Ten in a Bed [Audiobook]


One night Dinah goes upstairs and finds three grumbly bears in her bed. They refuse to budge until she’s told them a story. Dinah’s bed is full of surprises and her story is full of stories; fantastic ones and ones that are just a bit frightening.

Ten in a Bed
This is a brilliant story! Get it on CD or tape if you can – read by Andy Crane – and all car journeys will be a doddle. My children have loved this story and read it again and again. It is funny and quirky and just one of the best books I have ever read! Any child from about 6 onwards would enjoy this.

The Idea of Perfection



Harley Savage is a large, rawboned, plain person with a ragged haircut and a white t-shirt coming unstitched along the shoulder. Douglas Cheeseman is a big-eared man who avoids his own reflection, and has bored his wife into leaving him. They are not the usual suspects for a burgeoning romance.

I loved this book. It’s about some sad losers in a sad small town in the middle of nowhere and not much happens, but there was something delicious and so very, very funny about it. It has some touching parts and it’s quite sweet and at times rather forlorn and hopeless, but oh my, it made me smile. I have read it three times and still laugh at the ridiculous ‘love’ scenes between the wife and the butcher. Don’t take it too seriously, just enjoy it!

Tom’s Midnight Garden

A timeless classic about Tom’s adventures in his secret, midnight garden



When Tom is sent to his aunt’s house for the summer he resigns himself to weeks of boredom. Lying awake one night he listens to the grandfather clock in the hall strike every hour. Eleven . . . Twelve . . . Thirteen. Thirteen! Tom rushes down the stairs and opens the back door. There, awaiting him, is a beautiful garden. A garden that shouldn’t exist. And there are children in the garden too – are they ghosts? Or is it Tom who is really the ghost . . .

A wonderful story; rich, full, challenging, poignant and exciting. I read this to my children and they loved every minute of it. It was one of those ‘please read some more’ books and I think I got just as much pleasure out of it as they did.

The Green Ship

a moving story for children and grown-ups

This story gets me weeping inside just thinking about it. Whenever I read it to my two little children I choke up.

This simple tale is about childhood adventure but also about growing up and having to leave behind a part of our childhood. Perhaps the story touches the piece of us that remembers that sense of loss. It’s victorious also, as it deals with the resolution of loss in adulthood.

This is a children’s book but I think Wise Mr Blake wrote it as much for the grown-ups.

Buy the book for your children. Keep it for you.

The City of Ember



Many hundreds of years ago, the city of Ember was created by the builders to contain everything needed for human survival. It worked… but now the storerooms are almost out of food, corruption is spreading through the city and worst of all – the lights are failing. Soon Ember could be engulfed by darkness.

But when two children, Lina and Doon, discover fragments of an ancient parchment they begin to wonder if there could be a way out of Ember. Can they decipher the words from long ago and find a new future for everyone?

I confess that I do not read much fiction these days. But every so often a great story comes around and grabs my attention.

Some months ago I rented out the movie of The City of Ember, to watch with my teenage children. It looked like an exciting movie, featuring a few famous actors – Tim Robbins and Bill Murray, for example. Besides I have a thing for post-apocalyptic stories.

We really enjoyed the film. It holds its own as an engaging and well-paced story and the production values are pretty high. I found it quirky in an endearing way.

The movie is based on the novel of the same name, by Jeanne DuPrau. On the back of enjoying the movie, we got hold of a copy of the book and after the children read it, I ended up taking it with us on our summer holiday. I think the book is squarely aimed at the youngsters but I was unashamedly hooked, despite the fact that I knew the story from watcing the movie. DuPrau has a simple yet captivating writing style and it had me reeled in good and proper.

I recommend the book. It’s an easy read and has lots of material to talk about with your family members, young and older.

– Book recommendation by James.




And here is the movie of the story (below). This is one of those few occasions (I think) when you can enjoy either the book or the movie, or both – and in either order.