Through the Water Curtain

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I am fascinated by fairy tales- an interest I share with Cornelia Funke who both selected and introduced this beautiful collection. Although they have often influenced her own writing, she explains why she doesn’t like these stories and yet feels their power to enchant and fascinate.

The book itself is a thing of beauty. Its tempting cover hints at the delights within and is wonderfully tactile. The water drops theme is continued on the endpapers and throughout the book in black and white with each images from the cover linked to its story.

Cornelia Funke let the stories she chose for this collection come to her ‘like magical creatures that cross our path in a labyrinth.’ It is a stunning selection of tales from around the world, many less well known. Each one ends with a comment from Cornelia about the stories origin, parallels to other stories and her thoughts, which adds something special to the selection. The story sources used are all referenced at the back of the book, perfect for those of us who are keen to investigate further!

Not only beautifully bound, but brilliantly re-told, this is a collection to enjoy and cherish for years to come. Fabulous!

Through the Water Curtain selected and introduced by Cornelia Funke

Pushkin Press ISBN: 978-1782692003

Hotel Flamingo

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When Anna inherits the Hotel Flamingo from her Great Aunt Mathilde, she is disappointed to find that it is a dilapidated shadow of its former self. However, being a determined young lady, she sets about cleaning up with the help of the two remaining members of staff- T Bear, the doorman and Lemmy the hotel receptionist. As more staff are employed, Anna is ready to welcome any guest- cockroach, flamingo, cat- all are welcome at the Hotel Flamingo! But running an animal hotel is no small task. Will Anne be able to overcome all odds and make it a success once more?

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What a fantastic little book this is! Having inherited ‘the sunniest hotel in town’, Anna is determined to make it a success and shows that hard work and effort pay off. She is a delightful character, inspiring loyalty and friendship in others and welcoming all to her hotel.

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All the animals Anna employs are endearing individuals, full of personality. Madame Le Pig is the feisty. temperamental chef who prides herself in creating ‘real food’, but rises to the challenge of the guests’ many and varied dietary requirements! Hilary Hippo- cleaner extraordinaire- is extremely fastidious yet allergic to dust. Each member of the team is brought to life beautifully, adding humour to the story.

The story is full of illustrations, both colour and black and white, increasing its appeal. ‘Hotel Flamingo’ is just the sort of story we need to encourage children to take their next steps in reading. I’m delighted to hear there will be more in this series!

Hotel Flamingo Alex Milway

Piccadilly ISBN: 978-1848127753

You can read our review of Pigsticks and Harold and the Pirate Treasure here.

Geographics: Earth

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Full of fascinating facts and interesting information, ‘Geographics: Earth’ is perfect for curious minds.

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Information is concisely conveyed with clear illustrations supporting the text. Each spread is attractively laid out and although there are plenty of facts on each page, they are not cluttered or confusing, but easy to navigate.

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Many of the facts explored here are part of the Geography curriculum , making this a very useful addition to classroom bookshelves. There is a comprehensive glossary and the book is well organised into logical sections. Each page also offers a possible career in that field to give the reader an idea of related jobs.

Geographics: Earth Susan Martineau, illustrated by Vicky Barker

b small publishing ISBN: 978-1911509868