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Archive for the ‘Old Favourites’ Category


9780586217832By: Raymond E Feist

Pug is an orphan apprenticed to a Magician at Crydee, a frontier outpost. He never wanted to be a magician but he has a gift. When the peace of the Kingdom of the Isles is threatened by alien invaders Pug and his best friend Thomas are swept up into a conflict that will change the course of the entire kingdom. Pug’s destiny is to master the magic of two lands. Thomas is to inherit a powerful legacy that could destroy more than just himself if he can’t master it.

This is epic fantasy. It sweeps across worlds. There are heroes, dwarves, elves, magicians and mad kings. Pug’s arc is harsh as his journey takes him across two worlds, two very different cultures. He learns and he adapts. He was an orphan adopted into power, who grows beyond anything he could really have imagined. Thomas’s journey is that of finding his humanity. In Feist’s hands a simple war story sweeps across two incredibly designed worlds. He brings to life many characters that will stay with you. This is the first of many books set in the Kingdom and many characters who’s lives will draw you in.


So you may wonder at such a short review of such a long (600 – 800+ pages depending on which edition you have). So here it is. I love this book. I love this series. I am a huge Feist fan, have been since Magician was first put into my hands when I was 12. This was the first book I tried to read by torchlight under my bed covers. When my teacher gave it to me in class I was so embarrassed. He put it on my desk, this great big volume and said he though I might like it. Like I didn’t have enough problems being the smart bookish one in a country high school where students were far more interested in your sporting prowess.

I couldn’t bring myself to read it at first. When he asked how I was going I lied and said it was good. So I thought I’d better at least try to read it. The rest, as the cliche goes, is history. I totally loved it. I kept going out and buying Feist books. In fact I have gone through several copies of the very first book and really need to replace Silverthorn and Darkness at Sethanon. In reality his was probably the first epic fantasy I ever read, and I never looked back. This is one of the books that created a love of the genre in me. Sure it isn’t really a YA book but so what. I read it when I was 12, it is totally accessible and not one of those books who has themes or stylistics that would suggest it is better suited to older readers.

I highly recommend this book.


Also on the weekend I got to meet the man himself so I figure now is as good a time as any to throw this book into my Recommends and Old Favourites.

I won’t post a link because there are so many editions of this now.

The Famous Five

By: Enid Blyton

Illustration by Quentin Blake

ISBN : 9781444908657

George is used to being alone. A girl who would prefer to be a boy doesn’t want cousins she’s never met before ruining her holidays. Julian, Dick and Anne are excited to be meeting George and before long they help her realise company can be fun.

There is a shipwreck off Kirrin Island, a legend about missing treasure, a map and a mystery. If only the cousins and George’s faithful dog TImmy can keep on the right side of Uncle Quentin, maybe they will get to the bottom of it all.

Illustration by Helen Oxenbury

ISBN: 9781444908664

Back at Kirrin Cottage for the Christmas holidays, the five are sure there won’t be any time for adventure, not with three of them having to study with a tutor. Then they hear a tale of secret passages and find a mysterious map. Added to that it seems there is a thief at Kirrin Cottage. That’s not all, George doesn’t like their tutor but then she doesn’t like anyone who doesn’t like Timmy. The question is why doesn’t Timmy like the tutor?

Illustration by Emma Chichester Clark

ISBN: 9781444908671

Holidays at Kirrin are supposed to be a fun time but that is a little hard with Mrs Stick and her horrid son around. Things take a turn for the worse when George’s mum gets taken to hospital and Mr Stick turns up. With such a difficult situation to deal with the cousins think there is someone up to something on Kirrin Island. How are they going to find out what is going on? Then George has a plan and they may be on the trail of smugglers. Who was that screaming? And what do the Stick’s have to do with any of it? The five find themselves entangled in another mystery.

Illustration by Oliver Jeffers

ISBN: 9781444908688

Kirrin Cottage is badly damaged in a terrible storm, so the five are shipped off to stay at Smugglers Top with a scientist friend of Uncle Quentin’s. Fortunately his son Sooty is friends with the boys and it looks as though it will be a fun time. How could it not be when they are staying at a place filled with secret hiding places and underground tunnels. Of course a place such as this was designed for adventure and they find one. What is the mysterious signal from the tower and what is going on with Block?

Illustration by Chris Riddell

ISBN: 9781444908695

The cousins convince the adults to let them go caravanning and they decide to follow the circus that inspired the idea. They have a wonderful time picnicking and staying in fields. When they find the circus, Nobby is happy they followed but some of the other circus folk aren’t as pleased. The five don’t mind, when threatened they simply move a short way away so they can still enjoy the location and spend time with their new friends, Nobby and the ape Pongo. It starts out like any normal kind of holiday but Lou and Dan are up to something, the five know it and they simply can’t turn their backs on an adventure.

Book 13 in the series and one of my faves

This series is considered a children’s classic. My confession here is that as a young kid they were some of my favourite books, I devoured them. They still hold a special place in my heart and I want to share them with my kids, hopeful they will enjoy them too.

These stories are still loved today, they hold a timeless appeal especially for children longing for stories filled with mysteries and adventure. What’s not to love about four kids and their loyal dog, solving mysteries, finding treasure and foiling the bad guy’s plans?

The style is very innocent, ‘it’s all simply swell’, unfortunately it is also a little dated. Some children will love these, they will be the ones who can see past the ‘gollys’ and such and even treat it like a kind of escapist fantasy (seriously 11-14 year olds allowed to take off in horse drawn caravans by themselves for weeks at a time?). Probably not the books to go for if you are trying to get a reluctant reader to read but revisiting all these years later I still think they have something to offer. In a time where so much is pushed at our children it doesn’t hurt to go back to more innocent times.

The versions I have featured here are the beautiful 70th anniversary covers designed by five wonderful children’s illustrators. I am so happy to add them to my bookshelf.

(I received mine from the publisher but mostly because even 30 years later I can tell you without looking the first sentence from the third book, ‘”George dear do settle down and do something,” said George’s mother.’ And know I don’t know why that has stuck with me for so long.)

Tintin – Movie Trailer

Well it’s almost here for us. A movie of favourite character Tintin, presented to us by the talented hands of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson.

It will be interesting to see what the end result is but for now here is the trailer…

Where The Wild Things Are

By: Maurice Sendak

Max is a naughty little boy and is sent to bed without any dinner. In his room things start to change, a forest grows and a boat appears to take him to the land where the Wild Things are. Max becomes king of the Wild Things and does many wild things with them. Before long though, he realises there are things from back home that he misses.

This book was the winner of the Caldecott Medal for Most Distinguished Book in 1964 and it has been acknowledged as a children’s classic, recent having been made into a film.

The story is one of wonder and imagination coloured with tones of love and loneliness. The stylised illustrations make the book and it’s characters instantly recognisable and perhaps it’s simplicity is one of the reasons for it’s longevity.

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Format: Hardback 32 pages

Categories: Fiction, Classics, Adventure, Family

ISBN 13: 9780060254926

Purchase: here, or use logo on side of page to go to Booktopia

The Lorax

By: Dr Seuss

This is the tale of the Lorax as told by the Once-ler. The Once-ler arrived when the place was beautiful – green grass, clean pond, bright coloured and tall truffula trees dotting the landscape. The Once-ler doesn’t care for the environment though and when the Lorax appears to ask the Once-ler to stop cutting down the trees, the Once-ler doesn’t listen. Instead he keeps doing just what he wants, doing more and more damage, without a care until he ruins everything.

This is a truly fantastic story, one of my favourite Dr Seuss’. Also one of the best kid’s stories ever written dealing with this topic, though I’m sure some might find it a bit preachy. It’s a wonderful tale detailing the dangers of carelessness and environmental destruction. A particularly relevant topic in today’s society which makes it amazing when you remember it was written so long ago. Every bookshelf should have a little Dr Seuss represented on it. Children love the silly yet simple illustrations, the made up words and creatures, and the wonderful rhythm and rhyming style in which these stories are told.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Published: 02 April 2009

Format: Hardback 64 pages

Categories: Characters

ISBN 13: 9780007305827 

Purchase: here

The Red Trailer Mystery

By: Julie Campbell

Trixie Belden Series bk 2

Jim Frayne has just inherited half a million dollars but he doesn’t know about the money because he has run away again, hoping to avoid his step-father. Trixie and Honey are off on his trail. They want to find him to tell him the good news and offer him a proper family.

No matter that she already has one mystery to solve, Trixie has a way with just attracting more. She knows something isn’t right when they meet up with another family traveling in a luxury trailer like them, she just doesn’t know what. Then the daughter Jo goes missing and they find out the trailer The Robin, has been stolen. Trixie is determined to figure out what is really going on. Now Trixie and Honey are looking for two missing people, but it may not be as difficult as it seems.

These books are, of course, a little dated but values and descriptions like that aside the stories hold up alright. The characters complement each other and balance the story out. Trixie and Honey are both passionate and fun, with Honey being the gentler personality toning Trixie’s wilder impulses. Jim brings a maturity to the group. With so many things to figure out the Trixie Belden books were, and I think still are, fun adventure stories.

Publisher: Random House USA Inc

Published: 06 August 2004

Format: Hardback 272 pages

Categories: Crime

Purchase: here

Trixie Belden and the Secret of the Mansion

By: Julie Campbell

Trixie is frustrated that she is stuck at home for the holidays with only her little brother to keep her company. Then a new family move into the huge manor house just up the road and it looks as though some of Trixie’s wishes will come true. First there is Honey, a girl her own age and then there are the horses, Trixie is desperate to learn to ride. Summer is now looking up. 

Honey though is very timid, scared of almost everything and Trixie is determined to explore the old Frayne Mansion. Trixie’s curiosity has her convincing Honey that they will be doing their neighbourly duty, checking on the house while old Mr Frayne in hospital. This is where they find a young Jim Frayne the 2nd, he has run away from his cruel step-father. If only they can find old Mr Frayne’s will or the hidden money, Jim’s life could be changed forever. But there are too many people around to keep a secret, what will the three new friends do?

Fun, friendship and mystery. A story of trusting, curiosity, stubbornness and filling summer days with something to do. Trixie is, perhaps a little surprisingly, still an enjoyable read even though it is a little dated now. I think it’s the lack of technology that makes it so appealing, it’s of a time when you had to keep yourself from being bored, though it is entirely possible that’s a bit of nostalgia on my part. Trixie was one of my reading phases and as such has a treasured place in my memory and bookshelves. Though if you are looking for a good mystery story for a younger reader you could do much worse than picking one of these up.

Publisher: Random House USA Inc

Published: 06 August 2004

Format: Hardback 263 pages

Categories: Crime

ISBN 13: 9780375824128 

Purchase: here

The Neverending Story

By: Michael Ende

Bastian Balthazar Bux is unpopular, has no friends and his father is distant. Then one day he does the unthinkable, he steals a book – ‘The Neverending Story’. As he settles in to read it his story slowly entwines with that of The Childlike Empress and her chosen hero, Atreyu. Fantastica is dying and needs a different kind of hero though, can Bastian help without losing all he is.

Michael Ende created a thoroughly detailed and varied world. Not only is this a fantasy adventure but it is also a journey of self-discovery. Wonderful creatures, some familiar, others not so. Some are good, some bad and some characters you will never forget: brave and loyal Atreyu, Falkor the Luckdragon, Xayide the witch and Grograman the Many Colored Death.

As a child this book swept me up into it’s wonderful pages and I read and re-read it. I cried in parts and surely laughed. I loved this book and still do, it’s been read so often it is falling apart.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Published: 31 July 1997

Format: Paperback 444 pages

Categories: Classics Fantasy

ISBN 13: 9780140386332

Purchase: here

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