Uxbridge Bear Club Book Review: Tree Week

This week in Bear Club at Uxbridge Library we are reading books about trees! We all love trees at Bear Club, especially treehouses, climbing trees and yummy syrup from maple trees. Did you know we also have a super art exhibition called A Celebration of Trees running until 22nd June?  


Albert’s Tree By Jenni Desmond


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Albert the bear loves lazing about on his favourite tree. One day the tree starts crying so Albert and his friends try lots of different ways to cheer the tree up including feeding it some yummy grass and giving it a big bear hug. In the end we found out that the crying tree was actually a little owl living inside it…“AAARH!” screamed Albert. “You’re the tree!” “…I’m not a tree,” said Owl. “I’m Owl.”


Where’s My Teddy? By Jez Alborough


Poor Eddie and bear have lost their teddies! We all giggled during this tale of a little boy and a big bear who discover each other’s lost teddies in the woods. Eddie ends up with bear’s massive teddy and bear ends up with Eddie’s tiny teddy which looked especially cute and mini next to big bear.    


That’s Not My Squirrel… By Usborne Books


We all loved this interactive board book, finding the different squirrels hiding in the trees. We especially enjoyed feeling their furry ears and fluffy tails.


We would love you to join us at Uxbridge Library for stories and nursery rhymes at Bear Club which we run every Monday 11am to 11.30am and Thursday and Friday 2pm to 2.30pm. To book your free place call us on 01895 250714 or pop in and speak to a member of staff. Next week’s theme is the great outdoors!


Photographs of the exhibition A Celebration of Trees running at Uxbridge Library until 22nd June 2018.

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All book images from http://www.amazon.co.uk



By Sarah (Uxbridge Library)

National Bookstart Week: Do the Bookstart Bird Boogie!

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Hillingdon Libraries are celebrating National Bookstart Week 2018! This annual event celebrates the BookTrust’s flagship reading programme, Bookstart. Bookstart gives every child in England and Wales a free reading pack in the first year of their life and again when they are 3-4 years old. BookTrust works to remind families of the importance of reading for pleasure – even if it’s just for 10 minutes a day.

Every year has a different theme and 2018 is the year of the ‘Bookstart Bird Boogie’!

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Two awesome Owl Headbands – the height of fashion this Summer!

Hillingdon Libraries will be joining in the fun with special themed Storytimes across our libraries as well exclusive National Bookstart Week giveaways. Click here to find your nearest storytime and join in the fun!

Booktrust also have a website full of exclusive content such as TV’s Ore Oduba reading A Busy Day for Birds! A British Sign Language video is also available.

There’s also colouring pages, book lists, rhyme sheets and headbands to download at https://www.booktrust.org.uk/supporting-you/practitioners/our-programmes/bookstart/national-bookstart-week-2018/national-bookstart-week-2018-resources/

Search our catalogue or try out the BookMyne app to discover your next family read. Akbar from Uxbridge Library’s Bear Club recommends I’m not sleepy! by Jane Chapman and The odd egg by Emily Gravett

Learn about our feathered friends through our Britannica Junior app designed for young and enquiring minds.

National Bookstart Week runs 4-10 June. For more information visit https://www.booktrust.org.uk/supporting-you/practitioners/our-programmes/bookstart/national-bookstart-week-2018/

Botwell Green Library Reading Group #Review

Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey


Date: Friday 1st June 2018

Synopsis: Maud, an ageing grandmother, is slowly losing her memory—and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger. But no one will listen to Maud—not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth’s mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.

Elizabeth Is Missing author Emma Healey.

Emma Healey

As a group we enjoyed this book “from cover-to-cover” and rated the story as “Excellent”. Although very well written, Maud’s story was a sad one and we found ourselves frustrated with the people around Maud (and at times, with Maud herself!)

We would, however, recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good read and would read Emma Healey again if we feel like reading a similar story.
Individually, our views were more varied:
“I enjoyed it at no point…I would recommend this to my enemies only” – P
“Very well written…I hated it!” –J
“(Made me) think about my own old age, which was depressing. Ben, it was an eye opener” – M
“I liked the perspective of someone with increasing dementia, especially as I’ve recently read The Perfect Daughter (by Amanda Prowse) which is from the perspective of the daughter looking after her mother.
The growing confusion states of Maud take you on a journey. I sometimes felt upset at people leaving notes for Maud everywhere – how would she know what date it was on that particular day? I felt the frustration with Maud when the police officer was patronising her when she “once again” reported Elizabeth as missing.
I was sometimes confused whether Maud was looking for Sukey (her sister who disappeared post-WW2) or Elizabeth (elderly friend in present day), but that shows the story well written by Emma Healey, as Maud was looking for both.
The only adverse part is that sometimes the story dragged on and could have been shortened a bit. I’ve discussed this book with others looking after older relatives who have confirmed the stages and the frustrations in this book. Thanks Ben, A good read” – R
“A bit slow-going, bittersweet. An enjoyable alternative whodunit” – B
This month we are reading My Notorious Life by Kate Manning – Inspired by a real midwife who became one of the most controversial figures in Victorian New York City, —part love story, part family saga.
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We will be discussing this book at Botwell Green Library on Friday 6 July at 2pm.
All are welcome.
Thanks so much for reading!
Written by Ben Caduff

Hillingdon Primary Book of the Year 2018

For this year’s Hillingdon Primary Book of the Year Award, over 25 local primary schools in the borough have taken part by signing up to receive the 6 shortlisted books below. Hundreds of Year 6 students will have been introduced to new diverse fiction, expanding their literary horizons while improving upon their literacy levels.

At our finale event to be held on Tuesday 12th June 2018 a number of these Hillingdon schools will attend and perform book presentations based on the exciting shortlist below before voting for their overall favourite to declare the winner.

A Place Called Perfect - Helena Duggan

1.  A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan

Violet doesn’t want to move to a whole new home but when her father gets a new job in ‘Perfect,’ her family relocates to the mysterious town where people must wear strange rose tinted glasses and everyone drinks a particular tea blend made by the Archer twins who welcome them. When Violet’s father disappears and her mother begins acting strange, the young girl teams up with a young new friend named ‘Boy’ to help her to discover the creepy secrets of the town and investigate the strange disappearances that have happened.

This is a thoroughly engrossing adventure that mixes a Coraline like tale with the Stepford wives. Drugged tea, stolen imaginations, reality bending glasses and eye plants – sunflower like plants that feature actual eyeballs – makes this read a fantastic fantasy ride for all.    

The Island at the End of Everything - Kiran Millwood Hargrave2. The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Ami lives on the beautiful Culion island in the Philippines with her mother. Her home is known for being a leprosy colony and soon a cruel government official arrives to segregate the ‘touched’ from the ‘untouched.’ Ami is taken away and placed in an orphanage on another island under the watchful eye of Mr Zamora, whose meanness is encapsulated by his dead butterfly collection. Ami sets out on a journey to return home before it’s too late to reach her beloved but ailing mother in a touching, hope filled story.

Hargrave’s storytelling is almost fairy-tale like for this historical, factually inspired look at leprosy and how it was viewed socially at the turn of the 20th century. This is a beautiful commentary on the power of kindness and compassion versus the harsh prejudice that divides communities.   

The Boy, The bird and the coffin maker - Matilda Woods

  1. The Boy, the Bird and the Coffin Maker by Matilda Woods

In the magical town of Allora, where the fish jump out of the sea to flop on roofs, a toy maker lives with his young family. When they’re lost to a sweeping sickness, he changes his trade to coffin making and we meet him again 20 years later. A little while after making a stranger’s coffin, Alberto meets Tito – her young unaccompanied son and his pet bird. Slowly building trust, he takes Tito in, teaching him his craft and allowing the boy to experience a real home again. However, when Tito’s abusive and powerful Father comes looking for him, Alberto vows to keep Tito safe forever.

This is a a charming shorter novel (185 pages) that includes beautiful blue coloured full page illustrations to accompany the story. Matilda Woods carefully examines abusive family relationships, the break down and rebuilding of trust, with funny and carefully constructed characters that learn to construct new families in the face of grief and loss. 

The City of Secret Rivers - Jacob Sager Weinstein

  1. The City of Secret Rivers by Jacob Sager Weinstein

City of River is a thoroughly wacky read of a young girl called Hyacinth discovering the magical rivers that run beneath London when she joins an epic fantasy quest to save the city. When her mother is kidnapped and she unleashes a magically charged drop of water, Hyacinth ventures into the sewers to try and recover the escaped magic but soon ends up in the company of a giant pig who communicates with flash cards, monstrous misshapen saltpetre men and a whole cast of quirky characters.

Jacob Sager Weinstein hijacks cockney slang to create a new Victorian-esque sewer dwellers language that readers may need to unpick in this fast paced, action packed adventure that take place in a lot of the muck of London sewers. One of our most funniest picks yet for a Hillingdon Primary Book of the Year shortlist!

Frogkisser - Garth Nix

  1. Frogkisser by Garth Nix

A real twist on the classic children’s tale! Anya is a princess of a small kingdom intent on dabbling in sorcery when her older sister’s suitor is turned into a frog by their wicked sorcerer step-stepfather. Only able to change him back by making a specially brewed lip balm, Anya journeys across kingdoms to find the ingredients only to meet a whole host of magically changed people she endeavours to change back too. Her quest soon becomes bigger than she imagined when it comes down to her to rescue not just the frog prince, but the entire land from a takeover attempt by a society of evil sorcerers.

This very amusing take on a well recognised fairy-tale has evolved its traditional characters into funny parodies of themselves with a wonderfully realised and independent young heroine thrust into the role of saviour for her troubled kingdom. This epic fantasy quest is not one to be missed as it deviates from its original inspiration!

The Tale of Angelino Brown - David Almond

  1. The Tale of Angelino Brown by David Almond  

Driver Bert is driving his bus when he suspects he’s having a heart attack – but instead finds a little angel nestled into his pocket. Bert and wife Betty decided to raise him as their own, naming him Angelino. Despite being popular at his new school, Angelino becomes the target not just for bullies, but the headteacher and a mysterious man in black claiming to be a school inspector…

A funny, quirky and poignant read. Enjoyable and most importantly contains references to farting – in particular the ability to fart instead of sing Xmas carols! Sure to be a hit with students with its humour and illustrations.

We’re sure there’s something on our list to delight many of our young residents as they read their way through the above stories – we can’t wait to find out which one they will pick to win!

by Kirsty (Schools’ Library Service)