What We Have Been Reading from Penguin Random House Lately… and there is a GiveAway…

We have had a rainy week and for that we are so grateful. Have to say that with the cold, wet weather plenty of hibernation and piles of books are being read. I promised two GiveAways during the month of August… scroll down to find them.

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And here is a collection of our latest and greatest reads from Penguin Random House, South Africa. There really is something here for everyone. I have to say that we are thrilled to see that Usborne Books have joined the Penguin Random House family over here… you have no idea how thrilled. Anyway… enjoy, there is something here for everyone!!!

A Weekend Read Written Through Letters…



Meet Me At the Museum by Anne Youngson: I absolutely loved this book. It is exactly my kind of book. A gentle, lilting read… and a clear reminder that there is no such thing as an ordinary life. So this is a book written in correspondence between Tina Hopgood, who is an English farmer’s wife with grown-up children, and Anders Larsen, the curator of a Danish Museum… and home to the Tollund Man. The letters begin when her best friend dies, and through her grief she decides it is time to revisit the her childhood dream to visit the Tollund Man… so she writes to the museum, never expecting a letter in return. Of course Anders replies, and the two of them start communicating to and fro, and writing about the ups and downs that they are encountering… He supports her through her day to day crisis… and she supports him as he comes to terms with his grief, and the loss of his wife. Life with grown up kids isn’t always a walk in the park… and that’s the truth of it… right here in a book. I really enjoyed their friendship and waiting for the next letter to arrive. Does she ever get to the museum, through all the ups and downs of everyday life? That is the question.

Tween Questions About True Friendship, Asked and Answered in this Wonderful Book…



The House With Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson and illustrated by Elisa Paganelli and cover illustration Melissa Castrillón: All my children wanted to read this book… just the title!!! I loved it and read it overnight, a fairy tale that goes a lot deeper than you might expect. It is a story, which might sound a bit weird and creepy… but is in essence about a feisty young girl, who wants to know the truth about who she is, and she is desperately, desperately lonely. I can’t say I have ever read anything like this, but problems all children face as they grow up are tackled in a very manageable way. Our protagonist, Marinka, wonders if she really belongs, hurts the people she loves the most as she tries to grow up and pull away, and her heart sends her crashing back. Growing up isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t for the faint hearted.
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If you love fairy tales then you will definitely love this one… it is based on the Russian Fairytale of Baba Yaga… Marinka’s grandmother and Marinka live in a house with chicken legs and the house moves from the Steppes to the Ocean, to the forest… they never know where they will be next. But it is her grandmothers job to help people transition through her gates on their journey from living to death. This is Marinka’s inheritance and a job, which for so many reasons, she just doesn’t want to be a part of. She wants a normal life, in one place, she wants to make friends and not have people think that she is weird. She does find friendship, but not in the market place, where the mean spirited girls turned out to be nothing like the friends she was looking for. This book is fabulous for so many reasons… it deals with the complications that all kids coming of age are going through in a lilting and totally non-confrontational or preachy way. True friendship it turns out might be a lot closer to home than Marinka ever expected. You can meet the author, Sophie Anderson at her website over here, and the resources for this book are fantastic as well… including a recipe for Baba’s Vegetable Borsch, and Marinka’s spiced honey bread. James Mayhew chats about the book and has a lovely video to watch of his Baba Yaga performance… it is really great, follow the link and take a look at it.

Meet Ermine, a Traveling Adventure Series for Emerging Readers…



The Travels of Ermine, Trouble in New York: by Jennifer Gray and illustrated by Elisa Paganelli: You need to look out for Ermine, she is just fantastic. Perfect picture rich reading for new readers that are ready to launch into chapter books. This book is lovely and entertaining, a mild adventure and the most fantastic illustrations. Ermine is a very determined stoat who is traveling the world, and her first stop is New York City and there is so much to do and see in New York City, I know I would be excited to land there.
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I love how as Ermine is taken on a tour of New York, so the illustrator has created a “photo tour” for the reader. Ermine’s baggage gets mixed up in transit and her holiday, unbeknownst to her, quickly becomes a chase against time, as a couple of thieves try to retrieve their stolen goods… Only they have no idea what they are up against (!) and if your kids have never tried dropping mints in soda before, then when you get to page 85, you might want to press pause and try it. Anyway, Ermine, quite unintentionally, saves the day… and we can’t wait for her next adventure. At the back of the book you can find Ermine’s Map of the World, as well as her tips on how to make your own travel diary. You can meet Ermine, the very determined stoat with her own website over here. And you can meet the author, Jennifer Grey over here.

In Case You Ever Wanted to Read Your Dog’s Diary…



Dog Diaries by Steven Butler and James Patterson: Hood 8 read this book and declared it a very good read. The narrator in this book is a dog called Junior, and you are reading his diary of his life and times, with his owner Rafe Khatchadorian.
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This is a great story written from the doggy dimension, who describes their home in terms of the box room (lounge/tv room); the food room (kitchen) and so on… All is wonderful in the whole wide world… except the absolutely terrifying vacuum cleaner in the hall way cupboard. This story is a young dog lovers dream… they really get into the dog’s perspective, it is picture rich and funny all the way through.

And Something Local for the Little Ones…



Hungry Birds of Africa by Haden Clendinning: This book is lovely, especially for the little people that it is aimed at.
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It is a book of local birds and what they like to eat… it is all written as a poem and the illustrations are bright and beautiful… if you are curious about what a Hoopoe eats, or a Loerie, a Guineafowl or a Kingfisher, then this book is for you. It is a fun and bouncy read… bright and beautiful. Perfect for introducing local love to little readers.

And What About a GiveAway for You…



In our previous post of Latest and Greatest Reads from Penguin Random House South Africa, I mentioned this book: The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clementine Wamariya. This is definitely one of my books of the year… a refugee story full of heart. It is Clementine’s journey from a loving home, through war torn Africa and years of fleeing and torment. A harrowing tale and an epic read about a girl who rises above the conditions she finds herself in, she never gives up… a true story that will stay with you, long after you have finished reading it. If you would like to win a copy of this book then leave a comment…
Our GiveAways are open to everyone: Just leave a comment below… before 7 September 2018. If you have won a GiveAway before never fear – enter away. If you live on the far side of the world – enter away. Postage takes forever from here but eventually it should get to you! Good luck and happy commenting!!!


And our Crafty Giveaway comes to an end this weekend: Just leave a comment on the Crafty Giveaway Post before the 31 August 2018.




All these books were given to us for review purposes by Penguin Random House South Africa and Struik Nature. This is not a sponsored post and opinions expressed are entirely our own.

8 Replies to “What We Have Been Reading from Penguin Random House Lately… and there is a GiveAway…”

  1. Thanks for sharing these books and count me in on the give-away, looks like an excellent read!!

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