It’s my turn on The God of all Small Boys blog tour today and I loved this book. From start to finish it was really well written and captured my attention. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the fact my Mum insisted reading it with me and made us stop three chapters before the end because it was late!
The book is set in Lochee in Dundee and the descriptions really set the scene, you can imagine what it would have been like to live in the shadow of Camperdown Works and smell the jute from the factory.
The God of all Small Boys is written from the perspective of James an 11 year old boy whose Dad has gone to fight in the War and whose life has been shook up when he has been sent to stay with his Aunt and her family who he doesn’t even know. You can really imagine James’ fear and sadness. He goes from his large comfortable home in the countryside to his Aunt’s home in a tenement block where there is no space and no privacy and he has to share a bed with three of his cousins…one of which hates him.
You feel really sorry for James to start with, he is very sensitive and seems quiet. I can’t imagine how he must feel waving his Dad off to war not knowing when he will come back. His cousin, Billy, resents him being there and starts all his friends off to be mean James, they play some horrible tricks on James. However, it soon becomes clear James is braver than he appears when he stands up to the school bully to help protect Ben, one of Billy’s gang. Billy and his friends Derek, Kevin and Ben start to warm to James and he is soon accepted in as one of their blood brothers.
They go on adventures and create an amazing den, the friendships grow and grow but the thought of the war is never far away. By this time in 1917 the war had been going on a long time and the children had come to realise it wasn’t just about being heroes- the fear of the ‘Man in black’ -the telegram man coming by is never far away, the woman discuss rationing while the younger girls apply to be Land Girls and the boys play at being soldiers while worrying about their Fathers.
Kevin, one of the other boys from their gang, often refers to The God of All Small Boys who he explains is the God who ‘keeps us from breaking our necks on scaffolding…let’s us find pennies in the gutter. He’s the one who grows trees with branches in just the right places, so we can climb to the top….He looks after us…he’s the one who keeps us safe.’ The other boys sort of laugh at Kevin’s God of all Small Boys but they also believe in Him in their own way to. However, when something awful happens they find it hard to make sense of things. I don’t want to give away too much of the story but you should definitely read this book.
I really like the cover too- on the face of it it’s showing boys having fun in the sunset but then you look closer and it reminds you once again of the war and of young men going off to fight as it looks like the artwork of silhouettes of soldiers on a battlefield at the same time.
The God of all Small Boys features so many different issues- war, bullying, friendship, love, poverty and many more- you don’t even realise some of them until you have finished reading and think back. It’s one of those books that gets you thinking for a long time afterwards. Although it’s a children’s book it is brilliantly written and any book that can make my Mum cry should be read by grown ups too.
Don’t forget to head over to www.lisareadsbooks.blogspot.com tomorrow for the next stop on the blog tour.
Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of The God of all Small Boys for review purposes but all thoughts are my own.
We don’t very often find Xbox games that we all like and much less that all three of us can play together so we were really pleased when we were asked to test Crayola Scoot.
Up to four people can play Crayola Scoot at the same time and there are loads of different activities and games you can do.
Before you start you design your character, choose your scooter and pick your colour. You then choose which event you want to do and start scooting.
There are modes for competitive play and modes for fun play. They can be played on your own against the game or with other friends.
The idea is to splat your colour everywhere which you do by doing tricks and stunts, the player with the most colour at the end of the event wins but you can also get trophies and points for other reasons like spectacular stunts.
My favourite game is Splat Tag where you choose if you are the tagger or are scooting away, if you are the tagger you need to do tricks near your opponents and try and splat them with your paint colour. If they get splatted then they become the tagger.
Luke likes Team Colour Frenzy were you do stunts and tricks to put as much of your colour over the park as possible , the team who have splatted the most colour is the winner.
Each game and event is quite short so you can play a few and then have a break. My Mum thinks this is good for younger children because the games aren’t too long.
I really like Crayola Scoot, it’s very colourful and lots of fun. Some games you have to be good at stunts and be able to do lots of things but lots of them you can play just for fun.
Sam and I have loved playing Crayola Scoot and Luke has enjoyed the competitive games so it’s good for all ages, we would recommend this as a fun family game to play together on the Xbox. You can also get it on PS4 and Nintendo Switch
Disclaimer: We were gifted Crayola Scoot in exchange for our review but all thoughts are my own.
One of the things I like most about winter is that we get back into having our family game night at the weekends. Quite often we have to choose games that everyone can play which means that when you have a little brother and sister means you don’t always get your first choice!
I was excited to be able to try the iKnow Family Quiz game from Tactic Games which is aimed at children age 12 plus because I was keen to play a game that was a bit more challenging and I was excited to get some time to play a game with my parents without my little brother and sister.
The iknow Family Quiz game is a really good concept because not only do you have to know facts and things yourself but you have to be prepared to bet on what the people you are playing with will know- this is a lot harder than it sounds and sometimes they really surprise you.
Everyone gets their tokens to bet against the other players with and their and pieces to start with and there are loads and loads of questions over four different topics. The board and set up is quite simple to get started but then you have to use strategy as well as your knowledge to win the game. You can win points by knowing the answer to your question or by betting correctly whether the other people will know the answers to theirs. You have to have a bit of a strategy as to what type of question you are going to pick and how you are going to bet on the other players
I played this firstly with my Mum and her friend and it was really funny to see questions they found difficult and to see who thought who would know what. Some of the questions are really really difficult but others are much easier and the fact that you are also guessing what the other players know means you don’t have to know the most to win the game and it was actually really close in the end.
The only thing we found that we were a bit unsure about was that if you were reading the questions you were easily tempted to turn the card and check the answer before you had placed your bet on the other players- maybe we are just cheats though!
I have played it with my Dad too and I think it takes a little while to get your head around but once you do it is really easy to play. I think the age rating of 12 is about right as I found some of the questions tricky (although so did the grown ups) but I think anyone from 10 can play if they think about their strategy! iKnow Family Quiz is a great game for general knowledge but you don’t have to have loads to be able to play and you can still have a good chance of winning.
I would recommend this as a really good family game and think it will be perfect for most families. I think I will be asking to play this a lot over the winter!
Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of the iKnow Family Quiz for review but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
My Daddy filmed me opening it and you can watch it on YouTube to see what it is like!
I was so excited, I love my Rainbocorn. Mine is one of the Monkeycorns, it’s really cuddly and I have taken it to bed every night this week. I love sequins and have lots of sequin changing tops because they are my favourite so I was very happy to have a toy that I could change the sequin picture on. You can take the sequin heart off and play with it separately, it has a hidden banana picture for my Rainbocorn! It can either go onto the Rainbocorn or put back onto the egg.
Inside the egg hidden at the bottom was another small egg which has two tiny baby Rainbocorn collectables called Boo-Boocorns which I like because they are small enough for me to take to school for my playtime pocket toys.
The main big egg is able to be put back together so you can either use it for your Rainbocorn to sleep in or to keep special things in.
I really love my Rainbocorn and would like to get another one when I save up my pocket money. There are 12 different ones which are based on six types of creatures- puppycorns, monkeycorns, kittycorns, hamstercorns, bunnycorns and unicorns so my monkeycorn might need a friend! I think these are perfect for children my age and would be good for children from 3 upwards who love cuddly toys, sequins or collectibles.
You can even watch a webisode of Rainbocorns adventures which is fun too.
You can buy Zuru Rainbocorns for £24.99 from Argos, Smyths, The Entertainer, Asda and B&M but you can only get the Monkeycorns from Argos.
The story is a board book so good for toddlers and the instrument looks like an owl and makes a really good owl noise. I have been reading the story to Sam and he has been making the noises at the right place.
The story is about a baby owl waiting for his Mummy to come home and how he hears lots of different sounds and wants to know if it is her.
The pictures are really nice and the story is good for Sam’s age. It isn’t too long and we can read it in one go but there is lots of chance to make his owl noises which he loves. It took him a few times to get used to how to blow through and get the owl sound but he quickly worked it out.
Sam now keeps playing the instrument and it sounds really like there is a real owl here!
I think this book is perfect for children age 3 to 4 but is easy to read for bigger children and the instrument is fun for everybody.
Sam and I really enjoyed sharing this book together.
Disclaimer: We were sent the Sounds of the Forest Set to review, all thoughts and opinions are our own.
Sam loved the bus and barely let anyone else get a look in- it opens up to game with a toilet and catapult which he thinks is really awesome. You can use the catapult to shoot your characters into the toilet- which is harder than it sounds and quite addictive! It comes with a poo for the game that Sam keeps trying to give to my Mum- it’s really funny because she doesn’t like it at all and refuses to touch it… I think we will be creeping her out with this for a long time!
The actual Smashers themselves come in Smashball eyeballs so are pretty spooky. You throw them to make them smash to find out what figure you have got, they are all a bit grim and creepy looking and you can check them off on the list to see if you have collected them all. There are even ultra rare ones which are see-thru. We all had a few Smashballs to do each and Lottie was really jealous because one of mine was in actual slime which was brilliant. She is completely obsessed with slime, so a character hidden in it is just about perfect.
I like that you can put the eyeballs back together and smash them time and time again. We thought these were really good and have been all playing together to shoot the characters into the toilet- not many collectibles work for all of us at the same time. My Mum liked the fact that because there was the bus and that the eyeballs could be put together these have a lot more play options than most collectibles so she thinks they will be a better way to spend our money than a lot of the others. We all really like that she finds them a bit disgusting!
Zuru Smashers are aimed at children age 5 plus and I would say they are perfect for kids around about 5-8 but will still be enjoyed by older children too, they start from £1.99 and go up to £19.99 and can be found at Argos, Smyths, Tesco and The Entertainer. They would be perfect for Halloween- if you were having a party you could give out Smashballs as prizes for games!
Disclaimer: We were sent the Zuru Smasher Bus and a set of the Series 2 Smashers for review purposes but all thoughts and opinions are our own
I wasn’t looking forward to going back to school after the holidays, there had been so many good things about the Summer and I didn’t want to get back to lots of homework and having to go to bed on time but in the end it was good to get back to school as it meant I could start seeing a lot more of my friends again.
I have some of them coming round this week and we are hoping to make the most of the last bit of nice weather by having a water fight. Not just any water fight though… this is going to be The Ultimate Water Fight! I have a secret weapon, I have been sent a Zuru Bunch O Balloons! Apparently I have to share with the other team too though!
I haven’t had a water fight using water balloons for ages because when we tried it was a nightmare to get the balloons ready but these are awesome and are so easy to set up. In the box we got two launchers, four bunches of balloons, a quick connect and two Bunch O Balloons bags. I had to give it a little test to make sure I am set for the big fight so I have used one bunch of the Bunch O Balloons already (sorry Dad!) but you can get replacement packs easily from lots of places and Mum just picked some more up in the supermarket the other day.
Bunch O Balloons are amazingly easy to use as you can fill a hundred balloons really, really quickly by putting the ‘quick connect attachment’ on to your hose which then lets you fill all the whole bunch o balloons straight away which can then be put straight in the bags ready for the battle. Brilliantly the balloons are self sealing so we didn’t have to mess around trying to tie them up. The balloons are all biodegradable which is very important.
The launcher helps you throw the balloons a really long way and aim them better too, which I think will be great for making it fairer when we are having a water fight against my Mum and Dad!
It’s really awesome when you throw a balloon up vertically- it comes down with a huge splash- so much better than a normal water fight!
I did find a few of the balloons leaked but it wasn’t very many out of the whole bunch and it was much less than you would have problems with if you were trying to fill balloons normally so I think this is definitely worth buying.
This set is brilliant fun, I loved it so much and I can’t wait to have an epic water fight with my friends. I think every family needs ones of these sets- it’s the perfect way to end the Summer!
Disclaimer: We were sent the Zuru Bunch O Balloons launcher set in exchange for our honest review, all thoughts and opinions are our own.
If you have been reading our blog for a while you might have already heard of Le Puy Du Fou, if you haven’t heard of it then you are missing out!
It’s nearly impossible to explain the Puy Du Fou to someone who hasn’t been because although it’s a theme park it has only one small ride, although it’s historical it’s not a museum or educational centre, although there are shows, it’s not a theatre. It is however, the absolute best day out and our whole family’s favourite place to go.
I have been going to the Puy Du Fou since I was a tiny baby and still find something new and exciting every time. It is set in a huge park, with lots of trees and lakes and plenty of nature. There are lots of different shows throughout the day and into the evening, lasting between 20 and 40 minutes each, some amazing walk throughs, a park, a maze, old towns and a medieval village, traditional craftspeople and the most spectacular night time show you could ever imagine.
The themes that run through the Puy Du Fou are water, light and fire and you would never believe what they are able to do with these without seeing it with your own eyes.
When you arrive at the Parc you get a program for the day which is available in English, French or Spanish and tells you what time each show is on (you can download this the night before too) and this lets you plan the day to see as many shows as possible. When my parents first started going there was only four main shows and you could see everything in a day but it is so huge now you either need to pick your favourites if you are just there for one day or try and go for at least two days. Three days are even better because then you get time to see all the secret bits of the parc as well as the shows. They do a deal on three day tickets too so it is good value if you can visit that way
The shows are all in French and whilst you can get an audio headset translator you really don’t need it, if you know a little French it helps to get the storyline but you don’t need it to appreciate the shows.
We all have different favourite shows but there isn’t one that we don’t love and we try and see as many as possible each time. This time we headed straight for the Musketeers in the Mousquetaire de Richelieu. This is one of only two shows that is performed inside and is in a huge chateau style building, this show is brilliant, with horses, sword fights, music and flamenco dancing.
You come out blinking into the sunlight and then either dash across to the next show or go and explore the park. We decided to go and play in the water jets, which is great fun and have a walk round to the lake where you can sometimes operate the water yourself before stopping for an early lunch and getting ourselves ready to face the Vikings.
The Viking Show is near the fort and you can see blacksmiths working before you go in. The Vikings arrive to terrorise the village and there is some very dramatic fighting and even real Viking boats, there are bits that will make you wonder how they did it and even if you watch the show time and time again you will still find it hard to work out how! The Vikings were Sam’s favourite and he asked to go and see it again but we didn’t have time this year.
After the Vikings we were straight across to the gladiators in The Signe Du Triomphe. This is the biggest show with the most people in at the same time and you do have to be ready to queue for a while to see this. We were lucky enough to have ‘pass emotions’ which are passes you can book that save you queing and also allow you to sit in really good seats. These sell out very quickly but if you are able to get them then we really recommend them as it means you can see so much more each day as you don’t have to worry about queing so long for the shows.
The Signe Du Triomphe is set in an amazing huge collosseum. It genuinely feels like you have taken a step back in time and you can imagine how it would have felt watching the Christians defend themselves. This is my Mum’s favourite show, it’s fast and exciting. There are chariot races, gladiator battles, a parade and even lions, it’s such a brilliant show and the audience get really into cheering and booing along, The atmosphere is unbelievable.
Normally we would fit another show in for the night before going but it was such a hot day we decided it would be best to just do one of the walk through shows. We went to the new one – Le Mystere De La Perouse. We were not disappointed. This is based on the final voyage of the Comte de Le Perouse which mysteriously disappeared in 1788 until the Shipwreck was discovered in 2005. It was amazing, it felt like you were on a ship and were really in the middle of the awful storm, you felt like you had no idea what was coming around the corner as you journeyed through the cabins and you even got wet! It had the most awesome ending and looked spectacular.
We headed over for a look round the Bourg 1900 (the old marketplace)- Lottie has a long list of dress up dresses from there she would like (currently she really loves Marguerite from the Secret of the Lance’s dress) and we have to go and look at these every time we go!
On the way to Bourg we caught sight of Le Ballet Des Sapiers being performed on the bridge. This was performed by the children from the Puy Du Fou Academy and is only on a couple of days a week after school. It was very funny, lots of amusing bits and dancing which Lottie especially enjoyed. Sam is obsessed with fire engines and he loved this too.
Once we were at the Bourg 1900 we picked up some postcards and Mum and Dad treated us to a new knight and horse for our castle but there is loads you can buy starting from not very expensive up to proper collectible items
We just had time to for Lottie and Sam to have a ride on the carosel before we headed home for the night. I can’t wait until they are old enough for us to stay later as we could have watched the Organs of Fire which is a nighttime show at the lake.
We stay in a house about 20 minutes up the road so were heading home for the night but you can even stay at the Puy Du Fou in one of their themed hotels. These look incredible and I would love to stay in one. I think The Camp du Drap d’Or would be awesome to stay in for a night.
We then had a couple of days revisiting some of the other great things the local area had to offer before heading back for our next day at the Puy Du Fou.
It always feels exciting as soon as you arrive and this time was no different. We headed straight to The Secret of The Lance which is about Marguerite who has to defend the enchanted chateau when the knights go to Orleans for Joan of Arc’s. This is Lottie’s favourite and involves some brilliant gymnastics on horse back as well as a spectacular battle and some very clever stunts performed by the actors, as well as some surprising changes to the set. My Mum says the music from this show always sends shivers down her spine.
We then headed across to see the bird show – Le Bal des Oiseaux Fantomes, this is mine and my Dad’s favourite show. It’s so good and the birds are so clever, you see everything from owls and falcons to huge vultures and they really do seem to dance in the air as they pass each other. There is so much going on you don’t know which direction to look at and the birds literally skim past your head!
Next it was off to Les Amoureux de Verdun. This is another walk through and is set in a trench during WW1. It’s quite scary for younger children but I love this. It has won awards and you won’t ever forget what it feels like to be deep in a trench feeling the explosions and seeing the gas fill the tunnels.
Finally we went over to Le Dernier Panache. It was such a hot day it was a relief to get inside the cool theatre this show is set in. This is the most amazing theatre you have ever seen, the audience moves and the stage moves (it doesn’t feel bad- it just gives an all round experience) This is really very sad and follows the story of a French navel officer who was a hero through to his fight for freedom during the French Revolution. This is such a clever production, you will never have seen anything like it.
It was time for us to leave the Puy Du Fou all to soon and we could have easily spent lots more time there. One of our favourite things to do when we had Annual Passes the other year was to just go for a walk around the park when the shows were on, despite there being thousands of people there you could still turn a corner and feel like you were the only people there, it’s so peaceful in places. There are secrets and things to explore everywhere you look and so much to do.
We didn’t get to see all the shows though- we missed out the Renaissance Du Chateau and we would have very much liked to see The Knights of the Round Table, this is a shorter show as it is only about 20 minutes but the timing didn’t quite work out, this is really good and has some brilliant special effects. There are also some smaller shows going on around the Parc which we missed too and will have to make sure we catch next time.
Whilst we would like to keep it a secret we really do think everyone should go to the Puy Du Fou, it entertains everyone from very young to very old and we think it’s the perfect family adventure.
You mustn’t miss Cinescenie which is a Summer night time show that you buy tickets for separately, When the sun goes down this spectacular starts up – it’s the world’s biggest nighttime show and has 2400 actors, to say it is spectacular doesn’t give you enough of an idea! We haven’t been for a few years but I can’t wait to see it again, it’s truly phenomenal with lighting effects, fireworks, projections, music and so much more it is impossible to describe!
We have had many awesome experiences at the Puy Du Fou and are so excited they are now open until November as it means next year we can hopefully go in October half term as well as earlier in the year.
They also have a special Christmas show, we have never been to this but would love to, it looks amazing and we think the Grand Parc would be stunning in the winter.
You absolutely must go and experience the Puy Du Fou for yourself!
Disclaimer: We were incredible lucky to be gifted tickets and Pass Emotions for the Puy Du Fou but all thoughts and opinions are our own based on our experience this year and over previous years. It’s fair to say we love it!
My favourite one so far is My Naughty Little Sister it’s about a big girl who lives with her little sister who is very naughty. She gets into lots of trouble.
I have also been reading The Naughtiest Girl Again by Enid Blyton, Elizabeth is at boarding school and sometimes gets into trouble but she in this book she is learning to be calmer and she isn’t as naughty as the sister in My Naughty Little Sister.
My Mum and I have been reading Katy by Jacqueline Wilson which is really good but a bit old for me in places, Katy has had an accident and I have just got to the bit where she has got home from hospital, it’s a bit scary in places.
Geronimo Festival Review by Lottie age 6 with some help from Mummy
We all went to Geronimo Festival at Knebworth the other weekend and it was brilliant. There was lots to do for children of all ages and we could have easily filled more than another whole day there!
We found lots of things to look at as well as quick activities to do and longer shows to watch. Sam and I went on donkeys which we loved, they were really sweet. We visited a parrot tent and saw lots of different parrots who were very funny. Luke went on the Gamer bus and had a go at real life Pacman and arcade games which he said was really fun.
We all tried the old fashion board games, some of these were quite hard but most were good to try, they looked really nice too.
Sam and I had fun in the rocking horse tent, there were so many different types, we spent ages racing them all!
Luke, Sam and I all loved the hammocks, they were so comfy, we could have fallen asleep there! I wish we could have one at home!
There were different things to get creative with, including bees to make and learn about and LEGO and Magformers to build models with, so lots of things to keep you busy.
There was even Box City where there was loads and loads of cardboard boxes and people who could help you make anything you wanted, a man helped Sam make a car he could sit in and it was really good.
We had fun playing with the musical instruments, they had lots of different things you could make music with and some of them were really unusual, like an old suitcase and a tin bath.
We watched the Bubble Man who did amazing things with bubbles and Sam even got up and sang a song with him which was really very cute.
Luke watched Sergeant Wallbanger doing a show about Anne Bonny the pirate that he really enjoyed, he said it was very interesting and quite funny.
We saw some of the shows on the Geronimo main stage, where there was lots pf people we recognised like Katy from I can Cook and Justin Fletcher was going to be there the next day. We especially liked Andy and the Odd Socks, who were brilliant but our absolute favourite show was not on the main stage. It was the Flying Seagull Project, they are a charity who work with children to make them smile whatever situation they are in, so they work in hospitals and refugee camps as well as schools and doing birthday parties. The man doing the balloon show was so funny, he had all the children and their grown ups laughing and joining in and then got us all up and dancing. We even got chance to play with their unicycles, stilts and tightwires which was brilliant fun.
We brought some tokens and went to the fairground, Sam and I had fun on a few of the rides, I was a bit disappointed that the hook a duck lady didn’t take the tokens and my Mum had already used most of her money so we didn’t get to do that. We think if there is going to be tokens then it should be for all the things in the fairground.
The only other thing we were not very sure about was that Sam wanted to go on the bouncy castle but when we got there we found out that you couldn’t just pay for a short go you had to pay £7.50 for a wrist band for the whole day which meant we weren’t allowed to do it as it would have been more than £21 for us all and we probably would have only done once. We think it would be good if they did it for 10 or 15 minute sessions as there is so much to do you don’t really need to be able to keep going back to the same thing. Other than these two small things Geronimo Festival was brilliant
There was lots of places selling all different foods and they looked amazing. We just had an ice-cream because we had taken a huge picnic but there was lots of choice. There were plenty of nice places to eat our picnic too.
Geronimo Festival at Knebworth only went on during the day but if they ever make it a camping one like the Cheshire version then we would definitely go for both days- camping would be fun!
We didn’t even get round to the adrenaline zone which Luke would have loved, as there was just too much to do! We would definitely recommend the next Geronimo Festival to anyone looking for a fun, family festival.