This is Hal’s third Adventure in Trains with his Uncle Nat, and we’re off to South Africa during February half term for a safari and a trip to Victoria Falls. But just as the train is about to leave Pretoria, Hal sees something that doesn’t look right, so out comes his sketchbook, his constant companion and he makes a quick drawing. He also meets Winston, the son of the safari guide, and his constant companion, Chipo, a little yellow mongoose with a fondness for peanuts. They are also coming on the train as there aren’t many passengers on this trip. As the train starts it’s long journey we are introduced to a wonderful diverse cast of characters, from different parts of the world, all with their own personalities. There is an excellent conversation on the plight of endangered species as the train heads north for its first safari. But Hal still thinks something isn’t right, or is he just looking for something to investigate? When it does happen, is it just an accident? There are all sorts of twists and turns in the tale, which drives the story at speed along the tracks. Elisa Paganelli’s wonderfully descriptive drawings are a joy and it’s all in the detail. The train itself is described perfectly, you can just see the deluxe suites and the observation car and smell the upholstery mixed with the steam. If you haven’t read the other two stories in the series, The Highland Falcon Thief & Kidnap on the California Comet, please rectify this now. This series is a great adventure hurtling down the train tracks.
It’s 1936 and three children, Leo, Max and Elsa are riding the giant Ferris wheel in Vienna, celebrating Leo’s 9th birthday, having fun in the sunshine together, unaware that very soon life will change forever. Elsa and her family move to Prague in Czechoslovakia, Max has to move as his father has been promoted so they go to Munich, and Leo who remembers a seeing a letter from an English couple his family had literally bumped into. This is the story of their lives over the next 10 years, told from each child’s viewpoint. The paths they choose to take and the roads they are led down, a shared photograph, full of love, family, friendship.
It’s one of those stories that will remain in your heart for a long time, one of those books that should be on every senior schools reading list. It’s full of powerful words, descriptive prose, and you can almost smell some of the situations the children find themselves in.
It is based on the true story of the author’s father.
Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster UK for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
If you’ve seen the film Oliver! or read Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens you’ll love this new book from Catherine Bruton. This is literally another Twist, a girl brought into the world minutes ahead of her better known brother Oliver, who is now heir to the Brownlow fortune. But baby girls left at the workhouse in Victorian London are considered less worth than boys and too expensive to keep. So she is left by the riverside on a rubbish heap in the snow. But all is not lost. The baby girl is discovered by Baggage Jones who names her Twill, as she makes a noise like a little bird, and she grows up with Baggage and her friends who work in one of the more notorious gambling dens South of the river The time passes quickly until Twill is 14 and she is growing up fast. The owner of the gambling den has plans for her but Baggage manages to get Twill to safety in time. Left to her own devices Twill begins her adventures North of the river meeting the Sassy Sisterhood, the Artful Dodger, and other characters we recognise from Oliver’s story. Twill is a string charter, capable of making her own decisions and not shy of coming forward to say what she thinks. It’s a great book, full heroes and villains , and you can almost smell the atmosphere in some of the scenes. A great take on a classic story. Buy it or reserve from your local library and you won’t be disappointed.
Hi everyone, writing this as we’re back in lockdown here in Somerset. I hope you are all ok and if you’re looking for something to read, or to read to children, that you might find something on childrensbooksequels.co.uk.
I’m late with this update post as I’ve had a nightmare 3 weeks with all the book cover images disappearing on Google Chrome. It is now sorted, thanks to the wizard that does all the techy bits to the site. The difference between http & https – it’s all in the detail. If you have missing images please let me know. Try refreshing the page first.
Please remember to use the links to Amazon, Waterstones & Hive for your Christmas shopping. Choose a letter on the series A- Z, pick a series, then the buttons are next to the titles. You don’t have to buy that particular book or item. I get a tiny bit of affiliate commission from each sale you make and it makes just enough to pay the server each year, to keep the website going.
I am in the process of signing up as an affiliate to bookshop.org – a new online bookshop. I’ll keep you posted on that.