Monthly Archives: January 2021

Peppa Pig is back !

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Penguin Australia

Peppa Pig: Peppa’s Night Before Christmas

  • ISBN: 9780241448625
  • October 2020
  • Imprint: Ladybird
  • RRP: $14.99

Unfortunately this one didn’t arrive in time for Christmas but that’s no reason to hesitate in getting a copy ready for later in the year. This is a really cute rhyming story taking its cue from Clement Moore’s famous poem. Peppa and George like all small children are very excited about Christmas but it looks like there’s more to do than decorate and wait. Santa has a problem – his sleigh lights are broken and that’s going to make it really difficult to navigate around the world. Luckily Peppa has a great idea – her toy unicorn with its magical light up horn will be just the thing! Whew!! Christmas is saved and of course there’s celebrations in store for everyone – though Daddy Pig is rather bemused to look out the window on Christmas morning to see Santa delivering back Peppa’s unicorn.

Peppa Pig: Peppa Loves Easter

  •  16 February 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241476406
  • Imprint: Ladybird
  • RRP: $14.99

On the other hand, this one has arrived in plenty of time for Easter. I don’t know about you but we have decided that our selection of Easter themed picture books is pretty tired and at times downright dreary so this will be a very popular addition. For little people in your circle – or for a gift for a first Easter – it will be just perfect!

This is truly adorable and if I were still working with little ones would definitely be inspired by the wonderful Easter egg-stravaganza Miss Rabbit organises for Peppa’s playgroup. Following a trail of clues the children decorate their own Easter cupcakes, make a card, decorate their own egg cup, walk through a field of pretty flowers and finally arrive to find lots of fluffy little chicks running around just waiting to be petted. All throughout this fun game the children are wondering where Miss Rabbit can be – after all she is the one who has organised all this for them. Among all the little chicks is a giant Easter egg – what could possibly be in it? A lovely surprise for the playgroup of course!

Both these titles have the delightful sparkly covers that are so enticing for little readers and both just beg to be read aloud.

Highly recommended for your tinies from around toddler upwards.

People of Abandoned Character – Clare Whitfield

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Harper Collins Australia

December 2020

  • ISBN: 9781838932749
  • ISBN 10: 1838932747
  • Imprint: Head of Zeus – GB
  • List Price: 32.99 AUD

Imagine the man you married was a murderer, in fact, one of the most infamous murderers in history. Susannah Chapman fears she is married to the monster who came to be known as Jack the Ripper.

Step into Victorian London where the wealthy and outwardly respectable live cheek-by-jowl with the dregs of society, each with their own sordid secrets: drugs, alcohol, violence, homosexuality, sexual perversions and cruelty. Sometimes the most dangerous are those who appear to be the most refined.

Born illegitimate to a mother not long out of childhood herself, Susannah becomes an orphan at five years old when her mother is brutally killed by one of her customers. Raised by grandparents the girl has always been a little different. Her kindly grandfather appreciates her more unusual nature but her strict grandmother despairs of her and is continually frustrated in her attempts to subdue what she sees as a wayward child. When her grandfather dies, Susannah assumes the role of carer for her ailing grandmother and dreams of a time when she will be free to make her own way in the world. Eventually that time arrives as Susannah nears thirty and she takes up training as a nurse at the London Hospital. Finally she feels she has achieved some independence and self-worth and with her closest friend, Aisling, makes a pretty fair nurse at a time when that profession is just beginning the transformation into the one we know today. When Aisling is killed by a violent drunk Susannah is devastated and begins to doubt her direction in life. But then she catches the eye of handsome young surgeon, Thomas Lancaster.

After a whirlwind romance, the pair are married but within weeks of their passionate honeymoon, cracks begin to appear feeding Susannah’s doubts about her own worth. Thomas is cruel and violent, capricious and erratic and as the weeks turn into months, his behaviour becomes more and more unpredictable. The newspapers are filled with lurid reports of the shocking murders of Whitechapel prostitutes and Susannah’s preoccupation with the details of these bring her to a strong suspicion that her husband could well be the violent perpetrator being sought by the police.

As the narrative proceeds the reader turns to first one and then another character, each of them with dark secrets, with growing unease while poor Susannah becomes more and more isolated and frightened for her own safety. Clare Whitfield has created in this, her debut novel, a marvellously wrought historical novel which swiftly becomes not just a murder mystery but a thriller with plot twists that are both unexpected and astonishing. It’s a page-turner of extraordinary depths – dare I say – a ripping yarn though not for the faint-hearted. There is liberal strong language and graphic bloody violence but a great read with a denouement that will make you gasp.

I would highly recommend it for anyone who loves a terrific suspenseful novel.