All posts filed under: Book Review

Book Review – The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale Hardcover: 318 pages Author: Margaret Atwood Illustrations by: Anna and Elena Balbusso Published by The Folio Society 2012 – Second printing 2017 RRP £38.95 An Adult Fictional Book – Classic Dystopian Themed Novel/Speculative Fiction OVERVIEW The Handmaid’s Tale has been in print for over 30 years so this review is more an evaluation of the second printing 2017 by The Folio Society, London, which includes some fabulous illustrations and is introduced by the author. As with most dystopian themed classics, this too, is chillingly prophetic. In this strange world, the narrator, Offred is a Handmaid in service to the Republic of Gilead (a country that stands in the place of what was the USA) in a future near. Gilead is built around a single goal: the control of reproduction. Political subjugation creates a society in which women are treated as subhuman. The Wives, Handmaids (and the Marthas) serve their husbands, the military Commanders and their households in one way or another. The state tackles the problem of the decrease in birth rates by …

Book Review: Stitching with Beatrix Potter

ISBN 978-1-61745-610—7 Author:  Michele Hill Publisher: C&T Publishing (2 Feb. 2017) RRP £16.99 Content – 10 sewing and stitching projects based on stories and characters of Beatrix Potter. A couple of craft projects relate to Potter’s home at ‘Hill Top’ and the surrounding farmland in The Lake District, UK (now a National Trust property) Introduction Australian Author, Michele Hill talks of being bowled over by the gallery displays of both William Morris and Beatrix Potter inspired quilts at the 2016 Tokyo Quilt Festival. Already conversant and somewhat obsessed with the life and work of William Morris, Hill made connections of these two famous people and began to research Beatrix Potter. Being an award winning quilter, Hill had in mind to write a Beatrix Potter book. Hill had the help and encouragement of history buffs who she names and credits in her welcome message and who also contributed background information, and photographic images from the archives shown in the Life of Beatrix Potter that is presented on pages 7 and 8. Range of information 8/10 skills: machine applique …

Book Review – A Dangerous Crossing

A Dangerous Crossing Author Rachel Rhys Published by Doubleday Release date 23 March 2017 RRP 12.99 (Hardback) An Adult Fictional Book – Crime Thriller OVERVIEW Set in 1939, just before the outbreak of WWII, and young, Lily Shepherd takes an ocean liner journey from England to Australia. Compelled to get away from the dark shadows of near past events, her plan is to live in Sydney working in domestic service for a couple of years. Once aboard the good ship Orontes Lily makes her friendships and acquaintances with a small band of people almost straightaway. As a single woman, travelling alone, Lily is thrown into new experiences. Early in the voyage she suffers a bout of sickness, and is home sick at times, especially as news filters through of Germany’s growing aggression. Lily is cliquey with certain people. Her attentions go to a couple from the first-class deck to whom there is much gossip and scandal attached. The pair load luxury upon her. In the meantime, she is having flashbacks, she’s trying to cope with …

Review of CALEB’S CAB – An Illustrated Storybook for Children

CALEB’S CAB Author Sally Chomet Illustrated by Sylvain Chomet Published by Walker Books in Hardback Release date 03 November 2016 RRP 12.99 A Children’s Fictional Book – for 8 years + Overview: Caleb’s Dad has vanished. Caleb has one clue of his Dad’s last movements and so he tries to solve the mystery. The Money Mongers might snatch him but Caleb is determined to solve the mystery of his Dad’s disappearance. Comment and Guide: A French tale but in some ways it feels British, yet, it is a neither nor kind of place. The text containing colloquial speak from a time long gone will be unfamiliar to young children or to their parent reader even i.e. ‘Mongers” ‘Greasy comb overs’; trestle table; camphor, Spam, canteen, bingo halls. In most cases, it is not always wise for a children’s author to even try to be authentic in writing their story of the past using language and referencing things using old terminology, as there can be a real possibility of ending up with something irrelevant and unappealing …

A Miscellany of MAGICAL BEASTS by Simon Holland – Book Review

A Miscellany of MAGICAL BEASTS by Simon Holland. Illustration contributions by Gary Blithe – David Demaret – Nelson Evergreen – John Howe – Mike Love – Kev Walker – Helen Ward – David Wyatt ISBN 978-1-4088-8195-8 Published by Bloomsbury in Hardcover – Release date 20 October 2016 RRP £14.99 A Children’s Picture Book (Hardback) Overview: This recently released children’s title from Bloomsbury is an authentic collection of mystical beasts from fairy tale worlds, ancient myths, and magical storybook greats. Simon Holland (the author) introduces (in chapters) a creature each time. His passion for the subject is infectious and the information he shares is well researched, paragraphs are not too word laden. The art contributions show fantastical creatures, and their surrounds, using a variety of illustrative styles. There are Giants and Trolls, Unicorns, Griffins and Werewolves. There’s Pegasus (from the Greek myths) and Dragons of course. 20 creatures altogether, plus a page of Elvish spells and tricks and another of Magical Words. The mechanics of the book’s presentation include fold-out pieces which achieves the dimensions of that …

A Short Review of Paper Home – an origami project book

Breaking the origami rules somewhat because of the inclusion of the use of quick -drying glue, and some cutting techniques. Described as multi-modular origami creations in fact. Some projects require other objects either to hard wire, to present or to decorate, but not much more is needed than quality papers (some patterned) of differing densities and a bit of creative time on your hands. Project papers by Caroline Gardner, Minerva Crafts and others. Follow Esther Thorpe’s step-by-step instructions and you can make home decorations that are strikingly unique.     More about the book: • Hardcover book with clear presentation of the projects. Excellent photography and art editing • Offers 15 origami style projects to make home wares and home decorations from quality paper • Author, Esther Thorpe adds a contemporary edge to a traditional Japanese art (origami) • Contact and Supplier information included  

Craft Book Review – Mini Knitted Ocean by author Sachiyo Ishii

Review of Mini Knitted Ocean is by guest reviewer and novice knitter, Kelly A from Pontyclun I’m a fairly novice knitter, most of my accomplishments come in the form of scarves, so it was really nice to have a go at something different with this book. I love the quality of the book, the various projects within and the quirky theme of the ocean. Whenever I start knitting I always forget how to cast on, so I’d hope I’d find simple instructions inside the book (because the projects are aimed at beginner, intermediate and advanced) but there were none so I headed over to youtube for a quick tutorial. I’d opted for a beginner project, the ‘clown fish’, but I wanted to make it spooky (because it’s Halloween!) so I opted for red, black and green wool. Once I’d cast on it didn’t take long for me to gather momentum for the project! I have never really followed a detailed set of knitting instructions before, so it was great to have a reference at the front of the book for all …

Review of MAKING GREAT ILLUSTRATION

ISBN 978-1-4081-2453-6 Making Great Illustration by Derek Brazell and Jo Davies (The Authors) Published by Bloomsbury (imprint A&C Black Visual Arts) Paperback Published 22.09.2011 Available at Amazon http://amzn.to/2awcgqt RRP £35.00 Published as an e-book 10.05.2016 RRP £34.00 CONTENT Introduction from The Authors Foreword (with 3 sub headings) 10 main Chapters The Photography Index The Authors (about) RANGE OF INFORMATION The book presents: Illustrators and animators working in 2D and 3D across a broad area of career fields Designers working in the commercial industry, in marketing and communication roles particularly, producing brand related creative content, logos, etc. Chapters cover the following subjects: design, advertising and editorial concepts; philosophical commentary; development principles; observational studies; art direction and the illustrators’ work; the publishing world today; art and commerce; studio practices; working methodology; the link with storytelling narrative; and the different styles, techniques and approaches in making great illustration. All of this is led by a series of artist profiles in an interview format. Artists are indexed at the rear of the book. Profiles include case studies and many …

Review of WILDER (a book of 21 fashion knits for women)

Title: WILDER By Kim Hargreaves Edition: Paperback Publication: April 2016 ISBN: 9781906487256 Size: 215 x 280 mm Pages: 105 RRP Price: £17.95 Amazon http://amzn.to/29YAfex   TSS Says: 21 Knit or crochet patterns to make women’s knitted fashion pieces i.e. LAKE (a long line tunic with deep vents); SONG (a semi fitted sweater with cables and braids); WEST (a lacy scarf), PRAIRIE (a sweater with eyelets and button edgings) and BIRCH (a crochet beret). The ‘how to make’ methods are in the traditional knitting pattern format, with text being black on a white background which means instructions are very clear and makes reading easy on the eye in any daylight setting or under artificial lighting. The design of this book and the photography is extremely pleasing. The three images above are from the book (image source: http://www.knitrowan.com), you will see that the model is pictured wearing the knitted items in natural outdoor settings in green or farmed fields, or in front of heritage style  buildings and fixtures. The Rowan yarns used are natural i.e. cotton and soft yak, and in …

Children’s Picture Books by Tom McLaughlin

I have added a new review of a picture book called Up, Up and Away by Tom McLaughlin, it joins a previously published review of The Cloudspotter by the same author. CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO READ BOTH REVIEWS   ISBN 978-1-4088-5496-9 The Cloudspotter Author – Tom McLaughlin Published by Bloomsbury in hardback – Release date 18 June 2015 RRP £10.99 A Picture StoryBook for children aged up to … Source: Children’s Picture Books by Tom McLaughlin