Monthly Archives: October 2007

See Tim

Found this link on Tim Bowler’s website and thought it’d be worth sharing. For those of you who don’t get to meet Tim on a school visit, here’s the next best thing. This is what he’s like.


Winning reviews

The young reviewers groups at Simply Books have some serious talent. I’ve been surprised by how mature some of them sound in discussions. I was never like that at their age.

In the last few weeks I’ve seen proof of how good they are. One boy brought in the story of his prize from Puffin. I’m not quite sure what the competition was, but Charlie’s review of one of his favourite books won him and a friend a survival weekend, along with other Puffin winners. You know how you sometimes cringe when precocious children write things down? Well, Charlie’s tale was nothing like that, and I’m so impressed both by his winning and the way he described it.

And if that’s not enough, Joe brought in a letter from the Guardian saying he was one of their winners for his review of one of the longlisted books for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. Some of those get published in the Guardian and I’ve long been green with envy over how good they are. Joe’s prize was attending the awards ceremony in London, a book token and the longlisted books for his school.

I’d like to think the reviewers’ club has had this effect on the children attending. And I do hope some of the talent will rub off on me. And the luck.

The Weasley twins and the wolf

Did I mention how much I like Fred and George Weasley? I think I might have. Well, the other week as the witch, in one of her other incarnations, stuffed envelopes for the Hallé, she became aware that they were coming this way. James and Oliver Phelps, that is.

So blaming it squarely on Daughter’s very impending birthday, we took a friend each and went to see them. It was a family concert, and there were a disconcerting number of fairies and Harry Potters. And a Scooby Doo.

It was very Potterish, with Harry’s music to start with, and Fred and George narrating Peter and the Wolf at the end. They were good.

We argued on the way home over who’s the most good looking of them.

Books on radio and television

Listen to Malorie Blackman on Radio 4 today at 16.00 or the repeat on Thursday 25th, same time. It’s the Open Book programme, and Malorie will be talking about her new book, The Stuff of Nightmares. The cliffhanger, if you recall.

Recommending Richard & Judy comes a long way down my list of priorities, but why don’t you watch the special this Thursday at 20.00 on Channel 4? It’s Richard & Judy’s Best Kids’ Books, and it should be interesting.

And I’m not sure when this will be broadcast, but the recording is tomorrow, and I’m almost in tears because I can’t be there. Sara Paretsky talks about her first novel, Indemnity Only, for the BBC World Service at 18.00. Admission is free, but you need to book. (020 7557 1619)

Meg’s news

It’s worth tuning into Meg Rosoff’s website every now and then. She changes the page about herself and you can have fresh news. How truthful she is I don’t know. I’m fairly certain her family isn’t the Addams family, but Meg would know best.


Pancakes coming your way

After spending all of August trying to persuade Daughter to make me a pancake cake and failing, the witch was pleased to find that Findus of Swedish pancake fame is coming this way. The sensible people at Hawthorn Press are publishing Sven Nordqvist’s hilarious tale of crusty old Pettson and his cat Findus, who has three birthdays a year. (Between you and me, I always associated the name Findus with frozen peas, but that’s beside the point.) Offspring have enjoyed the pancake tale for years, and now it’s your turn, at long last.

Pettson and Findus live in a little red cottage in the country, and in this first story they encounter some obstacles to their plans for birthday pancakes. But obstacles are there to be overcome, aren’t they?

Sven Nordqvist, author and artist, grew up in the same town as the witch, though I don’t think our paths crossed. The Retired Children’s Librarian remembered that Sven made the posters for an event at the library as he was local talent. And I did come across the man in Gothenburg last year in my search for more signed books for the collection. (Artists do good signings.)

More coincidence here for the Pullman quote mad family – Philip is a fan, and this is what he has to say: “It’s not often that we come across books with such immediate and lasting appeal as Sven Nordqvist’s Pancakes for Findus and his ‘Findus’ series. The stories are ingenious, the characters are quirky and original, and the illustrations are absolutely delightful – I’ve seldom seen such an endless, apparently effortless flow of invention. Readers young and old will spend happy hours poring over them to find all the details, and revisit them again and again. I can’t recommend them highly enough. Hurrah for Findus!”

Hawthorn’s contact with my local bookshop mentions the book as being liked by the witch, and by Pullman. And it’s not often that the witch and Philip get bracketed together like this, so I shall shut up here and leave it to Pettson and his pet to charm you.

And then go make some pancakes.

Pancakes for Findus

Introducing Findus

Findus in the kitchen

This is Findus. He’s ready to make pancakes. Read more about him tomorrow.