Category Archives: Authors

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.

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?

Precious and the Zebra Necklace

I used to love sitting down with the latest novel about Mma Ramotswe. To begin with I kept up with each new book as it came, but when Bookwitch got going, a few pleasures fell by the roadside, and my crime sprees in Botswana were among them. I still drink my redbush tea, though.

Alexander McCall Smith, Precious and the Zebra Necklace

So I was happy to reacquaint myself with Precious Ramotswe in Alexander McCall Smith’s shorter books about our favourite detective as a child. She was just as sweet then, as the woman she became.

In Precious and the Zebra Necklace, she makes a new friend at school, and when she discovers this girl has a sad mystery in her past, Precious sets out to solve it.

Like the adult ‘crimes’ this is more about human nature and simplicity and ordinary things going wrong. A bit of thinking about things, and talking to people gets you a long way.

Short and sweet.