Welcome to Through the Looking Glass

Welcome to the August 2020 issue of Through the Looking Glass Children’s Book Reviews. I have put together a wonderful collection of reviews for you for this issue, and I hope you enjoy reading the reviews as much as I enjoyed writing them.

As always, the books reviewed on TTLG are carefully chosen by the editor. We only review books that suit the scope of TTLG, and that we feel have something to offer readers. Therefore, all our reviews are positive ones. We hope this will help you to find excellent books for the young people in your lives. If you are looking for books for yourself, we hope you will find books that you will enjoy reading. Please consider buying books through this website. Your purchases help to support our work, and give us the means to improve this online resource.

I have been experiencing a lot of post covid symptoms but I think, I hope, that I am on my way up the hill, rather than sliding back down. I just have to take one day at a time. This sounds cliched, I know, but nevertheless it is true. Plans can be put in place, but there is no way of knowing if I will be in a place to execute them when the time comes. Thank goodness for constants like the love of my family and friends, and the companionship of my animals. My two deaf miniature dachshunds love my ‘down’ days because they can lie on my lap for hours at a time. Today I head for the coast so that I can have a change of scene. I imagine that fabulous sea air will do wonders for my healing and tired lungs.

For this issue I have chosen to do a special feature about Food and Cooking. I have been an enthusiastic cook ever since I was a child, and I have made my fair share of brick like cakes and lop-sided loaves of bread. I especially like cooking in the summer because there are so many fabulous fresh ingredients available at this time of year. Cooking with children can be a lot of fun, even though it is almost always incredibly messy. In this issue’s feature you will find nonfiction cook books, books about cooks, and books about food. There are also lots of fictional stories about cooking and cooks.

In August most schools are closed for the summer vacation, and children all over the world get ready to enjoy family holidays and many other summer activities.  Of course, this year is rather different and families are having to find creative ways to spend time together.When I was growing up, we would escape the heat of town by going into the mountains for a few weeks, or we would camp at the seaside. These camping trips were wonderful, and I still remember the hours I spent snorkeling, looking for pretty stones on the beach, and watching the fishing boats chug past. You will find a large collection of books about going to the beach on the Days at the beach page.

In August summer kicks into high gear. The sun is hot, and children are happy to spend their play time out of doors. There is a delightful collection of books about summer on the TTLG Summer Days page, with books for readers of all ages.

For this month’s Editor’s Choice title, I have selected The Plastic Magician By Charlie N. Holmberg. This story is set in the world that Charlie created for her Paper Magician trilogy, and the story is just as exciting and unique as are those three tales. Magicians and non magicians live side by side, and magic is something that has to studied and practiced before it can be mastered. The heroine of this story is funny, clever, and brave.

For this issue’s Series Spotlight I have decided to spotlight a series that delighted me when I discovered it.  The Predator Cities Books , written by Philip Reeve, are completely unique. In the future a world war has destroyed human societies as we know them today. Many people live on moving cities that trundle across the landscape ‘eating up’ smaller cities as they go. Life is hard, and one has to be tough if one is going to survive in such a place.

I have chosen the author of these books to be this issue’s author spotlight. Philip Reeve is a gifted author who has brought us many marvelous and intriguing books over the years. Perhaps his best known titles are the Predator Cities books, the first one of which has been turned into an excellent film.

The award winning title featured in this issue is When Jessie Came Across The Sea, which was written by Amy Hest and illustrated by P.J. Lynch. The title won Britain’s Kate Greenaway Medal in 1997. For those of you who are not familiar with this award, the Kate Greenaway Medal was established in 1955 for distinguished illustration in a book for children. It is named after the popular and highly influential nineteenth century artist known for her fine children’s illustrations and designs. Previous winners include Levi Pinfold, Raymond Briggs, Shirley Hughes, former Children’s Laureates Quentin Blake, Anthony Brown, Chris Riddell, and Lauren Child. The winner receives a golden medal and £500 worth of books to donate to a library of their choice. Since 2000, the winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal has also been awarded the £5,000 Colin Mears Award. Colin Mears, a Worthing based accountant and children’s book collector, left a bequest providing every Greenaway winner with a cash award as well as the coveted Medal.

Finally, take a look at the Bookish Calendar page for book reviews about Louis Armstrong, The Klondike Gold Rush, Mary Shelley, volcanoes, and much more. This calendar is a great tool to use at home and in the classroom to help children incorporate books more fully into their lives.

In September of 2012 I launched a project that I would like to tell you about. It is a story blog  called Talon Diaries, and it is written by a colorful and very unusual character who is called Gryf. I hope you will come and read Gryf”s blog posts.

For those of you don’t know already, I also publish a blog about children’s books and the children’s book world. On the blog I post reviews, interviews with great authors and illustrators, I offer book giveaways, and I tell you about interesting contests and bookish events. Do visit the blog and sign up for the feed. In the coming year, I will be posting new picture book reviews on Mondays and poetry book reviews on Fridays.

Some of the titles I reviewed several years ago are now out of print. Though you cannot buy these books in every bookshop, many of them are still available for purchase on websites like Amazon.com.

I hope you enjoy this new issue, and I look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,