21 March 2012

The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson

The Abominables is about a mountaineer called Lady Agatha, who discovers yetis in a secret valley called Nanvi dar and she raises them as her own. When the yetis are fully-grown she schools them, which includes teaching them to talk as well as other things that will make them ready to live around other people. When she gets old she wants the yetis to go to her home in England and then story then becomes about a young boy called Consti who befriends Lady Agatha whom she entrusts to get the yetis to England. The yetis have many adventures along the way, they meet different characters and learn lessons along the way. This is a book about friendship, challenges and yetis.

This is a good book with a very unusual story. One doesn’t expect people to raise yetis. The author has also made a myth come real. My favourite character was definitely Perry

He loved pigs and his dream was to invent the Perry Porkington Pig breed. The ending of the book was quite surprising but it made sense as a whole story. The book was so good when I read it I just couldn’t put it down, I lost all of my other thoughts because whenever I put it down I always wanted to know what happened next. I found it interesting that the author did not complete the book, it just shows you don’t have to be a professional writer to write a great book (editor’s note: Eva Ibbotson sadly died last year, and the unfinished manuscript was found in her desk. Her son finished the work for her – he is not a professional writer). A five star read I highly recommend it.

By Andreas Horder age 10

17 October 2011


Back home from Cheltenham.

Well, that was fun, as always. An event with Kevin Brooks, Melvin Burgess and Sophie McKenzie to talk about their new teen novels; a discussion with Michael Farr and Raphaƫl Taylor about Tintin (these two know all there is to know on the subject, and had brought along some great pictures, too); then the wonderful Michael Foreman and Terry Jones (a last-minute addition to my slate) to discuss their latest collaboration, Animal Tales, and significantly I managed an hour on stage resisting the temptation to talk about Life of Brian, which felt like an incredible feat (I didn't even ask Terry to say "He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy...", just once, oh go on, just say it once, pleeeease...); and finally a chat with Kevin Crossley-Holland and Katherine Langrish about their latest books, Bracelet of Bones and West of the Moon, respectively.

This last was my favourite, I think - Kevin and Katherine, though they'd not met before this event, clearly really like each other's work, which always helps, and the whole event felt like an actual, proper, interesting, coherent conversation about important things, rather than a sort of hybrid interview to promote a couple of products - we talked about language and about stories and about Vikings and more and more. Brilliant.

I wonder what Chelt '12 will have in store. Looking forward already...

04 October 2011

Percy etc..

What a day - the library has been full of boys bouncing about the new Percy Jackson, bouncing about Rick Riordan having answered some of their questions and bouncing about getting their photos online! There might have been the odd lesson in there too, and the announcement of the teams who'll take part in this year's Kids' Lit Quiz competition AND special cake as it was Frances the chef's birthday and she baked for us, so all in all today was a day well spent.

I'm still in mild shock that Rick Riordan is guesting here - a little bit like having one of the gods reach down from Olympus!

The Son of Neptune - a review

To celebrate today's publication of The Son of Neptune and author Rick Riordan's visit to our blog, a review:

The Son of Neptune is about Percy Jackson. Percy has had his memory blanked and now can’t remember who he is or where he’s from. In the beginning of the book Percy is being pursued by two Gorgons called Sethno and Euryal, who don’t seem to die – this is because the giants have imprisoned Hades’s linuete keeper, Thanatos - who is also known as Death. Polynepthys is planning to bring a huge army of mythological beasts such as cyclopses, centaurs, dracane and lots of others to Camp Jupiter. Percy and his friends Hazel and Frank, alongside the rest of the legion, have to stop him. Before the fight, Percy, Hazel and Frank are assigned a mission to free Thanatos – can they do it in time?

I think that Rick Riordan is a very funny, creative writer and nothing is better than sitting in bed with one of his books. I’m absolutely sure that there not one of my friends who has not read at least one of his books and loved it. Now I’m already looking forward to the next book when it comes out!

Reviewed by Isaac Lockwood, aged 9

Percy Jackson competition!

To mark the publication of The Son of Neptune, Rick's publisher Puffin have launched a Hunt for a Half-Blood Hero competition!

So if you want Rick streamed live to your school assembly, visit the competition site and tell them why you should be chosen to join Percy on a new adventure!


It's Rick Riordan!

We're thrilled that Rick Riordan - bestselling author of the brilliant Percy Jackson series - is joining us on the UBG blog today! It's the final date on his Olympian Week UK blog tour, to celebrate the return of Percy Jackson in his new book The Son of Neptune. Each of the stops on Rick's tour is dedicated to one of seven Olympian gods, and today is ATHENA. So, time for some words of wisdom from Rick himself...

Leonie has gathered seven questions about the Percy Jackson books, which we've put to Rick...

How did you come up with the idea of Percy Jackson? James

It started as a bedtime story for my son. He loved Greek mythology when he was young. Percy Jackson was roughly based on him, since they are both ADHD and dyslexic.

Did you like the movie of Percy Jackson and how much input did you have in the writing? Ayomide

I didn't see it. I just write the books. I didn't have any part in creating the movie.

Will Percy ever change his mind and agree to become immortal? Asher

I doubt it. That was the selfish choice he could've made, but he chose to help all demigods instead. That's what makes him a hero!

Why did you stop writing about Percy and start writing about Leo and Jason? Ayomide

I don't want to try to write the same story over and over again. I like writing about different characters with different adventures. But I certainly didn't stop writing about Percy, as you'll see in The Son of Neptune.

If you could be a god, which one would it be, and what powers would you have? Freddie

I'd love to be Zeus and have the power to throw lightning.

If you could create a new weapon for a god, what would it be and what would it do? Ben

I actually did already. I invented a sword for Hades, as he didn't have a weapon in Greek mythology. His sword acts as a key to the Underworld, and can send souls to Tartarus with a touch.

Which of your books is your favourite and of other authors, which is your favourite book - both adult and kids? Mani

I can't choose a favorite book of my own. It's too much like choosing a favorite son or daughter. I love them all for different reasons. I have many favorite books by other authors. If I had to choose, I'd probably pick The Lord of the Rings.

The Lord of the Rings, eh? Since we've got him here, we also asked Rick to do the usual UBG thing, and let us have 100 words on his favourite book - here's what he said:

The book that had the biggest impact on me as a reader and a writer was J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring. When I was about thirteen, Tolkien’s trilogy opened up the world of fantasy for me. My eighth grade teacher, Mrs. Pabst, had done her master’s thesis on Tolkien. She showed me how the trilogy was patterned after Norse mythology. She was also the first person to encourage me to submit stories for publication. The idea of writing a fantasy based on myths never left me, and many years later, this would lead me to write Percy Jackson.

While we're celebrating the publication of The Son of Neptune, you can also read a review by nine-year-old Isaac, and learn about an exciting new competition launched by his publishers.

Huge thanks to Rick for taking time from his busy schedule to stop by, and good luck with the new book - published today!


[Photo of Rick (c) Marty Umans]

03 October 2011

Lightning Thief

While we're waiting for tomorrow's exciting visitor, here's a reminder of what Julia Golding wrote about the very first Percy Jackson book for the UBG all those years ago...

The Gods of Olympus are still running the earth even in the twenty-first century. Surprised? So is Percy Jackson. And then he finds out that he is the son of one of them - a very powerful god who shouldn't have had him at all. It explains a lot, like why one of his teachers turned into a harpy and tried to kill him. Packed off to Camp Half-Blood to come to terms with his parentage, Percy finds himself plunged into an adventure that takes him across America and into the Underworld on the trail of the lightning thief.

A great hybrid: road movie meets The Odyssey. And you'll never look at your teachers in the same way again.