October Bookshelf

We have some beautiful new books on the shelves this month, starting with a lovely little book to get us all in a Christmassy mood.

If you haven't come across the curious and lively toddler Little Mouse yet, you are in for a treat. Translated from the Finnish tales of Riikka Jantti, Little Mouse's adventures are much loved in our house. In this new tale, Little Mouse's Christmas, there is a very long time to wait until Christmas when you are small. Luckily, there are plenty of fun things Little Mouse can do to keep busy. Featuring all those lovely Christmas activities like cooking gingerbread, choosing the perfect tree and lots more before the Big Day arrives, this book is a treat for al those little people who just can't wait! And finally of course, he gets to the Big Day when Little Mouse can finally open his presents. A lovely Christmassy treat.

One of our favourites is the gorgeously illustrated A World Full of Animal Stories by Angela McAllister. This fully-illustrated treasury of 50 diverse folk tales and legends is a revelation, enabling readers to travel the world in this rich cultural anthology. With animal-themed myths, fables and legends including traditional favourites like The Ugly Duckling, as well as fascinating indigenous tales from around the world.  A sumptuous book to treasure. We love how we can dip into different cultures and relate the tales to the area's history, beliefs and indigenous animals.  It has prompted lots of other research on different places, peoples and animals.

As well as thinking about animals and other cultures, we have been talking about home. What does home mean? If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose? Questions inspired by the lovely Home Sweet Home by Mia Cassany.  This book offers a beautifully illustrated quirky look inside the different homes people have all around the world, seen through the eyes of their adoring pets.

The girls are always fascinated with how and where other people live and this exquisite peek inside different homes that shows just how different, and similar, our lives are, is fascinating to them. A cabin in Iceland, a high-rise apartment in central Tokyo, an Italian island, a Brooklyn brownstone and many more are introduced. Who lives there?

It's never too early to start thinking about Christmas and The Story Orchestra: The Nutcracker is a wonderful addition to your festive collection.  Beautifully illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle, this delightful book brings classical music to life with the well-known story and music. This lovely retelling of the classic Christmas ballet would be a wonderful festive gift for someone special, the perfect accompaniment to a first visit to the ballet, perhaps.

Each page spread features a musical note to touch, bringing Tchaikovsky’s wonderful music to life. Follow little Clara on her magical adventure through the Land of Sweets, the Nutcracker’s battle with the Mouse King, and the famous dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. With wonderful illustrations, a biography of Tchaikovsky at the back, this book is sure to entrance children of all ages.

Published more than a century ago, Emile Zola's prescient novel Money is a topical examination of the dynamics of greed, the excesses of capitalism and its dangerous relationship with politics and the press. Meticulously researched by Zola and inspired by real events of the time, Money is the tale of Aristide Saccard, formerly top of the financial pile as a stock exchange kingpin, now doing everything he can to regain his position, whatever the personal, familial and moral consequences.

We all know him as the creator of the great Sherlock Holmes, but Arthur Conan Doyle's personal interest in science, both pseudo and real, from phrenology to electricity, led to the creation of The Lost World,one of the first pioneering works of science fiction. Already familiar through film, cartoon and other novels which have followed in its wake, The Lost World is definitely worth a read. Follow reporter Edward Malone as he follows the formidable Professor Challenger on an expedition to discover strange prehistoric beasts and murderous ape men on a remote South American plateau.

Not generally well known here, Giacomo Leopardi is one of Italy’s greatest and best-loved poets. His monumental works Zibaldone (Notebooks) and Canti (poems), but Leopardi also penned a number of fictional pieces dealing with philosophical ideas and metaphysical questions, often in the form of gently humorous dialogue. Nearly 200 years old, Moral Fables reveals both the restless spirit of Leopardi and the philosophy of his nation, as well as pearls of wisdom and gems of social observation. A treat for Leopardi readers, and those new to him.

Pollyanna was one of my favourite characters as a child, although my version was Hayley Mills, not Eleanor H. Porter's even more glorious pen sketch. This heartwarming tale is one of the best-loved children's books of all time and it is a treat to read or to read aloud. Sophia is a big fan of classic fiction like this so we have been reading it in chapters and loving it. Exuberant, optimistic orphan Pollyanna goes to live with her strict aunt in New England, spreading joy and love wherever she goes, but her sunny disposition is sorely tested and she must learn to find joy again. A delight, perfect for any budding young reader.

Go on an awfully big adventure with a plethora of prehistoric beasts in the amazing Atlas of Dinosaur Adventures. Readers head off on a prehistoric journey around the world, visiting more than 30 different locations and meeting some very big new friends. Lock horns with a Triceratops, stalk prey with a T-Rex, and learn to fly with a baby Pteranodon. With so much to spot and lots to learn, everyone's favourite big beasts just got even more fascinating.

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