Witch for a Week

This gorgeous new book from Kaye Umansky is sure to be a hit with primary school aged children everywhere! With gold-trimmed cover artwork and internal illustrations from the talented Ashley King, children will be happily drawn into the world of Magenta the witch.

When Magenta calls into Elsie Pickles’ family shop, Elsie finds herself accepting the position to house-sit at Magenta’s mysterious tower in the woods. Keen to have some peace and quiet to read Magenta’s books, can she resist the spell book in her bedroom?

With a cast of thieving sisters, woodcutters, a raven and a tatty dog, this story shows Elsie to be strong-minded, capable and bright.  The illustrations, some full page, highlight the whacky world of Crookfinger Forest, with its magical tower and the lotions and potions Elsie comes to use.

I am so pleased that ‘Witch for a Week’ is just the first instalment – a further book about Elsie and Magenta is due for release in May 2018.

Witch for a Week  

Written by Kaye Umansky; Illustrated by Ashley King; Published by Simon and Schuster,  5 October 2017


Also just out from Simon and Schuster is this new edition of two of Kaye Umsanksy’s Pongwiffy stories illustrated by Katy Riddell.

St Grizzle’s School for Girls, Ghosts and Runaway Grannies – Karen McCombie

June sees the launch of another chapter in the life of Dani, Swan and Zed and the lively youngsters at the quirky St Grizzle’s boarding school.
St Grizzles 2

In the first of the entertaining series by Karen McCombie we saw Dani learning her way around a very different school to which she was dropped off by her zoologist mum, who was off to investigate penguins’ bums.  Now settled and actually happy, despite missing her friend Arch and her mum and gran, Dani is excited to learn of a film making competition.  She and Arch made films for their YouTube channel so she enthusiastically accepts headteacher Lulu’s proposal that she direct the film. While out in the expansive school grounds, Dani and her friends find a colourful Campervan, here drawn by Becka Moor.  Its owner proves to be a happy surprise to Dani – her runaway granny.  With Granny’s help, will Dani work well with her schoolmates and make a winning film?  And will she learn that she can make true friends in the zany atmosphere of St Grizzle’s school?

The lively illustrations by Becka Moor again enhance this fun, laugh out loud book, ideal for children from about 7 years old.

St Grizzle’s School for Girls, Ghosts and Runaway Grannies

Written by Karen McCombie; Illustrated by Becka Moor; Published by Stripes,  June 2017

Many thanks to Stripes, via Netgalley, for an advance e-copy of this book in exchange for this, my honest review.

Erica’s Elephant

To mark the release of The Bookshop Girl, I am publishing Bishop, Sylvia Erica's Elephantmy review of Sylvia Bishop’s charming first book, Erica’s Elephant.

This book reminded me of the wonderful writing of AA Milne, not just in the fabulous chapter titling like, “The Second Chapter: In which the Elephant earns a reputation”, but also in the manner in which the Elephant’s abilities and personality are written.

When Erica finds an elephant on her doorstep, little does she know the friendship they will form or the lengths she will go to protecting him from being sent to a zoo.  Accustomed to living alone, this ten-year-old is incredibly resourceful, finding ways to fund feeding Elephant and learning about his care.  When the authorities catch up with Erica, she finds an unlikely ally and a hidden talent – will these be enough to save her situation?

Ashley King’s pen and ink illustrations perfectly draw out the humour in Sylvia Bishop’s story-telling; I particularly love his interpretation of Erica’s busybody neighbour, Mrs Pritchett, which truly highlights his cartoonesque ability.   In other parts of the book, such as scenes at the zoo, his eye for detail is delightful.

An enchanting debut book, perfect to read to children from about six and for confident readers them to enjoy from eight.

Erica’s Elephant

Written by Sylvia Bishop; Illustrated by Ashley King; Published by Scholastic, 2 June 2016

Bishop, Sylvia The Bookshop GirlThe Bookshop Girl, the second collaboration between Sylvia Bishop and Ashley King was released by Scholastic on 6th April 2017.