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Issue 294 Book Club

August 20, 2017


The Boy With One Name


Simon & Schuster Children’s

Boy With One Name - final cover


Twelve-year-old Jones is an orphan, training as an apprentice hunter alongside his mentor, Maitland, tackling ogres, trolls and all manner of creatures that live in the Badlands – a hidden part of our own world, and which most people think exist only in fairytales and nightmares. But all Jones secretly wants to be is an ordinary boy and to leave the magical world forever…

When an ogre hunt goes wrong and Maitland is killed, Jones finally has a chance to find out where he came from. But the truth he uncovers isn’t what he’s expecting and it seems that if Jones is going to make his dream come true he’ll have to defeat a creature not even Maitland had dared take on and he won’t be able to do it alone…

He’s going to need help from Ruby, the first girl he’s ever met. She’s outspoken, fearless and determined to prove she’s as good as any boy, and unlike Jones, being ordinary is the last thing on her mind. Ruby’s desperate to find her place in the world and thinks the Badlands could be it. So, working together isn’t going to be straightforward. In fact, it could be downright dangerous.

But who said getting what you want is supposed to easy, even if it is just wanting to be ordinary?

About the author
Rupert Wallis read Theology at Cambridge University and holds an MFA in Screenwriting and Writing for Television from the University of Southern California. He now lives in Norfolk.

Issue 293 Book Club

August 13, 2017


Good Dog, Bad Dog: The Golden Bone

By Dave Shelton

Golden Bone Front Cover 3D Lo Res


Kirk Bergman and Duncan McBoo are pedigree police: the finest canine cops in Muttropolis. And they’re never short of work.

The Golden Bone of Alexandria has been stolen by malevolent mongrels and our doggy duo are the perfect pooches to take on the case…

Criminals beware: Bergman and McBoo are on you tail!

About the author
Born and raised in Leicester, Dave now lives in Cambridge with a brilliant woman, a beautiful girl, a bonkers dog and an inexcusable cat. He likes comics, cricket, crosswords and talking to cartoonists about pens. He is the creator of the slapstick comedy noir comic strip Good Dog, Bad Dog, as seen in the DFC, the Guardian and the Phoenix. His debut prose novel for children, A Boy and a Bear in a Boat, which he also illustrated, was shortlisted for the Costa children’s prize and the Carnegie medal, and won the Branford Boase award. He is fond of cake.


Issue 292 Book Club

August 6, 2017


The Story of Tutankhamun

By Patricia Cleveland-Peck

Illustrated by Isabel Greenberg

Tutankhamun Cover


Uncover the true story of an Egyptian king, and the 20th century explorer who found him.

Discover the troubles Tutankhamun faced as a young king, his untimely death, and his legacy, which lay hidden for centuries. Pore over his treasures, learn the steps of mummification, and see Tutankhamun’s fascinating story bought to life. Travel through history with Howard Carter, on his quest to uncover Tutankhamun’s hidden tomb, his incredible discovery, and our continued hunt to understand and unearth the riches of Ancient Egyptian life. Prepare to be amazed as you uncover the story of the most famous boy king, and a world-changing discovery.

This book brings to life the astonishing story of Tutankhamun, through the beautiful illustration of award-winning Isabel Greenberg and the fascinating writing of Patricia Cleveland-Peck.

About the author
Patricia Cleveland­Peck has published 16 children’s books and 4 adult non­fiction books. She has compiled programmes for the BBC and had 2 radio plays and 1 stage play performed. As her ‘day job’ she works as a travel journalist specialising in gardens abroad. With ”You Can’t Take an Elephant on the Bus’ she returned to the world of children’s books after a long absence – and is enjoying being there very much!
About the illustrator
Isabel Greenberg is an award-winning London based illustrator, comic artist and writer. She has had two graphic novels published ‘The Encyclopedia of Early Earth’ (Best Book Award at the 2013/14 British Comic Awards) and ‘The One Hundred Nights of Hero’. Isabel has worked with a variety of clients including The Guardian, Nobrow Press, The National Trust and the New York Times. In 2011 she won The Observer Jonathan Cape Graphic Short Story Prize. She enjoys illustrating all things historical.

Issue 291 Book Club

July 30, 2017


Dragon Rider: The Griffin’s Feather

By Cornelia Funke

Chicken House

Griffin's Feather


In DRAGON RIDER Firedrake, a brave young dragon, embarks on a magical journey to find the legendary place where silver dragons can live in peace forever. Along the way, he discovers extraordinary new friends and a courage he never knew he had. But the greatest enemy of all is never far behind – a heartless monster intent on destroying the last dragons on earth…

And in a heart-stopping new adventure, THE GRIFFIN’S FEATHER, the last winged horses are on the brink of extinction. Three foals lie ill, trapped curled in their eggs, in a sanctuary for threatened (and mystical) creatures. Ben – a young dragon rider – volunteers to seek the only cure: a griffin’s feather. His silver dragon, Firedrake, agrees to help. But griffins are a dragon’s fiercest enemy, and they live far away in the sweltering jungle.

A dangerous and exciting adventure begins …

About the author
 Cornelia Funke 2016 2 (photo by Thorsten Wulff)
Cornelia Funke is the New York Times bestselling author of the Inkheart trilogy, The Thief Lord and a whole host of popular children’s novels and picture books. Born in Germany, her international break- through came with Dragon Rider, which spent 78 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. She now lives in California.

Issue 290 Book Club

July 23, 2017



By Peter Bunzl


21 Moonlocket_RGB


When infamous escapologist Jack Door breaks out from Pentonville Prison, he sets out for the town of Brackenbridge, determined to find his missing treasure – the Moonlocket. But when Lily and Robert unwittingly find themselves caught up in Jack Door’s search, they discover that Robert’s history holds the secret to the Moonlocket’s whereabouts…

Determined to solve the mystery, Lily, Robert and Malkin the mechanical fox, set out for London on an adventure full of danger, daring, family secrets and long-buried treasure…

About the author
Peter grew up in a rambling Victorian house with three cats, two dogs, one sister, an antique-dealer dad and an artist mum. As a child he loved writing and illustrating books and comics, and so he went off to study animation at university. Peter has animated commercials and two BAFTA-winning children’s TV shows. Recently his stories spilled from screen to page and he found he loved this new wordier way of telling tales. Cogheart was his debut novel.

Issue 289 Book Club

July 16, 2017


Kid Normal

By Greg James and Chris Smith

Illustrated by Erica Salcedo


KidNormal Cover


Kid Normal tells the story of Murph Cooper. When he rocks up to his new school several weeks into the beginning of term, he can’t help but feel a bit out of his depth. And it’s not because he’s worried about where to sit, and making friends, and fitting in, or not knowing where the loos are. It’s because his mum has enrolled him at a school for superheroes by mistake. And unlike his fellow students, who can all control the weather or fly or conjure tiny horses from thin air, Murph has no special abilities whatsoever. But just because you don’t have superpowers, it doesn’t mean you can’t save the day.

Let’s hope Murph realises that, and quick – because not far away is a great big bad guy who is half man and half wasp, and his mind is abuzz with evil plans …

About the authors
Greg James and Chris Smith - credit Jenny Smith
GREG JAMES is a familiar voice and face on both radio and TV. He’s the host of Radio 1’s Drivetime show – named Best Entertainment Production at the 2016 ARIA Awards where the judges described it as ‘a joyous listen … ambitious and constantly surprising’. He also presents the UK’s Official Chart every Friday. On-screen, Greg’s recently been busy hosting Children in Need and BT Sport’s new cricket coverage. Earlier in the year he raised over a million pounds for Sport Relief by completing his #GREGATHLON – five triathlons in five different cities on five consecutive days. Greg has no super powers. In his spare time he enjoys the idea of having hobbies. But in reality, he’s made all of them into work.
CHRIS SMITH is a not only a key part of the success of Greg’s show both creatively and in an on air capacity but an award-winning journalist and broadcaster in his own right. Since 2011 he’s been delivering the news to millions of people every day as the presenter of Newsbeat on BBC Radio 1. He’d previously presented on Radio 5 Live and Xfm. Chris enjoyed a previous, glittering, literary career as the winner of the H E Bates Short Story Competition 1981 (under 10s section) with his tale Where Are the Brandy Snaps?. Chris has no super powers either, although he enjoys pretending his cat Mabel can fly by picking her up and running around.

Issue 288 Book Club

July 9, 2017


Demon Headmaster: Total Control

By Gillian Cross

Oxford University Press



Something strange is going on at Lizzie’s school. Suddenly everyone’s brilliant at something. Where have these amazing skills come from? And why can’t they talk about them? It’s as though the pupils have no power over their own actions. Could this be something to do with the mysterious new headmaster . . . ?

The return of one of the all-time greatest book series ever written has everyone talking!

You don’t want to miss out!

About the author
 Gillian Cross photo high res
Gillian Cross (born 1945) is a British author of children’s books. She won the 1990 Carnegie Medal for Wolf and the 1992 Whitbread Children’s Book Award for The Great Elephant Chase. She also wrote The Demon Headmaster series of books that were later turned into a television series by the BBC.
 Gillian Cross is one of the best children’s novelists today and her stories of the Demon Headmaster are both fun and quite frightening. – Daily Telegraph

Issue 287 Book Club

July 2, 2017


City of Secret Rivers

by Jason Sager Weinstein

Walker Books

city of secret rivers


Hyacinth Hayward has recently arrived from America and is having difficulty adjusting to her new surroundings, especially being in the sole company of her eccentric mother. Everything feels strange. Very strange. And it gets stranger the day she accidentally unleashes the power of a secret river running through London.

To prevent a second Great Fire, Hyacinth needs to retrieve a single, magically charged drop of water from somewhere in the city sewer system. Along the way she encounters an eclectic cast of characters – the shambling, monstrous Saltpetre Men who kidnap her mother, the Toshers who battle for control of magical artefacts and a giant pig with whom she has a tea party.

The clock is ticking – will she figure out who to trust?

About the author
Jacob Sager Weinstein is the author of four non-fiction books for adults and has written for The New Yorker, HBO and the BBC. He is also a former contributor to The Onion and has won a Writers’ Guild of America Award. The idea for City of Secret Rivers came to Jacob while walking along the Thames Embankment, as he started thinking about London’s secret underground rivers and “discovered that London’s history is so magical that it only takes the slightest of tweaks to make it into a fantasy story.” 

Issue 286 Book Club

June 25, 2017


Cool Coding

(Cool Science Series)

by Rob Hansen

Pavilion Children’s

Cool Coding_cover


This fun and quirky book provides a fascinating introduction to the world of computer coding, organised into handy bite-sized chunks. Coding, now firmly part of the National Curriculum, is a huge subject and can seem slightly impenetrable, especially to parents, and that’s where this book comes in.

Cool Coding contains everything you need to know about computers and coding, from the very basics of binary code and how it works, to the myriad things that coding can actually do. It introduces the most popular coding programmes taught in schools, Scratch and Python, and shows how coding can be used to create websites, games and apps.

Packed with playful illustrations and inspiring information on the amazing world of coding and computing, this book is the perfect introduction to this most essential of subjects.

About the author
Robert has written all sorts of things, from software patents to tabletop roleplaying games, but this is his first non-fiction book. In his spare time, Robert enjoys hiking and making all sorts of things, from electronics to computer programs to woodwork. He is married and lives in Hertfordshire.

Other books in the series:

Cool Astronomy cover_high res

Cool Physics_coming soon


Issue 285 Book Club

June 18, 2017


The Misadventures of Max Crumbly: Middle School Mayhem

by Rachel Renée Russell

Simon & Schuster

Max Crumbly 2 Final Cover

At the end of his first adventure, Max had crash-landed on top of a Mighty Meat Monster pizza (try saying that three times) after taking a late-night tumble through the vents at South Ridge Middle School – and he was completely surrounded by three ruthless criminals!

Will Max be shredded to bits like mozzarella cheese on the hard and crunchy pizza crust of doom? Can his friend and sidekick, computer-whizz Erin, help get him out of this sticky situation alive?

 Rachel Renee Russell_author photo 1

RACHEL RENÉE RUSSELL is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the blockbuster book series Dork Diaries and the exciting new series The Misadventures of Max Crumbly. There are more than thirty-five million copies of her books in print worldwide, and they have been translated into thirty-six languages. She enjoys working with her daughter Nikki, who helps illustrate her books. Rachel’s message is “Become the hero you’ve always admired!”