Maggot Moon

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Beth And Chrissi Do Kid Lit 2016 – The Round Up

Published January 1, 2017 by bibliobeth

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Image from http://www.parentspartner.com/childrens-literature/

Hello everyone and welcome to Beth And Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2016 The Round Up where we’ll be talking about our highlights (and lowlights) of our Kid Lit year. As always, we’ve read some fantastic books and series, some of which we will be continuing into 2017. Please find below all the books we read and the links to my reviews. For Chrissi’s reviews the link will be at the bottom of each original post.

JANUARY- The Demon Headmaster- Gillian Cross

FEBRUARY- Carrie’s War- Nina Bawden

MARCH- The Boy In The Dress- David Walliams

APRIL- Noble Conflict- Malorie Blackman

MAY- The Horse and His Boy- C.S Lewis

JUNE- The Borrowers- Mary Norton

JULY- Maggot Moon- Sally Gardner

AUGUST- Looking For JJ- Anne Cassidy

SEPTEMBER – The Wolves of Willoughby Chase-Joan Aiken

OCTOBER- Ballet Shoes- Noel Streatfeild

NOVEMBER- A Series of Unfortunate Events- Lemony Snicket 

DECEMBER- The Boy Who Sailed The Ocean In An Armchair- Lara Williamson

So, in the style of the “Talking About…” reviews we normally do, we thought we’d answer a quick few questions about our fourth (!!) year of Kid-Lit blogging.

1) What was your favourite Kid-Lit book of 2016 and why?
BETH: Tough choice this year as there were a few books I really, really loved. If I had to choose one though it would be The Wolves Of Willoughby Chase. Totally surprised me with how much I enjoyed it and it had such a classic, old-time feel to it which was fantastic.
CHRISSI: Mine would be The Wolves of Willoughby Chase or The Boy Who Sailed The Ocean In An Armchair. I can’t pick… sorry! Both had such charm.
2) What was your least favourite Kid-Lit book of 2016 and why?
BETH: Hmmm…..Ballet Shoes. Definitely the most disappointing. I struggled to get through it if I’m honest and got a bit bored about halfway through.
CHRISSI: I would say Ballet Shoes as well. I really thought it would be a book that I loved because I’m a massive fan of books that involve dance and love that era, but no, it wasn’t for me.
3) What was the Kid-Lit book of 2016 that surprised you the most?
BETH: The Horse And His Boy for sure. I didn’t have fond memories of it as a child. In fact, it was my least favourite of all the Narnia books. I was surprised to discover that it wasn’t as bad as I remembered and I actually really enjoyed it!
CHRISSI: It would be Looking for JJ for me as I didn’t expect to be as gripped as I was by the story. I devoured it!
4) Have you been inspired to read any other books from a Kid-Lit author of 2016?
BETH: I fell completely under the spell of Lara Williamson after reading The Boy Who Sailed The Ocean In An Armchair and would really love to read her debut novel A Boy Called Hope.
CHRISSI: I will definitely continue with the Percy Jackson series. I don’t know if I can wait each kid-lit year to read the series though!

For anyone who reads these posts, thank you so much for your continued support, we love doing this challenge and hope to continue it indefinitely. Coming tomorrow – the big reveal for Kid-Lit 2017! Which titles made it this year? And which titles are we going to have to do er…. another year?!

Beth And Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2016 – JULY READ – Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

Published July 30, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

In Sally Gardner’s stunning novel, set in a ruthless regime, an unlikely teenager risks all to expose the truth about a heralded moon landing.

What if the football hadn’t gone over the wall. On the other side of the wall there is a dark secret. And the devil. And the Moon Man. And the Motherland doesn’t want anyone to know. But Standish Treadwell — who has different-colored eyes, who can’t read, can’t write, Standish Treadwell isn’t bright — sees things differently than the rest of the “train-track thinkers.” So when Standish and his only friend and neighbour, Hector, make their way to the other side of the wall, they see what the Motherland has been hiding. And it’s big…One hundred very short chapters, told in an utterly original first-person voice, propel readers through a narrative that is by turns gripping and darkly humorous, bleak and chilling, tender and transporting.

What did I think?:

I’m a regular subscriber to New Books Magazine here in the UK whom I was lucky enough to do an interview for a while back and with every issue, they offer you the opportunity to purchase books and just pay the postage cost. So when I read the synopsis of Maggot Moon I was instantly compelled to buy it and sadly, due to the sheer number of books I have it languished on my shelves hidden for quite some time until the beginning of this year when Chrissi and I started to compile our Kid Lit list for this year when I remembered about it and begged for it to be included.

I’m so glad I did because this is one of the most special, compelling, incredibly unique and indeed sinister books that I have read for a while. It’s easy to see why it has won the awards it has – The Costa Children’s Book Award in 2012 and the prestigious Carnegie Medal in 2013 and tells the story of an alternate universe in the 1950’s under a totalitarian regime not unlike the Nazi’s (it actually begged the question is this what the world would have been like if the Nazi’s had won?).

Standish Treadwell is a young schoolboy living in dark days under a right wing, fascist dictatorship. Unfortunately, he happens to be a bit different from the ideal according to “The Motherland.” He has one blue eye and one brown one, he is dyslexic and his parents have mysteriously vanished and feared dead after his mother dared to speak up against the regime. This leads to him and his Gramps being relegated to Zone Seven, the poor area of town designated for all outcasts, political troublemakers and basically anyone else who does not conform to the propaganda that is being spouted at them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Standish doesn’t have a great life. He is tormented at school by both teachers and students and lives from hand to mouth as his Gramps tends a meagre vegetable garden to try and get them enough to eat. His life improves dramatically however when a new family moves into the house next to him and he makes a friend, Hector and a whole new planet, Juniper in his imagination that the boys can escape to when things get a bit too much. Then Hector too disappears, something terrible happens at school and he and his grandfather take in a special visitor that they could pay for with their lives. Determined and brave Standish is desperate to expose the regime for what they really are by revealing one of their biggest secrets but the dangers of doing so could mean he and Gramps could lose what little they already have.

This book is beautifully presented in short snippets of chapters that say so much in very few words. I have to admit to being unsure at the start but by about ten chapters in I was completely hooked. I absolutely love how young adult fiction is really pushing the boundaries at the moment and this book does exactly that. It is brutal, raw, violent and highly emotional but so touching and heart-rending that it’s impossible to put it down once begun. I fell in love instantly with brave Standish and his grandfather and cherished every word I read as each one was so expertly conceived and written. The illustrations of flies, rats and maggots on each page tell their own story as you go through and gave the book even more punch than there is just with the text. Although at times I was slightly disgusted, I knew exactly what the author was trying to do and was incredibly affected by it. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for anyone who likes their stories a bit different, a bit quirky, a bit heart-breaking – just read it!

For Chrissi’s fabulous review, please see her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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Beth And Chrissi Do Kid-Lit – The Titles For 2016 Revealed!

Published January 1, 2016 by bibliobeth

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Image from http://uweb.cas.usf.edu/~dslone/Pathfinders/weber.htm

Welcome 2016! Welcome to a new year of Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit. Without further ado, here are the titles we have chosen for the year ahead:

JANUARY- The Demon Headmaster- Gillian Cross

FEBRUARY- Carrie’s War- Nina Bawden

MARCH- The Boy In The Dress- David Walliams

APRIL- Noble Conflict- Malorie Blackman

MAY- The Horse and His Boy- C.S Lewis

JUNE- The Borrowers- Mary Norton

JULY- Maggot Moon- Sally Gardner

AUGUST- Looking For JJ- Anne Cassidy

SEPTEMBER – The Wolves of Willoughby Chase-Joan Aiken

OCTOBER- Ballet Shoes- Noel Streatfeild

NOVEMBER- A Series of Unfortunate Events- Lemony Snicket 

DECEMBER- The Boy Who Sailed The Ocean In An Armchair- Lara Williamson

Like last year, we’ve picked a mixture of “classic,” children’s literature and some newer titles. I’m really looking forward to re-visiting one of my old favourites, The Demon Headmaster and continuing the Narnia series with The Horse And His Boy. I also can’t wait to read titles such as Carrie’s War which I’ve been meaning to read for so long and Ballet Shoes which I’ve heard a lot of good things about. What do you think of our titles? Have you read any of these? Which do you recommend? Let us know in the comments!

And the winner of the Costa Novel 2012 is….

Published February 2, 2013 by bibliobeth

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So, in the literary world, “Queen” Hilary Mantel can do no wrong. Fresh from scooping the Man Booker Prize 2012, she becomes the first person to also win the Costa Award (formally the Whitbread award) in the same year! This is as well as winning the Man Booker for her first book in the Cromwell series, Wolf Hall. The prize, a cool £30,000  is in its 41st year and described as one which “rewards enjoyability” in comparison to its cleverer counterpart, the Booker.

The other prizewinners (winning £5,000 each) included:

Dotter of her Father’s Eyes – Mary and Bryan Talbot – a graphic novel which won the Biography section and I’m quite intrigued to read after seeing an interview with the couple on Channel 4.

The Innocents – Francesca Segal – First Novel

The Overhaul – Kathleen Jamie – Poetry

Maggot Moon – Sally Gardner – Children’s Book (on my TBR pile)

Previous winners of the Costa prize include Pure by Andrew Miller, The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry, Small Island by Andrea Levy and the marvellous Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon.

Now, I have to admit, I haven’t read Bring Up The Bodies yet. I didn’t really get on with Wolf Hall the first time I tried to read it but am preparing to give it another shot as Anne Boleyn is one of my favourite historical characters and I can’t bear to miss out on a re-telling of her antics. The BBC is due to dramatise both Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies this year, so I’ll definitely be looking out for that. Mantel is currently working on the third novel in the story of Cromwell’s rise and fall from grace – I seriously need to catch up!!