Sunday, 21 August 2016

Book reviews - Belle and Sebastien and The Castle of Inside Out

Today on the blog I'm sharing two lovely new children's books from Alma Books, both aimed at young readers aged 9-11 years old. 

Belle and S├ębastien: The Child of the Mountains (affiliate link) by Cecile Aubry was first published in 1965 to coincide with the internationally successful television series of the same name. It tells the story of Sebastien, the son of a gypsy woman who is found as a newborn baby in the Alps and brought up by Guillaume and his grandchildren Angelina and Jean. Belle is a beautiful white Pyrenean Mountain Dog who has been neglected and passed on from owner to owner until one day she escapes from a kennel. Sebastien rescues the runaway Belle from angry villagers, and they form a lifelong friendship, embarking on many exciting adventures in the mountains.

The book has been newly released in hardback with some lovely illustrations by Helen Stephens. It's a classic book which will definitely still appeal to children today, all about friendship and adventure.

The Castle of Inside Out (affiliate link) by David Henry Wilson introduces us to Lorina, who is led by a black rabbit through a wood to a magical land where she finds a race of green people who are all overworked, starving, and subjected to the toxic fumes billowing out of a nearby castle. It sounds like a familiar story, and indeed it has been described as Alice in Wonderland meets 1984 (Lorina and her sister in the story Edith even share their names with the sisters of Alice Liddell, inspiration for Alice in Wonderland).

Lorina decides to gain access to the castle for the poor green people, and within its walls she meets the 'insiders' - selfish creatures that treat the 'outsiders' as slaves. Along with the captivating story, the book has plenty of wonderfully detailed illustrations by Chris Riddell, which really bring the story to life.

I received copies of these books in exchange for a review.

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