BLOG TOUR: The Thirteenth Home of Noah Bradley

Morning friends!

How are you? It’s nice to see you here on a Saturday! I don’t normally post on a Saturday, so you’re in for a real treat today! 

Today, I’m part of the blog tour for The Thirteenth Home of Noah Bradley by Amber Lee Dodd. As the book is about a family escaping a curse, each blogger on this brilliant blog tour has the absolute priviledge of hosting a piece by Amber about a curse from history or fiction. 

The Curse of the Werewolf

Werewolves always tend to be my favourite characters in fiction. They are often gentle, smart and honourable men. From the cool and collected Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to the wise and brave Remus Lupin in Harry Potter, there are characters you root for. But come the full moon you really would be best advised to leave these guys alone. Their transformation from lovable heroes into huge wolf like creatures can be very scary. But how exactly do you become a werewolf?

Here are three things to avoid.

1)            Don’t get bitten by another werewolf

2)            Don’t anger a witch and get cursed

3)            Don’t drink rainwater out of the footprint of the animal

The Thirteenth Home of Noah Bradley by Amber Lee Dodd

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The Bradley family are constantly escaping from a centuries old curse which means that every home they ever live in is destroyed by a typhoon or flash flood that affects no other houses on the street, or they are chased out of town by a flock of persistent birds. They have just moved to their thirteenth house and Noah wants this one to work out – he’s got some good friends at school and desperately wants himself and his deaf brother Billy to put down roots. But the curse returns – so he must find a way to break it.

Released now! Check out online retailers – indie or otherwise – and get yourself a copy! I am very excited about this! 

Why don’t you keep tabs on the rest of the blog tour and find out which other curses Amber is talking about?

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S x

 

BLOG TOUR: Viper’s Daughter

Vipers Daughter: rich, incredible storytelling that will grip you from the get go.

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“For two summers Torak and Renn have been living in the Forest with their faithful pack-brother, Wolf. But their happiness is shattered when Renn realizes Torak is in danger – and she’s the threat. When she mysteriously disappears, Torak and Wolf brave the Far North to find her. At the mercy of the Sea Mother and haunted by ravenous ice bears, their quest leads them to the Edge of the World. There they must face an enemy more evil than any they’ve encountered.”

I was lucky enough to be invited on the blog tour for the brilliant new book Viper’s Daughter by Michelle Paver. There are a bunch of children at school who are HUGE fans of Michelle Paver, so when they heard I was getting the new one, they wanted in on the reviewing process! I’ll share my thoughts and then I’ll share their thoughts too! 

Viper’s Daughter is a wonderfully rich and thrilling story which takes you on a total adventure: from start to finish you are there and you feel it. You meet characters you’ll adore and you’ll go through what they’re going through. You’ll be scared with them and for them!

The story follows Torak, who starts the story angry and hurt by his friend Renn’s betrayal. He goes on a journey to find Renn because she’s his lifeline. He wants to discover why she ran away and betrayed him. He needs to know the answers to his questions. As he embarks on this journey for the truth and his friend, he encounters many different dangers, beyrayals, truths and secrets

Luckily, he’s not alone on his journey. He’s got his pack-brother Wolf with him. The two have a wonderfully close bond and their relationship with each other was wonderful to read. Wolf has to make some tricky choices in this story, but he does it for the good of Torak. The two definitely have a very firm bond with each other and there are moments when you realise just how well connected these two are. 

You can’t read this book and not be absolutely fascinated by the relationship between Renn and Torak. There were moments of sheer frustration for me because I just wanted to shake them and say “It’s fine”, but you understand as you go through WHY Renn left. Why she feels guilty and scared. Why she does what she does. Through the book they show brilliant courage, resilience and commitment to each other: they just want the other to be safe. That’s all they want and I think for me to read that was lovely. That’s all I want for my friends. Safety. Love. Warmth. There were definitely a few moments where I had a little cry! 

As a massive lover of a good fantasy world, I was yearning for a good bit of world building, and let me tell you, you get it droves here. There’s so much to get your teeth into here and you feel like you’re there. The writing is immersive without being suffocating. I know I can sometimes feel like I get lost in a world, but with this everything feels so real and well thought out. You never feel lost in the fascinating landscapes, or the lifestyles that the people live. You’d never find me visiting this land though… oh no! Far too cold for me! 

Viper’s Daughter is a proper success. It’s a compelling adventure into a bit of history that I don’t read often, and I’d love to go back. Your attention will be gripped from the first page and before you know it, you’ll be finished. You’ll be taken by the world, the characters and the cultures. 

Some short reviews from my kids:

“I loved that it was visiting back in historical times and it showed me so much more about how people lived back then without giving me too information. There were lots of questions I had about the Stone Age times and this book answered them for me. Plus, it was like a proper rollercoaster, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next!”

“I liked that this book was short and snappy. Some books can be really long and boring, but this book was fun and quick. I didn’t think I would enjoy reading it as much as I did because I LOVED her other books so much that I was worried, but it was mint!”

“If you’re looking for an adventure that will take your breath away and make you want to travel back in time, this is the one for you!”

And that’s it from me! I hope you enjoyed my stop on the blog tour! Check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour! You are in for a treat! 

Viper's Daughter Blog Tour Banner

S x 

BOOK BLOG: Abi Elphinstone

Jungledrop: exciting, filled with heart and adventure!

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“Eleven-year-old twins, Fox and Fibber, have been rivals for as long as they can remember. Only one of them will inherit the family fortune and so a race is afoot to save the dwindling Petty-Squabble empire and win the love of their parents. But when the twins are whisked off to Jungledrop, a magical Unmapped Kingdom in charge of conjuring our world’s weather, things get wildly out of hand. An evil harpy called Morg is on the loose. And if she finds the long-lost Forever Fern before the twins, both Jungledrop and our world will crumble. Suddenly, Fox and Fibber find themselves on an incredible adventure in a glow-in-the-dark rainforest full of golden panthers, gobblequick trees and enchanted temples. But, with the fate of two worlds in their hands, will the twins be able to work together for once to defeat Morg and her dark magic?”

Jungledrop is the second book (technically third) in Abi Elphinstone’s incredible Unmapped Chronicles series (Rumblestar being the other novel length one and Everdark being the other one – a World Book Day book!). This series gives me SO MUCH JOY. 

When the amazing humans at Simon and Schuster emailed me asking if I wanted a proof copy, I couldn’t refuse. I am a massive massive fan of Abi’s writing. She writes such incredible stories which are always adventure filled and magnificence that I needed to get my hands on it (plus, my Year 6’s would have lynched me if I had turned it down… they are also massive fans!) 

eq0otw6waaeqkceJust look at this proof man… HOW SHINY AND GORGEOUS. 

Jungledrop tells the tale of the two obnoxious and rude twins (Fox and Fibber) who have an awful lot to learn about themselves and about the world. They’re not the kindest or friendliest protagonists to start with and when they begin their quest to save their world and the Unmapped Kingdoms, you find that in fact, they’re going to have to grow and change to get through it. They have to learn to be kind, to show humility and be brave. They are of course on the quest to save the world from Morg (cruel, mean Morg, who is set on taking over the Unmapped Kingdom with her dark heart). 

This book is a total adventure with an awful lot of heart. Abi Elphinstone writes new worlds and new characters with such brilliance that is hard not to fall in love with the stories straight away. It’s rich in language, setting, characters and messages. 

One of the things that always stands out to me about Abi Elphinstone books is the messages that are delivered through brilliant storytelling. This one delivers a gorgeous message about the importance of being kind and being brave. Bravery comes in all forms in this book. It comes from small acts of kindness and massive acts of a heroic nature. The twins learn a lot about how unkind they can be and how kindness can actually help them to learn about themselves and each other. 

This book is so jam packed with wonderful characters. New and old.

The twins are not very likeable at first: they’re mean, selfish, obnoxious and just plain spiteful. They’re very self-obsessed. They’re not very compassionate. They’re not kind to each other. But when they realise they need each other and they need to be vulnerable and trust other people, they really start to change. They’re devious and conniving at times. You definitely warm up to them in the end though. 

Of course, mean, power-hungry Morg is back and she’s up to her old funny business again. Trying to destroy the world of Jungledrop. Trying to capture the people. Trying to grow stronger after the happenings of Rumblestar. As much as she terrifies me, it was great to be back with her. She’s one of those deliciously evil characters (a bit like Maleficent).

In the lands of Jungledrop, the twins meet a wonderful array of characters. When they end up in their adventure, they are accompanied by Heckle the parrot. He’s very aptly named and he definitely kept the laughs coming. He sticks around despite all rebuffs from the twins (Fox in particular is mean). In these magical lands, the twins come across many other magical animals who lend a hand, even though the twins try and avoid this happening (they’ve been brought up to be hardy and get on themselves!).

There’s another familiar face that appears in this book that made my heart so happy. I loved seeing them again. I’m glad they reappeared. 

My Goodreads review:

Blooming magnificent. A book, like all of Abi’s others, filled with adventure and heart. You can’t read one of her books and not be swept away with the lives of her characters, the depth and richness of her worlds and the brilliance of her baddies. I loved the twins and the journey they go on: kindness really is the bravest thing in the world. As much as Morg terrifies me, it was great to be back with her dastardly ways. And Heckle is a brilliant character (with a perfect name!) bloody bravo Abi Elphinstone!! 

And that’s it! If you like the sound of this, why don’t you consider preordering it?

Amazon Preorder Link

Waterstones Preorder Link

Hive Preorder Link

A massive thank you to the gorgeous Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy of Jungledrop – it’s in the possession of one of my Year 6s as we speak! They’re planning to send it around each other! Speak to you all soon! 

S x 

BOOK BLOG: Matt Haig

Hello!

Now… for those of you who are new around here, there is an important message I need you to take from today:

I am a MASSIVE Matt Haig fan.

I think he writes BRILLIANTLY. He’s one of the few authors who I read ANYTHING they release (non fiction, adult, MG). In fact, I’d go so far as to say I’ve read ALL of his books… I may even OWN them all (if not all of them, MOST of them!) I’ve reviewed quite a few of his books on here, but I recently read Evie in the Jungle (the Worls Book Day 2020 book by him) and thought this was the opportune moment to FINALLY review Evie and the Animals and Evie and the Jungle!

Evie and the Animals: a great story about the importance of kindness

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“Ten-year-old Evie has a talent. A SUPERTALENT. Evie can TALK to animals and HEAR their thoughts. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? One day at school, Evie sets Kahlo the rabbit free from her too-small cage. Evie knows she’s done A Good Thing . . . but it lands her in BIG trouble. Evie’s dad and Granny Flora say her talent is a curse; she must never use it again. Until a year later pets on her street – including Lady Gaga the cat and a hamster named Cheryl – start disappearing. Evie is determined to find them. But it’s dangerous for her to help. Because the villain has a talent of their own, and only wants to use it for evil… Can Evie save the pets before it’s too late, even if it means DARING TO BE HERSELF?”

Evie and the Animals is a gorgeous story where Dr. Dolittle meets modern day issues to do with conservationism and activism! 

Evie has a special talent: she can understand other species. She can talk to them and she can hear what they are saying. Whether it’s the dogs of the neighbourhood, the school rabbit who wants to be set free or even scarier animals, Evie can hear them and talk to them. For so long she’s been ignoring them because she doesn’t want to be different (don’t we all worry about this!?), but when they start to go missing, Evie knows she needs to do about something about it. She knows she needs to use her power to try and help. 

This book has one of those brilliant things that kids are instantly hooked into. It’s exciting and enticing – who wouldn’t like to talk to animals?! We’ve had loads of chats about what animals the children would talk to if they had Evie’s powers (with answers ranging from tigers, to worms and pets, it’s been a topic of hot debate in the classroom!)

This book is full of elements that kept me wanting to read. There’s mystery, talking animals, scary moments (scary big cats at the zoo), bad guys and powers.

Evie is a brilliant main character. She’s full of heart and gusto. She’s got a brilliant message to deliver to children about being kind and the power behind those acts of kindness. She’s caring and gentle to both the people around her and the animals she encounters. Plus, she’s on her way to solving a mystery! 

My Goodreads review of Evie and the Animals:

A lovely story about the importance of being kind (to humans AND animals), being yourself (even when everyone tells you not to be) and looking after the world. I bloody love Matt Haig SO much.

Evie and the Jungle: a new adventure into the Amazon!

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“Twelve-year-old Evie has a talent. She can HEAR what animals are thinking and she can TALK to them with her mind. When Evie goes on a trip to the Amazon rainforest, her powers are put to the test. She makes friends with pink river dolphins, must save an injured sloth, and discovers the secret life of a jaguar. Soon she sees that the jungle is in serious and deadly danger, and comes up with a rather risky plan to help save it…”

Evie in the Jungle is a wonderful addition to the Evie family of books. She’s a brilliant protagonist that children might know from the first book, but I don’t think you NEED to know her as this book stands by itself if necessary.

This second adventure takes us on a fascinating (and sometimes a little bit scary!) trip all the way to the Amazon Rainforest, where we hear about Evie’s adventures in Peru with her dad. Evie and her dad have the chance to meet all kinds of incredibly exotic animals, including an adorable sloth, some very rude monkeys and a downright rude Scarlet Macaw. They go to help save so many of these animals who are affected by the destruction of the rainforest. 

One of the things I loved about this book is that there are so many facts jam packed into it that it appeals to my wonderfully science loving class! I learned that pink dolphins exist (no, I didn’t know that!) There’s some pretty shocking facts to be learned in this book too: humans are destroying enough rainforest to fill 30 football pitches every minute; 35 species of the Amazon Rainforest become extinct every day.

This book is an exciting and fun story, with lots of very important messages about looking after our planet, being kind to each other and the importance of doing good things. It’s got wonderful messages about compassion and honesty too. It’s a perfect length for new readers without being intimidating! 

My Goodreads review:

I really enjoyed this short story about Evie, the girl who can talk to animals. It’s got important messages about saving the rainforests, the importance of nature and kindness. 

And that’s it! Completely and utterly recommend these books (and the rest of Matt Haig’s catalogue of books too, if you’re after some recommendations!)

Have you read any of Matt Haig’s books?
Can you recommend me any more books with similar messages?

S x 

BOOK BLOG: Emma Carroll

The Ghost Garden: Historical fiction done splendidly

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“SUMMER 1914. When Fran unearths a bone in the garden of Longbarrow House on the same afternoon that Leo breaks his leg, it must surely be just a coincidence. But Fran can’t shake the uneasy feeling that the events are somehow connected, and there is a shift in the atmosphere that leaves her troubled and anxious. Roped into keeping wheelchair-bound Leo company, Fran is forced to listen to his foolish theories about the looming threat of war in Europe. But as the pair start to uncover more secrets buried beneath the garden, they dredge up threatening shadows of the future, and Fran begins to fear that Leo’s dire predictions might be coming true…”

The brilliant squirrels over at Barrington Stoke sent me one of their brand new titles and I couldn’t have been more over-joyed to receive it. They have collaborated with Emma Caroll (Queen of all things historical fiction) and created an absolute winner!

Set at the start of World War 1, The Ghost Garden tells the story of Fran: a young girl whose family works at Longbarrow House. She ends up digging up a bone in the garden of the house and then something happens to one of the grand-children of the rich family. She worries that these things are connected (she’s not the biggest fan of Leo and his siblings) and is concerned that there is more to it than just coincidence. She ends up being roped into looking after Leo as he is wheelchair bound and his siblings don’t look after him well. As they spend more time together and go deeper into some well-kept secrets, they discover there’s more to Longbarrow House than they first knew!

I absolutely adored this story. It was one that I picked up and then gobbled up in a very short space of time! Something that I love about Barrington Stoke books is just that: they’re readable and brilliant. Their books are perfect for reluctant readers… and this is one that I would recommend whole heartedly!

Throughout the story, there’s an over riding sense of bad omens and a lot of tension is built up in very subtle but effective ways. I can see a lot of children loving this book for that sense of fear and tension.

I also thought the characters were brilliant too. Fran is a great main character and I think a lot of children will like her! She’s definitely pretty brave – I don’t think you’d find me going on adventures through the gardens of Longbarrow House in search of secrets and history! 

My Goodreads review

This is great! Properly classic Emma Carroll: historical fiction done well. I loved the apparent bad omens and tension throughout. Fran is a great main character. I’d love to visit Longbarrow House. Although I definitely would be as brave as Fran was!

Another massive thank you to Barrington Stoke for sending me a copy of this fantastic read! It’s out in July! You’re all in for a treat!

S x 

BLOG TOUR: Scribble Witch

Scribble Witch: Funny and beautifully illustrated!

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“When Molly’s best friend announces that she’s moving to a new school, a blue Wednesday becomes the Worst Wednesday Ever.
That is until some unexpected magic brightens up Molly’s day. Notes, a secret paper witch, springs to life from her pen pot – and into action! Some of the things Notes does are absolutely NOT helpful and gets Molly into trouble with her stinky teacher. But it’s surprising what one tiny witch, armed with nothing more than a pencil, can achieve before the home-time bell rings…”

Scibble Witch: Notes in Class is about a young girl called Molly. She is horrifed after hearing a piece of news from her friend Chloe. When Molly is looking a word up in the dictionary, she comes across a drawing of a witch and decides it is a brilliant idea to cut it out (because obviously!) to cut it out. The next thing she knows, the paper witch has come to life! The witch’s name is Notes and all Notes wants to do is help her friendling. As the story unfolds, Molly realises that what Notes does is sometimes very unhelpful and she finds herself in so much trouble.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book: it’s cute, it’s funny and it sets the scene for the rest of the series to be brilliant! It made me chuckle a lot and I know that it has gone down very well with the children in my school. We are dying to know what happens with Notes in the coming books! We’ve made some hilarious predictions about what we think could be coming for the group!

I’m a massive massive fan of a well-illustrated book and this is one that has some wonderful illustrations. They are so brilliantly done and add so much to the story. I love Molly’s Lists of Things! This list made me chuckle a lot (and I agree with most of them, and I remember the pencil topper craze. I was never allowed more than one, though…)

Some reviews from the children at school:

“I loved this book because it made me laugh a lot!”

“This book was a lot of fun because I’d love to have someone like Notes in my life. Imagine having a witch who thinks she’s being helpful when in fact she isn’t!”

“The pictures in this book made me smile a lot because they showed a lot of fun and things that you didn’t always read”.

A massive thank you to the publishers for sending me a review copy of the book! The kids at school loved reading it and it’s been a wonderful thing to have to chat about! Check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour!

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S x 

Mini MG wrap ups: Spooky edition

Hello!

For all it’s no where near Halloween, I’ve read a few books recently featuring spooky characters: zombies, vampires and even Bigfoot! I thought rather than not share reviews of these books, I would share mini reviews so you can all hear how bloody brilliant they all are and go out and read them yourselves!!

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Sam Wu is NOT Afraid of Zombies – Katie and Kevin Tsang

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“There’s hardly anything that Sam Wu is afraid of. Unless you count ghosts, sharks, the dark and maybe even spiders. But definitely NOT zombies. Except for actual real ones maybe. So when Sam’s arch nemesis, Ralph Zinkerman the Third announces that he has zombie werewolves living in his basement, for the first time ever, Sam really isn’t sure if he wants to be the one to save the day. Ralph has always been pretty mean to him and, well, just one little nibble from the zombie werewolves wouldn’t hurt that much, would it? Common childhood fears dealt with in a hilarious, sensitive and accessible way”

I am a massive fan of these books and this one is another brilliantly fun book in the series. These books never fail to make me smile! Sam and his gang have to work together to overcome their meanest opposition yet: scary zombies. When Sam and co think there’s a zombie hiding in the basement of Ralph’s house, he definitely isn’t afraid of it… until he has to do something about it! I loved the plans they came up with! The children all thought they were going to be eaten by the zombies and they had to work together. I love that these books show the importance of friendship and everyone being different. Plus, as ever, the illustrations by Nathan Reed make me so bloody happy!

Amelia Fang and the Naughty Caticorns – Laura Ellen Anderson

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“Amelia Fang’s mum has a baby vampire on the way! But with the Fang household completely focussed on the new arrival, no one is paying Amelia any attention. Until she is asked to look after three very mischievous caticorns who make it their business to get Amelia in a world of trouble. Now EVERYONE is watching. And not in a good way!”

Another series I am a massive fan of. Amelia and her friends are always getting up to some kind of fun and in this book they are learning what it’s like to look after things… especially when those things don’t want to listen. When Amelia and her friends just want to be helpful, they learn that looking after caticorns is a lot more trouble than they thought it would be! This book is a whole load of fun with brilliant messages about Amelia becoming a big sister. The caticorns get up to some sheer nonsense and all Amelia wants to do is a good job looking after them. The illustrations, as always by Laura Ellen Anderson her very self, are gorgeous and add so much to the story!

The Bigwoof Conspiracy – Dashe Roberts 

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“When twelve-year-old, UFO-obsessed, Lucy Sladan sneaks out in the middle of a thunderstorm to investigate the unexplained disappearances in her hometown of Sticky Pines, she finds more than she bargained for: a huge hairy creature, a thirteen-year-old stranger named Milo Fisher and a deep-rooted secret. Together, Lucy and Milo become entwined in a mystery that threatens to engulf the whole town of Sticky Pines and its weird and wonderful residents.”

I don’t get to read books about conspiracies very often, so when this showed up I was MOST intrigued. And my gosh this was a whole lot of fun. A small little town that’s being taken over by Bigfoot type monsters, a little girl who refuses to accept that the adults don’t have the answers. She comes up against a factory owner who is plying the town with sugar and begins to get suspicious. When she makes herself an unlikely ally, the two of them work together to get to the bottom of what is happening to the town she lives in and some of the people she loves most. This was gorgeously paced with some brilliant humour thrown in. I don’t think I’d like to visit… but I’d love to be Lucy’s friend! A great sci fi mystery! 

Amelia Fang and the Bookworm Gang – Laura Ellen Anderson

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“Amelia Fang is feeling anxious. Everyone in her class has to write their own stories and read them out loud to the class – but for the first time ever, Amelia has run out of ideas! And she doesn’t feel like she can ask for help. So she decides to gets some inspiration from one of the many books in Loose Limb Library. But when Amelia and her friends get there, the gang discovers big bite marks in every book! Bookworms have invaded and they chomp through EVERYTHING and EVERYONE in their path. How will Amelia save all the books – and her friends – before it’s too late?”

The second entry for Amelia Fang into this post and it’s a testament to this series! This is a special World Book Day 2020 book and I was so glad to see an Amelia Fang book on the list. As soon as I knew I could buy it, I dashed out to buy a copy for myself. This was really cute! A brilliant way to explore writers block using Amelia and some helpful bookworms! I loved the messages about asking for help and that not being a bad thing! I love this series and to have it as a WBD book makes me so happy! Plus, you can’t beat these illustrations!

And that’s it for now! Thanks for stopping by! Let me know if you’ve read any of these books, or any you’d like to read! 

S x 

Federation of Children’s Book Groups: Children’s Book Award

Hello!

Today I have the honour of sharing one of the books which is on the shortlist for the Children’s Book Award with The Federation of Children’s Book Groups. The award is the only national award voted for solely by children, so it is an honour to be involved. 

The book which I have the true joy of honouring is:

The Runaway Pea by Kjartan Poskitt and Alex Willmore

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“It’s time for tea, but one pesky pea has decided to ping himself off the plate in search of a party! The rogue pea shoots, flings and bounces across the kitchen as he embarks on his perilous adventure – but will he find the fun he is looking for or is the kitchen a scarier place than he thought? This quirky caper from debut duo Kjartan Poskitt and Alex Willmore will show you just what can happen when you take your eye off your dinner for a second!”

This picture book by Kjartan Poskitt and Alex Willmore is a wonderfully entertaining story of a rogue pea who just wants to do his very own thing. We’ve all had that one pea who just doesn’t want to get on your fork, doesn’t want to stay on your plate and will roll off into the nowhereness! 

The pea in question in this gorgeously bright picture book thinks he’s the best, most brilliant, most amazing energetic vegetable in the whole wide world world. He does not want to be eaten: he wants to party. He knows that there is so much fun to be had! 

He sets off on a very perilous journey across the kitchen. He knows he can do it. He SPLATs, PLOPs and TWANGs all over the kitchen and is having a ball… but of course the fun of an adventure has to come to an end! And what happens when his adventure ends is done so so brilliantly. 

I adored the rhyming pattern and the hilariousness of this book! It is a story which will appeal to children of all ages – because even Year 6s deserve to have picture books read to them! The incredible illustrations add so much to this story too: you see so much of the pea’s personality from the ways in which he is drawn. You get to meet a lot of his friends too, and some of them are just BRILLIANT. 

This is a gorgeously bright and colourful picture book that is sure to have kids talking about the adventures of food! 

The Children’s Book Award is the only national award voted for solely by children from start to finish. It is highly regarded by parents, teachers, librarians, publishers and children’s authors and illustrators as it truly represents the children’s choice. Thanks to the support of the publishers, over 1,000 new books are donated to be read and reviewed by our Testing Groups across the country every year, with over 150,000 total votes being cast in the process. At the end of each testing year, nearly 12,000 books are donated to hospitals, women’s refuges, nurseries and disadvantaged schools by our groups.

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The overall winner of last year’s CBA Book Award was a picture book.  Mixed by Arree Chung. (which I ADORE)

Voting will be open on the website and any child up to the age of 18 can visit to vote for their favourite books from the top 12. For more details, check out the website here: http://fcbg.org.uk/childrens-book-award/ 

S x 

BLOG TOUR: A Cake for Gestapo

A Cake for Gestapo: a great historical novel full of heart 

A Cake for the Gestapo Children's Fiction by Jacqueline King Review (Sent by ZunTold)

“Slotting in beside THE MACHINE GUNNERS and WAR HORSE, A CAKE FOR THE GESTAPO tells the story of a fictional gang of kids in Jersey during the German Occupation in WW2, weaving in very real islanders’ own stories of the Occupation at its core – A history that has never before been told in children’s literature. June 1940. As World War Two rages on, for Joe, Spinner, Ginger and Clem life continues as normal on the small island of Jersey. Dealing with school bullies and angry parents, none of them really believe the enemy will invade. That is until the island is bombed and Joe is injured. Outrage turns to terror. The grownups avoid the Germans, but the gang have a plan. Playing tricks on the soldiers, they trip them up in their every move until their plan lands them and the whole community in terrible, mortal danger. The threat of starvation begins to hang over the islanders as the German occupiers tighten their grip, but the gang refuse to give up. What if they could take down one of the German s most dangerous leaders? What if they could defeat the cruel and terrifying Viktor?”

This book is set in Jersey and takes place over the space of two years of the German Occupation during World War Two (1940-1941). The focus of the story is a group of school children forming a club who are set on annoying the German soldiers as much as they can. The story follows them through what happens as the war drags on and what happens to them in the 2 years that the book spans. There’s loss, heartbreak, laughter and frienship: a great mix in my eyes! 

As we’ve just read Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll, a lot of my children have been curious about this book! We are digging WW2 stories at the minute. You can’t beat a good bit of historical fiction in our lives!

The dynamic between the children is wonderful to read and definitely sets the scene for some wonderful friendships! Their actions made me chuckle at times. Who wouldn’t want to throw berries at opposition soldiers? Sometimes it is hard to differentiate between children in groups, but each child was written well enough for me to be able to know who was who with ease. They don’t shy away from some threat at times and I was definitely worried for them at different points: their understanding of REAL DANGER was questionable sometimes (but I think this was what made the book more readable because we all know kids who would embrace this!). The children go through a lot in the story with some of them playing more adult roles than they should be playing: carers, defenders, providers, housekeepers and support networks for each other and their parents.

I loved that this story had quite a big focus on the impact the war had on the island and its inhabitants. It didn’t shy away from the fact that war dragged on and the people became more impatient and frustrated with the war. The story was quite difficult to read at times because war is a tough thing. This book has moments of real peril, heartbreak and loss.  

A Cake For The Gestapo is a well written and exciting story filled with danger, peril and heart. You’ll find it hard not to fall for the characters and their shenanigans. 

Have you read A Cake for Gestapo?
Can you recommend me some WW2 fiction?
What time period would you love more fiction from?

A massive thank you to the publishers Zuntold for inviting me to be part of this exciting blog tour! GO check out the other stops on the tour and find out what everyone else thought! 

cake insta blog tour

S x 

World Book Day: what’s the big fuss?

What’s the big fuss?

WHAT’S THE BIG FUSS?

WHAT’S THE BIG FUSS?

I’ll tell you what the big fuss is: 

Tomorrow, we have one of my favourite days of the year: World Book Day. World Book Day is a celebration of everything bookish. It’s getting people together to celebrate books. It’s a chance to read new books; chat about old books; discover new favourite characters; learn new ways to listen and hear others’ stories. World Book Day is a day for us all to go YAY BOOKS and it actually mean something. It’s a day for us booknerds to be around everyone else and just to SPEW everything bookish at them. It’s a chance for teachers to celebrate being bookish teachers. It’s a chance for the world to see that books, stories, characters are important. It’s a chance for us, as a community (regardless how big that is), to just revel in the beauty of books. 

I love World Book Day. Not for the dressing up: I’m not a fan of dressing up personally. I just feel like a bit of a dick dressing up, but that’s just me. I’m not here to talk about whether schools should encourage children to dress up or not; whatever works for your community is what you should do. If there’s one thing I think schools should be doing on World Book Day, they should be celebrating books. They should be celebrating reading and stories. Picture books, novels, wordless books, non-fiction, poetry, newspapers, graphic novels: whatever it is, celebrate it. Show children that books are brilliant; show children that books can open their minds to others. Show children that books are necessary. Show children that books can teach them things that we can’t always teach them. Show children that reading is fun.

For all I’m not a fan of dreessing up, I will always try to get involved! 

(The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the little boy from Lost and Found; Stitch Head)

This year, I’m going as the Rainbow Fish.

I work in a school where World Book Day is a day of bookish fun. We start the day with a parade of our costumes and the best dressed/most creative costumes in each class get a book. Then the children are put into mixed groups (Nursery-Y2 and Y3-Y6) and they take part in a carousel of activities for the entire day (KS2) or the afternoon (EYFS/KS1) which celebrate the joyousness of books. 

In previous years, we’ve had book quizzes, French story time, a reading cafe, bookmark creating, books and music, trailer making for their favourite books, sandwich creating for the Tiger Who Came To Tea and so many other different activities. 

Image result for a little bit brave

This year, I’m doing poetry with KS2. I’m going to read A Little Bit Brave (which is a gorgeous picture book if you’ve not read it!) and get them to come up with a poem about what it means to be brave. I can’t wait to see what they come up with. We have planned for every class to go down to Waterstones to spend their token on the £1 books (I did this last year with my class and it was one of my favourite days of the year!) We’re actually having a reading MONTH in my school this year… which obviously delights me! 

However you choose to celebrate World Book Day, whatever your opinion is of dressing up, remember to share your favourite books with the people around you. Tell your favourite author/illustrator you think their books are great. Whether you’re in an office, or lucky enough to share the day with kids like me, talk to people about books: your favourites, the ones you didn’t like, the ones you just read, what you’re excited to read. Let’s get the world sharing stories! 

I am team World Book Day is great. I’d love it if you were too! 

Tell me all about how you plan on spending tomorrow! 

S x