Thursday 11 May 2017

Jackie Marchant's Five Favourite MG Books

We're really pleased to welcome Jackie Marchant, author of the hilarious Dougal Daley: It's Not My Fault to MG Strikes Back today to talk about her five favourite MG books.

My Five Favourite MG Books
By Jackie Marchant

Picking out five favourite books from my MG shelf at home is an impossible task – my bookshelves are my treasure-trove and I love every single one.   Plus all the books I’ve ever borrowed from the library – and I spend a lot of time there.  How do I pick five?   No choice but to close my eyes, run my fingers along my shelves and stop at five random moments.  I can’t wait to see what they come up with . . .

And here they are, in no particular order – and I can honestly say each one is a favourite of mine:

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead.
There’s something about Georges (with a silent S) that I Iove.  He’s an ordinary kid playing ordinary kid spy games with a quirky kid from the flat upstairs.  But the way Rebecca Stead writes her characters brings them bouncing to life, allowing you to sink right into their stories.  Loved it.

Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson
One of my go-back-to comfort reads.  I love Eva Ibbotson’s style of writing, how she manages to be page-turningly exciting yet gentle with the reader at the same time.  Her books are for curling up with, for going on journeys with characters you grow to love.   This one takes orphan Maia from her familiar life in London and sends her to the Amazon to live with relatives she’s never heard of.  I love Maia’s optimism, even though you know things will not turn out well – yet it is Maia’s unfailing cheerfulness that not only keeps her going but saves the day. 

Holes by Louis Sachar
This is the writing tutor’s dream.  It has everything -  superb plot, characters that bounce off the page whether they are good or bad, writing so clean that not a word is wasted – an opening line that people quote as soon as you mention the title, the whole check-list of what makes a stand-out book. 

The Diamond of Drury Lane by Julia Golding
I love this book.  It’s late-eighteenths century setting is so well realised it’s like going back in time to run the cobbled alleyways with its heroine, Cat Royal.  What’s no to like about an orphan girl abandoned on the steps of the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden as a baby, who as maid-cum-mascot enjoys a life of exploring every nook and cranny of her unconventional home?  And the adventure she uncovers keeps those pages turning.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
This is what I call a book with a capital ‘B’.  It’s what reading is all about, a pleasure simply to hold – big, heavy, pages black-edged so that each one sits in its own frame.  Told in both gorgeous illustrations and text, this is a book you don’t just read, but experience.  It’s a book that has to be read in hardback, for the sheer weight of it, the pleasure of turning each thick page.  And on top of all that, there is the wonderful story it holds between its lovely covers.   

I, Dougal Daley, am dead! Ok I’m not actually dead. But if I’m not careful I soon will be.

 In this first book, football-loving Dougal Daley finds himself at risk from the mysterious creature living in the garden shed. Nobody believes him but as a precaution, he sets upon writing his will - rewarding those who help him and disinheriting those who get on his bad side. Meanwhile, as limbs and windows alike are broken by rogue footballs and unhinged canines, Dougal finds himself in all sorts of trouble. . .and NONE of it is his fault!

Information about the Book

Title: Dougal Daley: It’s Not My Fault
Author: Jackie Marchant
Illustrator: Loretta Shauer
Release Date: 4th April 2017
Genre: MG
Publisher: Wacky Bee Books
Format: Paperback

Author Information
Dougal Daley was inspired by a messy bedroom and a random question from my son about writing a will. Dougal Daley has been huge fun to write about – you wouldn’t believe the disasters that happen around him (none of which are his fault of course)! When I’m not writing I love doing school visits and creative writing workshops. I also take time away from the writing world looking after guide dogs while their owners are away.

Illustrator Information
I originally studied performing arts and have a degree in Dance Performance – well you never know when you need a quick pirouette! I also worked in practical conservation for a long time, and spent many years battling balsam, identifying lichen, and searching for creepy crawlies before I picked up my pencils and paints and began exploring illustrating and writing for children. In 2011 I won the Waterstone’s ‘Picture This’ competition and I now illlustrate full time. However I am still happiest noodling around for fossils and shells on the beach!

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