My Favourite Bedtime Story!

Today, in honour of National Young Readers Day, innovative mattress start-up Casper are encouraging everyone to share their favourite bedtime stories… and you know me, I didn’t need much encouraging!

I did have a hard time deciding what my favourite bedtime read was, though. So many to choose from! I almost went for Spike Milligan’s Silly Verse For Kids because I loved reciting all of his nonsense poems, and still know some of them off by heart. Then I almost went for The Chronicles of Narnia, but I don’t actually remember ever reading it at bedtime…

So, what was my favourite bedtime story when I was a Young Reader myself?

Adventures of the Wishing-Chair by Enid Blyton

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Once Mollie and Peter have discovered the Wishing-Chair, their lives are full of adventure. It takes them to all sorts of magical places, from the giant’s castle where they rescue Chinky the Pixie, to the amazing party at Magician Greatheart’s castle.

 

All these years later it seems like a unpopular opinion, but I actually remember loving these books more than Blyton’s Faraway Tree series; I  certainly remember reading this one with my parents more as well. I was totally gripped by Molly and Peter’s adventures, and rather than each book having a different adventure, in this book almost each chapter did.

As much as I enjoyed The Enchanted Wood in the Faraway Tree books, Fairyland was just as magical to me, if not more.

Just seeing the cover brings back great memories. I must pick up a copy again soon, and I think you should too!

Casper – ‘Because Bedtime is the Best Time’

Casper recently launched an innovative new mattress, because not only is bedtime the best time, but everyone deserves a great night’s sleep! They are celebrating Young Readers Day by sharing everyone’s favourite bedtime stories.

The Casper Team have already shared their own on their blog, here.

For more information, check out their website, and follow on Twitter and Facebook to see what bedtime stories have been shared so far!

Or why not share your own?

Spotlight: The Goth Girl Series by Chris Riddell

Being unemployed – which I newly am – is good in the sense that I can wander around bookshops during the week as much as I wish, but bad in sense that I can’t actually justify spending any money right now. 😦

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My will power was really put to test when I saw the beautiful Goth Girl hardbacks on display in my local Waterstones this week. WANT!

The second book in the series, Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death was released on September 25th, and is Waterstones’ Children’s Book of the Month.

How perfect are these for younger readers this Halloween!?

I mean, look how pretty…

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Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death

GG2Preparations for the Ghastly-Gorm Garden Party and bake-off are under way. Celebrity cooks are arriving at the hall for the big event and, true to form, Maltravers, the indoor gamekeeper, is acting suspiciously. Elsewhere at Ghastly-Gorm Ada’s wardrobe-dwelling lady’s maid Marylebone has received a marriage proposal. Ada vows to aid the course of true love and find out what Maltravers is up to, but amidst all this activity, everyone, including her father, appears to have forgotten her birthday!

About the Author

Chris Riddell was born in Cape Town, South Africa, where his father was an Anglican priest and a member of the ANC. The family moved to England in 1963, when Riddell was one year old, and he spent his childhood in a number of different locations, as his father moved between parishes. Both of Riddell’s parents continued to be active in the anti-apartheid movement.

Chris Riddell is an internationally acclaimed writer and illustrator whose many awards include the Nestlé Gold Award and two Kate Greenaway Medals—the most prestigious prize for illustration in the UK. He is the creator of more than one hundred books for all ages, including the immensely popular series the Edge Chronicles and his latest chapter book series, starring the irrepressible Ottoline Brown, which School Library Journal called “exceptional.” Chris lives in Brighton, England, with his wife and three children where he invents his amazing characters in a very tidy shed in his yard. (Goodreads)

What Are People Saying About Goth Girl?

“Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse is one of the best children’s books I’ve read this year. Possibly *the* best. Aside from its truly beautiful presentation, it’s a fantastic gothic story with unusual characters, clever writing and amazing illustrations. The whole package really is a work of art.” – Wondrous Reads

Both illuminated and illuminating this is a magnum opus from the singular talent of Chris Riddell and is certain to be the jewel in the crown of every book case it adorns.”

– Droplets of Ink

“Love. Everything.” – Sarah Churchill, Goodreads

Click on the banner to read the first chapter for free!

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Friendship is a Haunted Doll

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Doll Bones by Holly Black

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Title: Doll Bones
Author: Holly Black
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 256 pages
Publication Details: February 27th 2014 by Corgi Childrens
Genre(s): Children’s; Supernatural
Disclosure? Nope, I borrowed a copy.

Goodreads
Purchase


My name is Eleanor Kerchner.

You can call me the Queen.

I died in 1895.

Now it’s time to play.

A chilling ghost story by the bestselling author of The Spiderwick Chronicles, Holly Black.

Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . . .

I loved everything about this book in theory. Unfortunately in reality, it didn’t quite deliver.

Doll Bones is very much a book with a message, or rather multiple messages.

Zach’s often absent father is back in his life and decides that it’s time for Zach to grow up. He believes he’s too old to play with action figures and dolls, and should be playing basketball instead of hanging around with his two female best friends.

So, in a moment of madness, and without warning, Zach’s father throws away all his toys, ending Poppy, Alice and his ongoing game of make-believe. Whilst Zach is trying to come to terms with this Poppy believes an old china doll they call The Queen is possessed with the spirit of a girl who was murdered, sending them on a real life spooky adventure.

I’ve heard Holly Black talk about this book and the messages within it, so I should have known what to expect. But I was a little disappointed. I didn’t expect these messages to be so blatant and overbearing. I realise that Doll Bones is aimed at a sightly younger audience than the books I usually read, which could explain it, but I really wished the story had a bit more of an edge.

I feel like the cover art and the synopsis suggests that this book is a lot more spooky than it actually was. I mean, I’m terrified of china dolls, so the idea of a doll made out of the ground-up bones of a little girl, and possessed by her should have at least resulted in a slight shudder, but it just didn’t.

It was too nice.

I’m sure if I’d read this when I was nine I would have liked it a lot more, but I still think I would have wanted more of the creep-factor.

That being said, it was a really adorable story about the pressures of growing-up and how it can affect even the closest of friendships. I also thought it was written really beautifully, so all is not lost.

I definitely want to read Holly Black’s YA books. I’m certain they’d more to my taste.

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Doll Bones is available in hardback and paperback at Waterstones now.

Friday Feature: The Best Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years? Part 2 (6 – 8 yrs)

Last week I came across this list from October last year, of the 100 Best Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years compiled by Booktrust.org.uk, so in honor of Children’s Book Week in the US I thought it would be a good excuse to talk about what I think of the choices, and maybe add a few of my own.

If you missed last week’s post you can read it here: (0 -5 yrs)

Click the heading to see the full list.

6 – 8 Years

The 6 – 8 year group is a weird one. Even though it’s only a three year span I’m pretty sure the books I was reading at age 6 were vastly different to the ones I did at 8, but I think they made some good choices in this list.

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I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton, so The Enchanted Wood is a good choice for me, I really loved The Faraway Tree series too, but for some reason I never got on with the Fantastic Five.

Blyton isn’t the only one that appears on this list twice, Dick King-Smith’s The Sheep-Pig, and The Queen’s Nose both made it on the list. I don’t actually remember reading either of these even though I know they were popular at the time. I did however LOVE The Queen’s Nose TV programme. That theme tune just made me very nostalgic! I’d love to read those books now.

I’m surprised only one Dahl book made it onto the list (although there are more in the next category). I love The BFG but when I think back to my childhood, George’s Marvelous Medicine and The Twits stand out more than that one.

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I guess books like Paddington Bear, Winnie the Pooh, Babar, Pippi Longstockings and Charlotte’s Web are a rite of passage but they’ve never particularly excited me. It’s great to see The Arrival included in this list though, and The Worst Witch books were always a winner with me.

I’m also a big fan of Lauren Child’s Ruby Redfort series aimed at the slightly older market than her Clarice Bean books, which I haven’t read – so I’m sure she deserves her place here.

Favorite on the List:
Oooh it’s tough. If I channel my inner 6 year old – which isn’t very difficult believe me – I’d go for The Enchanted Wood, with The BFG coming in a close second. But The Worst Witch would have been my pick at 7/8 I reckon.

Missing from the List:
I know I’ve already mentioned Blyton but man, she was amazing. I’ve just remembered the Naughty Amelia Jane books which were definitely a favourite of mine. Seeing that cover again makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

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But the piéce de résistance is a book it took me ages to find. I could picture the red cover and knew that the main character had messy black hair and said ‘No’ a lot. I Don’t Want To! used to have me in stitches leaving my mum pretty bewildered (and probably quite concerned).

I Don’t Want To! by Bel Mooney
Kitty’s favourite word is No! She doesn’t want to clean her teeth, eat her vegetables or, worst of all, play with boring cousin Melisso. In fact, Kitty can’t seem to stop saying ‘no’ but when Dad tells her he doesn’t ever want to hear her say ‘yes’, she discovers that that’s exactly what she does want to say! When she breaks one of her favourite toys, she finds she does want to tidy her room. When Dad says he doesn’t want a goodnight kiss, Kitty decides she’d like to give one. When she’s bored because Mum and Dad are having a lie-in she does want to play with her big brother, Daniel.

Are you sensing a pattern with the books I loved when I was that age? Naughty female characters? Not much has changed.

Friday Feature: The Best Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years? Part 1 (0-5 Yrs)

As I mentioned in my Bookish Thoughts post yesterday, I’ve noticed in blogland that this week America is celebrating Children’s Book Week. It doesn’t look like it’s one that we celebrate over here in the UK (there are so many it’s hard to keep up)but it got me thinking about my favourite children’s books, (also so many!).

I came across this list from October last year, of the 100 Best Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years compiled by Booktrust.org.uk, so I thought it would be a good excuse for me talk about what I think of the choices, and maybe add a few of my own.

They have split the list into four year groups, 0-5, 6-8, 9-11, and 12-14 with 25 books in each. I’m going to look at a different category at a time. Click on the heading to go to the full list.

0-5 Years

It’s been a long time since I’ve read any books aimed at 0-5 year olds. A few of my friends have young kids, but there are none in my immediate family so I’m not exactly up-to-date where they are concerned. However, a lot of the books on this list are classics that most people will be aware of.

The notable classics that made the cut include The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Where’s Spot, Room on a Broom and The Tiger Who Came to Tea, but I don’t actually remember those from my childhood at all. Well, maybe Room on a Broom.

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I am pleased to see The Snowman on the list, although I don’t think I had the book, I just watched the animation at Christmas (and still do), Where the Wild Things Are is a book that I ADORE but I came to it later in life, and Dr Suess’ The Cat in The Hat will always be a favourite, along with many of his others.

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But the nostalgia really hit me when I got to Not Now, Bernard – I’d completely forgotten that even existed and did a proper gasp when I saw it!!! Meg and Mog (I was all over anything with witches – nothing has changed) and Dear Zoo. I definitely remember loving those books.

Favourite on the List:
It’s a tough one. I own versions of The Cat in the Hat, and Where the Wild Things Are and would happily read them over and over, but now I’ve remembered about Not Now Bernard I’m leaning towards that one. I think I’ll have to find a copy!

Missing from the List:
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I always preferred Green Eggs and Ham to TCITH so I think that should be in there. I also really vividly remember A Big Ball of String by Marion Holland. I loved that book so much!

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And lastly, there is one book that I’ve never been able to find. All I know is that it was about a unicorn who gets lost and ends up cold and wet and covered in leaves. I can picture it well, but haven’t been able to find it because I have no idea what it was called or who it was by. ONE DAY I WILL FIND IT. Any ideas??

What would make your list in the 0-5 years category? I’d love to know!

Next time I’ll look at the 6-8’s Category! (Blyton…Dahl…ahh so good!)