#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 of Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City: from the creator of Draw with Rob by Rob Biddulph @RobBiddulph @MacmillanKidsUK #MiddleGrade aged 8 plus #ChildrensBook

Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City: from the creator of Draw with Rob
By Rob Biddulph

 

Imaginative and entertaining with absolutely amazing illustrations that will blow you away a wonderful story to boot. Children aged 8 plus are sure to love this.
Discover more in the blurb and my review. Thanks also to the publisher – MacMillan Children’s Books for allowing me to review.

Peanut Jones Illustrated City

Blurb

Peanut Jones Illustrated CitySuperstar, author and illustrator Rob Biddulph dazzles in Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City, the first title in an adventure series for boys and girls of 8+. Fizzing with magic, danger, friendship and art, this exciting, funny, middle-grade debut is from the bestselling creative genius behind #DrawWithRob.

Some legends are born, some are drawn . . .

Drawing feels like magic to Peanut Jones. But art can’t fix her problems. Her dad has gone missing, and she’s stuck in a boring new school. Until the day she finds a unique pencil turbo-charged with special powers. Suddenly she’s pulled into a world packed with more colour, creativity, excitement and danger than she could ever have imagined. And maybe, just maybe, she might find out what happened to her dad.

‘A wildly imaginative, big-hearted celebration of creativity’ – Anna James, bestselling author of the Pages & Co series

‘Look at this utter beauty . . . This book is EPIC’ – Laura Ellen Anderson, bestselling author of Amelia Fang

Review

Rob Biddulph was known in the height of the pandemic for his “Draw With” sessions online. Now you can read his latest book – Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City.

Pernilla Anne Jones is otherwise called Peanut Jones and is in school detention when readers meet her, then we meet her friends and other people around the city, such as her mum, Rockwell and Lillibet, otherwise known as Little Bit.
The book has amazing illustrations. Nothing too out of the ordinary – people, cars and the like, but the way they are drawn makes them pop out from the page, like you could reach in and pick them up. They are some of the best children’s illustrations I’ve seen in a while!

Amongst the illustrations is where the story is occurring all around them, not always in a traditional words then picture kind of a way, but almost more in a synergy kind of a way. It’s all eye-catching.

Accompanied with the amazing illustrations there is a seriousness in the story itself as Peanut’s dad, who is an artist, is missing and memories of him flood back every so often and this captures emotion.

There is science and art as topics within the book and they interact in interesting and magical ways.

Children will gain a lot of knowledge about art, that’s cleverly integrated into fun the fun of this enchanting story of magic, mystery and adventure into a city she explores – Chroma – The Illustrated City, which is magical and yet isn’t without its trepidation. Peanut and Rockwell are sent on a mission to save someone and there is much in jeopardy and much at stake along the way and codes to work on and more…
There’s much action, including heroes and villains of the piece to keep children hooked and immerse them into the city and build up their excitement as they read.

At the end of the book is a fabulous glossary about the artists who feature in this book. Each has a small paragraph about them, which builds children’s knowledge in a fun way and backs up who they’ve come across in the story.

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

Fantastic Fin Faces His Fears
by Jessica Bowers

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Blurb

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

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

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

Fantastic Fin Cover

Review

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

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

About The Author

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

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/jessicabowerswellbeingwriter

https://twitter.com/bowerswellbeing

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

Purchase Links

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

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

 

#BookReview by Lou of Yaks Can Do Yoga @snezanawrites @sandyillustrates @HappyPandaBooks @lovebooksgroup  @lovebookstours #ChidrensBook aged 3 to 8. #Humour #Wellbeing #Yoga

Yaks Can Do Yoga
By Snezana Danilovic
Illustrated By Sandy Thornton

Yaks Can Do Humour can be used in many settings and is a fun way to add to children’s sense of wellbeing as well as tapping into their sense of humour. FInd out more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts below.
Thanks to Love Books Group for inviting me to the tour and to Happy Panda Books for gifting me the book.

Yaks Can Do Yoga

Blurb

Yoga makes children happy, healthy and strong!

But if you are a clumsy yak, with wobbly hooves, who has never done yoga before, it can be tricky. Join Yak in her first Happy Panda class and see how she discovers the power and playfulness of yoga.

Eight yoga poses and their benefits are clearly explained and illustrated at the back of the book so young children can easily do them at home or in the classroom.

Yoga is for everyone! Adorable, engaging characters and humorous story draw in young children and get them hooked on yoga, creating healthy mind-body habits to last a lifetime

Mindfulness and meditation are lots and fun! The story’s humorous, creative visualisation exercises tap into young children’s innate imagination, facilitating a deeper understanding of their emotions and developing confidence and resilience.

Author and experienced children’s yoga teacher Snezana Danilovic and illustrator Sandy Thornton team up to create the Happy Panda Children’s Yoga picture book series of heart-warming stories full of gentle humour, aimed at encouraging even very young children to get hooked on yoga. Parents, teachers and educators don’t need to be experienced yogis – they can learn and enjoy yoga alongside young readers, too!

Review

If you’re looking for something different for children to do, this is a fun book to introduce Yoga into their lives. It has humour as well as poses they can safely perform in the comfort of their own home or garden or wherever. The illustrations also make this engaging and add to a child’s sense of humour as well as their imaginations and desire for fun and sense of wellbeing.

The instructions and illustrations are easy to follow, so this could be used in the classroom or home. It could be combined with PSHE at school or a general relax time before bed or a winding down time during the day.

yaks can do Yoga Twitter (1)

#BookReview by Lou of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett Retold by Geraldine McCaughrean Illustrated by Margarita Kukhtina @GMcCaughrean @NosyCrow #ChildrensBook #ChildrensClassics #TheSecretGarden #PrimaryReads #Kidslit

The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Retold by Geraldine McCaughrean
Illustrated by Margarita Kukhtina

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A beautifully designed book brings the magic and depth of The Secret Garden to a new generation. Find out more in the blurb and more of my thoughts in my review.
Thanks to Nosy Crow for allowing me to review and for gifting me an e-book of The Secret Garden.

The Secret Garden

Blurb

A favourite bedtime classic, beautifully retold by bestselling and award-winning author, Geraldine McCaughrean

This beloved childhood classic by Frances Hodgson Burnett is now available in a sumptuous gift book edition with dazzling new art.

When Mary Lennox is sent from India to live with her uncle at gloomy Misselthwaite Manor, she is the most spoiled and contrary child you could ever meet. But she is also extremely lonely. Until one day, she discovers a walled garden that has been kept secret for years. With the help of a little robin, Mary unearths the key and unlocks the wonder that lies beyond the garden walls – and finds that making friends can be every bit life-changing as a magical garden.

A captivating picture book retelling for young children by acclaimed author Geraldine McCaughrean, who has won, among many others, the Carnegie Medal twice, the Whitbread Children’s Book Award and the Smarties Bronze Award.

Review

The Secret Garden was a childhood favourite of mine, so with great joy and delight, it is all ready again for a new generation of readers. What I really wanted to know, was how well this re-telling would be and if all the important parts would be therThe Secret Gardene or not. I needn’t have been concerned. It is actually pretty faithful to editions before-hand, as far as I remember it, without digging my older copy out.

The story starts in India with Mary Lennox becoming an orphan and being sent to England, where she would be brought up in Misslthewaite Manor, quite a foreboding building, where she meets Mrs Medlock and the kindly servant, Martha. There is quite a culture shock for Mary as she was used to being pampered in India and she’s a pretty angry young girl.

When she does enter the garden, she meets Ben Weatherstaff, the elderly gardener, whose friend is Mr Robin. She later finds a key and is on a mission to find The Secret Garden. She also, however has to contend with Mr Craven back at the creeking, draughty old manor. During her time, she also meets Dickon and then Colin, the polar opposites to each other in manner.

Children can be easily transported into The Secret Garden, with its pacy story of light and dark as people’s lives change. The illustrations and descriptions are both rich and tell the story well. It is a lovely book and one that really does stand the test of time really rather well. The main elements of the story are still there, as you would expect and there’s certainly enough from the magic of the garden, the spookiness of the the manor, the emotion of upheaval and more… and getting to know the character’s pasts, presents and see a glimpse into their futures, there is plenty to engross children today.