#BookReview by Lou – The Wild World Handbook – Habitats by Andrea Debbink #AndreaDebbink @quirkbooks #MiddleGrade #ChildrensNonFiction #ChildrensNature

The Wild World Handbook – Habitats
by Andrea Debbink

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great for Middlegrade with facts and STEAM activities. Thanks to Quirk Books for gifting me a copy to give an honest review on.
Follow down to the blurb and my full review of The Wild World Handbook…

The Wildhandbook

Blurb

Packed with real-life tales of adventure, breathtaking illustrations, and practical tips, this handbook is an inspiring guide for the next generation of climate activists, conservationists, and nature lovers.

 

The first book in a middle grade series for young environmental activists and nature lovers, The Wild World Handbook offers a roadmap for change and an invitation to explore the outdoors, alongside surprising facts and hands-on STEAM activities. Featuring nine habitats from around the globe, each section includes diverse biographies of outdoor adventurers, scientists, and artists who used their passion and skills to become bold allies for Earth’s natural diversity and resiliency.

Inside you will find:
   • Nine Amazing Habitats • Eighteen Inspiring Biographies • Nine Kid-Friendly DIY Activities
   • Nine Fun Field Trips • And much more!

Review

The Wild World Handbook is great for Middlegrade. It is comprehensive, without being overly complicated, but allows them to have an adventure and “meet” people, different aspects of nature and fits right into encouraging children to care for the environment and to learn about it. Children can explore:-

Mountains, Forests, Deserts, Polar Lands, Oceans, Freshwater. Cities, Rainforests, Grasslands

The WildhandbookThis book whisks children into introductions to each are of earth and takes them to  the past, present and a small bit into the future of planet earth. So, children are introduced to each of the areas mentioned above, via quick, sharp, easy to follow facts, bold and sharp.

There are interactive elements to map out their own expeditions, do some artwork, plant a tree, find the stars, make a desert biome and more…

“Meet” people from a mountaineer to a naturalist to animals to trees and other plants and more…

There are questions about what they have read, so their knowledge and understanding all tally’s up.

It also takes a nod to those (which is refreshing), who played their part in helping to do good, not just in the present, but in the past, something that isn’t talked about much these days. It’s positive as it refrains from making sweeping generalisations and shows the young, that people older than them (including their parents) did do good stuff to help the environment too. It talks about what children can do too. So, it balances understanding what is in each area with what people have done, in both destruction and to save the earth as it balances out the positives and brings pages of fun to it too.

It is better than some books out there as it does balance positivity between the negativity, lots of fun as well as the serious. 

This book could easily be used at home, as part of a school eco-group or a Girlguiding or Scouting group such as Brownies and Cubs. It has scope for a lot of activities and it shows this area of study can be positive and it can be fun.

 

The Positivity Project – #Review by Lou of Understanding Kids – 3 books – The Friendship Maze, What’s My Child Thinking? What’s My Teenager Thinking? @TanithCarey @Summersdale @dkbooks @RandomTTours #parenting #UnderstandingKids

The Positivity Project – Understanding Kids
By Tanitha Carey
Rated: 5 stars *****

3 books – The Friendship Maze, What’s My Child Thinking, What’s My Teenager Thinking

I have something a bit different today and this is indeed a very exciting I have 3 short reviews on 3 books that create part of The Positivity Project, which I see as being highly exciting, totally worthwhile and exactly what people need right now, which is why I am excited to have been invited onto the blog tour by Random Things Tours and books gifted and what a treat there is in store. The 3 aforementioned books focus on creating positive children and adults. The books are best used by parents, carers, educationalists, counsellors. They are plain-speaking. There’s no challenging jargon. They are easy to follow. I have a quick overview of the books and then quick reviews and blurbs for each book in turn. Check out the layout of the pages as you scroll down too.

The books The Friendship Maze, What’s My Child Thinking, What’s My Teenager Thinking are the best, healthiest parenting books in a long time…. read further as to what you can find in them and why this seems to be the case… The books are simply incredibly amazing!!! They are some of the most exciting parenting books around right now, my fingers can hardly contain themselves as I write about them. I think they are the Must Read books if you’re a parent of a baby, a toddler, a child, a teenager. They will guide you through every stage.

Being a parent at any time can be a joy and yet challenging, especially in the age we live in. There are behaviours, influences, questions, social media, social pressures and so much more to deal with. These books are much more unique and nuanced than other parenting style books. These are, practical books that don’t pile the pressure of what the latest trend in parenting style is ie helecopter or tiger parenting etc. These books are stripped from all of this and creates something incredibly positive and rounded for parents to read as they bring up their children at all the different ages and stages of their lives. These books also, perhaps inadvertantly, shine a more positive light on future children and adults too as these books give a realistic, healthy look into childhood and teenagers and healthier ways to deal with them as parents. The books are suggestive, rather than preachy.
So many parents are going to find these books highly helpful and sensible. No subeject matter goes untouched. No subject seems to be too small or too big. They amazingly cover literally everything that can crop up at every single age-group in a dynamic, sensitive and most helpful way so parents can use them in their quest to have well-rounded, resilient children and teenagers, as well as helping themselves a bit along the way.

The books have all recieved high praise from key educationalists and psychologists. The books are developed to be used by parents/carers, but can also be used as a useful tool for educationalists and counsellors.
Today I bring you The Friendship Maze, What’s My Child Thinking, What’s My Teenager Thinking. Find out more about them in my reviews and the blurbs and then concluding in bullet points, what each book looks at in turn.

About the Author

Tanith Carey Author PicTanith Carey is a journalist and author who writes on the most pressing challenges facing today’s parents. Her writing has featured in The Telegraph, The Times, New York Daily News, and more. She also appears on TV and radio, such as Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, ITV’s This Morning, and Good Morning Britain.

The Friendship Maze

Review

The Friendship Maze Cover (1)Friendships, it can’t be assumed social skills and actually making friends is a linear process, nor should be taken for granted that this happens naturally, it doesn’t. The book starts off explaining a bit about friendships and then moves onto how sometimes what starts off as being good, can fall into difficulties. It has great tips on bringing up children to show kindness and developing friendships as well as giving some space for independence to grow. It shows that these skills are also something that needs to be taught and gives non-evasive, yet highly practical hints on how to do this.

The book  shows what can impact on social skills and what can in a negative way, with reality tv, puberty, pressure of cliques and social media and what can be positive and what can be negative. The book, as it does throughout, explains and sometimes has a scenario and then has bite-size bubbles with hints how parents can help their child or teen navigate through these times. Parents really can find that there is a helping hand at every stage, even how to have happier playdates.

The Friendship Maze Cover (1)

Blurb

Friendship battles among children have existed since the words ‘you can’t play with us’ were first uttered in the playground.

But the concern today is that unkind and excluding behaviour appears to be starting sooner than ever – even in nursery school.

Yet despite playing such an important part of their well-being, friendships are the area of our children’s lives that adults understand the least – but worry about the most.

By bringing together the latest social science on friendship for the first time for a UK audience, parenting author Tanith Carey peels back the mystery of children’s relationships so parents can guide their children better.

This bold analysis looks at the factors which have made the friendships of British children some of the most fraught in the world.

What’s my Child Thinking

Review

What's My Child thinking Cover (1)No one can totally know what their child is thinking, after all no one is a mind-reader, but it does give some pretty educated insights and how to handle them in a positive way.

To do this, the book asks the parent to take a few minutes to think about their own childhood and what their values are. There are some directional questions to aid in this process. There are some milestones for child-development given, before looking into child behaviours. It’s all broken down into age-groups and bite-size chunks. There isn’t any jargon to get your head around, it’s done plainly and simply.

The book jumps into what the child is thinking and verbalising, such as the word “no” and seeking that bit of independence of wanting to try to do something themselves. The book clearly explains these and then has a great way of how parents can respond. The book gives an informative chart of how to handle eating out, then goes onto behaviours such as hitting and wanting something, such as your phone. As well as detailing these behaviours and how to deal with them, it clearly states what to do in the long term, as well as in the moment, making this book excellent for longevity.

The book literally goes into every crevice of the child’s world and has a reassuring and healthy way of dealing with anything. Parents often say, there isn’t a handbook for bringing up children. This book comes pretty close. It’s one of the best and sound parenting books because of this and its roundedness and not focusing on any particular trend of a parenting style, which makes this book practical for years and years to come.

What Is My Child Thinking - Layout

Blurb

For this unique new book, Tanith and Angharad have pulled together the most important aspects of research and advances made in child development, which up to now, hasn’t been available to parents.

Designed for time-pressed parents, it allows mums, dads and carers to quickly and accurately interpret their child’s behaviour in the moment in more than 100 different challenging situations – and give the best science-based solutions, without having to wade through text and opinions

From tantrums, friendships (real and imaginary), sibling rivalry and having a new baby to sleep problems, aggressive behaviour and peer pressure, parents can quickly find a situation and understand exactly what their child is thinking, and the best way to respond. 

There are also practical survival guides dotted throughout which offer more detailed information and key principles to follow when dealing with more complex issues. These include shyness, coping with birthday parties, hitting and biting, travelling in a car and eating out. Complicated situations like separation and divorce are also included.

The book highlights the importance of working together as a team if you have a co-parent, and how it can helpful to seek advice from others if you are raising your child alone. There is guidance on how to decide what matters to you most in terms of values, along with reminders about why children react in the way they do, especially when they don’t yet have the words to explain. Feeling pressured to be the ‘perfect’ parent is also addressed.

What’s My Child Thinking? is the first parenting book that simultaneously brings together the thinking of both the parent and the child. It clearly explains how to decode a child’s behaviour, understand the psychology behind it and confidently find the best solution to resolve it. It shows that by tuning into your child’s innermost thoughts you can get a calmer, happier family life.

What's My Child Thinking Layout 3

What’s My Teenager Thinking?

Review

What's My Teenager Thinking Cover (1)Often parents find some of the most challenging times being when their small child becomes a teenager and there are even more and different things to navigate. I love that, again, this isn’t preachy and nor does it go into any parenting trends and is much more down-to-earth and more rounded than that. It’s another must have for any parent’s bookshelf. It serves as a practical guide and support, which is bang up-to-date and covers the very sort of world your teen is living in. I’m super impressed and excited for those with teens, that they can have such a book.

The book has a lovely, but easy to understand introduction to what is going on the inside of your teenager’s brain to the hormones it is producing. For the younger teens, it goes from needing the latest phone to addressing hygiene and body changes to FOMO to the changing friendships, crushes and social media, joining marches, moodswings and the more sinister side,. It also handles even more serious issues such as self-harm.It moves up in increments in age as some thoughts change or get deeper than at 13/14. So at 15/16 the themes continue, but extends to exam pressures to thoughts of certain people hating them. It focuses on sleep and shaving too, to wanting more of an allowance to sexual behaviours, dating, coming out as gay. It also handles when the teen wants driving lessons. At 16/17 it takes the themes further to consent, drugs, being worried about the future, anxieties and suicidal thoughts.

These are just a few of the meaty subjects within the book, that have been broken down to just a few pages, giving parents the support they need in a practical way. Each has a very realistic scenario, then segments of what your teen may be thinking and how as a parent you can respond in that moment and practical tips on how to in the long-term.

What is my Teenager Thinking Layout

Blurb

Are your child’s teenage years more challenging than you ever imagined?

Do you struggle to know how to respond when your child says: ‘I hate you!’, ‘Get out of my room!’, ‘My life is over if I don’t get these grades’ or ‘Do I look fat in this?’

Despite your best efforts to say the right thing, do you often find that your suggestions are seen by your teens as ‘criticism’ and your concerns about their well-being are viewed as ‘controlling’?

At a time when our teenagers face unprecedented challenges to their mental health, it’s more important than ever for adults to find better ways to understand and connect with adolescents. What’s My Teenager Thinking? by parenting author Tanith Carey and clinical child psychologist Dr Angharad Rudkin, is a new kind of book that takes a unique approach.

  • It uses the best child and development psychology to translate adolescent behaviour in more than 100 everyday scenarios, many of which are not tackled in other parent books, including issues that have surfaced in lockdown.
  • Drawing on the best research in child psychology, development and neuroscience, each scenario offers practical, easy-to-access solutions parents can use both in the moment and the long-term.
  • It compressed the best science in a way that time-pressed parents can quickly and easily access when a problem arises, without wading through text.
  • Unlike other books which lump the teen years together, it looks at how the teenage brain and thinking evolves through the early, mid and later teenage years

What's My Teenager Thinking Layout 4

What the Books Look At:

The Friendship Maze…

  •  How has social media changed the way children relate to each other?
  • How do hierarchies form in every classroom?
  • Why are boys now just as like to engage in ‘mean behaviour?
  • Why do some children always seem to be left on the side-lines?
  • Are we too quick to call ‘bullying’?
  • Deal with classroom and social media politics.
  • Inoculate your child against the effects of peer-group pressure, cliquiness and exclusion.
  • Learn what’s really going on in your child’s social circle.
  • Bully-proof your child throughout school.
  • Work out when to step in and step out of your child’s conflicts.
  • Help your child make friends if they are stuck on the side-lines.

What’s My Teenager Thinking

  • Designed for parents of all adolescents, What’s My Teenager Thinking includes what to say when your teen says:
  • I am revising
  • Stop following me on social media
  • Everyone else plays this computer game
  • You never listen
  • You swear. Why can’t I?
  • I’ll tidy my room in a minute
  • I’m going anyway
  • Can my boyfriend sleep over?

What’s my Teenager Thinking? tackles real-world concerns including online safety, exam pressures, eating disorders, depression, alcohol, drugs, and sex and doesn’t shy away from hard-hitting themes such as porn, self-harm and suicide.

Understanding Kids BT Poster

 

#review of the funny, rythmic Dylan’s Cozy Doze by Elsa Joseph @writerelsa @BookTasters #DylansCozyDoze #ChildrensBook #Parents #picturebook

Dylan’s Cozy Doze
By Elsa Joseph
Rated: ****

It’s nearly the weekend, so what better way of spending it than spending time with your little ones, than with a funny book. Today I have a review for Dylan’s Cozy Doze – a sweet, funny, rhythmic children’s book that would make for a good bedtime story or for cosying up and reading for pleasure. Thank you to Elsa Joseph for sending me the book and to the folks at Book Tasters for providing the opportunity to review.

About the Author

Elsa Joseph is the author of Best Kept Secret and Dylan’s Cosydoze. She gained her writing degree at London South Bank University, UK.
From an early age, Elsa had an ambition to be a writer. She often tried her hand at writing by entering writing contests, although little came from her early efforts. Besides her love of writing, Elsa has a passion for theatre and sits on the committee of a community theatre group which promotes new writing and encourages people to go to the theatre regularly.
Elsa draws inspiration for her books from travelling, art, theatre, reading and conversations with friends.
Living in London proves to be inspirational to Elsa as she sits at her desk in her office where she writes her stories and can merely look out the window at the hustle and bustle of city life to renew her creativity.
Elsa strives to make stories with interesting plots and beautiful scenery. Characters with great strengths and weaknesses that readers can identify and fall in love with.

Blurb

Dylan cannot sleep without his Cosydoze, but it goes missing on a visit to Granny’s house. Where has it gone? And can Mumand Dad get Dylan to sleep without it?

Dylans Cozy Doze Cover

Review

This is a lovely picture book about Dylan and his “Cozydoze” – a muslin cloth he won’t let go of, even on his way in the car to granny’s house, where he goes and has some fun with a ball. Later tragedy strikes. His “Cozydoze” cannot be found and no substitute is good enough. It’s a sweet book with a nice rhythm to it and will make a good bedtime story for pre-school children. There’s also a nice part that encourages children to look at the pictures and think about how the muslin went missing.
It is also a story that many parents will be able to relate to, wherever in the world you live, as well as being a book that pre-schoolers will enjoy and find very amusing.

Children’s Books Inspiration – Quick Reviews for All Ages #ChildrensBooks #PictureBooks #ChapterBooks #Kidslit #Reviews #LinAnderson #DanSmith #LarraineHarrison3 #JaclynMoriarty #CliveMantle #VacynTaylor #RafaRuiz #EmmaLarkin #GeronimoStilton #GraceMcLuskey #JaneyLouiseJones #WilliamAEFord #WendyHJones #Families #Parents #EduTwitter

Mini Reviews and Links for Children’s Books, Spanning Across Every AgeBookmark pic

I have reviewed a number of excellent children’s books. I have now put them all together in a small collection here for you to hopefully be inspired and try out. You will find the books at Amazon, Waterstones and some Independent Bookshops. Full reviews and extra info can be found by clicking on the relevant links, marked “Here”. I have included books for all ages of children. I have started off with a terrific chapter books and then some books for younger children. I hope this brings some inspiration for what to try next.

Blaze Dog Detective By Lin Anderson

Blurb

Blaze CoverWhen 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.

Quick 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 that has red herrings, can you discover who stole the Fairy Flag in Skye? Blaze is actually a real dog in Skye and you can find out more about the book and  see some more cute pics by clicking Here

blaze fae Skye
Blaze from Skye

 

 

 

 

She Wolf By Dan Smith

Blurb

She WolfNorthumbria 866.
Washed ashore on a frozen English beach, Ylva’s survived. She will not cry. She’s meant to be strong. She’s a Viking.

But when her mother dies at the hand of a three-fingered man, and the wolves of the forest circle closer, Ylva will need more than the memory of her mother’s stories to stay alive. Can she shape her own legend? Will it end in revenge – or is there another way?

 

Quick Review –  Primary Schools and Booktrust rate it highly as do I with 5 stars. Immerse yourself in a book that deals with bereavement and courage as you meet Ylva, Locki, Thor and Odin. Discover this immersive and intriguing adventure, which is excellently paced and pitched for older primary aged children. Click Here for more info about it, plus links to Dan Smith’s website and social media.

 

Red Snow by Larraine Harrison

Blurb

Red Snow CoverTwelve-year-old Megan though she knew everything there was to know about her mother’s death, but she was wrong.

Why will no one tell her what really happened and why has she become her father’s carer?

The boy next door has a dangerous secret that could help Megan, but will she be strong enough to pursue it to the end?

A story of danger, hope and perseverance.

Quick Review

Red Snow is great for 8 or 9 year olds plus. Full of atmosphere and emotion, readers meet 12 year old Megan Townsend who tries to follow her neighbour – Ryan into the woods. It is sinister and intriguing as Megan pursues the truth about her mother and was there a big cat in the woods? It is also about Megan being inquisitive and Ryan’s peculiar habits. It is sympathetically written in a child friendly manner, with themes of being a carer, bereavement, loneliness, friendship, family; with an excellent ending that will see everything resolved. Find out more by clicking Here

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone
by Jaclyn Moriarty

Blurb

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte MettlestoneBronte Mettlestone has been brought up in a very sensible way by her Aunt Isabelle and the Butler. So when her absent parents are killed by pirates and she’s sent on a whirlwind visit to her other ten aunts, she takes it all in her stride. But Bronte’s outwardly sensible nature holds a core of steel and courage, and through her adventures, with water sprites, avalanches, elves and dragons, Bronte shows herself to be the kind of heroine we would all wish to be. This wonderful novel is witty, lively and full of magic and surprises – everything readers young and old could ask for. The kind of novel where you need to make a pot of tea (preferably cloudberry), find a really comfy sofa in front of a roaring fire, and settle in for a magical journey of your own.

Review

Let your imagination run wild with this book and find out what the Extremely Unfortunate Events of Bronte Mettlestone are. She’s brave and courageous. She has aunts in Scotland and yet she also ends up in many other kingdoms in this wonderfully written book that children will have their imaginations captured by. There are pirates, a strange library and fantastical creatures that is all just so well pitched for children to sweep them along within exciting chapters that exceeded expectations. Find out more by clicking Here

The Treasure at the Top of the Mountain By Clive Mantle

Blurb

The Treasure at the Top of the World coverClive Mantle has said: “I have woven a tale of adventure in the past and present against the wondrous backdrop of Nepal and its people. I am thrilled that the story I wrote for my own son to pass on the flame has now found a wider audience, who will hopefully have their imaginations stimulated as mine was as a young boy”.

In the first of The Adventures of Freddie Malone series, The Treasure at the Top of the World Freddie receives an intriguing and unusual thirteenth birthday present from his Uncle Patrick. The ancient world map goes straight up on his wall, but Freddie fast discovers that the map is much more than just a decorative historic artefact. Freddie, and his best friend, Connor, are soon plunged into a mountainous adventure, on a path that leads to a long buried mystery, pursued by ruthless adversaries who’ll go to any lengths to get what they want.

 Review

This is more than just a tale to tell, it’s an impressively written adventure of a lifetime. This a story of (in no particular order) adventure, social and land geography, history, present day, travel and friendship and overcoming bullying. This is a book that will excite, inform and captivate children.

There are relics and treasures to be had, people to meet and a country to explore, all within the safety and comfort of your own home. This is an impressive story with adventure, once you’ve met Freddie Malone, who is celebrating his birthday and his magical present transports him to Nepal to meet mountaineers and more…
There is a lovely map and pictures and additional supporting info after the terrific story.
Find out more by clicking Here 

Star Child – The Age of Akra – Book 1 –
There are 5 in the series. I have reviewed 3.

The Age of Akra Cover (1)The foreshadowing of a dark future threatens the seven nations. Mai is selected to train with the mysterious elemental master Sah Dohba who will prepare her to become the protector of the desert lands.  Her brother Long, steps forward to travel with her as her chaperone to the Valley of a Thousand Thoughts.

A chance encounter brings them together with Akra, the Starchild.  The trio travels on into a battle with the elements. Sandstorms. Deadly creatures. Starvation. Then a chance meeting with powerful earthfollower, sets them on a new path where they must each find the strength to face a terrifying foe from the Underworld.

Review

This is the beginning of a new children’s fantasy series for children of ages 7+
The cover is exciting with its dragon, suggesting adventure and action. There are 5 in all in this series.

Covering themes such as child rivalry, there is bravery, action, adventure and emotion within these books, all suitable for ages 7/8 plus. Children who like Marvel and Ninjago and dragons and creatures in faraway lands will enjoy this. It’s an excellent series to get stuck into and to spark children’s imaginations. Check out more by clicking Here

Judy Blume FudgeJudy Blume books are great and have stood the test of time pretty well. I wrote an article as to why her books are still relevant and to showcase her books. Her books span right across children of all ages. Click for the article Here

 

 

Toletis by Rafa Ruiz

Toletis is another book that is perfect for children of all ages.

Blurb

Toletis CoverClaudia and Tutan are on a mission to turn their little valley town, set deep in the mountains, luscious green again. The odds are stacked against them. Can they succeed… with some very unusual help?

Review

This is a book that provides, within Toletis, a positive role model. He has a deep interest in the natural world and has lots of fun, whilst playing in the world around him. He meets characters like the Treene-weenies and learns Wobbegong language along the way. He also has a great friend in Tutan. There are great illustrations throughout, humour, great storytelling throughout, that this makes perfect reading for those who also like The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Tom Gates, Storey Treehouse series. Find out much more about this terrific book by clicking Here

Izzy’s Magical Football Adventure By Emma Larkin

Blurb

Izzy coverIzzy is a seven-year-old girl who lives in Ireland and loves all sport, especially Gaelic Football.

Izzy plays football with her brothers on a regular basis in their back garden and dreams of playing for her county in the All Ireland Ladies Football Final in Croke Park when she is older.

One day, Izzy puts on her great grandmother’s bracelet, which is made of old All Ireland medals that her great grandmother won a long time ago, and something unexpected and magical happens, which may make Izzy’s Croke Park dream a reality sooner than she expected…………….

Review

Are you missing out on football? Whether you are or not, this is a great book of sibling rivalry and inspiration. Meet Izzy, she likes football and dreams of playing for her county one day, but doesn’t see how that can happen, until a discovery is made about relative. This is an excellent, positive book of possibilities. Find out more by clicking Here

Geronimo Stilton – Stop Acting Around By Geronimo Stilton

Blurb

Geronimo Stilton stop acting aroundGeronimo Stilton is Getting into the movies when he is invited by an old filmmaker friend, director E.J. Sprocket, to visit the set Block Cheddar 4, starring Jack Vole. Convinced that this could make for an interesting article, he brings Thea, Benjamin, and Pandora along. But soon they discover that it’s not all glitz and glamour as strange happenings have been plaguing production, causing the film to go off course. Will Geronimo’s acting career be over before it starts? Is there a MOLE on the set? As E.J. would say, “That’s show business for ya baby!”

Review

Geronimo Stilton books have been around awhile in libraries and book shops and they are nicely still going strong. They are graphic novels, with the story told in a well layed-out and illustrated form and often depict an eye-catching cover, with a good paced plot. Stop Acting Around takes Geronimo (a mouse) on-set of a big movie to meet his favourite actor – Jack Vole and reckons this would make for a great article. All is well until disaster strikes when 10 cans of film are mysteriously destroyed. The book has plenty of action and there is mild trepidation when there’s a rickety bridge to get across a ravine and down an old mine as the mystery continues as to what happened to the film reels and unexpected discoveries.

The Hidden Spaceship by Serena Lane Ferrari

Blurb

The Hidden Spaceship cover

When Amelia and Noah stumble across a spaceship, an out-of-this-world adventure begins. The friends have a very special mission – to help the Earth’s eco-system. They must go on a daunting journey on another planet, find a treasure chest, and complete their quest. What secret does the treasure chest hold?

 

Review

There’s a song, a spaceship and humans Amelia and Noah, who embark on an adventure to a distant planet. There’s bright, bold pictures and a great story and characters like the alien Ualalumpa. The book, throughout the story, tells children about the eco-system in a way that is child-friendly and understandable. There are treasures to find that are more magical and wonderful than even gold or jewels. To find out more about this out of this world adventure, please click Here

The Cockatoo From Timbucktoo By William AE Ford

Blurb

The Cockatoo From TimbucktuJoin Kian the cockatoo on his adventures around the world!

Can a childhood song about a shining star help him find his way home?

From the Great Barrier Reef to the Great Wall of China to New York City wonders of the world are explored delightfully in this epic journey!


Review

William has done it again! After sending children on an interactive, rhyming time travelling adventure with the award winning Timothy Mean and his Time Machine, he now sends them on a world adventure with a lost cockatoo who just wants to go home to be reunited with his mum and dad. Children just love the adventure of flying around the world in a book, the illustrations and the repetitive nature of this book, that makes it so interactive and fun. It is a wonderful and perfect book for these different days, where young children, including the early primary school years, will gain value from. Find out more by clicking Here

The Hangry Hamster by Grace McLuskey

Review and Blurb

hangry hamsterMeet Billy. He has a hamster who is hangry and ends up running through London, past a lot of landmarks, which he ends up towering over, like no hamster ever has before. This book is action packed, very funny and brilliantly conceived. It is also about bonding with a pet. Please find out more Here

 

Princess Poppy – Fantastic No Plastic By Janey Louise Jones

Blurb

Princess Poppy Fantastic No PlasticWhen Poppy is invited to a beach party by cousin Daisy in Camomile Cove, she has to help clean up the beach first. There is so much plastic refuse. Meanwhile, her puppy Sidney chokes on a discarded bag. Poppy joins the campaign to rid the planet of one use plastic waste and comes up with an enterprising idea. Poppy is her usual energetic and passionate self as she realises everyone can do a little bit to make a big difference.

Review

Princess Poppy is a great story with a really good mix of positive environmental messages and general fun in the characters setting. These are great books for both boys and girls alike. There’s great illustrations by Jennie Poh and humour within this story about looking after the environment. The story takes place when there’s a competition to create a poster to create an object to replace with that from a plastic one. It also shows friendship and keeping earth tidy, as well as having fun with Sidney – a dog with a bundle of energy. Please find out more Here

Bertie the Buffalo by Wendy H. Jones

Blurb

Bertie CoverBertie the Buffalo is based on a true story of when a Water Buffalo escaped from a Buffalo Park in Fife, near Dundee, Scotland. A rhyming book about the adventures Bertie got up to and how he safely returned home, demonstrating how important each of us is no matter how insignificant we feel. Bertie felt that no one noticed him. But he didn’t need to think that as we are all special. We are all a part of one big family.

Review

Inspired by a true story in Scotland, children will meet Bertie and all sorts of animals, including an alpaca along the way as Bertie the Buffalo ends up straying into unfamiliar territories as he finds himself outside of his usual field. The book is about not feeling small, even if you are small in stature, friendship and family, in this beautifully illustrated book that will take children on an adventure and find some kindness along the way. It also is a story with a moral within it. This book has been read by many children, usually for 4 year olds plus, but has been used my middle grade classes up to and including primary 5 too. Find out more by clicking Here

 

Aunt Jodie’s Guide to Evolution by Jordan Bell #ChildrensBook #Kidslit #NonFiction #parents #school

Aunt Jodie’s Guide to Evolution
By Jordan Bell
Rated: 5 stars *****

Sent to me all the way from Australia, by the author Jordan Bell, I present this lovely and well-written and illustrated book about basic evolution for children. Thanks to Jordan Bell for getting in touch on my contact page, asking me to review it for her.

Aunt Jodie cover

Blurb

Are you ready for an amazing science adventure? Join Sophie and Matt as Aunt Jodie takes you on an imagination expanding journey back in time. Learn about evolution in two different species, millions of years apart: the Plesiads, ancient lemur-like creatures from 55 million years ago, and colour changing Peppered Moths from the 1800s. What happens to the Plesiads when a volcano erupts? How do moths survive when their camoflage stops working? Discover the secrets that help all creatures transform and develop when big changees happen in the world around them.

Review

Meet Sophie and Matt and their Aunt Jodie in this beautifully produced chapter book. It’s an easy guide into Darwin for children, in story format, with great illustrations. The book is all about Darwins theories and science. It fits well into STEM.

In basic terms it walks children through Darwin’s theories of selection processes, giving, in story form, examples, through adventure with the plesaids (ancient lemurs). It also takes a journey to a volcano, where children are almost prompted to think about climate and about groups of animals as well as cause and effect. The book does it in such an easy, natural way and in a way that children will be able to understand.

The adventure with the intrepid explorers then jumps forward in time to the Industrial Revolution and how changes like that correlate with changes within evolution. Now the plesaids have been left behind, further into the past, a peppered moth emerges and its natural biology and science.

The tone of the book is just right for upper primary school/middle grade children. It’s pitched perfectly well, with the characters and the facts interacting and intertwining with each other. There’s an intense curiosity from the children within the book, that may spark curiosity within the children reading it. There is a great glossary at the back of the book that explains the words, some children may not be familiar with yet. The glossary is well produced and in such a way that I feel will aid children well enough.

The book would sit well in schools, school libraries, public/community libraries and bookshops.

Review of 3 Helping Hand Stories by Sarah, Duchess of York @AnneCater #RandomThingsTours #HelpingHandStories #ChildrensBooks #Kidslit #Parents #Families #Schools #Libraries #SchoolLibraries #BlogTour #Review

3 Helping Hand Stories by Sarah, Duchess of York
Rated: 5 stars each *****

Sarah Duchess FINAL Helping Hands BT Poster

Sarah Duchess photo

I am very excited and honoured to be part of this blog and for the wonderful opportunity to present to you all, my  reviews of 3 children’s books by Sarah, Duchess of York, that she has written for Helping Hand for you all to read. Families and schools will seriously find them so beneficial. They have excellent illustrations with great stories and handy hints at the end. The way the stories and helpful hints are presented is excellent. There is so much to be gained out of reading them and they are an excellent tool for any household and classroom. There is so much scope as to how people can use the books.

I thank Anne Cater for inviting me on this amazing blog tour and for arranging books to be sent.

Let me show you the blurb of each book and then my review. Read further still, for an insightful and very interesting  interview about why Sarah, Duchess of York wrote the books, and then a lovely piece all about Sarah, Duchess of York herself.
I have also included the website link for the Helping Hand Stories page for you to check out for more information.

 

Blurb

Daisy Learns About Strangers

Sarah Fergusson Daisy learns about strangers front cover

Daisy gets bored in a supermarket and wanders off from her Mummy. When she realises she is amongst strangers, she feels very alone and frightened but luckily finds a security guard who soon reunites her with her Mummy. Learning about strangers is a difficult but vital lesson for young children. Daisy’s experience in the supermarket teaches her a valuable lesson.

James and the Bullies

Sarah Fergusson James and the bullies front cover

James is small for his age and some of the older boys at school have taken to pushing him around. At first, James tells no-one as he thinks it is his fault but finally he decides to tell his Mum and together they set about solving the problem. Bullying is one of the most difficult issues children and their parents have to face. James and his Mum show how it can be tackled and overcome.

Holly’s First Day at School

Sarah Ferusson Holly's first day at school front cover

A small child’s first day at school is a big step forward for both child and parents. For Holly, her worries about not being with her Mummy are soon forgotten as she meets new friends and starts to learn new things.

 

Review

First of all, these books are not just relevant, they are needed for children and families. They serve incredibly useful purposes. These are books that are really engaging to children, in the full content of the stories, the big illustrations, and  the meaning behind the books as powerful knowledge and understanding is gained.                                               They are excellent for conversation and discussion pieces. These are books that are designed to be read by adults with children.
Each book is realistic about the situations they portray and also has a positive resolution at the end.
Each story is something parents/caregivers and children themselves will be able to relate to. The layout of each is easy to follow as they flow very well from scene to scene.
The pictures and the words all go together very well too, bringing the stories to life and enhancing what has been written.
Check out the pages after the end of each story. There are excellent hints given there for parents/caregivers that are well-written and easy to follow. They really are practical and excellent ideas. The hints are written by a child psychologist and based on sound knowledge. Who knows if Sarah, Duchess of York will write any more of this series of books, but she certainly could as there are lots of topics she could write about and they are very good indeed.

 

Daisy Learns About Strangers

It is a worry for parents and caregivers that children could go off with strangers. This book has a brilliant short story with a couple of examples about a child getting lost and also later, about the same child seeing someone she doesn’t recognise. The book shows how such a thing could come about, what to do and how it can all be happily resolved. 

The story starts off in a supermarket and Daisy is being distracted by the tv whilst her mother is talking. Daisy then moves away without her mum knowing. Daisy feels lost and cannot locate her mum. She then goes to an appropriate adult to ask for help. The story resolves nicely. The story then moves onwards with her parents telling Daisy about strangers and them making up a rhyme so she remembers the rules she is taught and gives a scenario of someone who is a stranger. It is resolved nice and neatly.

James and the Bullies

Bullies – so many children are still being bullied and this story sets out how the bullied child can feel and also what action can be taken. The book is so positive that it will show those being bullied can do something about it and can take positive action. It shows that adults will listen, who to tell and what to perhaps say. This is an empowering book for children. It is also fabulous, that it demonstrates the child and adults working together to resolve the bullying and the positivity at the end.

Actually, come to think of it, this is also an excellent story if you are worried your child may be the bully, to demonstrate how the child being bullied can feel, to help set them back on a better, more positive path).

The story begins with James being worried and upset. It then shows the reason why and how 2 boys are bullying him. It goes on with James trying to hide the real reason for his minor injuries and also the internal symptom of his sore tummy and his lowering self-esteem. He does however have one good friend, who really he wants to ignore, but finds he can’t. The story continues and changes to being more positive as James then tells his mum about what has been going on and about how she and his teacher can help. It all gets resolved in the end and James starts to feel more like himself as he gains his confidence and self-esteem back.

Holly’s First Day at School

First days of anything can be challenging and hard. The first day at school is such a big milestone and one which, even the most prepared of children can find daunting as it becomes a reality. This book will help give a positive image, but also show that it is okay to feel worried and cry over it. It shows too that the first day at school can also be fun. It is a great book to use in assisting your child to prepare for this milestone in life.

The story begins with the positive, upbeat feelings of having completed the first day at school and then looks back to when the day began and how Holly had initially felt anxious. She meets up with Amy, her friend, Charlotte’s older sister and she tells them of the friends they’d make and yet she is still worried and a bit upset at the school gates. Then, follow Holly into assembly and the classroom and all the different activities she gets involved in. The story resolves nicely as after the first day, all is well again with Holly and she is now happier with going to school and ready to face another day.

Interview

This is a very insightful and very interesting  interview the Duchess of York gave about her Helping Hands stories (not conducted my me I might add).

Why did you write the Helping Hand stories?

The simple answer is that I was originally asked to by a UK pharmacy chain who felt there was a need for them. But as I started to work on the stories, listened to Dr Richard
Woolfson, the child psychologist who worked closely with us, and talked to mums with
young children, it became clearer and clearer to me that this was something I could really contribute to. If we could tackle the issues that all children face growing up by using that oldest but most effective technique, storytelling, to create something that invited young children to start understanding those issues whilst being of practical help to parents, we would be doing something really worthwhile.

Why have you decided to republish them now?

Two reasons: firstly the importance of encouraging people of all ages to talk about difficult experiences as a healthy thing to do has become increasingly prominent and accepted. The Helping Hand stories are designed to help both parents and young children to do exactly that. My hope is that parents (and grandparents) will read the books with their children and talk about the stories after they have read them. Secondly, they were extremely popular with customers of the pharmacy chain but there is a much bigger audience out there who will not have come across the books yet – and will hopefully find them just as useful.

We have brought them up to date in a bigger format with fantastic new illustrations – I can say that as I didn’t do them! They are the work of a very talented illustrator, Amit Tayal – thank you Amit for bringing the stories vividly to life. We’ve also produced ebook versions of the stories so they can be read on a tablet or laptop.

How did you choose the issues to write about?

I wanted to tackle issues that are important and universal. Take bullying for example.
According to UK research, at least two in five young people have experienced bullying in
some form in the previous year. And bullying is the most common reason for children aged 11 and under to contact Childline. ‘James and the Bullies’ is a simple story of bullying at school that illustrates how to face up to the problem and to go about resolving it. As with so many problems, being brave enough to talk about it is more than half the answer. Also, each story includes ten ‘Helpful Hints’ contributed by Richard Woolfson to give parents practical ways to help deal with the issue.

Do the stories reflect your personal experience?

As a mother, I was of course concerned about the issues that the stories cover and I would have loved to have had them to hand when I was a young Mum. But I wanted to write them, based on a broader understanding of the issues and the ways to tackle them. So the situations and solutions I describe come from both Richard Woolfson’s many years’ experience working with children and their parents and the many conversations I have had with other parents at the school gate and subsequently.

Do you have plans to write more Helping Hand stories?

I would love to. There’s no shortage of topics. For example, the growth of cyberbullying is
something I know the parents of young children I talk to are desperately worried about. It’s a problem that just did not exist when they were children so it is more difficult to grasp. I think a story that shed some light on the issue and offered advice on how to tackle it would be very well received.

What do you hope the Helping Hand stories will achieve?

I had a conversation the other day with a mum who had recently read the stories to her
young daughter. She told me that, initially, she had been a little wary of raising such
difficult topics with her innocent young child. But, equally, she knew that her little girl
would have to face such issues, probably sooner rather than later. As they describe a
fictional situation, the stories had been a relaxed way to introduce the topics and her
daughter had engaged with them. She identified with the children portrayed in them and
wanted to read them again a few days later, asking a number of questions. Mum and Dad
had felt very relieved that the topics were now ‘on the table’ and indeed the books were
now literally on the bedside table to be referred to, as and when needed. If that experience could be repeated a thousand times – or even tens of thousands of times – I would be thrilled.

Link for Helping Hands: http://www.helpinghandstories.com

About Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York

Sarah Duchess photo

The Duchess of York is a global humanitarian, businesswoman, best selling children’s book author, producer and wellness advocate. The Duchess is widely admired for her “comeback spirit” and for overcoming formidable obstacles to succeed as a good mother who has worked hard to support her children, a survivor, businesswoman and humanitarian.
In 1993 she founded Children in Crisis (www.childrenincrisis.org.uk) and the charity has educated over 1.4 million children, trained over 18,000 teachers, built 57 schools and supports hundreds of schools on a yearly basis. Recently CIC merged with Street Child and The Duchess is Founder Patron, remaining active in its mission to provide education to forgotten children around the world. She has recently returned from visiting Street Child’s projects in Nepal and Sierra Leone, supporting the most marginalised into education and out of bonded labour.

The Duchess has published over 52 books including two autobiographies and titles dealing with health, empowerment, history, art, as well as children’s stories. Her children’s books include the series of ‘Budgie the Little Helicopter’, adapted into a highly successful animated series on US primetime Fox and her children’s book ‘Tea for Ruby’, published by Simon and Schuster had it’s debut at the top of the New York Times bestseller list.

The subject of countless media interviews herself, The Duchess has also found success as a reporter and presenter. In America, she has been a special correspondent for NBC’s Today show and has presented specials and documentaries on ABC, FOX, and CNN. In Britain, she has presented and coproduced specials for ITV, BBC, and Sky TV. She has served as guest editor on BBC Radio 4 Today programme and has regularly contributed to BBC Radio 2’s primetime lifestyle show “Steve Wright”.
She conceived the film, and produced alongside Martin Scorsese, ‘The Young Victoria’, a period romance based on the early life of Queen Victoria starring Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend and scripted by Julian Fellowes. She has written two books on the subject, ‘Travels with Queen Victoria’ and ‘Victoria and Albert: Family Life at Osborne House’. The Young Victoria was released in the US, UK, Australia, France amongst other territories and it was the closing film at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2009.

She devotes much of her time to promoting wellness and children’s causes. The ‘Helping Hand’ series of books is designed to introduce children to the issues they all confront as they grow old, through storytelling and to support their parents with advice provided by a leading child psychologist. For 10 years she was the highly successful US spokesperson for Weight Watchers International where she distinguished herself as a wellness advocate and a spokesperson for the American Heart Association. She has recently been asked to lead a campaign highlighting women and heart disease by The British Heart Foundation.

She is a passionate supporter of a number of charities including The Teenage Cancer Trust and Teen Cancer America, Julia’s House, The British Heart Foundation and The Children’s Air Ambulance. She also champions Key to Freedom, a business structure initiative set up to support the Women’s Interlink Foundation (WIF) by giving vulnerable young women a platform to sell their products. WIF works across West Bengal, India, helping these women develop skills to earn an income. She has just returned from a visit to The Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation Hospital (BASR) where, as Patron, she is spearheading a campaign to establish a cardiology department to include a heart attack centre and rehabilitation.