Thursday, 16 March 2017

Saffy's Angel by Hilary Mc Kay

The four Casson children, whose mother, Eve, is a fine-arts painter, have all been given the names of paint colors. Cadmium (Caddy), is the eldest; then Saffron (Saffy); Indigo, the only boy; and Rose, the youngest. When Saffy discovers quite by accident that she has been adopted, she is deeply upset, though the others assure her that it makes no difference at all. Saffy is the daughter of Eve's twin sister, who lived in Siena, Italy, and died in a car crash. Grandad brought Saffy, as a very small child, back from Siena.
At Grandad's death he leaves something to each of the children. To Saffy, it is "her angel," although no one knows its identity. How Saffy discovers what her angel is, with the help of an energetic new friend, lies at the heart of this enchanting story. Unforgettable characters come alive in often deeply humorous and always absorbing events to be treasured for a long, long time.

Saffy has always felt a bit left out, her name is missing from the paint chart and she figures out that she is adopted.  Saffy's angel is all that is left form her old life when she was very little and lived in Sienna and herself and her  new friend Sarah set out to track the angel down.

This is a really great story about a totally chaotic family, I think a lot of our group enjoyed. We had a great discussion about book and characters. Saffy's name comes from Saffron the spice, we found out all about it and even had a look at some

Did you know it's made from the crocus flower. It is the worlds most expensive spice and takes 75,000 crocus blossoms to make a pound of saffron. Irene brought in some saffron for everyone to have a look at

If you want to follow more of their adventures there are other books in the Casson family series Indigo's star, Permanent Rose, Caddy ever after, forever Rose and Caddy's world

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Our first meeting back after the Summer was on Thursday the 15th of September.

To celebrate Roald Dahl's 100 anniversary from earlier on in the week we found lots of Dahl inspired activities

We did crosswords and had a quiz, both available from the Roald Dahl Day website  and we talked about our favourite Roald Dahl books.
We also talked about what we had been reading all Summer, Harry Potter, books by Rick Riordan and Goosebumps were among some of our favourites. Everyone wrote a review of their favourite book from the summer. The book review templates were from the libraries Ireland Summer Reading Challenge. Check out the reviews below.

Our book for our meeting is on Thursday October the 20th is Saffy's Angel by Hilary Mc Kay

Looking forward to reading it and seeing what everyone thinks!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Knights of the Borrowed Dark

Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden

Denizen Hardwick doesn't believe in magic - until he's ambushed by a monster created from shadows and sees it destroyed by a word made of sunlight.
That kind of thing can really change your perspective.
Now Denizen is about to discover that there's a world beyond the one he knows. A world of living darkness where an unseen enemy awaits.
Fortunately for humanity, between us and the shadows stand the Knights of the Borrowed Dark.
Unfortunately for Denizen, he's one of them . . .
Denzian Hardwick gets thrown into magic at the deep end. Having grown up in an orphanage he realises that he has a long lost aunt and on his 13th birthday he finds out that he has all kinds of powers that he could never ever have imagined. He has a big decision to make, join the knights of the borrowed dark or go back to his normal life in the orphanage. While figuring out what he is going to do,  something is stolen from the endless king in the world of the Tenebrous and Denzian gets caught up in a race to save the world.

We were very lucky to have Dave Rudden visit us on Thursday the 16th of June for our last book club meeting before the summer. Dave did some creative writing with us, he did a very scary reading from his book and made it come alive! and let us ask lots of questons about the story and the characters. I think for some of our book club this was one of our favourite books of the year we can't wait until next year for the part two of this trilogy "The forever Court" A big thank you again to Dave for coming in to visit us in Ballyroan Library!


Monday, 30 May 2016


Young Rebels by Morgan Llywelyn

St Enda's is no ordinary school, and Padraic Pearse is no ordinary headmaster.
His pupils are inspired by his vision of freedom and an Irish Republic, and John Joe and his friend Roger see the Easter Rising as their chance to fight for Ireland's freedom. But the two boys are horrified to learn that they are too young to take part.
They disobey orders to stay away from the city centre and quickly become caught up in the dramatic events of the Rebellion. Called to be brave and resourceful beyond their years, they witness events that change their lives forever.
Another dramatic blend of history and fiction from the inimitable Morgan Llywelyn
This was our second book set around the time of the 1916 rising and I think most of us enjoyed it. 7 out of 8 in the group realy liked it. I think as it is set in Rathfarnham in St Enda's and most of us have visited St Enda's it made the story come alive.
We compared to to "The Guns of Easter" by Gerard Wheelan.
The books have a lot in common- a boy is the main character in the book, they are both based around the 1916 rising but in "Young Rebels" John Joe knew what was going to happen in the rising, he wanted to be part of it and he was from quite a rich family who were able to send him to boarding school
 Jimmy in "Guns of Easter", didn't know what was going on when he stumbled accross the rising on his way to his aunt's house, he didn't really have a side and was quite friendly with the British soilders as well as the rebels, he was also very poor, he worried that his family couldn't pay a doctor for his sister who was sick and that his family didn't have enough food, so totally different stories in this way.

We also talked about the new  Children's Laureate  P.J Lynch and we watched a video about him, P.J has Illustrated over 20  children's books including "When Jessie Came accross The Sea" ,  "Once Upon a Place" and "The Boy who Fell off the Mayflower" and we had a look at some of them
As we were talking about illustrating covers of books I thought it would be fun to illustrate a cover for "Young rebels" and to draw scenes from the book.  Everyone's drawings came out so  well that I wanted to show everyone how they turned out!


Our next book is "Knights of the borrowed dark"  by Dave Rudden

At our next meeting on the 16th of June, Dave Rudden is going to come in and visit us to talk about his book so make sure to come in and pick up your copy in the library Ballyroan  Book Club!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Arthur Quinn and the World Serpant by Alan Early

Something wicked has awoken under the streets of Dublin...

When his dad is offered a job working on the new Metro tunnel, Arthur has to move to Dublin with him. While exploring the dangerous tunnel and a hidden underground river, Arthur and his new friends Will and Ash find a mysterious glowing pendant. The pendant depicts a giant snake strangling the trunk of a tree. The friends soon figure out that the pendant is a warning, a sign that something evil is waiting underneath the city. Something thats been imprisoned for a thousand years, something left by the Vikings, something that can - and will - destroy first the city, then the world.

What did the Vikings bury under the city of Dublin and why did they leave it there? Who is the dark man that spies on Arthur and what is his evil plan? In the end, only Arthur and his friends can save the world from the dreaded World Serpent.

When Arthur moves to Dublin because of his Dad's job he could never guess what was going to happen next. After finding a pendant with his new friends Will and Ash, very unusual things start to happen, the pendant is connected to the Viking God Loki. A great evil snake called the Jormungand which was left behind by the Vikings and has been hidden underneath Dublin for a thousand years is woken up by work being done on the metro tunnel by the company that Arthur's Dad works for. It is up to Arthur and friends to stop the snake before it's terrible powers are unleashed!

 If you are interested in mythology, history or love a good adventure story this book is for you. This is the first in the Arthur Quinn series and our group loved it, some of us have gone on to read the nest book "Arthur Quinn and the Fenris Wolf" there is also "Arthur Quinn and Hell's Keeper" we also liked that it was set in Dublin as we knew the places in the book.

In our meeting we had a quiz and split into three groups, the score was a draw between and everyone got almost all the questions right. Arthur Quinn has a brilliant website with some really great links and activities, there is all kinds of extra info about the characters and a really great  breaking news item on it. We also did an Arthur Quinn wordsearch and maze, we would recommend this book.

Monday, 16 May 2016

The Snow Merchant by Sam Gayton



Lettie Peppercorn lives in a house on stilts near the wind-swept coast of Albion. Nothing incredible has ever happened to her, until one winter's night.
The night the Snow Merchant comes.
He claims to be an alchemist - the greatest that ever lived - and in a mahogany suitcase, he carries his newest invention.
It is an invention that will change Lettie's life - and the world - forever.
It is an invention called snow.
This book is magical. Lettie Peppercorn cannot leave her house on stilts, she has been warned never to set foot outside her home. When the snow merchant arrives at the White Horse Inn which Lettie lives in and runs, everything is turned upside down. Then Noah appears, a boy with a stalk growing out of his shoulder. This book is very fast paced and unpredictable. Once Lettie sets foot outside, the most unexpected things start to happen leading to her finding out about her mother who disappeared when she was small. I don't want to give too much away as this was a really great read!
It reminded us a bit of Philip Pullman's books, the illustrations by Chris Riddell are great too when you come accross them

This was a popular book with our group although I think some people got a bit confused as there were so many things happening in the storyline and it moved very fast. It had just been snowing between our meetings too so that was nice. It's a very unusual zany story, perfect if you want to read something a bit different
Sam Gayton has a website where he talks about about how he got inspiration for this book and you can also see the early version of the start of this story

For anyone wanting to read more of Sam Gayton's books he has also written "Lilliput" and "Hercufleas"


Run Swift Run Free by Tom Mc Caughran



Summer has avvived and the fox cubs are growing up, life is very exciting but it's also hard- the cubs have to learn the ways of the wild, how to stand up to other hunters and how to defeat their enemy the trapper
The final book in the award winning trilogy "Run with the wind", "Run to the Earth", "Run Swift Run Free" is a coming of age adventure as the young foxes learn to survive- but how will they be able to fens for themselves adn run swift, run free
If you like stories about animals you will probabally like this book! I read this when I was in school and I still loved it reading it this time around. It's also won lots of awards like Bisto book of the Decade! The story follows three fox cubs as they grow up, learn to hunt and face lots of dangerous things like hunters, traps and other animals  The story is very exciting and you are never sure if all the cubs are going to survive, you also find out a lot of interesting things about foxes. This is the last book in the trilogy but you don't have to have read the first two to enjoy it.

Lots of our book club really liked this book and went on to read other books by Tom Mc Caughran.There is also "Run to the Ark" "Run to the Wild Woods" and "Run for Cover"

 "Run Swift Run Free is quite difficult to find in the shops but we do have copies in the library along with Tom's other books  ! We did a quiz about foxes and we also listened to sounds a fox makes online  Did you know that foxes have over 40 different calls and sounds, some to warn of danger some just to say hi and some for when they are fighting.

We also looked at a really great book called "My first book of Irish animals" by Juanita Browne and found all kinds of great facts about foxes,  worth checking out to find out more about animals in Ireland, good for projects!