If you haven’t read any of Lucy Strange’s rather wonderful historical novels, now is a good time to start as her latest title, The Ghost of Gosswater, is an absolute corker! So good, I read it in an afternoon! The Lake District, 1899. The Earl is dead and cruel Cousin Clarence has inherited everything. Twelve-year-old … Continue reading ‘The Ghost of Gosswater,’ by Lucy Strange, cover by Helen Crawford-White.
There are so many brilliant books which I am scared may get missed by readers due to the inability to visit actual bookshops and see them in all their glory. Today, I’m delighted to be high-lighting the wonderful ‘Darwin’s Dragons’ by Lindsay Galvin. This is an essential for any teacher who teaches ‘Evolution and Inheritance’ … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘Darwin’s Dragons,’ by Lindsay Galvin, cover by Gordy Wright.
Today is my stop on the blog tour for Amy Sparkes’ brilliant new title ‘The House at the Edge of Magic.’ "Sometimes you are a whisper away from magic without even realizing it." Nine is an orphan pickpocket determined to escape her life in the Nest of a Thousand Treasures. When she steals a house-shaped … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘The House At the Edge of Magic,’ by Amy Sparkes, cover by Ben Mantle.
There have been lots of posts from teachers looking for collections of short stories to share online with their classes. I’ve put together a quick summary of some of my KS2 favourites with links to more in-depth reviews if I’ve written them. Please make sure you check each publishers’ guidelines for sharing their books online … Continue reading Short Story Collections
I always on the look-out for highly-illustrated middle grade titles packed with laughs and that is exactly what you get from this brilliant story told through a series of letters from a son to his super-spy parents (whom he believes are sprout farming in Outer Castonga!) The Plot: 10-year-old Freddy Spicer writes letters to his … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘Chocolate Milk, X-Ray Specs and Me,’ by Bethany Walker, illustrated by Jack Noel.
Talking from personal experience as a teacher and English subject lead, poetry can often get overlooked by busy teachers lacking confidence and time. This is such a loss for pupils as poetry is a masterclass in precise language choices and how to tell a story on a page. It can make you laugh, cry or … Continue reading Guest post by poet James Carter – how to enthuse children whilst delivering online.
Every so often, a series of books comes along which is just so perfect for its intended audience that you find yourself recommending it left, right, and centre. Andy Shepherd’s ‘The Boy Who Grew Dragons’ series is one of those rare wonders. I am constantly recommending it to Year 2 teachers or for children aged … Continue reading Blog Tour: ‘The Boy Who Sang With Dragons,’ by Andy Shepherd, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie.
Ever since reading the first instalment of Robert Muchamore’s Robin Hood series earlier in 2020, Book Boy has been counting down to the release of the second in January 2021. Luckily for him, I was kindly sent a review copy before that which he promptly whisked from under my nose and set about devouring. ‘The … Continue reading ‘Robin Hood: Piracy, Paintballs and Zebras,’ by Robert Muchamore.
You know it’s a good book when it’s whisked away from under your nose when it drops out of the envelope and this is your view for the rest of the day! This was my view of Book Boy when ‘Stick Boy’ arrived at our house: As you can probably imagine, life is not easy … Continue reading Blog Tour: ‘Stick Boy,’ by Paul Coomey.
You know that you are going to be in safe hands when you open up a Stewart Foster novel. Author of the award-winning ‘The Bubble Boy’ has a brand new title coming out on the New Year for us to enjoy: ‘All Sam wants is a family of his own, a home instead of a … Continue reading ‘The Perfect Parent Project,’ by Stewart Foster.
If there are any teachers reading this who are looking for a new text with strong environmental themes and links to the Arctic, this is the book for you. A gorgeous story with stunning illustrations from the masterful Levi Pinfold - publishing in February 2021. ‘There are no polar bears left on Bear Island. At … Continue reading ‘The Last Bear,’ by Hannah Gold, illustrated by Levi Pinfold.
To round off this year’s book advent, I have a lovely picture book from Little Door Books. Everybody loves the stars but have you ever loved them enough to steal them? Not just one or two, but all of them? When a little girl decides she wants a real star of her own, she writes … Continue reading Christmas Advent – Day 23 ‘The Girl Who Stole the Stars,’ by Corrina Campbell.
The brilliantly magnificent Mabel is back in a new title with a festive twist. It features three chucklesome short stories which would be perfect for readers who are developing in confidence. Life often doesn’t seem for to Mabel Chase. School is always so sameish, no-one wants to let her look after her baby cousin, and … Continue reading Christmas Advent – Day 22 ‘Magnificent Mabel and the Christmas Elf,’ by Ruth Quayle, illustrated by Julia Christians.
Today’s choice is a lovely story about a little mouse searching for a new home on Christmas Eve and all the creatures she helps along the way. ‘It’s Christmas Eve, and Mouse is trying to find the perfect place to call home. But by the time she’s helped Bunny, Fox and Bear, the sun has … Continue reading Christmas Advent – Day 21 ‘A House for Christmas Mouse,’ by Rebecca Harry.
Today I have an icy Antarctic adventure to share with you. The second title in this highly-engaging series for newly confident readers: Ever since eight-year-old Agnes became a fully-fledged member of SPEARS (Society for the Protection of Endangered and Awesomely Rare Species), she has kept her uniform safely folded under her bed ready for an … Continue reading Christmas Advent – Day 20 ‘Agents of the Wild: Operation Icebeak,’ by Jennifer Bell and Alice Lickens.
When Book Boy was younger, this imaginative dinosaur series was on constant bedtime story repeat. Although he’s now a very grown-up Year 7, he couldn’t resist having a peek through this new Christmassy title when it dropped through our letterbox. When Santa’s sleigh gets stuck in a snowdrift on Christmas Eve, there’s only one team … Continue reading Christmas Advent – Day 19 ‘Dinosaur Christmas,’ by Penny Dale.
The 7-9 age group can be tricky to find appropriate books for. This illustration-packed comedy sequel to ‘The Great Reindeer Escape’ would be just the ticket! There’s trouble on Yule-1 (the real home planet of Father Christmas) and the Trubshaw family are being flown back there from Earth to help. Once again, siblings Sadie and … Continue reading Christmas Advent – Day 18 ‘Trouble on Planet Christmas,’ by Kate Saunders, illustrated by Neal Layton.
I love this series of chapter books aimed at readers aged 7+ Animal stories are perennially popular so it’s fantastic to have such a high-quality series to recommend. And now there’s a Christmassy addition! Jasmine has always planned to build an animal sanctuary on the family’s farm when she is older and has already rescued … Continue reading Christmas Advent – Day 17 ‘A Donkey Called Mistletoe,’ by Helen Peters, illustrated by Ellie Snowdon.
If you haven’t already discovered this excellent time-slip adventure series featuring siblings Alex and Ruby, nows your chance as they slip through their aunt’s mirror and head off for a Victorian Christmas. Ever since discovering that the mirror in their aunt’s hallway is a portal to the past (see - ‘A Chase in Time’), siblings … Continue reading Christmas Advent – Day 16 ‘A Christmas in Time,’ by Sally Nicholls, cover illustration by Isabelle Follath.
Today I have a beautifully-illustrated story which skilfully combines a hopeful Christmas message and a powerful warning about conserving our planet for future generations. Every Christmas, after all the presents have been opened, Mia and her family read a precious letter left to her by her grandfather. In it, he recalls the wonderful times they … Continue reading Christmas Advent – Day 15 ‘Grandpa Christmas,’ by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Jim Field.