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Book Reviews


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New Books to look out for

My name is Mina - Almond, David
Intended age 11+

David Almond visits Mina before she has met Michael, before she has met Skellig, in what is a thought-provoking and extraordinary prequel to his best-selling debut novel, Skellig.

Brilliantly funny episodes about SATS which is the reason Mina is home educated.

Ultraviolet -Anderson, R. J
Intended age 12-16

The blurb states, “Once upon a time there was a girl who was special. This is not her story. Unless you count the part where I killed her”. With this calling the reader, there is no question of not reading on to find out what happens. The mystery surrounding Tori’s disappearance is not solved until the end, with the reader hanging onto every word to discover what happens. Does Alison believe what others are telling her or what she feels herself? If she has been sectioned, it must the others who are correct – right?

The writing is electric, with the reader suffering Alison’s plight and confusion. A novel for both sexes, it does have a love element, but this is not overpowering, and boys will love the special effects. For Reading Groups this novel offers a wealth of discussion around science and the rights and wrongs of institutions and assumptions.

The story ends on a promise of more, yet still offers a satisfying conclusion.

The case of the Deadly Desperados - Lawrence, Caroline
Intended age 12-16

P. K. Pinkerton’s situation is desperate. Trapped down the deepest shaft of a Comstock silver mine with three desperadoes closing in on him, he is convinced that by the end of the day he will be dead. Yet this is a humorous, entertaining read of an unlikely chain of events. P. K.’s 12th birthday goes from bad to worse as not only is his foster family killed, but by running away he makes himself a prime suspect, chased by the same ruthless killers. Just as he escapes one situation, P.K. finds himself in another. The reader urges him not to trust those trying to help him from the start, but with the wild west being the dangerous place it is, full of gamblers, hurdy girls, saloon-keepers and gunmen, all of them out to make a fast buck, P. K. is a target for those out to defraud him of his inheritance.

The book has echoes of the Dog in the night time as P. K. must surely be autistic, but this is where the humour lies and the condition is not mocked, and certainly never mentioned as it is 1862.

This title is the first in what must be a series, and there is plenty of mileage in the beginning of this story.

A lightweight read for young children and a brilliant chapter by chapter read for teachers to keep pupils on the edge of their seats over a few weeks.

Usborne book of famous paintings - Dickens, Rosie
Intended age KS 2/3 but also of use to adults

Clear, accessible reference book on famous paintings such as Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh and the Girl with a Pearl Earring by Jan Vermeer. Explains the setting of each painting, and information about the artist.

The School's Library Service have a stock of 152,000 available for subscribing schools to borrow. We keep abreast of new stock weekly. Please contact us for availability of any particular titles.

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External websites

  • BBC Learning
    Online learning resources
  • School Library Association
    The School Library Association is committed to supporting everyone involved with school libraries, promoting high quality reading and learning opportunities for all.    
  • The Reading Agency
    Aiming to help children, young people and adults across the UK feel inspired and confident about reading.    
  • Booktrust - Resources for Schools   
    Providing a wealth of resources for teachers, parents, librarians and those who work with young readers.
  • Reading Connects, a DfES-funded National Reading Campaign initiative, seeks to support schools in building their own reading culture.

We are not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more

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This page was last reviewed 25 July 2013 at 16:11.
The page is next due for review 21 January 2015.