions of fairytale and gothic romance. Arabella and Henrietta are chalk and cheese. Arabella is bubbly and extrovert, Henrietta quiet and serious. Sad to say, their parents love Arabella best and resentment grows in Henrietta. An incident involving sewing shears and the loss of most of Arabella’s beautiful curls leads to Henrietta being banished to stay with a distant aunt who turns her into a domestic drudge and offers her disgusting food. But, despite their spats, Arabella loves her sister and sets off to rescue her. This relatively straightforward plot is fleshed out with supporting characters, dramatic and comic incident and an interposed wise and witty dialogue between a mother storyteller and her daughter who has her own ideas of what characters ought to do and how the story might go. If this device underlines that this is a book explicitly for girls – and there is a romance sub- plot involving a lovelorn teacher – it also assumes that its audience is going to be sharp as a tack and appreciate how story conventions are being both honoured and subverted. For me, it’s this that gives the book a distinctive voice and makes up for those moments where the story dips a little.

CB Crimson Poison

Susan Moore, Nosy Crow, 333pp, 9780857634498, £6.99 pbk

Nat is the heir to her dead parents’ games empire and lives with her guardian Jamuka on a barge in Hong Kong, but not the city as we know it; this city is set in a more tech based future.

if not for her Aunt Vera (who wants to get her hands on the fortune that Nat has inherited) and pushy cousin Prissy.

called home to Mongolia because of a crisis, Aunt Vera seizes her chance and tries to make herself the legal Guardian. Things become more complicated and Nat fears for Jamuka’s life, leading her to start an amazing series of adventures, as she attempts to get to Mongolia and find her guardian. We also have a parallel story involving lethal poisons and a plot by Russia to bring the rest of the world to its knees. The author has created a world

When Jamuka is Life would be good

dragon. At the graduation ceremony it is his baking prowess Flamie exhibits, along with his helper princess; for they have created a truly magnificent feast, to the delight of all the other dragons. No reader could resist the sumptuous pages full of chocolate eclairs, choux pastry swans and fruity cupcakes, with ‘not a soggy bottom between

Firewood, Heston Blowitall and Scaly Berry! Lots of fun, combining the ever popular dragon myth with the current bake-off craze.

GB them,’ announce Paul

that it very recognizable but set just into the future; with increased levels of technology (including robot pets) and hover vehicles, so that the reader is able to connect with the world and the characters. It is a really fast paced and exciting adventure story, with a heroine that you really want to succeed as she is so different from most girls of her age.

have the obligatory villain, but

this case we really have two, Aunt Vera and the shadowy character in Mongolia who is aiming to poison the population. This is a story that will find an audience among both boys and girls due to the strong character of the main participants and I am glad that the ending implies a further story might be in the offing as I look forward to following Nat and her adventures. I definitely think that this will find a place in KS2 and KS3 libraries. MP

In Focus: Close-ups, Cross sections, Cutaways


Libby Walden, creator, and ten artists, 360 Degrees, 32pp, 978-1-8485-7505-9, £15.99 hbk

This book is based on a simple but interesting idea. What is the relationship between the inside and outside of objects? of

subjects- and

HHHH and

Everyday Objects, Vegetables,

Transport- Space,

spreads which open out to show the insides of the same things. subject has a different

and this brings a welcome variety of style. The intended use of a building affects its design; Lindsey Spinks shows both the outsides and insides of some buildings with different purposes including the Taj Mahal, the Colosseum and the exotic St. Basil’s Cathedral designed ‘to look like the flames of a bonfire rising to the sky’. L’Atelier

pictures of animals, both outside and inside, draw attention to the sheer variety of living creatures on earth. I love his carefully drawn and labelled penguin drawing. The cross sections are annotated

with more than superficial information. So, for example, ‘Inside Ocean’ explains that the sword fish, while cold blooded, is able to use ‘endothermy’ to warm its brain and eyes so that it

Cartographik’s detailed illustrator

are presented in double Each

Landmarks, Nature, Buildings, Fruit Animals

and Homes,

objects to do with ten different Ocean,

The outsides Earth

As with all good thrillers we in

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32