Books about England
England is Truly a Magical Place

Now here is something unusual amongst the many books about England in my library: a book combining history and magic with the flavour and excitement of a treasure hunt. Moreover, one that rhymes! Don't believe me? How's this for a description of one of my favourite parts of the country?

Over the wall on the other side,
Is England's quietest countryside.
The Cheviot Hills with millions of trees,
Red squirrels and otters do as they please.

Out to the east, by all reports,
Alnwick Castle was used as Hogwarts!
Just off the coast, the Christian high land
Of Lindisfarne, the Holy Island.
From here, religion was spread nationwide,
But if you visit beware of the tide!

Karl Woodbury hits this part of Northumberland off to a T. (This from someone who got almost caught out by the tide on Lindisfarne's long causeway, and who went walking in the Cheviots for a whole day seeing only one other person!)

And Northumberland is not the only part of the country he hits off to a T. This may be a fun book to most of us, but it's impeccably researched, as benefits any good treasure hunter. I was prepared to be amused by this book, but reading it left me amazed. Here's an author who shares my love of England, its history, achievements and quirkiness. And he's found a truly effective way to entice others down the same road.

As books about England go, England is Truly a Magical Place is easy, entertaining bedtime reading for the kids. But it's a lot more than that. The rhymes linger, as do the evocative little snippets of English history, landscape and custom.

When the children are asleep, you'll find yourself pulling out maps or looking up guide books or historical tomes, trying to expand the little glimpses Karl Woodbury offers you.

It's as addictive as any treasure hunt or computer game and a boon for curious children and adults alike. So, go ahead, find out about shoes and Northampton, trace the connection between Birmingham and The Lord of the Rings, look up what James Bond and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang have in common, and read about a beach in Devon that was used by the military to train for the D-Day landings.

Oh, there's one other thing I like about this book: it's really a 2 for 1 deal! Not only do you buy the book, but the audiobook version is included, too! Just in case you need to refresh your memories while out in the car hunting for the treasures of England...