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Ones to Watch: New Children’s Books for Autumn 2018

September and October promise some real gems when it comes to new children’s books.

Here are seven (although I could have picked more!) that I am most excited about after having the opportunity for an advanced read.

1. Snowglobe

Amy Wilson

Amy Wilson’s Snowglobe is breathtakingly beautiful and without a doubt one of my favourite books of the year so far.

Young Clementine is sure that the curious house she finds in the middle of town was never there before. Drawn to look inside, she discovers hundreds of snowglobes each containing trapped magicians, including her classmate Dylan.

Headstrong Clementine bravely ventures into the worlds of the snowglobes on a mission to rescue Dylan and free those trapped by the house’s enchantments. As she struggles against the strange and powerful sisters in charge of the house, Clementine’s own magical identity is awakened as she grapples with her own past, present and future.

I loved the complexity of the characters and the strong female lead, the enchanting magical worlds in the snowglobes and the emotive narrative that is gripping from the first page. Snowglobe is simply spellbinding as Amy Wilson spins her own brand of enticing magic and masterfully demonstrates the charm of middle grade fantasy at its very best.

Publisher: Macmillan

Publication date: 18th October 2018

Pre-order Snowglobe here.

2. The Train to Impossible Places: A Cursed Delivery

P.G. Bell (author) & Flavia Sorrentino (illustrator)

The Train to Impossible Places is a whizz-pop-bang of an adventure story that will make readers young and old want to jump on board!
From the moment the Impossible Postal Express crashes unexpectedly through Suzy’s living room, the plot hurtles on at a hundred-miles-an-hour as it twists its way through imaginative realms. The postal workers on the magical train whisk Suzy along with them on their mission to deliver top secret packages to impossible places, encountering villains, heroes and everything in between along the way.
Super imaginative, action-packed and filled with exciting new worlds and fantastical characters, this book has all the ingredients to be a massive hit.

Full steam ahead to the sequel!

Publisher: Usborne

Publication date: 4th October 2018

Pre-order The Train to Impossible Places: A Cursed Delivery here.


3. The Legend of Kevin

Philip Reeve & Sarah McIntyre

This illustrated chapter book about a flying pony is just so endearing and very entertaining.

As you’d expect from this author-illustrator dream team that brought us Cakes in Space and Oliver and the Seawigs, this story is amusingly original at every turn and is overflowing with the feel-good factor.

Kevin is a flying pony who lives on the Outermost West hills and loves biscuits (especially custard creams). One day, a wild storm brings Kevin roly-polying through the air and crashing into Max’s flat in the town of Bumbleford. Max has always wanted a pet and is delighted by Kevin’s arrival.

As the rising storm waters wreak havoc in the town, Max and Kevin set about to save the day in a hilarious rescue mission. Perfect for the 7-9 age bracket, this book is a real hoot – complete with mermaids, cheeky sea monkeys and plenty of custard creams!

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Publication date: 6th September 2018

Pre-order The Legend of Kevin here.


4. The Way Past Winter

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

This eagerly-awaited story by award-winning author Kiran Millwood Hargrave is the perfect winter adventure story, telling of an extraordinary adventure through the frozen north in a quest to reunite families and to break a cycle of endless winter

Mila lives with her siblings in their small cabin deep in the wintry forest. One night, mysterious strangers arrive near their village looking for shelter. The next morning, the men have gone but they have taken Mila’s brother Oskar with them.

Mila sets out on a perilous quest to rescue Oskar, leading her through frozen landscapes. Mila will have to find a way past the eternal winter to reclaim spring again and reunite her family.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave is a masterful storyteller and this spectacular new tale about siblings, bravery and not losing hope is likely to capture imaginations and whisk readers on a mesmerising pursuit through magical realms. A captivating read to warm hearts on cold, winter days.

Publisher: Chicken House

Publication date: 4th October 2018

Pre-order The Way Past Winter here.

5. A Darkness of Dragons

S.A. Patrick

Fantasy fans will be blown away by this exciting and original adventure. Imagine a cross between How to Train Your Dragon and The Pied Piper of Hamelin and throw in some musical spells, dracogriffs, spectacular battles and a quest of epic proportions.

Patch Brightwater wants to be a successful piper, using the music from his pipe to make magical spells. But things do not quite go to plan when he tries to help a village with a rat problem and ends up being put in jail for playing a forbidden spell song.

In prison, Patch uncovers a disturbing secret about the infamous Piper of Hamelyn. Patch soon seizes an opportunity to escape his cell. Together with Wren (a girl living under a curse that has turned her into a rat) and a friendly dracogriff called Barver, Patch sets about on a world-saving mission to stop the Piper of Hamelyn. The trio encounter sorcerers, dragons, magical substances and evil villains, with their adventure culminating in a nail-biting climax that readers will not want to put down.

This is a clever and original spin on a well-known story. S.A. Patrick has created an immersive magical world that will thrill its audience with its action-filled fantasy plot, its dark magic and its homage to the power of music.

Publisher: Usborne

Publication date: 6th September 2018


Pre-order A Darkness of Dragons here.

6. The Clockwork Crow

Catherine Fisher

The Clockwork Crow is an enchanting Victorian adventure featuring an unlikely friendship between an orphaned girl and a mechanical bird.

When Seren Rees is sent to a Welsh countryside mansion to live a new life with estranged relatives, she dreams of the warmth and comfort her new family will bring, especially at Christmas time. Things do not turn out quite as she expects, starting with a mysterious package handed to her by a stranger at the train station on the way.

Seren finds that her new home is remote and empty except for a few house staff. Inside the mystery parcel is a clockwork crow, who soon becomes Seren’s only companion.

 The pair work together to unravel the mystery of the house, as intriguing details about where the rest of the family might be begin to emerge. Seren embarks on a magical quest to restore the family, involving a magical snow globe, an ice palace and a door of blood and tears.

An endearing and heartwarming story with gothic overtones, this is a gem of a book for readers to get wrapped up in during winter time.

Publisher: Firefly Press

Publication date: 4th October 2018

Pre-order The Clockwork Crow here.


7. The Lost Magician

Piers Torday

The Lost Magician is a clever fantasy story that takes its premise from the Narnia books and crafts it into something fresh and unique. Author Piers Torday is like a magician himself when it comes to spinning stories and this one is spellbinding, combining enchanting fantasy worlds with well-developed characters and a convincing post-war setting of 1945.

Siblings Simon, Patricia, Evelyn and Larry discover a mysterious library door that leads to a magical world called Folio. This is a world in which the library’s stories are locked in an eternal war and the only hope of restoring peace is by finding the original librarian, a magician who has been missing for hundreds of years.

As the siblings become tangled in Folio’s battles, they encounter fairy knights, robots and bears among the cast of both familiar and unfamiliar story characters. Each of the four siblings has their own journey to undertake as they engage with the world of reading and imagination. While some feel naturally at home among the realm of stories, there is no glossing over the fact that not everyone finds it easy to immerse themselves in books and others need space to explore the whys and hows of their reading choices.

The world building in this story is delightful and it is heaps of fun for readers to journey through fantasy worlds where fairy-tale characters meet sci-fi scenes. There are plenty of nods to the Narnia stories and readers familiar with the original books will enjoy to spotting them dotted in among the narrative.

A fun and adventurous story where anything is possible and imagination is king.

Publisher: Quercus

Publication date: 6th September 2018

Pre-order The Lost Magician here.

Thank you to the publishers for kindly sending me advanced copies of these books.

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