● CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF THE WEEK
Never Evers by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison is published in paperback by Chicken House. IF you ever went on a school ski trip, you’ll have an awkward moment of your own for every awkward moment faced by teenagers Mouse and Jack in this two-hander of a novel.
Written from both perspectives – which cuts down on too much romantic mooning (although not actual mooning; it’s about a school trip after all) – our protagonists are your standard teen misfits, although one can pass themselves off as a French pop star and the other ends up in a music video... But do try and suspend your disbelief, because the actual characterisation isn’t too sloppy.
Mouse finds herself trying to rekindle old friendships after being kicked out of ballet school, while Jack tussles with his mates over their band name and who’s going to be the first to kiss a real life girl.
Their supporting cast of wellwrought friends – Keira, Connie, Max and Toddy – provide laughs, warped wisdom and silliness, while gently pointing out how tough and confusing (if hilarious) being 14 is.
Throw in a bitchy ex-best friend, the French popstar who just wants to be “normal” and a blizzard or two, and you have a just-aboutplausible plot. Oh, and there’s a hamster that gets top marks for stealing all the limelight too. 7/10 (Review by
Create Your Own Alien Adventure: It’s OK! We’re Going To Save The Planet by Andrew Judge and Chris Judge is published in paperback by Scholastic Press. CHILDREN of the Eighties and Nineties will be extremely familiar with the Choose Your Own Adventure concept – books that let you, the humble reader, decide what your characters were going to do next – and many a happy hour could be spent curled up in a chair, absorbed in The Cave Of Time or The Mystery Of Chimney Rock.
Author and illustrator duo Chris and Andrew Judge are now putting their own spin on the genre, with this book for kids aged seven and older, which involves drawing in some of the pictures, ripping and folding pages, as well as choosing which way to take our heroine Daisy Doodle.
It’s an ordinary Thursday morning in Doodletown, and Daisy’s on her way to school – but is it raining or sunny? You decide and draw the weather! During a particularly boring lesson about their planet, Scratchpad, Daisy spots an alien out the window and gives chase.
Climbing up high (how, you decide), she spies a huge crater, with a crashed spaceship, where she finds the alien, B’ob, and joins him on an adventure back on his bleak planet, Greyscale, which involves trying to save Scratchpad from the President’s Invasion Fleet – with the help of Daisy’s friend, Undrawn John, who you’ll have to keep drawing. Extremely entertaining and a great way to get little eyes away from screens... Look out for Create Your Own Spy Mission coming in April.
8/10 (Review by Kate Whiting)