Twister

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Born in the 'worst storm in living memory', Twister lives up to her name; feisty and tenacious, she takes on whatever comes her way. With her father missing and her mother having sun into a deep depression, Twister would be all alone if it weren't for her Aunt Honey and Twister's beloved dog, Point.  School should somewhere for her to thrive as she loves learning, yet sneering girls and bullies make her life miserable. 

Pushed to the edge by accusations that her father was responsible for the death of two people in a fire, Twister bravely sets off on a mission to find him and bring him back home. Given a magical necklace that holds the souls of living things by a witch called Maymay, Twister finds she can use its power to transform herself- but at a cost. And someone else wants the necklace and the power it contains...

An original, powerful story which mixes magic and at times brutal reality, 'Twister' is a compelling read. Twister herself is an intriguing character, loyal and spirited. Her voice is beautifully captured, with her dry commentary on the actions of those around and her wonderful turn of phrase.  Other characters- both the good and the bad- are also cleverly drawn. The landscape, vividly described in Twister's unique style, highlights tiny details others might miss.

The story is gripping and fast moving- at times scary, at times sad, building to a satisfying conclusion. It is the perfect book for those looking for a read that offers something a bit different- great for moving on! 

Twister by Juliette Forrest, cover illustration by Alexis Snell

Scholastic    ISBN: 978-1407185118

 

 

Sky Chasers

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'Sky Chasers' is a wonderful adventure story, set against the backdrop of France at the time of Louis XVI. A colourful cast of characters- human and animal- tell the story of the Montgolfier family and their race to be the first to fly a hot air balloon. Magpie- a pickpocket- and her rooster find themselves caught up in their world, all the way to Versailles and the King and Queen of France.

Magpie is a delightful, lively, brave and intelligent character who, despite all the circumstances stacked against her, is determined to do the ‘right thing’ and shows great loyalty to those around her. Her enquiring mind and determination to help allow the reader to see the development of the invention through its successes and set backs through her eyes. Each character from the family to the servants and even the King and Queen of France is well developed and engaging, such is Emma Carroll’s skill.

The story is quite beautifully told and moves along at a pleasing pace, full of excitement and action. There is something for everyone to enjoy in these pages as the complexities of family relationships sit amid the historical details and scientific discoveries. Adventure and excitement make this a rich tale based on a true story, just perfect for a class read!

Sky Chasers by Emma Carroll from a prize winning idea by Neal Jackson

Chicken House      ISBN: 978-1910655535

Anne Bronte

Born this day in 1820, Anne Bronte was the youngest of the Bronte sisters and author of Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Anne was born in this house in Thornton, West Yorkshire which is the absolute opposite of Haworth- not a tourist in sight! Here you can sit by the fire where the children were (allegedly!) born whilst enjoying a cup of tea and something to eat as it  is now a cafe / deli. 

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Here you can sit by the fire in front of which the younger Bronte children were (allegedly!) born- Charlotte in 1816, Branwell in 1817, Emily in 1818 and lastly, Anne in 1820- whilst enjoying a cup of tea and something to eat as it  is now a cafe / deli. The 'tables' are old school desks, adding to the charm of the place; the food is great!

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The family moved to Haworth Parsonage in 1820 when their father was was appointed to the perpetual curacy there. It was here that Anne Bronte wrote her two novels: Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

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Bronte 200 is a five year programme, celebrating the bicentenaries of the births of four of the Brontës: Charlotte in 2016, Branwell in 2017, Emily in 2018 and Anne in 2020. If you haven't read any of their books, it might be a good time to try one

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