Book Review – Jasbinder Bilan – Asha and the Spirit Bird

Asha and her family live in the foothills of the Himalayas. Her father has gone to work in  the big city, to earn more money for his family. But nothing has been heard from him for months. No money has arrived and debt collectors are bullying Asha’s mother. Asha and her best friend Jeevan decide they have to do something and that involves finding her father. Armed with an address in the big city, they run away, to travel to the temple at the head of the Ganges, to pray for help and then on to the big city. It isn’t an easy journey, but they have help in the form of a lamagaia, a bearded vulture, which Asha believes is the spirit of her grandmother,  who has passed away.

Full of adventures including a close encounter with a snow tiger, this is a wonderful debut novel. The descriptions of the Himalayas, from the foothills to the temple at Karase, the noisy chaos of the big city, Zanapur, all come together beautifully.

Jasbinder Bilan is a graduate of the wonderful creative writing MA at Bath spa university.

I can remember her coming into the children’s library in Bath a few years ago and telling me she was starting a new adventure at Bath Spa University and going to take an MA in creative writing. Well that adventure has created Asha and Javeen and brought us the smells and colours of Asha’s mother’s cooking.

Book review: The Truth about Lies by Tracy Darnton

 

Price: £5.70
Was: £7.99

Jess Wilson remembers everything, absolutely everything. Known as Hyperthymesia it kicked in when she was 11 years old. Running away from a research programme at 17 Jess recreates herself at a boarding school on Dartmoor.

After the death of her roommate Hanna, cryptic postcards start to arrive in her room, which make her start to question what went on at the research programme and the death of her mother. It forces her to open files in her memory that she would prefer to keep closed. But searching through these files, can she tell the truth from the lies.

A great debut novel from Tracy Darnton, a graduate from the Bath Spa University creative writing for young people.

 

Book review – Chris Priestley – Maudlin Towers Curse of the Werewolf Boy

Mildew and Sponge attend Maudlin Towers School for the Not Particularly Bright Sons of the Not Especially Wealthy. They hate school and thd horrible teachers and are desperate for some excitement. This comes in the form of the Missing School Spoon and the threat of Christmas being cancelled. The boys become detectives and also uncover ghosts, time travel and other adventures.

Illustrated with Chris Priestley’s own line drawings, Maudlin Towers is a great tale for 8 years plus and the first in a series.

Please note that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.

Book review – Cecile Aubry – Belle and Sebastien, Child of the Mountains

A new adaptation of an old favourite,  Belle and Sebastien has been translated from the French by Gregory Norminton and given stylish line drawings by Helen Stephens . Originally written in 1965 and adapted for television, this is a classic tale of friendship.

An orphaned boy, bullied in the village below where he lives with his adopted family, and Belle,  a beautiful white Pyrenean Mountain dog, born on the same day. When Belle and Sebastien meet they form a loyal and lifelong friendship and have many adventures in the mountains.  But the villagers are not happy. Gossip surrounds Belle and she is reported to be a wild beast living in the mountains and there are orders to shoot her on sight. Can Sebastien protect his best friend or will it be the other way round?

Well done to Alba Books for reissuing this title and providing the glossary at the end.

Please note that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.

To the Edge of the World by Julia Green

Once in a while I get a children’s book from a publisher in return for a frank and honest review. I also reserve titles that interest me from my local library and do reviews on those.
Price: £5.12
Was: £6.99
A great adventure on the Edge of the World
Set in the Outer Hebrides this is a tale of growing up , friendship and being brave enough to take on new challenges and overcome fear. Jamie lives on the island and comes across Mara one day on the beach with her dog Django and her boat Stardust. She is everything Jamie is not. Mara isn’t afraid of anything. Except being sent away to school. With time running out at the end of the summer holidays she hatches a plan but Jamie ends up going along.
The history of the islands is included and brings to live this remote area on the edge of the world. Another wonderful adventure from Julia Green with lots of detail about sailing a small boat and living life.