Some great book selections from Harris & Harris Books, Clare.

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The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

The title of one story, ‘Nettle Spinner’ is enough to transport the adult imagination let alone that of a child. This book is bursting with magic castles, enchanted forests, fairies, trolls (not the Internet kind) and magic aplenty. Some lesser known tales will keep the story reader interested. This book is definitely for older children, the lack of illustrations making it perfect for independent readers or a bedtime story read by an adult. Definitely one to be dipped in and out of and to keep for future generations. 

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Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

“An utterly believable world that is very much like ours but different” in which Lockwood & Co exists as an agency set up to tackle the very real problem of ghosts. Lucy, the narrator has recently to London in search of an exciting career and she certainly finds it when she joins this ramshackle ghost management agency! For older readers, this book delivers what Roald Dahl always knew children needed- a good scaring!

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The River Singers by Tom Moorhouse

“Something was approaching the burrow. Something deadly. Something that made Sylvan’s fur bristle with fear . . . ”

Tom Moorhouse is an ecologist and it shows in his accurate and mesmerising depictions of animals in this adventure. Sylvan and his brothers embark upon an epic journey after their water burrow hole is threatened. Beautiful illustrations make this a great ‘show and read’ book and the non Anthropomorphic treatment coupled with a non preachy ecological message makes this a wonderful choice for those nostalgic for Ratty and Mole.

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Gabriel’s Clock by Hilton Pashley

Jonathon is half-angel, half-demon, and the only one of his kind. But he has no clues as to his true identity, and now a rogue archdemon wants him for his own sinister purpose….For older readers of around 10+, this book covers love and loss, issues of good and bad and of finding your real place in a World that is not what you thought it to be. Exciting, fast paced and with enough meat on its bones to challenge avid readers.

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Cinderalla- illustrated by Sarah Dennis

Using the fresh and popular technique of paper cutting, Sarah Dennis has designed an exquisite version of the old favourite ‘Cinderella’ by The Brothers Grimm. As pleasing to adults as it will be to children, this is one to keep well out of the hands of toddlers for safekeeping until they can be careful. Definitely a book to buy as a special gift- for a christening or from a Godparent although this perennial story will never tire in the retelling.

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Picasso’s Trousers by Nicholas Allan

Picasso doesn’t want to conform. Picasso has his own ideas about what his art should look like. “‘You can’t paint faces from the front and the side at the same time’ they said. ‘No, no, no Picasso’. But Picasso said, ‘Yes’. 

Full of colourful pictures and a special surprise fold out, children will be both inspired by and identify with Picasso’s need to determine himself. This book has rave reviews down to its blend of art education, fabulous illustrations, simple repetitive rhymes and themes that appeal to children. Art is for all and Allan’s book breaks down any sense of loftiness and inaccessibility. This book is fun!

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Twinmaker by Sean Williams

Set in the near future, one beset by massive tidal surges because of global warming which has forced humanity to take great steps to reduce their impact and emissions, Twinmaker follows Clair Hill on her mission to save her best friend.

Readers will confront important themes – technology; the power it wields and whether it is in itself inherently bad or the way in which we choose to apply it. The ability to use technology to ‘improve oneself is another theme which has resonance in this age of photoshopping, plastic surgery and illusion. Young Adults are increasingly exposed to and immersed in a multimedia world of instant gratification and to a certain extent this novel taps into this with its vivid chases, gunfights and action packed scenes. Yes it does ask the reader to engage in a moral process, but it does this via stealth and is devoid of that preachiness much detested by children.

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The Taming Of The Tights (The Misadventures of Tallulah Casey) by Louise Rennison

Described by young reviewers as speaking in an authentic voice of a 10-15 year old (ish), Tallulah Casey is the madcap cousin of the author’s other popular heroine, Georgia. Tallulah Casey is putting all thoughts of wild boy Cain behind her. He is literally an animal in trousers….Not like nice boy Charlie (who she’s totally not thinking about either). The Tree Sisters are chasing those golden slippers of applause at performing arts college but Dr Lightowler seems hell-bent on spoiling everything for Tallulah.

And with all her mates loved up, can Tallulah resist the call of her wild boy?

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Great Explorers by Stewart Ross and Stephen Biesty

Another exquisitely designed book that doesn’t dumb down the epic nature of the great explorations it retells. Each journey of discovery, whether it be by sea, air, space or land is inspiring and is explained by detailed technical drawings, fold out cross sections, maps and panoramic storytelling. 

The imagination of a child knows no bounds and I would argue that this characteristic is retained by many great explorers. I would have loved to own a book like this when I was growing up although there is also a market for books that highlight the great discoveries of Females too and gives some background about why women weren’t so celebrated or encouraged to be explorers. 

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Asylum by Madeleine Roux

This photo novel, described as perfect for lovers of ‘Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children’ is thrilling, unsettling and creepy, packed as it is with photographs of real abandoned asylums. This new format for fiction is one I find exciting and definitely appeals to more visual readers.

For sixteen-year-old outcast Dan Crawford, the summer program at New Hampshire College Prep is a lifeline. Finally, a chance to make some friends before college. Even if that means staying in a dorm that used to be a old asylum. Soon Dan’s hanging out with Abby and Jordan, and summer is looking up. But then he learns that the asylum was not just any sanatorium – it was a last resort for the criminally insane. As Dan, Abby and Jordan explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they discover it’s no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. And that some secrets refuse to stay buried…

Perfect for young adults and advanced readers of ten plus.

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How They Met (and Other Stories) by David Leviathan

Love is a complicated, addictive, volatile, scary, wonderful thing. Many of the stories in this collection started out as gifts for the author’s friends. From the happy-ever-after to the unrequited, they explore the many aspects of the emotion that has at some time turned us all inside out and upside down.  A collection of stories about love, full of ‘Meet-Cutes’ and other whimsy. From coming out on a prom date to being fixed up by a 6 year old, these short stories are ideal YA material and will suit readers who like to dip in and out of a book.

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The Super Swooper Dinosaur by Martin Waddell and Leonie Lord (illustrator)

“But just what can a boy, a dog and a dinosaur play together?”

True friendship transcends physical differences in this tale of a dinosaur who swoops in and wants to play. Energetic, clear and lively illustrations reinforce the can do message. We have always loved the work of Martin Waddell and in Leonie Lord, he has a fresh and lively collaborator. 

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Z Is For Moose by Kelly L Bingham and Paul O Zelinsky (illustrator)

Zebra is absolutely certain he’ll be able to direct everyone to appear on the correct page, at the appropriate time, without any mishaps, unnecessary drama, or hurt feelings. It’s an ABC book, for goodness’ sake. How difficult can it be? Oh, dear. Zebra forgot about Moose. Any parents of toddlers and preschools will recognise that sense of frustration when things don’t go to plan….

A witty and madcap reinvention of the classic alphabet book full of suspense, zaniness and anticipation- something young children adore.

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The Library by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Smalls

Elizabeth Brown doesn’t like to play with dolls, and she doesn’t like to skate. What she does like to do is read books. Now that she’s grown up, her collection is so big all the shelves are collapsing. Her front door has disappeared entirely. What in the world will she do? The reclusive Elizabeth Brown surprises everyone with her splendid solution.

How do private libraries come to exist? This book is infused with a love of books themselves. A book to treasure indeed which should resonate with every book lover contemplating being pushed out of their own home by their growing book collection…..

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