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Are you a fan of Mysteries and Mythology? Check out all our Mysteries / Mythology book selections, read reviews, download extracts and you can order the book too!
School trips are always fun, but especially when you are a little mermaid. Marnie Blue and her class are going on a trip to Queen Maretta’s palace so are very excited. Being mermaids, their school bus is a whale shark and the contents of their packed lunches are a bit different (kelp fritters, seaweed rolls and sea-cucumber slices), but other things are exactly the same – jostling for the best seats on the journey and making sure you’re partnered with your best friend. Marnie’s glamourous aunt Christabel is a helper on the trip, which worries Marnie – after all, Christabel was very badly behaved when she was at school – but it’s someone else gets up to mischief. The story is full of fun and adventure and young readers will love the underwater details. Sheena Dempsey’s illustrations are ever-so pretty too and this series is offishially a hit. One to recommend to fans of The Worst Witch and readers who like Marnie should get to know Lyla, star of Rebecca Patterson’s new Moon Girl series too There are some great reviews from our Kids Reader Review Panel for the first in this series - Mermaid School - read them here!
December 2020 Book of the Month | Holly Black writes amazing fantasy set in the land of Faerie. She has thrilled us with The Folk of the Air Trilogy – but this delightful novella takes a deeper look at the early life of the cruel King Cardan from the trilogy – offering some insights as to why he becomes the adult he is and how his early influences contributed. For such a short book (only 173 pages) it is filled with high romance, terrifying danger and touches of humour that will appeal to both established fans and new readers alike. Starting in Cardan’s childhood - where he is a faerie child with a heart of stone and an eye for wicked mischief - the story takes us through his various meetings with the Troll Aslog of the West and the variations on the “boy with the stone heart” story and how these contribute to his eventual character. Pair this with Rovina Cai’s amazing illustrations and this is a jewel of a book. Using a wonderfully earthy, shadowy palette Cai creates a marvellous picture of the world of Faerie. The generous number of illustrations, with detail and depth to them, draws the reader further and further into the story. Definitely a book not to be missed!
An Anthology of Modern Russian Folk Tales | Hot on the stylish heels of Gamayun Tales I, this second anthology of Alexander Utkin’s stunning Gamayun Tales series of graphic novels is feast for all the senses - the artwork is bold and evocative, the storytelling thrillingly energetic as Gamayun, an all-seeing, all-knowing magical human-faced bird, recounts three fantastical Slavic folktales. This anthology opens with an enthralling version of one of my all-time favourite folk-tales, Vasilisa and the Doll, in which young Vasilisa falls into the clutches of Baba Yaga (the mother of all witches) due to the talisman doll her mother gave her on her deathbed. Vasilisa’s fear on sighting Baba Yaga’s chicken-legged house, illuminated by glowing skulls, is palpable, with an ingeniously effective shift in colour palette and perspective. Then we move to epic two-parter, The Golden Apples - “take a bite of an apple and it will bring relief from any sickness or injury. Eat the whole apple and any illness will be cured.” The question (and adventure) is, can these magical fruits cure an old king of his illness? Alongside presenting an epic visual story-telling experience on every page, the book is also packed with witty quips, making it every bit as entertaining as it is thrilling (and fearsome too, in places).
This enchanting reinvention of a Natural History of Fairies written by botanist Professor Elsie Arbour in the 1920s glows with timeless charm and the magic of nature. What’s more, author Emily Hawkins’s message about protecting fairies’ natural habitats has important real-world resonance, such as this: “human actions are putting fairies’ habitats at risk. When forests and woodland are cut down to make space for farmland…then fairies’ homes are destroyed.” Fairy enthusiasts will delight in the detail of the softly-radiant illustrations that present fairy anatomy and life cycles in the manner of natural history books, replete with labels and descriptions. Throughout, the book is suffused with a thrilling feeling that fairies might be found - if you know what you’re looking for, and where to look. The section on language and secret scripts will undoubtedly inspire young readers to write their own fairy codes, while coverage of a huge range of habitats - from meadows, gardens and woodlands, to mountains, marine environments and jungles - gives a satisfying global feel. Alongside providing fairy-lovers with much fodder for exploration, this coverage of habitats, and information on the likes of leaves, plants and animals, might also spark a wider love of nature. Sumptuously presented, with a silk bookmark, and gold edging and cover foil supplementing Jessica Roux’s illustrations, this book’s style is every bit as charming as its content, which makes it a gift to treasure.
An Encyclopedia of Mythical Beasts and Their Magical Tales | Monsters, gods, tricksters and shapeshifters, you’ll find them all in this encyclopedia of myths. The descriptions, in words and full colour illustrations over double page spreads, are awe-inspiring and no wonder, mythical creatures have been stalking the imaginations of man for thousands of years. From the Americas, we meet the feathered Quetzalcoatl, the god of light, who protects humans from danger, and also the monstrous Mapinguari, who roams through the undergrowth of the Amazon. From the other side of the world, Shenlong, the Spirit Dragon, controls the wind and clouds, majestic and benign. The entries are interspersed with the old stories, which explain our world or show us the best ways to behave. It’s a wonderful way of bringing the world together and the tales told are as fascinating today as they have ever been. Handsomely illustrated this is an eye-opening, inspiring reference book.
This comic picture book cleverly demonstrates the dangers of being swayed by popular opinion. New boy Peter is quickly branded the baddest boy in school and it does indeed seem that he’s given to doing naughty things. So when the school’s pet rat goes missing from his cage, everyone assumes Peter is responsible. Only one person knows the truth, and that Peter’s bad behaviour is not what it seems either. The book explores the dynamics of any classroom while also showing us that strange or different doesn’t equal bad and that categorising people on assumptions is never a good idea. Peter is a very charming little character, with his cape, fangs and lacy collar, and the story is beautifully told by its mystery narrator. Original, memorable, and lots of fun.
Merfolk of the World | We are all fascinated by mermaids – whether it’s the story of The Little Mermaid, or the idea of mysterious creatures luring sailors into danger. This beautifully illustrated book introduces readers to mermaids from all around the world – not just the UK and Europe but across the Americas, Australia and Asia too; it seems that people everywhere have always been entranced by the idea of human creatures living in the sea or deep lakes. Many of these mermaids are beautiful, some are helpful and kind, others anything but. The stories will catch the imagination, and this is a book to pore over and return to again and again.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Mythical monsters have always represented humanity's greatest fears and the environmental monsters in Planet SOS are no different. In all, 22 monsters feature in Planet SOS and each is paired with the mythological beast it is based on. And each monster is accompanied by a Monster Card outlining the big, bad beast's weaknesses and how to use each one to your advantage.
Shortlisted for the Excelsior Award Blue 11+ KS3 | From the sands of Ancient Egypt to the streets of modern Japan, the newly resurrected Great Priest Imhotep traverses time and space on the hunt for the magai, devious beings with an appetite for destruction who impersonate the gods! When schoolgirl Hinome crosses paths with this illustrious ancient, is her loner lifestyle about to change for the better...or for the worse?!
Larabelle Fox is an orphan, a tosher who searches the sewers for any ‘treasure’ she can find, in the sewer system under Kings Haven. She is ranged against rival toshing gangs who want to rob her, as well as the powerful King’s Witch who wants to revive the Evernight in a bid to gain total power for herself. Unbeknownst to Lara she has found exactly what the King’s Witch and her awesomely scary djinn Shadow Jack are looking for – a box, long lost in the sewers. Can Lara discover what she can do with the box and its contents before the world succumbs to the evil of the Evernight? This is a wild magical delight of a story. The bad guys are wickedly bad and seemingly undefeatable, whilst Lara and her friend Joe Littlefoot seem small and powerless. But they have quick wits and goodness on their side, as well as the witches, though it will mainly be down to Lara that a defence is put up to the Evernight.This is the sort of book that will create a buzz of enjoyment, the fantasy world is well built, believable, cinematic and child friendly. The magic is fun, the friendship believable, the story is refreshing, and the feisty heroine is a delight to follow. I shall look forward to more books in this series.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | This gorgeous gift book will take you on a world adventure via the world's greatest rivers. The Yangtze tells of dragons and dolphins, while the Rhine whispers about castles and Frankenstein. Explore pyramids, tombs and temples by the Nile, and search for lost cities and gold alongside the Amazon. And follow the Mississippi to hear of historic battles and dinosaurs.
This follow up to the hugely popular Official Handbook of the Magical Unicorn Society will entrance fans of the original and new readers alike. It is again written by the mysterious Selwyn E Phipps, president of the Magical Unicorn Society, and tells eight separate stories, each one featuring a different unicorn. There are Water Moon Unicorns, Storm Chasers, Ice Wanderers and of course the Golden Unicorn. Each story is full of magic and mystery and is preceded by a short profile of the unicorn it features while the pages are full of delicate, atmospheric colour illustrations. It all makes for a beautiful book which really will send shivers of delight through anyone who dreams of one day, somewhere, somehow, seeing a unicorn.