This is a new resource for finding your next Children's Fiction title - it's for pupils, librarians, teachers & parents. New reviews will be given their own page, then subsequent comments on a book will be added to each book's 'Postbag'.

It's only a baby, but it'll grow. For more information on how you can feed it, click here... Add your thoughts...

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Dolphin Song - Lauren St John

Dug out by... Dave

If you enjoyed Lauren St John's first novel, The White Giraffe, then you'll enjoy this one too. Now settled in South Africa, we meet Martine once again, picking up with her after the dramatic events of her first adventure.

Still only 11 years old, her second adventure is equally thrilling as disaster strikes on a school trip. Her affinity with animals is brought to the fore once again and Lauren St John fills you with the sights and sounds of the African continent.

Martine is growing up fast. She has to. She's getting closer to Ben, who she met in The White Giraffe and she's becoming more and more independent.

This is lyrical writing that takes you firmly into another world.

Longlisted for Carnegie 08.

For the writers among you...

At the end of the novel, Lauren St John explains why dolphins are so important to her, giving us details from her own experience. Choose your favourite animal and write a piece which explains how you came to be so fond of that particular creature.

If you like it, try...

What I Was ~ Meg Rosoff
Treasure Island ~ R L Stevenson
Adults Only ~ Maurice Gleitzman

Postbag ~ Empty

Shamanka - Jeanne Willis

Dug out by... Dave

What is magic? What is illusion? What is real?

Those three questions on the cover of this book are delving deep into the mind of the readers even before you open up. The magician's oath - practise until perfect, then never tell how - sets the tone for the story as it unfolds.

12-year-old Sam Khaan is in search of her father, hunting for what's real and what's not. She sets off on a globe-trotting journey which takes her away from the horrors of her gin-swilling and violent Aunt Candy... but where does it take her to? Well, enough countries to run the Olympics and enough intrigue to last you a lifetime.

Oh yes, and she takes an orang-utan with her.

There are some fabulous characters in this book and some great revelations about the world of magic. Have you ever wondered how to levitate, for instance? Can you read minds?

Babies know the secret, of course, but they're not much help are they? What is the meaning of life? You'll have to read the book and find out, won't you.

You only have to take one look at my list of tags to see how packed it is.

Longlisted for Carnegie 08.

If you like this, try...

The Scarecrow and his Servant - Philip Pullman
Shadow Forest - Matt Haig

Postbag ~ Empty

Verdigris Deep - Frances Hardinge

Dug out by... Dave

Of course you shouldn't steal. But what if you're stuck out in the middle of nowhere with your mates and you've not got enough cash for the bus fare?

But there's a well, it's a wishing well, it's got money down it, thrown there by people stupid enough to believe that it'll bring them luck. They didn't want it, did they, so you might as well have it, bring it back into the world.

So that's what Ryan, Josh and Chelle do, they reverse that money out of that well. But what about the luck that went down there with it? Oops, they've reversed that too, haven't they. Silly billies!

They should have checked out the local legends too before they took that course of action.

"There was a penny of panic in his throat." Of course there was, the naughty boy!

Fairy tale, fantasy and reality are nicely mixed up in this tale of rust, trust and needs must.

Longlisted for Carnegie 08

If you like it, try...

Skellig ~ David Almond
The Devil's Footsteps ~ E E Richardson

Postbag ~ Empty

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Finding Violet Park - Jenny Valentine

Dug out by... Dave

In a mini-cab office at 5 o'clock in the morning, Lucas Swain meets the intriguing Violet Park. He just has to get to know her, find out more about her.

A perfectly ordinary desire for a 15-year-old boy - to want to get to know a member of the opposite sex - surely?

But she's not a young woman, she's old. And she's not a living woman either, she's dead. In fact, all that remains of her is her ashes in a pot on the cab office shelf.

It's a voyage of discovery for Lucas. He has to know more about Violet. As he digs deeper, Lucas uncovers a trail that leads him to face ghosts from the past as well as the present.

Winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize
Longlisted for Carnegie 08

If you like it, try...

Just In Case - Meg Rosoff
Beast - Ally Kennen

Postbag - Empty