NEW TITLES

Vampires, witches and zombie teddies all make an appearance in time for Halloween, but this month's reviews by teachers and school librarians also explore books about friendship, outsiders, being brave and hope, as well as some fabulous poetry collections and non fiction highlights.

Power to the Princess: 15 Favourite Fairytales Retold with Girl Power
Vita Murrow

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781786032027

Well where do I start with this book? What an empowering and beautiful depiction of an array of timeless classics such as Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and many more. All with a feminine twist but not singling out male readers. I love the sense of fulfilment and belonging each story gives its readers. Gone are the days where women can only work in certain jobs and it's so fascinating to be able to explain to your niece's that if they want to be an astronaut they could be because girls can be whatever they want to be - just as boys can be. With many schools now opting to focus on 'Famous Females who changed the world' and many other books centred around that idea, it's refreshing to read something a little more light-hearted but equally as powerful as the non-fiction books heaped in historical facts. From my experience, young girls can relate more to stories and this book allows just that to happen. I've read a few of them to my class and would choose them for PSHE purposes when thinking about what we want to be when we grow up, addressing barriers in confidence and also enabling children to focus on key attributes of the characters that they would like to be like one day. I would also use this in literacy to develop vocabulary and the notion of what a character description should be and should include. Very few books have clear cut and vivid imagery at the forefront of their character descriptions and, as someone who teaches children to write them, I've had to find or make my own resources when I haven't been scrabbling around for readymade ones. However, the first story in this book - Belle the Brave - allowed me to highlight key adjectives to pinpoint a character's appearance and personality. This is a very well written book with stunning colour pictures. There are many ways this book can be used but it can definitely be used to embed literacy skills and to gain knowledge and understanding of the wider world through fiction; something that I feel benefits younger children and enables them to develop their imaginations. I am so pleased to have been given the opportunity to review this book and I look forward to using it within my own teaching in the future - a definite credit to have one of these in your book collection. 96 pages / Ages 6+ / Reviewed by Sian S Rankin, teacher.

Power to the Princess: 15 Favourite Fairytales Retold with Girl Power
Midnight Fright
Anna Wilson

Stripes Publishing

ISBN 9781847159571

Have you ever felt like you didn't quite fit in? Well, young Vlad, son of Drax and Mortemia Impaler and distinctly unenthusiastic vampire-in-training, certainly knows what this feels like. He is afraid of the dark, terrified of graveyards and try as he might, he cannot seem to master the skill of flying in bat form which he needs to achieve in order to pass his 'Bat Licence Test'. To make matters worse, his irritatingly confident and multi-talented cousin Lupus Fang has just arrived at Misery Manor, all the way from Transylvania, and he appears to excel in just about every vampiric skill which poor Vlad lacks. The ensuing gently comic adventure, charmingly illustrated by Kathryn Durst, is sure to appeal to newly independent readers and at this time of year in particular, a spooky theme always proves popular. Nervous readers can be reassured that there is little to scare them in this story, which touches on themes of acceptance, courage, bullying and family relationships in an accessible and gentle way. We all have a bit of Vlad in us, and this is a charming and lighthearted adventure that encourages young readers to embrace challenge and stick up for our friends whilst reminding us that appearances can be deceptive. 156 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Emily Marcuccilli, School Librarian

Midnight Fright
Night of the Living Ted
Barry Hutchison

Stripes Publishing

ISBN 9781847159564

Night of the Living Ted is the first title in a new series by award-winning author Barry Hutchinson. The title sets the scene for a perfect Halloween fright, with its hilarious humour and quirky fun-loving characters who try to save themselves - and the world - from being stuffed. When Lisa-Maria and stepbrother Vernon take a shopping trip to find the perfect present for their dad's birthday, little did they know that they would end up with a bear who thinks that he is Elvis reincarnated and an evil teddy bear who wants to rule the world. The siblings are drawn to a sign on a well-known shop that is advertising 'Free Halloween Stuff'. Lisa-Marie is familiar with the Create-a-Ted shop, but she does not recognise the new owner Josh who convinces her and Vernon to take a Halloween bear each, as well as their dad's birthday present. As midnight strikes, something strange happens; the bears come to life and a battle between good and evil commences. With their parents zapped by a witch and contained in a jar, Vernon and Lisa-Marie are left to defend the world against Grizz, the demonic bear and his evil army. This fast-paced adventure is jam packed with humour as the battle unfolds and Lisa-Marie and Vernon, along with Bearvis the bear, try to find a way to save humankind. Eventually, Lisa-Marie finds a way to restore normality, but at the cost of losing a true friend and hero. There are many underlying themes within this book that could support the Key Stage 2 curriculum, especially within English. The genre, Lisa-Marie's obsession with vocabulary, the setting and the characters will inspire pupils within their writing as well as their reading. It is a wonderfully illustrated book that will engage the children and enthuse their reading further. 188 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Hayley Summerfield, teacher.

Night of the Living Ted
The Same Inside: Poems about Empathy and Friendship
Liz Brownlee, Matt Good fellow and Roger Stevens

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9781509854509

This fabulous collection is a wonderful celebration of diversity and difference, encouraging tolerance and understanding. Perfect for use in schools, each of the three poets - Liz Brownlee, Matt Good fellow and Roger Stevens - offers poems which are rich in empathy. The 50 poems cover themes including feelings, respect, bullying, disability and taking responsibility. Many poems in this collection could be used as inspiration of work in classrooms. For example, 'Judge Me' by Matt Goodfellow would make a wonderful performance piece and could lead to discussions about why people judge one another. Liz Brownlee's 'Refugee' is particularly poignant. 'The Most Important Rap' (Roger Stevens) could lead to children writing their own poems, celebrating how everyone has their role to play and a contribution to make. A wonderful collection of poems offering so much to think about and enjoy whilst celebrating individuality. 96 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.

The Same Inside: Poems about Empathy and Friendship
National Trust: How to Help a Hedgehog and Protect a Polar Bear
Jess French

Nosy Crow Ltd

ISBN 9781788002578

How to help a hedgehog AND protect a polar bear? I'm all ears, tell me more! Published by Nosy Crow in collaboration with the National Trust, Jess French's book is perfect for KS1 and KS2 children describing as it does 12 of the major habitats in the world. Each habitat, for example heathlands, gets a beautifully illustrated double page spread on the habitat itself, the wildlife it supports and the problems it faces with a second double page spread on the 'species' factfile' and 'how you can help'. Protecting the environment and conserving habitats are large, often overwhelming issues, so the gentle explanations of all the things we can do on a daily basis, on a small scale to help save the world's most endangered animals and their habitats is reassuring, manageable and accessible. Not only does the book encourage you to get outside and explore but it encourages conversations on the topics raised, on the choices we make that make the difference. It's wonderfully positive and appealing and with a glossary and an index at the back, this book is great for general reading and reference at home and in the classroom. 64 pages / Ages 5-9 years / Reviewed by Catherine Purcell, school librarian.

National Trust: How to Help a Hedgehog and Protect a Polar Bear
Migration: Incredible Animal Journeys
Mike Unwin

Bloomsbury Childrens Books

ISBN 9781408889916

This book takes to task the migrations of twenty animals. A double page spread is dedicated to each animal with each having a beautiful illustration spanning the full double page. The writing evokes the incredible journeys undertaken in a succinct fashion that both informs and encourages further research. An Arctic tern, in its lifetime, may fly the equivalent of three times to the moon and back; while it takes the Monarch butterfly four generations to complete its migration. Incredible! The sentence, 'scientists don't fully understand why...' never stopped us from crying, 'But Why?' nor did it stop us from heading to the website listed near the back of the book to find out more about migratory animals around the world. 48 pages / Ages 7-11 years / Reviewed by Catherine Purcell, school librarian.

Migration: Incredible Animal Journeys
This Book is Not Rubbish: 50 Ways to Ditch Plastic, Reduce Rubbish and Save the World!
Isabel Thomas

Wren & Rook

ISBN 9781526361530

Our planet is in peril and it needs your help! It sounds like the opening of a superhero book, yet this is no superhero book. Instead this book outlines 50 ways to 'ditch plastic, reduce rubbish and save the world'. It seems that everywhere you go, people are rightly waking up to the fact that we are having a negative influence on the planet. The movement has really taken hold since Blue Planet was screened last year. Now this fun book gives children the opportunity to do something themselves. Each chapter focuses on a straight-forward way of making a difference to the planet. With titles like 'Be A Bird Brain' and 'Start A Fight At School', readers are bound to be drawn in. Each idea also has a handy Planet-O-Meter which shows the cost, impact and difficulty of the idea. This and quirky images makes this book a joy to flick through for adults and children. I keep being drawn towards this book and it is already centre stage in my classroom. In fact, it is constantly being read by children and some have taken it upon themselves to become eco-champions. Highly recommended for everyone! 208 pages / Ages 8-11 years / Reviewed by Matt Davies, teacher

This Book is Not Rubbish: 50 Ways to Ditch Plastic, Reduce Rubbish and Save the World!
Happy Poems
Roger McGough

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9781509871377

As we move into autumn from a glorious summer, this collection of 'Happy Poems' is just what's needed! With its sunshine yellow cover and emoji-style smile, we are warmly invited into Roger McGough's wonderful curation of happiness. Jez Alborough's 'A Smile' (p.1) is the right poem to open the collection: 'Smiling is infectious, / you catch it like the flu. / When someone smiled at me today / I started smiling too. /. And smile I did - from start to finish - and was reminded half way through just why: If History is the When? / And Science is the How? / If philosophy is the Why? / Then Poetry is the Wow!// (p.83). 'The WOW!' (Roger McGough) is one of several poems clustering around the theme of poetry including John Hegley's thought provoking 'Poetry' (p.78) with its lovely reminder that poetry is 'language on a spree'. Language is certainly having a good time in this collection: one minute, we have the gentle dialect of Langston Hughes' 'Mother to Son' (p.20): 'Well son, I'll tell you: / Life for me ain't been no crystal stair. /; the next it's Walter de la Mare's quaint and delightful 'The Cupboard' (p.26): 'I know a little cupboard, / With a teeny tiny key, / And there's a jar of Lollipops / For me, me, me. / . Don't miss 'Snakestanger' (p.74), an old dialect rhyme about the blood-sucking dragonfly that's said to sting boys who were naughty. Carol Ann Duffy describes Roger McGough as 'the patron saint of poetry' and he has certainly justified his canonisation here! He brings together a huge range of themes and poets (old and new). Here are poems about animals, books, friendship, families, food, the weather, even punctuation. Poem placement is skilful: 'A Meerkat Lullaby' (p.46) segues smoothly into 'Weird Wildlife' (p.47): 'It's a queer cat / Is the meerkat, / It cannot purr or miaow. /. Theme and lyrical wishful language reverberate across 'Oath of friendship' (p.16) and 'May you always' (p.17). Lindsay MacRae's 'Middle Child' ('The piggy in the middle / The land beween sky and sea / p.34) is complemented by Joseph Coehlo's intertextual 'Siblings' (p.35): 'Like the Three Bowls of Porridge / we were just right. / ...Like the Three Billy Goats Gruff / we feared the troll. / It's not just smiles that this book generates: there will be 'widespread chortling' at Sue Cowling's 'The Laughter Forecast' (p.4). Such a warming pastiche: 'Scattered outbreaks for chuckling in the south / And smiles spreading from the east later, /. Aptly, the book ends with 'Smile' (p.180): 'Smile, go on, smile!'. The reader will close the book reassured that, in Browning's words (p.5) from 'Pippa Passes': 'All's right with the world!'. 192 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Alison Kelly, consultant.

Happy Poems
Head Kid
David Baddiel

HarperCollins Children's Books

ISBN 9780008200527

David Baddiel's latest laugh-out-loud story is set in Bracket Wood School, a failing school with a pending OFFHEAD inspection. Ryan Wood, the naughtiest boy in the school, has successfully driven his last headteacher into resignation and his strict replacement, Mr Carter, has just been appointed. However, whilst in Mr Carter's office being told off for his recent pranks, a mysterious musical box opens and causes Mr Carter and Ryan to swap bodies. Hilarity ensues, as Mr Carter (Ryan) creates a new set of school rules that children would find hysterical and Ryan (Mr Carter) struggles to save the school and fit into his new role as the naughtiest boy in the school. I really enjoyed this fun story and can imagine Key Stage 2 children finding parts of it hysterical. I enjoyed the funny jokes scattered throughout the story, in particular the 'Resign, Resign' song, sang to the tune of 'Football's coming home!'. There are plenty of laughable references to popular culture which would entertain the target audience! The book is illustrated by Steve Lenton and his clever illustrations add humour to the story. The brilliant double page spreads in chapter 13 add emphasis to the story content. The book has relatively easy to read short chapters, yet will introduce children to some more complicated vocabulary such as supercilious and cogitated. I would therefore recommend this book for children age 9+ to read independently, however I am sure younger children would love listening to it being read aloud! 384 pages / Ages 8/9+ / Reviewed by Leia Sands, teacher.

Head Kid
The Wizards of Once: Twice Magic: Book 2
Cressida Cowell

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444941401

This is the second book in The Wizards of Once series, and is fabulous. Infected by witch blood and trying to hide the tell-tale stain spreading up his arm, Xar needs to escape from the prison Gormincrag and Wish needs to escape from the Punishment Cupboard so that they can join forces once more and recapture the Kingwitch and go on a quest for the ingredients needed for a potion to cure Xar. What could possibly go wrong? As witty and entertaining as the first book in this series, Cressida Cowell takes the reader on a romp of an adventure, full of fabulously quirky characters. Her illustrations are energetic, adding to the humour and depth of the story. However, this story also considers the relationship between parent and child. Wish is desperate to please her mother, to gain her approval and so hides her true nature as a witch from her. In this story, the reader also discovers (as do the children) that their parents were very different people when young and that actions in the past can have consequences for the future. Great fun, this series promises to go from strength to strength. 384 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.

The Wizards of Once: Twice Magic: Book 2
The Train to Impossible Places
P. G. Bell

Usborne Publishing Ltd

ISBN 9781474948616

Suzy Smith is an ordinary girl with a passion for science whose quiet domestic existence is thrown into unexpected tumult when a tunnel appears and a train bursts through her hallway! Improbable? Yes. Impossible? No! As her blissfully unaware parents continue to slumber under a spell, a stunned (but curious) Suzy, hitches a ride on The Train to Impossible Places and begins an unimaginable adventure. Roaming the amalgamated states of the Union, Suzy encounters strange lands and unlikely inhabitants as she becomes a postal operative under the tutelage of plucky Wilmot Grunt. Delivering packages to the far reaches of the Union as part of the Impossible Postal Service, Suzy soon finds herself in grave danger and a long way from home. PG Bell's debut is a triumph of fantastical world-building. I loved the beautifully-described Obsidian and Ivory Towers - the bookends of a staggering universe. Heroine Suzy, always trying to do the right thing, stumbles from one precarious situation to another, often taking her new friends and colleagues with her. There are some brilliant characters - the pompous but kind-hearted train driver, Stonkers and his Ursine fireman particularly shine and become Suzy's guardian angels. My only gripe (and it is a very slight one!) is that the ending was a little long-winded and might be slightly confusing for younger readers. Otherwise, a wonderful, action-packed read and a perfect 'next book' for fans of Nevermoor and The Wizards of Once. 346 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Clare Wilkins, school librarian.

The Train to Impossible Places
Planetarium
Raman Prinja

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781787411579

What a beautiful book! A brilliant book filled with beautiful pictures and fascinating facts about our universe. It steps through different parts of space as if you are walking through a museum, so you 'walk' through seven galleries including Looking at Space, The Solar System, The Sun, The Night Sky, The Stars, Galaxies and The Universe. This is an interesting book for adults and children alike, whether you have a specific interest in space or not. It would make a fantastic gift for an older child who is passionate about space or a brilliant addition to any classroom environment when learning about space through science or topic. Younger children would definitely enjoy looking at the pictures while older children could use it as part of their independent work/research. 96 Pages / Ages 9 + / Reviewed by Lucy Newton, teacher

Planetarium
Secret Science: The Amazing World Beyond Your Eyes
Dara O Briain

Scholastic

ISBN 9781407188140

This is a science book that looks like a story book. In fact, at first glance, it looked a bit like a Liz Pichon book about Tom Gates- but it isn't. This is a fun and silly science book about things going on around you, all the time, including when you are asleep. Dara O'Briain loves the unusual and the quirky and this is what he injects into his books. He is a comedian and that is what comes across in his 'voice' throughout the book. This is not your typical science book; whilst there is a contents page and an index, this is designed to be read as you might read a fiction text and whilst you might dip in and out of chapters, you want to read the whole section in a way you usually don't want to read a non-fiction text. It is almost like a story with facts. 'So, how does it even work? This thing you're doing right now- reading? How are those words on the page able to give you instructions?...How are you able to decode the black marks..?' It is like having a conversation with a slightly frantic adult, telling you stuff at a hundred miles an hour! The font varies and makes use of bold and different sized text and there are slightly crazy illustrations by Dan Bramall which match the text perfectly. The whole book is black, white, and shades of grey and blue and this works very well with the style. I can see many children really liking this book and wanting to read it cover to cover and it is certainly something that would be great to have in a Key Stage 2 classroom. It seems to be a book that would encourage children to read for pleasure, though I think it is harder to use as a straight science text because of the way it is laid out. I think anything that makes children want to pick it up and read has got to be a very good thing and I suspect this is one children will fight over reading in class. P.S. I handed this to my 11 year old for an opinion and he immediately started to read it from the beginning and did not give it back - I rest my case. 304 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher.

Secret Science: The Amazing World Beyond Your Eyes
Wiggott's Wonderful Waxworld: Terror Train
Terry Deary

Scholastic

ISBN 9781407179346

This is typical Terry Deary, loads of puns and outrageous jokes as you travel through on the Terror Train, meeting all sorts of historical characters on the way. Boy, who is never named, arrives at the tall glass tower to make the steal of the century, a mobile phone called the Infinit-G that is about to be demonstrated by Arfur Loaf. In the tower a girl is held captive in a glass coffin, and these two events send Boy and the girl's brain, called Molly who speaks through the phone, on the train journey, as the phone has to be delivered to Dr Wiggott at his Waxworld Museum. This proves to be tricky as Boy and phone get diverted onto the Terror Train and, in spite of being told not to get off, he does - with the phone - and encounters Burke and Hare, Vikings, Edwin from Lindisfarne, and Oliver Twist and Charles Dickens. There are many word plays and the whole thing rattles along at a good pace, helped by short, sharp chapters switching from the Ladies Who Crunch to Boy and Molly/phone. All is neatly tied together at the end involving a cannon and a hot air balloon and leaving the story nicely set up for a sequel. This would make a fantastic animated film. Having seen Transylvania 3 and Teen Titans the Movie with my youngest grand-daughter this summer, I am sure there is a whole new career awaiting Terry Deary in the cinema! Children, and particularly boys, of 9+ will love this. 400 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Janet Fisher, school librarian

Wiggott's Wonderful Waxworld: Terror Train
The Boy At the Back of the Class
Onjali Q. Rauf

Orion Children's Books

ISBN 9781510105010

Told by one of his classmates, this heartwarming story focuses on nine-year old Ahmet, newly arrived at school. He occupies the empty chair at the back of the classroom and doesn't speak to anyone. At break and lunchtime he has to go to 'Seclusion' rather than out on the playground, which sparks a lot of rumours. As they gradually learn the truth, that Ahmet is a refugee from the war in Syria, the group of friends to which the narrator belongs determine to do everything they can to make friends and help him. This includes standing up to the class bully, helping Ahmet settle in and trying to find his parents, from whom he has been separated. For this, they try to enlist the help of the Queen, which does cause some commotion but ultimately leads to an imminent family reunion. Full of humour, warmth and generosity of spirit, Ahmet's story will help readers understand the plight of young refugees fleeing unimaginable situations and trying to find a place to belong. A timely and important book which I wholeheartedly recommend. 256 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Jane Gould, school librarian.

The Boy At the Back of the Class
The Last Chance Hotel
Nicki Thornton

Chicken House Ltd

ISBN 9781911077671

An intriguing, locked-room, murder mystery with a magical twist, The Last Chance Hotel is a fun read for ages 9+. In the isolated and downright creepy Last Chance Hotel, Seth Seppi works his fingers to the bone for the horrid Bunn family. Without family or friends (besides his cat Nightshade), the only glimmer of light is Seth's amazing cooking ability and his dream of becoming a great chef like his father. However, on an evening when the remote hotel is overrun with unusual guests, the head of the group dies after eating a dessert made specially for him by Seth himself, making the poor kitchen boy suspect number one. The outlook is grim until an investigation like no other ensues. While this book is an entertaining read, I have to admit I wanted more from this award-winning novel. More character development, more detail in the plot, more of Seth's abilities and in particular, more from Nightshade the cat once it was discovered she could talk! Perhaps - this looking like a potential series - these elements will be cultivated over time. Nonetheless an enjoyable read! 328 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Rhiannon Cook, school librarian

The Last Chance Hotel
Murder At Twilight
Fleur Hitchcock

Nosy Crow Ltd

ISBN 9781788000628

Seemingly worlds apart, Noah and Viv live alongside one another in an atmosphere of dislike and resentment. Noah is rich, spoiled and loves nothing better than to put Viv in her place. When Noah mysteriously disappears, Viv is momentarily delighted, until her mum comes under suspicion and Viv realises that she must find Noah no matter how much she has grown to despise him. With a storm raging and all of nature conspiring against her, Viv is determined to bring Noah safely home. Confident readers of 9+ will be gripped by this action-packed tale. As the quest to find Noah and to clear her Mum's name becomes more and more urgent, the reader feels swept along by the rising waters of the rivers and the peril in which Viv finds herself is one that the reader experiences with every turn of the page. Fleur Hitchcock doesn't sugar-coat the reality of crime. There are no scenes of unduly graphic violence, but the author is prepared to pack a punch! There is adventure, excitement peril and surprise to be uncovered as well as an honest look at he volatility of friendship and the power of love, and indeed, greed. A really enjoyable, fast moving story for lovers of adventure who perhaps want to dip their toes into something slightly more gritty. 256 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Jo Clarke, school librarian.

Murder At Twilight
Seaglass
Eloise Williams

Firefly Press Ltd

ISBN 9781910080801

Lark is 13, and her life is difficult. Her mother is ill, her sister, Snow, has stopped talking and her best friend has a boyfriend, so she and Lark are no longer close. Lark is troubled, and struggles to contain her anger at times. Lark and her family come to a caravan park on the Welsh coast for a break. While exploring, Lark and Snow discover a ruined house. In this eerie, creepy place, Snow finds an old doll buried in the ruins and takes it back to the caravan. Events take a sinister turn when Lark thinks she sees a little girl dressed in green. Snow sees her too, and becomes fascinated with her. But the mysterious girl is lonely and desperately wants a friend; Lark quickly realises that her little sister is in danger. This is a beautifully written ghost story, creepy enough to give you a chill, but not too terrifying for younger readers. The characters are intriguing - I loved feisty Lark, trying to sort out her own confused feelings while watching out for her family. Even though Snow does not talk for the first part of the story, the author still manages to make the reader care about what happens to her. I also loved the way the girls' grandmother (Mam-gu) becomes an integral part of the tale, linking the past and the present. The writing is very atmospheric, the descriptions of the foggy beach and the dark woodland are the perfect backdrop to this accomplished book. The ending is both exciting and very moving; even though the ghost seems to be threatening the children, the author still makes us feel sympathy for her plight. All in all, I loved this book. I have been reading it in school, and I now have a small group of pupils who were attracted to the beautiful cover, and asked questions about the story. They are now waiting eagerly to read it too! 280 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Beverley Somerset, school librarian.

Seaglass
Armistice Runner
Tom Palmer

Barrington Stoke Ltd

ISBN 9781781128251

On the 11th November 1914, the guns fell silent on the Western Front marking the end of the war. A hundred years on, author Tom Palmer brings us the story of a runner who carried the message that the war was over. Armistice Runner is not, however, purely a piece of historical fiction. Instead, Tom Palmer has created two parallel stories that intertwine brilliantly. On one hand you have Lily, whose life is full of worries. Her brother is always making fun of her, her grandmother has dementia and she has no chance of beating Abbie in the big race. She is an instantly likeable character that many children will connect with. Her modern-day story is mirrored by that of her great-great-grandfather Ernest, whose diaries Lily is gifted by her grandmother. His story begins with his training log as he prepares for a big fell race. Before long, Ernest's life is turned upside down by events in France. Ultimately, his life is changed forever and he feels his only option is to sign up to fight. His story continues in France, where he encounters the full horror of war. As with Tom Palmer's other books, Armistice Runner is an accessible text that is a joy to read. Add to that Barrington Stoke's super readable layout and an easy-on-the-eye font, and you have a book that will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers. This is a brilliant thought-provoking book, packed with issues that children can relate to: friendship, family, loss. Wrap that cleverly in a story of sport and war and Armistice Runner is, with doubt, one of the finest war books I have read in a long time. 176 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Matt Davies, teacher.

Armistice Runner
Flight
Vanessa Harbour

Firefly Press Ltd

ISBN 9781910080764

I read this book in one sitting which should tell you all you need to know. It starts with suspense 'If Jakob sneezed, he could die.' And then carries on in that vein throughout the book; it really is one you can't put down and the beautiful cover by Anne Glenn seems to capture the essence of the book perfectly. Jakob is Jewish and hiding out helping in rural stables looking after the world-famous Lipizzaner horses. The year is 1945 so Herr Engel is taking a huge risk by hiding him. Then the horses are put in danger, both from a German officer and gathering hungry refugees. Jakob and Herr Engel must make the perilous journey to get the horses to safety as well as keep themselves safe. They are joined by Kizzy, a Roma girl who is in just as much danger as Jakob. This is a real adventure story, fast paced and exciting, taking a different slant from other World War II stories I have read. There is danger and suspense and the horrors of war come across clearly, but it is not so horrific that a slightly younger child, 9+, wouldn't be able to manage the content. A lot of the horror, bar a few passages, is implied rather than described and the main emotion is one of tension. At one point a real historical figure enters the story and this is handled particularly well. Some of the events are also real, such as the end of the war and dangers that were ever present by that time. This is skilfully interwoven with the fictional part and reading the note at the end was particularly interesting to see where the author had her idea for the story. This will be a useful addition to any Upper Key Stage 2 class covering World War II and also a popular choice for any child who enjoys horse stories. 240 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher.

Flight