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Books published by David Fickling


Beyond the Deepwoods

Style: Good

Attitude: Take Care

The Edge is the land that borders on the emptiness beyond.

While most fantasy introduces the unusual, this book borders on strange. The myriad of bizarre characters would be bearable if they actually took the story somewhere, but by the end you feel like you’ve been bounced and splattered and sloshed all over the place only to reach an unsatisfactory conclusion. The only underlying (and over-emphasised) “value” is that the main character does the unthinkable… he strays from the path.

Adventure, Fantasy, Magic

Beauty

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

The story is the conventional one of Beauty & the Beast: the father who inadvertently trespasses on the enchanted castle, and who must send one of his daughters to live with the Beast who inhabits it; the growing love between the Beast and the girl; the overstayed leave-of-absence and how it brings the Beast close to death, causing the girl to proclaim her love for him, unwittingly breaking the enchantment he was under.

An enjoyable retelling of Beauty & the Beast; nice depiction of loving family and generous neighbours

Fantasy, Girls

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Young Bruno is upset when his family is uprooted from their comfortable Berlin townhouse and forced to live in the featureless Outwith at the insistence of his soldier father's chief The Fury.

A moving look at the horrors of Auschwitz through the eyes of an innocent young German boy, the son of the camp commandant. No explicit violence but the final moments are quite tragic. May be suitable for younger readers in company with an older reader who can explain what's happening if needed.

Friendship, Growing-Up, Historical, Moral Issue, Thought-provoking, War

The Penderwicks

Style: Average

Attitude: Positive

The four Penderwick sisters befriend Jeffrey when staying in a cottage in the grounds of his mother's house.

Endearing holiday story of four sisters and a boy. Jeffrey's mother, alone since his father left, is about to remarry. Mr Penderwick treats his daughters gently, admonishing them sometimes in Latin.

Friendship, Girls, Growing-Up, Romantic

Spindle's End

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Katriona brings home baby Rosie from her trip to see the christening of the new princess.

A modern retelling of an old fairy tale without sacrificing traditional sensibilities. Simple joys of life in a backwater. Uncomplicated friendships and family. Generosity without asking anything in return. Casual reference to divorce.

Fantasy, Growing-Up, Magic