Book Reviews: September 2019


Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
Transworld £8.99

On a winter solstice in the 1800’s, in a Thames-side public house, locals are shocked when a drenched man staggers through the door and collapses carrying what appears to be a large doll but then looks to be the corpse of a little girl. Amazingly the girl suddenly revives. When the mysterious man regains consciousness, they find out that the girl isn’t his - he found her in the river. An intriguing tale unfolds. Gentler than Setterfield’s acclaimed wild and gothic debut novel The Thirteenth Tale, this is an interesting and satisfying read. Enjoyed and recommended by Steyning librarian Jean Griffiths.

Higgidy – The Veggie Cookbook by Camilla Stephens.
Octopus Books £20

Camilla Stephens is the founder of award-winning Higgidy Pies, the phenomenal Sussex success-story which has sky-rocketed from a kitchen-table venture to becoming a premium British brand. Her first cookbook ‘Higgidy – The Cookbook’ was crammed with brilliantly unpretentious family-friendly recipes, and quickly became a mainstay in my kitchen.


Now, Camilla is back with a second collection of mouth-watering recipes– ‘Higgidy – The Veggie Cookbook’, which will tempt even the most dedicated meat-eater! As well as Higgidy classics such as Garden Pea and Potato Quiche and Squash Mac and Cheese Pie, the book goes beyond pies and tarts to include ingenious recipes for everything from a One-pan Roast Carrot and Chickpea Traybake to an Artichoke and Butter Bean Salad.


Super-yummy, fresh practical family cooking at its best!


Camilla Stephens will be talking about her life in cooking at a special author supper at The Sussex Produce Company on Thursday 19th September, as part of Steyning & District Food & Drink Festival. Tickets are £30 to include a delicious 3 course meal with £10 book voucher.

The Smeds and The Smoos by Julia Donaldson
Alison Green Books £12.99

An out of this world intergalactic alien love story from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler!
In a distant galaxy, far, far away…the Smeds (who are red) never mix with the Smoos (who are blue), so when a young Smed and Smoo fall in love, their families strongly disapprove. The star-struck lovers elope on a cosmic rocket-trip around the universe, meeting all manner of curious extra-terrestrials. Eventually, love and unity prevail!  This wonderful picture book is a joyous celebration of inclusivity and diversity, with Julia Donaldson’s humorous rhymes exuberantly brought to life by Axel’s colourful and amusing illustrations. A real treat for bedtimes!

Kevin's Great Escape: A Roly-Poly Flying Pony Adventure by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre.
OUP £8.99 hardback

We are huge fans of Philip Reeve and Sarah Mcintyre’s imaginative collaborations. Their previous books such as ‘Pugs of the Frozen North’ and ‘Oliver and the Sea-wigs’ perfectly straddle that awkward gap between picture-book and chapter-books, joyously illustrated on every page to keep the attention of children aged 6-8.


‘Kevin’s Great Escape’ continues the adventures of Kevin, the Roly-Poly Flying Pony who lives on the top floor of an apartment block with his best friend Max, and an endless supply of biscuits, his favourite food. Life is good, until one day Kevin is kidnapped by Misty Twiglet, the famous pop-star. Max and his sister Daisy must come up with a cunning plan to rescue Kevin, and they will not give up without a fight! Hilariously mad! Perfect to read aloud or for early independent reading. The first Kevin book is out now in paperback.
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