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Chrestomanci (UK)
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The Sands of Time: A Hermux Tantamoq Adventure
The Sands of Time: A Hermux Tantamoq Adventure
by Michael Hoeye
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE PERFECT BEDTIME STORY BOOK!, 28 Feb 2004
This little book continues the captivating adventures of Hermux Tantamoq. If you enjoyed ‘Time Waits for No Mouse,’ then you’ll love this too – and even if you haven’t read about Hermux before, this is the kind of sequel that doesn’t require an in-depth knowledge of the first book.
Talking mice aren’t to everyone’s taste. In recent years, anthropomorphised creatures have become much less fashionable – but this book may change your mind. However, I think the cover-art on both books has let the author down, as the modern, stylised, garish pictures give no hint of the charm and whimsy within.
The book is divided into many small chapters of 1 – 3 pages, which makes it the ideal bedtime story book. To ensure pleasant dreams, I prescribe one chapter before bedtime, to be taken every night until completed.
May your tail grow long - and all your squeaks be little ones!


Meet Me in St. Louis (BFI Film Classics)
Meet Me in St. Louis (BFI Film Classics)
by Gerald Kaufman
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great 'Behind-the-Scenes' Glimpse at a True Classic, 25 Feb 2004
If you are a fan of MGM’s wonderful musical MEET ME IN ST LOUIS, then this book is essential reading! A real behind the scenes look at the making of a cinema classic. So much detail including: how the amazing Margaret O’Brian managed such an accomplished performance at her tender age; problems encountered by Judy Garland’s continual lack of punctuality; an insight into Minnelli’s directing style; and plenty of great photos of various scenes.
Surprisingly, one thing not mentioned: in the ‘Under the Bamboo Tree’ number, watch for the continuity error ... Tootie’s slippers change colour before the final dance sequence!
If you love this film then you’ll love this book too!


Holes (Cascades)
Holes (Cascades)
by Louis Sachar
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Quirky Book For Boys!, 25 Feb 2004
This review is from: Holes (Cascades) (Hardcover)
A really great story for children aged 10 and above - especially boys, as most of the characters are male. However, I'd recommend this to adults too - if you like something a little quirky.
The writing style is clear and chapters are short, enabling the reader to digest bite-size chunks at a time, but numerous cliff-hangers and plenty of twists will keep even the youngest reader hooked.
Sudden flashback sequences may confuse some younger readers; this may have been avoided if they'd been printed in italics.
The synopsis - a story about boys digging holes in a hot, arid landscape - may sound dry and dull, but the well-penned characters and intriguing plot are anything but! Buy this - you won't regret it!


Predator's Gold
Predator's Gold
by Philip Reeve
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as gold!!, 21 Feb 2004
This review is from: Predator's Gold (Hardcover)
This book is a worthy sequel to the wonderful Mortal Engines and I would recommend any young reader who has not read Mr Reeve's previous novel, to do so first; a familiarity with the characters will deepen your enjoyment of this story.
As before, the imaginary futuristic world created for us is incredible, impossible, yet strangely believable. However, I feel the most fascinating aspect of the book is its characters. What I really like about practically all the characters is that they are never stereotypically good or bad. Like real people, they are multi-faceted - never "picture perfect" or "beautiful people". Seemingly good guys may have shocking flaws in their character and show lapses of judgement; apparently bad individuals may surprise us with redeeming features or perhaps when we learn their true motives or past history, we no longer view them in the same light. This insightful portrayal of characters is a valuable and thought-provoking idea for the younger reader to ponder. In real life, first impressions are frequently wrong. Good people aren't always entirely good; bad people aren't always thoroughly bad.
The plot grips to the very end. A thoroughly enjoyable read! However, I miss Valentine, the evil yet charming villain from the first book. His feeble replacement lacks his charisma!


Holes
Holes
by Louis Sachar
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No holes in the plot!!!, 21 Feb 2004
This review is from: Holes (Paperback)
This is an outstanding book. It is possibly best suited to children aged 10/12 and above. It is probably a boys’ book. Almost all the characters in the story are male – apart from the evil camp warden and a school teacher in the flashback passages.
The writing style is straightforward and clear. Chapters are short, enabling the reader to read bite-size chunks without breaking off mid-chapter. However, there are numerous cliff-hangers and plenty of twists that kept me reading the entire book in one sitting.
The flashback sequences may appear somewhat irrelevant at first – but stick with them and pay close attention to detail, as the actions of the past-time characters they feature have repercussions on the main present-day characters in unexpected yet satisfying ways.
My only minor quibble is that the flashbacks might have worked better if printed in a contrasting font to the main text. Occasionally, the sudden switches to the past can be unsettling, and may confuse the younger reader.
Don’t be put off by the synopsis. Although this is a story about boys digging holes in a hot, arid landscape – it is a cool book! Highly recommended.


Mister Monday (The Keys to the Kingdom, Book 1)
Mister Monday (The Keys to the Kingdom, Book 1)
by Garth Nix
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monday is the best day of the week!, 21 Feb 2004
I have not been a fan of the ‘Sabriel’ series by Garth Nix. I found their preoccupation with death a little morbid for my tastes. However, I recognised a considerable story-telling talent, and suspected I would really enjoy this author with a different subject matter ... and I was correct.
This is a magical story, equally suitable for either boys or girls. Magic is not used arbitrarily as a convenient flash-bang solution for every problem, as is so often the case in this genre, but rather, requires logical application by the central character.
I especially enjoyed the uncertainty I felt with many supporting characters in this story, never entirely sure until the final pages exactly who could be trusted. Nix has managed to avoid creating people who are stereotypically either good or bad. We may doubt the motives of those who appear good, and forgive the actions of those who seem evil, once we learn more about them. The hero makes wise decisions – but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they came back to ‘bite him’ later in the week!
The plot is well-paced, gripping and full of surprising twists and turns. This is an adventure as exciting as you could wish for – and never predictable.
However, I did feel one particular scene might be rather nightmare-inducing for the youngest readers – so recommend this for the ages of 12 and above.
If you didn't like 'Sabriel' - don't be put off; give Mr Monday a try. You won't be dissapointed!
I’m eagerly anticipating “Grim Tuesday!”


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