Review of The Cockatoo From Timbuktu by William A.E. Ford – Travel around the world with the Cockatoo @williamaeford #RamileMImac #Kidslit #NewBook #Education #Geography #Learning #Review #Schools #Libraries #readingforpleasure

The Cockatoo From Timbuktu
By William A.E. Ford
Illustrated by Ramile M. Imac
Rated: 5 stars *****

About the Author

William has always had a passion for books, writing and story-telling.  William’s favourite way to end a cosy evening is to spend time dreaming up and reading bed-time stories to his five wonderful children.

‘Timothy Mean and the Time Machine’ and ‘The Cockatoo from Timbuktu’ were inspired by the spark of his children’s colourful imaginations as they tirelessly created unique, laughter filled days from even the most mundane, everyday objects and situations!

Born in England, William  currently lives in Oslo, Norway with his wife and five children.

‘Timothy Mean and the Time Machine’ won the Readers Favorite Children’s Sci-Fi / Fantasy 2019 Award. ‘The Cockatoo from Timbuktu’ is William’s second published picture book.  Timothy Mean 2 is currently in production. 

William welcomes enquiries from agents and publishers.

I am pleased to be returning to the work of William AE Ford to review his latest book – The Cockatoo From Timbucktu. A book where children have fun with the story, as well as taking in the educational elements in an inspired and fun way. This book would be great for schools, libraries or in the home. Read further to find out why…

The Cockatoo From Timbucktu

If you are a fan of Julia Donaldson, you will love William A.E. Ford’s books. They are of that calibre. They are packed full of a rhyming story, big and bright illustrations that match the stories and with something that children will take away from them – fun and just enough knowledge along the way. These book are fun to interact with at home, in a library or in school or to curl up with at bedtime. However you like to read books, this is an exciting author I highly recommend…. Read further to find out why….

Blurb

Join Kian the cockatoo on his adventures around the world!

Can a childhood song about a shining star help him find his way home?

From the Great Barrier Reef to the Great Wall of China to New York City wonders of the world are explored delightfully in this epic journey!

Review

William has done it again! After sending children on an interactive, rhyming time travelling adventure with Timothy Mean and his Time Machine, he now sends them on a world adventure with a lost cockatoo who just wants to go home to be reunited with his mum and dad.

William A.E. Ford has shown again that his books are a valuable tool for the home, libraries and schools.

I have read it to quite a number of children and they love it. They love the illustrations, the story and the repetitive nature of the beginning of each page because they quickly grasp that they can become so involved in the story of saying those lines out loud (in unison if it is a class). The children love that they can trace with their finger across the map to follow the trail, Kian the cockatoo went. They also really like getting to know a bit about the world. I also had someone holding an atlas to show each country whilst going through the story, there are many things classes can do with this terrific story.

Follow the Cockatoo and also see if you can find the ladybird that follows on. Children have fun doing that. The Cockatoo starts off at a zoo with thoughts of home and travels through countries such as Antarctica, Australia, China, India, UK, USA, Africa, all in perfect and wonderful rhyme within this beautifully illustrated book. Each page is fully illustrated and perfect for children at home and within libraries and school classes.

This book has all the emotions and lots of fun. There is the sadness and loneliness of being lost and then lots of fun in-between. The book is also heartwarming and lovely. New books and new authors are exciting and this is one author in-particular that children from 3 to 6 years olds will enjoy.

This book is great for reading for pleasure and also for doing a bit of basic Geography with children and for talking about emotions and also for literacy – talking about the noticeable poetic rhyming.

The book also has a beautifully illustrated map before the story begins, showing where the cockatoo goes to and the animals it meets in each country. Children have fun following the dotted line around the world map. Each page thereafter takes each country individually and shows the main landmarks and animals around the world as part of the story.

There is a page of Fun Facts at the back of the book about cockatoos and Timbuktu, all very well laid out and easy to read and understand, to feed those curious minds of children.

I would like to thank William A.E. Ford for surprising me with his latest book. I had previously reviewed Timothy Mean and his Time Machine and he donated to the library I currently lead. He surprised me with the Cockatoo from Timbuktu for the library.

* My review is non-biased. I am once again impressed. It’s a very good book.

 

Review of The Hidden Spaceship By Serena Lane Ferrari – Go on an Exciting Outer Space Mission to Help Planet Earth #SerenaLaneFerrari #Kidslit #environment #space #schools #readingforpleasure #libraries #readingrocks #savetheplanet #savetheplanetbooks #Review

The Hidden Spaceship
By Serena Lane Ferrari
Rated: 4.5 stars

About the Author

Serena Lane Ferrari is a mother and an English teacher. She writes books for young children that have the future of our planet at their heart. She passionately believes that children are our last chance to help improve our ecosystems, find solutions to major climate problems and to save the planet. She also believes passionately in the importance of reading to children from an early age, so do hope that my books help engage children (and parents!) and inspire them to believe in a better future.

Click for Website Link: Website

 

The Hidden Spaceship cover

Blurb

When Amelia and Noah stumble across a spaceship, an out-of-this-world adventure begins. The friends have a very special mission – to help the Earth’s eco-system. They must go on a daunting journey on another planet, find a treasure chest, and complete their quest. What secret does the treasure chest hold?

Review

The book starts with a fun song, just to get readers ready for their adventure.  Amelia and Noah stumble across a spaceship and enter it, thus beginning their adventure to a distant planet.
The illustrations are big, bright and bold throughout, to capture children’s attention. They meet an alien on the planet that shows what humans are doing to the planet. It shows just enough for young children to understand, but not to terrify them.
The story with the intrepid explorers continues as they begin a quest the Ualalumpa (alien) has sent them on…. The treasure is something more magical and wonderful than what readers would expect and it certainly isn’t your usual gold or jewels.

This book would inspire children in the ways that they could help save Earth in a way that they understand and in a really fun way. The mix of fact and story all weaved together is great, alongside the pictures filling the page.

This would be a great asset to a personal book collection or library or school as it is pleasurable to read and has an educational element as in it has meaning and some thought-provoking pages that could be good for stimulating conversation.

At the back there is an important note from the author about how she is passionate about both our eco-system and in young children reading for pleasure. There is also a sneek-peek about her next book.

I recommend this book because it promotes reading for pleasure and in a really fun way, promotes the environment without being preachy and instead being more of an adventure. It is a book that children can have a lovely time with as they get a good story and gain a bit of knowledge at the same time.
I can say that already children and their parents/caregivers are already enjoying it.

*Thank you for donating a copy to the community library in Scotland that I currently lead and for leaving a lovely message inside.

*This review is unbiased.

Review of The Nexus Mirror @nemichaelbooks #NexusMirror #Fantasy #Sci-Fi #Review #YA #NewBook

The Nexus Mirror
By N.E. Michael
Rated: 3.5 stars

It is with thanks to the author – Noah Michael for getting in touch with me via my blog asking if I could review his fantasy/sci-fi book. So today, I am pleased to be now publishing my review of this book that will take you through a world and time of many creatures and also one that highlights some contemporary issues too, even though this is set far in the distant future.

About the Author

Noah Michael, is the author of the Chronicles of the Enlai series. He has two undergraduate degrees in bio-medical engineering and the medical sciences, and is currently a student in medical school. He is all about following dreams, and so despite his busy schedule, he never gave up my hobbies which include writing, music, and traveling. Aside from his current series, he has two other worlds in his head just waiting to be built, and can’t wait to share them with you! Please don’t hesitate to reach out and share your dreams with me as well, and I hope you enjoy reading mine!

Social media links:

Twitter handle: @nemichaelbooks

Nexus Mirror cover

Blurb


Thirteen tribes. Two hundred years of war. One girl, with the key to ending it all.

Ever since his father’s mysterious murder, Raiden has been having visions of beings with extraordinary powers which he sketched into comics. The man responsible for the murder, billionaire Jimmy Roko, controls the world from his lofty, impenetrable Silver Tower. Compared to Roko’s vast army of robotic creatures and soldiers, Raiden is helpless. At least he was, until the magical heroes from his comics came knocking at his doorstep…

Forced away from everything he’d ever known, Raiden is thrown into a war filled with mystical beasts and terrible demons, super-powered heroes and futuristic battle-drones, ancient portals and daring new worlds. The fate of the universe rests in Raiden’s hands as he fights against Jimmy Roko and the Chief of Shadows to protect a young girl named Sarah, the last surviving Surger, who possesses the key to the ultimate weapon.

Review

There are topical subjects, fights, a student to protect and war wounds amongst this book of humans and other creatures, some whom are almost human.

Enter a world some time in the future. Not everyone is human!
There are a whole array of other creatures. Raidens, being one type. Raiden Williams, who is a teacher and one with a bit of an attitude at times, one that some guys have with their smirking. It’s a pity as can’t immediately decide whether I like him or not.
Sarah is one of his brightest pupils. Alia and Bella are orphans trying to get by, which makes for an interesting story with some of the social aspects surrounding that.

The book covers bullying, the devastating consequences and the impact. The tone of Alia and those who are the bullies is just right as is the raw emotion. This is a book that would perhaps inspire young adult readers to think about actions having consequences. It’s good and thoughtful.

Alia is a detective, seeking answers as to what happened to Hunter, whether it was murder or suicide.

Hospitals is also a theme within this book as Bella suffers a stroke. The hospital is well described as being very futuristic.

Meet the Enlai. A tribe of people who are almost human and who learn to try to master their emotions and are Readers. There are topical elements to them too as they are asked about changing their DNA to extend their lives and the consequences to this.

What is real and what is in Alia’s subconscious is something that readers have to work out, as does this brave character.

Marcus is the most powerful Reader, which makes for interesting characterisation.

There is enough in the book to know just where you are in the time frames and as different magical and fantastical characters are met, such as shifters, zombies and super-powered pirates. There is a war to be fought and what was great was that the effects of war is also written about. Even so far into the future, war is not straight forward and there are still consequences that are felt.

There is an unexpected ending, which is touching and also in a sentence, the story is left open for the next book – The Legend of Solis.

There is certainly enough going on in this fantasy world that the N.E. Michael has created for the YA fantasy/sci-fi readers to be engaged in. The book does get off to an interesting start and good pace, then seems to slow down somewhat, before really getting into it and seems to jump a bit and could be a bit tighter in places. It is however worth sticking with because when you do that, you really get stuck into this futuristic world and all that lives there and the pace does pick up, so do give it a really good chance. You may find yourself enjoying it, like I did and wanting to find out how it ends. After all, the premise is good and for a new writer, fans of fantasy will do well in trying Noah’s books out.

I thank the author N.E. Michael for contacting me on my blog and for sending me his book. It’s always such a pleasure and honour to be asked to review.

What to expect on the blog #blog #amreading #bookish #theatre

I have many more great sounding books in my To be Read pile. Some by very established authors, some not quite so, but are starting out. All look good!
A thud after the swing of the letterbox usually signals the post is more exciting than a bill. A huge thud that sounds like it is going to go through the floor means its a hardback book. Most are paperback and that too is fine and still sounds more exciting than a bill.

I have children’s books, young adult books and adult books. During February and March, there will be reviews of children’s books that promote the eco-system, take children on an adventure, show children interesting and fun characters.

For Young Adult, there will be coming-of-age and fantasy.

For Adult, there is Crime Fiction, Biography, Humour in Fiction, Families in Fiction, Historical Fiction and more…

I have also been to the theatre recently, so you can expect a review on a terrifically cast play by Alan Aykbourn.

Thanks for following my blog.

#Review of The Minotaur’s Son & Other Wild Tales – A moving book with lots of humour, covering all the genres in short stories @kevinansbro #TheMinotaursSon #NewRelease #ShortStories #FlashFiction #Fables #HistoricalFiction #Fiction #Fantasy @BookTasters

The Minotaur’s Son
& Other Wild Tales
By Kevin Ansbro
Rated: 4 Stars ****

 

About the Author

Kevin Ansbro was born of Irish parents and has lived in Malaysia and Germany.

He was educated at Hamond’s Grammar School in Swaffham, and at the Norfolk College of Arts and Technology in King’s Lynn.

Kevin also has a background in karate and kickboxing and has travelled extensively – particularly in the Far East.

He is married to Julie, and currently lives in Norwich, England.

Click below for Kevin Ansbro’s website and social media.

Website
Twitter
Facebook

Blurb

“Once the evening’s entertainment was over the Minotaur, as naked as Nature intended, clumped into Pablo Zapata’s bar…”

A baby with a passion for theoretical physics…

A winged nymph who exacts terrible revenge…

A stolen coin that releases a wish-granting genie…

And where else would you see Ginger Rogers learning the Ali shuffle, or a humble fisherman making friends with Poseidon?

Charlatans and shapeshifters, lovers and leprechauns, ghosts and office creeps are just some of the characters that Kevin Ansbro brings to life in this volume of short stories. His tales span the globe and range from the wickedly funny to the sad and deeply unnerving. With his perceptive take on human failings, his vivid imagination and his glorious grasp of language, Ansbro’s thought-provoking stories will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

The-Minotaurs-Son-FRONT-COVER-JPEG1

Review

This is an excellent book to read all the way through and then later to dip in and out of. Kevin Ansbro takes readers on a journey through these “Wild Tales” from space to many countries on earth again. You will enter different ages from as far back as the Ancient Greeks to the days of the Raj, to war times to the present day. You will meet mermaids, Greek Gods, a talking cat and many other creatures and of course humans too, including the intrepid author of this book – Kevin Ansbro. You are in for a real treat. These are tales of humour, trepidation, emotion and have great twists. To write short stories is as skillful as writing a novel and Kevin does them well. There is something in there for all sorts of people. The construction of these short stories are very good, including the endings, which was very pleasing.
I recommend people give them a try. I certainly very much enjoyed the majority of them. There are stories that I am sure will suit most tastes as Kevin Ansbro has skillfully covered all  genres.

Below I have written a little bit about most of the short stories, leaving some for readers to also discover too.

First you’ll meet a mermaid, a talking cat and its owner – Jacob in Sirens. Then it is off to space to meet Captain Chuck Montana of the Galaxy Ship Orion in Chuck Montana and the 22 Century to learn what the Lurgians are. Back on earth there is a 60th birthday celebration, but things don’t exactly go as planned in Doth Thou Thinkest Me a Fool. There is also a story later on that returns to the space theme. It’s a thought-provoking story called Extinction. They are well-written and Sirens is a great way to start this book as it pulls and tugs the intrigue of this book a bit further.

You’ve got to Be Careful What You Wish For in Brighton when it comes to octogenarians – Horace and Ethel and a promise of 3 wishes that will be granted. All is mysterious and just might give them exactly what they want, but there’s a twist in this cautionary tale.

Cache en Pleine Vue or in English – Hiding in Plain Sight in the little French hamlet of Culbiso holds gossip and secrets. Madam Pettier harbours the greatest secret of all as she isn’t exactly what you would expect.

Well, what can I say, except, it’s a Fait Accompli when readers meet Charles Remington and Veronica Meyer. Everything seems like it could be too good to be true.

In The Minotaur’s Son, you meet the mythical creatures and it comes with a warning, not to take things for granted. You certainly wouldn’t want to mess with strong female, Isadora.

The Show Off really made me smile. It features Kevin Ansbro, the author of this book. Quite unusually so, for a book of this type. It has you willing him on to do well at the book talk and it has the happiest, most amazing of endings.

A Matter of Honour is set during the Crimean War and the aftermath is realised of how PTSD can really affect someone and a family. It is written sensitively, with a rawness but also, I felt with care and with such emotion that comes from a certain truth.

Meet Yara – a Maharaja’s Concubine in 1932 – the days of the Raj in The Concubine and the Postman She is nothing ordinary. There are lessons those men who are greedy could learn and beware of a curse. Read to find out about how a postman comes into this story and what happens. It may surprise you.

The Fable of the Fisherman’s Hat brings back Isadora with her husband Demetrius and also mermaids in the sea. It has adventure and trepidation and nothing will seem as it once did.

The Leech takes readers to Japan and the people creating prosperity for their economy. It isn’t just a story for Japan though, some of the themes of recognition for those who make a difference are world-wide and as a result, has thought-provoking qualities.

Dorothy in Oz is a different perspective on her re-telling her story. I enjoyed this because, of course, who would believe you when you tell people a scarecrow etc talked to you and you had to click your red heels 3 times to get home.

Meet a Leprechaun in Ireland (of course) in Pot of Gold. This has a human and ecological tale within it, which is incredibly relevant for today and especially in farming.

Waiting for Ryan is a bit of a love story between two different cultures – Ryan from England and Mishti originally from India. Set in present times, they meet in Thailand, just before the well-reported tsunami that occurred there. There’s enough of a hook to keep wanting to read to see if the couple will ever see each other again, especially since time moves on and Ryan also returns to England.

Pantheon is just incredibly funny. Who can this mysterious man be at Christmas time? Well, it is up to authors, a pop star, a soul singer, a dancer and a boxer to ponder.
Meet Dickens and Hemingway, Shakespeare, oh and Oscar Wilde gate crashing a conversation and then add David Bowie into the mix and Ginger Rodgers and Muhammad Ali, it makes for a surreal but hilarious tale.

With thanks to Kevin Ansbro for supplying me with an e-book copy of his book and for agreeing to me reviewing.

The Minotaur's Son and other Wild Tales cover 2

She Wolf by Dan Smith @DanSmithAuthor #SheWolf #Education #Libraries #NewBook #Review #Kidslit #Schools #Adventure #Historical #Vikings #Norse

Review

She Wolf
by Dan Smith
Rated: 5 stars *****

Today I have decided to publish my review of the excellent children’s book – She Wolf by award winning author Dan Smith. This is a book I highly recommend to children and already Dan Smith has quite a following from primary schools. Young teenagers would also like this book too. I hope after reading the review, you will also check Dan Smith out. Below, after my review of She Wolf, you will be able to find a few links to pages within his website. Whether he is a new to you author or one you read a lot of, this book and his website is worth checking out.
For schools, there are also resources to accompany this book (see links below for his website and Twitter).
Dan Smith’s books can be found in many physical and online shops and within libraries.

About the Author

Dan Smith is an  award winning author of adventure stories for younger readers, and thrillers for adults. He loves to hear from readers.

Growing up, he led three lives. In one, he survived the day-to-day humdrum of boarding school, while in another he travelled the world, finding adventure in the paddy fields of Asia and the jungles of Brazil. But the third life he lived in a world of my own, making up stories . . . Which is where some people say I still live most of the time.

He has lived in many places that inspire his writing – including Sierra Leone, Sumatra, northern and central Brazil. I’ve even lived in Spain and in the Soviet Union, but now has settled in Newcastle with his wife and two  children to keep him on his toes.

Past jobs have varied from dishwasher extraordinaire (or, perhaps, just ordinaire), social security fraud (detecting it, not committing it), to working on giant-sized Christmas decorations, and a fistful of mundane office jobs, but throughout all of those things, he always loved stories, he always loved a good adventure, and he always kept writing.

She Wolf

Blurb

Northumbria 866.
Washed ashore on a frozen English beach, Ylva’s survived. She will not cry. She’s meant to be strong. She’s a Viking.

But when her mother dies at the hand of a three-fingered man, and the wolves of the forest circle closer, Ylva will need more than the memory of her mother’s stories to stay alive. Can she shape her own legend? Will it end in revenge – or is there another way?

Review

Primary schools have rated Dan Smith highly and I can see why. His writing is terrific! It has character and he really understands that writing in historical times can also be relevant and relatable for readers in present times within the themes.
First look at the maps of the journey Ylva will take. There is also much to be learned as below one of the maps is the AD 866 place-name and the modern place name. At the back is an excellent glossary and “Did You Know” section so children can learn a bit more. This is a fictional book that is also excellent for “Reading for Pleasure” or for any reading challenges. I have seen that where this book is in primary schools, children are loving and devouring it. This is a book that all children can get into. With the chapters being short and snappy, this book lends itself so well to school teachers or parents reading it out loud and for individuals to read. This book is also rated by The BookTrust. The book can be bought or borrowed from libraries.

From page 1, there is atmosphere, placing readers right in the centre of Ylva’s life. There’s action and adventure and legends of Thor, Odin and Loki within these wonderfully written pages. This book is for all genders. It deals with bereavement and courage.

Ylva is a young, fierce, independent, strong and brave heroine . Readers will first meet her by a trader’s hut as a lost, orphaned Dane in cold England, with only her dog, Geri now left for company. Her mother has died and her initial reaction is one of revenge. There’s depth to this book, but not too complex for older primary school aged children. The book goes along at an excellent pace, nothing lingers too long.

The characters are intriguing, especially the three-fingered man and there is plenty of snow and wolves within this book. Don’t be fooled by the title “She Wolf”, this is a book to delight both boys and girls alike.

The landscape is harsh and Ylva has to decide who to trust. The question of trust is important and it is a quest with many dangers. There are pearls and people who she has to decide whether to trust or not. She does however decide to trust Cathryn enough, who is a Saxon who offers her shelter.

There are beautiful tender moments too.
This is an emotional book and one, although set in 866AD is relatable, even though the times and some experiences are different.

The end is an unexpected one that will leave readers feeling satisfied.

History and fiction are expertly woven together to create an immersive story with rich descriptions. There’s a real sense of what the atmosphere was like. This feels like it could be made into a film. The story is dark, but an adventure like none-other that has the scope of interesting so many readers looking for a new, original adventure.
Readers who enjoy adventures that conquer adversity with strong characters, vikings, Norse Gods and mythology and who want to explore history would love this brilliant fictional book. Remember to read the glossary to and the “Did You Know” section to expand you understanding of some of the words of the story and your knowledge of the viking period.

Links to Dan Smith’s Website for you to explore:

Twitter:   @DanSmithAuthor