The Boy Who Sang With Dragons by Andy Shepherd @andyjshepherd @PiccadillyPress #BookReview by Lou #ChildrensBook #Middlegrade

The Boy Who Sang With Dragons
By Andy Shepherd
Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

Rated: 5 stars *****

Hilarious fun with some dragons and a touch of real life drama, makes this a great addition to The Boy Who Grew Dragons series, which is perfect for 7-9 year olds.
Thank you to Andy Shepherd for surprising me with a copy to review.
Discover more in the blurb and review below.

The Boy Who Sang With Dragons

Blurb

Here in Grandad’s garden I am the dragon whisperer, the dragon protector …

Tomas is a fully-fledged expert dragon grower and protector of the dragonfruit tree. He has eyes in the back of his head for watching over those sneaky dragons, awesomely fast reflexes for putting out sparks and dodging the diving antics of whirling newly hatched dragons. He’s got it all down pat – and managing his little lightning bolt dragon Zing, too. But he’s not quite prepared for the adventure that awaits him when a huge secret is revealed about his new friend, Aura. A thrilling secret that will take Tomas and Aura on a journey of discovery that will finally unlock the last mysteries of the dragonfruit tree. A journey of discovery that all the dragons will be in on – and just what will happen when lightning bolt dragon Zing and storm dragon Flicker get together? Get ready for the ride of your life in this fizzing, sparkling final story in THE BOY WHO GREW DRAGONS series.
The Boy Who Sang With Dragons 2

Review

It was with surprise and delight that The Boy Who Sang With Dragons came flying through my letterbox. It’s the latest in the series that is delighting many children from the age of 7 years old in their homes and schools. The books are part of a series, but can also be read as stand-alone pretty well.

The cover is so much fun and is textured, which adds a certain je’ne’sais’quoi. It’s always special for children to find books designed like this. Look out for the evidence that dragon’s may have been at the books. It’s illustrated in such a fun way inside.

Imagine dragon’s at the bottom of your grandad’s garden, well, this is where they live!

Ted and Liam are back and a lot of slime is involved, in the most unexpected gross ways that has a lot of kid appeal and then proceeds in a step-by-step guide of how to grow a dragon.

There’s also Aura and Lolli who are into capes and tutus and chocolate. Children will read where chocolate comes from. They are fun as well amongst riotous animals causing havoc.

Readers are reacquainted with the dragons, such as  Zing and Flicker to go on a terrific adventure with and also be acquainted with nature and what dragon’s can do for it. There’s a concern that one of the characters may stop seeing the dragons. There are real emotions that are easy for readers to grasp of and empathise with and see why a character is so sad and dreams and nightmares, which are relatable for children.
There are music references and the positivity that singing can bring and some more humour and nature as the author carefully brings the book back to a lighter mood.

Amongst the fun, there are serious themes within families and older relatives, but all done in context of the story and within a middle grade reader’s grasp of understanding as it’s nothing too heavy. Tha balance is good and is more on the side of humour, adventure, imagination and fun, which makes it a great addition to the series as well as perfect for reading for pleasure and has enough if school’s wish to open up a conversation too.

Hedgy-A and the Honey Bees by Ryan Mizzen @ryan_mizzen #Bookreview by Lou #ChildrensBook

Hedgy-A and the Honey Bees
By Ryan Mizzen
Illustrated by Paul Winward
Rated: 4 stars ****

Hedgy-A and the Honey Bee by Ryan Mizzen,  is a charming book that has an important environmental message which is written well for 5-7 year old children. It has great rhythm to its story-telling rhyme, which really captures children of these ages and has a good energy to it as well as some humour. Check out more in the blurb and review, then find out more about the author and how he has become quite a man of influence in matters of the environment. Find out why he has decided to write a book for the 5-7 years old range in a section below as well and why he is writing, what is The Time To Care Series of which this is book 1. Each further book will have a different character and ecological issue being addressed in story form in a way that has been written through being inspired by Julia Donaldson.
You can also discover a bit more about the illustrator, who has delightful pictures to entice children in and bring the story alive. You will also find buy links too.

I thank Ryan Mizzen for contacting me via my Contact Me part of my blog and for sending me, at first a PDF copy of Hedgy – A and the Honey Bees and then one of his “author copies” amongst his busy keyworking schedule.

Hedgey A Cover (B)

Blurb

“We have to do something before its’ too late,
To help save the bees from a horrible fate”

One day – Hedgy-A is visited by his friend Brizzy the honey bee. Hedgy-A learns that honey bees are becoming sick because chemicals called pesticides are being used on plants. But he knows just what to do and sets off for London to see the Queen, who he hopes can save the bees!

Link to purchase: Amazon
Libraries can order from Ingram Spark

Hedgey A Cover physical book

Review

Hedgy-A is a very cute hedgehog who lives beneath a beehive in this lovely rhyming book with beautiful illustrations of Hedgy – A and his friends and surroundings. The book gently encourages kindness and helping others. It is also about how bees make their honey and the impact the environment created by human’s, including farmers have on them. Hedgy – A wants to save the bees and travelling off to London, he visits in hunt of the Queen to tell her what is going on and to ask for her help to also save the day for the bees. It becomes fun, but also really packs a punch as it draws young children to the realities of what is happening.

You of course don’t need to see The Queen to help the bees, but it does all however create a very fun and inspired story that has a healthy helping of passion and strength of character at its heart that shows working together and caring can help make a postive impact in what is a lively story.

This is a book that schools and parents/caregivers alike can use well with their 5-7 year old children. It has enough to entertain and feed their curiosity about the natural world as it delivers an important message.

A note from the author:

What’s unique about the story and why did I write it?

This story is unique in the sense that it is drawing attention to pesticide use for a younger audience,
who will inherit the world we leave behind. Bees are crucial to our food supply and their numbers
have drastically plummeted in recent years, raising massive concerns. Research has shown that this
is linked to pesticides and neonicotinoids, some of which are banned in the EU, but still available
elsewhere. Meanwhile the UN has shown that it’s possible to eliminate pesticide use and still
produce high yields of crops with other measures. But the pesticide companies have formed a strong
lobby group and have no intention of stopping production.

About the Author

www.ryanmizzen.com

Ryan Mizzen Author ImageRyan is a Children’s Book Author. He holds a First Class BSc in Climate Change (Hons) from Coventry
University and a Distinction in an MA in Creative Writing (via Distance Learning) from Teesside
University. He has also completed online writing courses with Oxford University and the University
of East Anglia.
In 2018, Ryan was named as an Environmental Changemaker, following on from the UN Young
Champions of the Earth competition, where he proposed using fiction as a form of science
communication to spread awareness about the climate crisis to a wider audience. Prior to which, he
worked in the energy efficiency and offshore wind industries for four years.
He’s had climate change articles published by The Independent, Africa Geographic, Thomson Reuters
Foundation, The South African and he’s been interviewed about sustainability by Thrive Global. He’s
also written for outlets including IKSurfMag, Kiteworld Magazine, Age UK, The Writing Cooperative
and Holistic Health Magazine amongst others. His other interviews appear in the Huffington Post
and Authority Magazine.
His debut self-published picture book, Hedgey-A and the Honey Bees is now available using the buy link – Amazon
“A person of great influence.” – Thrive Global

About The Illustrator

www.paulwinwardillustration.com
Paul has over 30 years’ experience working in advertising and in a freelance capacity. He is an
illustrator with extensive experience designing books, e-books, logos and illustrations for websites.
Some of his other illustrated books include The Three Detectives, Kob the Antelope, Snowflake’s
Adventure on Mount Lifelong, The Journey to River Rose, and 1,2, Think!

Amari and The Night Brothers by B.B. Alston @bb_alston @egmontbooksuk #TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour #AmariPeters #NominationDetected

Amari and the Night Brothers
By B.B. Alston
Illustrated by Brittany Jackson
Rated: 5 stars *****

It is my pleasure to be closing the Write Reads Ultimate Blog Tour for Amari and the Night Brothers, which is such a magical book for older middle-grade and young YA (teens) readers. It is great for aged 8 plus. If you like Percy Jackson, youll like this.  I thank Egmont for providing me with a physical proof copy of this outstandingly irresistable page-turner of a book. Read on to discover more in the blurb and my review.

Amari cover

Blurb

Amari Peters knows three things.

Her big brother Quinton has gone missing.

No one will talk about it.

His mysterious job holds the secret . . .

So when  Amari gets an invitation to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s  certain this is her chance to find Quinton. But first she has to get  her head around the new world of the Bureau, where mermaids, aliens and  magicians are real, and her roommate is a weredragon.

Amari must compete against kids who’ve known about the supernatural world  their whole lives, and when each trainee is awarded a special  supernatural talent, Amari is given an illegal talent – one that the  Bureau views as dangerous.

With an evil magician threatening the  whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is the  enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the  three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton . . .

An epic middle grade supernatural adventure series, soon to be a major movie starring Marsai Martin. Perfect for readers aged 8+ and fans of  Percy Jackson, Nevermoor and Men in Black!

B. Alston lives in Lexington, SC. Amari and the Night Brothers  is his debut middle grade novel. When not writing, he can be found  eating too many sweets and exploring country roads to see where they  lead.

Amari Cover 1

Amari Cover 2

Review

The blurb is incredibly eye-catching as it asks readers if you can handle it? It’s a fantastically ingenious way of using wit and reverse psychology. It works a treat and of course you can handle it and will want to pick the book up and read it. It has an explosive beginning, more in terms of Amari Peters being in trouble at the principle’s office at school, than anything else.
This book has so much going for it and is fun and so relevant to children and young teens in the plot right to what children see on collectable cards to technology.

Then comes an odd email with a message about it going to self-destruct and a mysterious package suddenly turns up for Amari on the doorstep.

Quinton is a bit older than Amari and likes Stephen Hawking and Martin Luther King. He isn’t any normal kid though. He has some sort of mysterious powers and suddenly the two brothers end up on a huge ship and off on an adventure. The book is at a pace that induces excitement and is enthralling. Quinton works for the Bureau. He is on a list of noteworthy agents for the Department of Supernatural Agents. There is an intriguing nomination form too and a “Wakeful Dream”. All of which readers can be captured within and explore in what is an excellently written book. All genders can find enjoyment out of this book.

Elsie is also an interesting character and readers find out how magicians are different in the supernatural world to those on-stage in the world readers live in. There are creatures, objects like a crystal ball and other characters to meet and, this I think is cleverly thought out and makes me think of collectable cards: there are Talent Enhanced to Supernatural Ability and underneath what that talent is. It creates for some fun. So, I recommend you read this book (unless you really do find it too hot to handle), and discover all of these enhanced abilities. Discover what the plan of action is and how to become a Junior Agent Trainee at Summercamp. The layout of the book and of the world keeps interest going and will take any reader in further as it feels involving. It also is modern and not always other-worldy in its referencing to apps, friend requests, messaging and this works well and keeps it all grounded.

Find out who passes, who fails and what happens in what is an irresistable page-turner of a book.

AMARI_Tour_Banner

#BookList2020 by Lou – My Top Children’s Book Choices 2020 #ChildrensBooks #TopChildrensBook2020

My Top Children’s Book Choices 2020
Various Authors       Various Genres       Various Ages

Children's book stack

I present what I consider the top 17 children’s books I have had the pleasure of reviewing. Discover more about them in the links provided. Each is in no particular order and I’ve included a couple of activity books at the bottom. There are books for every age group.

The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt Phillips Click Here for More Info

The Boy Who Fell Into A FairyTale by Ben Miller Click Here for More Info

A Jewel in the Sands of Time by Clive Mantle Click Here for More Info

The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons by Andy J. Shephard Click Here for More Info

Blaze – The Magic Flag Mystery by Lin Anderson Click Here for More Info

The Castle of Tangled Magic by Sophie Anderson Click Here for More Info

First Prize for The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy Click Here for More Info

Red Snow by Larraine Harrison Click Here for More Info 

Helping Hands Stories by Sarah – Duchess of York Click Here for More Info

A Better Place by Alyson March Click Here for More Info

Always Together at Christmas by Sara Sargent Click Here for More Info

The Butterfly Inside by Serena Lane Ferrari Click Here for More Info

My Mummy is A Monster by Natalie Reeves Billing Click Here for More Info

Gloria – The Summer Fun Bus by Sue Wickstead Click Here for More Info

My Awesome Autism by Nikki Saunders Click Here for More Info

Activity Books

The Dragon Book Club by Lexi Rees Click Here for More Info

Scavenger Art by Lexi Rees Click Here for More Info

#Bookreview by Lou of #Christmas #ChildrensBook – Always Together At Christmas By Sara Sargent #SaraSargent @wunderbooks @randomhousekids

Always Together At Christmas
By Sara Sargent
Rated: 5 stars *****

After reviewing Alone Together, this is an entirely different book in that it is for children and also focusing on something more upbeat, just what children need for Christmas. This is a book which children will see themselves reflected in how they’ve perhaps been living in these times and how Christmas can still be marvellous fun! It is pretty unique in its type and many children will find it reassuring.
It is available to buy now!
I thank Melissa and Elena at Wunderland PR for getting in contact with me to review  and for providing an e-book and so many fun pictures.

Please find the blurb, review and a bit about the author as you scroll down.

Always Together Christmas Tree

About the Author

Sara Sargent is a Senior Executive Editor at Random House Children’s Books. She received her BA from Swarthmore College and her Master of Science in Journalism from the Medill School at Northwestern University. Sara grew up in Buffalo, New York, and has also called Chicago and New York City home. She has held positions at HarperCollins Publishers, Simon & Schuster, Meet the Press, New York Magazine, Hyperion Books for Children, and WBEZ in Chicago. Sara collects Christmas ornaments from all over the world, from every city she visits—her favorite one is a hand-painted pink bauble from the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, California. Sara lives in Brooklyn, and this is her first book.
      Always Together At Christmas Cover Pic                    Always Together Author Signing Book

Blurb

Christmas will always mean love.Even if love looks a little different this year. As families and communities come together—and stay apart—in creative ways this holiday season, bring comfort and joy to children with this story about a Christmas just as memorable as those in years past. ALWAYS TOGETHER AT CHRISTMAS is the only book of its kind this season which highlights different family traditions and the ways they’re changing in the pandemic: from Santa’s elves practicing social distancing to opening presents via Zoom on Christmas morning. It even includes ideas for new quarantine-appropriate Christmas traditions!Children everywhere will see themselves reflected in the pagesof this bookasitfeatures families of all types in locations that range from sandy beaches to snowy zones. With thesweet and cozy illustrations addingclassic touches, and the uplifting message of togetherness, love and joy, this book is the perfect gift to share with family and friends from across the miles.

Always Together Map Page

Review

The first thing that strikes me is the big, bold illustrations and the short sentence per page. This has curve appeal to young children. It is festive with snowy scenes. It is uplifting and caring and shares a way forward in the spirit of fun. Children will most certainly be able to relate to every scene in the book. It illustrates in an easy to follow map how things could feel different this year, before showing that it will all be okay in the end. Santa will still appear, there can still be a Christmas tree and gifts and new traditions forged.

Always Together Page

The book concludes with some lovely ideas for families to do from the virtual and physical worlds that are designed for some ‘safe’ fun.

This is a beautiful, quick and easy book that parents, teachers, children can all look at and read and relate to in a way that can reassure children who are concerned what Christmas will be like in 2020, in a calm and joyful, hopeful way.

Always Together Believe Page

#Review by Lou Scavenger Art By Lexi Rees @lexi_rees #MollyODonaghue RachelRandomResources #ChildrensBook #ActivityBook

Scavenger Art
By Lexi Rees
Illustrated by Molly O’Donoghue
Rated: 5 stars *****

Scavenger Art is a terrific activity book for ages 6-12. It really does cater for all of this vast age range in a fun, exploratory way that fits art and questions together in challenges.
This is a little late in the blog tour due to unforeseen home technicalities that could not be left.
Please do go on your own hunt and scroll down to the blurb, review, a bit about the author and media links and also discover buy links within this too.
Thanks to Lexi Rees for the postcard.
This is a non-biased review (as are all my reviews)

Scavenger Hunt (Front Cover)

Blurb

Scavenger Art

Scavenger hunts are fun.

Drawing is fun.

Put them together for ★ SCAVENGER ART ★

This unique art-based activity book includes 52 scavenger hunts designed to

✓ encourage curious minds    ✓ spark creativity      ✓ practise mindfulness    ✓ develop drawing skills

Perfect for ages 6 to 12.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1913799042/

US –  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1913799042/

Review

Scavenger Art is a beautiful book. The cover is so much fun and whatsmore is that this is an activity book, which is perfect for a Christmas present or a gift at any time of year to keep children occupied. Inside is beautifully illustrated on one side of the page and on the opposite side is a place where to be creative yourself. There are challenges to complete, questions to answer, items to draw.

The challenges cover all manner of topics from clothing to vehicles to buildings to nature to pets, so there really is something for everyone and everything is so relatable to children. There is drawing and writing to be done and each challenge sparks creativity and children will ultimately find it so much fun as they go on a scavenger hunt around their home, the area they live in and through the book, there is a world of possibilities as to how to use this book. Children will be able to do the challenges themselves or with another member of their family.

About the Author

Lexi Rees was born in Scotland but now lives down south. She writes action-packed adventures brim full of witch-doctors, fortune-tellers, warriors and smugglers, combining elemental magic with hints of dystopia. She also writes fun activity books for children.

Her fantasy adventure, Eternal Seas, was awarded a “loved by” badge from LoveReading4Kids. The sequel, Wild Sky, is available now.

She’s passionate about developing a love of reading and writing in children and, as well as her Creative Writing Skills workbook, she has an active programme of school visits and other events, is a Book PenPal for three primary schools, and runs a free online #kidsclub and newsletter which includes book recommendations and creative writing activities.

In her spare time, she’s a keen crafter and spends a considerable amount of time trying not to fall off horses or boats.

Social Media Links –

Website: https://lexirees.co.uk

Twitter: @lexi_rees  or https://twitter.com/lexi_rees

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LexiAuthor/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/lexireesbooks/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lexi.rees/