Review of Home Alone Harry by Jerry Rhodes and Rachael Messiter – Have educational fun with Harry the dog and the Thunkies @rararesources #Review #HomeAloneHarry #libraries #doglovers #kidslit #Blogtour

Home Alone Harry
By Jerry Rhodes and Rachael Messiter
Rated: 4 stars
****

I am delighted to present my review and excited to be closing the blog tour of this practical, yet lovely and fun story called Home Alone Harry. Come and meet Harry the dog and the Thunkies and find out if they can help Max out. This is with thanks to Rachel at Random Resources who invited me onto this blog tour. Read on to find out about the authors and illustrators, the blurb and my review.

Presenting the full tour details:

Home Alone Harry Full Tour Banner

About the Authors and Illustrator


Jerry Rhodes AUTHOR 

Author Jerry (2)Jerry Rhodes’ life-long research and teaching is the inspiration behind ‘Home Alone Harry’, this first book in a series for children featuring the cartoon characters, Thunkies®. After completing his degree and teacher training at Oxford University, Jerry’s career as a school-master was cut short by polio. He changed course to a management career in industry, discovered his talents for creativity, and formed his world-wide consultancy to collaborate with international organisations. A special project with Philips led to the discovery of ‘Thinking-Intentions’, to which he has now given the playful name, Thunkies®. Jerry writes his books from his weather-beaten old farmhouse in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds.

Rachael Messiter AUTHOR

Author Rachael Rachael Messiter. Author and Dog Listener with Magpie at Mission Wolf ColoradoRachael Messiter, a Dog Listener, uses the approach known as Amichien® Bonding pioneered by Jan Fennell. Rachael has her own practice, Talking Paws, based in Staffordshire. Previously she lived with wolves for close on two years in Colorado, USA, to learn how packs work. She has identified a group of issues that dog owners experience that are due to the well-meaning but flawed behaviours of owners, rather than ‘nuisance’ dogs. How to properly avoid and resolve such troublesome issues will be the theme of each book in the series Thunkies® love Dogs.

Nicky Hill ILLUSTRATOR

Home Alone Harry Illustrator Nicky and her dogsNicky Hill is an illustrator and storyteller from Winterbourne near Bristol. Her artwork is featured throughout the Thunkies® Love Dogs books, bringing a bright, vibrant style that captures the imagination. A great lover of animals both wild and domestic, Nicky also illustrates and writes her own series of books about ‘The Wotton Pack’; a group of inquisitive pooches who spend their days and nights having many adventures. She currently lives with her own pack of three dogs in Wotton-under-Edge, a small town in Gloucestershire, where she also co-runs the shop called ‘The Collective’.

Home Alone Harry Cover

Blurb

Harry is a mischievous young dog, adored by his family, Dad and Mum, Maisie (8) and Max (5). When the family leave him on his own he creates chaos. Dad demands, “That bad dog must go!” Alone and sad in bed that evening, Max asks, “Can anyone help?” How will the Thunkies respond to his call?

Review

The illustrations by Nicky Hill are bold and fun throughout the book and depict the story very well. The dog is especially cute.

The family go to the zoo without their dog Harry, who then creates havoc in the house due to being anxious about being left behind. The family don’t know what to do. This is a real issue faced by many families with dogs.
Meet The Thunkies, which are really cool symbols who give ideas of how to help the dog in the best possible way, so the dog can become less anxious and also learn that it is not in-charge of the family too.

It’s a great concept, all put in an easy to follow story, with real solutions as to how to handle the issue.


This book is incredibly child friendly with solutions children alone or children with adults can read and enjoy, and if they have a dog in the family, can also put the dog teaching method used for Harry to the test with their own dogs very easily and no equipment required.

At the back of the book are excellent questions for dog owners to ponder.

Also meet the Thunkies characters right at the very back of the book, just on the inside cover and discover what they do.

The authors/creators of this book have certainly done their research and also have the knowledge and experience behind them when it comes to dogs and their behaviours and in resolving any issues, in this case anxieties displayed at times by some pet dogs.

I would recommend looking just inside the front cover and discover the aims of the book within its educational, science yet fun and games concepts. Look at the back inside cover to discover who the Thunkies are and the wise things they do and then read the story and hopefully enjoy and at the same time gain some knowledge that you will hopefully find useful, so you can play the “game” with your dog.

Home Alone Harry The Creative Team Jerry, Rachael and Nicky

Website and Social Media Links:

Website – https://thunkies.com/

Shop – https://shop.thunkies.com/

Facebook – @thunkies

Instagram – @thunkies

Pinterest – thunkiesteam

all A Life that In Death remains @profsueblack @LancasterUni @MorecambeVice #NonFiction #Crime #Forensics

all A Life that In Death remains

Dame Sue Black closed the Morecambe and Vice Festival on the Sunday and there was much excitement and anticipation in the room. She was so fascinating and candid. She had so much to tell. This was no lecture, this was a great talk that was accessible for all. It was excellently chaired by Ben who also organises along with Tom, this eclectic and varied crime festival, full of excellent panels.
Dame Professor Sue Black is a Scottish Forensic Scientist/Anthropologist. She is currently the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Engagement at Lancaster University. She leads on the Eden North project and more. She was the lead forensic anthropologist for the UK response in war crimes investigations in Kosovo and served in Sierra Leone, Grenada, Iraq and Thailand. In 2001 she was awarded the OBE and in 2016, the DBE.
Sue BlackProfessor Dame Sue Black
Death is really important. She says it can be the funniest of things, poignant of things, saddest of things. This seemed such an important sentence to say, and even away from the festival, I still feel this. It resonates and has so much truth in it with its hidden complexities and yet so elegantly in its simplicity in the language used, in my opinion.
Professor Dame Sue Black has also been listed in the top 100 of influential people (ahead of Mary Queen of Scots and Sean Connery).
She also gives crime writers forensic advice, most notably does so for Val McDermid as well as the ever more serious research of forensic science and much more… At the end of my write-up, there is a link into what she is currently doing at Lancaster University. Please do assist in her valuable research if you can. All is completely confidential.
Her talk was so interesting and pitched right for a book festival. 
Sue said her best achievements being the best person you can be and can make others the best they can be. This seems like very sound advice.
She said her 3 strong independent daughters is her greatest achievement.
Her father developed Alzheimer’s and realised that stole his stories. She says we need to write who we are. I completely get her point, having lost family and losing one also to Alzheimers and Dementia and I too I managed to gather bits of their life stories from them, just in time. Sue Black also says about how it doesn’t need to be turned into a book, just having family stories to hand down to future generations is important. I happen to agree and I also sometimes tell people in the present too about my family and then in some way they live on.
all that remains
Dame Sue Black wrote All That Remains in Life and Death for her children and didn’t think anyone else would read it. Now it has been turned into a book for the public to read and into an audio-book narrated by herself. So check it out! It sounds like a book that will captivate people with its life and death themes. I must say the cover is very clever, especially the way the title is done.
The book is designed to get people to look at death differently and refers to death as a she.
Why death is female – her grandmother was most important person in her life and believed death was her friend and suspects its something handed down.
Death was discussed  as being like the last great adventure and it is interesting that she talked of death as not being something to be feared.
It was very interesting to hear how she became a Forensic Scientist. She talked about having empathy for the person alive and shows the responsibility and shows humanity but the dead body is a clinical conundrum and also about being unbiased and maintaining confidentiality.
After just seeing a panel about mental health, this was a subject also discussed in this panel. She says professionals in her line of work aren’t immune to PTSD but it is important to be aware of the signs.
Popular culture, such as tv programmes like CSI etc in the 1990s-2000s that raised awareness, which has its plus and minus points as people think they know forensic science, when there’s a lot more to it that what is actually shown and also not everything can be as instant. Universities, she mentioned had started to do more forensic courses.
Her work was also discussed in relation to crime novels, as she has worked with Val McDermid, Stuart McBride, Ian Rankin really want to write realistically and do their research to know what it’s like. I have read novels by each of these authors and each write very well and their work always reads well, but also perhaps because they also have taken the time and attention to do their research, which then, with the facts, they weave into their fictional stories very well.
Sue says looks at people anatomically and knows what everyone really looks like and did a bit of a Sherlock Holmes type of description on something. Creepy and very cool and impressive.
If you ever get the chance to see Dame Sue Black speak, do. She is clearly passionate about her work, she has amazing stories to tell and some great anecdotes.
Dame Sue Black is currently working on developing working on bio-medical identification techniques. Please click into the link for what she is trying to achieve for the future of the country to improve forensics further and do feel free from there to take part. All, I have been assured by Sue Black, will be confidential.
Please click onto the link:  Lancaster University Research Link
Sue Black and Me
Professor Dame Sue Black and Me (Louise)

This concludes my reviews/write-ups of the Morecambe and Vice panels. Thank you to all who have been following these write-ups for this year. Very much appreciated!
Thanks again to Tom and Ben who invited me to their festival.
I also thank Professor Dame Sue Black for her lovely chat at the end of the talk and for allowing me to take a photo of her and for her kind insistence that we had a selfie together.

Who? What? When? Why? A review of a panel at @MorecambeVice Festival with @william1shaw @thegyth and others #review #crimefiction #bookish

Who? What? When? Why?
A Review of a Panel at Morecambe and Vice Festival

This panel was created by best selling crime novelist William Shaw. What can crime fiction tell us about the way works? With 3 Academics who are avid crime readers – Mary Evans, Hazel Johnstone and Sarah Moore. Crime writers – William Shaw and Gytha Lodge. William Shaw kept a certain pace for the panel and skillfully eased everyone from topic to topic and the others answered and also  created discussions that were intelligent, informative and thought-provoking.

William Shaw’s latest book is Deadland. The book tells the story of 2 teenage who are so disengaged with the world they live in, but have a strong sense of wanting to help each other in all their complexities. It is up to DS Alexandra Cupidi to solve the case. William Shaw is praised by Val McDermid, Peter James and Peter May.

Deadland by William Shaw 2019 book
Gytha Lodge’s latest book is She Lies in Wait. It is about six friends, a dark past and one killer. It is up to DCI Sheen to crack the case when 30 years later a body is discovered and to work out who is lying as everyone becomes a suspect. Gytha Lodge is praised by Val McDermid who says it makes hold your breath and gasp out loud.

gytha lodge 2019 book

Quick Facts
60-70% of readers read crime.

There’s a new respectability to reading and writing it.
More women read crime than men.
Men win the most prizes

This was such an intriguing panel, especially with the title that was given to it. This wasn’t your usual panel. The festival certainly seems to like to bring something different onto the stage.

Crime books were discussed in different ways. This was about what crime books have to say and the sociology and coverage of the genre. Although there were academics, this was not at all heavy going. It felt more like an informative and relaxed talk rather than a lecture. It was entertaining, fascinating and well-formed and relaxed for the festival audience.

There were interesting points that were made. One of the first ones being about the National Press and intriguingly, since crime is now such a hugely popular genre, doesn’t seem to feature as much as other fiction, especially those in the light entertainment segment of fiction, with lighter plots.

The discussion began to move in a different direction as they decided they were all fans of the golden age and talked about Agatha Christie’s subversive character – Miss Marple, whom I sensed they had a soft spot for. The academics wanted to chart a shift from the golden age to the 70s, when noir began to emerge. They discussed how writing moved on and how their began, as there is now, more of a political and social consciousness about the causes of crime being written about. Writing also changed in how the police were seen, no longer were they as nicely well behaved as they were in what is dubbed as the “golden era”. This made for an engaging talk about the change in style and the approach within the crime fiction genre.

There was much interesting talk in the sociology of crime and how it shows the internalisation of positive and negative values. The panelists pondered over sociology as a subject has missed the powerlessness and unrest, which is added into crime fiction.

The panel moved on when William Shaw asked about the narrative in storytelling. It seeemed to be concluded that the narrative was very important and that conventionally everyone wanted to know how a story ends. This is true, for me anyway.

The why and how also really kept my attention and it seemed the rest of the audience’s too, when they talked about the fabric of people’s worlds and how it isn’t always the “who” in the stories that keep readers reading.

They covered gender in crime books and also how there seems to be an appetite for true crime, especially on tv, as they reflected on The Confession, which is on tv.

They concluded by talking about how crime is now colonising other genres. It got me thinking, there is a lot going on in crime books, there isn’t just the crime, but there’s the psychology and also sometimes some romance and other genres feature too. They also talked of the trend to feature women detectives as well as male detectives and to show just how, for both sexes, the job can be incompatible with domestic life. I liked that they included both genders in this and they weren’t stereotyping anyone, they were just saying how it can be for everyone with the hours put in etc.

They rounded off by going back to the golden age and addressing the question about whether it is possible to write crime as a period piece and to take a book as a thing within its time? This was an yet another excellent question. They pondered this and decided that it can be difficult to keep to a certain line, with modern thoughts, but to not have a period piece become so ridiculous that piece of writing becomes too modern. This was a point so well made, I reckoned as the writing would then lose the fact it is historical and no one could learn anything from the past or get any sense of different times. They discussed how it can be difficult as times have changed and it has to be so worked out what would be acceptable and also about how in the past there are things that are spoken about much more freely now than they were in earlier years.

This was another fascinating panel and to hear about crime fiction from such a broad and different angle brought new and different insight.

I thank William Shaw for allowing me to take a photo of him and also for him reckoning him and I should have a selfie. I also thank him for the nice chat.

Me and William Shaw            William Shaw
              Me with William Shaw                          Gytha Lodge and William Shaw

Both authors also have more books to come in 2020.

 

                   

There are Mysterious Goings on in Literary Morecambe – A Review of the Morecambe and Vice Festival @MorecambeVice #Crime #Festival #Morecambe #Lancaster #Books #Review

There are Mysterious Goings on in Literary Morecambe

A Review of the Morecambe and Vice Festival

An array of hats, talk of murder and other crimes, music filling the air and an art deco-hotel mixed together with a sense of quirkiness – it could only be The Morecambe and Vice Festival.

The weekend just past (28th-29th September) found me in Morecambe at the Morecambe and Vice Festival. A diverse and quirky crime festival that is in its third year. I first came here last year to meet Hugh Fraser (played Captain Hastings in Poirot and many other roles and is an author) – that’s a whole other story…
I had barely started my blog when I was first at the festival, and now with my blog being a year old, and grown somewhat, I was so pleased that kindly, the organisers invited me to review their festival on my blog. It was such a pleasure and privilege. It was an incredible opportunity given by Tom Fisher and Ben Cooper-Muir.

Morecambe feels like it is on the up again. There is a second series of The Bay being filmed there and they are getting The Eden Project and there is of course this wonderful festival called Morecambe and Vice, which is not afraid of diverse subjects or of inviting authors and other speakers from across the UK.

All Ready to Begin with Tom and Ben

Morecambe and Vice is now, as previously mentioned, is in its third year, but the reality is so much different. It feels like it has been going for longer. It is so professional, welcoming and yet so relaxed. Tom and Ben have clearly put in a lot of effort into making this year, like last year, a success. This is a festival where authors (and audiences) seem to like to be able to return to, given the chance.

I arrived on Friday afternoon and took a look around the streets and of course along the seafront and got ready for the Saturday at The Midland Hotel. The Midland is a lovely art-deco hotel and has featured in some tv episodes of Poirot by Agatha Christie. It was a terrific venue. I loved The Winter Garden’s Theatre the year before, but The Midland was warmer. Who knows where the venue will be next year… 

Midland Hotel
All Art-Deco at The Midland Hotel

Registration to introduce yourself and collect your badge was between 9:00am and 9:30am. It’s all wonderfully stress free and it was quite exciting seeing not only my name, but also my blog name on the badge. That was very nicely done.

The air was filled with music, including the theme tune to the Poirot tv series, which really grabbed everyone’s attention. All the music was very fitting for the time period and place where we were, which added perfectly to the amazing welcoming and exciting atmosphere that was building up as people began to fill the room. The stage was dressed and looking so good. I loved all the hats, so simple and yet so effective.

Stage and HatsStage is Set, Complete With Great Hats

The weekend was split into sections, after each panel had spoken, there was a very adequate interval for book signing opportunities and time to get a beverage. 1 hour for lunch was also well factored in. The atmosphere is fabulous with a pianist playing very well at each interval between the panels.

Over the entire weekend, there were 12 different panels of speakers – 6 each day.

Saturday:

  • What’s the Worst That Could Happen – Crime and Thrillers in an Apocalyptic Setting with Lesley Kelly, Ceri Lowe and Matt Brolly. Moderated by Tom Fisher.
  • Let them Lead the Way – Children’s and YA Crime with Nicki Thornton, Sarah Todd Taylor and Sharna Jackson. Moderated by Anne Coates
  • Discussing Dyslexia with Fleur Hitchcock, Jane Elson and Jennie Finch. Participating Moderator – Margaret Murphy.
  • Who, What, Where, When, Why – What can crime fiction tell us about the way works? With Academics – Mary Evans, Hazel Johnstone and Sarah Moore. Crime writers – William Shaw and Gytha Lodge.
  • Partners in Crime with Adam Croft and surprise guest bring their podcast to the festival
  • In Conversation with Lin Anderson – best selling author discusses her life and career with debut author Noelle Holten.Morecambe Sea

Sunday:

  • Festival of Festivals – Festival organisers discuss what led them to partake in such insanity with Bob McDevitt, Quentin Bates, Dr. Jacky Collins. Moderator: Ben Cooper-Muir.
  • Winner Winner – Prize winning authors discuss the pros and cons of their wins with Robert Scragg, Rachel Sargeant, Alison Belsham and Margaret Kirk.
  • Till Death Do Us Part – What’s it like being in a relationship with another crime writer? with Nicola Upson and Mandy Morton. Interviewer – Graham Smith
  • Femme Fatales with Eileen Wharton, Danielle Ramsey, Sheila Quigley, KA Richardson and moderated by Dr. Jacky Collins
  • Let’s Talk: Mental Health Mental Health in Crime Fiction and how Crime Fiction can help with mental health with Dr. Liz Brewster and Dr. Chris Merritt and participating moderator – Barbara Nadel.
  • In Conversation with Professor Dame Sue Black. The anthropologist, academic and author discusses her life and work with Ben Cooper-Muir.Morecambe Boats

This is a festival, even with the amount of travelling I have to do to get to it (3 trains), is absolutely a festival, if invited again, I would be delighted to return to and review. It is attracting some great authors and I love all that is on offer and the diversity. It was so interesting to meet lots of authors, including some great children’s and YA authors and some doctors and a forensic scientist. It was lots of fun that they had a podcast. It was all very different for a festival and I liked that a lot. I had a very enjoyable time and many happy memories were created of the place, the people I met and the festival as a whole.

With the scene now set, I will be also sharing my reviews of each panel over the coming week or so.

Eric Morecambe      Eric Morecambe   

 

 

Celebrating The Enduring Love of Roald Dahl for Children and Adults #RoaldDahl #RoaldDahlDay2019 @QuentinBlake #ChapterBooks #TalesoftheUnexpected #Kidslit #Fiction #Humour #Fantasy #Family #Friendship

Celebrating the Enduring Love of Roald Dahl

This is a short article on the enduring love of Roald Dahl. Today is the anniversary of his birthday and what we call Roald Dahl Day.

Roald Dahl Pic

In the Beginning

Roald Dahl was born in 1916 in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales. He wrote from his shed using HB pencils. He wrote for children and adults. His books live on in both book and film form. Sometimes the films are done well and sometimes they are not, that’s always the nature of films however, no matter who the original creator is. Some stories have also been adapted for TV and Radio.

Roald Dahl Day

Roald Dahl Day

Schools and libraries across the country tend to celebrate Roald Dahl every 13th September – his birthday. This year’s theme for Roald Dahl Day is Matilda. She is courageous and has a love of reading, even though it means going against her parents and isn’t seen as being trendy. The book is fun and has magic within it, but it is also sweet and gentle with Miss Honey, but then there is a marked contrast between her and Miss Trunchbull, which makes for great characterisation and story-telling.

The Books and Films

RD books

The books feed into children’s desires and imaginations. Take chocolate for example. There is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and what child wouldn’t want to join Charlie Bucket and the eccentric Willy Wonka in a factory that experiments and creates chocolate and sweets, even in this more health conscious society. The follow-up – Charlie and the Great Glass elevator has some adventure and also takes children a little into the political world and what the USA was like at the time Roald Dahl was writing about.
There is magic in The Witches, The Magic Finger and Matilda and family and school life as themes, that also have mild trepidation and villains and heroes. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was made into live action films – two of them.

James and the Giant Peach also has magic and heroes and villains. There is also friendship and adventure and a need for escape as James wants to escape his two gruesome aunts.

There is fun with The Enormous Crocodile that takes children through the jungle meeting different animals and with just enough scariness that children really enjoy when the crocodile wants to eat children.

Fantastic Mr Fox is also about nature and animals, but this time about the need to understand and look after them. It also has a political element, but on a child level about the landscape and fox hunting. This was also made into a CGI film and there was a song I remember learning when I was in primary school for the baby foxes. We acted it out and I was a baby fox.

There is also Daniel, Champion of the World about a boy and his plans. This was made into a live action film

There’s mischief to be had in the Twits and George’s Marvellous medicine. There’s also elements of inventiveness. George’s Marvellous Medicine was used for a Jackanory story on tv.

The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me shows teamwork, friendship and entrepreneurship as they set up their own window cleaning company and there is also some trepidation with a burglary in a grand house.

The BFG with his good dream catching skills befriends Sophie and the two become lovely friends.

Esio-Trot was the last book to be published in Roald Dahl’s lifetime. For those who haven’t worked it out, it is Tortoise spelt backwards.  Esio-Trot tackles loneliness and is about Mr Hopper trying to make a connection with Mrs Silver, who he has loved from afar. This was made into a film for tv.

Boy and Going Solo are both Non-Fiction and tell of Roald Dahl’s life. It may sit generally in the children’s non-fiction area, but really both children and adults will gain fascinating knowledge from them. There was a documentary style programme about them on tv.

Revolting Rhymes is exactly that and has twisted takes on fairy tales. There used to be a tv series also inspired by this with chef Gary Rhodes showing how to make revolting recipes inspired by the book with his assistant – actor, Pam Ferris.

There are books that are not only for children too, although the main emphasis seems to be on children. He also wrote really dark stories for young adults and adults alike that are twisted tales such as Skins and Tales of the Unexpected, which were on TV. Tales of plants that could talk; tattoos that someone wanted and could have straight from another person; tales of sinister bedsits etc.

There are also other books too that have been and are being produced.

Further Facts

Roald Dahl wrote everyday from 10 am to 12 noon and then from 4 pm to 6pm. His first book wasn’t what people imagined it to be – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it was The Gremlins, those furry, cute characters that change when wet and well, aren’t so cute after that.

This was not the end of his talent. He worked with illustrator Quentin Blake (more about him later) and with James Bond creator Ian Fleming and created Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang and worked on the book for the film of this and of James Bond: You Only Live Twice. He and Ian Fleming worked together prior to this during the second world war, providing information for MI6. Roald had also been in battles during the war too. He was with the Royal Air Force (RAF) until 1946.

Roald Dahl had 5 children and married twice. He has a granddaughter still living – Sophie Dahl. 

Roald Dahl died on 23rd November 1990. He was 74 and was suffering with myeldysplastic syndrome (a type of blood disease). He is buried in the cemetery of St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire. He was buried with some of his favourite things, including: a power saw, HB pencils, chocolate, red wine and his snooker cues.

Inspiration and Importance

Roald Dahl’s stories and screenplays endure as does the love for them. He had a talent for knowing what people like and to be able to us universally broad themes to create magical worlds and fun and adventure. He had a talent to bring about some really dark stories and yet aiming them just right for his target audience. It now also helps that schools and libraries celebrate his life. He is still an important author within this age of computer technology as children and adults read less. Mention Roald Dahl and everyone knows his books, which is a good place to start. Curiosity about authors will hopefully come too as so many have led or do lead such fascinating lives. Roald Dahl is everywhere, in his own work and has inspired other authors and it is seen in their work, such as now there are people like David Walliams and other writers who are similar to him, whom it is evident must have been inspired by Roald Dahl.

Quentin Blake

Quentin Blake Books

Now it wouldn’t be right not to mention Quentin Blake too. He illustrated many of Roald’s books and has many fabulous books of his own creations too that are so full of fun and excellent illustrations. His books are now of many, his most well-known perhaps being Mister Magnolia and Mrs Armitage.

Children’s Laureate and other Awards

The Children’s Laureate seems to have been around forever, or so it is sometimes assumed, but it wasn’t until 1999 this post was created. Today in 2019, as I write, it is Cressida Cowell. In 1999, the very first Children’s Laureate was Quentin Blake.

He has also received so many awards for his books, including the Whitbred award. He has also been personally recognised and has certainly been living an illustrious life. He was made CBE in 2005, is an RDI and has numerous honorary degrees from universities throughout the UK. He received a knighthood for ‘services to illustration’ in the New Year’s Honours for 2013, and became an Honorary Freeman of the City of London in 2015. It is an impressive career and impressive to be recognised so much for all his work that endures and I am sure will also endure, not just through his collaboration with Roald Dahl, but also the work he has produced himself too, which is quite some body of work indeed as he has always worked in illustration and even illustrated for Punch magazine.

An Additional Career

Quentin also has another career. He works as a curator for exhibitions in well-known famous places – the National Gallery, the British Library and the Musée du Petit Palais in Paris. In the last few years he has begun to make larger-scale work for hospitals and healthcare settings in the UK and France where his work can be seen in wards and public spaces.

In Conclusion

So, two great men who inspire and whose work will, I am sure will continue to for generations to come with libraries and schools and parents and children all playing their part. There books I am sure will always be somewhere in bookshops, on library shelves and hopefully also in the hands of readers. I am also sure that they will be inspiring other current and future authors for years to come.

Roald-Dahl

A Book for Each Day of the Week #TheStrawberryThief @Joannechocolat #SummerattheKindnessCafe @Vicky_Walters #TheHangryHamster #SealedWithADeath @JamesSilvester1 #TheLongestFarewell @nulasuchet @johnsuchet1 #summer #bookish #crime #kidslit #romance #France #UK #Thriller #summerreads #review Resume of Reviews of 7 Great Books for Summer and Beyond

A resume of 7 great books I have read over the summer and beyond.

I have read and reviewed a number of books this summer. I thought I would give a quick resume of 7 of them. Full reviews are also in my blog. I have also provided individual links to the full reviews. Please do take a look, you may be inspired or reminded of a good book.

The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris – Fiction

Strawberry thief

The Strawberry Thief is the latest part of the Chocolat series, written by Joanne Harris

This book sees Vianne Rocher back in Lansquenette-Sous Tannes during Easter with strawberries and chocolate filling the senses. There’s also a change in the wind as there is excellent writing, truth and emotion in the writing as Anouk has grown up and flown the nest. This is in contrast to Rosette who cannot do this part of life.
Roux still lives on the boat, preferring his own company and there is a new character called Morgane Dubois.
The writing of the wind is beautifully descriptive and tells the reader there’s much more than just the wind to come and that it is meaningful. The growing up of children who fly the nest and set up their own lives is relatable. The book will arouse anyone’s senses and emotions. It is just as good as the previous 3 books within this series. The descriptive writing is atmospheric and adds to the intrigue as to how this book will end.

Note, there is also an added afterward about Joanne’s own experience of her daughter leaving home and there is a poignant, well-written short story in print copies only of this book that are well-worth reading.

Link below:

https://bookmarksandstages.home.blog/2019/06/02/the-strawberry-thief-by-joanne-harris-an-exquisite-atmospheric-and-poignant-book-5-stars-joannechocolat-orionbooks-gigicroft-thestrawberrythief-review-newbook-waterstones

 

Summer at the Kindness Cafe by Victoria Walters – Fiction

Summer at Kindess Cover (1)

Enter Brew – Kindness Cafe this summer and you won’t be disappointed. Enter Brew and be inspired to do your own random acts of kindness this summer, like the three women within this story.

Abbie Morgan is the main protagonist and is forced to leave London after being made redundant, something so relatable to many people.
Within the book there are sections called “Notes from the Brew Kindness Board”. This may inspire some people to follow-suit and do random acts of kindness. Get to know the characters and their personalities and see if Acts of Kindness transforms their lives or not.
Once the story has ended, turn the page for a lovely note by the author.

Link below:

https://bookmarksandstages.home.blog/2019/06/18/summer-at-the-kindness-cafe-by-victoria-walters-this-summer-be-encapsulated-in-warmth-kindness-and-life-vicky_walters-teambatc-summeratthekindnesscafe-randomthingstours-annecater-randomactof

The Hangry Hamster by Grace McCluskey – Fiction

hangry hamster

Have fun with this children’s book. Billy gets a hamster and takes him everywhere, until the hamster isn’t allowed on the plane when Billy is going abroad. The hamster gets left behind and becomes hangry and goes on an adventure through London. Take a read of this adventurous, exciting, humorous, well illustrated book, written by a child for children.

https://bookmarksandstages.home.blog/2019/07/14/the-hangry-hamster-by-grace-mccluskey-a-short-action-packed-book-to-engage-and-excite

Sealed with a Death – Fiction

Sealed with a Death Book Cover

Would you like a great political thriller? Give Sealed with a Death by James Silvester a try.

This book has got to be placed up there in one of the most current book in fiction there currently is. James Silvester writes very well and at excellent pace, in conveying what is happening and mixing it with his fictional. Meet Lucie Musilova – an assassin working as part of the Overlappers Intelligence Team. Women across many countries in Europe start to disappear, Kasper Algers, an Independent MP disappears and there’s still the case as to what happened to Ines Aubel. Readers are also taken into the world of brothels and further into the world of espionage and fake passports.

The book takes us to the far right of British politics and also to France where there’s the Gilet Jaune movement and the author takes this element into Britain. There’s also a focus on the everyday prejudices, pay as well as the cuts to police resources.

I have to say, I was impressed by not just how current this book is, but also the calibre of writing, considering the time it takes to write a book, especially well and how politics moves along at the moment. The language and tone of all the characters is believable, there’s no holding back!

Link below:

https://bookmarksandstages.home.blog/2019/07/15/sealed-with-a-death-by-james-silvester-jamessilvester1-urbanebooks-lovebookstours-politicalthriller-thriller-espionage-newreview-newbook

A Summer to Remember by Sue Moorcroft – Fiction

A Summer to Remember Cover

Clancy Moss is the main character, leaving her old life to start a new one. There’s romance, there’s social, tourism and education issues that are dealt with. From beginning to end this book has so much of human life and yet it feels as light as summer, and still it skillfully has meaningful substance. It is a most enjoyable and absorbing read of break-up, romance and life’s trials and tribulations and escapism. A Summer to Remember is a book to remember this summer and for more summers to come.

Please note, there is also an added short story in physical print copies of this book that is worth reading.

Link below:

https://bookmarksandstages.home.blog/2019/07/24/a-summer-to-remember-by-sue-moorcroft-a-delightful-summer-read-suemoorcroft-avonbooksuk-summer-summerreads-heatwave-review-newbooks-ebookpromo-norfolk-romance

 

Zippy and Me by Ronnie Le Drew – Non-Fiction

zippy cover

Ronnie Le Drew is best known as being the puppeteer for Zippy in children’s TV show – Rainbow. It is a well written autobiography about becoming a puppeteer, his starting out at the The Little Angel Theatre. Some of the hard time he had to go through (not a sob-story though, it is better than that). and the people he worked with such as Jim Henson and David Bowie. Ronnie comes across as being down-to-earth as he never forgets his roots. This book is also about a bit of Rainbow scandal and what happened to the people working in it afterwards. It is nostalgic to say the least. Readers will get a look of behind the scenes of Ronnie’s puppeteer work, which makes it a fascinating read.

Link below:

https://bookmarksandstages.home.blog/2019/08/02/zippy-and-me-by-ronnie-le-drew-with-duncan-barrett-and-nuala-calvi-re-visit-your-childhood-with-this-enlightening-book-about-rainbow-zippyandme-punchand-unbounders-duncanbarrett-nualacalvi-rai

The Longest Farewell by Nula Suchet – Non-Fiction

The Longest Farewell book pic

 Condensing my review down, only goes a little into what is really within the pages of this book. I will say it is a very worthy book to read, so please do take a look at the full review of it. I will also say it is the most emotional book of the summer. Nula Suchet’s husband James who, at the age of 57 had Picks disease – a form of dementia and this is chronicled very well in this book, with every heart-felt sentence. John Suchet’s wife – Bonnie also had dementia. It is heartbreaking and there is also so much love as Nula cares for James, who does go into a care home, but that is also where she meets John, who is there visiting his Bonnie. It is also about the relationship that develops between John and Nula and their travels together, that at first don’t exactly go smoothly. The writing is so amazingly strong, every aspect of the book is absorbing and all-consuming in a good way because every emotion can practically be felt and empathised and sympathised with. It is telling that it is all written from the heart and this part of both John and Nula’s life was not easy. It does however have the most happy of endings or rather shows the happiness of a continuation of their lives. 

Please do look at my full review for this book, if you haven’t done so already because just a few words only really highlights the book’s existence and a little of what it is about.

Link below:

https://bookmarksandstages.home.blog/2019/08/07/the-longest-farewell-james-dementia-and-me-by-nula-suchet-nulasuchet-johnsuchet1-serenbooks-david_suchet-vicky_mcclure-the_writereads-dementia-nonfiction-review-newbook