#Bookreview of #ChildrensBook – Ben and The Bug by Natalie Reeves Billing – Essential Reading for Our Times @BillingReeves @RandomTTours

Ben and The Bug
By Natalie Reeves Billing
Rated: 5 stars *****

One of the most important and essential children’s books of our times!
Engaging and sensitive, this book takes children through our times of Covid 19 in a way they will understand and not be scared, but that will assist them to be more aware, through story, facts and a game.
I thank Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the blog tour and for them and Natalie Billing for sending me a copy of the book.

Blurb

When Ben meets Bug at the swing park, they instantly become the best of friends. But when everyone around them gets sick, Ben wonders about the identity of his new playmate.Ben and the Bug is written for families looking for a friendly approach to discussions around Coronavirus.

Ben and the Bug Front Cover

Review

This is an engaging story with one of the most important purposes of our times. Everyone knows about the Corona Virus now, but it can be challenging to remind children or know where to even start with children, when explaining it. In this engaging book that really brings everything down to a child’s level, this book will be an incredibly useful tool for children, child-educators and parents alike, through story and a game.

The game is “Spot the Bug”. On each page there is a bug to find, which will engage children further into the story of Ben and his Auntie Pat.

The book starts in the park. That’s where the bug was first encountered. It’s a fun, yet serious story that shows how a bug can be spread and make people feel unwell. It’s done in a sensible and sensitive way, through fun and bold illustrations and story, that is engaging for children. As well as the story are facts about keeping clean and the bug that all backs up the story and gently informs children. There are more facts at the back of the book as well, that can be brought into any discussion.
The book also shows the bug being sad that it is making people sick and wants to help. It will dissipate any fear factor, even though, of course the bug won’t do that, yet will help children to be able to better understand what is going on, to ease some anxieties, which could also help them to take the situation of Covid 19 more seriously. The book has elements of positivity as it tells of what people are trying to do to make this situation better.

About the Author

Natalie Reeves Billing. Author Pic (1).jpgNatalie Reeves Billing is a Liverpool lass with a dark sense of humour, which often spills onto the page. She loves to write spooky, fantastical stories for young audiences, and dabbles in poetry, contemporary fiction.
Natalie spent most of her early career in the music industry as a performer and professional songwriter. This lead, almost inevitably, to storytelling.

Natalie is an Arvon Foundation friend and is a student of the Golden Egg Academy. She is mentored under the Lloyds Bank SSE program, with her Bubs Literacy project. She is published in several anthologies with her poetry and flash fiction, including the Writing on the Wall, Read Now, Write Now, and is involved in several collaborations with fellow writers across poetry, song, and scriptwriting.
Her new book, My Mummy is a Monster (part of the Monstrous Me collection) will be available in March 2020 and Carry Love in June 2020
Connect with Natalie on Twitter @BillingReeves.

#Bookreview by Lou of #ChildrensBook – My Daddy Is A Monster by Natalie Reeves Billing @BillingReeves @RandomTTours #MonstrousMe #MyDaddyIsAMonster

My Daddy Is A Monster
By Natalie Reeves Billing
Rated: 5 stars *****

Following from My Mummy’ – Is A Monster, this is another dual perspective book that is thought-provoking for young children.
Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours and Natalie for inviting me onto the blog tour and for a copy of the book.

My Daddy is a monster pic

Blurb

The Monstrous Me collection are split perspective books looking at situations from other points of view, helping children develop a sense of balance, roundedness and wellbeing. Readers can literally and figuratively, turn the story on its head, and look at the very same situations from different angles. In this second book, ‘My Daddy is a Monster’ a curious little boy is convinced his dad is a monster. But, is he really? When we look through his dad’s eyes, we see a very different story.

Review

One way the book is My Daddy Is A Monster. Turn the book upside down and you get My Kid Is A Monster.
Monsters can hide and daddy turns into a big purple monster. He does all sorts of things like takes away the kids IPad, makes them awful food, drags them to a football match and much more. Then at bedtime, it all turns more positive for the kids as they realise daddy is not a monster after all as he does some really kind things.

On the flip-side the kids are monsters who leave toys lying out, fidget and fight, take daddy’s phone and moan through the football game and more…
When the kids are all tucked up in bed, the perspective changes and both kids and daddy wonder if each other are really monsters.

It’s a story that will make children think and could assist in seeing each other’s perspectives and try to regulate and think about their behaviour. It could enhance certain aspects of growing-up and being respectful and in growing into a more rounded individual. It’s perfect for opening up thoughtful discussions with young children, as well as enjoying the game and story, in a home and education setting.

It’s also beautifully illustrated with a game of “Hunting the Monstrometer” throughout the book.

About the Author

Natalie Reeves Billing. Author Pic (1)Natalie Reeves Billing is a Liverpool lass with a dark sense of humour, which often spills onto the page. She loves to write spooky, fantastical stories for young audiences, and dabbles in poetry, contemporary fiction.
Natalie spent most of her early career in the music industry as a performer and professional songwriter. This lead, almost inevitably, to storytelling.

Natalie is an Arvon Foundation friend and is a student of the Golden Egg Academy. She is mentored under the Lloyds Bank SSE program, with her Bubs Literacy project. She is published in several anthologies with her poetry and flash fiction, including the Writing on the Wall, Read Now, Write Now, and is involved in several collaborations with fellow writers across poetry, song, and scriptwriting.
Her new book, My Mummy is a Monster (part of the Monstrous Me collection) will be available in March 2020 and Carry Love in June 2020
Connect with Natalie on Twitter @BillingReeves.

My Daddy is a Monster BT Poster (1)

#Bookreview by Lou of an enchanting #ChildrensBook – The Castle of Tangled Magic by Sophie Anderson @sophieinspace @Usborne

The Castle of Tangled Magic
by Sophie Anderson
Rated: 5 stars *****

Sophie Anderson, author of The Girl Who Speaks Bear, has another enchanting tale – The Castle of Tangled Magic. It enchants with its richly depicted castle and magical land that provides excellent escapism.

Thanks to Usborne and Sophie Anderson for allowing me to write a review and for providing an e-copy of the book.

Follow further down to the blurb, review and links.

The Castle of Tangled Magic Cover

Blurb

Magic awaits, all you have to do is believe…

When thirteen-year-old Olia, steps through a magical doorway, she discovers another land. A land tangled by magic, where hope is lost, and a scheming wizard holds all the power.

Soon Olia learns that she is destined to save this land, but with time running out and her new friends and family in danger, she must search for the magic within herself – to save everything and everyone she loves.

The Castle of Tangled Magic, the new fairy tale from Sophie Anderson, illustrated by Saara Söderlund.

An enchanting fairy-tale adventure about the power of love and courage, from the bestselling author of The House with Chicken Legs and The Girl who Speaks Bear.

The Castle of Tangled Magic Cover

Review

Castle Mila, built from wood around 500 years ago near the shore of a lake, sounds like so many children’s dream of a castle with it’s majestic stature and hidden passageways and secrets. The writing is amazingly imaginative, in the way Sophie Anderson has captured the castle and takes readers on a tour around it, up each of the stairs to the different rooms and domes, along with Olia. There is so much to feast the eyes upon and to delight and bring a touch of magic to children’s imaginations. It’s all rather splendid. She is also wanting to find some magic, so seeks out an older member of the family – Babusya, who informs about the mysterious Sun Dome that could have magic, but is locked. The mysteriousness that builds is fascinating and enchanting.

There’s great charm and excitement that captures the heart. The ideas of olde of leaving salt as offerings for spirits, such as domovoi (a spirit, in this case a fox who protects) and of the changes of the wind are explored through Babusya. As other family members appear, there is a lovely family cosyiness element, which is heartwarming, as is the talk of ancestry.

There’s a storm, which seems to make looking for a key even more pressing, a gripping, treacherous adventure ensues and there is a lot at stake – the family and the castle to protect from the ferociousness of the weather.

The story continues onwards with Feliks, the domovoi, into a mystical, rather surreal land – The Land of Forbidden Magic, where there the descriptions add to the surrealism as Koshka, a gorgeous cat, is met and a conversation ensues about the witch Nania and Chenomor’s magic. Another unexpected quest occurs as the land and spirits need to be saved. With lots of danger and many different encounters and riddles to solve, it pulls readers further in deeper as the quest becomes increasingly treacherous and on top of that Castle Mila itself needs saving.
Sophie Anderson creates so much for readers to grasp onto and root for in this pacy adventure, that also has an almighty twist.

Throughout, there are lovely illustrations, depicting the story well. At the end there is also “Olia’s Glossary”, which children will benefit well from, to enhance their understanding of the story as there are some words, that may be unfamiliar.

Links

Website: www.sophieandersonauthor.com

Twitter: @sophieinspace

#BookReview by Lou – of charming #ChildrensBook – The Butterfly Inside by Serena Lane Ferrari #readingrocks #edutwitter #minibeasts #Kidslit

The Butterfly Inside
By Serena Lane Ferrari
Illustrated By Georgia Vallicelli
Rated: 5 stars *****

I am delighted to present my review of The Butterfly Inside. This is a beautifully illustrated picture book that will benefit so many young children up to at least age 5, and whisk them away on a great imaginative journey they are certain to relate to in this charming modern fairytale that will sit well in any nursery and primary school bookshelves. It is also great for reading for pleasure at home too.

I thank Serena Ferrari for posting a copy of her book to me.

The Butterfly Inside cover

Blurb

One young elf. One big dream.

Every night Oliver dreams of becoming a butterfly. He wants to fly and flutter around the forest with all the other butterflies.

The butterfly within him, trapped in the prison of his elf body, is battling to come out. Despite Crow’s laughing, Oliver has many friends that support him in finding his power and path to trasformation.

Can Oliver hold onto his dream and become a Butterfly?
Follow his journey in this magical modern fairytale to find out.

Review

What child doesn’t wish they could be something else other than human? I know I certainly did. Oliver is an elf who wishes he was a butterfly. He takes a walk and tries to find the materials he needs to turn himself into a butterfly, meeting all sorts of creatures along the way who try to help in this charming story, that ends with beautiful colouring in pages.

The book encourages imagination, problem-solving, friendship, fun and teamwork.

I simply love the character and humour within this essentially, heartwarming book. The illustrations are bold and accompany the story very well. It’s full of positivity and optimism and fun that will brighten any child’s story-time.

For families, this is a beautiful book to share together, that children are sure to delight in.

For schools  and nurseries, especially, there is enough in the story to either have a quiet story-time and/or incorporate it into a mini-beasts project that could create some fascinating discussions and artwork, I’m sure.

You will also find more books by Serena Lane Ferrari after the story, but then keep reading all the way to the very last page (more so if you’re and adult), it is incredibly poignant for what the author has to say…

Happy Paperback Publication of Blaze Dog Detective – The Magic Flag Mystery by Lin Anderson and Donald McKay @Lin_Anderson @Blazespage #BlazeDogDetective #BookReview #Childrensbook #kidslit #mystery #adventure #cozymystery #ReadingforPleasure #ReadingRocks #EduTwitter

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

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, I am so pleased to share with you, is now available in Waterstones in Paperback, so – Happy Publication!
It’s a terrific, mysterious book for children, with great characters and story and Blaze the Dog, who does actually live up in Skye. It’s a book children can really get totally involved in as the mystery unfolds amongst enchanting scenery and a castle. This is an intriguing read for reading for pleasure at home and in schools.
As you scroll through you will come across links to their pages, various photos, the blurb, my  full review and a buy link.

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 fun 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 in Waterstones in paperback. 

Click the link to purchase: Waterstones
You will see all the books, top author Lin Anderson has written, including this new children’s book.

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 My Awesome Autism by Nikki Saunders @NRSaundersbooks #autism #edutwitter #childrensbook #picturebook #primaryrocks #libraries

My Awesome Autism
By Nikki Saunders
Rated: 5 stars *****

If I were asked to describe this book in 3 words, they would be:
Bold, Creative and Positive!
The rest of the review can be discovered below, after the blurb.

my awesome autism cover

Blurb

We Are All Different! That’s Wonderful! Some Differences Are Easy To See…
A book about autism and diversity. This book is the first step to providing a communicational gateway for your child to learn about their autism in a positive and nurturing way.

Whilst delivering such love and reassurance, your child can enjoy the stimulating, colourful illustrations with you, and later revisit upon the child’s experiences thereafter.

my awesome autism cover

Review

This is such a positive and uplifting book that child-educators and parents/caregivers can all enjoy with children. It can be used for those with autism or even to help provide empathy and understanding to those who do not. All children can gain something from this book. The fact that everything is backed up with positive and warm words of love may make lots of children smile and perhaps feel good about themselves. It could also have that effect on families and teachers too as they read it with their child(ren).

Each page is simply illustrated in large brightly coloured pictures that bring the story to life. So, nothing too intricate and not too busy either.

It has a terrific accrostic using the word “Autism”. It is super positive. The book then goes on to show that everyone is different from hair to skin colour to skills to observation.

There’s a really clever picture within the book that demonstrates observation perfectly. It is drawn in a way that it could be a duck and a rabbit and asks which you see first. It reassures it doesn’t matter, just that people are different in what they initially see, both are right.

The book then goes on to demonstrating that people’s senses, feelings, likes and dislikes can all be different and each is backed up with still promoting that message of Love.

There’s an affirmation about being Amazing!

There’s a section on how everyone has strengths and weaknesses and how some people may find certain things trickier than others. It’s backed up with reassurance that this is ok!

Twitter Link  @NRSaundersbooks