Hmmm so I am the Hungry Reader. The one who reads. The one who is constantly reading or wanting to read constantly. This blog is all about the books I have read, the ones that I am reading and gems that I plan to read in the future or whenever it arrives.
Title: The Middnight Gang
Author: David Walliams
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Rating: 4 Stars
I’ve always identified David Walliams with the show “Little Britain” and the tongue-in-cheek and absolutely obnoxious humour mostly and nothing else. Till of course I got to know that he wrote books for children a couple of years ago and I must say that he is quite a good writer. His latest book “The Midnight Gang” released last year in November and this is the one I shall be talking about obviously.
“The Midnight Gang” ideally may not even be for me (given the target audience and all that) but I thoroughly enjoyed it, just like his other works and cannot wait for the next one to be released. Lord Funt Hospital in London is the setting of this novel and it only gets exciting. It is a children’s hospital but not the ideal place for children to stay at. And yet, the kids who come here manage to have midnight adventures which are quite unusual and thrilling. Tom is the latest entrant and he is going to embark on an adventure of a lifetime, once he meets the other kids of the ward.
The ideas and the writing are splendid. I mean I would even go this far and say that Walliams needs to be placed close to Dahl when it comes to storytelling where children are concerned. He takes a simple idea and turns it around magnificently – thereby just giving the reader so much to look forward to with every turn of the chapter.
The characters are the usual – you might even find them in every other kid’s book, however the illustrations are superlative – done specifically by Tony Ross for this book. “The Midnight Gang” is all sorts of heartwarming as well – when you least expect it. The humour will make even a grown man laugh out loud (as it did in my case). Read it if you’re in the mood to read something light.
The book “Circus Mirandus” has a very interesting premise. A boy who is all of ten or eleven I think – Micah Tuttle. He lives with his grandfather Ephraim. He has spent all his life till now – ten years that is, hearing tales of a magical circus. Grandpa Ephraim is now very ill. What he does is, he tells Micah that all tales about Circus Mirandus were actually true and the circus does exist. He also lets Micah know that the Light bender or the Man who bends light gave him a wish which he wishes to use now. Micah has a purpose and plans to make things happen one way or the other.
Thus begins the tale of Micah and his friend Jenny Mendoza and how they battle to get Micah’s grandfather his wish come true. At the same time there is Micah’s great Aunt Gertrudis who thinks magic is all bollocks and nothing good ever came out of it. She is one character you will not like very much. I know I didn’t.
Over all, the premise is a good one that makes you turn the pages. At some points you think the book is long and could have been cut short but maybe it is worth it as the story progresses. I am almost sold on reading only children’s fiction because it is at least feel good and doesn’t get me all wondering about the big issues of life and living. The parts of the circus are interestingly written, so much so that you just imagine you’re there or want to be there.
“Circus Mirandus” is one of those heartwarming books that make you want to believe in magic and everything nice. The book is simply magical and the illustrations are stunning. Please read this book to believe in things that you did as a child.
Title: The Robber Hotzenplotz
Author: Otfried Preussler
Translated by: Anthea Bell from German
Publisher: NYRB Children’s Collection
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Rating: 5 Stars
I steer clear from most children’s fiction. I don’t know why but that has always been the case – more or less. There are some books though that catches my fancy and I happened to literally bump into “The Robber Hotzenplotz” by Otfried Preussler online and couldn’t resist getting my own copy (on request from publisher) and I was more than pleasantly surprised by the book.
The story is simply told. The plot is of two boys – around eight or nine year olds – who are best friends – Kasperl and Seppel and of the robber Hotzenplotz who works very hard to hide in the woods and wait for his next victim. His next victim happens to be Kasperl’s grandmother, who he attacks and steals her coffee mill. The boys then head out to rescue the mill from Hotzenplotz and find themselves in the midst of one adventure after another.
Preussler’s writing is funny – in the sense not only for children but also for adults. The translation by Anthea Bell is simple and works with every single turn of the page. The illustrations are magnificent and won’t let go of you that easily. I loved the simple and yet so human like illustrations.
To me the book was a breeze of a read and will be the same for you. I was just wondering also of the numerous tales that we do not pay attention to, either because we aren’t familiar with them or because our culture doesn’t expose us to them. NYRB Children’s Classics plans to change that I hope with the publication of such classics that more children will read from different countries and know more. I know, I for one will lap them all.
“The Robber Hotzenplotz” is a funny read for both children and adults and I highly recommend this one.
Title: Little Boy Brown
Author: Isobel Harris
Illustrator: Andre François
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books
Genre: Children’s Fiction
I read Little Boy Brown. I finally picked it up and read it. It is a children’s book and yet says so much about the way we live our lives or that is what I took away from it. The book is actually about stepping out a lot more and seeing the world and living instead of being cooped at home. That is exactly what “Little Boy Brown” does one day and has the time of his life. He is all but four and a half years old.
The book is about childhood and its memories and what will stay and what will be forgotten. It is about Little Boy Brown who is lonely; whose parents have no time for him, and they live in a Manhattan hotel where everything is connected to subways and tunnels and elevators and they hardly get out as they are used to this life. Only the boy can go out and he loves it. So one fine day he steps out with Hilda – the family’s maid and sees her world, which changes the way he looks at things and people.
I absolutely loved this charming picture book which has so much in it for both, children and adults. There is so much empathy, sensitivity and a look at how different people lead their lives differently. It is about a city that is so fast-paced that it forgets people who lead quiet lives and there is so much to learn from those lives as well. The illustrations by Andre Francois are charming and all done in white and brown which make the book unique and quaint.
“Little Boy Brown” is a book to be read by everyone just to know that life is also about slowing down and smelling the roses once in a while.
A picture says a thousand words and this proverb couldn’t be truer for “Journey” by Aaron Becker. “Journey” is an experience which you will not forget that easily or that soon. It is almost like a dedication to all picture books, according to me. It is creative. It is fantastical. It is also quite interesting with images appearing out of nowhere in the second and third reading of the book, which you thought were never there. I guess that is also one of the things that picture books to do you. They make you see clearly and just for that you should read more of them.
“Journey” is all about a girl. A girl, who is bored, more bored and bored than ever. Her parents do not seem to have time for her. She decides to go on and find worlds which are just an arm’s length away. She draws a door and that is the beginning of the journey for her. The hidden door is the key to everything and from thereon she discovers worlds silently – because that’s what this is – a wordless picture book. She meets people. She sees new things. Her fantasy has just come alive and she is no longer bored, more bored and bored than ever. She comes across a hot-air balloon, a weird bird, a relentless villain and someone else who will be willing to share an adventure with her, which is the plot of the second book in the series called “Quest”.
If I am not mistaken this is the first part of a trilogy and I am now even more excited to read the second and third parts. The illustrations are magnificent and truly belong to another realm. Mr. Becker is not afraid of coming up with the unbelievable and indulging himself a little bit more. It is a great reader for young readers who have not started reading yet but they can for sure imagine. I love books such as these that allow everyone to imagine and live a little more.
The book is stunning. It is packed with so many details that you will be gob smacked by the end of it. There are new worlds and newer ones to come in the other two. Becker does not hesitate and for a debut “Journey” is quite remarkable. It is a book that you should not even think twice before buying. A real treasure of a picture book.