#BookReview By Lou Sticky Icky Vicky – Courage Over Fear By Alysia & Michael Ssentamu, Illustrated By Noor Alshalbi #StickyIckyVicky #PixelPublishingHouse #AlysiaSsentamu #MichaelSsentamu #OvercomingFear #6to10yearsReading #ChildrensBook #Parenting #Families

Sticky Icky Vicky – Courage Over Fear
By Alysia & Michael Ssentamu
Illustrated By Noor Alshalbi

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Readers meet Sticky Icky Vicky in what is an ultimately positive rhyming story about overcoming fears. A book suitable for 6 to 10 year olds.
Thanks to Pixel Publishing House for gifting me the copy for review. Find out more in the blurb and review below.

Sticky Icky Vicky

Blurb

Meet Sticky Icky Vicky, a girl who wants to get over her fear—once and for all

In Courage over Fear, the first book in the Sticky Icky Vicky™ series, authors Alysia and Michael Ssentamu introduce readers to Vicky, a fun-loving girl who doesn’t mind getting a little sticky and icky. She loves rolling down hills and playing in mud—but when it comes to water, Sticky Icky Vicky’s fear prevents her from joining in the fun. Then Vicky gets an invitation for a waterpark party, and she decides that she really wants to go—even if it means ignoring the Negative Ned voice in her head and getting over her fear.

With vibrant illustrations and catchy rhymes, Courage over Fear offers children an inspirational/loveable heroine who learns some valuable life lessons, such as:

● Courage                ● Positive thinking                  ● Goal-setting

Aimed primarily at readers aged six to ten, Sticky Icky Vicky: Courage over Fear is a reading experience that leaves kids believing that they, like Vicky, can get past any obstacle in their way.

Review

The book is rhyming, which makes it great for using for 6 to 10 year olds. It’s enjoyable for this age group and is a positive story that is conveyed well for this age group. The fact it rhymes makes the fear less daunting in a way and makes it seem more palatable to read as it is less heavy than it may have been otherwise, especially for the younger part of this age group. For the whole age group, the book can be used as a discussion opener with children who have similar issues to Vicky surrounding water.

The story starts with Vicky having fun with friends, but soon it is revealed that she has a fear of water, the reason being explained within the story. This then begins to have an impact on her life, especially, in this instance, her social life as her instinct is to decline an invite to a water park. Instead of doing this, she decides to be brave and confront her fear and the thoughts in her head, which materialise as “Negative Ned”. There are however more positive thoughts, which materialise as “Positive Ted” to combat the negativity.

The book can help children see that something is worth a try, even though they are fearful at first because it could be more fun than they first imagined. So, it could be used as a tool to help widen children’s interests and their world and build courage and resilience.

#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 – The Dragon With The Blazing Bottom @simonkids_UK #Beach #PictureBook #Preschool #KS1 #ChildrensBook #KidsBook

The Dragon With The Blazing Bottom
By Beach

Rating: 5 out of 5.

There’s plenty of humour for children in The Dragon With The Blazing Bottom. Thanks to Simon and Schuster Kids for gifting me this book to review.
Please find out more in the blurb and my review below.

The Dragon With The Blazing Bottom cover

Blurb

The first in a fabulously funny and hugely commercial series about a dragon who has lost his flame – but may just find fire elsewhere . . . Perfect for fans of The DInosaur That Pooped series.

Sir Wayne’s dragon has lost his flame. Are his teeth TOO clean? Is his tongue TOO pink? Perhaps his diet is to blame. Not to worry – Sir Wayne has a meal plan of EPIC proportions, including a big lump of lava, one burning bush, some sparklers and fireworks – the ones that go ‘WHOOOOSH’. Oh, and one VERY mouldy old piece of cheese – almost as green as the snot from a sneeze . . . What could possibly go wrong?!
A hilarious and dynamic character-driven picture book, with a truly explosive ending! From the hugely exciting new picture book talent, Beach.

Review

The Dragon With The Blazing Bottom absolutely would appeal to children’s sense of humour in its rhyming tale. This is a great debut picture book by Beach. It hits all the right notes for pre-school to 5 year olds.
There are 2 great characters to meet – a knight – Sir Wayne and a huge, bright red dragon who can’t breathe fire. The knight assists the dragon and the illustrations just add to the fun of this as many ways are tried.
Young children are sure to have fun as they discover what happens to the dragon.
It’ll absolutely appeal to children with that “toilet” sense of humour and those who like dragons, knights and dinosaurs, like the one who pooped… It’s sure to gross them out in a way that will have them laugh lots.
It’s a book that is great for bringing some humour into your child’s life and one that adults can have fun with when reading it to their child(ren).

#Review by Lou – Art – Small Great Gestures By Francisco Llorca and Isabel Albertos #FranciscoLlorca #IsabelAlbertos @AllisonandBusby #ChildrensNonFiction #ChildrensBook

Art – Small Great Gestures
By Francisco Llorca and Isabel Albertos

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Art is a lovely introduction to art and artists through the ages that would sit well in the classroom and at home. Find out more in the blurb and review below.
First, thanks to publisher – Allison & Busby for gifting me the book to review.

Art

Blurb

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

 From the Renaissance to the present day, this inspiring book paints a vivid picture of the lives and works of eleven artists who stood out from the crowd and changed how we see the world.

 Beginning with Giotto in Renaissance Florence and ending with Banksy’s international street art, including Picasso in the Spanish Civil War and Frida Kahlo in 1920s Mexico, Art is a beautiful and entertaining book for budding artists everywhere.

Review

This is a lovely book that essentially provides an introduction to art. It takes young readers into the worlds of Giotto, Goya, Duchamp, Picasso, Warhol, Banksy and a few more besides. It gives a glimpse into the eras they lived in and what they are famous for and their painting styles. The book does this with a short paragrapgh and an illustration, with each artist taking up just a page each. Further interest can be found in photographs and self-portraits of the featured artists, so readers can see what they really looked like, which is quite respectful. There are also dates of their births and deaths to be found there. Of course certain artists are shown by their artwork instead, such as the elusive Banksy, so anyone hoping for a picture of what this graffiti artist looks like would be disappointed, but I am sure, not surprised.

This book is good for the home and for in classrooms as a tool into the introductory of art through the ages. It would sit well amongst other books of this nature as this showcases just a few artists, but perhaps some less “obvious” ones that are often chosen for this sort of book and not all ones that would instantly spring to children’s minds, so their knowledge in this way can be expanded further.

#Review by Lou – Lost In The Clouds By Tom Tinn-Disbury #DKChildrens @penguinrandom #ChildrensBook – A sensitive #Story dealing with #Bereavement #Families

Lost In The Clouds
By Tom Tinn Disbury

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A sensitive, hopeful story with beautiful illustrations that deals with the topic of grief. Thanks to publisher – DK Children/Penguin Random House for gifting me the book to review.
Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my review (plus some useful links) below, as well as a bit about the author and a therapist who also had input in this book in a consultant capacity. There is also a very nice dedication given by the author.

Lost In The Clouds

Blurb

Children find grief difficult, and understanding where a loved one has gone can be a tricky topic to explain…
Billy misses his mummy very much. She lives in the clouds. Some days the sun is shining and Mummy’s clouds are nowhere to be seen. Those are Billy’s favourite days. He and Daddy would play in the garden all day long, and Billy knows that Mummy is letting the sun shine for them. But not all days are like that. Sometimes Mummy’s clouds are dark, and Billy feels sad and alone.

This moving and sensitively-written picture book gently explores grief and teaches children how to deal with their emotions surrounding the death of a loved one. With beautiful and colourful illustrations to accompany the touching narrative, this children’s book is perfect for adults to share with their little ones and to help them understand what they are going through.

You don’t have to weather the storm alone! The loss of a loved one can be a difficult topic to discuss with little ones, and this heart-warming book can help you support them through their stages of grief.

Follow Billy and his father as they navigate the loss of his mother through beautifully emotive illustrations and text:

– A large format book that adults and children can easily read together
– A sensitively-written narrative that helps children to process their grief and emotions
– Gentle full-page illustrations that allow children to become immersed in the story
– A non-fiction page that shows children and their families some of the ways to open the conversation about grief and loss

Written in collaboration with an experienced grief professional, Lost in the Clouds gently explores the topic of grief and teaches children and their family members how to understand and deal with their emotions surrounding the death of a loved one.

Review

The story about Billy losing his mum is sensitively handled. It tells a story using familiar things like the weather, especially focusing on the sky and playing in the garden. It’s overall a positive story that can lift the heart. It also shows children how Billy finds comfort in clouds and sunny days. It therefore also gives children ideas for discovering hope and comfort, especially on sunnier days. These are Billy’s happy days. The harder days are painted as more gloomy, stormy weather. So, this book cleverly shows different emotions through these weather changes, which can in turn help with some understanding of emotions experienced when grieving.
The book shows, not just Billy coping on some days and grief hitting hard on other days, but also how dad is going through this too and also missing his wife. It also shows father and son coming together in a positive way to help each other.
The book is beautifully illustrated throughout, which enhances the story, which in turn provides a relaxed opening for children and adults to discuss their feelings together. It essentially would do what it says it will in the blurb in helping children process and understand grief, as well as finding out that there is still lightness in life, even though some days can be hard.

At the end there is a useful “Guide for Grown-Ups” page with hints and tips how to help your child, how to approach the subject of someone dying and how to help them through their grief. There is also a section of resources so that extra support can be gained.
Here are some websites to some of those here:

Young Minds     Child Bereavement UK         Hope Again – Cruse Bereavement Care

About the Author

Tom Tinn Disbury is an author and illustrator living in Warwickshire, England. He lives with his wife and two children, and he is helped by his dog Wilma and cat Sparky.

Tom tries to give his characters rich, full lives, making sure they have a real range of feelings and emotions. That was particularly important in creating this book.

Tom would like to dedicate this book to all the keyworkers who help us in our day to day lives.

For Tracy, may you now be in peace.

About Stacey Hart

Stacey Hart is a therapist, trainer, university lecturer, and group facilitator. An expert on childhood bereavement and family breakdown. Stacey works as a trauma specialist in schools and corporations. She has also won a Family Law Award for best support services.

Stacey has appeared a number of times on television and radio as a leading voice on children’s bereavement.

Bereaved children like Billy have taught her to hold hope, laugh lots, and live every day to the fullest.

#ChildrensBook #Review by Lou – A Day In The Life of A Caveman, A Queen and Everything In Between By Mike Barfield and Jess Bradley @TheMikeBarfield @BusterBooks  @VenkmanProject @lovebooksgroup @lovebookstours

A Day In The Life of A Caveman, A Queen and Everything In Between
By Mike Barfield and Jess Bradley

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Children will have so much fun with this non-fiction book. Find out more in the blurb and my review. First, thanks to Love Books Group for inviting me to review on the tour and for gifting me a book.

A Day in the Life (2)

Blurb 

A Day in the Life (2)A colourful and comical tour through history from cartoonists Mike Barfield and Jess Bradley.

The hilarious minds behind A Day in the Life of a Poo, a Gnu and You have teamed up once again – this time to give a taste of the daily lives of the people, animals and objects who made history.

Featuring a day in the life of early humans as they paint mammoths on the walls of a cave, a fierce gladiator battling in the Colosseum and the first woman in space. And not forgetting the animals of history – from an Egyptian cat (worshipped as a god, of course) to an albatross flying over Rapa Nui and a dog in the trenches of the First World War.

Readers can also discover the stories behind famous constructions, including the Great Wall of China and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and delve into the secret diaries of a Viking, Isaac Newton’s cat and the wooden panel that became the Mona Lisa.

With over 90 entries told in the friendly, informative style of Mike Barfield and brought to life by Jess Bradley’s brilliantly funny illustrations, this book will have children learning and laughing as they go.

Review

This bold and vibrant book is split into 3 sections – Ancient History, Middle Ages and The Modern Age. The author and illustrator have this book pitch-perfect. Together they have mixed fact and humour to create a book that children will just love and learn something too. The layout is in comic/graphic comic layout, which is inspired for today’s generation. It’s fast and entertaining and cleverly has history sit side by side by the modern. There are the facts, but also then a page for a “Newsflash” and a page called “The Bigger Picture”, all corresponding to the main topic, before swiftly moving onto the next topic.

Children are naturally inquisitive, so have many questions and a lot of them are answered in this book.

This feels modern and is totally eye-catching. Children who like Horrible Histories will get much enjoyment out of this as they learn.

Schools could also use this as one of their resources for topics to engage children. There’s certainly plenty to be inspired by.

A Day in the Life (1)