Kevin – Rob Biddulph

There must be somebody living in my house who I don’t know about. Do you know how I know this? Well let me tell you? If I ask “who’s used the last of the toilet roll and not replaced it?” Or “who’s put the empty yoghurt box back in the fridge?” It really is none of the people living here because everyone says “it wasn’t me.” Now Rob Biddulph has captured this quandary perfectly in ‘Kevin’, because when Sid Gibbons does something wrong he always blames Kevin. The thing about Kevin that makes things very easy for Sid – but very frustrating for his Mum –  is that Kevin is imaginary. And because he’s imaginary then surely his feelings wouldn’t be hurt by taking the blame for all the bad things that Sid has done. But Kevin is about to show Sid that while he might be imaginary, his feelings are very real.

 

Rob manages to capture the quirks of the human condition in a humorous and stunning way in every one of his books and ‘Kevin’ is just as brilliant. You know that when you share this with a child there will be a definite understanding of the game Sid is playing, it’s something that we all do in life. Beautiful written with the most sumptuous rhymes the story trips effortlessly off your tongue as you read it aloud, which for a picture book with as many words as this is a real triumph. He expertly contrasts Sid and Kevin’s world by using a muted palette for the ordinary world versus a bright, vibrant palette for the imaginary world. I love Rob’s incredible imagination and attention to detail with stripy ladybirds and spotty bumblebees flying round purple trees with jelly leaves, there is so much to see for children to keep returning to re-read.  In each of his books Rob scatters clues to previous stories, I’ve managed to find an Odd Dog, a Penguin Blue and a pirate’s hat. Can you spot anymore, I would love to know. I’m planning to share ‘Kevin’ at my storytime session at school tomorrow and can’t wait to see the children’s reactions.

Thanks to Rob and Harper Collins for sending me a copy of this glorious book, ‘Kevin’ is available to buy now from all good bookshops or online.

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Nibbles The Dinosaur Guide – Emma Yarlett

Nibbles the Book Monster is back causing more chaos and carnage, this time in a book about dinosaurs that is guaranteed to engage and entertain. ‘Nibbles: The Dinosaur Guide’ sees that naughty monster return with his irrepressible appetite and this time his book munching is more likely to end up with him being dinner rather than just getting told off! Can you help Nibbles evade; a charging Triceratops, getting gassed by a farting Diplodocus and being munched and nibbled by a Tyrannosaurus Rex? Just when you think Nibbles taken his very last nibble out of book he somehow manages to find his way out of trouble!

 

 

By mixing fact and fiction Emma Yarlett has created an absolute joy of a book. Children will be totally engrossed in this marvellously  interactive format which encourages the child to open flaps, peep through holes, and lift up pages to discover just what naughty Nibbles has been up to! Not only does this involve the child in the story, by including fascinating facts it offers them a real hands on approach to fully involve them in the learning process. Humour and jokes are cleverly scattered throughout the story, allowing this book to be enjoyed on many levels. Younger children will enjoy searching for Nibbles, whilst older children have enough interesting information to keep them returning time and time again. I predict this being a huge hit in my school library, Nibbles and dinosaurs what’s not to love!

 

Thank you to Little Tiger Press for sending me a copy of this fantastic book. To find out more about Emma Yarlett and the inspiration behind ‘Nibbles The Book Monster’ you can read the Q & A on my blog.

The One Hundred and One Dalmatians

 

I’ve long been a fan of Dodie Smith’s ‘The One Hundred and One Dalmatians’ and my girls adore the film adaptations, so we were thrilled to hear that Peter Bently was adapting the story for a picture book and that it was going to be illustrated by Steven Lenton. So could this formidable duo manage to turn one of the great children’s classics into a story that would appeal to younger readers, without losing any essence of the story. Well I’m thrilled to say they have succeeded with great aplomb. A whole new generation is bound to be enchanted by the story of Missis and Pongo whose darling Dalmatian puppies are stolen by the wicked Cruella de Vil to be turned into spotty fur coats. With the help of some fearless furry friends, they set off on a brave rescue attempt to try and get their pups back. But can they outwit the evil Cruella before it is too late?

 

You know from the moment you set your eyes on this stunning, vibrant cover that you are in for a real treat. Peter has brought to life brilliantly this marvellous adventure, managing to capture the thrill of the chase as Missis and Pongo pursue the dastardly Cruella, without making it too scary for little ones. Steven Lenton has created the most exquisite spreads that are filled with the most intricate and joyous details. I fell head over heels in love with the final spread brimming with Christmas joy as the Dalmatians cause havoc all around Mr and Mrs Dearly. The attention to detail is wonderfully endearing as we clearly see the personality of each and every single dog. By far the thing that captured my imagination the most is Cruella and her ravishing wardrobe, you could almost forgive her despicable ways just so you could borrow her ‘to die for’ peacock dress. ‘The One Hundred and One Dalmatians’ is a joy to behold, with the most perfect attention to detail all the way down to its Dalmatian dotty endpapers.

 

Thank you to Egmont for sending me a copy of this glorious book. ‘One Hundred and One Dalmatians’ will be released on the 21st September you can pre-order it at any good bookshop or online.

Izzy Gizmo – Pip Jones & Sara Ogilvie

‘Izzy Gizmo’ is a wonderful new collaboration from Pip Jones and Sara Ogilvie that is totally irresistible. Meet Izzy whose inventions are marvellous, magnificent and sadly often malfunction, much to her frustration. Her ideas are astounding who wouldn’t love the ‘Tea-Mendous’, the ‘Swirly-Spagsonic’ or ‘The Beardtastic’ but she can’t quite get things just right.  She’s on the verge of giving up inventing when Izzy rescues an injured crow. Her new friend crow is heartbroken and all her attempts to make him happy fail. Realising that the key to his happiness is a new pair of wings, Izzy discovers that this time she can’t afford to be disheartened and her imagination is tested to the limit!

 

 

Pip has created the most endearing and wonderful character in Izzy, her energy and determination is infectious. I love how she leaves a trail of destruction in her path as she stops at nothing in her quest to succeed in her mission to make the crow new wings. The lively rhymes capture the creativity and sometimes craziness of Izzy’s spirit of invention and adventure brilliantly. Whilst Sara’s humorous and intricate spreads are bursting with vibrant colours and enthusiasm which match Izzy’s personality perfectly. A real treat of a book I absolutely loved it!

 

 

‘Izzy Gizmo’ is available to buy from any good bookshop now. Thank you to Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy of this glorious book. If you would like to win your very own copy leave a comment on this blog post. UK only ends 15th September.

The Ugly Five – Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

I am thrilled to be joining in with the BLOG SAFARI for the new fantastic collaboration between Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler. My girls were brought up on a diet rich in the ‘Gruffalo’, ‘Stick Man’, ‘Monkey Puzzle’,’ Snail and the Whale’ and the ‘Room on a Broom’ just to mention a few of their wonderful books. Over the holidays we even managed to squeeze in a visit to Axel’s exhibition at Mottisfont Abbey, and took a ride on the famous broom, who had room on its broom for three booklovers!

So we were delighted to discover that they have managed to sprinkle their unique magic yet again over another irresistible picture book, were we are taken to the African plains to meet the lesser known and definitely more ugly and weirder than the proud lion and the magnificent elephant, ‘The Ugly Five.’ Who would want to spend time with: the ungainly wildebeest; the grotty hyema; the wrinkled lappet-faced vulture; the warty warthog and not forgetting the marabou stork? Surely everyone would flee when they see them? How could they possibly survive, this motely bunch of creatures alone with only each other for friends. But this tale has a heart-warming twist as the creatures realise and  we soon discover, that beauty is only skin deep and everybody is loved by somebody.

Julia has created a beautiful and engaging story which is a total joy to read out loud with it’s rambunctious rhymes which trip superbly off your tongue. She really does have the amazing ability to transform a story into a theatrical performance when you share it, who could resist the nuances of sounds scattered through the text. Axel’s illustrations are sublime, the spreads are sumptuous and filled with the most intricate details that capture wonderfully the humour of the story. This book is a triumph from start to finish and I can’t wait to share it with the children at school.

Blog Safari

Today is the last stop on the Blog Safari so why not visit the other stops to find out more about the inspiration behind the book, for activities and giveaways.

 

Thank you to Penelope and Scholastic for sending me a copy of this fabulous book and for inviting me to take part in this splendid Blog Safari!

Prisoner of Ice and Snow – Ruth Lauren

Valor is under arrest for the attempted murder of the crown prince, another terrible blow for her fractured family. Her parents have been dismissed from the royal court in disgrace after her sister stole a precious music box and now Valor herself is sentenced to life at Tyur’ma a desperate prison built from stone and ice. But unknown to everyone Valor has deliberately committed a crime so that she can be imprisoned alongside her sister in the hope she can break her out. No one has escaped Tyur’ma in 300 years! How can she possibly hope to evade their cruel jailors? But Valor is determined to risk all to save her sister, can strength, courage and love be enough to achieve the impossible?

I was totally captivated by this enthralling and magical story. Ruth conjures up this world with rich, evocative language capturing the starkness of the towering ice prison that Valor and her sister Sasha find themselves in. You know a story has crept into your imagination when you feel the harshness of the cold they experience and have to wrap yourself up in a blanket to warm up, The characterisation is marvellous, whilst we’re drawn into the plot it initially feels that it is Valor who will save the day. However we see Sasha emerge with a new found steeliness –  as a result of her treatment –  that is just as imperative to the success of the mission as Valor’s unrelenting bravery. Contrast this with the villains of the piece who have a ruthless, cruel streak and give the story a real element of urgency and fear, we know the deadly consequences Valor will face if her true goal is discovered. At the heart of this story is friendship and courage, Valor learns that she has to learn to trust and accept help in order to survive. Wonderfully compelling with an unexpected, thrilling ending, I can’t wait to return to Valor’s world in the sequel to follow ‘Seeker of the Crown’

Ruth Lauren

Ruth Lauren lives in the West Midlands in England with her family and a lot of cats. She likes chocolate, walking in the woods, cheese, orchids, going to the movies, and reading as many books as she can. She’s been a teacher and worked in lots of different offices, but she likes writing best. Prisoner of Ice and Snow is her debut novel. You can find out more about Ruth by visiting her website or follow her on Instagram and Twitter

 

Thanks to Faye and Bloomsbury for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for my copy of this fabulous book. ‘Prisoner of Ice and Snow’ is released on the 7th September and is available to pre-order from any good bookshop.

 

 

Spy Toys – Mark Powers & Tim Wesson

Today it’s my stop on the blog tour for the newest book in the ‘Spy Toys’ series ‘Out of Control.’ This seems like the perfect opportunity to share with you both books in the series, which are both equally witty and hilarious. Brilliantly written by Mark Powers and wonderfully illustrated by Tim Wesson, this series is bound to engage and entertain newly confident readers. Filled with action,  slapstick humour and crazy escapades this action-packed adventure series is difficult to put down.

Spy Toys: Playtime is Over


So what happens when the world’s leading toy manufacturer make toys that don’t exactly meet the grade, well they’re thrown onto a reject pile destined for a sad future. What use is a Snugliffic Cuddlestar bear like Dan who should be perfect for hugging, but because of a faulty chip is so strong he could crush a car. And who could possibly want Arabella, a Loadsasmiles Sunshine Doll, who unfortunately has a very short temper and is absolutely NOT good with children. Luckily for them they are saved from the jaws of death and are recruited to work for the ‘Department of Secret Affairs’ as Spy Toys and are assigned their first mission to protect the Prime Minister’s son. Together with an AWOL robot police rabbit they must thwart the evil elephant hybrid’s plans. My 8 year old daughter devoured this is one sitting she declares it to be “funny, adventurous and exciting”!

 

 

Spy Toys: Out of Control

It was with great anticipation that we got our hands on ‘Out of Control’ having loved ‘Playtime is Over.’ Fresh from the success of their first mission, our heroes Dan, Arabella and the police robot rabbit are ready to get their hands on a new challenge. This time, the secret code that controls every Snaztacular Ultrafun toy has been stolen and all over the world toys are revolting and turning against the children who own them. How can our dynamic trio ever hope to overcome the evil mastermind who has devised the most dastardly of plans. I predict this series to be a huge hit in my school library. Packed with thrills, spills and laughs a plenty this sequel doesn’t disappoint.

 

 

Blog Tour

I’m on the last stop of the blog tour so in case you missed it, why not visit the other participating blogs for more reviews, guest posts and giveaways.

Thank you to Faye for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and to Bloomsbury for sending me copies of these fab books.