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Book Review

REVIEW: The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith


After reading Stacey’s review of The Fox and the Star, I knew I had to read it so when I went into my local Waterstones a few days later, I bought it immediately.

I’m so pleased I saved this as my first book of the year. It was such an enjoyable book, full of wonderful illustrations that capture your imagination and make you feel as if you’re wandering the woods too with Fox. It can, and will, be loved by children and adults alike – it’s universal. As I was reading it, I could picture myself as a two year old again, being read stories and looking at the wonderful illustrations that accompanied them. IMG_2406

The way that The Fox and the Star is illustrated adds a maturity to the words and Coralie Bickf0rd-Smith has a very unique style that is instantly recognisable; she is well-known for her work on numerous covers for Penguin, including the Clothbound Classics series and the Penguin English Library series. After reading this, her début, I will definitely seek out other books that she has illustrated and she will most certainly be on my radar for future releases.

There’s also a hint of innocence in the protagonist, the Fox, that you see change over the course of the book and the journey was lovely to watch. I think this is what makes it so appealing to people of all ages: there’s a sense of dramatic irony for the adults, who know exactly who, or what, Star is, and a sense of magic for younger children who will be able to look up at the sky and see Star for themselves.

The Fox and the Star would make a perfect present for book lovers and little to-be book lovers. It’s one that I know I’ll be saving to read to my own children because the magic is still with me now, even a while after reading it. IMG_2411

Book Review

REVIEW: Winger by Andrew Smith


I read many books every month and every year and whilst I love the majority of them, sometimes there are a few that really stand out. Winger, by far, is a massive contender for my favourite book of the year.

Set in an American boarding school, Ryan Dean Smith is a normal teenage boy who is a winger, hence the title, on the school rugby team and happens to be in love with his best friend, Annie. Winger tells the story of his year in Opportunity Hall, the building that houses the school’s resident troublemakers.

Before reading, I was a little bit nervous. Although I’d heard really good things about it, I hadn’t read or watched any specific reviews so I went into it with a completely open mind. Meaning to read only a few pages, I couldn’t help but read chapter after chapter, and found myself totally immersed.

As a teenager myself, one of the things that really bothers me is when the protagonist in a YA novel feels forced and doesn’t reflect an actual teenager living in today’s day and age. Fortunately, Smith has created an incredibly well rounded and credible teenager in Ryan Dean, who is the epitome of adolescence.

Winger is a book that will attract many teenagers because of its relevance to real issues that every youth has to face – from attracting your crush to dealing with fights and arguments. I also think Smith has portrayed the hormonal and lust-driven teenager well in Ryan Dean. From the first page it is obvious that Smith hasn’t bothered to sugar coat the details. In fact, the novel opens with Ryan Dean trying to save himself from having his head shoved down a toilet. Definitely an opening worth remembering!

Included in Winger are comic strips and illustrations that added familiarity and humour. Although Winger isn’t the shortest book, it’s fast-paced and an easy read. It leaves the reader with many thoughts and feelings; it’s not a book you put down without it leaving its mark.

No matter who you are – male or female, adult or teenager – I think Winger is the perfect book for you. I cannot stop recommending it and I just know that it’s worth your time to buy and read.