Benji and the Gunpowder Plot By Kate Cunningham @BenjiAndTheGunpowderPlot #KateCunningham @reading_riddle @RandomTTours #ChildrensBook #Middlegrade #BonfireNight #GuyFawkesNight

Benji and the Gunpowder Plot
By Kate Cunningham

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Meet several people from history in a fast-paced adventure through time. It is a page-turner! This is perfect for ages 9 to 12 years old. Thanks to Random T. Tours for inviting me to review. 

Blurb

Benji hopes that a trip out on Bonfire Night will add excitement to his normally ordinary life.

However, when he accidentally falls down a time hole he has a lot more adventure than he expected. Who are the strange men in the Duck Inn? Who can he trust What is so important about the letter he has been asked to deliver?

Events will take him to the Globe Theatre, down the Thames rapids and into the heart of Parliament.
London in 1605 is darker, dirtier and more dangerous than home, and Benji has no idea how to get back.

Meet Benji Vent in the first adventure of the Time Tumblers series.

Benji is on the biggest adventure of his life, where his decisions will affect the course of history, and he will find out a lot more about the people in his life, including his mysterious father.

Review

As the name suggests, the scene is set for time travelling back to 5th November. Before readers reach chapter 1, there is a cast list of some fictional characters and some who are real and then a quote by William Shakespeare – “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.”
Rather atmospheric and  apt for what unfolds. Then readers are thrust into chapter one about a bonfire and join Benji and friends Jacob and Ellen as they recite “Remember, Remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason should ever be forgot” and having a good time. In a turn of events he finds himself stumbling travelling back in time to and suddenly life is very different as he lands in the year 1605.

What readers get from this book is history amongst a great adventure through time and meet many people, including William Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre as they follow Benji through the streets of London in 1605. Some people he meets are nice, but others are rather unsavoury. There are many moments of trepidation, including sword fights. It is a story children can well and truly be immersed in, with illustrations throughout accompanying it. At the back is an Afterword which tells the real facts that are highlighted within the fictional story in an easy to read bullet pointed list. I think books like this are invaluable to children as they get something to learn from that may pique their interest as well as a story. It may be of interest to both those who enjoy fiction and/or non-fiction alike.

About the Author

 

Kate Cunningham

I was a primary teacher in large London primary schools for ten years after having initially worked in a development charity.

Being married to a historian I was constantly discussing the most amazing stories; sometmes large incidents that changed the politcal landscape, but often small personal tales that gave a glimpse of the life of our ancestors. My writing became more and more influenced by these events and the ripples we still feel from them.

My books now reflect that, sometmes directly in the picture books, but more as an influence, showing how people behave when caught up in events like in the pandemic in MARY.

I have three sons — my eldest, Sam, is an illustrator who works with me on the Vlad flea picture book series, and I visit schools (often in a kirtle) and create resources for parents and teachers.

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#BookReview By Lou of Otter’s Coat: Real Reason Turtle Raced Rabbit By Cordellya Smith #OttersCoat @cordellyasmithauthor @RandomTTours #ChildrensBook

Otter’s Coat: Real Reason Turtle Raced Rabbit
Cherolachian Tortoise and Hare

By Cordellya Smith


Illustrated By Blueberry Illustrations

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour for Otter’s Coat. It is a sweet, fun and engaging story, suitable for 5-7 year olds. Thanks to Random T Tours for organising the tour and a copy of the book. Discover more about the book in the blurb and review below, as well as the author.

Otter's Coat Graphic 1

Blurb

When Rabbit hears the animals talking abut what a beautiful coat Otter has, he becomes jealous and tricks Otter totake it for himself.

Follow along as Turtle races Rabbit to the top of the Black Mountain to win back Otter’s coat and make sure it is returned.

Review

Instantly the book is recognisable as a take on Aesop’s famous fable – The Hare and the Tortoise, so it mixes something a bit new with a timeless classic and a lovely story is told once again that will be engaging for 5-7 year olds.

Throughout the story is a game of hide and seek, whereby children have to hunt out the chipmunk along the way to the end.

The book nicely takes children to a nut moon festival and then sneakily into the rabbit’s trick with the otter in its bright bold illustrated pages, in what unfolds into a fast-paced chapter book. It is great for those lessons on fables and their outcomes for schools or for reading for pleasure and is well-designed for its targeted age group, as well as being engaging, with themes that are familiar that create a fun story, which can also be used as discussion pieces, like you would with Aesop’s Fables, which this book could be easily paired up with. 

At the end, there is a note for parents that explains what a Cherolachian is, which is added interest and adds roots.

About The Author

Cordellya Author PicOriginally from the mountains of Kentucky, Cordellya Smith is a storyteller who loves to share stories that provide children with versions of beloved tales that reflect her Cherokee and Appalachian roots.  A first generation college graduate, Cordellya works to promote literacy and a lifetime love of reading.  

 

Otter's Coat BT Poster

#BookReview by Lou Fantastic Fin Faces His Fears by Jessica Bowers It’s a book with #ClassroomResources @rararesources #JessicaBowers #ChildrensBook #KS1 #KS2 #FacingFears #ChildrensWellbeing

Fantastic Fin Faces His Fears
by Jessica Bowers

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Fantastic Fin Faces His Fears is suitable for 4-7 year olds. It has a pages at the back for parents and teachers to support children through this story. There are also resources available for the classroom. Thanks to Rachel Random Resources for inviting me to the blog tour and for gifting me the book. Find out more in the blurb and my review.

Blurb

Fantastic Fin CoverCome and join Fantastic Fin as he grows his courage by embodying various inspiring characters and animals to face his fears!

Teachers, Parents and Carers can access the free Fantastic Fin Teaching Resource Pack available from the author’s website.

This is the first book in a series supporting children’s mental health by well-being author and psychotherapist Jessica Bowers. Ideal for children age 4-7.

Fantastic Fin Cover

Review

Fantastic Fin Faces His Fears tells the story, in rhyme, of a boy called Fin, or rather Fantastic Fin. He is a shy and anxious boy who finds a lot of life challenging. He then imagines he is different things like t-rex, a spy, a shark and many more to help him feel brave and overcome these life challenges he is experiencing. The pictures are big and bold with a hint of humour around the hope they provide as Fantastic Fin transforms and feels braver to confront his fears with all his might. At the end of the story there is a page of “Fantastic Fin’s Factfile”. It gives children some practical tips and there is also a page they can draw on themselves, to show how they feel when they face their fears and perhaps conquering them.

The book provides positivity and enough story that can also be woven into a greater conversation and topic of wellbeing or positivity. It can also be used as a conversation opener to find out what your children fear most and how they may face them and overcome them in a fun way. It can, as the story is also fun, be a way of also bonding and finding out more about your child and their emotions in a gentle manner.

About The Author

Jessica is a well-being writer with an extensive background in supporting both young people and adults with their emotional well-being and mental health. Jessica is a qualified Counsellor and Psychotherapist who trained at the Sherwood Psychotherapy Training Institute. Prior to this, she worked for over 10 years with young people with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Jessica consults with and writes for the wonderful Storytime Magazine, for their emotional well-being and mental health content. She has written a collection of well-being themed children’s picture books for 4-7 year olds, and Fantastic Fin Faces his Fears is her debut book. She has also developed some school workshops which offer emotional education aswell as offering author visits to read her books and poetry to EYFS and KS1 children. Jessica develops free activity and teaching resource packs around emotions and well-being themes which are available from her website at www.jessicabowers.co.uk .

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/jessicabowerswellbeingwriter

https://twitter.com/bowerswellbeing

https://www.instagram.com/jessicabowerswellbeingwriter/

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fantastic-Fin-Faces-His-Fears/dp/1527298868/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Fantastic-Fin-Faces-His-Fears/dp/1527298868/

 

#BookReview by Lou – Science by #FranciscoLlorca – Great for #STEM to learn about #Scientists #Science @AllisonandBusby #ChildrensBook #ChildrensNonFiction #PrimaryReads #JuniorScience

Science
By Francisco Llorca

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Great for primary school aged children to learn about different scientists. It would sit well in a child’s own book collection or school library or the children’s area of a public library and if that’s not enough, it would contribute very well to S.T.E.M for a lovely introduction to some prominent scientists around the world.
Thanks to publishers Allison & Busby for gifting me the book in exchange of an honest review. Please do find more info in the blurb and the rest of my review below.

Science cover

Blurb

For those who loved Little People, BIG DREAMS, this new series showcases the lives and achievements of amazing men and women.

   This fun and informative book tells the fascinating stories of remarkable scientists behind ground-breaking discoveries such as penicillin and DNA. From the fall of Newton’s apple, Ada Lovelace’s imaginative step into the future of computing, to Stephen Hawking’s work exploring the origins of the universe, Science shows a new generation of scientists that the greatest leaps in understanding start by asking the smallest questions.

Review

From Sir Isaac Newton and his theory of gravity to Ada Lovelace and her cards that are considered to be the first computer programme to Alexander Fleming winning the nobel prize to Valentina Terechkova being the first woman to travel into space; these are just a few scientists who are named in this book. Each page, in this short book, has someone different who is deemed prominent in the field of science, and a short paragraph about who they were  and what they achieved, accompanied by bright illustrations, almost in story form, in the way each paragraph starts, in this is a great introductory guide for children. The way each page is written, is gently informative and puts each person into context and then adds the information about them. It manages to stay away from being dry. Rather, it is educational fun and written in a way that is easy for children to understand. The entertaining headings and illustrations for each page are also sure to grab children’s attention.

In snappy paragraphs they will learn much and there’s enough to spark curiousity.  The book also concludes what the 12 prominent scienists in the book looked like and also reiterates where they originated from. The book not only shows UK male and female scientists, but those from around the world.
This book would be ideal for S.T.E.M activities to introduce children to the people behind the technologies, space, gravity, medicine etc that they are so familiar with.

#NationalPoetryDay Perfect resource for #KS1 #KS2 @school_poet #anewkindofnormal – Let’s Get Children Talking Through Poetry #Poetry #SchoolPoetry #ReadingRocks #SchoolResource

Poetry Pic.png
Thanks to Katherine at School Poet who has sent me video clips, links to the School Poet website and more…. The poems sensitively and sometimes with a bit of humour and all done in a supportive way as they talk about Corona Virus and what children have endured so far. It is all very relatable to them and is written perfectly for KS1 and KS2 classes in a way that is at their level of understanding and without freaking them out. It could spark some conversations, some further understanding and more… There are accompanying resources that go with the poems (more info on that below.
The Arts Council has also funded this project so a film can be made.
Do read more about this below for further info and and then scroll back to explore the website.
Twitter: @school_poet
A New Kind of Normal is an interactive poem in 8 parts to help primary school children discuss, process and flourish from their experiences of the Covid-19 lockdown. At 5 points during the poem there are moments to pause, with question prompts, so children can talk about their own ideas, worries, and hopes for the future.
The poem is attached to this email – please feel free to share it with friends and colleagues. In addition, the Arts Council has supported me to make a beautiful and inclusive animated film of it (including deaf actors). You can see clips of the video on my website www.schoolpoet.com.
There’s also an accompanying teacher resource pack for KS1 and KS2 pupils, with 5 different literacy and poetry lesson plans and printable pdfs. The whole school can get involved and get creative!
The resource was produced to help children:
  • Discuss the strange and confusing time during lockdown in order that they can process their experiences in a nurturing and supportive way;
  • Explore the ways in which we all can harness this difficult event and use it as an opportunity to learn, grow and rebuild our society even better than it was before.
  • Gain a greater understanding of important themes such as: mental health, wellbeing, society, disability, the planet and humans’ place within it, the science of germs (with tips on how to keep safe), and – most important of all – the power of creativity;
  • Feel inspired to get creative, write their own poetry and take control of their future!
I hope you enjoy the poem. If you know of schools that would be interested in the film and teacher pack I am asking for £35. And there are discounts for group buys. Do get in touch if you have any questions, and I’d love to hear feedback!

#Review of The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons @andyjshepherd @PiccadillyPress #TheBoyWhoDreamedOfDragons #childrensbook #middlegrade #kidslit #parents #edutwitter

The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons
By Andy Shepherd
Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie
Rated5 stars *****

Thank you to my surpise post of The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons, sent to me by Andy Shepherd, spanning from a quick chat some time ago. So, today, I am delighted to present my review on this great story that is just 263 pages and also has some terrific illustrations throughout, within its vibrant cover. It also, when the book is fully closed, has a special look as the subtle lines going down the pages look rather smart.The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons cover

Blurb

We dream of dragons. Soaring, roaring, fire-flickering dragons. While we’re tucked up in bed, they light up in our sleep. Sparking, glittering, aglow.

But dreams are only the beginning of an even greater story.

Because the truth is, our dragons don’t just visit us in our dreams…

Review

At some point, lots of children (including me when I was a child) have dreamt about flying on a dragon’s back, swooping and soaring through the sky.

Dragon races, friendships, sock puppets, a wormhole in a fridge, a jungle family, humour, warmth, a super hero squad, illustrations, this book has it all in only 263 pages that is  amazingly adventurous, fast-paced and sparky.
This book captures imaginations perfectly. Every page has something to make you smile.

Did you know dragons grow on trees? No? Enter this enchanting tale to find out about them and meet the beautifully coloured dragons called Flicker and Sunny. There’s a race with a difference – it’s a dragon race. It’s also used as a clever way of introducing the characters, such as Thomas and his Lolli, who have the most terrific fun with their games. There’s also great friendships within the characters.

Not everyone knows about dragons, but endearing and very fun grandad does. Grandad hasn’t been too well and had a hospital stay, but back on his feet, he’s as positive as ever with his grandchildren helping out with his vegetable patch and just having fun. I like the positivity around this part of the story.

This book is funny, heartwarming and is just perfect for sparking the imaginations of children and for reading for pleasure. It is also perfect for nature-lovers too, or just lovers of humour. On a deeper level, there is plenty about the world around you to have fun with. There’s also themes of having to move on as Thomas’s mum hears of a new job, meaning the family have to move. The emotion of having to leave what was known and loved behind is captured so naturally as it plays out and Flicker, the dragon also leaves. It’s another big theme for children, but handled so well and not completely negatively, which is thoughtful of Andy.

At school, secrets are inadvertently blurted out by Thomas himself to the new girl – Aura who proudly proclaims herself to be a dragon expert, which really throws Thomas into confusion as his emotions really take over and a chain of further events happen.

This book is great for schools, libraries and within homes. Children can have so much fun with it and within schools, there are subjects within the themes that can be discussed or used creatively within activities, as well as generally being good for reading for pleasure.