Book review: A multi-coloured rainbow of reads from David Fickling Books

An innovative children's book publisher is putting the sparkle into spring with a fresh and exciting selection of cracking good reads.

Thursday, 7th April 2016, 12:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th April 2016, 12:26 pm
A multi-coloured rainbow of reads from David Fickling Books
A multi-coloured rainbow of reads from David Fickling Books

From kaleidoscopic birds and fiendish puzzles to an all-action super robot and two haunting teen tales, David Fickling Books are determined to make reading both funny and thrilling.

Age 2 plus:

Some Birds by Matt Spink

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Take flight with a brilliant book of bejewelled birds from a soaraway new talent in the world of picture books.

Matt Spink, an author and illustrator who likes nothing more than great design and doodling, celebrates the joys of freedom in a stunning and seductive picture story brimming with life, colour, humour… and the most amazing flock of charismatic birds you are ever likely to see.

Some birds are big, some birds are small and some are just incredibly tall... but what about all the others? Discover birds that swim, birds that hop, birds that squawk, birds that swoop. Swooping and squawking, flapping and fluttering, there are many different kinds of birds in the world, all with their own special traits and abilities, and most are free to fly.

A rollicking, rhyming text adds to all the fun and art lovers of every age will marvel at Spinks’ glorious multi-coloured bird illustrations created in a mosaic-like finish and brimming with freshness and vitality.

The perfect gift for your own little chicks!

(David Fickling Books, hardback, £11.99)

Age 5 plus:

Superbot and the Terrible Toy Destroyer by Nick Ward

Is there a young reader in your life raring to start reading alone?

DFBees, a new imprint from David Fickling Books, is publishing an exciting new range of busy little titles perfect for readers fresh from reading schemes. The action-packed plots and wonderful illustrations aim to encourage and inspire even the most reluctant readers.

One of the first books off the production line is Superbot and the Terrible Toy Destroyer, a brilliant, high-octane picture book from the creative Nick Ward.

The story features a lovable super robot whose brilliantly inventive gadgets are guaranteed to foil the baddies every time!

Superbot lives with his inventor, Mrs Brightspark, at the top of a skyscraper and he’s always on the alert to save the world from any trouble. So when Bruto the terrible toy destroyer goes on the warpath, stealing toys and crunching them all up, it’s up to Superbot – and his nuts, bolts and oil – to come to the rescue.

A large, easy-to-read text, bright and busy illustrations and a superhero armed with some out-of-this-world gadgetry make this a sure-fire winner for your little adventure seekers.

(DFBees, paperback, £7.99)

Vikings in the Supermarket by Nick Sharratt

Also in the DFBees series is a new edition of the talented Nick Sharratt's debut poetry book.

Six Vikings on a madcap shopping trip is just one of the action-packed nonsense poems perfectly formed for your budding young poets.

Sharratt, an award-winning writer and illustrator, works his special magic through words and fabulous illustrations in six funny and addictive poems which are ideal for reading aloud and as an introduction to the wonderful world of rhyme.

Young children will adore this colourful collection of characters and animals, and their crazy and creative antics. Meet a tartan-patterned cat, a clever little mermaid, a naughty vampire bat with a nasty bite, a queen who is really fond of green and the pirate Tidy Clyde who likes nothing better than vacuuming and dusting.

Beautifully packaged and brimming with fun, excitement and adventure, Vikings in the Supermarket is poetry in motion.

(DFBees, paperback, £6.99)

Age 6-12

Von Doogan and the Great Air Race by Lorenzo Etherington

SOS! Daring explorer Van Doogan needs help to survive an adventure jam-packed with mind-bending puzzles and challenges.

It’s time to work up a brain sweat with the Doog, the breathless star of a new super puzzle and adventure comic book in the exhilarating The Phoenix Presents series.

The Great Air Race is Van Doogan’s second coruscating adventure and his mission is to solve the most fiendish puzzles ever. The Great Air Race is about to begin but nefarious evil-doers are about. The only way to stop them is by overcoming a set of brilliant and puzzling challenges as Doogan pilots his way through mid-air collisions, freezing storms and deadly saboteurs. The Doog’s fate is in your hands!

Pulsating puzzles and extraordinary, high-energy artwork combine to tell an astonishing tale of techno wizardry and derring-do.

There are hours of puzzling fun to be enjoyed here so what are you waiting for… sharpen your wits, summon up the blood and get your pencils poised!

(David Fickling Books, paperback, £7.99)

Age 11 plus:

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

Award-winning Canadian author Kenneth Oppel treads new and darker territory in a chilling and yet unexpectedly beautiful psychological thriller about an anxious, mixed-up boy coping with family upheaval.

With the brilliant, black-and-white illustrations of Kate Greenaway Award-winner Jon Klassen to add extra atmosphere and suspense, The Nest is a truly original, sophisticated and unsettling story that explores science, relationships and the personal demons that can bedevil us all.

‘The first time I saw them, I thought they were angels.’ Steve is a natural worrier but when his baby brother Theodore is born with a serious congenital disorder, his life turns upside down. His parents are worried sick and Steve is plagued by nightmares and guilt.

When he is stung by an insect, he dreams of a giant queen wasp which comes to his room and promises to help make Theodore well again. And all Steve has to do is say ‘yes’ and the queen wasp will fix everything. But the wasp becomes increasingly menacing and Steve starts to realise that saying yes to her offer could also be very, very dangerous. Once the word is uttered, can it be taken back?

Treading the fine line between dreams and reality, Steve is stuck in a nightmare that he can’t wake from and that nobody else understands. And all the while, the wasps’ nest is growing, and the ‘angel’ keeps visiting Steve in the night…

There is a terrifying buzz – literally – about this story but it is written with such care, subtlety and insight that the powerful and emotional messages it contains work as resonantly as the tingles and the tension.

A disturbing, intelligent and thought-provoking coming-of-age novel from a master storyteller…

(David Fickling Books, hardback, £10.99)


Jessica’s Ghost by Andrew Norriss

The healing power of friendship is explored in another hauntingly beautiful novel that was shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award.

Blending humour and high emotion, Norris tackles the darkest of subjects with the lightest of touches to deliver important messages for a new generation of teenagers.

Francis has never had a friend like Jessica before. When she sits down next to him on a bench at school, she makes a startling announcement. Jessica is a ghost but – dead or alive – she is the first person he has ever met who can make him feel completely himself.

Jessica has also never had a friend like Francis before. Not just because he is someone to laugh with every day, but because he is the first person who has ever been able to see her. At long last, Francis has a friend to whom he can reveal his secrets and fears. But Jessica has a secret too... a terrible secret. Can their friendship survive?

Imbued with a quiet power, Jessica’s Ghost goes to places that other teen novels rarely visit with sensitivity, humour and a genuine empathy with the angst of youth.

Reading it could save someone’s life...

(David Fickling Books, paperback, £7.99)