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Reviews

When I see blue

When I see blue

Lily Bailey
Orion

A boy struggling with OCD starts at a new at school and learns to cope with the help of friendship and understanding.

There are 4 things you should know about Ben:


1. He's 12 years old
2. He's the new kid at school
3. His special number is 4
4. He has a bully in his brain


Sometimes Ben's brain makes him count to 4 to prevent bad things happening. Sometimes it makes him tap or blink in 4s. Mostly it makes the smallest things feel impossible. And with a new school, a moody big brother, an absent dad and a mum battling her own demons, Ben feels more out of control than ever. But then he meets April, and with his new friend, Ben might finally figure out how to stand up to the bully in his brain, once and for all.

Very well written and researched, giving us a clear insight into the inner turmoil of a boy living with OCD. The book also delves into the complexity of family and parental relationships, bullying and alcoholism. This is an enjoyable but emotional book that also manages to be full of hope and compassion.

Zeena Ark Reviewed by Zeena Ark on 29th June 2022
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Escape to the river sea

Escape to the river sea

Emma Carroll
Macmillan

Plenty of intrigue and a strong impression of place and time, a worthy successor to Ibbotson's classic. A very stong read, ideal for fans of the author and could be used for Gifted & Talented readers too.

Lucy Forrester Reviewed by Lucy Forrester on 17th June 2022
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My friend the octopus

My friend the octopus

Lindsay Galvin
Chicken House

A mystery/adventure story that weaves Victorian child labour, aquariums & finding your own independence. It's a page turner as the intriguing plot unfolds, with a few heart wrenching moments. The Octopus really is the star of the book. Just stunning!

Michaela Owen Reviewed by Michaela Owen on 10th June 2022
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Ready for spaghetti

Ready for spaghetti

Michael Rosen
Walker Bks

A wonderful collection of rhymes with some great word and sound play. Accompanying illustrations are a delight, full of relatable images. Lots of fun, great for the classroom and for sharing.

Zeena Ark Reviewed by Zeena Ark on 2nd June 2022
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The butterfly assassin

The butterfly assassin

Finn Longman
Simon & S

In a chilling psychological thriller set in an alternative near future, a seventeen-year-old girl strives to escape the child assassin programme she has been trained into by her parents. The main character is skilfully portrayed and really engages as the central pillar of the tale; as she desperately tries to live an ordinary life the reader feels her hopeless pain and sense of betrayal at every stage. The action is gritty and often violent (includes descriptions of poisonings, assassinations (gun and knife) and violent fighting) but never lets up.  A tense, high-octane read that will sit very well on teen shelves. And it's all set for a sequel, roll on the next one!

This is the noteworthy debut title from this author. Finn Longman is a queer disabled writer and medievalist, identifying as them/they. Originally from London, they have a BA in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic mythology, and an MA in Early and Medieval Irish. They spent a year as trainee librarian at Christ’s College Cambridge

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 27th May 2022
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Perfectly pegasus

Perfectly pegasus

Jessie Sima
Simon & S

A lovely story with bright illustrations and a sparkly cover. It's a subtle tale about not seeing what's in front of your eyes. Great! And there are unicorns! A nice one for story times too.

Claire Bowles Reviewed by Claire Bowles on 25th May 2022
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There once is a queen

There once is a queen

Michael Morpurgo
HarperCollins

Morpurgo has the ability to input emotion & make everything relatable and he does so again here. A sensitive & thoughtful overview of the Queen accompanied by Foreman's beautiful illustrations. A core title for the Platinum Jubilee

Emma McElwee Reviewed by Emma McElwee on 13th May 2022
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Brave Dave

Brave Dave

Giles Andreae
Orchard Bks

Wonderful story that is full of positive affirmations about being happy in yourself. Beautifully illustrated, this has a place on any shelves anywhere

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 12th May 2022
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Ghosted

Ghosted

Emily Barr
Penguin

Accomplished writing that entices and intrigues from the start. The characters truly engage and though the ending may not surprise everyone the journey there is atmospheric and mesmerising. Riveting romantic thriller that may well need tissues!

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 9th May 2022
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Over to you!

Over to you!

Roger McGough
Puffin

Witty, thoughtful and poignant in equal measure, McGough still brings together a good collection. Would sit well in any poetry section.

Deborah Bradley Reviewed by Deborah Bradley on 2nd May 2022
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The colour of Hope

The colour of Hope

Ross MacKenzie
Andersen Pr

Excellent world building, compelling storytelling and inspirational characters. A gripping, enjoyable read that entertains from page one. This author is bullying his way to the top of the fantasy writing charts!

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 25th April 2022
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Skandar and the unicorn thief

Skandar and the unicorn thief

A F Steadman
Simon & S

These are not fluffy unicorns but dangerous, edgy unicorns! Excellent adventure that engages from the start with heroic deeds, close friendships, mysterious pasts and a fiendish villain. Great debut and start to a new series, well worth having

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 22nd April 2022
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Ajay and the Mumbai sun

Ajay and the Mumbai sun

Varsha Shah
Chicken House

A page turner from the start. The characters are strong, likeable and make you want to root for them. A heart warming inclusive story with strong messages of friendship and social justice, worth including in any collection. Good.

Stephanie Horton Reviewed by Stephanie Horton on 15th April 2022
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The light in everything

The light in everything

Katya Balen
Bloomsbury

Told in dual narrative style it will pull at the heart strings of children in a similar situation. The well drawn characters are easy to relate to and tell the story of settling into blended family life no holds barred. Well worth having.

Dawn Franklin Reviewed by Dawn Franklin on 11th April 2022
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We sang across the sea

We sang across the sea

Benjamin Zephaniah
Scholastic

A story with a strong message about working to achieve your dreams whatever it takes. Colourful illustrations add appeal to the poem written by this well loved author. Good for Diversity and inclusion collections.

Laura Hayward Reviewed by Laura Hayward on 7th April 2022
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