The Demon Headmaster

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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?!

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Beth And Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2016 – JANUARY READ – The Demon Headmaster by Gillian Cross

Published January 31, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Dinah moves in with the Hunter family and starts going to the same school as her foster-brothers Lloyd and Harvey. It’s not easy, as they seem to hate her, and school is really strange. Pupils suddenly talk like robots and do weird things – even Dinah finds herself acting oddly.

She’s sure the headmaster has some kind of power over them, and is determined to find out more. But the Demon Headmaster is equally determined to stop her.

What did I think?:

For the first book in our Kid-Lit challenge for 2016, we wanted to pick quite a special book to both of us and in the end, we decided to go for The Demon Headmaster. This was one of my personal favourite books from childhood and I also used to read it to Chrissi when we were kids (one of the many I read to her!). Again, I was slightly worried about reading this book as an adult and although I didn’t love it as much the second time around I still believe it’s a wonderful piece of children’s fiction that can be enjoyed today. I really wanted to find the cover that I originally had in the 90’s but it unfortunately wasn’t on GoodReads – I wonder if anyone knows the one I’m talking about, it’s quite eerie with a picture of the headmaster on the cover leaning over a desk with (quite literally) hypnotic green eyes? Perhaps that’s the reason it’s not about any more, it was VERY creepy. Ah, look – I just found it!

The Demons Headmaster

Our main character and heroine is Dinah Glass, an orphan who is adopted by the Hunter family after she has been in a children’s home for ten years. The Hunters already have two boys, Lloyd and Harvey, who are not exactly thrilled that Dinah is joining their family and going to their school. You see their school is a very strange place where the the children are silent at all times and “play-time,” consists of groups of children in a huddle reciting times-tables, Kings and Queens of England and capital cities. The boys are worried that Dinah will be just like THEM and then they will never find out what exactly goes on in the special assemblies every afternoon that they and just a few other of their friends are never invited to.

Dinah herself soon realises that there is something odd about the children’s behaviour at this school and when she meets the Headmaster, things start to slot into place. The last thing she remembers is the Headmaster taking off his glasses and then, next thing she knows, she is being woken up by him and told that she has slept away the entire morning. Stranger still is the little needle-prick she appears to have on one of her fingers. At the assembly that afternoon, Dinah decides she is going to rebel and when the Headmaster takes off his glasses, she closes her eyes. What happens next shocks her to her core and although Lloyd and Harvey are still suspicious of her, they let her join their special group, nicknamed SPLAT to try and protect themselves against the Headmaster and all of THEM who are influenced by him. As they attempt to investigate the goings-on at the school they have to tread carefully – the Headmaster’s punishments know no bounds and he has an evil plan afoot which they must try to stop, not only for the good of the school..but for the world.

The Demon Headmaster has everything a classic work of children’s literature should offer. There’s adventure, mystery, thrills galore where we wonder if the baddie is ever going to get his come-uppance, and there’s even a bit of terror, which I often loved as a younger teenager! I remembered why I loved this book as soon as I started reading, especially with the gems Lloyd came out with: “Purple pancakes! Scarlet sausages!” which really made me smile. Gillian Cross has a real talent for telling a story that will capture your attention while writing characters that will instantly steal your heart. The follow-up to this book, The Prime Minister’s Brain is also brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed re-visiting this series again.

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

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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Next up in Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2016 – Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden.

 

 

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!