Step Into a Different World

One positive to it being the start of July is that many of you will be reading this while you are on holiday or very close to one. If, like just about everyone else I know, you are looking forward to the prospect of sleep-ins, comfy chairs to curl up in and an engrossing book accompanied by a great coffee, hot chocolate or glass of wine, I hope you find them soon!

Stevie Slug has been accused of being a little bit grumpy. But if people’s reaction to seeing you was ‘gross’, ‘ew!’ or ‘disgusting’, you’d be grumpy too! In order to feel better about himself, Stevie is going to slug self-esteem classes, where he – and the reader – will learn all about why slugs are amazing, not to mention an essential part of our ecosystem. In Slug Life, we follow Stevie as he learns all about different varieties of slugs, how they support the food chain, and the many uses of slime. Stevie even discovers how much slugs and superheroes have in common! This is a fascinating and fun way to explore the importance even slimy critters have to our way of life.

The Would You Rather? series engages children in different aspects of a historical period by posing questions that force them to think about what life was like, rather than just presenting them with facts. In Would You Rather?: Ancient Greeks, readers are asked to think about questions like, ‘Would you rather see a play at an ancient Greek theatre, or take part in a fun-filled festival?’, and ‘Would you rather make a living by scraping sweat off stinky athletes, or by stealing cabbages?’. They are then given information to help make their decision, thus learning about religious traditions, the class system and criminal punishments in Ancient Greece. Facts are presented in a variety of ways and accompanied by illustrations. Other books in the series cover Tudor England, Ancient Rome, Explorers, Ancient Egypt and Vikings.

Tracy Chevalier’s work has long been concerned with the ways that women have both shaped and been shaped by significant events and people. In The Glassmaker she turns her focus to the island of Murano, an almost mythical place where time has its own rhythm and pace, long associated with the creation of amazing glasswork. In 1486, working with glass is the domain of men, requiring as it does brute strength and speed to go along with an eye for shape and colour, and the skill to bring them all together. Orsola Rosso is the only daughter of a well-regarded, if unexciting, glassmaker. While Orsola has never worked with glass herself, she is fascinated by the woman known as Marietta, the sister of the wealthiest glassmaker in Murano, who is forging a reputation of her own with her skill in beadwork, a form of glasswork long disparaged, but becoming valuable through growing trade routes. When tragedy strikes her family, Orsola knows that they will all have to contribute to get the family through, no matter what the men around her might think. Orsola sets out to master the art of glass in secret as time flows around her in the way unique to Murano. While her artistry becomes prized in palaces, bazaars and shops across the world, will Orsola ever command the respect of her family and community?

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