Archives for January 2018

January 29, 2018 - Comments Off on Boys from space and troublesome time travel

Boys from space and troublesome time travel

Tying-in with the next issue of Scoop (published 1st February 2018), today’s post features some of our favourite science fiction stories.

Kids who love comics, graphic novels and space will simply adore Star Wars: Jedi Academy. Bursting with all-out action, this is an ingeniously entertaining series for 8+ year-olds. The same is true of Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth, which brilliantly blends the humour of Diary of a Wimpy Kid with the trials and tribulations of being a boy who fell to earth.

Perhaps best described as science fantasy, Madeleine L'Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is a truly special time-travel tale. When Charles goes in search of his lost father through a ‘wrinkle in time’, he finds himself on a petrifying planet ruled over by a gigantic pulsating brain. With much humour provided by guardian angels Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which, this timeless classic defies categorisation and continually grips new generations of readers.

Perhaps best known for The Day of the Triffids, John Wyndham’s Chocky (adapted into a children’s TV show in the eighties) is chock-full (sorry/not sorry) of chilling mystery. Alarms bells ring when eleven-year-old Matthew starts communicating with an imaginary friend and develops incredible mathematical skills. Might Chocky be more than a figment of Matthew’s mind?

Finally, one of our all-time sci-fi faves is Nicholas Fisk’s Grinny. First published in 1973, this thrilling fusion of suspense and sci-fi features The Most Terrifying Aunt in Literature, ‘Grinny’, so-named for her eerie ever-present smile. A recent edition of the book also includes its sinister sequel, along with an introduction by Scoop favourite, Malorie Blackman. Talking of whom, Malorie has herself written a whole host of superb sci-fi stories – scroll down this blog to discover more.

 

January 22, 2018 - Comments Off on Top of the Tree

Top of the Tree

With the annual RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch taking place 27–29 January, what better time to turn our eagle-eyed attention to a clutch of bird-themed books? From fascinating non-fiction, to flight-of-fancy adventures that will that ruffle your feathers, these inspirational books are sure to make your soul soar! Nestle down in your favourite armchair and enjoy ...

Magnificent Birds, illustrated by Narisa Togo
Created in association with the RSPB, this stunning picture book makes a gorgeous gift for nature lovers of all ages. The lino-cut prints capture the essence of some of the world’s most exquisite birds, from flamboyant birds-of-paradise and radiant ruby-throated hummingbirds, to imperial emperor penguins. Elegant, and luminous with energy, the illustrations are as captivating as the accompanying text is enlightening.

National Trust: Complete Bird Spotters Kit
Brilliant for budding young birdwatchers, this natty kit comprises a pair of binoculars, a spotter’s guide book, plus a notebook and pencil packaged in a handy backpack – perfect for introducing eight year olds and up to the art of birdwatching.

Press Out and Colour Birds, illustrated by Zoe Ingram
Truly a treat for artistic avian-adorers, this classy craft book features ten birds to colour in and decorate before pressing-out and slotting together to create stunning hanging ornaments.

My Dad's a Birdman by David Almond, illustrated by Polly Dunbar
Lizzie has lost her mum and lives with her adorably ‘daft’ dad in the rainy north of England, where Auntie Doreen pops round with hearty homemade meals. But why on earth is Dad making a pair of wings, and eating beetles? It turns out that he’s planning to enter the Great Human Bird Competition, which might be exactly the kind of uplifting event the family needs. This vibrant, touching tale will tickle the funny bone, enchant the soul and warm the heart.

The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White
While less known than the author’s Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, this is no less charming a book – sweet to read aloud, and laced with lovely lessons about love and celebrating difference. Like everyone in his family, Louis is a trumpeter swan but – sadly – Louis can't trumpet like his siblings. In fact, he can’t make any sound at all, which means beautiful swan Serena pays no attention to him, until his dad gives him a real trumpet ...

 

 

 

January 12, 2018 - Comments Off on Raise Your Game

Raise Your Game

Seeing as it’s the time of the year when many of us resolve to get more active, we thought we’d go for gold and kick off 2018 with a selection of matchless sport-themed fiction, from inspirational energisers about team work and friendship, to top-flight tales that pack real punch and tackle hard-hitting topics. One thing’s for sure, each of the following recommended reads is Premier League quality, so what are you waiting for, Scoopsters? On your marks, get set, GO ... !

Roller Girl written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson
Oozing originality, and driven by drama and gallons of girl power, this cool comic-strip caper sees lovable misfit Astrid (AKA Asteroid) learn to stand on her own two skates, harnessing self-belief to overcome the odds and become a super-strong roller girl.

Girls FC by Helena Pielichaty, illustrated by Sonia Leong
Always fast-paced and often funny, this pioneering series is packed with action, energy and engaging dialogue, alongside the exploration of emotional themes, from family strains and self-esteem, to trying to fit in. The author knows her football, and also knows how to relate to her readers.

Flying Fergus written by Chris Hoy with Joanna Nadin, illustrated by Clare Elsom
This super series of cycling-based stories featuring nine-year-old Fergus Hamilton and his band of biking chums strikes a brilliant balance between all-out action, wacky adventure and quirky characters. This series comes especially recommended for reluctant readers – Fergus’s funny, fast-paced escapades are as gripping his tyres!

The Fastest Boy in the World by Elizabeth Laird
Eleven-year-old Solomon dreams of becoming a gold-medal-winning athlete like his heroes in the Ethiopian national team and, ahead of a trip to the capital city with his grandfather, he hopes he might see his heroes during a victory parade. But when they arrive family secrets are revealed, and Solomon must step up and put his running skills to a serious test. Uplifting, gripping and great in its evocation of Ethiopia (especially the contrasts between Solomon’s rural village and the massive metropolis), this is an inspiring treasure.

Kick by Mitch Johnson
Football-mad Budi lives in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, and works long hours sewing football boots in a factory owned by a wealthy tyrant. While the working conditions are harsh and exploitative, Budi takes joy from the fact that his Real Madrid idol wears the kind of boots he makes, and he dreams of making it to the big time himself. While this exceptional novel doesn’t shirk from the harsh realities of Budi’s life, themes of being proud of who you are, holding onto hope, and the importance of friendship shine through with compassion.