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With Halloween just around the corner, who better to take part in our 5-4-3-2-1 feature than Claire Barker, author of Knitbone Pepper And The Ghost Dog (published by Usborne)?

Books you’d save from a burning bookcase

1) Roald Dahl –Danny, Champion of the World. The first book that made me sit up and pay attention. I will never look a raisin in the same way again.
2) The QI Book of The Dead. Very, very interesting dead people.
3) Patrick Suskind – Perfume. Brilliant, dark, poisonous, frightening, addictive.
4) Terry Pratchett – Mort. Death has a horse called Binky: what’s not to love?
5) Childhood copy of Tales from Shakespeare, illustrated by Victor Ambrus. Full of war, blood and pretty frocks

Authors you’d want with you if you were stranded on a desert island.

1) William Blake
2) Oscar Wilde
3) Neil Gaiman
4) AA Milne

TV shows you can watch all day long

1) Black Books. Bookshop + wine + bad behaviour = perfection.
2) Old re-runs of River Cottage, the early ones when Hugh is clearly mad; e...

We’re super excited for Joshua Khan’s Shadow Magic, published by Scholastic, which sounds fabulous! We’re thrilled to have Joshua doing our 5-4-3-2-1 feature today.

Books you’d save from a burning bookcase

The Hobbit

It was read to me when I was about seven and, I think, the reason I do what I do. I read it again every few years and am instantly transported back to that summer day when I sat on the lino floor in the classroom and the teacher uttered the immortal words, “In a hole in the ground lived a hobbit.”

I read it to my wife and newborn daughter during those 4am feeds, when you feel that it’s just the three of you alone in the world and everything is at peace. Daughter is now 15 and keen fantasy reader. I wonder if the Hobbit reached through those new ears and settled somewhere deep within?

Dune

Epic sci-fi and truly orginal. All sci-fi that followed has some Dune in its DNA. Game of Thrones owes it a huge one, given it’s all about noble houses at war. I even loved the David Lynch movi...

Slightly belated post here but I really wanted to get my top ten books on my TBR list for autumn up!

Mango & Bambang: The Not A Pig (Polly Faber, illustrated by Clara Vulliamy, Walker Books) – I haven’t read any of the books in the Mango and Bambang series yet, partly as they’re slightly younger than the normal age range I read, but Walker were kind enough to send me the first along with the recently released third book Tiny Tapir Trouble. A quick flick through shows just how gorgeous Clara Vulliamy’s illustrations of little girl Mango and Asian tapir Bambang are, so this charming collaboration has hit my must read list. (And yes, it IS probably pushing it a little to include it here given that target age range, but I can’t resist illustrations this cute!)

There May Be A Castle (Piers Torday, Quercus Children’s Books) – I’m saving the new Piers Torday for a little closer to Christmas, but it sounds fantastic! The story of Mouse, involved in a car crash on Christmas Eve and thrown from th...