Thursday, July 30, 2015

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup - July 2015: "Shoes of Silk, Men of Iron, Girl Detectives and Tiny Wee Folk!"

"In Their Shoes - Fairy Tales and Folk Tales, collected and illustrated by Lucie Arnoux (Pushkin Press)

Welcome once again to another of our chapter book roundups and it's been a very busy month, with our bedside book piles teetering and tottering. We're taking a look at a diverse set of subjects this month but starting with a subject dear to many girls' hearts - lovely lovely shoes!

"In Their Shoes - Fairy Tales and Folk Tales" is a gorgeous story anthology collecting together some of the world's best loved folk and fairy tales where shoes are an important and vital part of the story. Tales such as "Puss in Boots" by Charles Perrault and "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" by The Brothers Grimm - a huge huge favourite of ours - are lovingly illustrated by Lucie Arnoux.

Beautiful black and white illustrations from Lucie Arnoux make this book a really fabulous treasure trove of stories!

A fantastic collection, released to neatly coincide with an utterly amazing exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London called (gulp) "Shoes - Pleasure and Pain" which opened on 13th June.

"In Their Shoes - Fairy Tales and Folk Tales" is available now from Pushkin Press.

Next, LO! The Iron Man Cometh....!

"The Iron Man" by Ted Hughes, illustrated by Tom Gauld (Faber and Faber)

Ted Hughes' classic "The Iron Man" was a book that utterly dazzled and electrified me as a kid, and a newly published version of the story with illustrations by Tom Gauld is a fantastic version for kids who are just beginning to cut their teeth on rich and dark stories.

The story opens with Ted Hughes' rich prose describing a fearful terrible iron giant standing on the edge of a cliff, staring out to sea. Who is he? Why is he there? What does he want - and why does he seemingly tumble to his doom so soon into the story? Obviously this isn't the end of the Iron Man as his dismembered body soon reforms itself ready to pursue a mission unknown.

The Iron Man can be polished off over a week's worth of bedtimes (which is precisely how we read it), often leaving us breathless with anticipation for the next chapter as he slowly and inexorably marches on, and his true purpose and intent is revealed. Stunning, stunning stuff.

Time for a new book range with a resourceful new girl detective. Meet...

"Lottie Lipton - The Curse of the Cairo Cat" by Dan Metcalf and Rachelle Pangarry (Bloomsbury Publishing)

Lottie Lipton is a girl after our own heart. She's a clever and smart detective and star of her own new adventure series with two books available now, and more planned for 2016.

In Lottie's first adventure "Lottie Lipton: The Curse of the Cairo Cat", 9 year old Lottie lives in a museum with her Uncle Bert. Both share a deep love of history but both also love solving puzzles and mysteries - as you will too as you dive into the story and help Lottie solve the mystery of the disappearance of The Golden Cat of Cairo - a priceless egyptian artifact.

Fans of fast paced adventure will love these books. Look out also for Lottie's other adventurous investigation, "The Secrets of the Stone" (also available now). We have a feeling this is going to turn into a series that children will love so look out for "The Scroll of Alexandria" and "The Egyptian Enchantment" coming in January 2016.

"Lottie Lipton - The Secrets of the Stone" by Dan Metcalf and Rachelle Pangarry (Bloomsbury Publishing)

Fan of The Borrowers? Looking for something uber-cool about little folk to read? Puskin Press have got you covered...

"The Secret of the Blue Glass" by Tomiko Inui (Puskin Press)

A glorious fantasy story about tiny little people living in early 20th Century Tokyo, Tomiko Inui's "The Secret of the Blue Glass" is utterly captivating stuff. Tatsuo Moriyama is a young Japanese boy entrusted with a special gift by his favourite teacher. Tatsuo is tasked with looking after two tiny little folk, Fern and Balbo, who are small enough to nestle in the palm of his hand. They use household objects from the world around them to make their clothes and furniture, and require only one thing from Tatsuo - a nightly glass of milk, served in a special blue glass goblet.

The story follows Tatsuo as he grows up, has a family of his own and the shadow of World War 2 threatens to change everything - including the lives of Fern and Balbo who now have a family of their own too. As wartime rations take devastating effect, can Tatsuo's daughter Yuri maintain her sworn duty to look after the little people and keep them safe?

With echoes of bittersweet sadness that really heavily reminded me of Studio Ghibli's "Grave of the Fireflies", and as mentioned already echoes of the superb "Borrowers" series by Mary Norton, this is truly something fresh and original from Pushkin (who seem to have a knack for bringing brilliant stories to life with their recent publications!). "The Secret of the Blue Glass" by Tomiko Inui is out now from Pushkin Press.

Tune in once again in August when we'll be bringing you more glorious chapter book goodness!

(All titles kindly supplied for review by their respective publishers. Thanks folks!)

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