Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Let the magic begin...

There aren’t many times that I get so excited about a childrens’ book that I want the world to read it too, nor so engrossed that I feel I am actually part of the journey. This book has captured my children’s imagination and caught my admiration in its sumptuous web of words and imagery. Leon and the Place Between has to be high up in the top ten childrens’ books I have read – ever - with Alice in wonderland at the top.

The magic begins at the first turn of the page with rich magnificent illustrations made using different media giving it incredible opulent colour, dramatic depth and exciting texture. So breathtaking a tale you become part of the story and are immediately absorbed as part of the audience.

Watching inside the tent as the show is played out; when the lights dim, so do the hues - the ‘lighting’ on the page - and you are left in darkness. With an explosion of colour and light three jugglers tumble onto the stage with a BANG so loud, so real it fills the room. In the silence of anticipation when the stage is still in expectation, you hold your breath excitedly, eagerly waiting the next marvellous moment. It is completely captivating.

Each page is a flood of visual splendour. The deft delicate use of language sings to the imagination. The pictures summon you into an evening of magic. Word by word, page by page you are taken on a journey with a boy who believes…..

A golden marquee at the edge of a fair, wind blowing strings of fabric bunting and golden rope in the late afternoon sky….. four children enter the tent.

“When Leon goes to the magic show he is the only one who believes. Now his brothers and sister are in for a big surprise: this is no ordinary show and Abdul Kazam is no ordinary magician. Take a journey right through the pages of this book into the Place Between, where magic becomes really real.”

Hire it, buy it, borrow it, I guarantee you’ll be singing its praises and sharing it with all your friends. Not just worthy of the most lettered and erudite of bookshelves but also the most sagacious of coffee tables too.

Oh and if you don’t believe me, believe those that nominated it for the CLIP Greenaway Medal Shortlist for 2010.

‘It will be magic YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE.

Tell us your favourite childhood book or your favourite read to your own children. We'd love to know.


  1. On my Christmas list now. Most memorable book from childhood is Masquerade by Kit Williams with English landscape illustrations and a hare hidden on every page. And I seem to recall the author hid a real golden hare somewhere in the country and the clues to where it was were in the book, resulting in a national treasure hunt.
    Must go seek out a copy for my son.

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  3. I'm sold!! My eldest son will LOVE this.

    Thanks for the tip x

  4. Added it to my daughter's Xmas wish list. I have many favourites.....Peter Pan is top of course and I loved 'The Magic faraway tree' by Enid, but a truly magical book for me was one my auntie bought for me called 'The Tyger Voyage' by Richard Adams and N.Bailey. The story is told in verse and the I just adore the language. They're just so proper! The illustrations are so rich and as a child I remember being transported to all the magical places the Tigers visited, stormy seas, volcanos, gypsey caravans.... I have just started reading it to my daughter. A gem.