I took a break a month ago to review Harry Potter and the End of the Too-Long Series, but I am back this Reads Monthly with Tots to Teens' monthly must-buys.
Imaginary friends and foes
Imaginary friends and foes
If Harry and the Mills & Boon Ending made you want to puke, Hexwood (a very serious and rather shocking tale about corruption, power, revenge and forgiveness) is just what you need to counteract all that melodrama and sentimentality. Do not read it if you aren’t prepared to pay full attention to every word and sentence, character and plot twist. The plot, by the way, does more than just twist. It’s a very agile and energetic creature, and your brain will be given a thorough workout trying to keep up with it.
Five people, called Reigners, rule a multi-universe, cruelly and absolutely. Over in Earth, generally considered by the other worlds as an uninhabitable backwater, the Bannus, a computer-like machine, has been reactivated and poses a threat to the power of the Reigners. Each travels to Earth intending to destroy it, but are drawn into a simulated situation, created by the machine, and forced to act out different versions of it.
In the meantime, Mordion, a man bred especially to be a spy and assassin for the Reigners, is determined to destroy his masters and hatches a plan which includes Ann, a 12-year-old girl, a boy called Hume and a robot. But are these individuals really who they seem to be or has the Bannus altered them so much that they are unable to recognise even themselves?
By Michelle Knudsen
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Publisher: Walker Books, 32 pages
This one reminds me of The Tiger Who Came to Tea (the very first picture book I owned!). Why? Because, just I expected the little girl in that book to provide the tiger with filling for his teatime sandwich, I turned the pages of Library Lion, half hoping to come across a picture of the lion lurking behind a bookshelf, surreptitiously stuffing a kid into his mouth.
Seriously though, what a sweet book and charming feline. I can totally relate to his roaring at the end of storytime and want to invite him to my library, where he’ll be able to roar till the cows come home.
Follow the Line Through the House
Publisher: Viking Children’s Books, 32 pages
Point-and-say books for your toddlers can be totally basic (and boring), but they are sometimes interesting eye-candy, like this one by Swedish author/illustrator Laura Ljungkvist. A black line leads the reader through the various rooms of a house, occasionally squiggling itself into interesting and recognisable shapes (telephone, teapot, hammer, saxaphone, stockings).
Each picture spread features objects to match the room (oven in the kitchen, rubber ducky in the bathroom etc, but look out for some things deliberately put in the wrong place) and text that urges the reader (or read-to) to continue on her journey through the house, as well as prompts her for specific information (“What would you use to clean your teeth?” “Can you find the ring that fell out of the jewellery box?”). Dolls house enthusiasts will be especially delighted.