#BookReview By Lou of What The Ladybird Heard At Christmas by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks #JuliaDonaldson @LydiaMonks @@MacmillanKidsUK #ChildrensBook #ChristmasRead #Christmas #WhatTheLadybirdHeard #WhatTheLadybirdHeardAtChristmas

What The Ladybird Heard At Christmas
By Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A delightful seasonal addition to What the Ladybird Heard… series for preschoolers and young primary school aged children. Discover the blurb and my review below. First, thanks to Macmillan Kids for gifting me a copy of the book to review.

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Blurb

Packed full of fun, What the Ladybird Heard at Christmas is a fantastically lively rhyming adventure from the bestselling picture book partnership of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks.

In a big old house, the ladybird is visiting her friend the spider for the festive season. But those two bad men, Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len, are up to no good again. They have a devious plan – to steal the children’s Christmas presents from their stockings! It’s a good thing that the clever little ladybird has overheard their awful plotting, and she has a cunning plan to make sure they don’t get away with it.

The fifth title in the Number One bestselling series from the award-winning team of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks, which has been enjoyed by over four million children worldwide.

Enjoy more adventures with the clever little ladybird in What the Ladybird Heard, What the Ladybird Heard Next, What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday and What the Ladybird Heard at the Seaside.

Review

This book takes young readers into Christmas with a rhyming story that Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks are synonymous for. Seek out the ladybird on every page and meet a spider and its friends. All is not as it seems, when instead of Santa, as they are expecting, it is 2 burglars. Will Christmas be saved?

The book is short and sweet, with just enough mild trepidation to capture the gaze of young eyes and to enthrall their enthusiasm for a book. This is a series many children will be familiar with, starting with – What The Ladybird Heard. Children delight in trying to find the ladybird, thus using their skills of observation and to gasp a small bit when there’s something bad about to happen amongst, what is rather a cute scene, to find comfort in knowing all is well again in the end. The illustrations are perfect at depicting the words on the page. They are bright, fun and just as engaging as the story itself.

This is a book I highly recommend for Christmas stockings or a pre-Christmas read.

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#Review By Lou of. Gerard Philey’s Euro-Diary: Quest For A Life @Brendan23015569 @rararesources #BlogTour #Travel #Fiction

Gerard Philey’s Euro-Diary
Quest For A Life

Rating: 4 out of 5.

 

Today I have hopped aboard on the blog tour for Gerard Phyley’s Euro-Diary: Quest For A Life. Come join me on the journey by checking out the blurb and review below.
Thanks first to Rachel Random Resources for the invite to review and to the author – Brendon for the book and card.

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Blurb

Could there be a world of interest and adventure beyond the Midlands? A world of confidence, sex and excitement? A better life – a better me?’ These are the questions Gerard Philey grapples with over New Year, 1995. Sitting in his rented Black Country room, reflecting on his thankless teaching job and miserable love life, he courageously decides to abandon his humdrum existence and embark on a quest for Euro-fulfilment, fun and fitness on the Continent.

After a shaky start in Brussels, events manoeuvre him to Amsterdam where chance encounters shift his world well and truly into fifth gear. He samples the trials and tribulations of new relationships, alongside managing a sex shop in the city’s Red Light Area – on top of the challenges of fat-free living and international travel!

Through his bittersweet diary, we see how Gerard steers a laugh-out-loud course through farcical episodes and fanciful characters…and how entanglements from past and present draw him unwittingly into a criminal underworld where events ultimately take their toll.

Review

Gerard has left his joyless and thankless teaching job and his poor love life, in search of adventure. It truly is set out in diary form as readers can travel with him from country to country and city to city. The joy of train travel. It reads, even though it is a work of fiction, a bit like a travelogue and part about the experiences he encounters along the way. These experiences he has isn’t particularly all glitzy and glamorous. He unwittingly discovers areas that are perhaps not seen quite so much by tourists, which, amongst bits of humour, is a bit thought provoking too. It also certainly is different in that it shows the grubbier side of some accommodation, some seedier sides and parts of the underworld, full of criminal activity.
At certain moments, because of the diary format, it is easy to get caught up in this book and almost forget it is a work of fiction, apart from some of the seemingly farcical and fitness activities, although in saying that, anything seems to happen in life these days and there were probably many fanciful fads for adults in the 90s too. In saying that, it may take some readers a little while to get into reading a diary format, unless they’ve read the likes of Bridget Jones a zillion times, but it is worth sticking with it as it is easy to get into and creates an interesting and quite unique adventure that intrepid traveller , Gerard, quite possibly was not expecting.

 

#Review By Lou of. Where Is My Smile? By Natalie Reeves Billing @BillingReeves @LoveBookTours #ChildrensBook #Wellbeing #PictureBook

Where Is My Smile
By Natalie Reeves Billing
Illustrated By Hannah Jesse

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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Where Is My Smile? is charmingly illustrative with an engrossing story children can engage with and adults can use as a conversation starter about emotions.

Natalie Reeves Billing has many successful books, including the Monsterous Me series for young children.

Thanks to Love Books Group for the book and review opportunity. Discover more in the blurb and my review below.

Blurb

A beautifully illustrated picture book about mental health for young readers. Where Is My Smile? is the story of a little boy who can’t find his smile anywhere. He searches and searches, but it’s nowhere to be found. Where could his smile be? This delightful picture book is perfect as a bedtime story, and to help little children understand that it’s okay to be sad sometimes, but we can always find our way through it. Where Is My Smile? is the first in a new series of picture books from Natalie Reeves Billing focused on children’s mental health.

Review

This is a well illustrated book of a boy who is very sad. He knows he has a smile, but it appears to be lost. He searched for it around the house. He sees the rest of his family with smiles, but he can’t seem to fin his. Even the rainy weather means the sun has lost its smile… until one day, it all changes and smiles are back.
It’s a simple story where children can have fun looking for the boy’s lost smile and guessing where it may be and how he finds it. It is clear, not only in the blurb, but also in the construct of the story, that with a pinch of ingenuity, it can also be used as a simple conversation starter to engage with children who are sad or becoming depressed. The book holds a lot of family love and a solution to what makes the boy in the story happy.

The illustrations are bold and fun as well as meaningful in a way that will also help children engage with emotions, as well as easily follow the story.

It, in conjunction with other books and support, will be a valuable tool for any parent and an enjoyable story for many young children as they learn about their own emotions and those of others, so it also then brings some empathy and understanding, which Natalie Reeves Billing does very well in her books; as proven not only in this one but also books such as her Monsterous Me series. This book – Where Is My Smile? however, also focuses on wellbeing and specifically mental health p, in a way children will quickly understand through also being entertained.

#Bookreview By Lou of One Camel Called Doug By Lu Fraser @_lufraser #SarahWarburton @simonkids_UK #picturebook #RhymingStory #ChildrensBook #BedtimeStory

One Camel Called Doug
By Lu Fraser
Illustrated By Sarah Warburton

Rating: 5 out of 5.

One Camel Called Doug is a rhyming picture book for young readers that I highly recommend. Today I have a review, thanks to Simon & Schuster Kids UK for gifting me a copy. Find out more about it in the blurb and my review below.

One Camel Named Doug

Blurb

A warmly reassuring rhyming story (with a fun counting element!) about how it’s ok to need a little alone time, from the author of the award-winning The Littlest Yak.

Doug the camel is all alone and sometimes he wonders whether one is enough (it makes playing hide and seek terribly tough…). So when at first one, then two, then three, then four more camels turn up (followed by a whole camel herd), Doug delights in the possibilities all these new friends bring. But when Doug is ‘all camelled out’ from all the excitement and it’s time to count down to bedtime, he takes just as much pleasure from the peace of being alone once again.

Lu Fraser’s warm, funny text is a delight to read out loud and is brilliantly illustrated by Sarah Warburton in the first book from this exciting new picture book partnership.

Review

One Camel Called Doug is a funny rhyming story that also involves counting. It starts with one camel, but there may be more, or it could be something else. Doug tries to figure out what he is seeing and how many you need for playing games like hide and seek or going on a bobsleigh or playing football.
It’s bright and vibrant with some hilarity in its illustrations.
It’s a beautiful book that brings camels alive in ways readers will find hilarious and will never have seen before.
Any nursery, library, home could have this in their possession to great effect.
It’s a book I highly recommend!

#Interview By Lou with Siena about her book Why We Walk, Illustrated By Shannon Wilvers @rararesources #Siena #ShannonWilvers #ChildrensBook #SummerRead #Summer #Walking #Nature #SienasStories #WhyWeWalk #PictureBook #GreatOutdoors #Outside

Interview with Siena
About her new children’s book – Why We Walk

It was a pleasure to interview Siena – the author of Why We Walk, a Canadian who writes stories for young children that are relatable and entertaining for children the world over. This one is suitable for 1-6 year olds. You will find out why it was written, her passion for people walking and the environment, how she puts her books together and how the writer/illustrator working relationship came about. Finally you will find a little about how Siena felt when her first book got published and how she had to convince her family.
First, find out about the blurb and then onto the 5 questions in the interview.

Blurb

Why we walk_coverWhen we walk we see things that we would have missed if we drove. Things like birds, cats, & squirrels. When we walk we have fun spending time together. We talk and learn how walking can help to care for our planet. Join Siena and her dad as they walk to school and discover every little step counts.

This is the second book in the Siena’s Stories series. The first book, The Dance of the Snow Tractors, was named a top book for children in the automobile category by Newsweek magazine.

Now onto the interview…

  1. You have a clear passion for walking and inspiring young children to get outside to walk, what inspired you to write the book – Why We Walk? Also, what is your favourite types of places to walk?

This book was my first idea for a book. It just came to me when my daughter asked me that simple question while we walked to school. I like to walk and really enjoy birdwatching. I walk almost daily for exercise and enjoy trying to find my favourite bird, the cardinal.

  1. What inspired you to care about the environment?

I grew up on a small island off the coast of British Columbia and learned about sustainability at an early age. I also saw the destruction of the land by the mine my parents worked in and the clear cutting of the old growth forest by a nearby logging settlement. It seemed like every year the clear cuts got closer and closer to my island and they were ruining the amazing view I had of the surrounding forest and ocean from my window. I will always remember waking up early to eat breakfast and watching all the stars in full view without the big city lights.

I also have fond memories of the many times Green Peace ships would visit our settlement and share their stories.

  1. Do you find that by writing children’s books about walking and how this helps the environment then rubs off on adults. I had a primary school teacher who had a passion for the environment in the 90’s and a lot permanently rubbed off on me and positively impacted my thinking. Do you think books like yours has a real impact for the longer term how children think as they grow into adults?

I have faith that children today are much more aware of how their parents polluted the planet and will take measures to combat climate change. My book will be a small reminder.  I also believe technology will help them along the way. I used to work in the power electronics industry and have first hand experience with solar, wind and micro hydro installations. They are becoming more affordable everyday. I tell my daughter that even small simple changes like LED lighting will make a huge difference over time.

  1. You have an illustrator – Shannon Wilvers. How did this working relationship come about and can you give a little insight into the process of you both working together to create a finished story?

I had come up with the idea for my book a few years ago but I cannot draw. I do collect original comic book art and have a side job selling movie memorabilia at comic conventions. At the various shows I met a local comic artist (Geof Isherwood) who also teaches art at a local technical school. I discussed the book with Geof and he introduced me Shannon who was his student at the time.

I use Microsoft Powerpoint to write the books. I create a slide and put in the text. Next, I insert a personal picture or a picture from the internet as reference for Shannon. When I am done, I send the file to Shannon. She creates a storyboard and we fine tune the art and text.

  1. Your first book – The Dance of the Snow Tractors, was named a top book for children in the automobile category by Newsweek magazine. How did that make you feel and how did you celebrate?

I was over the moon. I had a hard time convincing my family and friends that I was serious about writing these books. Newsweek helped bring them over to my side.

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#Review By Lou – The Fairy In The Kettle By Pauline Tait @PTait_author @SilverWoodBooks @RandomTTours #TheFairyInTheKettle #ChildrensBook #Fairies #BlogTour

The Fairy In The Kettle
By Pauline Tait

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Fairy In The Kettle is sweet for 3-6 year old children by Pauline Tait. Thanks to Random T Tours for inviting me to review. Find out more in the blurb and my review and discover more about this author who lives in Scotland. She has much to offer readers of all ages…

The Fairy In The Kettle cover

Blurb

Leona knows she is very lucky, she has wonderful friends and family and lives in a beautiful old round cast-iron kettle, a place filled with adventurous fun. Leona fills her days with dancing, listening to music and decorating her kettle.

However, how will Leona and friends cope on one particular wild and stormy evening when the fairy village turns into a nightmare…?

Review

The type is beautiful in purple and goes with what transpires to be very sweet story about a fairy and her home. There is warmth and friendships to be found within the 25 pages, with their large and colourful illustrations, with a plot to keep young readers (3-6 years), enthralled.

There’s the creating of the home in the kettle, the friends Leona has and some dance. Life is good, until a storm hits, creating some tension and trepidation in the plot, until its lovely ending.

It’s short and sweet and is sure to capture the imaginations beautifully of young readers. It’s a great story to be read aloud too, whilst children cosy up to their parents/caregivers etc. It’s sure to give them a lovely warm fuzzy ending by the end of the entertaining story.

About the Author

Pauline Tait Author PicPauline is a multi-genre author, living and writing in Perthshire, Scotland. Having worked as a pharmaceutical technician for over twenty years and then in primary pupil support for learning, Pauline is now enjoying writing full time.

Her writing spans the ages as she writes both adult fiction novels (Romantic Suspense/Second Chances) and children’s picture books for 3- to 8-year-olds.

Writing has allowed Pauline to reach out and encourage children through her school and library visits and bookshop and festival events. She is passionate about children’s futures and welcomes opportunities to encourage children in their own reading and writing.

Married with two grown up children, Pauline also has a passion for cooking, travel and photography.

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