When it comes to the burgeoning young adult genre, nobody is as prolific as the British comic fantasy writer Terry Pratchett. He is known for his wry, dark humour and he produces one to two novels each year. Wintersmith, part of the Discworld series, continues the story of Tiffany Aching, a 13-year-old witch, and the Mac Nac Feegles, the feisty wee blue men who have sworn to protect her. Tiffany puts one wrong foot forward, and the spirit of winter is in love with her. He gives her roses and icebergs, and showers her with snowflakes. And if she doesn’t figure out how to deal with him, there will never be another spring. The blue men are, of course, determined to bail her out.
Wintersmith: By Terry Pratchett,Corgi Children’s Books, 352 pages,Rs282.50.
The penultimate one in the hugely popular Quint series, this book in The Edge Chronicles takes fans closer to the finale. The same brooding, surreal netherworlds the books are set in bring more danger as Quint travels with his father, Wind Jackal, on a mission to track down and bring to justice Turbot Smeal, the man who started the fire that killed their family. Quint is eager to learn from his father what it really means to be a sky pirate, but Wind is consumed by his desire to capture Smeal and his actions endanger the lives ofhis crew and son. They travel to the mysterious realm called Open Sky, where the father and son eventually discover the truth about Smeal, but face a new terror.
The Edge Chronicles–Clash of the Sky Galleons: By Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell,Corgi Children’s Books, 384 pages, Rs217.
Cash and confessions
F.E. Higgins, debutante in the world of kid lit with this old-fashioned but edgy fantasy novel, The Black Book of Secrets, was nominated for this year’s Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize. She creates a grim fantasy world that more than holds its own with—some critics have said—those created by Charles Dickens. When Ludlow Fitch’s parents cruelly betray him, he steals away on the back of a carriage. He arrives in the dead of night at a remote village, where he meets the tall and limping figure of Joe Zabbidou—a pawnbroker who trades secrets. Employed as Zabbidou’s assistant, Fitch records the villagers’ fiendish confessions in an ancient leather-bound volume: The Black Book of Secrets. But then, Fitch’s own dark secrets are waiting to catch up.
The Black Book of Secrets: By F.E. Higgins, Macmillan Children’s Books, 320 pages, Rs282.50.
A sequel to the much-loved and best-selling The Gruffalo, which became popular among young adult and adult readers alike last year, The Gruffalo’s Child is suspenseful and funny, much like the first. The Gruffalo (an oversized mouse that has “terrible tusks, and terrible claws, and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws”) had said no gruffalo should ever set foot in the dark woods. But one windy night, the Gruffalo’s child, a wide-eyed little girl, tiptoes out into the snow. The rest of the story turns into an adventure in search of the Big Bad Mouse. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are children’s writers known for their intuitive take on child psychology and how often children can outdo adults in perception and mental strength.
The Gruffalo’s Child: By Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler,Campbell Books, 32 pages, Rs282.50.
Stephen Hawking and his daughter Lucy Hawking unravel the mysteries of space for children. It’s a roller-coaster ride through space, which opens up mysteries of the universe to George, his new friends—the scientist Eric and his daughter Annie—and an uber-intelligent computer called Cosmos, which can take them to the edge of a black hole and back. Or can it? This is a funny and extremely informative romp through space, time and the universe.
George’s Secret Key to the Universe: By Lucy and Stephen Hawking, Random House India, 297 pages, Rs395.
Courtesy: The Landmark bookstore