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Reviews Written by
Dr. P. M. Stoneman "Patsy Stoneman" (Hull, UK)
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The Brontės - Children of the Moors: A Picture Book
The Brontės - Children of the Moors: A Picture Book
by Mick Manning
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.18

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing entry to the Bronte story, 29 May 2016
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With some trepidation, I gave this to my six-year-old granddaughter, who reads very well but is, after all, only six. I was very pleased to find that the format of the book, with its mixture of appealing and detailed pictures, 'boxed' bits of information and longer sections of narrative, allowed her to pick and choose what she paid attention to. Once I had explained that there were six children, and named them, she had fun tracing the individual children as they 'grew older' in the course of the book. By a happy chance, I had also bought a second-hand copy of Pauline Clarke's wonderful story, 'The Twelve and the Genii', for my eight-year-old grandson, and they had great fun getting their heads round the fact that the toy soldiers in the hands of the Bronte children in Mick Manning's 'The Brontes' were the same as those discovered coming alive by young Max in 'The Twelve', a hundred and fifty years later. 'The Brontes' is a good start for a child with an interest in reading, though s/he might need a bit of help getting into it.


1000 Things to Make and Do (Usborne Activity Books)
1000 Things to Make and Do (Usborne Activity Books)
by Fiona Watt
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Needs parental input, 29 May 2016
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I bought this for my six-year-old granddaughter who loves 'activities'. She was pleased with it, and together we made a dinosaur without too much trouble, but it's true that many of the activities really need a grown-up's involvement, unlike the 'activity magazine' that she's very keen on, which she can get on with by herself. So, good, but not excellent for a busy parent.


In Search of Anne Brontė
In Search of Anne Brontė
by Nick Holland
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ... bought this book partly because I had seen some good reviews, and partly because a new biography of ..., 29 April 2016
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I bought this book partly because I had seen some good reviews, and partly because a new biography of Anne Bronte is well overdue, but I am very disappointed in it. The author has not consulted any primary sources, and what notes there are simply refer to previous biographies, especially Juliet Barker's 'The Brontes'. Nevertheless, he finds it possible to imagine (and invent) exactly what Anne Bronte might have been thinking at every stage of her life and how the other members of the family reacted to well-known events (eg Emily is not only angry at Charlotte's discovery of her poems, but smashes crockery). There are old errors repeated (for instance, Aunt Branwell appears as the source of Anne's fear of Calvinist damnation whereas I know of no evidence that Aunt Branwell was anything but a mild Wesleyan; Emily carries Branwell upstairs after drinking bouts - really?), and there are many things that are simply errors (for instance, Charlotte and Emily are 'abroad' in 1841 (they weren't); the church tower still bears the marks of Patrick's pistol shots - but the present tower was not built till after the Brontes' time; Lydia Robinson expects to divorce her husband - but divorce was not possible, especially for women, until 1857; he seems to think that short-sighted people can't see small things; he thinks that 'crab cheese' is made from crabs; Wood's Lodgings are on Scarborough's 'north bay'; Gilbert Markham appears as 'Gabriel' and Heathcliff as 'Heathcliffe'). The whole is told in a patiently explanatory style, as if for slightly retarded teenagers, with jarring bits of slang such as 'watering holes', 'cold turkey' and 'a must read'. Overall this book made me wince. It is clearly motivated by a desire to praise and vindicate Anne Bronte but this cannot be done by simply imagining how she might squeeze her sister's hand or suppress a sigh. I hope that no-one will try to use it as an authority, since its facts simply won't bear scrutiny.


Jane Steele
Jane Steele
Price: £7.49

4.0 out of 5 stars I thought I was going to hate it, and indeed after Jane Steele's first declaration ..., 29 April 2016
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This review is from: Jane Steele (Kindle Edition)
When I read in reviews that this novel was a version of 'Jane Eyre' in which the heroine is a serial killer, I thought I was going to hate it, and indeed after Jane Steele's first declaration of 'Reader, I murdered him' I nearly gave up, only persevering because I've made something of a study of Bronte 'spin-offs'. The perseverance, however, was well rewarded, since this is a richly-imagined, inventive, and wryly comical book, with just enough of a parallel with 'Jane Eyre' to make it thought-provoking. The author takes some well-known quotations from 'Jane Eyre', which are used as epigraphs to each chapter - such as 'like any rebel slave, I resolved to go all lengths' - and pushes their interpretation to the limit, with startling results. There is also, however, a lot of well-researched contextual material derived from the history of the Punjab and its relation with the British Empire, and the sources for this are explained in an author's 'Afterword'. The author also confesses in this Afterowed that this is 'rather a ridiculous' book, and I found this rather endearing. I would recommend the book as a thoroughly good read - I found it difficult to put down - once you get over the reluctance to see Jane Eyre as a potential killer.


The Woman Who Ran
The Woman Who Ran
by Sam Baker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Anne Bronte wouldn't like this, 9 Mar. 2016
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This review is from: The Woman Who Ran (Paperback)
I bought this book because it is advertised as a modern version of Anne Bronte's novel, 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' - a book which I very much admire - and because it has cover endorsements from notable present-day novelists such as Kate Mosse. I was, however, very disappointed. The characters have the same names as Anne Bronte's (Helen Graham, Gilbert Markham etc) and the heroine lives in Wildfell Hall, but the detail of the plot is in a different register from its original, involving murder, rape and war journalism. The heroine is, like Anne Bronte's, in fear of pursuit by an abusive husband, but the dynamics of the books do not turn, like hers, on the shifting relationships of the main characters but on the excitement of the chase. Marian Keyes calls it 'unputdownable' and in a sense it is, because you want to know whether the psychopathic husband will succeed in dragging his fleeing wife from half-way up a cliff, but the whole development of the final chase strives simply for suspense and is, in fact, unbelievable when you pause for breath (could Helen really have run several miles over rough, gorse-strewn moorland, in bare feet, and in the dark, and still be able to climb a cliff?) Its geography is also obscure; Wildfell is not far from Keighley, and 'Bronte country', and yet is midway between 'the moors' and 'the Dales', while 'the Dales' is apparently an area which you can survey at a glance. I felt cheated by this book, and will not recommend it to friends.


Flower Fairies of the Summer (The original flower fairy books)
Flower Fairies of the Summer (The original flower fairy books)
by Cicely Mary Barker
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute delight, 9 Mar. 2016
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These little books are an absolute delight. The drawings are not only charming, but give an accurate representation of specific flowers - and not just garden flowers either - so that they really help children identify what they see growing outside. Then the verses actually scan! So few so-called poets these days understand meter, and although these verses are very simple, they do have a recognisable rhythm.

I gave the 'Spring' flower fairies to my six-year-old granddaughter and she said, spontaneously, 'wouldn't it be nice if there was a book for summer, and autumn, and winter' - and of course there is. A real pleasure in every way.


Zu3D Animation Kit for Windows PCs, Apple Mac OS X and iPad iOS: complete stop motion animation kit with camera, software and animation handbook
Zu3D Animation Kit for Windows PCs, Apple Mac OS X and iPad iOS: complete stop motion animation kit with camera, software and animation handbook
Offered by ZuLogic Ltd
Price: £49.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Good but perhaps not very robust, 20 Jan. 2016
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I bought this for my granddaughter who had already made some little animated films using her own mobile phone. The kit is good, with plasticine for Wallace-and-Gromit-type figures, but the webcam broke within a few days (my granddaughter is 12 and not given to violence). My daughter tells me, however, that the company have promised a replacement with no problem.


100g Tartaric Acid - Food Grade For Home Brew Wine Making & Cordials - Grade A Premium Quality! FREE P&P
100g Tartaric Acid - Food Grade For Home Brew Wine Making & Cordials - Grade A Premium Quality! FREE P&P
Offered by Triple A Online Ltd
Price: £3.94

5.0 out of 5 stars As advertised., 20 Jan. 2016
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I bought this to make home-made lemonade. It was fine.


WOOLSIES Sherpa Natural Wool, Unisex Adults' Hi-Top Slippers, Brown (Latte Brown), 7 UK (40 EU)
WOOLSIES Sherpa Natural Wool, Unisex Adults' Hi-Top Slippers, Brown (Latte Brown), 7 UK (40 EU)
Offered by Aneesi
Price: £19.90

2.0 out of 5 stars Not very robust., 20 Jan. 2016
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I bought these for my daughter, and although she liked them, she tells me that they fell apart well within a year.


ION SLIDE TO PC 35mm SLIDES NEGATIVES FILM SCANNER 5MP CAMERA OPTION
ION SLIDE TO PC 35mm SLIDES NEGATIVES FILM SCANNER 5MP CAMERA OPTION

5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny., 20 Jan. 2016
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This was a wonderful buy! The machine is easy to use and the instructions are clear and sensible. We have already transferred all our old colour slides to digital form and are working our way through a great quantity of negative strips.


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