Thursday, 26 November 2015

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup - November 2015 with loopy robots, annoying parents, astonishing animagii, superb submariners and inquisitive Alices

Ah November, that noble month that comes in with a bang (of fireworks) and goes out with an even bigger bang as we start counting down to Christmas (like we haven't been doing that since July!). So what's in our treasure trove of chapter books this month? All manner of awesomeness, that's what.

We start off this month by taking a look at the third book in Jon Scieszka and Brian Biggs' brilliant "Frank Einstein" series. In "The BrainTurbo" Frank and his artificially unintelligent pals Watson, Klink and Klank are on a new science quest to tap the power of the human body. Again, going directly up against arch rival T. Edison, Frank will have his work cut out as everything seems to be going haywire!

This series is an utterly brilliant mix of science fiction and science fact, peppered with Brian Biggs' fantastic diagrams and illustrations to sneak in a bit of book learning by tapping into children's imaginations. Utterly brilliant! "Frank Einstein and the BrainTurbo" is out now from Abrams Young Readers.

After all that banging and clanking, we're straight back down to earth with a subject that most children will wholly identify with (yes, even Charlotte!)

Pete Johnson's "My Parents are Driving Me Crazy" is a hilarious new book from an awesomely talented chap, with a penchant for being able to see life from a child's point of view. Riddled with delicious humour and sly pokes sideways at parents, it's utterly rib-tickling stuff as we meet Louis, long suffering star of Pete's book series (see also "How to train your parents" and "My parents are out of control" for more of Louis' adventures). This time Louis has just about had enough, and starts thinking up devious plans to thwart his parents' interfering and annoying behaviour. Send help, because we think Louis has a real job on his hands.

Fans of Tom Gates and David Walliams are going to absolutely love Pete's book series, dive on in as "My Parents are Driving Me Crazy" is out now from Award Publications.

So what can we tempt you with next? A book that's purely for older readers now, a series that's about to be turned into a zillion dollar Hollywood movie by none other than the master of darkness himself, Tim Burton. It's time to visit a very peculiar home indeed...

"Miss Peregine's Home for Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs instantly grabbed my attention when it was first released a few years ago by innovative publisher Quirk Books. They've gone from strength to strength, publishing some of the most darkly delicious books on the market and the "Miss Peregrine" series is now on book 3. Open up "Library of Souls" and you'll be once again drawn into a parallel world that is inescapably fused with ours, that crosses the boundaries of space and time as young Jacob Portman discovers more about the legacy left to him by his Grandfather, that of the secrets of the "Peculiar Children", kids with very special abilities that now hold the key to saving the world from dark and evil forces closing in on our heroes as they take flight.

With over 50 new "peculiar" photos (each book contains amazing and quite often disturbing altered photos of the various characters), this really isn't one for kids but teens and adults should definitely read the books way before the movie hits. Utterly entrancing stuff, pouring on the thrills and scares even more than the previous books and rounding off the series (while still leaving me wanting more!)

"Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children Book 3) is out now from Quirk Books.

Have we got time for any more? You just know we have. Time for a stunning version of a classic tale of action and suspense...

"20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" by Jules Verne - with this edition stunningly illustrated by William O'Connor is a sumptuous and luxurious new hardback edition from Sterling Illustrated Classics. The story of Captain Nemo, scourge of the deep, and his quest to rid the world's oceans of "plunderers and pirates", it's astonishing to think that this book was first published in 1870, and set the tone for many science fiction and fantasy books to follow.

With over 70 truly amazing illustrations from William O'Connor, picking out Nemo's watery world in a really gorgeous steampunk style, this is probably one of the best editions of Jules Verne's incredible tale that we've ever seen.

"20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" is available now from Sterling Publishing.

One more? Still mulling over which version of a particular well-loved classic to pick up in its 150th anniversary year? There's always room for one more Alice...!

"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass" by Lewis Carroll with classic illustrations by John Tenniel has just been reprinted in the Barnes and Noble Leatherbound Collector's Edition version (which up till now has been fetching a pretty penny second hand as it really is the definitive version IMHO).

Now you can pick up your own copy of these two stunning stories, picked out in a silver-edged hardback edition absolutely perfect for celebrating Alice's 150th year. The classic tale of that inquisitive little girl and her amazing adventures in wonderland has never looked better than in this version, complimented perfectly by Tenniel's stunning illustrations which set the bar very high for any other illustrated versions to follow. We have so many different versions of this book at home but this is by far our favourite so if you're really puzzling over which version is best for your bookshelf, puzzle no further!

"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass" is available now from Barnes and Noble Publishing.

Phew, shall we call that a wrap? Look out next month for a seasonally flavoured edition of our chapter book and early readers roundup. Crack out the mulled wine and mince pies, it's Christmas soon!