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The Last Thing You Said

The Last Thing You Said
Written by Sara Biren
Abrams £10.99
ISBN: 978-1419723049

Set in a small town in the USA, this is a story of the impact of a death on the lives of people within that community. Lucy and Trixie have been best friends from a very young age. Lucy has also been in love with Trixie's brother, Ben, for as long as she can remember and his feelings for her are mutual although neither has talked to each other about this. But then, last summer, their lives changed in an instant.

Trixie and Lucy's brother go swimming while Ben and Lucy are flirting with each other, and about to shyly admit their feelings for one another, when tragedy strikes. Trixie has a heart attack and she dies in the water. Following her death, his pain and grief causes Ben to verbally lash out at Lucy and fracture their friendship and burgeoning relationship.

As the one year anniversary of her death approaches, both are still in love with each other but have drifted apart to protect themselves from the pain and grief they are still feeling. A well-written story which explores the pain of grief and loss and the power of first love. Gently told, characters develop realistically and are well rounded. The description is excellent, capturing the feel and sense of a tightly knit family within a small-town community.

Annie Everall

Reviews from past issues

Babies & Toddlers
Picture Books
First Steps
Reading Alone
Reading With Confidence
Moving On
Younger Teen Reads
More mature
Information Books


Sample articles from Carousel issue 55: Autumn 2013

Dixie O'Day in The Fast Lane - Bonnie and Clyde? Thelma and Louise? No! It's Clara Vulliamy and Shirley Hughes setting out on a new adventure

A new edition of Carlo Collodi's book by Michael Morpurgo and Emma Chichester Clark brings Carousel a privileged interview with Pinocchio

Vintage: John Burningham

Sample articles from Carousel issue 54: Summer 2013

Elen Caldecott - first a writer, then an author, by David Blanch

Cressida Cowell: Ten Years of Training Dragons, by Elaine Chant

Petr Horacek: A perfect start for getting children into books and storytelling from Mike and
Theresa Simkin

Sample articles from Carousel issue 53: Spring 2013

Quentin Blake: Books and Beyond

Sourcing Ketchup Clouds with Annabel Pitcher

Sara Fanelli - Pictorial Literature on Every Page

Sample articles from Carousel issue 52: Autumn/Winter 2012

Grannies, Grumps and Glitter - a meeting with Tracey Corderoy

From The Fonz to The Hoove: Henry Winkler in conversation with Dave Chant

Sample articles from Carousel issue 51: Summer 2012

The end of the adventure(s) - Robert Swindells talks about his life as a writer

Korky Paul: It's been a great ride with Winnie

Sample articles from Carousel issue 50: Spring 2012

Charles Dickens 1812 – 1870: 200 years old and still on the front pages. His work has been made into films, TV series, stage adaptations, musicals and animations.

Editorial: In the Spring of 1995 the seed of an idea about a new magazine,
centred on children's books, was planted. Incredibly, seventeen years later, that
same team have published Issue 50.

The Sentence Maker: Chris Stephenson discusses with Allan Ahlberg his recent work and the importance of the garden shed.

Poetry: The poetry page this issue is, in the main, a salute to James Berry in his eighty-eighth year. Bloodaxe have published an exemplary selection of his poetry

Marks on the Page: David Blanch talks with children's illustrator, Alan Marks

Seeing London: Chris Stephenson has been looking at a handful of books about London for children, a modest but probably representative selection of the deluge that have hit bookshops in anticipation of this year's Olympic Games and Paralympics.

Reviews - Picture Books: rewarding reads for the family to share

Reviewers' Favourites: We asked reviewers for their personal choices

Sample articles from Carousel issue 49: Autumn/Winter 2011

Reviews: Information Books Information for all ages

The Refugee Diaries - Anthony Robinson and Annemarie Young are giving "a voice to the voiceless" and, in England, Year 4 tries to put themselves in other children's shoes after reading by Pat and Susanna Thomson

The Brilliant World of Liz Pichon - "I didn't set out to be a children's illustrator although I did illustrations for magazines and greeting cards," said one of our most enjoyed illustrators working into today's crowded field by David Blanch.

Fairy Tales - Fairy tales sprang from the oral tradition and many of the best known are centuries old. Collections of these tales appeared in print for the first time during the sixteenth century.

Reviews: Reading with Confidence - Engaging young readers

Sample articles from Carousel issue 48: Summer 2011

Poetry: A New Spring? 2011 seems to herald a new Spring for children's poetry:Brian Mosesreviews some of them

Picture Book Reviews Rewarding reads for the family to share

First Steps reviews

Editorial by Julia Donaldson, the newChildren's Laureate

Racing to Read - A regular visitor to schools to encourage children to enjoy reading, Jeremy Strong was visiting Birmingham to do just that in six local schools.

A Fishy Tale from John Patrick Byrne. After a fifty year incubation Donald and Benoit, John Patrick Byrne's children's book has been published - a brilliant mix of glorious illustration and witty words. By Valerie Bierman .

The Child Reader 1700-1840 - Have you ever inscribed a book? You are contributing to our social history. These short inscriptions reveal much more than you could have imagined

Sample articles from Carousel issue 47: Spring 2011

"Led creatively by the book..." - Chris Stephenson talks to writer and illustrator, Gillian McClure

The Lore of the Playground - "Children don't play in the playground anymore," is the received wisdom. "Tosh," says Steve Roud and his new book proves he's right. Written by Pat Thomson.

A Merchant of Stories - Walking through Venice with Michelle Lovric, written by Elaine Chant.

Reviews - Non-Fiction Information for all ages.

Interrupted Journey - When Pat Moon was assembling her poems for Earth Lines: Poems for the Green Age twenty years ago, she needed to seek the advice and guidance of the peace campaigner Bruce Kent . . . Read more of this article by Chris Stephenson.

Sample articles from Carousel issue 46: Autumn/Winter 2010

Autumn/Winter Cover

Now gods, stand up for dunces!
(with apologies to W. Shakespeare) by Chris Stephenson

Picture Book Reviews - Rewarding reads for the family to share

Sharing Stories A Generation Ago!
A number of best-loved classic children's titles have been recently re-issued to attract new fans. We wondered how relevant they are to today's children. Do they have a feeling of timelessness? Do they still appeal? Are they appropriate? Do they speak to young readers in the twenty-first century? Would you buy them for your children or your grandchildren? To find out we asked two families – one who shared four of these stories with their children almost forty years ago, and the other shared the same ones during the 2010 summer holiday.

Big Bugs in a Brilliant Building by Pat Thomson
This well produced book, with life size photos of the kind of bugs which get into books of records, will be grabbed by young enthusiasts and treated with respect by adults and children alike.

Inside Out - by Pat Thomson
The story of a film – book – film collaboration. A uthor Julia Jarman and film maker Julie Laslett have produced a linked book and two films about a teenager from a desperate but not uncommon family background, who gets into trouble with the law. It seems that Bookstart, the scheme that gets books to babies, has been a great success. Maybe this excellent collaboration should be delivered in the same spirit to the other end of the age range. If we hope that the cycle of illiteracy can be broken, can we hope to affect the cycle of 'offending'?

Sample articles from Carousel issue 45: Spring 2010

Summer 2010 Cover

The General: Celebrating Fifty Years with Michael Foreman - we celebrate not only fifty years since the publication of Michael's first book, The General, but also that we celebrate the mighty and distinguished contribution that he has made to the whole vista and history of the genre – illustrated books for children: for his wonderful handling of colour and for his distinctive and versatile skills with drawing while telling stories.

Ravens and Revolvers: Marcus Sedgwick has been steadily building an impressive backlist of novels. Having now re-read all of them, the feeling grows that he has been doing this far too quietly.

James Mayhew by Margaret Hickman Smith: Having been told by schoolteachers that he wouldn't make a living from his art, his first book for children, Katie's Picture Show, was published by Orchard Books in 1989 and firmly established a long running series about a child's adventures in an art gallery. How wrong can you be! See James Mayhew's blog.

Poetry Reviews - by Susanna Thomson

Reviews of Novels for Older Readers

Reviews: First Steps

Sample articles from Carousel issue 44: Spring 2010

Spring 2010 Cover

Travelling with Sharon Creech - Collecting awards along the way, Sharon Creech has written in different forms, for different age ranges and across continents

Lucy Cousins brightens up the dullest day - Books created by Lucy Cousins capture the world for very young children. Maisy is a universally recognised character. We were thrilled to meet Lucy recently at her most agreeable home in Hampshire.

The New York Review Children's Collection - The NYRB Classics series was launched in 1999. With now over 250 titles in print, it's a determinedly eclectic mix of fiction and non-fiction from a diversity of eras and areas, including a number of titles that should bring blushes to the cheeks of some negligent UK publishers.

Poetry Reviews Two Poetry Books and a doorstep of a reference book reviewed by Enid Stephenson

Reviews of books for older readers

Reviews of books with young adult themes

Sample articles from Carousel issue 43: Autumn 2009

P J Lynch's - considerable reputation as a distinguished Irish artist might almost be intimidating so there is something reassuring in his description of himself as a child, lying on the floor, always drawing.

Non-fiction reviews - information for all ages

Reviews: Reading Alone - Whole books to read and re-read

Shaun Tan: Another World We Can All Inhabit

In Praise of Illustration: “Picture books are special – they’re not like anything else. Sometimes I hear parents encouraging their children to read what they call proper books (books without pictures), at an earlier and earlier stage. This makes me sad, as picture books are perfect for sharing . . ."

Sample articles from Carousel issue 42: Summer 2009

Summer 2009 Cover

A Sense of Place - Many stories have emerged from real-life places, often providing rich and dramatic backcloths. Sharing these as a family can be a wonderful experience. The Carousel editors would like to recommend some favourites with a real ‘sense of place’ which would make ideal visits if you are staying at home this year.

A Need to Learn from the Past - The study of war is part of the National Curriculum and the 5-14 Scottish Curriculum so if you want authentic material, whether in book form or actual artefacts, The Imperial War Museum (IWM) is an obvious resource.

Siobhan Dowd by Chris Stephenson. Siobhan Dowd died in 2007 aged forty-seven. In the last years of her life she wrote four exceptional novels, the first of which was published in 2006.

Picture Book Reviews: Rewarding reads for all the family

Babies: Reviews of books to catch, and hold, babies' and todlers' attention

Sample articles from Carousel issue 41: March 2009

Editorial: At Carousel we believe in using our review space to highlight books that we think
are worth considering . . . .

How to Exorcise Unquiet Spirits: Jan Ormerod was artist in residence at the Fremantle Children’s Literature Centre in Western Australia in 2007/2008, and shares her experience with Carousel readers.

Angela Barrett: Exquisite Skills in Drawing and Painting

Manga Carta: Manga comic strip stories, originating from Japan in the 1950s, are typically printed in black and white and are read in paperback form from back to front. Hugely popular in their country of origin, this format is now becoming popular with publishers in Britain, France and America.

Reviews: Reading Alone

Reviews: Reading With Confidence

Sample articles from Carousel issue 40: Autumn 2008

Working from home - Working From Home: Gillian McClure, by Chris Stephenson

Helen Craig: Family Matters

Mo Willems: Making it ‘Serious in Funny' - When he was a young man, Mo Willems wrote a letter to Charles Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip. Mr Schulz, he told the great cartoonist, I want your job when you die . . .

Poetry Reviews

We Are ALL Born FREE
Judith Escreet, Art Director at Frances Lincoln, writes: "All people are born free and equal are the opening words of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations" . . .

The Mouldiwarp and Me: Pat Jenkins, a former teacher and reviewer for Carousel, shares her childhood reading experiences.

Books for older readers - reviews

Reads 4 Teens - reviews

Sample articles from Carousel issue 39: Summer 2008

Polly Dunbar: Painting & Puppets - Winner of the Younger Children’s section in the 2008 Red House Children’s Book Award. By Chris Stephenson

Museum of Childhood
A great destination for a family or school visit
By Pat Thomson

Shakespeare and his world
By Enid Stephenson

Non Fiction reviews

Picture Book reviews

First Steps reviews

Sample articles from Carousel issue 38: Spring 2008

To a Secret Garden via a Cat and a Toad
by David Blanch

Return to the Little House
by Pat Thompson

Where Readers Rule
Chris Powling on writing for Barrington Stoke - voted 2007’s “Children’s Publisher of the Year”.

The Editor: Yvonne Hooker

Teachers as Readers
Building Communities of Readers

Words and Pictures Equally - Brian Selznick interviewed by Chris Stephenson

Sample articles from Carousel issue 37: Autumn 2007


Children Deserve The Best Television

The Background and Inspirations for APACHE
by Tanya Landman

Sample articles from Carousel issue 36: Summer 2007

Michael Rosen's editorial

Picture Book Reviews

Rosemary Sutcliff

The Carnegie Medal

Berlie Doherty: Finding Out What Happens

Raiders from the Sea - the writing of Carnegie Medal winner, The Stronghold, by Mollie Hunter


Sample articles from Carousel issue 35: Spring 2007

Making Early Learning Fun
Rod Campbell

Whatever Happened to Children's Poetry?

Getting Things Right
Nigel Hinton

Children in World War Two
- a personal choice of books

The Time Travelling Cat
- Julia Jarman talks about her series

Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy

Sample articles from Carousel issue 34: Autumn 2006

Sample articles from Carousel issue 33: Summer 2006

Sample articles from Carousel issue 31

Sample article from Carousel issue 30, Summer 2005

Sample articles from the Carousel, Summer 2004 issue

Sample article from the Summer 2003 issue

Sample articles from the Spring 2003 issue

Past issues

Carousel 68

Helen Oxenbury, A Life in Illustration, David Almond (Carousel 70)

Carousel 68

Ben Miller, Chris Riddell, Beverley Naidoo
(Carousel 69)

Carousel 68

Ross Montgomery: Look Up and See the Wonder (Carousel 68)

Carousel 67

Harry Potter and the Search for a Style (Carousel 67)

Carousel 66

Lemony Snicket, Nadiya Hussain, Wildwood (Carousel 66)

Carousel 65

Anthony Horowitz, Andy Riley, Lydia Monks (Carousel 65)

Carousel 64

Shaun Tan, Marion Deuchars, Bruce Ingman (Carousel 64)

Carousel 63

Alex T Smith, Jeanne Willis, Frances Hardinge (Carousel 63)

Carousel 62

Michael Foreman, William Grill, Robin Stevens (Carousel 62)

Carousel 61

Nicola Morgan, Richard Adams and Lauren Child (Carousel 61)

Carousel 60

Jacqueline Wilson. Modern take on Alice and more (Carousel 60)

Carousel 59

Frank Cottrell Boyce. Simon Mayo, children's author (Carousel 59)

Carousel 57

The Great War, Chris Haughton, Mick Inkpen, Erin Lange (Carousel 57)

Carousel 56

Oliver Jeffers, Robert Ingpen, Sophia McDougall (Carousel 56)

Carousel 55

Michael Morpugo, Emma Chichester Clark, Shirley Hughes (Carousel 55)

Carousel 54

Petr Horacek, David Melling and New Zealand Adventures (Carousel 54)