Pocket Pirates – The Great Cheese Robbery

I like cheese too. Just like Chris Mould’s ‘tiny pirates on big adventures’ do, as do their adversaries the mice.

These pirates live on one of those ships you might come across in a bottle (not you in the bottle; the pirates and their ship), which stands on a mantelpiece in a junk shop, somewhere. Their lives are not easy. There are many dangers, apart from the mice.

Chris Mould, The Great Cheese Robbery

In The Great Cheese Robbery the pirates find their cat has been kidnapped and to free him it is necessary to travel to the place where it is always winter; the place called Fridge.

As I said mice aren’t the only pirate predators. There are spiders. Spiders are quite big when you are small. The junkshop dog is much much bigger, and also fairly hungry and vicious. I leave it to you to work out how hard it was for the pirates to get their cat back.

The ransom demand was for cheese, and to get at the cheese you first have to open the fridge door.

Great – well, a small great – book for little readers, albeit possibly not as little as the pirates.

They’re coming

Coming soon to a blog near you:

Bloody Scotland Blog Tour

One For Sorrow

The third and last time travel adventure from Philip Caveney is probably the best. In One For Sorrow I felt that both Philip and his hero Tom, as well as the reader, have finally got the hang of this time travelling thing. It’s one of the most convenient ways of adding a little something to a plot. You can go forwards and backwards, and possibly even over the Irish Sea…

Philip Caveney, One For Sorrow

As the Resident IT Consultant pointed out when he tackled the book, surely Tom should know better than to get on that train from Manchester to Edinburgh. Things always happen. But if he didn’t, then we’d be none the wiser about Plague Doctors, infamous murderers or, in this latest case, how Robert Louis Stevenson went about writing Treasure Island.

And there is that priceless humour that comes from joking about everything Mancunian. They certainly do do things differently there.

Last time Tom had to leave Catriona – the love of his life – behind in 1829. Now it’s 1881 and she is still alive. What can a 14-year-old boy from Manchester do? Other than influence Stevenson in his career?

The Plague Doctor is still around, still ruining Tom’s life. But other than him, and Stevenson’s pesky stepson, 1881 is a sunnier place to visit than either of the two earlier trips. No plague, no murderers, ‘just’ a lost love and some literary advice.

And quite a lot of fun.

The camping book event

Bokens Dag, Haverdals Camping

Starved of book events as I was, it took very little for Ingrid Magnusson Rading to persuade me to join her at the local camp site. Neither of us needed a ‘room’ so to speak, but she was invited as a local author, and I invited myself as the world renowned Bookwitch. It is a nice camp site, and were I not against depriving myself of many creature comforts, I wouldn’t mind holidaying there. After all, camp site owners don’t usually arrange book events, do they?

Bokens Dag, Haverdals Camping

There was a lovely large conservatory filled with tables and chairs for you to have your coffee and cinnamon bun at, in the most fashionable eclectic style. So that’s food and interior design covered. The local authors brought their books, which meant Ingrid showed off the latest printing of her gorgeous coffee table book on Haverdal.

Bokens Dag, Haverdals Camping

Cambridge based Therese Loreskär brought both her adult novels about her ‘blogging queen’ and some of her children’s books. She generously pressed a copy of her blogging book (Bloggdrottningen) into my hands, presumably feeling it suited me.

Bokens Dag, Haverdals Camping

Two more authors of children’s books, one of whom reputedly has a series of 40 books planned(!), were there, but due to some admin mix-up in my brain I have lost their names. Rest assured that they have names. Not to mention books.

Bokens Dag, Haverdals Camping

Being utterly Swedish, a ‘tree question’ event had also been prepared. This means you go for a walk, and as you find a sheet with a question on it fluttering in some tree or other, you answer it, and if you want to win, you don’t shout the answer out loud to everyone else standing around, scratching their heads regarding what Bamse ate to give him superstrength. (His granny’s special honey.)

Bokens dag, Haverdals Camping

The day ended with a visit from Ulrika Larsson, who is a third generation Halmstad bookseller. By then I had had to leave, seeing as Ingrid and I had a prior engagement with some friends from primary school that evening.

Flying royally

All roads lead to Holiday Bookwitch Towers. Maybe. I told you a couple of months ago about our unusual flight route here, but a witch can always come up with more different ways.

This week I went another unexpected way, and I did it alone. The Resident IT Consultant and I were flying to Copenhagen, yet again (but we are clearly doomed), this time via Heathrow. But with our first flight delayed, we’d miss our second. We have no idea what was going on in Denmark, but judging by the lack of seats on any plane, with any airline, the whole world was heading there.

Meanwhile, poor Daughter who hadn’t had a seat on our planes at all, went ahead with her separate travel plans, also to Copenhagen, but with another airline. She was due to arrive last, joining us driving across The Bridge. Obviously, she arrived first. Also obviously, she ended up catching a train out of Denmark.

Wanting to be around to help her kill any uninvited spiders, I eventually suggested I fly to Gothenburg. They found this a strange idea, but put me on that plane instead, where I ended up sharing the last row with a cello and its player.

The flight crew hesitated each time they made an announcement, but each time – just – remembered we were bound for Gothenburg. Except when we arrived, when they believed we were in Bergen. I heard them giggling behind me, as the two names ‘are so similar.’ They are not. They are not even in the same country.

Unable to drive over any bridges, I also caught a train, which I shared with eight airline pilots (see, even the pilots had no planes!), who – one by one – went off to the toilet to shed their uniforms. Thankfully they had jeans and stuff in those natty little black carry-on cases.

By this point the Resident IT Consultant actually had arrived in Copenhagen, because there was the small issue of a hired car to pick up to drive across The Bridge. And once the witch had been removed from the equation, there was one last seat out that day.

By bedtime we were all here, separate flights notwithstanding. The rather lovely cellist had asked if I’d change seats with her boyfriend, but having been given my favourite seat, I really didn’t want to give it up. I explained to her that I had sent my Resident IT Consultant not only on a different plane, but to a different country, and she conceded that when you’re older you might do that.

Older, hah!

Puppy Academy – Scout and the Sausage Thief

They know who the sausage thief is. Frank Furter. It’s just a case of catching him, and preferably before the village sausage festival in Little Barking has to be cancelled.

Gill Lewis, Scout and the Sausage Thief

Here, with Puppy Academy, Gill Lewis is back with clever doggy students who want nothing better than to be good working dogs. Scout, the German shepherd puppy, wants to be a police dog like her mum and dad.

As you will have worked out, this is not a real school where dogs are trained to be police dogs. This is more a world of dogs who talk, go to school and have jobs, while being pretty much the same as you and me. (Within reason.)

This is a nice little adventure, where poor Scout is working hard at being good, but having setbacks and needing to work even harder at putting things right. Catching Frank Furter is one thing, but who stole the Crunchie Munchies?

A little wolfie gift for you all

Cliff McNish is a very kind man. He has written a lovely fairy tale called The Winter Wolf, and he persuaded his friend Trish Phillips to make him some rather nice illustrations to go with it, and then his brother Michael did some, well, stuff, and here it is, for everyone to download and enjoy.

Cliff McNish, The Winter Wolf

I thoroughly enjoyed this tale about the wolf that howls every winter, scaring the other animals in the wood. They all warn their children against him, saying you can’t trust a wolf. It’s just a trick. But there is – naturally – a tiny squirrel, who wants to find out more, and who goes where he wasn’t allowed to go. He speaks to the wolf, and he wants to believe him. He makes sure he’s out of reach, and…

Cliff McNish, The Winter Wolf

Well, when I got this far I didn’t know whether to believe the best or the worst. I was interrupted twice, and nearly shouted at those who dared disturb me at such a critical moment.

According to Daughter you can’t possibly have a wolf eating a squirrel in a book for children.

You can’t?