Tinsel by Sibeal Pounder – review

This book feels like Christmas. It has all the warmth, excitement and hope of Christmas, tied with a witty bow and the promise of magic. It has everything you could ask for from a Christmas book; magical characters, a rags to riches story, a disgruntled baddie, a fierce friendship and more than a sprinkling of hope. 

Laugh out loud funny and so brilliantly visual; Tinsel is crying out to be made into a Christmas film. Fiercely feminist and written with warmth and wisdom, this book gives you all the feels.

As with all her books, Sibeal gives a nod to social politics; stamping on gender stereotypes, highlighting inequality and the misuse of power and celebrating the individual who stands up for what they believe. 

My new Christmas favourite and a Christmas classic in the making.

About the book:

What if somewhere along the way we’ve all got the Santa story a bit wrong…? Join Blanche Claus and her best friend Rinki for a funny festive sleigh ride you’ll never forget! From Sibeal Pounder, bestselling author of the Witch Wars and Bad Mermaids series, this tale of friendship and mince-pie feasts is the perfect book to curl up with this winter.

Funny, feminist and with a huge heart, it’s a gloriously Christmassy adventure that will delight even the biggest Grinch.

Due to be published 29th October, you can order a SIGNED and PERSONALISED copy here.

The Night Bus Hero by Onjali Rauf – review

With her perfectly pitched voice and solid understanding of children’s minds and hearts, Onjali Q Rauf has written another classroom must-have. One of our favourite reads this year, we can’t celebrate this book enough.

The Night Bus Hero explores the importance of friendship and the perils of power and pretending to be someone you are not. It shows us that everyone has their own story and that friendship comes from listening, understanding and finding the common ground we all share. Fast-paced and full of adventure, with clues to solve and a mystery to unravel, this is sure to be a firm favourite for 8+.

About the book:

From Onjali Q. Rauf, the award-winning and best-selling author of The Boy at the Back of the Class, comes another incredible story, told with humour and heart.

‘The boy’s an absolute menace.”He’s a bully. A lost cause!”Why can’t he be more like his sister?’ I’ve been getting into trouble for as long I can remember. Usually I don’t mind ‘cos some of my best, most brilliant ideas have come from sitting in detention. But recently it feels like no one believes me about anything – even when I’m telling the truth! And it’s only gotten worse since I played a prank on the old man who lives in the park. Everyone thinks I’m just a bully. They don’t believe I could be a hero. But I’m going to prove them all wrong…

Told from the perspective of a bully, this book explores themes of bullying and homelessness, while celebrating kindness, friendship and the potential everyone has to change for the good.

Due to be published 15th October. You can get your copy here. And while stock lasts, a copy with a signed bookplate here.

Books That Feel Like a Big Hug

In times of uncertainty we try to find comfort in the day to day and one way many people find this is through reading.

Personally, the book I could return to time and time again is Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson. I am a big fan of the Moomins but there’s undoubtedly something very reassuring about being pulled into Moominvalley and exploring the magical snowy landscape with Moomintroll. The characters all feel like old friends and I know that if anything does go wrong, Moominmamma will make it all better somehow, either with her unerring patience and logic or with something useful stashed in her gigantic handbag.

Winnie the Pooh is another such book that welcomes me into a world of childhood innocence, joy and fun. The Hundred Acre Wood is the friendly yet slightly wild playground we all dreamt of and who else is of more comfort than Pooh himself? He’s a simple bear; surprisingly wise, completely at ease with himself and he always has honey on hand in case you feel a little peckish.

Another story for a slightly older audience that feels like a big hug is I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. It’s the coming-of-age story of teenager Cassandra who lives in an old romantic castle with her eccentric family. The narrative style, relationships between characters and the romance that entails never fail to give me warm fuzzy feelings inside.

I asked our followers on social media which books brought them the greatest comfort and these either tended to be books loved at a young age which create feelings of nostalgia, stories read by adults with their children when they were little or those that had heart warming moments within providing the warm fuzzy feelings we all love.

The Harry Potter series was a very popular choice for many, especially Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. If you combine the escapism of the magical world, the excitement at rediscovering Hogwarts, the warm embrace of familiar characters like Hagrid and Dumbledore and the nostalgia associated with this series then it’s no surprise that this was the most widespread suggestion for ultimate comfort reading.

Other suggestions included books that made people laugh like Claude in the City by Alex T. Smith, magical classic picture books read repeatedly at a young age, more modern classics such as Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson or pure magical escapism such as The Enchanted Wood series by Enid Blyton.

If you’re in need of a comforting story at the moment then call the shop on 01273911988 or email us on info@booknookuk.com, talk to a member of staff and they’ll recommend something just for you. We can deliver free locally or post to anyone outside of Brighton and Hove.

Keep reading and keep safe!

The Adventures of Harry Stevenson by Ali Pye

Meet Harry Stevenson. He doesn’t live in a castle, or a witch’s cottage, or anywhere exciting like that.

His home is in a flat with seven-year-old Billy and his mum and dad. And at first glance, Harry doesn’t seem any different from your average guinea pig. He has ginger fur and sparkly black eyes and likes nothing more than snacking on a piece of broccoli.

But don’t be fooled! Harry may just want to sleep and eat (and then eat some more) but somehow he always manages to get swept up in adventures: whether it’s surfing the Pacific on a picnic plate or accidentally attaching himself to a helium balloon.

This bold and brightly illustrated two-adventures-in-one book is a joy to read. Packed full of fun and illustrated throughout, this is a fantastic addition to the early reader genre. With facts and quizzes at the end of the book, it is ideal for children starting to read independently. Great for fans of Pamela Butchart’s Wigglesbottom Primary series.

You can get your copy from our online shop.

Milton the Mighty by Emma Read

Milton was strolling home after a weekend away in the downstairs loo, when he heard the scream.

He froze. It was coming from the big house human, but it wasn’t an ordinary scream. It was an all-eight-leg wobbler, as his dad would’ve said.

Surely he’s not screaming like that at me?

And that is how we meet Milton the house spider. Utterly unterrifying and occasionally mistaken for a raisin, Milton discovers he’s been branded deadly. Alongside his buddies, big hairy Ralph and daddy-long-legs Audrey, he decides to clear his name. But to succeed, Milton must befriend his house human, Zoe. Is Milton mighty enough to achieve the impossible?

Fast-paced and fabulously funny, this arachnid adventure has it all. Quirky villains, a team of heroes, a girl who knows a lot more than her parent, and some lessons in social media and fake news. Milton the Mighty also contains some super spider facts at the end.  Perfect for newly independent readers and great for KS1/ lower KS2.

Milton the Mighty by Emma Read with illustrations by Alex G Griffiths. Available now from our online shop.

The Secret Dragon by Ed Clarke

Mari Jones is desperate to be a real scientist, even though she’s only eleven.
So when she discovers a tiny dragon while fossil hunting on the beach, she’s sure she can find a good scientific explanation – as long as she can keep it hidden long enough to study it. Unfortunately for Mari, this is one secret that doesn’t want to be kept. And as she starts to form a deeper bond with the mischievous dragon, she might have to admit that, when it comes to friendship, science might not have all the answers… 

The first in a new series, this is a heartwarming tale of family, friendship and following your dreams.

Mari is a fiercely determined and independent young scientist and we loved all the brilliant references to Mary Anning and women in science. There’s also some lovely swapping of gender stereotypes here. A brilliant book for the little feminists in your life.

And who could resist a tiny dragon that can curl its tiny tail round your finger but also burn your school down with one burp?! A perfect book for all budding scientists, adventurers and animal lovers.

We love the cover illustration by Ben Mantle and really do want our very own Gweeb to live in our shop.

Available in our shop now, you can get your copy online here.