Brilliant Book Titles #141

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.

Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.

With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is a 2011 Bank Street – Best Children’s Book of the Year.

5 Children’s Books to Watch Out For

Daisy and The Trouble with Chocolate by Kes Gray (9 Mar 2017, ages 5-7)
Daisy is SO excited! She’s been picked to look after the class hamsters, Pickle and Pops, over the Easter holidays – AND her mum’s taking her to Chocolate Land!!!

Trouble is, the two things probably shouldn’t mix…

The totally troublesome and laugh-out-loud funny new tale from the bestselling Daisy series.

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky (9 Mar 2017, ages 8-12) 
A gloriously illustrated celebration of trailblazing women. Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, from both the ancient and modern worlds. The book also contains fascinating infographics and an illustrated scientific glossary. The extraordinary women profiled include well-known figures like the physicist and chemist Marie Curie, as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, the African-American mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists and beyond …

The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman (15 Mar 2017, ages 10-13)
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler meets The Apothecary in this time-bending mystery from bestselling author Carol Goodman!
The day Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, four thirteen-year-olds converge at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where an eccentric curator is seeking four uncommonly brave souls to track down the hidden pages of the Kelmsbury Manuscript, an ancient book of Arthurian legends that lies scattered within the museum’s collection, and that holds the key to preventing a second attack on American soil. When Madge, Joe, Kiku, and Walt agree to help, they have no idea that the Kelmsbury is already working its magic on them. But they begin to develop extraordinary powers and experience the feelings of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Morgan le Fay, and Lancelot: courage, friendship, love…and betrayal. Are they playing out a legend that’s already been lived, over and over, across the ages? Or can the Metropolitans forge their own story?

My Little Cities: London by Jennifer Adams and Greg Pizzoli (11 Apr 2017, board book)
In this delightful series written by BabyLit author Jennifer Adams and illustrated by kidlit darling Greg Pizzoli, each book showcases a different city with lighthearted baby-appropriate text and ridiculously charming illustrations. Cross the pond and explore the city on the Thames: feed the pigeons in Trafalgar Square, watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, marvel at the spinning lights of the London Eye, and say good night to London’s landmark skyline.

cat-up-cat-downCat Up, Cat Down by Catherine Hnatov (15 Apr 2017, board book)
Bold and playful images engage young readers as they are introduced to the concept of opposites. Big and small. Back and front. Tall and short. Cat Up Cat Down’s simple text allows children and the adults reading with them to expand on the story, building language development.

The Book of Learning by E. R. Murray


When Ebony Smart’s grandfather dies under strange circumstances she is sent from her cottage in the countryside to live with her Aunt in atmospheric 23 Mercury lane in Dublin. Ebony’s family has a mysterious background, she is part of a society of people who reincarnate and have 9 lives. Over the years people from the order have been disappearing and Ebony makes the discovery that her Grandfather was murdered. She finds herself caught up in a race to find out what has been happening to people from the order of nine lives. Ebony is very mistrustful and suspicious of everyone except Winston her pet rat and starts to rely on the mysterious book of learning found in the study of Cornelius, her most unusual uncle.

The story is full of quirky  characters, is fast paced and compelling and is set against the back drop of Dublin.Lots of the action takes place around well-known places  such as the National Library, St Stephen’s Green and the Botanic Gardens. This all helps to make the story come to life and appear more real.  There is a lot going on in the plot and it’s quite spooky in places which I love, slightly older readers around 9+ should enjoy this.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.


The Keeper by Darragh Martin

the keeper darragh martin.jpg

I have been meaning to read this book for a while, I love the cover, I know you are not supposed to judge a book by this, but it’s a really nice one!

Oisin, his brother Stephen and sister Sorcha are transported to the island of the Tuath De Danann when Oisin finds the book of magic, or it finds him. He is not sure about the book and whether he wants to be its keeper, especially when he realised the kind of power it has.

Sorcha is kidnapped by the evil Morrígan(The Queen of Shadows) and they set off on a quest to rescue her with their new friends who also happen to be fairy folk. They manage to get aboard an enchanted ship called Eachtra run by Druids and need to find Sorcha by the harvest festival of Lughnasa. All is not plain sailing though and lots of obstacles get in the way along their journey. The Morrigan is a shape shifter and Oisin and Antimony start to suspect one of the students or teachers aboard is the evil queen in disguise

I wasn’t familiar with stories of the Tuath De Danann so I enjoyed the background to this story, the characters are very likeable and their world is a fantastic place to visit.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

The Middle of Nowhere by Geraldine McCaughren

middle of nowhere.jpg

Set at the end of the 19th century in the Australian outback, Comity lives with her mother and father in a telegraph relay station. Her father’s job is to transmit telegraph messages via Morse Code. They get deliveries by camel, her best friend is an aborigine boy called Fred and all is well until her Mother, Mary, dies after being bitten by a tiger snake. He father retreats into his own world and Comity is left to her own devices. When Quartz Hogg, an assistant for her father from the telegraph company arrives things take a turn for the worse.

This is a really great historical account of the time set against the fantastic back drop of the Australian dessert. The story itself starts off quite slowly but is made up for by the attention to detail, description of the Australian landscape and dialogue sprinkled with words from an Aboriginal dialect. The story is a tale of grief, sadness and friendship which also deals with racism and the need for respect for different cultures. The main character’s name is Comity and although set over 100 years ago the themes in this book are still very relevant,  the author stresses in the forward that now more than ever “there seems to be a more urgent need than ever for “Comity” harmony and understanding between nations..”

This book would be aimed at ages 9+ although I think older readers might enjoy it more.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

The Butterfly Shell by Maureen White

the butterfly shell

This is a story about Marie and her first year in secondary school. She ends up being bullied by the stupid six and finds fitting in to her new school traumatic. To deal with her emotions she starts cutting herself. Her only friend is Stella who is also on the outside of the cliques of school but who seems oblivious to everything

It is also story about family and loss. Marie once had a sister who died before she was born, also called Marie. Marie starts to hear the ghost her baby sister crying a night and the more depressed she becomes the more she seems connected to her sister and the butterfly shell

This story deals with some very sensitive topics and shows the effect that bullying can have on the recipient but also how Marie comes out the other end of the experience.  It also has an element of the supernatural which gives the story an interesting dimension.

“The Butterfly Shell” would suit ages 12+


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden

knights of the borrowed dark

Any kids aged 9+ looking for a great read for the summer look no further. I was looking forward to getting my hands on this book for a while and it didn’t disappoint.

Denzian Hardwick lives in an orphanage and has no relatives that he knows of, until one day he hears from a long lost aunt who invites him to come to stay for the weekend. Denzian starts to realise that he has certain powers and is introduced to a new world of the shady Tenebrous but magic has consequences as he soon finds out. He is one of a long line of Knights of the Borrowed Dark, his aunt is a very famous knight, and he has a big decision to make. When the Endless King is robbed, Denzian and the Knights have to step in to save the world as we know it.

This book has great characters, an exciting story line and vivid description, just waiting for the next installment out next year.

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Brilliant Book Titles #34

“Goodnight Luke”
“Goodnight Leia”
“Goodnight Lord Vader”


You can reserve a copy online on South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

It’s bedtime in the Star Wars galaxy, and Darth Vader’s parenting skills are tested anew in this delightful follow-up to the breakout New York Times bestsellers Darth Vader™ and Son and Vader’s™ Little Princess.  In this Episode, the Sith Lord must soothe his rambunctious twins, Luke and Leia—who are not ready to sleep and who insist on a story. As Vader reads, the book looks in on favorite creatures, droids, and characters, such as Yoda, R2-D2, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Darth Maul, Admiral Ackbar, Boba Fett, and many others as they tuck in, yawn, and settle down to dream. As ever, Jeffrey Brown’s charming illustrations and humor glow throughout, playing on children’s book conventions to enchant adults and kids alike.

Run Swift, Run Free by Tom Caughran

run swift

I have just re-read this book after a long time, we picked it for our junior book club here in Ballyroan, a lot of the kids really enjoyed it and it sparked a great discussion. I remember loving this as a child and think we might have even read it in school, I liked it just as much time around.

The story centers around the fox cubs young black tip and little running fox and their friends and family and follows their adventures and struggles to survive in the Irish countryside. Much of the story is quite fast paced and keeps you on tenterhooks as the fox cubs come across many dangers and enemies. There is great attention to detail and I found out all kinds of information about our native wildlife and surroundings.

This the 3rd part of a trilogy although it’s not necessary to have read the other books beforehand. Children’s stories about animals are often timeless and I think that is true of this book which has won many awards including CBI Bisto book of the decade.

Kids aged around 9+ who like adventure and stories about animals should give this a read.

BONUS POST – 5 Junior Novels to Watch Out For

Here’s five new and forthcoming junior books that we know are going to be really popular!

The Return (Spirit Animals, Fall of the Beast, Book 3) by Varian Johnson
(26 Apr 2016)
Split between two worlds, Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan are four young heroes who are racing to stop an ancient evil. Even the spirit animal bond, the sacred link between humans and animals, is on the brink of destruction.
The friends face an enemy with the power to enslave others to its will-and to steal spirit animals away from their rightful partners. With their own allies falling to this darkness, the four must look to their bonds to light the way forward.
But one of those lights is about to go out. Briggan, Uraza, Jhi, and Essix. Before their journey is over, one of these legends will be lost.

world of norm
The World of Norm: Includes Delivery by Jonathan Meres (5 May 2016)
Norm knew it was going to be one of those days when he lost his house…

But even when he finds it, things don’t get much better. What could be worse than imagining your parents at a salsa dancing event – with your best friend?! Norm’s not sure what’s got into Mikey, but he suspects hormones may be involved. Flipping typical!

The TENTH hilarious title in this award-winning, laugh-out-loud series. For fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and David Walliams.

world's worst
The World’s Worst Children by David Walliams (19 May 2016)
From the world’s favourite author, David Walliams – ten cautionary tales and a delightfully dreadful cast of characters; all in a gorgeously gifty FULL COLOUR format!

Are you ready to meet the World’s Worst Children? Five beastly boys and five gruesome girls!

• Like Sofia Sofa – a TV super-fan so stuck to the sofa that she’s turning into one!

• Or Dribbling Drew – a boy whose drool gets him into trouble on a school trip!

• And not forgetting Blubbering Bertha – a girl who bawls and tells terrible tales!

Also featuring a special appearance from fan-favourite Raj!

From Number One bestselling author David Walliams comes this collection of wickedly funny, deliciously mischievous tales, illustrated in glorious colour by the artistic genius Tony Ross.

night monkey
Night Monkey, Day Monkey by Julia Donaldson (board book, 2 Jun 2016)
Julia Donaldson’s beloved rhyming picture book story about two monkeys who are as different as night and day yet still learn to be friends – with adorable, sumptuous illustrations from Lucy Richards. Now in a gorgeous and durable board book format with a luxury hardback cover, perfect for little hands.

Night Monkey and Day Monkey don’t think they have much in common. But when they each spend time in the other’s opposite worlds, they learn a lot – and they also learn to be the best of friends.

One of the finest stories from Julia Donaldson, the author behind The GruffaloRoom on the Broom,The Scarecrow’s Wedding and What the Ladybird Heard. Full of fun and food for thought, Night Monkey, Day Monkey is beautifully illustrated by Lucy Richards.

oi frog
Oi Frog! by Kes Gray & Jim Field (board book, 14 Jul 2016)
Now available as a board book this original rhyming story is jam-packed with animals and silliness and will have the youngest of readers in fits of laughter.

Cats sit on mats, hares sit on chairs, mules sit on stools and gofers sit on sofas, but Frog does not want to sit on a log!

From the award-winning Kes Gray and the winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, Jim Field, comes an hilarious rhyming tale about a frog who discovers that all animals have their special places to sit!

‘An absolute treat.’ – Daily Mail
‘Hilarious illustrations and rhymes which are easy to recite and join in. Everyone will love it.’ – Guardian

Kes was voted by the Independent as one of the TOP TEN children’s authors and he is the author of the award-winning Eat Your Peas and winner of the Red House Children’s Book Award. Jim’s first picture book Cats Ahoy! won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize.