Book Reviews: December 2019

Fierce Bad Rabbits by Clare Pollard
Penguin £14.99
When poet Clare Pollard was pregnant with her first child, she opened one of her old picture books, an illustrated anthology of poetry. She was unprepared for the sudden rush of intensity as she was transported back to her own childhood self. And when her son was born, Pollard found herself, as most parents do, seeking out her own old favourite picture books, as well as discovering new ones and bringing a critical eye to them. This book is a both a personal memoir and a history and exploration of picture books, from The Butterfly’s Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast (1802) through Edward Lear’s Book of Nonsense, Peter Rabbit, Babar to Where the Wild Things Are, Burglar Bill, Alfie, and the Gruffalo.
For anyone who was read to as a child, or who reads to a child. Fascinating and intriguing.

Deeplight by Frances Hardinge
Pan Macmillan £12.99
The latest novel by the author of The Lie Tree which won the Costa Book of the Year Award in 2015.
A maritime archipelago called Myriad, home to the novel’s young protagonist Hark and his difficult friend Jelt, was once terrorised by monstrous seagods who perished in a mysterious cataclysm. Since then, the surviving islands’ economies have become dependent upon these gods’ scavenged remains, known as godware, used to build steam-punk type constructions. But now there are menacing stirrings from the deep. Did all the gods perish? Absolutely brilliant, this is a breath-takingly dark, thrilling and imaginative story which is essential reading for anyone aged 11 to 80!

Oh, Christmas Tree! by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet
Pan Macmillan £6.99
Another cheery and cleverly plotted picture book from this talented team, authors of Supertato, Kevin the Fish With Fingers and many other funny tales. This time the star is a misbehaving Christmas Tree who just won’t stand still in a corner to be decorated. How can Bauble, Belle and the Tinsel Snake get him to behave before their Christmas is ruined? An enjoyably bouncy festive rhyming tale.
Sue and her daughter Wanda will be at the bookshop on Saturday 14th December at 11am for some Christmas Craft Fun and Stories – see our ad.

Violet by SJI Holliday
Orenda Books £8.99
The latest thriller from bestselling Scottish writer Susi Holliday. Carrie's best friend has had an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they'd planned together, so she decides to go it alone. Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available. When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend's place. Thrown together in a strange country and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel - because one of these women is not who she claims to be...
A gripping twisty tale, dark but humorous– read it sitting by the fire with some mulled wine.
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