Children’s Books Inspiration – Quick Reviews for All Ages #ChildrensBooks #PictureBooks #ChapterBooks #Kidslit #Reviews #LinAnderson #DanSmith #LarraineHarrison3 #JaclynMoriarty #CliveMantle #VacynTaylor #RafaRuiz #EmmaLarkin #GeronimoStilton #GraceMcLuskey #JaneyLouiseJones #WilliamAEFord #WendyHJones #Families #Parents

Mini Reviews and Links for Children’s Books, Spanning Across Every AgeBookmark pic

I have reviewed a number of excellent children’s books. I have now put them all together in a small collection here for you to hopefully be inspired and try out. You will find the books at Amazon, Waterstones and some Independent Bookshops. Full reviews and extra info can be found by clicking on the relevant links, marked “Here”. I have included books for all ages of children. I have started off with a terrific chapter books and then some books for younger children. I hope this brings some inspiration for what to try next.

Blaze Dog Detective By Lin Anderson

Blurb

Blaze CoverWhen the famous fairy flag of the Clan MacLeod disappears from a locked room at Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye, the police immediately call in Blaze Dog Detective.
After all his scenting skills on the island are legendary.
With his team of Rosa, Rory and wee brother Laoch, Blaze leads the chase to rescue this magical flag before it can be spirited away from the island forever.

Quick Review 

A map, a castle, a secret passage, adventure, cute dogs, robbers, police, a mystery to be solved, this children’s book has it all. There is wonderful mix of mild trepidation and humour and a terrific energy throughout. With all that and excellent characterisation and plot that has red herrings, can you discover who stole the Fairy Flag in Skye? Blaze is actually a real dog in Skye and you can find out more about the book and  see some more cute pics by clicking Here

blaze fae Skye
Blaze from Skye

 

 

 

 

She Wolf By Dan Smith

Blurb

She WolfNorthumbria 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?

 

Quick Review –  Primary Schools and Booktrust rate it highly as do I with 5 stars. Immerse yourself in a book that deals with bereavement and courage as you meet Ylva, Locki, Thor and Odin. Discover this immersive and intriguing adventure, which is excellently paced and pitched for older primary aged children. Click Here for more info about it, plus links to Dan Smith’s website and social media.

 

Red Snow by Larraine Harrison

Blurb

Red Snow CoverTwelve-year-old Megan though she knew everything there was to know about her mother’s death, but she was wrong.

Why will no one tell her what really happened and why has she become her father’s carer?

The boy next door has a dangerous secret that could help Megan, but will she be strong enough to pursue it to the end?

A story of danger, hope and perseverance.

Quick Review

Red Snow is great for 8 or 9 year olds plus. Full of atmosphere and emotion, readers meet 12 year old Megan Townsend who tries to follow her neighbour – Ryan into the woods. It is sinister and intriguing as Megan pursues the truth about her mother and was there a big cat in the woods? It is also about Megan being inquisitive and Ryan’s peculiar habits. It is sympathetically written in a child friendly manner, with themes of being a carer, bereavement, loneliness, friendship, family; with an excellent ending that will see everything resolved. Find out more by clicking Here

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone
by Jaclyn Moriarty

Blurb

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte MettlestoneBronte Mettlestone has been brought up in a very sensible way by her Aunt Isabelle and the Butler. So when her absent parents are killed by pirates and she’s sent on a whirlwind visit to her other ten aunts, she takes it all in her stride. But Bronte’s outwardly sensible nature holds a core of steel and courage, and through her adventures, with water sprites, avalanches, elves and dragons, Bronte shows herself to be the kind of heroine we would all wish to be. This wonderful novel is witty, lively and full of magic and surprises – everything readers young and old could ask for. The kind of novel where you need to make a pot of tea (preferably cloudberry), find a really comfy sofa in front of a roaring fire, and settle in for a magical journey of your own.

Review

Let your imagination run wild with this book and find out what the Extremely Unfortunate Events of Bronte Mettlestone are. She’s brave and courageous. She has aunts in Scotland and yet she also ends up in many other kingdoms in this wonderfully written book that children will have their imaginations captured by. There are pirates, a strange library and fantastical creatures that is all just so well pitched for children to sweep them along within exciting chapters that exceeded expectations. Find out more by clicking Here

The Treasure at the Top of the Mountain By Clive Mantle

Blurb

The Treasure at the Top of the World coverClive Mantle has said: “I have woven a tale of adventure in the past and present against the wondrous backdrop of Nepal and its people. I am thrilled that the story I wrote for my own son to pass on the flame has now found a wider audience, who will hopefully have their imaginations stimulated as mine was as a young boy”.

In the first of The Adventures of Freddie Malone series, The Treasure at the Top of the World Freddie receives an intriguing and unusual thirteenth birthday present from his Uncle Patrick. The ancient world map goes straight up on his wall, but Freddie fast discovers that the map is much more than just a decorative historic artefact. Freddie, and his best friend, Connor, are soon plunged into a mountainous adventure, on a path that leads to a long buried mystery, pursued by ruthless adversaries who’ll go to any lengths to get what they want.

 Review

This is more than just a tale to tell, it’s an impressively written adventure of a lifetime. This a story of (in no particular order) adventure, social and land geography, history, present day, travel and friendship and overcoming bullying. This is a book that will excite, inform and captivate children.

There are relics and treasures to be had, people to meet and a country to explore, all within the safety and comfort of your own home. This is an impressive story with adventure, once you’ve met Freddie Malone, who is celebrating his birthday and his magical present transports him to Nepal to meet mountaineers and more…
There is a lovely map and pictures and additional supporting info after the terrific story.
Find out more by clicking Here 

Star Child – The Age of Akra – Book 1 –
There are 5 in the series. I have reviewed 3.

The Age of Akra Cover (1)The foreshadowing of a dark future threatens the seven nations. Mai is selected to train with the mysterious elemental master Sah Dohba who will prepare her to become the protector of the desert lands.  Her brother Long, steps forward to travel with her as her chaperone to the Valley of a Thousand Thoughts.

A chance encounter brings them together with Akra, the Starchild.  The trio travels on into a battle with the elements. Sandstorms. Deadly creatures. Starvation. Then a chance meeting with powerful earthfollower, sets them on a new path where they must each find the strength to face a terrifying foe from the Underworld.

Review

This is the beginning of a new children’s fantasy series for children of ages 7+
The cover is exciting with its dragon, suggesting adventure and action. There are 5 in all in this series.

Covering themes such as child rivalry, there is bravery, action, adventure and emotion within these books, all suitable for ages 7/8 plus. Children who like Marvel and Ninjago and dragons and creatures in faraway lands will enjoy this. It’s an excellent series to get stuck into and to spark children’s imaginations. Check out more by clicking Here

Judy Blume FudgeJudy Blume books are great and have stood the test of time pretty well. I wrote an article as to why her books are still relevant and to showcase her books. Her books span right across children of all ages. Click for the article Here

 

 

Toletis by Rafa Ruiz

Toletis is another book that is perfect for children of all ages.

Blurb

Toletis CoverClaudia and Tutan are on a mission to turn their little valley town, set deep in the mountains, luscious green again. The odds are stacked against them. Can they succeed… with some very unusual help?

Review

This is a book that provides, within Toletis, a positive role model. He has a deep interest in the natural world and has lots of fun, whilst playing in the world around him. He meets characters like the Treene-weenies and learns Wobbegong language along the way. He also has a great friend in Tutan. There are great illustrations throughout, humour, great storytelling throughout, that this makes perfect reading for those who also like The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Tom Gates, Storey Treehouse series. Find out much more about this terrific book by clicking Here

Izzy’s Magical Football Adventure By Emma Larkin

Blurb

Izzy coverIzzy is a seven-year-old girl who lives in Ireland and loves all sport, especially Gaelic Football.

Izzy plays football with her brothers on a regular basis in their back garden and dreams of playing for her county in the All Ireland Ladies Football Final in Croke Park when she is older.

One day, Izzy puts on her great grandmother’s bracelet, which is made of old All Ireland medals that her great grandmother won a long time ago, and something unexpected and magical happens, which may make Izzy’s Croke Park dream a reality sooner than she expected…………….

Review

Are you missing out on football? Whether you are or not, this is a great book of sibling rivalry and inspiration. Meet Izzy, she likes football and dreams of playing for her county one day, but doesn’t see how that can happen, until a discovery is made about relative. This is an excellent, positive book of possibilities. Find out more by clicking Here

Geronimo Stilton – Stop Acting Around By Geronimo Stilton

Blurb

Geronimo Stilton stop acting aroundGeronimo Stilton is Getting into the movies when he is invited by an old filmmaker friend, director E.J. Sprocket, to visit the set Block Cheddar 4, starring Jack Vole. Convinced that this could make for an interesting article, he brings Thea, Benjamin, and Pandora along. But soon they discover that it’s not all glitz and glamour as strange happenings have been plaguing production, causing the film to go off course. Will Geronimo’s acting career be over before it starts? Is there a MOLE on the set? As E.J. would say, “That’s show business for ya baby!”

Review

Geronimo Stilton books have been around awhile in libraries and book shops and they are nicely still going strong. They are graphic novels, with the story told in a well layed-out and illustrated form and often depict an eye-catching cover, with a good paced plot. Stop Acting Around takes Geronimo (a mouse) on-set of a big movie to meet his favourite actor – Jack Vole and reckons this would make for a great article. All is well until disaster strikes when 10 cans of film are mysteriously destroyed. The book has plenty of action and there is mild trepidation when there’s a rickety bridge to get across a ravine and down an old mine as the mystery continues as to what happened to the film reels and unexpected discoveries.

The Hidden Spaceship by Serena Lane Ferrari

Blurb

The Hidden Spaceship cover

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

There’s a song, a spaceship and humans Amelia and Noah, who embark on an adventure to a distant planet. There’s bright, bold pictures and a great story and characters like the alien Ualalumpa. The book, throughout the story, tells children about the eco-system in a way that is child-friendly and understandable. There are treasures to find that are more magical and wonderful than even gold or jewels. To find out more about this out of this world adventure, please click Here

The Cockatoo From Timbucktoo By William AE Ford

Blurb

The Cockatoo From TimbucktuJoin 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 the award winning 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. Children just love the adventure of flying around the world in a book, the illustrations and the repetitive nature of this book, that makes it so interactive and fun. It is a wonderful and perfect book for these different days, where young children, including the early primary school years, will gain value from. Find out more by clicking Here

The Hangry Hamster by Grace McLuskey

Review and Blurb

hangry hamsterMeet Billy. He has a hamster who is hangry and ends up running through London, past a lot of landmarks, which he ends up towering over, like no hamster ever has before. This book is action packed, very funny and brilliantly conceived. It is also about bonding with a pet. Please find out more Here

 

Princess Poppy – Fantastic No Plastic By Janey Louise Jones

Blurb

Princess Poppy Fantastic No PlasticWhen Poppy is invited to a beach party by cousin Daisy in Camomile Cove, she has to help clean up the beach first. There is so much plastic refuse. Meanwhile, her puppy Sidney chokes on a discarded bag. Poppy joins the campaign to rid the planet of one use plastic waste and comes up with an enterprising idea. Poppy is her usual energetic and passionate self as she realises everyone can do a little bit to make a big difference.

Review

Princess Poppy is a great story with a really good mix of positive environmental messages and general fun in the characters setting. These are great books for both boys and girls alike. There’s great illustrations by Jennie Poh and humour within this story about looking after the environment. The story takes place when there’s a competition to create a poster to create an object to replace with that from a plastic one. It also shows friendship and keeping earth tidy, as well as having fun with Sidney – a dog with a bundle of energy. Please find out more Here

Bertie the Buffalo by Wendy H. Jones

Blurb

Bertie CoverBertie the Buffalo is based on a true story of when a Water Buffalo escaped from a Buffalo Park in Fife, near Dundee, Scotland. A rhyming book about the adventures Bertie got up to and how he safely returned home, demonstrating how important each of us is no matter how insignificant we feel. Bertie felt that no one noticed him. But he didn’t need to think that as we are all special. We are all a part of one big family.

Review

Inspired by a true story in Scotland, children will meet Bertie and all sorts of animals, including an alpaca along the way as Bertie the Buffalo ends up straying into unfamiliar territories as he finds himself outside of his usual field. The book is about not feeling small, even if you are small in stature, friendship and family, in this beautifully illustrated book that will take children on an adventure and find some kindness along the way. It also is a story with a moral within it. This book has been read by many children, usually for 4 year olds plus, but has been used my middle grade classes up to and including primary 5 too. Find out more by clicking Here

 

#Review of Blaze Dog Detective – The Magic Flag Mystery by Lin Anderson and Donald McKay @Lin_Anderson @Blazespage #BlazeDogDetective #Childrensbook #kidslit #mystery #adventure #cozymystery #kindle #ReadingforPleasure #Easter

Blaze Dog Detective – The Magic Flag Mystery
By Lin Anderson and Donald McKay,
Rated 5 stars *****

Today on Good Friday, to wish you all a good Easter weekend (even if it will be different), I am pleased and delighted to be sharing my review of Blaze Dog Detective – The Magic Flag Mystery. This is the first in the series, available now as an e-book on Amazon and will be available in physical form when normality resumes. 

Twitter page links:
For Blaze – Oor Blaze Fae Skye – Blazes Page
For Lin Anderson – Lin Anderson

I thank Lin Anderson for contacting me with the opportunity to review this book and for providing a PDF copy of the book, and the various photos of Blaze, which you will see as you scroll further down my blog post. 

About the Author

Lin Anderson is best known as the creator of the forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod series of crime thriller novels and is now also writing the children’s books – Blaze Dog Detective series. She is also known for her part in founding the annual ‘Bloody Scotland’ crime writing festival. 

Blurb

When the famous fairy flag of the Clan MacLeod disappears from a locked room at Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye, the police immediately call in Blaze Dog Detective.
After all his scenting skills on the island are legendary.
With his team of Rosa, Rory and wee brother Laoch, Blaze leads the chase to rescue this magical flag before it can be spirited away from the island forever.

Blaze Cover

Review

A map, a castle, a secret passage, adventure, cute dogs, robbers, police, a mystery to be solved, this children’s book has it all. There is wonderful mix of mild trepidation and humour and a terrific energy throughout. With all that and excellent characterisation and plot, I am highly recommending this book for children. Read on to find out more…

blaze fae Skye
Blaze from Skye

This is the first in a brand new detective series for children. Blaze happens to be a real dog in Skye who lives with his wee brother Laoch and their human dad and these are the main characters within this book, in fictional form.

The approach of writing about the dogs is excellent as they are not cartoon-like, they are written much more realistically than that. The instincts and observations of the dogs is cleverly written as they take on this quality that readers will want to get to know more of. There’s a warmth and wisdom in the characterisation that makes them endearing.

I enjoy the fact that readers will get to know the Isle of Skye, Scotland  and then the dogs and then the story pulls you in even deeper into the mystery of the stolen and valuable Fairy Flag.

I love that there is a map of Skye that children can have fun with. I love maps in children’s books. It always, immediately helps to give them a sense of place as the story is set, whether readers have been to the setting, in this case the Isle of Skye, Scotland or not. The writing throughout also gives a beautiful sense of Skye and its magical landmarks.

Blaze and naughty on beach
Blaze and Laoch on beach

Readers quickly find out how Blaze became a detective dog and also meet Granny Beaton (Granny B). She is no ordinary granny at all, riding a motorbike and possessing a crystal ball and has a 10-year-old granddaughter – Rosa from Glasgow.

There is a bit of danger within this story when news unfolds that the Fairy Flag at Dunvegan Castle, where the Chief of Clan McLeod lives,  has been stolen, meaning that the school trip for a summer castle party may be cancelled. There’s a terrific illustration of the castle and its grounds, plotted like a map to explore, that is a brilliantly conceived idea.

Fang is easy to sympathise with as his story unfolds and readers will find out if he knows anything about the Fairy flag or not and about the mysteriously clever crows that appear.

The hunt is on and there is a determination to find the Fairy Flag and who stole it, with secret passageways, a cave, a mysterious boat called The Darkness, there’s excitement, adventure and mild trepidation and team work to try and get the flag back, before it is gone forever. There’s also the distraction of rabbits to chase along the way and a hope that PC Munroe will be able to help. 

blaze and ferry          blaze figures it out

There’s some red herrings here and there, that creates for a great story for keeping readers guessing and gives scope to feel really involved in solving the mystery.

So this book is very much worth transporting yourselves to Skye and joining Blaze with his mischievous, fun brother in Skye, as he tries to solve this mystery.

The book is available now on Amazon and later on there will be physical copies available, when restrictions are lifted, so I highly recommend you watch out for all the different ways to purchase this book as they materialise. Just now, it is in E-book form and will make for perfect Easter weekend reading.

Click the link to purchase: Amazon

Blaze knows all the best walks in Skye and even sometimes comes to the mainland. 
Lin Anderson kindly shared a few. Hover your curser over the photos to find a little more about where Blaze is in each of the locations. 

 

Blaze 'n Trails
Walks on Skye

Review of Star Child – Book 2: The City of Souls @VacenTaylor @OdysseyBooks #Fantasy #dragons #bookish #review #blogtour @rararesources #kidslit

Star Child – Book 2: The City of Souls
By Vacen Taylor
Rated: ****

 

About the Author

Author Vacen Taylor picVacen Taylor is a children’s author with a portfolio of screenwriting and stage play achievements.  A selection of her poetry has been published in Art and Literature Journals. One of her plays was selected to be part of the Playwrights Program 2017 and then directed and performed as a performance reading at HOTA (previously the Gold Coast Arts Centre).

Her feature film script received a special commendation for Best Unproduced Screenplay titled Grandfathers at the British Independent Film Festival in 2018.  The logline can be found under Special Commendations for Unproduced Screenplays here.

Her TV pilot for a series (teleplay) was selected as a semi-finalist in the Hollywood Just4Shorts Film and Screenplay Competition in Los Angeles, CA. This pilot was listed in the top 50 for the Cinequest Screenwriting Competition in 2018.

She presented the first mental health panel at OZ Comic-Con in 2017. This panel was a fantastic opportunity to discuss openly and honestly about artists and their mental health to help support wellbeing, foster connectivity and provide a culture of support.

In 2018 she presented the panel, ‘An artist’s guide to creative happiness: How to strengthen your creative performance’ at Oz Comic-Con in Brisbane. Her panels are extraordinary opportunities to explore ideas with people who are currently working in the industry. She aims to discuss subjects like individualism, the community, mental health, wellbeing, happiness, creativity, co-creating and self-awareness which often leads to interesting questions from the audience.

What else does she do? Vacen is also a creative workshop facilitator and proficient in, teaching, speaking and concept creation. Guest Speaker. Workshop Presenter. Creative Panel Facilitator. Mentor. Support Worker. Counsellor. Social Welfare Advocate.

Blurb

With a new addition to their journey, a sealer boy who is bound by the collar of slavery, Mai Long, and Akra escape the clutches of the sand slaveer and then vicious Melkarie beasts.

They travel to Naroan – the forest lands of the soulbankers, the regulators of life and death.
Against the backdrop of rules and suspicion, the children are challenged with unravelling the mystery of the Silvershade, which has been calling to Akra from the moment he arrived in the forest city.
But Long is tormented by his own doubts – he must face a deadly power from the Underworld before it takes him in to the darkness.

The City of Souls (Starchild Book 2) by [Taylor, Vacen]

 

Review

I reviewed the first one a little while back, now we re-join the quest in this second in the series. This is a series that older primary school children will enjoy, especially if they like some fantasy and travel. This is a series that children can really get into and also expand their own imaginations.

The book is adventurous as it takes intrepid readers on a journey through this land, so get ready to travel with in a land of dragons and other creatures. With a bit of trepidation and parts of it holding some complexities, this has the potential to stretch children in their reading, which is positive. I would say the book is for age 9+ and will certainly hold their attention throughout this series that has lightness and darkness throughout it, which adds to the excitement and emotions that children love to feel, even the scarier parts as that’s partly what keeps children going back and wanting more.

The book is quite well written and well-thought out and as there is a series, it’s one that could be considered for a Christmas present as this is a series to watch out for more of as the quest unfolds.

Starchild book 2 blog tour

Review of The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty – A Book Full of Adventure and Magic in Mysterious Ways @guppybooks @jaclynmoriarty @bellaeditor #kidslit #adventure #fantasy #fiction #education #libraries #review #Scotland #UK #NewBook #readingforpleasure

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone
by Jaclyn Moriarty
Rated: 5 Stars *****

Blurb

Bronte Mettlestone has been brought up in a very sensible way by her Aunt Isabelle and the Butler. So when her absent parents are killed by pirates and she’s sent on a whirlwind visit to her other ten aunts, she takes it all in her stride. But Bronte’s outwardly sensible nature holds a core of steel and courage, and through her adventures, with water sprites, avalanches, elves and dragons, Bronte shows herself to be the kind of heroine we would all wish to be. This wonderful novel is witty, lively and full of magic and surprises – everything readers young and old could ask for. The kind of novel where you need to make a pot of tea (preferably cloudberry), find a really comfy sofa in front of a roaring fire, and settle in for a magical journey of your own.

Review

Thanks to Guppy Press for allowing me to join them on this book’s amazing adventures by sending me a proof copy of The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty to review, of which I very much appreciated.

By the time I was near the end of this wonderful book, full of adventures I was on my own adventure on a train. So, whether you are on a train or sitting in your home all cosy, this book will allow you to explore many more kingdoms and meet many more people and fantastical creatures. So sit down, relax and allow your imagination to take over and allow some time to escape into this book.

There is a wonderful map at the beginning of the book  showing where the places are that readers will travel as they follow Bronte Mettlestone on her inconvenient adventures within this book. Already I am wondering what the inconvenience is about going on and adventure. It is a great title and I love maps like these. They not only assist in setting the scene, this one in-particular also adds to the excitement of what may be next within the rest of those pages.

From the first page there is action and movement depicted as well as sadness to a certain extent. Bronte is 10 years old and is strong, brave and a likeable character.
This is no ordinary book and things aren’t always quite what you would expect and indeed this book reached more than my expectations. There’s an unusal will, but then her parents were killed in an unusual way, not every child can say their parents were killed by pirates, no matter when they die. Then there’s a quest. Firstly to deliver gifts by following instructions to the letter, right down to the mode of transport to take. This is a quest that she must do alone, so must leave her aunt behind. We first meet her with Aunt Isabelle and then Aunt Sue who lives in Livingstone, Scotland.

There are many great characters to meet and any reader is in for quite the adventure. There are pirates on the loose, causing trouble and Lantern Island to visit.

There is a bit of a mystery about a pepper grinder and a library with books with magical properties. There are many curiosities about this book that would make any child want to read further and delve deeper into this magical adventure with a bit of a detective story too.

Travel into different kingdoms and encounter sprites and dragons and more…
These kingdoms are well constructed and wonderfully imaginative. There is enough to feed into the curiosity and expand the imagination of any child.

The book deals with some pretty big topics but is done so sensitively and are all beautifully wrapped up in the adventures.

It may seem like a big book 389 pages, but there are lovely pictures supporting the written word. The text is a very decent size. The story is an excellent pace and one that has great adventures to mesmerize all children who enjoy a bit of bravery and exploration. It is all written with great imagination, with the worlds developed in ways that children will love and understand. Jaclyn Moriarty has weaved the familiar and the fantasy together very well for children to create this compelling story.

The story has a great ending that children will, through all the adventure, all the trepidation, find it wraps up well at the end and is great escapism.

___________________________________________________________

Title: The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
Publisher: Guppy Books
ISBN: 978-1-913101-03-9
Publication Date: October 2019

 

Review of Star Child – Book One: The Age of Akra @VacenTaylor @OdysseyBooks @rararesources #Rachel’sRandomResources #Fantasy #Kidslit #Adventure #ChapterBook #Australia #Newzealand #UK #BlogTour #Review

Star Child – Book  One: The Age of Akra
by Vacen Taylor
Rated: ****

It is with pleasure that it is my turn on the Random Things blog tour to review Star Child and today is the day of my turn to present it.

The Age of Akra Full Tour Banner (1)

 

About the Author

Author Vacen Taylor picVacen Taylor is a children’s author with a portfolio of screenwriting and stage play achievements.  A selection of her poetry has been published in Art and Literature Journals. One of her plays was selected to be part of the Playwrights Program 2017 and then directed and performed as a performance reading at HOTA (previously the Gold Coast Arts Centre).

Her feature film script received a special commendation for Best Unproduced Screenplay titled Grandfathers at the British Independent Film Festival in 2018.  The logline can be found under Special Commendations for Unproduced Screenplays here.

Her TV pilot for a series (teleplay) was selected as a semi-finalist in the Hollywood Just4Shorts Film and Screenplay Competition in Los Angeles, CA. This pilot was listed in the top 50 for the Cinequest Screenwriting Competition in 2018.

She presented the first mental health panel at OZ Comic-Con in 2017. This panel was a fantastic opportunity to discuss openly and honestly about artists and their mental health to help support wellbeing, foster connectivity and provide a culture of support.

In 2018 she presented the panel, ‘An artist’s guide to creative happiness: How to strengthen your creative performance’ at Oz Comic-Con in Brisbane. Her panels are extraordinary opportunities to explore ideas with people who are currently working in the industry. She aims to discuss subjects like individualism, the community, mental health, wellbeing, happiness, creativity, co-creating and self-awareness which often leads to interesting questions from the audience.

What else does she do? Vacen is also a creative workshop facilitator and proficient in, teaching, speaking and concept creation. Guest Speaker. Workshop Presenter. Creative Panel Facilitator. Mentor. Support Worker. Counsellor. Social Welfare Advocate.

Blurb

The foreshadowing of a dark future threatens the seven nations. Mai is selected to train with the mysterious elemental master Sah Dohba who will prepare her to become the protector of the desert lands.  Her brother Long, steps forward to travel with her as her chaperone to the Valley of a Thousand Thoughts.

A chance encounter brings them together with Akra, the Starchild.  The trio travels on into a battle with the elements. Sandstorms. Deadly creatures. Starvation. Then a chance meeting with powerful earthfollower, sets them on a new path where they must each find the strength to face a terrifying foe from the Underworld.

The Age of Akra Cover (1)

Review

This is the beginning of a new children’s fantasy series for children of ages 7+
The cover is exciting with its dragon, suggesting adventure and action. There are 5 in all in this series.
It was first published in 2013 for Australia but now it has broken into the UK market.
The book begins in the land of Sahas with Mai, Akra and Long being the main characters who is the middle child. There’s the familiar child rivalry, especially between sister and younger brother. This is a book about family and adventure. There is excitement and mild trepidation. There is bravery and emotion as different creatures. Always the story is driving forwards and is a great pace to hold attention of children. There is a lot happening in this underworld that is created well by this author.

This book would actually appeal to those children who are into Ninjago and action and adventure heroes from Marvel, as well as those who like giant creatures and exploration in a different land and what does leave a strange taste and a stink? This book would suit girls and boys alike. I reckon it is a good thing it has broken through internationally to the UK market. It read very well and in the style children are used to within the UK and possibly elsewhere in the world.

At the back of the book, after the story there is a glossary that tells readers of the 7 powers and their abilities and of the creatures they meet in the land of Sahas. I think this is pretty smart of the author as children are into this from all the collector card games they play.

I recommend giving this book a try and let’s get children reading again. There is much emphasis on getting children outside, so let’s get children reading from libraries and get them reading in general indoors and outdoors and from there sparks imagination for play both indoors and outdoors.

With thanks to Rachel at Random Things blog and the author Vacen Taylor and the publisher Odyssey Books for providing a signed copy of the book for me to review.

Please note: This is an unbiased review.

 

Social Media Links –  

Facebook  – https://www.facebook.com/Vacen-Taylor-Author-233611656699562/

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Title: Star Child – Book One – The Age of Akra
Author: Vacen Taylor
Publisher: Odyssey Books
ISBN: 9781922200020

 

Celebrating The Enduring Love of Roald Dahl for Children and Adults #RoaldDahl #RoaldDahlDay2019 @QuentinBlake #ChapterBooks #TalesoftheUnexpected #Kidslit #Fiction #Humour #Fantasy #Family #Friendship

Celebrating the Enduring Love of Roald Dahl

This is a short article on the enduring love of Roald Dahl. Today is the anniversary of his birthday and what we call Roald Dahl Day.

Roald Dahl Pic

In the Beginning

Roald Dahl was born in 1916 in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales. He wrote from his shed using HB pencils. He wrote for children and adults. His books live on in both book and film form. Sometimes the films are done well and sometimes they are not, that’s always the nature of films however, no matter who the original creator is. Some stories have also been adapted for TV and Radio.

Roald Dahl Day

Roald Dahl Day

Schools and libraries across the country tend to celebrate Roald Dahl every 13th September – his birthday. This year’s theme for Roald Dahl Day is Matilda. She is courageous and has a love of reading, even though it means going against her parents and isn’t seen as being trendy. The book is fun and has magic within it, but it is also sweet and gentle with Miss Honey, but then there is a marked contrast between her and Miss Trunchbull, which makes for great characterisation and story-telling.

The Books and Films

RD books

The books feed into children’s desires and imaginations. Take chocolate for example. There is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and what child wouldn’t want to join Charlie Bucket and the eccentric Willy Wonka in a factory that experiments and creates chocolate and sweets, even in this more health conscious society. The follow-up – Charlie and the Great Glass elevator has some adventure and also takes children a little into the political world and what the USA was like at the time Roald Dahl was writing about.
There is magic in The Witches, The Magic Finger and Matilda and family and school life as themes, that also have mild trepidation and villains and heroes. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was made into live action films – two of them.

James and the Giant Peach also has magic and heroes and villains. There is also friendship and adventure and a need for escape as James wants to escape his two gruesome aunts.

There is fun with The Enormous Crocodile that takes children through the jungle meeting different animals and with just enough scariness that children really enjoy when the crocodile wants to eat children.

Fantastic Mr Fox is also about nature and animals, but this time about the need to understand and look after them. It also has a political element, but on a child level about the landscape and fox hunting. This was also made into a CGI film and there was a song I remember learning when I was in primary school for the baby foxes. We acted it out and I was a baby fox.

There is also Daniel, Champion of the World about a boy and his plans. This was made into a live action film

There’s mischief to be had in the Twits and George’s Marvellous medicine. There’s also elements of inventiveness. George’s Marvellous Medicine was used for a Jackanory story on tv.

The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me shows teamwork, friendship and entrepreneurship as they set up their own window cleaning company and there is also some trepidation with a burglary in a grand house.

The BFG with his good dream catching skills befriends Sophie and the two become lovely friends.

Esio-Trot was the last book to be published in Roald Dahl’s lifetime. For those who haven’t worked it out, it is Tortoise spelt backwards.  Esio-Trot tackles loneliness and is about Mr Hopper trying to make a connection with Mrs Silver, who he has loved from afar. This was made into a film for tv.

Boy and Going Solo are both Non-Fiction and tell of Roald Dahl’s life. It may sit generally in the children’s non-fiction area, but really both children and adults will gain fascinating knowledge from them. There was a documentary style programme about them on tv.

Revolting Rhymes is exactly that and has twisted takes on fairy tales. There used to be a tv series also inspired by this with chef Gary Rhodes showing how to make revolting recipes inspired by the book with his assistant – actor, Pam Ferris.

There are books that are not only for children too, although the main emphasis seems to be on children. He also wrote really dark stories for young adults and adults alike that are twisted tales such as Skins and Tales of the Unexpected, which were on TV. Tales of plants that could talk; tattoos that someone wanted and could have straight from another person; tales of sinister bedsits etc.

There are also other books too that have been and are being produced.

Further Facts

Roald Dahl wrote everyday from 10 am to 12 noon and then from 4 pm to 6pm. His first book wasn’t what people imagined it to be – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it was The Gremlins, those furry, cute characters that change when wet and well, aren’t so cute after that.

This was not the end of his talent. He worked with illustrator Quentin Blake (more about him later) and with James Bond creator Ian Fleming and created Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang and worked on the book for the film of this and of James Bond: You Only Live Twice. He and Ian Fleming worked together prior to this during the second world war, providing information for MI6. Roald had also been in battles during the war too. He was with the Royal Air Force (RAF) until 1946.

Roald Dahl had 5 children and married twice. He has a granddaughter still living – Sophie Dahl. 

Roald Dahl died on 23rd November 1990. He was 74 and was suffering with myeldysplastic syndrome (a type of blood disease). He is buried in the cemetery of St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire. He was buried with some of his favourite things, including: a power saw, HB pencils, chocolate, red wine and his snooker cues.

Inspiration and Importance

Roald Dahl’s stories and screenplays endure as does the love for them. He had a talent for knowing what people like and to be able to us universally broad themes to create magical worlds and fun and adventure. He had a talent to bring about some really dark stories and yet aiming them just right for his target audience. It now also helps that schools and libraries celebrate his life. He is still an important author within this age of computer technology as children and adults read less. Mention Roald Dahl and everyone knows his books, which is a good place to start. Curiosity about authors will hopefully come too as so many have led or do lead such fascinating lives. Roald Dahl is everywhere, in his own work and has inspired other authors and it is seen in their work, such as now there are people like David Walliams and other writers who are similar to him, whom it is evident must have been inspired by Roald Dahl.

Quentin Blake

Quentin Blake Books

Now it wouldn’t be right not to mention Quentin Blake too. He illustrated many of Roald’s books and has many fabulous books of his own creations too that are so full of fun and excellent illustrations. His books are now of many, his most well-known perhaps being Mister Magnolia and Mrs Armitage.

Children’s Laureate and other Awards

The Children’s Laureate seems to have been around forever, or so it is sometimes assumed, but it wasn’t until 1999 this post was created. Today in 2019, as I write, it is Cressida Cowell. In 1999, the very first Children’s Laureate was Quentin Blake.

He has also received so many awards for his books, including the Whitbred award. He has also been personally recognised and has certainly been living an illustrious life. He was made CBE in 2005, is an RDI and has numerous honorary degrees from universities throughout the UK. He received a knighthood for ‘services to illustration’ in the New Year’s Honours for 2013, and became an Honorary Freeman of the City of London in 2015. It is an impressive career and impressive to be recognised so much for all his work that endures and I am sure will also endure, not just through his collaboration with Roald Dahl, but also the work he has produced himself too, which is quite some body of work indeed as he has always worked in illustration and even illustrated for Punch magazine.

An Additional Career

Quentin also has another career. He works as a curator for exhibitions in well-known famous places – the National Gallery, the British Library and the Musée du Petit Palais in Paris. In the last few years he has begun to make larger-scale work for hospitals and healthcare settings in the UK and France where his work can be seen in wards and public spaces.

In Conclusion

So, two great men who inspire and whose work will, I am sure will continue to for generations to come with libraries and schools and parents and children all playing their part. There books I am sure will always be somewhere in bookshops, on library shelves and hopefully also in the hands of readers. I am also sure that they will be inspiring other current and future authors for years to come.

Roald-Dahl