Monthly Archives: April 2015

Helen’s Roald Dahl challenge book 03 -The BFG

LeedsBookClub

theBFG

The BFG

by Roald Dahl

Quentin Blake (Illustrator)
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About the book
Captured by a giant! The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It’s lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, the Fleshlumpeater, the Bonecruncher, or any of the other giants-rather than the BFG-she would have soon become breakfast.
When Sophie hears that they are flush-bunking off in England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!
The characters

HUMANS:

THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND

MARY, the Queen’s maid

MR TIBBS, the Palace butler

THE HEAD OF THE ARMY

THE HEAD OF THE AIR FORCE

Andof course, SOPHIE, an orphan

GIANTS:

THE FLESHLUMPEATER

THE BONECRUNCHER

THE MANHUGGER

THE CHILDCHEWER

THE MEATDRIPPER

THE…

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Helen’s Roald Dahl challenge book 04 – The Twits

LeedsBookClub

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About the book
How do you outwit a Twit? Mr. and Mrs. Twit are the smelliest, ugliest people in the world. They hate everything — except playing mean jokes on each other, catching innocent birds to put in their Bird Pies, and making their caged monkeys, the Muggle-Wumps, stand on their heads all day. But the Muggle-Wumps have had enough. They don’t just want out, they want revenge.

Mr Twit hates his wife. Mrs Twit detests her husband. They like nothing more than playing wicked tricks on one another. Sooner or later, things are going to go too far…

Even in real life Roald Dahl was very suspicious of men with beards. He thought they must be hiding something sinister. Michael Rosen, who wrote a book called Fantastic Mr Dahl all about Roald and his stories, remembers that the first time he and Roald met, Roald told Michael’s son Joe…

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Tom Fletcher shares the most adorable video ever of son Buzz laughing at dandelions

Metro

McBusted star Tom Fletcher has shared a ridiculously cute video of his son Buzz.

This might be the sweetest thing to ever grace the internet, Emergency Cute Stuff be damned.

Tom uploaded a YouTube video of himself taking a walk with Buzz on his back, who laughs out loud whenever Tom blows the seeds from a dandelion.

The more Tom does it, the more Buzz laughs and the more we melt into a gooey, mushy puddle.

The McBusted member said of the video: ‘This is why being a Dad is awesome. This is the first time my son Buzz has ever seen a dandelion…I think he liked it.’

BLESS THEM.

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Puffin Annual Number One

tygertale

We went out for one of our little new year’s traditions this morning, breaking the tedium of the New Year’s restock and raiding the supermarket shelves for cut price Annuals. Steering the children skilfully away from a Flappy Birds cash in, we came away with the old reliable Beano Book and a reprint of some Topper strips. These have already been demolished, but luckily I have a secret weapon in reserve – the very first Puffin Annual from 1974.

I couldn’t believe my luck when I picked this treasure up in Oxfam last year. The contents read like a who’s who from the golden age of children’s literature, promising contributions from Joan Aiken, Roald Dahl, Tove Jansson, Michael Bond, Raymond Briggs, Quentin Blake… the list goes on.

puffin title

The annual was a spin off from Puffin Post, the groundbreaking children’s book club run by visionary editor Kaye Webb. Open practically any…

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Puffin Annual Number One

tygertale

We went out for one of our little new year’s traditions this morning, breaking the tedium of the New Year’s restock and raiding the supermarket shelves for cut price Annuals. Steering the children skilfully away from a Flappy Birds cash in, we came away with the old reliable Beano Book and a reprint of some Topper strips. These have already been demolished, but luckily I have a secret weapon in reserve – the very first Puffin Annual from 1974.

I couldn’t believe my luck when I picked this treasure up in Oxfam last year. The contents read like a who’s who from the golden age of children’s literature, promising contributions from Joan Aiken, Roald Dahl, Tove Jansson, Michael Bond, Raymond Briggs, Quentin Blake… the list goes on.

puffin title

The annual was a spin off from Puffin Post, the groundbreaking children’s book club run by visionary editor Kaye Webb. Open practically any…

View original post 849 more words

My Year by Roald Dahl

tygertale

December: ‘This, as you know is the month when two good things happen. The term ends and Christmas comes.’

In the last year of his life Roald Dahl wrote a diary of the changing seasons, intertwined with memories from his youth and spiky observations of the world around him. My Year is a fine testament to an amazing literary life. Illustrated with some of Quentin Blake’s most evocative watercolours, it stands as one of my favourite works from their partnership. I’m not sure why it’s not better known.

Dahl begins by praising children who send him their own hand made cards and chiding parents who issue a ‘colour photograph of the senders standing proudly somewhere or other surrounded by their offspring. You can be half blinded by the self satisfaction shining out of their faces.’

We then get a guide to the birds in Dahl’s garden, which like everything in…

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Paper Moomins at the Eden Project

tygertale

The Moomins and I have been on our holidays. Not on the Riviera, but to Cornwall and the Eden Project. Paper Moomintroll, Little My, Snuffkin and the Hattifatteners travelled with us from the sunflower soaked fields of southern France to the bountiful rain forests of Malaysia, before encountering their ‘ancestors’ in deepest Africa.

Tove Jansson loved to travel. It informed her work at the deepest level and it’s hard to imagine this woman, whose entire life was bound up with her writing, drawing and painting, ever taking a mere holiday. Like Snuffkin Tove was a ‘traveller’, a term she loved, ‘that beautiful old fashioned word’.

Her early travels were typically eventful. She savoured the precious last moments of peace time in Europe when she spent the summer of 1939 travelling alone to pre-apocalyptic Italy. A particularly thrilling visit to Pompeii provided the basis for one of Snuffkin’s…

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100 Great Children’s Picture Books

tygertale

We’ve been spoiled with some amazing books about children’s books lately. First came the essential Oxford Companion by Daniel Hahn, with three and a half thousand perfectly encapsulated entries on the entire history of children’s literature. Now comes a far more selective publication by Martin Salisbury, professor of illustration at the Cambridge school of art.

100 Great Children’s Picture Books is the antidote to unsatisfying polls like this one from the BBC which deliver lists of unarguable classics but offer up few surprises. Salisbury has taken the other tack; instead of trying create a comprehensive list he’s put together a highly personal list based on ‘un-academic, unscientific criteria, ultimately based on the ‘wow factor’.

This is a book that will appeal both to casual readers and obsessives who want to dig a little deeper into the rich history of the picture book. Even when dealing with famous names like Jon…

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The Puffin Club

tygertale

The Puffin Club was the groundbreaking venture launched by editor Kaye Webb in 1967 that changed children’s books forever. The club broke down the barrier between authors and young readers, bringing them together at Puffin parties and in the pages of Puffin Post. Webb helped create the world our children our now lucky enough to inhabit, with its laureates, festivals, book days and never ending magic roundabout of author events.

I asked two people involved in the club about their memories of Puffin Parties, the unique Kaye Webb and whether her club should be revived. Philippa Dickinson, began as an office junior and event organiser and went on to become Managing Director of Random House children’s books. She was Terry Pratchett’s editor and was a key part in the launch of the Fighting Fantasy game books.

Lizza Aiken is a writer and the curator of her mother Joan Aiken’s estate.

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Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, expert says

Metro

(Picture: Getty Images) A large amount of time spent in virtual environments is hindering emotional development (Picture: Getty Images)

Children who spend a lot of time immersed in their smartphones are displaying borderline ‘autistic’ behaviour, a top psychiatrist has said.

Iain McGilchrist, who was an award-winning essayist and a teacher of literature at Oxford before becoming a doctor, said young children are finding it more difficult to read facial expressions or show empathy compared to previous generations, with some teachers saying that up to a third of pupils – some as young as five – are struggling to understand emotions and maintain attention.

And Dr. McGilchrist told the Telegraph that the virtual environments afforded to children by smartphones and other technology doesn’t require them to interpret ‘the subtle cues of real-life environments’ – leading to impaired emotional development akin to some forms of autism.

[metro-link url=”http://metro.co.uk/2015/02/03/smartphones-are-making-teenagers-depressed-study-finds-5048072/” title=”Smartphones are making teenagers depressed, study finds”]

(Picture: Getty Images) Some teachers have said up…

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