The Complete Book of Paper Aeroplanes
Make Your Own Aircraft and Watch Them Fly!
David Woodroffe has taken the paper aeroplane to a new level in this magnificent collection of over 90 gliders, fighter jets, bombers, stunt planes, helicopters and kites. All the designs are printed in full colour on tear-out pages, with folding instructions for each one as well as the ‘pre-flight briefing’ on the essentials of making and flying paper planes. The designs can be photocopied if you want to keep the book intact.
Endearing, Eccentric and Extraordinary True Stories
An unlikely alliance was formed between a cat and a pigeon, according to the Newcastle Journal of 1864; the cat guarding the bird's eggs and the pigeon, in return, harassing anyone approaching her kittens. Drawn from out-of-print books and newspaper stories, this collection of anecdotes bears testament to the haughty nature and winning appeal of cats down the centuries.
Vintage Paper Toys
64 French Models to Make at Home
First made popular in the 19th century, designing paper toys can be likened to an art form; and putting them together can be enjoyed by both children and adults. These vintage cut-outs include circus acts, a merry-go-round, dress-up dolls and a church with wedding guests. Follow the instructions on the design, cut out the pieces with scissors and a craft knife, then glue together.
A Natural History of the Hedgerow
And Ditches, Dykes and Dry Stone Walls
From where I sit writing Postscript entries, I look out on an old Devon hedgerow and an ancient stone wall; John Wright's Natural History has rendered them both very much more interesting. The book covers the origins and history of such boundaries; the present condition of hedgerows and the need to preserve them; the amazing array of fauna and flora they support; and other ways of making boundaries, from movable hazel hurdles to dry stone walls (mine, I've learned, is the 'random rubble' type).
A goose that didn’t get roasted; the nativity play that banished Princess Serafina’s sadness; a letter for Christmas from the First World War; one young shepherd boy’s astonishing meeting with the Angel Gabriel; and mother and baby Mountain Dragon reunited on Christmas Day... These five timeless stories by one of today’s greatest storytellers are illustrated by equally renowned children’s illustrators, including Sophie Allsopp, Michael Foreman and Quentin Blake. Age 4+.
The Alan Turing Codebreaker's Puzzle Book
This collection of unusual puzzles challenges the reader not only to find solutions but, in the spirit of computing pioneer Alan Turing’s methodology, to tease out the rules of the puzzles themselves. The puzzles, which mainly involve words and letters, increase in difficulty as the book progresses, but cryptic titles and numerous optional hints (listed in a separate section) lead codebreakers step by step to solutions catalogued at the back.
John Betjeman Collected Poems
With his boundless energy and capacity to delight and inspire, John Betjeman (1906–1984) was the best-loved poet of the late 20th century and, in the words of Andrew Motion, 'a television celebrity before the term was invented'. The Collected Poems first appeared in 1958 and through several editions has sold over two million copies. This expanded edition, published on the poet's centenary, includes Betjeman's verse autobiography, Summoned by Bells, and a new Introduction by Andrew Motion. Exclusive hardback edition for Postscript.
Map of the World 1000 Piece Puzzle
Based on a vintage bihemispheric map of the world with collaged images evoking the adventure of travel, this absorbing puzzle measures 20 x 27" when complete. The pieces are made from at least 90 per cent recycled paper, and are packaged in a sturdy 8½ x 10 x 2⅛" box. Not suitable for children under three years of age. Age 6+
Adventures in the Strand
Arthur Conan Doyle and the Strand Magazine
In 1891, the first issue of The Strand magazine appeared; it was an immediate and massive success, mainly due to the debut of Sherlock Holmes in its pages. In this study of the relationship between Holmes's creator and the magazine, Mike Ashley first sketches the early career paths of Conan Doyle, the publisher George Newnes and editor Greenhough Smith before exploring their extraordinary achievement and Doyle’s subsequent 40-year association with The Strand up to his death in 1930.
And Now the Shipping Forecast
A Tide of History Around Our Shores
Never mind that few people could point to Viking on a map or make much sense of ‘Fitzroy: north east five or six', the nightly Shipping Forecast has ‘permeated the British psyche in a most extraordinary way’. Peter Jefferson, who read the Forecast on BBC Radio for over 40 years, enlightens us on all aspects of its genesis and how it gets broadcast, plus related maritime matters including shipping areas past and present, meteorological terms, lighthouses and sailors’ lore.
'You're nearly old enough to be dead, aren't you, Grandma?' 'If teachers keep asking you questions, does that mean they don't know much?' Compiled by former school inspector Gervase Phinn, this collection of children's disarming observations and impossible-to-answer questions proves Phinn’s point that 'on the whole' children are an amazing source of amusement and wonder.
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud...
And Other Poems You Half-Remember from School
Our language is full of well-worn phrases from much-loved poems, but how often can we recall the rest of the poem, or the first line, or even the poet's name? This anthology presents the complete poems that gave us such immortal lines as 'Water, water everywhere/Nor any drop to drink', 'not waving but drowning' and 'They also serve who only stand and waite'. The poems are arranged chronologically, from Chaucer to Carol Ann Duffy, and indexed by title and the famous bits.
The First Railways
Atlas of Early Railways
From the earliest known map that shows a wagon-way in 1637, this atlas uses contemporary cartography, mostly from previously unpublished maps, along with illustrations of trackbeds, locomotives and rolling stock, to trace the technological development of railways in Britain. Beginning with primitive wooden rails used in mines and quarries, the book describes progress up to the first modern, steam-powered railways in the early 19th century, and ends by surveying the transfer of the technology to other countries.
I Think I Can See Where You're Going Wrong
And Other Wise and Witty Comments from Guardian Readers
Gathered from the daily crop of some 47,000 online comments on the Guardian website, this compilation ranges between heartfelt opinion and daft puns. It is unfailingly entertaining as Guardian readers air their views 'below the line' on everything from the pronunciation of quinoa to theatre-going: 'I can't resist a good nap during a visit to the theatre. Comfy seats, warmth, people talking in the background – lovely.'
The Tree that has Nourished, Healed, and Inspired Through the Ages
One of humankind’s oldest companions, the hawthorn tree is embedded in the memory of every culture across the northern hemisphere. This informative book explores the little-recognized political, cultural and natural history of the plant. Its fruits made the first wine, its flowers and thorns played a key role in pagan and Christian symbolism, and for thousands of years it was used to create the impenetrable hedges that have shaped the landscape of Europe.
The Quantum World
The Disturbing Theory at the Heart of Reality
The laws of quantum physics result in strange paradoxes: not only can a particle exist in two places at once, but it will change its behaviour while being observed. This accessible guide introduces the puzzling world of quantum theory, the scientists who uncovered its mysteries, and its influence on computing, biology, cosmology and human ethics. The book also assesses what the science means for reality, and our ability to define, measure and live in it. Off-mint.
To Free the Romanovs
Royal Kinship and Betrayal in Europe 1917–1919
When Russia erupted in revolution, some members of the imperial family managed to flee abroad, but for the tsar, the tsarina and their children, months of imprisonment ended in brutal death. Why, when they were so closely related to all the ruling houses of Europe, were they not helped to escape? This searching history examines the responses of their royal cousins in Britain, Germany, Norway and Denmark, and asks whether enough was done to save the Romanovs.
Two Centuries of Great Dog Stories
The Duke of Wellington was so fond of hunting that he took his dogs on campaign, resulting in a young officer following the hounds into enemy territory and being captured by the French. This collection of such stories, dating back two centuries, pays tribute to the cleverness and loyalty of dogs and the eccentricity of their owners.
The Magical World of Milligan
Stories & Poems
Spike Milligan started writing nonsense poems and stories for his children in the 1950s. This volume incorporates some of his best-loved works, alongside his own illustrations. ‘Condensed Animals’ includes poems on a range of creatures, from hyena to flea; ‘Dip the Puppy’ is the story of a puppy who says ‘meow’ instead of ‘bow-wow’, and ‘A Book of Bits’ features labelled diagrams of different kinds of twit.
I-SPY Out and About Card Set
70 Great I-SPY Cards
Whether used to identify plants and animals or to pass time on a long journey, the I-SPY series of books has long been a popular way of entertaining children and encouraging them to explore their world. This card set draws content from the whole range of titles, including sections on trees, the seaside and the roads, and comes with an I-SPY notebook.
The Captain's Table
Life and Dining on the Great Ocean Liners
The elegance of life aboard classic liners such as the Queen Mary and the Mauretania would not have been complete without fine dining. Lavishly illustrated with period photographs and vintage menu cards, this charming book recalls the glamour and sophistication of golden-age ocean travel, complete with recipes for some of the classic dishes served on board: Crème Vichyssoise, Boeuf à la Mode, Black Forest Gateau and, of course, a scintillating selection of cocktails.
A Literary Anthology
Although they have been our domestic companions for millennia, cats still retain their air of inscrutability, intriguing and inspiring writers through the ages. This anthology brings together many of the best-loved literary depictions of our feline friends, including Edward Lear’s ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’, Kipling’s ‘Cat that Walked by Himself’ and – of course – Lewis Carroll’s enigmatic Cheshire Cat. The book is illustrated throughout with scenes of cats at rest and at play.
Charley's First Night
Charley is Henry's new puppy and although he has a pillow bed in the warm kitchen, with Henry's teddy bear and Henry's clock for company, Charley really wants to be in Henry's bed. This simple tale by Amy Hest, with Helen Oxenbury's illustrations, captures the magic of getting your first puppy. Age 4+
Yorkshire Dales in Winter
In Keith Wood's photographs, the pastures, drystone walls and field barns, limestone scars and waterfalls of the Dales, familiar to many summer visitors, are transformed by ice and snow and the winter light of snow-laden or clear blue skies. The 140 colour photographs in this collection begin with autumn mist in Wharfedale and include both sweeping landscapes and details of the Dales, ending with early spring sunshine on the River Ure.
Gift Wrap French Flowers
These books contain wrapping papers that are well-printed, semi-gloss reproductions of period fabric designs: paisley motifs from 19th-century Scotland; traditional American quilt designs; French ‘Fauve' birds and butterflies from the 1920s, lush floral designs, and intricate floral patterns from provincial France. Each book contains 10 folded sheets of 10 different designs(50x70cm) and information on their artistic context. Text in English, French and German.
I Before E (Except After C)
OId-School Ways to Remember Stuff
Judy Parkinson’s collection of mnemonics includes rhymes, acronyms and curious phrases such as 'My Very Exotic Mistress Just Served Us Noodles’ (order of the planets): all of them learning devices for subjects ranging from spelling to the periodic table (the latter sung to the tune of Gilbert and Sullivan's 'I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General').
Crack the Code
In four progressively more difficult chapters – Amusements, Diversions, Challenges, and Enigmas – Dr Gareth Moore presents over 200 puzzles, including codes to break, conundrums, several types of Sudoku and unusual vocabulary games. The puzzles range from simple to mystifying, but there is another twist – the instructions range from explicit to mere suggestions of how to proceed. Solutions are at the back.
The Baffle Book
Fifteen Fiendishly Challenging Detective Puzzles
If you revel in armchair criminal investigation, this book is just your cup of poisoned orange pekoe. Here are 15 old-fashioned 'detective puzzles', the unravelling of which requires well-honed powers of observation and deduction. In words, charts and diagrams, the authors put you at the crime scene and present you with the facts established by the police. Solving the questions that each case poses is your challenge. Answers at the back – if you must.
A Brief History of the Private Life of Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II is now the longest-reigning British monarch. Her life has been exhaustively documented, but what of the woman beneath the crown? Who are her friends? How does she feel about the demands of duty? What are her hobbies? Examining her early life, the training she received, and her attitudes to national life, historian Michael Paterson offers a refreshing portrayal of Britain's figurehead.
The Natural History of Selborne
Gilbert White (1720–1798) complied this famous book from his letters to two other naturalists, a common way of writing scientific works at the time. What was so original and appealing about White’s natural history was its personal, even poetic approach, using all the senses to observe nature. The book has never out of print since it first appeared in 1789; this attractive In Arcadia edition presents the original text with later woodcuts by Claire Oldham.
My Grammar and I Activity Book
From identifying parts of speech to spotting the grammatical error in whole sentences (including ‘I think therefore I am’), Daniel Smith presents 103 ‘grammatical games’ to keep you in touch with the formal rules of the English language. Covering such thorny topics as compound nouns, reciprocal pronouns, the subjunctive, tautology and the dreaded apostrophe, the quizzes range from simple to very taxing, with answers at the end of the book.
First used in medieval Venice and prized for its manoeuvrability, the gondola evolved over the centuries into today's sleek, asymmetrical black boat. Illustrated with reproductions of views of Venice, Donna Leon's little book offers 'a new way to enter into the life of the city' through the stories of the gondola, its history, its makers and its songs. A CD of gondoliers' barcarole accompanies the book, recorded by Il Pomo d'Oro, with a special track by Cecilia Bartoli.
Colouring from Nature (Colouring Books)
Dating back to the 1870s, and familiar to generations of French schoolchildren, the Deyrolle educational charts show varieties of plants and animals, from butterflies and mushrooms to cereal crops and silkworms. This book presents 60 of the best-known colour posters with 60 black-and-white illustrations inspired by them, to colour in.
The Places, the People, the Stories
Drawing on Mirrorpix, the photographic archive of the Daily Mirror, Paul Joseph presents London and Londoners as they were between about 1900 and the 1970s. In nine chapters, these often informal and highly evocative black-and-white photos explore various themes, from public buildings and spaces, through entertainment, youth culture and transport, to the drama of wartime, protest in peacetime and milestone events such as the 1908 Olympics and the 1951 Festival of Britain. Slightly off-mint.
Behind the Legend
‘Frank Sinatra was like a flawed diamond’, writes Taraborrelli, ‘brilliant on the surface, imperfect beneath’. In a biography based on years of research and hundreds of interviews, he explores the singer’s torrid relationships, his Mafia connections and his friendship with the Kennedys, revealing a complex personality: a generous and loyal friend, but also a volatile, womanizing tough guy.
Prayer for the Day Volume II
More Reflections for Daily Inspiration
All religions agree on one thing: to be human is to pray. This new collection of 365 meditations from BBC Radio 4’s Prayer for the Day offers insights from across the faiths into happiness, integrity and spiritual wellbeing. With one prayer for every day of the year, the book provides new perspectives on the challenges of our times, and a vision of gratitude, joy and hope.
Brain of Britain Ultimate Quiz Book
BBC Radio 4
Starting as What Do You Know? in 1953, and changing its title in 1967, BBC Radio 4's Brain of Britain is probably ‘the most venerable of general knowledge quizzes anywhere’. With this book you can challenge your own brain with 2,000 questions (50 quizzes of 40 questions each) drawn from the programme’s archives. By way of introduction, the current presenter, Russell Davies, has written a history of Brain of Britain and shares his thoughts on ‘this quiz lark’.
Principally remembered as the James Bond of the 1970s and 1980s, Roger Moore (1927–2017) made his first film appearances in the 1940s and was hired and fired from a Hollywood contract in the 1950s before making his name in television. This collection of biographical sketches recalls his childhood, wartime experiences and national service, as well as his show-business career, and includes family stories and musings on modern life.
The Haunted Beauty
Isolated monastic settlements such as Skellig Michael off the coast of Ireland; the closed cities of the former USSR; enclaves of elites and ghettoes of minorities; Cold War bunkers; and places remote even today, such as the Berber towns of the Maghreb: with superb colour photographs, Julian Beecroft’s book is a pictorial tour of the world’s least visited places, inaccessible for reasons ranging from military secrecy and political paranoia to the sheer difficulty of getting there.
Divorced, Beheaded, Died...
The History of Britain's Kings and Queens in Bite-sized Chunks
Kevin Flute’s history of Britain's kings and queens in bite-sized chunks includes legendary kings, Dark Age warlords, Scottish monarchs and kings of Wales as well as Normans, Plantagenets etc – up to the House of Windsor and Elizabeth II.
A Boy Called Christmas
Young Nikolas lived in the second smallest cottage in Finland, his life was hard, and his only toy was a doll carved out of a turnip, but Nikolas believed in magic and grew up to be Father Christmas. Matt Haig’s wonderful book, with pictures by Chris Mould, tells the story of young Nikolas and his journey to the realm of elves where ‘an impossibility is just a possibility you don’t understand yet’. Age 7+
Dashing for the Post
The Letters of Patrick Leigh Fermor
Handsome, spirited and erudite, Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011)was a war hero and one of the greatest travel writers of his generation. He was also a spectacularly entertaining letter writer. This judiciously edited selection of his correspondence spans almost 70 years, and includes letters to Nancy Mitford, Diana Cooper, Lawrence Durrell and his lifelong companion Joan Rayner. They sparkle with his humour, zest for life, unending curiosity, lyrical descriptive powers – and his tendency to get into scrapes.
Poetry of the First World War
Edited and with a substantial introduction by Marcus Clapham, this anthology is arranged alphabetically by poet and includes both obscure soldier-poets and the great writers of the war years such as Edward Thomas, Siegfried Sassoon, Isaac Rosenberg and Wilfred Owen. A final section provides brief biographical notes on the poets.
In this extraordinary vision of the feline world we encounter a 'circus cat secretly rehearsing Hamlet', an 'unusually repulsive cat startled by a gesture of affection' and 'the exhausted Persian cat contemplating the advantages of monogamy'... three of the weird and wonderful creatures captured by Searle's inimitable illustrative style and vivid imagination.