#BookReview By Lou The Wild Before By Piers Torday @PiersTorday @QuercusKids #MiddleGrade #NaturalWorld #ClimateStory #ChildrensBook

The Wild Before
By Piers Torday

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Wild Before is a great story that encompasses animals in the natural world and the climate. It is suitable for older middle-grade readers.
Thanks to Quercus Kids publisher for gifting me the book to review. Discover more in the blurb and rest of my review below and the eye-catching cover.

The Wild Before cover

Blurb

Can one hare alone change the world? The captivating animal adventure destined to be loved by readers of all ages. A stunning hardback edition from the bestselling, much-loved author, Piers Torday.

One stormy, snowy night, a pure silver calf is born on an ordinary muddy farm by the light of the moon. This is the legendary Mooncalf, whose arrival has been foretold since the dawn of time.

According to a dream passed down from animal to animal, if the calf dies, a great Terribleness will come – rising seas, a plague, skies raining down fire, the end of all things… and Little Hare vows to persuade all the animals to protect Mooncalf, whatever the cost.

But it’s easier said than done, and soon Little Hare realises that he is the only one who can save the world…

A stunning prequel to the award-winning, bestselling The Last Wild trilogy, touching on timely themes of climate change, friendship, and above all, hope.
‘Piers Torday is the new master of books for children’ The Times

Review

The Wild Before coverThe Wild Before starts off illustrating different sorts of moon for the whole year. A different name per month. There’s also a glossary so children can totally understand the animals.

Readers get to know Little Hare first, who runs ever so fast to find where Dandelion Hill was. From the start you can tell there is something not right. Little Hare is on a mission to find the wild and to pass on an urgent message. Wildeness is in charge, but he encounters wolves who claim to be guardians of Wildeness in the north…. The book then goes onto the first chapter and beyond. It’s absolutely beautifully written and captivating by the tension created and trepidation. In an instant you care about Little Hare and what she has to say and hope he survives. There is also Bite-Hare, Sist-Hare and Run-Hare.
The book is cute in its storytelling and in its illustrations, but also shows some of the hardships that wildlife has. There are also dogs and humans to fear and to watch out for as the hares try to leave the farm they are on to go to try and travel northwards to get to speak with Wildeness. They also comes across Brock who is a badger and a harvest mouse, who has lots of songs. The mission also means trying to find a specific flower and that may require a human as the race is on to stop a virus.

The book highlights climate change and the sea levels rising and the hardships humans and animals have. The book also shows the natural world in action in all its magnificence and also the life and death within it and that concern animals have that their prey may capture them that day. The book also shows heirarchy in animals and Wildeness being at the top.

The Wild Before is like today’s Animal’s of Farthing Wood and Watership Down. It fits very well with these books in its themes and desire to read about the natural world and to care about it. It may be an emotional read for children, but one that they’ll find compelling to say the least.
It has, amongst the adventure and all the dangers, an important message to convey to readers too.
Classes in schools are already reading this. There’s much to read and discuss, but in saying that, it can also be read for pleasure at home too as middle grade readers will like being swept up in the storytelling and the adventure of it all.

#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 SHELL – Episode 1 – The Horse Awakens by Chris White @chriswhitepoet @VentorrosP @VentorrosPress #Shell #TheHorseAwakens #ChildrensBook #MiddleGrade #primaryreads #readingforpleasure

Shell – Episode 1 – The Horse Awakens
By Chris White

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Shell Graphic 5

Action and humour with themes of team-building and thinking for yourself is what is in this great novel for middle-grade readers of 7 years old plus.

Find out more in the blurb and review below as well as its author who has been to the Edinburgh Book Festival, Schools and so much more… Thanks to Random T Tours for the invite and to Chris White for the  book.

Shell Graphic 2 (1)

Blurb

Shell PR‘Star Wars’ meets ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ in this sparkling, actionpacked, highly original galactic adventure with a feel-good vibe. Sure to inspire young readers to be their own person; to embrace team values; to balance thinking and feeling with action; and to reach for the good in all their endeavours.
S.H.E.L.L. – Episode One – THE HORSE AWAKENS is wonderfully cinematic and world-building, and
contains characters that will make a lasting impression. It’s an action-packed, rip-roaring
adventure story about a bunch of action heroes who have one thing in
common – They all have shells. When the universe goes crazy, the team assembles to find out who, or
what, is making the population of every planet act in a really grumpy
mood.
Humorously illustrated throughout; yet SHELL is filled with serious themes about fitting-in and thinking for yourself.

Review

Shell CoverSome Middle Grade fun here. This is practically a parody and a  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and StarWars mashup. Here and there is some Sponge Bob Square Pants humour too, but it sits squarely at Middlegrade readers and those who have been introduced to StarWars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and know them reasonably well, will understand and see the parody.

There’s Commander Sky Crawler, Butt Dazzle, Clam, Snail, Shell Agent and more to meet. There are planets to explore such as Planet Sands and Planet Unicorn. There is a lot of action. Planet Wibble has declared war on Planet Wobble and a planet has declared war on itself; there’s unrest on other planets too. 

The world-building is full and great for jetting you into, which is sure to grab children’s attention.

Children will just love this book. It’s full of jokes and font types to bring certain words deliberately to the forefront to add to the humour and drama. The fonts make it comic like, so reading it won’t feel like any sort of chore to children, but it is a great step-up from books that have pictures on every single page. That isn’t to say there aren’t any illustrations, there are and they are great!

It has a great ending and there are bits of other fun, like a Shakespearean reference in the last chapter, that I’m sure can be explained to children or just left as is.

The themes of team-building and having to also develop some independent thought to do tasks is also good.

This is an entertaining book that has the feel-good factor for children.

About the Author

 

Chris White is a writer. Illustrator an performance poet. He has sold thousands of books world-wide due to his constant appearances at festivals, schools and libraries across the globe.
His last book was ‘The A to Z of Completely Made Up Dinosaurs.’

Chris has featured at many literary festivals , including The Edinburgh Fringe, The
Edinburgh Book Festival, The Doha Book Festival and The Cheltenham Book Festival.
His poetry performances and writing workshops have taken him all over the world, visiting schools in places such as China, Russia, Vietnam, Jordan, India, Germany and even The Congo, where he held a poetry and illustration workshop in a cave! Chris was recently writer in residence at the Qatar National Library

SHELL BT Poster

#Review of Curious Tales – Hector by D.M. Mullan @DM_Mullan @TinyTreeBooks @BomerHarris @LoveBooksGroup #ChildrensBook #KS1 #KS2 #ReadingForPleasure #STEM #KidsHumour #RhymingStory

Hector
By D.M. Mullan
Illustrated by Kirsteen Harris Jones

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Curious Tales

Hector is a curious tale by D.M. Mullan and is perfect for primary school aged children 5-6/7 years. It looks like a picture book for younger kids, but the content is so much more and is great for feeding their curious minds. The content is actually more perfect for KS1 plus. This book is exciting for this primary age group. It has humour, inventions, emotions, why we need friends. I’m pretty sure it can be used around some sort of STEM activity. It is also great for just reading for pleasure and tells a story of a modern fable.
I can see it being a hit with many children.
Thanks to Love Books Tours for inviting me and for Tiny Tree Children’s Books for gifting me the book.
Please follow through to the blurb and the rest of my review and also discover more about the author and very successful illustrator after that…

Curious Tales cover

Blurb

Curious Tales coverIf something is missing, and you’re feeling blue, you could learn from Hector, who feels this way too.

This little genius lives in an upside down boat, and he grunts from his hill like a grumpy old goat:

“Hector van Groat needs no one but Hector, because he is a genius, a crazy inventor!”

Book #1 in the D.M. Mullan’s Curious Tales series.

D.M. Mullan’s Curious Tales is a series of peculiar modern fables from author D.M. Mullan and illustrator Kirsteen Harris-Jones.

With a classic rhyming style and wonderfully quirky illustrations, each book centres around a unique little individual and tells their story.

Review

Curious Tales 2.jpgHector is full of humour and I must say, impressive rhyme. There is a map at the beginning and from that page, it absolutely draws you in as you set sail. It literally invites curiousity and anticipation from that first page!

Hector Van Groat is the main character and he is a boy who is feeling blue. He’s a genius inventor of crazy inventions, so enters his invention room to create something new to cheer himself up. He discovers it just isn’t as fun as he thought it would be, without a friend. He is however a bit big headed, until the end.

Along the way, Hector’s inventions and antics add much humour to this curious tale. The illustrations enhance this a lot. 

Hector is a boy who many children will be able to relate to and have fun with. There’s much they will learn and much they can empathise with and laugh at. This is just absolutely sublime and the language that is used also makes it perfect for KS1 plus. It is also much fun for reading for pleasure in the home too. Reading this book aloud is perhaps the most perfect way to treat it. There’s so much more that children can enjoy then, to give them reading pleasure.

This book, as well as being great for reading for pleasure, I am sure could fit somewhere into STEM, in a wider topic as it involves science within the story that can feed their imaginations as to what they perhaps would want to invent. It would also be great to feed into Lego Clubs and can provoke discussions for PSHE too and friendship topics.

About the Author

D.M. Mullan is a world-travelled author from County Derry, Northern Ireland. Now living in Belfast with her family, the author will launch the ‘D.M. Mullan’s Curious Tales’ series in 2021; her first work for children.

About the Illustrator

Kirsteen Harris-Jones is an illustrator with a colourful past. She’s worked at a variety of creative, graphic and animation studios since 1990. Her work has been published by Random House, Egmont, Bloomsbury, Little Tiger, and more.

Curious Tales Hector (2)

#BookReview by Lou – The Runaways by Victor Canning #RandomTTours #ChildrensBook #Kidslit #MiddleGrade #Adventure

The Runaways
By Victor Canning

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Runaways, has it really stood up to the test of time? Absolutely and this is a gorgeous re-release of this wonderful page-turning adventure story. It even has a great quote by favourite children’s author – Dan Smith on the cover.

It’s a very memorable story, which is great for reading for pleasure. I snapped up the opportunity to review it because even I remember it and all the creative things our primary school teacher (primary 7, Scotland/year 6, England), came up with so we could write creatively and create our own plays. It lends itself beautifully to imaginations that run wild. It is just perfect for children who are reading books at Middle Grade level to escape into. Victor Canning, the author had quite a story to tell too. There’s a short paragraph about him after my review.

Find out more in the blurb and then onto my review. Thanks to Random Things Tours and publishers Farago for inviting me to review and for gifting me the book.

The Runaways Cover

Blurb

On a night of wild storms, two troubled figures escape from captivity. One is a 15-year-old boy, Samuel Miles, a.k.a. ‘Smiler’, wrongly convicted of theft and sent to a young offenders institution. The other is a cheetah, Yarra, a restless resident of Longleat Wildlife Park.

Both are in danger from the outside world – and each other – but somehow their lives become inextricably bound up as they fight for survival on the edge of Salisbury Plain.
A fast-moving and compassionate adventure story, The Runaways is the first book in Victor Canning’s classic children’s trilogy.
Praise:
‘Victor Canning is one of the world’s finest story-tellers’ Good Housekeeping
A delightful tale by a brilliant thriller writer’ Daily Mirror
‘Smiler proves himself to be a resourceful, resilient and very likeable leading character.’
Dan Smith, author of Big Game and Boy X

Review

The Runaways Cover Smiler (Samuel Miles, 15 years and 5 months old) isn’t into school. It just doesn’t appeal to him, so he runs away.  He does get himself into some trouble here and there, starting in Bristol, England, where he lives.

The adventure takes readers to Longleat Safari Park, which is vast and beautifully described and really, all the writing throughout is excellent. The safari park is also where intrepid readers meet Yarra, who is a cheetah, who also wants to escape his confines and explore the great big world. There’s excitement and much trepidation in The Runaways that makes it quite the page-turner, that takes readers on quite the adventure and not just in the safari park, but also to where the army are and onto grounds where land wardens are.

The book is absorbing with great characters that I believe children will really like, and it was many years after its first publication when I first read it and reading it again, it is as relevant and as gripping as it ever was, with likeable characters who have to survive out in the wild. It’s relevant because it shows resoucefulness and resilience in times of trouble and having to do that or I guess the alternative would be to crumble, is as steadfast and necessary now as it ever was and will be, even in the future.

There is a spot of nostalgia for any adults reading this by way of Woolworths, which of course doesn’t exist in the UK in physical stores anymore, but essentially, it is wonderful that this book has been republished for a whole new generation of children, who I believe will get a lot out of it too.

Book 2 is Flight of the Grey Goose, where Smiler is still on the run and jumps on a train to Scotland and sounds just as exciting and another great adventure for readers to persue.

About the Author

Victor Canning Author PicVictor Canning was a prolific writer throughout his career, which began young: he had sold several short stories by the age of nineteen and his first novel, Mr Finchley Discovers His England (1934) was published when he was twenty-three. It proved to be a runaway bestseller. Canning also wrote for children: his trilogy The Runaways was adapted for US children’s television.

 

Swop The Satsuma-Sized Secret by Lucy Noguera @monsterscantalk @lovebooksgroup  @lovebookstours #AD #Gifted

Swop The Satsuma-Sized Secret
by Lucy Noguera
Cover Reveal

Today I have a Cover Reveal. Meet Swop, he’s a dog who is the size of a satsuma, and his owner Eric. Find out what they get up to in a feelgood book with humour and positivity. Check out the themes, cover and blurb for this middlegrade book for ages 7-9 as well as the bookshops this is available from.

Themes

Friendship         Adventure         Family         Deaf sibling           Sign Language           Acceptance

 

Blurb 

Satsuma Sized Secret LBT 6Satsuma Sized Secret LBT 5What would you do if you found the world’s smallest dog? 

When Ernie and his family leave the countryside to move to the city. Ernie feels like he’ll never settle into their new home.

Yet on his very first night, a surprising new friend introduces himself – Swop is a very tiny dog. A dog that just happens to be the size of a satsuma.

Ernie vows to keep Swop a secret, but Swop has other ideas and he’s determined to make Ernie’s first day at his new school a memorable one!

 

About The Author

An ex-primary school teacher and Teacher of the Deaf. I now run a small educational company, specialising in arranging book projects and theatre events for schools and families. I live with my husband, our three children and our three dogs in Ealing, London. Yet the one in charge is our little ex-street dog, even though he has no eyes and three legs. He also happens to be called Swop!

Bookshops where you can find this book…. Check them out!

@telltalesbooks
@booksbantergames
@bookcornershop
@bearhuntbooks
@ANewChapterBks
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