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A Review of The Shadow Keeper by Abi Elphinstone

A Review of The Shadow Keeper by Abi Elphinstone

I was recently sent a copy of the newly released ‘The Shadow Keeper’ by Abi Elphinstone to review and I can honestly say I have struggled to put it down each day.




Following on from the first book in the trilogy, The Dream Snatcher, The Shadow Keeper can also be enjoyed as a story in it’s own right.

It started off dark and dramatic and straight away picked up pace to get you immediately into the story. Moll is a gypsy girl with a wildcat called Gryff and they are being hunted by The Shadow Masks who want to capture them in order to destroy both them and the old magic. Moll is trying to destroy the Shadowmasks dark magic by finding the second amulet which holds the soul of her Mother but to do this she has to hide from and battle them and also save herself and her friend Siddy from terrifying smugglers too.

This is genuinely like no other book I have ever read- it is like dipping in to someone else’s life and culture- there is magic, both old and dark, there are fortune tellers, medicine made from herbs and messages on the wind and secret codes- it is very different to any book I have ever read before.

There are good people and bad people, plenty to fear and lots to capture your imagination, the way the author sets the scene is fantastic- you feel like you are in the cove that is home to Moll and her tribe and then just chapters later you can really imagine what it must be like to be at the harbor with the smugglers having already twice fought off the dark magic that is trying to destroy Moll and her tribe.

I found the book to be gripping from start to finish, bits of it were very scary and very dark but Abi Elphinstone seems to know just when to stop the really dark bits to leave you wanting to read on without being too terrified to do so.

It takes a little while to warm to Moll who is very independent but this is also a story of friendship and learning how to trust and you do soon start to worry about what will happen to her. The end isn’t a ‘happy ending’ as such but it is a good conclusion to the book and it leaves you well ready for the next book in the trilogy. 

I already can’t wait for the final book to come out and would highly recommend this book to confident readers age 8 upwards or to enjoy with a parent from age 7 (although perhaps not as a bedtime story if you are easily scared!) You can buy The Shadow Keeper here 

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What Pet Should I Get? Dr Seuss Book Review

What Pet Should I Get? Dr Seuss Book Review


We are huge fans of Dr Seuss in this house so we were very excited to hear there was a book out that we hadn’t yet come across.

What Pet Should I Get? Has been discovered as one of Dr Seuss’ many ‘works-in-progress’ and has recently been published. This is a real treat for Dr Seuss fans of any age and is just as good as any of the others.

This is a lovely story about two children, a brother and sister, who go to the pet shop excited because they are allowed to chose a pet all of their own- it is a good lesson  for small children (especially ones like my sister who always says ‘I can’t decide’) because it is all about making your mind up. Just like many Dr Seuss stories there is a little twist in the end and that means you get to put your own spin on the book. 

Lottie took this book to share with her class (all age 4 and 5) and they really liked it. The story is really good for this age group, it is in the well known rhyming style of Dr Seuss and they all liked the pictures too. She said it gave them lots to talk about when the teacher had finished reading and they all had favourite pets that they wished the children would pick. I think this is a great book for children age 3 upwards – it is perfect as soon as they are able to sit down long enough to listen to a story and enjoy the rhyming style and it will appeal to Dr Seuss fans of ages.

I also really enjoyed reading the publishers notes at the back of the book which gave lots of interesting details about how the book came to be found and where the illustrations were from.

You can buy a copy of this lovely book here

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The Imaginary by A.F Harrold

Review of The Imaginary by A.F Harrold

I recently received a copy of The Imaginary by A.F Harrold to review and when it first arrived I wasn’t sure I would really like it as it looked quite different from the books I normally enjoy but I decided to give it a go and read it with Mum as my bedtime story over the last week-I was really surprised but after a few chapters I couldn’t put it down.
 
‘Rudger is Amanda’s best friend. He doesn’t exist, but nobody’s perfect.
Only Amanda can see her imaginary friend – until the sinister Mr Bunting arrives at Amanda’s door. Mr Bunting hunts imaginaries. Rumour says that he eats them. And he’s sniffed out Rudger. Soon Rudger is alone, and running for his imaginary life. But can a boy who isn’t there survive without a friend to dream him up?’
I thought this book was fantastic- I liked the way Amanda created whole new world’s with her imagination and how this was her huge strength in the end. I loved the loyalty that Rudger shows to Amanda and how even though you grow up and out of imaginary friends you can still see them again when you really need to if you try hard enough. I loved the idea that when a child doesn’t need their imaginary any more there is somewhere for them to go until someone does need them.
 
The illustrations in the book were beautiful, really descriptive and are worth a good look on their own, I kept turning back to look at them in between reading the story. I liked the way the words on the page also reflected the story – such as when there was a power cut and the words were in white written on a black page so you felt like you were there in the power cut.
 
The story was really quite scary in places and kept your attention as you wanted to know what happened next and the ending was really dramatic. I think this is definitely one of the best books I have read this year and would really recommend it to anyone age 7+ up to any age at all – my Mum really enjoyed it too so I think it would appeal to nearly everyone who enjoys a good book.
 I just wish I had an imaginary friend now!

You can order The Imaginary here
 
 




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The most awesome and disgusting book EVER!

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Eye Popping Oddities 2016- 

The most awesome and disgusting book ever!!!

I have recently been sent a copy of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! and it is quite possibly the best book ever.
 
I have never read their books before but I love this. The front cover is amazing- it has eyeballs and because it is 3D they actually follow you around the room.

 
There are loads and loads of little stories and facts throughout the book and they are so interesting. Some of them are really freaky though and make you squeeze you eyes closed and say ewww and I am really liking finding lots of stories about snakes to show my Mum who hates them!
 
I took this book to a family get together at the weekend and everybody had a read and all the people I showed found something that they wanted to read out loud to everybody else so I think this book is perfect for all ages.
 
I would say this would be a fantastic Christmas present or even just a treat for anyone age 6 upwards who enjoys reading about unusual things and I am definitely going to be going back to this book time and time again.

A note from Mum- 

At an RRP of £20.00 this is quite a pricey read, however, having watched Luke read it nearly constantly over the weekend I would actually say it is well worth the money! 
 
With just the right amount of ‘disgusting-ness’ this book is perfect for children of all ages from age 5-6 upwards. If the yucky bits aren’t your thing there are also plenty of other just plain amazing facts too. The bite size snippets of stories make this book perfect for both reluctant readers as well as the more confident. 

I can see this book being dipped in and out of for years to come.

If you would like to order a copy of this book, which we feel will make fantastic reading for all the family it can be found here on Amazon and at the time of writing was listed at a much lower than retail price.

 

 

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Danger Is Still Everywhere: Beware of the Dog

A Review of Danger is Still Everywhere: Beware of the Dog         by David O’Doherty and Chris Judge and a chance to win a copy

We have been sent some amazing books to review recently and I was thrilled to receive a copy of Danger is Still Everywhere: Beware of the Dog.

‘Docter Noel is facing his most terrifying situation EVER – a little dog called napkin has come to stay. That may not sound particularly dangerous but every POD (Pupil of Dangerology) knows the only safe pet is a pet rock. So now Docter Noel is stuck in a wardrobe while Napkin wrecks havoc around the Dangerzone. And all the while Docter Noel is supposed to be writing his new VERY IMPORTANT handbook on Dangerology (Level 2). 

That is until the Pet of the Year competition is announced and Docter Noel hatches a plan to impress his neighbour Gretel. There’s only one problem. Serial safety-flouter Max Wurst us the judge…

For Docter Noel, it’s never been clearer that danger is still everywhere.’


I LOVED this book. I hadn’t read the first handbook but it didn’t matter I was still able to get straight into this second book- it was really funny and very silly and really made me laugh.

I thought the quiz was awesome and the pictures were fantastic. I would definitely give this book a score of 10/10 and would recommend it to any Dangerologist age 7+. Even if they were a grown up.

I am definitely adding the first Danger is Everywhere book to my ‘must read’ list!

We are delighted to be able to offer one lucky entrant the chance to win a copy of this must have handbook for themselves.


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Roald Dahl Day- The Twits Review and a Competition

Roald Dahl Day – The Twits Review and a Competition

Today is Roald Dahl Day and there are loads of activities going on to celebrate his wonderful books.


I first started to enjoy his books a couple of years when my Mum read me Matilda. I instantly loved the way that Roald Dahl could make a story come to life and we began working our way through lots of different stories and rhymes. I now find it hard to pick my favourite and it often changes but I especially love The Twits and Fantastic Mr Fox and my Mum loves the retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs.

We are just re-reading a lot of the books now to share them with Lottie so it was great timing that we were asked to review The Twits and join in with the fun making our very own Mr Twit beard.

If you have never managed to read The Twits it is a really funny book about the disgusting Mr and Mrs Twit who play awful tricks on each other and getting what they deserve for their horrid treatment of Muggle Wump the monkey and his family (who they have trapped in a cage in their garden) and the poor birds who get caught on the glue covered dead tree to use for Bird Pie Day. Mr Twit is a horrible bearded man (Roald Dahl didn’t like beards!) He is dirty, nasty and always has lots of disgusting things trapped in his manky beard. I have had lots of fun making my own Mr Twit beard.

Lottie’s doll modelling our Mr Twit beard along with Mr Twit style hair!
Made with tea-stained string, pasta, rice, rice crispies and various other Mr Twit type leftovers
 


I would recommend this story to children age 4-5 upwards. It is a great introduction to Roald Dahl for confident younger readers or fun to enjoy with a grown up as Roald Dahl appeals to people of all ages. 


I know my friend’s Mum, Diana really loved this book so asked her what it was that she liked so much about it, she told me ‘Roald Dahl was not my favourite author growing up, that was Enid Blyton, but one of my favourite books ever is The Twits. I clearly remember my childhood revulsion, amusement and disquiet at the vile characters and reading it as fast as I possibly could to reach the end to see if they got their well deserved comeuppance. It spoke to my vivid imagination, reinforced my sense of right and wrong and made the Sunday night cold bath-time a little easier to bear’.

I am thrilled to be able to offer two of my readers the chance to win a special edition copy* of the Twits so they too can enjoy this classic Roald Dahl story too.
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*Please note one winner will receive the ‘bearded copy’ (shown above) and the other will receive the version with ‘scratch and sniff stickers’

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Review of Opal Plumstead

Review of ‘Opal Plumstead’ By Jacqueline Wilson

Guest Review by Amie age 10
We were recently offered the chance to review Opal Plumstead, Jacqueline Wilson’s 100th book and immediately thought of our friend Amie, who is a huge fan. She jumped at the chance to read it and share her thoughts with us.

Amie really enjoyed the book, which is set during World War One and tells the story of Opal’s family life. Opal comes from a modest background but when it looks like her father’s book is going to be published the family are delighted to think they might soon have some more money. They start to spend more than they should and then when the publication of the book falls through, rather than tell his family her Father keeps up the pretence, stealing from his work to fund their spending. Inevitably he gets caught and ends up being put into prison. Opal then has to find work to help support the family and her story continues from there.

Amie says she loved the fact that there are lots of twists and turns along the way, which kept you interested in what was coming next. She really enjoyed learning about the time the book was set in and the events that surrounded this time, particularly the suffragette movement which features in the book. She also liked the fact that Opal wrote letters to her Father without her Mother knowing. Overall Amie really enjoyed this book giving it a score of 5/5 and would recommend it to children age 9-14.

A quick note from Luke’s Mum….

Opal Plumstead is a good read with an interesting story line and it will keep Jacqueline Wilson fans well entertained for a fair while.

From an adult point of view I feel this book covers some quite grown up issues so would personally recommend it for the older group within Amie’s recommended age group or for more mature children within the younger side of it.
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The Parent Agency Review and Giveaway

The Parent Agency by David Baddiel

A Review and a Competition

Poor Barry… Boring parents, annoying goody two-shoes twin sisters, not being allowed to play video games and being called Barry- just a few things from Barry’s list of complaints about his family.

Imagine if you could choose your own Mum and Dad though- what type would you choose? Rich, famous, fit, cool or something completely different? 

When Barry arrives at The Parent Agency he discovers he is able to choose any of the parents on their list and to top it off he can have the birthday party he has always dreamed of. What could possibly go wrong?

 


This book is very funny and has a bit of a twist. I liked the way the children’s world was a copy of ours but different- the Parent Agency is based in Youngdon which has landmarks like the Shard Skelter, Marbles Arch and the Play-houses of Parliment. Some of the characters are really hilarious and lots are very strange. I like the way the story flowed from one set of parents to the next.

This was a great book for children age 7-12, I read it in no time at all and didn’t really want to put it down- you will definitely want to know what Barry decides in the end. The chapters were a good length (not too short but not so long that you get bored!) and whilst this is very much a proper book I didn’t find it difficult to read by myself. Although I did also enjoyed listening to a few of the chapters read by my Mum to me- mainly because it was funny to hear her say ‘Bum, bum, bum’ when Barry has found out he can be as rude as he likes with his cool parents!

I think David Baddiel has done a great job with The Parent Agency, which is his first children’s book. I can’t wait to see what his next book is like.

If you like the sound of The Parent Agency why not try to win yourself a copy in our competition, or if you can’t wait to read it you can buy it here-  http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Parent-Agency-David-Baddiel/dp/0007554508

David Baddiel seems to have lots of other ideas for great parents, watch him here  http://youtu.be/sUMyICBQ7uc and let us know what type you would like best? I love the idea of parents who can fly!

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Book Review- Puppy Academy: Scout and The Sausage Thief

A Review of Puppy Academy- Scout and The Sausage Thief by Gill Lewis

I am a member of the LoveReading4Kids review panel and I have just had my first book to read and review which was awesome.

Scout is a dog excited about taking her Care in the Community badge to become a police dog but it all goes wrong and Scout is left on her own while her friends take their tests. Scout needs to try and put things right and make up for her mistakes and clear her name. There is  also a sausage thief on the loose who needs to be caught. 

I love having something new to read and thought I would share my review with you-
I really enjoyed Scout and The Sausage Thief, it is a mystery book with lots of very funny parts. 

There were some unexpected twists and turns which meant I couldn’t put it down and ended up reading it all in one go.

I loved this story and think it is one of the best books I have ever read that is aimed for children my age to read to themselves. I am looking forward to reading others from the same series.

If you like the sound of this book then look out for it from July.