#Review By Lou of #Middlegrade #book-My Mum Is A Spy By Andy McNab and Jess French @The_Real_McNab @Zoologist_Jess @nathanreed_lllo @welbeckpublish @WelbeckKids

My Mum Is A Spy
By Andy McNab and Jess French
Illustrated By Nathan Reed

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I have a review of My Mum Is A Spy, a Middle Grade book. It has adventure and mystery’s  Thanks to the publisher, Welbeck Books for the book in exchange of an honest review, get out those spy magnifying glasses and see the blurb and review below…

Blurb

My mum is absolutely definitely 100% NOT a spy…

When Lucia and her dad come to stay for a week, Idris can’t believe his bad luck. He had prepared himself to share the TV remote and maybe some of his toys, but he hadn’t prepared himself for Lucia. Lucia LOVES spying and – worst of all – she is convinced that Idris’ mum is a spy. And that just can’t be true . . . can it?

But even Idris has to admit there is something a bit unusual about their family trip to the zoo. Were his eyes playing tricks on him, or did someone really drop something into Mum’s bag? And why is Budi the orangutan, who is normally so cheerful, suddenly off his food?

Maybe it’s time for some spying, after all . . .

Review

This book is bursting with an exciting energy. This is absolutely terrific for children reading chapter books in the middle grade set. First of all, the illustrations are fun and look visually great, the layout of the text is also fun, making it easy for any child to get their teeth into. There’s also the curious question of whether Idris’s mum is a spy or not and Idris, initially with an eye-popping list, exploding off the page to catch any child’s eye as to why his mum isn’t a spy…. Something that readers will have fun exploring and figuring out who is right – Idris or Lucia.

Lucia’s love of spying really shines through when the news reporter announces the theft of pangolins from the zoo. Pangolins are described well in the book for kids. Readers can explore the zoo, meeting all the great and cute animals, all looked after well in large enclosures as Idris sees the good work zoos do. There’s even a map!
There is also a part that shows a fake palm oil plantation. Older readers may make the connection of palm oil and the depletion of forests and habitats.

The characters are written well. Lucia with her obsessions and imagination – this year it is spies and the slightly more serious Idris and his mum…. who goes mysteriously missing.

Between the adventure and mystery to solve from the zoo, the mild trepidation and danger and the question of Idris’s mum, this is an absolutely brilliantly entertaining fast-paced book.

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#Review by Lou of The Ultimate Guide To Growing Dragons By Andy Shepherd Illustrated By Sara Ogilvie @andyjshepherd @PiccadillyPress #MiddleGrade part of #TheBoyWhoGrewDragons #ChildrensBook series #TheUltimateGuideToGrowingDragons

The Ultimate Guide To Growing Dragons
By Andy Shepherd
Illustrated By Sara Ogilvie

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Ultimate Guide to Growing Dragons is the latest in bestselling series – The Boy Who Grew Dragons series, popular with and great for 7 years old plus  series with adventure, dragons, friendship and nature and more to feed curious minds. Fly down to the blurb and then my review below. I first thank Andy Shepherd for requesting a review from me.

 

Blurb

Did you see it?

A bright fleck of colour, darting into the green. You saw it, didn’t you? I knew you would! Because you’ve got your eyes open.

And now you want to grow dragons too.

Well here’s my guide with all the things I wish I’d known sooner. Of course, what I didn’t realise when I started writing it was how much I still had to learn!

Review

The previous book in the series was going to be the last, but then I guess another dragon grew or all the dragons got together and flew over and whispered in the author’s ears to plant a new idea in her brilliant imagination. This book imparts the secrets of dragons. Real dragons in the forest and sand and more in an engaging plot.

There is the Superhero Squad – Liam, Ted, Tomas, Aura, Kat and Kai, all in different parts of the world, which has Liam working out all the time differences. Each character has something interesting to say to feed curious minds about where they are in the world. It is also great for young gardeners too.
Children will learn that dragons are indeed all around them as the books delve into dragon fruits and more… It’s all written in an exciting, engaging style for children. There are pages set out like collecting cards about the dragons that are with each character that say about the name, the type, physicality, diet special skills, dragonality and special skills. Look out for the warnings too… You’ll also discover where to keep your dragons and so much more such as Polaris all within adventure and friendships.

The illustrations are wildly good fun and there’s a bit at the back of the book for children to write their own guide to growing a dragon.

This book is a terrific addition to this series of books, which I also highly recommend for adventurous, curious children.

#Review By Lou Of -Jump! By JG Nolan @JGNolan3 @sergarcreative #RandomTTours #Football #MiddleGrade #ChildrensBook #Jump

Jump!
By JG Nolan
Illustrated By Carina Roberts

Today I am on the blog tour of Jump! by JG Nolan. A book for 8 to 12 year olds about football and overcoming adversity to do what you’re really passionate about. Discover more in the blurb and my review below.

Review

 Set in Scotland, around Glasgow and Clydebank, and features Cathkin Park quite a bit, football is important to Robbie Blair. He’s a huge Celtic fan and wanted to play football so much and had the talent, but breaks so many bones. He meets Jo, whilst in hospital, who knows a thing or two about football as her husband is also a fan. Heartwarming chat takes place.

Back home, he has a friend in Hamish, who misses him around the pitch and at school. Readers will see Robbie overcome adversity. There is also a school trip to an old people’s home, which gets very interesting and also valuable to readers. It reminds children that the elderly were young once and have so many tales to tell. Robbie is told about Hampden and Patsy Gallacher in 1925. This also renews Robbie’s determination to play football again and fight against the odds of what the doctors told him in the hospital. 

This book is one children who are football fans will find fascinating. The storytelling in short chapters, creating  a fast, exciting pace, like a football being kicked, but also with nuances within the chapters, which also have some illustrations and a photograph at the end. It’s a story against adversity with warmth of friendship and determination. There is much to learn within this story as it takes children back in time in footballing history, that will have them immersed and come out at the end knowing more than they may well had from when they began. In the blurb, there is a powerful, energised quote by Joe Heart, Celtic FC “We can all learn from Robbie Blair.” And perhaps we can, including children.

About the Author And Illustrator

 

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JG Nolan was born and raised in a sleepy village in Shropshire and loved writing stories and
playing football as a child.
He has been a teacher for many years, working mainly with children who have had difficult
beginnings in life. He strongly believes in positive thinking and feels most things are achievable if
you put your mind to it.
When his football mad son, Robbie, was much younger, he kept breaking bones and was told by
the doctors that he should never play football again. It was during one of his many lengthy stays
visiting Robbie in the local children’s hospital that the idea for ‘Jump!’ drifted into JG Nolan’s
mind.
JG Nolan began to read the exploits of famous, maverick footballers from the past, to inspire his
son and give him hope. Whilst doing this, he became more and more drawn to the tales of
famous Celtic legends from the 1920s, whose names are still chanted in Parkhead to this day. It
soon became clear to him- his first book would have to be set in Scotland.
JG Nolan’s research led him to discover the iconic, ethereal, Cathkin Park.
After meeting Scottish actor Simon Weir, who has helped preserve the park for many years, the
pieces of the jigsaw fell into place and ‘Jump!’ was born.

When JG Nolan’s son started on his long road to recovery and fitness, his determination to
succeed reached the ears of famous local footballer Joe Hart, then at Manchester City. Joe very
kindly sent Robbie some signed goalkeeper gloves to cheer him up during treatment. Robbie
would eventually follow in Joe’s footsteps and attend the same secondary school in their home
town, Shrewsbury. Years later, after Joe had transferred to Celtic, he was thrilled to be asked to
read ‘Jump!’ and offered to write the foreword. A truly serendipitous chain of events!

Carina Roberts is an award-winning artist and illustrator who loves creating characters and telling
stories. Carina spent her childhood drawing, reading and befriending animals – it was in these
first few years that her dream to be an illustrator was born. She’s been running with it ever since!
She specialises in creating books, particularly for young readers – a lot of her inspiration comes
from the wilds of Wales where she lives. She adores fiction and nonfiction alike – after working
on illustrations for the National Trust in 2020 she is especially keen that her work encourages
more people to go on an adventure
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#Review By Lou of – The Titanic Tunnel By Glen Blackwell @GBlackwellBooks @RamdomTTours #BlogTour #ChildrensBooks #MiddleGrade #TheTitanic #TheTitanicTunnel

The Titanic Tunnel
By Glen Blackwell 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Suitable for ages 9 to 12, this book sweeps readers into an adventure and back in time onto the Titanic. I am pleased to be closing this blog tour with a review. Thanks to Random T. Tours for inviting me. Find out more below…

Synopisis

 
Emmie & Jack are on a school trip with a difference. Visiting
Belfast to see where Titanic was built, they step back to 1912 and
discover the great ship itself. All too soon, they find out that the
way home is blocked, and Jack gets dragged off to work by one of
the crew. Who is the mysterious stranger lurking in the shadows,
and can they solve his time riddle to escape from the doomed ship
before it is too late…?

Review

Emmie and Jack are on a school trip to visit The Titanic and museum, all seems perfectly normal until they step in and find themselves transported back in time on an adventure of a lifetime. They land in 1912 and all at sea onboard The Titanic. Jack however, is dragged off, leaving Emmie alone to find him. She also doesn’t anticipate coming across a woman called Mary who also has someone missing. Emmie is acutely aware it is  a race against time to find those who are missing and get off the ship before it sinks. It is full of adventure and adversity, as well as facts embedded within this exciting story that is told through children of present day. It is a great book for 9 to 12 year olds who like adventure,  mystery to solve and history.

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Mr Nobody By Natalie Gordon @NatalieGord @LoveBooksTour #MiddleGrade #ChildrensBook aged 9 plus #VirtualBlogTour #BlogTour

Mr Nobody
By Natalie Gordon

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Today I have a review to close this virtual book tour of a children’s book that was long-listed in the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition – Mr Nobody. For those who don’t know, Chicken House is a publishing company specialising in great children’s books. Mr Nobody is an immersive read for children aged 9 plus, where they will gain a family to care about for the length of the book and will prompt inquisitive minds to ask questions and will have them exude in empathy and sympathy as this book has the subject of Alzheimer’s in a child friendly plot. There is also humour and friendship through the pages too.

When nine-year-old Katie’s gran comes to live with the family, Katie is forced to share a room with her moody big sister, Lou. They soon discover that Gran has an imaginary, mischievous friend, Mr. Nobody. Before long, stockings are found cooking in the oven and Gran is found wandering the streets in her nightie, singing along to Elvis. As Gran’s actions become even more peculiar, Katie begins to wonder if Mr. Nobody might actually be real. And why do her new friends, Margaret and Hugo, always appear just when she needs help?

Review

Mr Nobody is a friend of gran’s. Children aren’t the only people to have an imaginary friend, sometimes older people, such as gran’s can too. The gran in the book does because she has Alzheimer’s Disease. This book is immersive and has humour as it shows children this all too real disease and the impact it has. Natalie Gordon has tackled the subject well and in a way that is sure to not only pique children’s interest, but also have a little insight, all whilst being entertained with the characters within this family and friend based story.

Young readers follow Katie in this powerful plotted book and she brings great joy to the sadness that her gran brings. Children who have a relative with Alzheimer’s will particularly identify with this book and even if they don’t, they’ll gain a deeper insight.

Running alongside the story about gran are themes of bullying and modern culture too and there is humour to be found along the way.

All the characters are relatable one way or another. It’s a book that many children are sure to connect with.

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#Review By Louise of The Extraordinary Adventures of Alice Tonks By Emily Kenny @Emilie_London @emilykennyauthor @rocktheboatnews #ExtraordinaryAdventuresofAliceTonks @RandomTTours #BlogTour #ChildrensBook #MiddleGrade

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alice Tonks By Emily Kenny

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Today I am on the blog tour for the entertaining, mysterious, adventurous middlegrade book of The Extraordinary Adventures of Alice Tonks. Thanks to Random T. Tours and publisher Rock The Boat for inviting me to review and for the book. Find the blurb and review below.

Blurb

“It’s not your chips I’m after, Alice Tonks,” the seagull said sternly. “We’ve got a job for you.”

After a rather strange encounter with a seagull on her first day of boarding school, Alice Tonks is left with a lot of questions.
Why does the bird need her help? And WHY can she talk to seagulls?
Alice is used to being by herself but she can’t solve the mystery alone. With new friends behind her, can Alice harness her magic powers and become the hero she never imagined?

A story about finding your voice, friendship and unlikely heroes, for fans of A Kind of Spark 

Review

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alice Tonks tells the story of an 11 year d autistic protagonist who is in Pebbleworth Boarding School and there’s a beach. She hates both! From there is a big adventure and a discovery of magic and powers. There’s quite a bit of humour in what is a great setting where there’s plenty of action and mystery and strangely disappearing animals.

The story is fresh, with elements of the familiar. It’s entertaining for 8 years plus, with lots to solve and get gripped by.