Children's Book Sequels Blog

Updates & Book Reviews for Children's Book Sequels

Book Review – Joanna Nadin – No Man’s Land

October 14, 2021

”I could feel it coming. War, I mean. Creeping up on us, into our town, down our street, into our house. 

Ten-year-old Alan lives with his younger brother Sam and his Dad in Albion. His mother has been dead for 5 years and his list is his only memory of her, snippets of events and descriptions.

During a normal week at school one of the teachers leaves, but no-one says why, then Alan and his brother are taken in the middle of the night to a “Safe” place and left in the company of some women who used to be friends with their Mum. He has to leave his old phone behind & Dad gives him an emergency one with just his number on it, but that is taken from him and he can only contact his father when necessary. Alan loves code, it’s what his father does for work, so when he can use the phone he uses coded text to his father. There’s 2 dates circled on the calendar on the wall in this new house. One is Alan’s birthday and one is a week later, when the war will come. But who are the enemy and who is a friend?

This is an amazing story that I didn’t want to end. It works on many levels, for the children who want a good story, and for the adult it will mean something else. The map, I love a map in a book, is interesting as the area is recognisable, with old English names for places. This safe place is No Man’s Land, between two countries, the bit in the middle. It’s a story of code, friendship, family and loss, but most of all kindness.

Book Review  – Lucy Hope – Fledgling

October 14, 2021

A gothic tale set in 1900 in Bavaria. Cassie Engel lives in a towering house on top of a tall rock that looks down upon the small town of Edenburg. Extra storeys have been added to give space to various collections including one of stuffed owls.

Her mother is an opera singer, but she’s not well and stays in her room most of the time, and her father is a taxidermist. Cassie only has one friend, Raphael, who lives down in the town. One night there is a bad storm, and Cassie hears tapping on the window. She tries to open the window just a bit to see what is making the sound, but the wind catches the window and it is thrown open wide, wide enough for something to come flying in and land on the bed. It’s a creature but Cassie can’t work out what it is. It looks like a baby bird of prey, but she and Raphael soon discover it’s a cherub. Why is she here? Why is Raphael acting so oddly? Cassie must research her family history and secret past to look for answers.

This is a wonderful debut story by Lucy Hope, with echoes of Skellig and angels. It’s very atmospheric with vivid descriptions of the house with a roof that opens, the library with its smell of ancient tobacco and a zip wire that works between floors.

Thank you to Nosy Crow for an advance copy in return for an honest review.

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 …

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Another Twist in the Tale by Catherine Bruton

December 10, 2020

no ballet shoes in syria nosy crow middle grade 9 year old stocking filler oliver twist fiction book
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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.

Black cats born at midnightAre different indeedA mischievous, oddAnd peculiar breed And so begins the tale of a little black kitten born at midnight.Her older brother and sister behave but Midnight is different, she has magical ways, bringing an old broomstick to life and giving it a life of its own. Abandoned by her mother, …

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