Posts Tagged ‘Chris Riddell’

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

By Lewis Carroll

Illustrated by Chris Riddell

ISBN 9781529002461

Macmillan Children’s Books

First published in the 1860’s this timeless classic is still going strong. This new illustrated edition from Chris Riddell is a stunner and for me, this surpasses all other editions. I have long admired Riddell’s work, and this is no exception. I love it.

Gone are Alice’s long blonde locks of previous illustrators, now replaced with short, dark hair bringing a freshness and a new personality. The mad-hatter too, is different. The story however, is the same tale of a young girl who follows a rabbit down a rabbit hole into an amazing new world. It’s a world where everything is different, strange and quite bizarre. Talking animals, parties and misadventure where Alice gets into trouble.

This edition is just beautiful. I excitedly picked a copy up at my local library from the “new books” stand but I will have to get my own copy to keep. It’s not exactly a cheap purchase but it will be one well worth buying in this new hardback, illustrated collectors edition. It is one to treasure. I really don’t want to return my library book!

In this youtube clip, Chris Riddell reads the first chapter. As you listen, you can take a look at the illustrations, both colour, and black and white. The end papers show different characters and if you take the cover off the book you reveal another beautiful cover.

I adore Chris Riddell and his talent for storytelling and creating the most amazingly gorgeous illustrations. I continue to add his books to my school library but also to my own collection. I shall die poor! Today I have a guest reviewer with her views on his latest book. Hannah is 8 years old and loves his books too and we have neat discussions about his books.  This is a new series and we are already keen for book two. No pressure Chris! Thank you so much Hannah for your review. You did beat me to reading it first.
Three children, three objects, three places that results in to a thrilling story of mysteries and magic. This story has made my imagination fly because of its characters creative thoughts. It’s the most mesmerising book I have ever read because it’s full of surprises. It has taken top place of my Chris Riddell list because it’s a different structure to his other books and I prefer this type of structure. As soon as I opened this book my eyes fell in love with it. You have to read this book.

        “ A magical story awaits your eyes”.

A book review by Hannah H age 8

Once Upon a Wild Wood

By Chris Riddell

ISBN 9781509817061

Macmillan Children’s Books

Many who have read this blog before know I am a huge fan of illustrator and author, Chris Riddell. His newest picture book, the first in about ten years and only just released, is simply beautiful, stunning and a whole heap of other feel-good adjectives. It arrived at school today and I was so excited I pulled the wrapping off in haste and was smitten. Within in a few minutes I was ordering another copy for a teacher sitting next to me. 

Oh my goodness, where to start!

The hardback cover has a cut out centre. Little Green Rain Cape is framed right in the centre of the cut out, book in hand, as she steps in to the wild wood. We can see the different fairy tale characters peeking out from the trees, all looking directly at the reader. We can’t help but want to step inside the wood with her.

Little Green Rain Cape enters the Wild Wood on her way to a party. Her backpack is full of all the things she might need on the way. She is wise and well prepared for almost anything.

On her journey Little Green meets many of our favourite fairy tale characters but they are not quite where you think they might be. The stories are delightfully mixed up. The golden harp is very fickle and looking for a new owner. The three bears, the 12 dancing princesses, and so many other characters make an entrance. The trees too, are quirky and their facial expressions are gorgeous. They smile and frown and we can see their compassion and their own little personalties. 

I’m in love with the colourful illustrations and the magic and story of the Wild Wood. I am also left hoping there just might be another adventure in the Wild Wood for Little Green Rain Cape.

This is certainly a book to read again and again. Parents will enjoy sharing this with children and talking about fairy tales. Teachers will love it for so many reasons, not just as a picture book to read aloud, but a great resource for creative writing, fractured fairy tale studies and heaps more.

Love it to pieces! 


100 Hugs

By Chris Riddell

ISBN 1509814305

Pan Macmillan



I am going to end up with a very bleak retirement if I don’t stop buying books. When you see 100 Hugs you will  know why I couldn’t resist buying this to add to my Chris Riddell collection. It is just as well for him that we live on opposite sides of the planet as I think I would follow him to every book signing he does or every talk he gives. Not just an amazing illustrator and author, he is  a wonderful supporter of all things library. Being a librarian I agree with everything he says. Libraries are in danger of being closed down (many have already gone) and schools without libraries just breaks my heart. 

Anyway, I digress.  This latest book is adorable. Perfect size to fit in the hands of anyone and perfect to give to someone special. The illustrations are simple yet moving. Some pull at your emotions, draw you in and leave you all happy inside. Page after page of people, animals, book characters and more, all being hugged. The illustrations would make wonderful prints for any bedroom or library wall. Simply beautiful. I can’t share the pictures here because of copyright but seriously, check out the links above and see for yourself. This is one I will carry around with me, pull out and show everyone. Small and gorgeous.

Ottoline and the purple fox

Written and illustrated by Chris Riddell

ISBN 9781447277927

Macmillan Children’s Books



To regular readers of my blog it is no secret that I am a huge fan of the works by illustrator and writer Chris Riddell. If you pick up a copy of the latest book in his Ottoline series it isn’t hard to see why I love his work. Or why his work is regarded so highly and why I continue to buy his books. (Actually I have to buy two of each of his books – one for the school library I work in and one for me). The illustrations are just delightful and Ottoline is a superb character.
Ottoline is strong, sensible and kind. She lives with her friend Mr Munroe who is small and hairy and came from a bog in Norway. Hie eyes are about all you can see through his long, long hair. Together they live in the Pepperpot Building while her parents are off all over the world collecting things.
There are lots of different characters in her building, all wonderfully kind and beautifully drawn.  I love that this is a sweet, funny feel-good story. Friendship is a strong theme throughout all the Ottoline books and you know what – sometimes that is all we need in a good book. Sometimes we just need to look around us and see what is right in front of our noses.
I laughed out loud when I saw Ottoline with copies of Goth Girl, a cheeky wee nod by Chris Riddell to his other wonderful series Goth Girl.  (And yes – I have all those books too).
Author Chris Riddell is the current Children’s Laureate and you can find out more about him and what he does right here.
Copyright of the video belongs to Macmillan of course.

Goth Girl and the Wuthering Fright

By Chris Riddell

Book 3 in the Goth Girl series

ISBN 9781447277897

goth girl

This is so exciting. I am a huge fan of the works of author and illustrator Chris Riddell. His illustrations are simply superb. Whether as black line drawings or full colour he has a way of making his characters come to life. The faces are so expressive and you can read all sorts of emotions in his pictures. His illustrations quite frankly are to be admired and appreciated for what they are and that is works of art!

I love the humour in his first two Goth Girl books and can’t wait to add this new book to my collection. I have already pre-ordered it so hopefully it will be here any day now. It is a bit like waiting for Christmas and even a week seems so far off when waiting for this newest addition to arrive. The Goth Girl books are not only beautifully illustrated and written but beautifully packaged. Gilt edges, hardback and contain a pocket at the back of the book holding a tiny lift out book. So much thought has gone it to these books it is no wonder they are in demand. There are in the previous books, lots of tongue-in-cheek references to British literature of old and I am sure this will offer the same wonderful quirky sense of humour. Sometimes just holding a new book is enough but diving in to this one will be nothing but joy!

People are flocking to Ghastly-Gorm Hall from far and wide to compete in Lord Goth’s Literary Dog Show. The esteemed judges are in place and the contestants are all ready to win. Sir Walter Splott is preparing his Lanarkshire Lurcher, Plain Austen is preening her Hampshire Hound and Homily Dickinson and her Yankee Poodle are raring to go. But there’s something strange going on at Ghastly-Gorm – mysterious footprints, howls in the night and some suspiciously chewed shoes. Can Ada, the Attic Club and their new friends the Vicarage sisters (Charlotte, Emily and Anne) work out what’s going on before the next full moon?

I loved his Ottoline series too which is well worth looking out for.

Chris Riddell is the very deserving current Children’s Laureate UK and you can read so much more about him here.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin (Trickster tales)
By Russell Brand
Illustrated by Chris Riddell
ISBN 9781476791906
Simon & Schuster


What a joy to read such a funny retelling of an old familiar story. Russell Brand takes the traditional story and fills it with humor and laugh-out-loud moments which will delight not just kids but adults as well.
Hamelin is a town filled with the most obnoxious, self-obsessed and mean-spirited people you can imagine. When the town is suddenly plagued with hundreds and thousands of rats, the Mayor seeks the help of a stranger to dispose of them. However, like all good stories, promises are broken and prices are paid. Lessons to learn, for sure but what a gorgeously funny way to make a point.

Chris Riddell excels at bringing characters to life in his very humorous illustrations. The personalities shine through, the good, the bad and the down-right nasty, warts and all. The combination of author and illustrator works so well that this is sure to be a hit. I certainly hope there will be other trickster tales and soon!

Take time to listen to the author read from his book.

Goth girl and the ghost of a mouse
By Chris Riddell

This is absolutely gorgeous. It is a beautifully produced hardback aimed at those girls who first fell in love with Chris Riddell’s Ottoline books.
The edges are a shiny purple to match the cover. The end pages are shiny black with silver leaves and skulls. There is a black ribbon bookmark. There is also a delightfully small colour booklet in a pocket attached to the inside back cover. I have always loved books with pockets and envelopes and this is just the best gift for a young girl. I had just bought the book for school and it was on my desk for processing and the girls were all begging to reserve it. I told them they had to wait until I finished it but in the end I went out and bought my own personal copy simply because it is such a beautiful book to own.
“Ada Goth is the only child of Lord Goth. The two live together in the enormous Ghastly-Gorm Hall. Lord Goth believes that children should be heard and not seen, so Ada has to wear large clumpy boots so that he can always hear her coming.” Her only friend is the ghost mouse Ishmael.
One day William and Emily Cabbage come to stay and a wonderful friendship begins. Together they discover a plot by the mysterious indoor gamekeeper, to create chaos. They must work together to foil the plan before it’s too late
Ada has had a number of nannies to look after her, including Hebe Poppins, who ran off with a chimney sweep and Jane Ear who was sent away after she tried to burn down the west wing. Great chance for those who love old classic literature to laugh over the characters.

This really is a delightful story full of weird and wonderful characters. A step up in terms of reading from the Ottoline series this is aimed at girls aged eight up through even 12 year old’s who will cackle over the humour. I really loved this book. It is quite simply, gorgeous.

Clementine Rose
By Jacqueline Harvey

A recent post on books for boys who don’t want to read prompted a look on the shelves at what the girls were reading as first or second chapter books. They do tend to like strong female characters, both girly- girl and bossy and independent types. Girls tend to be more flexible than boys with their reading so for them variety is a good thing. Below are some of the books which are currently trending in my library.

This is a new series about the delightful Clementine Rose. Just perfect for those 7 year old girly-girls.

Ivy and Bean
Doomed to dance

By Annie Barrow
Ivy and Bean are two great characters and the books fly off the shelves. Good friends who are not afraid to get involved and try different things. There are a number of books in the series, all equally popular.

I couldn’t find trailers for the ones below but these books are also hugely popular and just like the ones above I have many reserves for them.


Ottoline and the yellow cat
By Chris Riddell

I love the quirky line drawings in these books. Ottoline is a very cool character who lives with her faithful and very hairy best friend, Mr. Monroe. Together they get into heaps of trouble. In this book they sort out a mysterious cat burglar.

Violet Mackerel’s brilliant plot
By Anna Branford

Walker Books
Violet is very likeable young girl. The black and white line illustrations are a draw card for these delightful books.
Violet wants a special blue china bird she sees at the market and goes to all sorts of trouble to raise money to buy it.