Mini reviews: the middle grade ones!

Good morning everyone!

I hope you’re all doing well and staying safe!

Today, I’m sharing some books that I’ve read recently! There’s no real ‘age range’ for these ones as there’s a mix, but I’ll say on each of them who I think they’d be perfect for! I’d love to know if you’ve read any of these! I really enjoyed them!

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The Small Things – Lisa Thompson

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Anna’s anxious when she’s picked to befriend the new girl in her class. For a start, Ellie is ill and can’t come to school herself. So Anna has to communicate with her through a new kind of robot. But Anna is also worried that her life’s too small and boring to be of interest to her new friend. Compared to the other girls, she doesn’t have anything exciting to talk about and so when Ellie asks her a question, a little white lie pops out. Then another and another. When Ellie finds out the truth, can their friendship survive …?

Anyone who knows anything about me will know that I am a massive Lisa Thompson fan. I’m also a MASSIVE fan of everything that Barrington Stoke does, so this partnership continues to be one that I wanna should at the rooftops about! Lisa’s other book with Barrington Stoke (House of Clouds) was so wonderfully imaginitive and I was so excited to know there was more collaboration between the two! The Small Things tells the story of Ellie, who thinks the only way to impress people and get them to like her is to lie… but that’s not something that we should ever do because the lies always come back to bite us in the bottom! This is a gorgeous story about being yourself, the importance of appreciating the small things and the fact that we shouldn’t lie to impress people. I loved the messages in this and the way it was written. We impress people by just being ourselves! Really liked this! Lisa Thompson is one of those authors who just continues to shine! This would not be out of place in any Y4+ class!

Tragedy at Sea: The Sinking of the Titanic – David Long

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On 10 April 1912, RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton on her Maiden voyage to New York. This ‘ship of dreams’ was the largest and most luxurious ocean liner in the world. It was claimed she was unsinkable. But four days later, when the ship struck an iceberg, the loss of the Titanic and 1,500 passengers would become one of the most infamous maritime disasters in history.

This is another collaboration between an author and Barrington Stoke and it’s a proper winner! I don’t read a lot of historical fiction outside of the bits that I like (WW2 mainly), so when this came in the post, I was thrilled to have something I knew was going to be super readable and I wasn’t disappointed. This is properly great (and it’s gone round the kids in my class QUICKLY!). This is a brilliant retelling of the history of the Titanic: this feels different to most retellings because it FEELS like a narrative, but it is absolutely jam-packed with factual snippets which bring it to some non-fiction! I’ll be honest, outside of the Titanic film, I didn’t really know a lot about the whole thing, so I was really glad I read this because it educated me! This would be perfect for a Titanic topic in KS2 (it’s making me think do I want to do a Titanic topic in my class, ha!)! I loved that the story was added to with incredible illustrations by Stefano Tambellini too! You can’t beat a good bit of illustration in my eyes!

The Worries: Sohal Finds a Friend – Jion Sheibani

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Sohal worries about a lot of things: the dark, mutant sheep, being alone – you name it, he worries about it! So one night he tries drawing his worries to make himself feel better – and somehow they look a lot less worrying once they’re scribbled down. But then imagine Sohal’s surprise when he wakes up the next morning to find a set of funny, furry friends at the end of his bed! His worries have come to life, and it’s not long before Hurt, Fail, Anger, Big and Alone have turned his world upside down. Now it’s up to Sohal to work out how to keep his worries under control – and have some serious fun while he’s at it!

The brilliant humans of Puffin sent me this book recently and I even deviated away from my TBR for the month because I wanted to get it read so much. I’m a bit of a worrier, so this was right down my alley! This is a great story that would be perfect to read with Y1-Y3. Sohal worries a lot (about everything from getting hurt to having no friends) and when, one day he draws his worries and they come to life, they only get bigger. When he realises he’s not the only one with worries and that talking is important, then things start to change. He finds someone to talk to, he finds someone that can help him and he finds someone who has worries just like him – and he even realises that sometimes the most brave and brazen of people have worries too! I think this is a perfect PSHE book to explore worries and would go great alongside Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival. This is gorgeously illustrated throughout – I’m particularly fond of the illustrations of the worries themselves!

Kate on the Case – Hannah Peck

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Young reporter-in-training Kate and her mouse-accomplice Rupert are on board a train, to visit Kate’s mum in the Arctic. But as soon as the train departs, mysterious things start happening. A packet of ginger nuts goes missing . . .
A collection of gymnastics trophies are stolen . . .
And some ancient scrolls disappear . . .
Fellow passenger Madame Maude seems the most likely culprit, until a surprising – and delicious – twist turns the whole investigation on its head.

I was lucky enough to receive a super early proof of this book from the publishers, Piccadilly Press, and it was one of those whose cover just made me want to pick it up… and I am so so glad I did! I read it exceptionally quickly and it was just such good fun! ‘Kate on the Case’ tells the story of wonderful little Kate. She’s on board a train going to the Arctic and things start going missing… there’s the mystery of the missing trophies which is the most important! With only one obvious suspect on board (someone with a history), Kate is sure she knows who the suspect is… but all is not as it seems! She has a wonderful mouse sidekick who helps her through the case too! This is one of those lovely stories that would be perfect to read aloud to a KS1 class! Hannah Peck’s exceptional illustrations really bring this story to life!!

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And there you go! I had such a blast reading these! A massive thank you to the publishers who sent me these books! Thanks so much for stopping by!

What have you read recently?
What’s on your TBR?
Recommend me a book that you’ve loved recently!

S x

3 thoughts on “Mini reviews: the middle grade ones!

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