Carl writes for young adults but many an old adult has read and enjoyed his fantasy stories.
The Time Hunters
Amazon .com The Time Hunters
My review -
This is a time travel/adventure story for young readers but with enough substance in there to entice an adult too. The characters are wonderful. Becky is the classic thirteen year old, shouting at adults, perpetually angry on behalf of animals, no stranger to the huff but devotedly loyal to friends. Eleven year old Joe is a WYSIWYG - What You See Is (most definitely!) What You Get. Their wise, gentle Uncle Percy is a time traveller and they become enmeshed in his world when they visit Bowen Hall for the school summer holidays.
Carl Ashmore can be funny and clever without ducking dark issues such as the loss of a parent and the existence of evil in the world. There are history, mythology and palaeontology here together with high adventure. The story itself is exciting and where else would you meet a vegetarian Minotaur and a bunch of useless 'heroes'? I have read the book previously but any good story will stand a re-telling and this is no exception. It's a great first book in what promises to be a brilliant series.
The Time Hunters and the Box of Eternity
Amazon.com The Time Hunters and the Box of Eternity
My review -
Carl Ashmore goes from strength to strength. This book, allegedly a children's story, is a continuation of the adventures of a brother and sister and their Uncle Percy, a Time Traveller. The characters are believably drawn, the story is huge in its imaginative scope and the whole combines history, palaeontology, adventure, danger and great fun. The author is not afraid to address dark emotions - he never talks down to a child audience so it is a very satisfying book for adults too. There's a huge sense of humour in this book - I still laugh aloud at the name of one of the pirate ships. I won't give it away.
Carl is on to a winner with this series - I am glad to see that there will be more and I look forward to them.
Bernard and the Bibble
Amaxon.com Bernard and the Bibble
My review -
This is a lovely book, another of those Carl writes so well for younger readers but which translate into a good read for adults too. The book is funny and light-hearted but there are serious underlying issues. The hero, Bernard, suffers from a heart problem and has a very restricted life as a result. Here though, through meeting some strange beings befriended by his late grandad, he helps others and is helped in turn.
There are some wonderful moments - "Fungal was elated. 'I'm so happy, I could piddle.' Please don't' Bernard replied flatly." I can see children everywhere (and me) finding this funny!
Bernard says, of his life, 'I want to make a difference.' Isn't that what we wish for all youngsters? Yet so many want to be famous or rich. Carl Ashmore has the right idea about what is important in life and he has a great way of transmitting this to people through his book. Another thoroughly good read from Mr Ashmore.
The Night they Nicked Saint Nick
Amazon.com The Night they Nicked Saint Nick
My review -
This was a lovely modern Christmas legend, the kind of book I look forward to sharing with my grand-children. Seven year old Derek Brundle discovers he is to be the next Father Christmas and that the current Santa is in great danger. We meet some wonderful characters in this book. I especially loved the elf Munkle with her quirky modes of expression, 'Yeppers!' The villain of the story receives a very satisfying punishment for his iniquities. Children will love it.
Carl Ashmore has a great imagination and some excellent verbal skills that bring his creations to life. He sums up Christmas by having Santa say to the villain, 'Christmas is about more than toys and presents and turkey dinners. It's about love and decency and respect and kindness. These are the real gifts of Christmas.' How can you sum it up better than that? Thank you Carl, for a bit of fun in the true spirit of Christmas.