I was delighted to be asked by The Magic Storybox to review one of their amazing book gift boxes. I chose to review one of their ‘anti-racist book boxes’ but their website also have options to build a box for someone based on your own selections, or to purchase a monthly book subscription packed with … Continue reading The Magic Storybox
This thrilling series started way back with ‘The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club’ and now it’s onto the fourth instalment - the sign of some great stories. This time, it’s the Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club taking centre stage.... ‘Ursula knew the submarine wasn't designed to go this deep, but what choice did they have? No one … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘The Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club,’ by Alex Bell, illustrated by Tomislav Tomić.
Today’s my stop on the ‘Beauty and the Bin’ blog tour. It’s a new middle grade title about reducing food waste, friendship and being true to yourself. Make sure you scroll down to read Joanne’s piece about how to be a young eco-warrior. Laurie's home-made beauty recipes are no secret. The secret is that her … Continue reading Blog Tour: ‘Beauty and the Bin,’ by Joanne O’Connell.
In a time when travel options are severely limited, we need books which can which us away to exotic and faraway locations. Preferably with a large dollop of adventure mixed in for good measure. That’s exactly what you get from Nizrana Farook’s second novel set on the tropical shores of Serendib (Sri Lanka.) A thrilling … Continue reading ‘The Boy Who Met a Whale,’ by Nizrana Farook, cover by David Dean.
My son has just been enjoying one of Mark Powers’ other titles - Spy Toys - as part of his school topic so I was very pleased when a brand new space adventure by Mark came dropping through my letterbox. I also have an interesting piece by Mark on his favourite things about writing about … Continue reading Blog Tour: ‘Space Detectives,’ by Mark Powers, illustrated by Dapo Adeola.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On the ninth day of book advent, my true love gave to me... a shiny gold edition of Ben Miller’s Christmas book! Jackson knows all about the flying reindeer; he knows about the elves and the secret North Pole workshop; he knows about the magic which allows Father Christmas to deliver presents around the world … Continue reading Christmas Advent – Day 9 ‘The Night I Met Father Christmas,’ by Ben Miller, illustrated by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini.
Today’s advent pick is a wry, clever and downright hilarious journey towards finding the real meaning of Christmas. The International Postal Service is in the red and this spells bad news for seasonal worker, Santa. He’s going to have make some cutbacks: reindeer hire and insurance is a major expense, and as for some of … Continue reading Christmas Advent – Day Four ‘Santa Gets a Second Job,’ by Michele D’Ignazio, illustrated by Sergio Olivotti, translated by Denise Muir.
I am always in awe of anyone who can juggle writing a cracking MG adventure alongside a busy job and family life, but James Haddell has done it! Introducing ‘The Lost Child’s Quest’ - full of history, mystery and magic. Tia is an orphan. She has lived in an orphanage, looked after by the kindly … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘The Lost Child’s Quest,’ by James Haddell.