#Review by Lou of #Middlegrade #ChildrensBook – Which Way To Anywhere By Cressida Cowell @CressidaCowell @HodderBooks #HodderChildrensBooks #HachetteChildrensBooks #WhichWayToAnywhere

Which Way To Anywhere
By Cressida Cowell

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today I’ve a review from a brand new series from Which Way to Anywhere by Cressida Cowell, author known for How to Train Your Dragon and Wizard of Once series and former Children’s Laureate. Fly down to discover the blurb and my review of this adventurous fantasy/sci-fi middle-grade book.

Blurb

From the bestselling author of How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once comes an out-of-this-world new adventure …

K2 O’Hero is a seemingly ordinary boy – after all, he and his twin sister Izzabird have been sworn to keep their family’s magical history a secret. Not even their infuriating stepsiblings, Theo and Mabel, know that magic exists. They believe K2 to be the most hopeless person they have ever known.

But K2 has a secret gift: he draws maps of worlds that are beyond the wildest of imaginations. Worlds with six hundred moons, burning rivers and dark, twisty jungles alive with plants that hunt by the smell of fear. But what K2 doesn’t know, is that the maps he draws are real.

When their baby sister Annipeck is kidnapped, the warring stepsiblings will have to use K2’s gift to find a crossing point into one of those worlds and embark on a daring rescue mission. With a terrible beast and a petrifying robot assassin in their way, they must learn to work together quickly – because the future of their family is at stake …

Review

The cast list that children will meet is great. It instantly captures your attention, but that’s what Cressida Cowell’s writing and imagination does and this book doesn’t disappoint.

There is a magical world with a beast and a robot assassin, trees and plants that aren’t completely how you would assume them to be, as well as a family with magic powers. Amongst the adventure and all the creatures are themes of blended families and ecology. It is a world that has much depth that is quick to emerge into, with its immersive writing style.

The book is dramatic within the forest and intriguing within the lands and characters. It is also full of humorous situations that brings extra entertainment in its twisty, action-packed fantasy/sci-fi world. It is a treat for the senses that is a twisty fast-paced, exciting page-turner. 

Advertisement

#Review By Lou of #Middlegrade #book-My Mum Is A Spy By Andy McNab and Jess French @The_Real_McNab @Zoologist_Jess @nathanreed_lllo @welbeckpublish @WelbeckKids

My Mum Is A Spy
By Andy McNab and Jess French
Illustrated By Nathan Reed

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I have a review of My Mum Is A Spy, a Middle Grade book. It has adventure and mystery’s  Thanks to the publisher, Welbeck Books for the book in exchange of an honest review, get out those spy magnifying glasses and see the blurb and review below…

Blurb

My mum is absolutely definitely 100% NOT a spy…

When Lucia and her dad come to stay for a week, Idris can’t believe his bad luck. He had prepared himself to share the TV remote and maybe some of his toys, but he hadn’t prepared himself for Lucia. Lucia LOVES spying and – worst of all – she is convinced that Idris’ mum is a spy. And that just can’t be true . . . can it?

But even Idris has to admit there is something a bit unusual about their family trip to the zoo. Were his eyes playing tricks on him, or did someone really drop something into Mum’s bag? And why is Budi the orangutan, who is normally so cheerful, suddenly off his food?

Maybe it’s time for some spying, after all . . .

Review

This book is bursting with an exciting energy. This is absolutely terrific for children reading chapter books in the middle grade set. First of all, the illustrations are fun and look visually great, the layout of the text is also fun, making it easy for any child to get their teeth into. There’s also the curious question of whether Idris’s mum is a spy or not and Idris, initially with an eye-popping list, exploding off the page to catch any child’s eye as to why his mum isn’t a spy…. Something that readers will have fun exploring and figuring out who is right – Idris or Lucia.

Lucia’s love of spying really shines through when the news reporter announces the theft of pangolins from the zoo. Pangolins are described well in the book for kids. Readers can explore the zoo, meeting all the great and cute animals, all looked after well in large enclosures as Idris sees the good work zoos do. There’s even a map!
There is also a part that shows a fake palm oil plantation. Older readers may make the connection of palm oil and the depletion of forests and habitats.

The characters are written well. Lucia with her obsessions and imagination – this year it is spies and the slightly more serious Idris and his mum…. who goes mysteriously missing.

Between the adventure and mystery to solve from the zoo, the mild trepidation and danger and the question of Idris’s mum, this is an absolutely brilliantly entertaining fast-paced book.

#Review By Lou of #Middlegrade #book The Boy Who Dared By Rachel Coverdale @RLCoverdale #ChildrensBook #TheBoyWhoDared

The Boy Who Dared
By Rachel Coverdale

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I have a review for action/adventure middle grade book – The Boy Who Dared. The next book to The Boy Who Couldn’t. An excellent book to also have at home, in libraries, in school book clubs or to open class discussions with. There are questions at the back of the book to assist such activities. Thanks to Rachel Coverdale for getting in touch again to review this next book in the series. Discover the blurb and review below.

CEF2655E-85B3-4A58-97A4-D86C0EFEDF00

Blurb

Action adventure story, suitable for 8-12 year-olds

A fun camping trip turns dangerous when James, Greg and Ahmed stumble across a dark secret in the beautiful Welsh wilderness. Separated on a mountainside in the dead of night, the boys must face their greatest fears as they are hunted by a ruthless gang. Can they reunite in time to save a hundred starving dogs – and themselves?

Review

The book re-joins readers with the first book – The Boy Who Couldn’t, although there are hints of what happened previously, so it is fine for readers to start here if they so wish. The dynamics of the relationships between Greg, James and Ahmed. Previously not friends, now things have moved on more positively as apologies have been made. The 3 boys are off on a camping holiday in Wales in scenic countryside amongst so much nature. From here, the boys end up in an adventure and mystery surrounding some farmers and dogs. There are also moments of trepidation as they come up against a gang.
Heroes aren’t always in capes. There are characters children can really get behind in this book.

The character and plot development is terrific and there are some great illustrations too.

Its a book that 8 to 12 year olds can so easily get really engaged in, as many have with ‘The Boy Who Couldn’t’.

By the end, it sets itself up nicely perhaps for another book in this series, which is absolutely worth following. This book isn’t just for Christmas, it’s great for all year round reading!

#Review by Lou of The Ultimate Guide To Growing Dragons By Andy Shepherd Illustrated By Sara Ogilvie @andyjshepherd @PiccadillyPress #MiddleGrade part of #TheBoyWhoGrewDragons #ChildrensBook series #TheUltimateGuideToGrowingDragons

The Ultimate Guide To Growing Dragons
By Andy Shepherd
Illustrated By Sara Ogilvie

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Ultimate Guide to Growing Dragons is the latest in bestselling series – The Boy Who Grew Dragons series, popular with and great for 7 years old plus  series with adventure, dragons, friendship and nature and more to feed curious minds. Fly down to the blurb and then my review below. I first thank Andy Shepherd for requesting a review from me.

 

Blurb

Did you see it?

A bright fleck of colour, darting into the green. You saw it, didn’t you? I knew you would! Because you’ve got your eyes open.

And now you want to grow dragons too.

Well here’s my guide with all the things I wish I’d known sooner. Of course, what I didn’t realise when I started writing it was how much I still had to learn!

Review

The previous book in the series was going to be the last, but then I guess another dragon grew or all the dragons got together and flew over and whispered in the author’s ears to plant a new idea in her brilliant imagination. This book imparts the secrets of dragons. Real dragons in the forest and sand and more in an engaging plot.

There is the Superhero Squad – Liam, Ted, Tomas, Aura, Kat and Kai, all in different parts of the world, which has Liam working out all the time differences. Each character has something interesting to say to feed curious minds about where they are in the world. It is also great for young gardeners too.
Children will learn that dragons are indeed all around them as the books delve into dragon fruits and more… It’s all written in an exciting, engaging style for children. There are pages set out like collecting cards about the dragons that are with each character that say about the name, the type, physicality, diet special skills, dragonality and special skills. Look out for the warnings too… You’ll also discover where to keep your dragons and so much more such as Polaris all within adventure and friendships.

The illustrations are wildly good fun and there’s a bit at the back of the book for children to write their own guide to growing a dragon.

This book is a terrific addition to this series of books, which I also highly recommend for adventurous, curious children.

#Review By Lou Of -Jump! By JG Nolan @JGNolan3 @sergarcreative #RandomTTours #Football #MiddleGrade #ChildrensBook #Jump

Jump!
By JG Nolan
Illustrated By Carina Roberts

Today I am on the blog tour of Jump! by JG Nolan. A book for 8 to 12 year olds about football and overcoming adversity to do what you’re really passionate about. Discover more in the blurb and my review below.

Review

 Set in Scotland, around Glasgow and Clydebank, and features Cathkin Park quite a bit, football is important to Robbie Blair. He’s a huge Celtic fan and wanted to play football so much and had the talent, but breaks so many bones. He meets Jo, whilst in hospital, who knows a thing or two about football as her husband is also a fan. Heartwarming chat takes place.

Back home, he has a friend in Hamish, who misses him around the pitch and at school. Readers will see Robbie overcome adversity. There is also a school trip to an old people’s home, which gets very interesting and also valuable to readers. It reminds children that the elderly were young once and have so many tales to tell. Robbie is told about Hampden and Patsy Gallacher in 1925. This also renews Robbie’s determination to play football again and fight against the odds of what the doctors told him in the hospital. 

This book is one children who are football fans will find fascinating. The storytelling in short chapters, creating  a fast, exciting pace, like a football being kicked, but also with nuances within the chapters, which also have some illustrations and a photograph at the end. It’s a story against adversity with warmth of friendship and determination. There is much to learn within this story as it takes children back in time in footballing history, that will have them immersed and come out at the end knowing more than they may well had from when they began. In the blurb, there is a powerful, energised quote by Joe Heart, Celtic FC “We can all learn from Robbie Blair.” And perhaps we can, including children.

About the Author And Illustrator

 

.
JG Nolan was born and raised in a sleepy village in Shropshire and loved writing stories and
playing football as a child.
He has been a teacher for many years, working mainly with children who have had difficult
beginnings in life. He strongly believes in positive thinking and feels most things are achievable if
you put your mind to it.
When his football mad son, Robbie, was much younger, he kept breaking bones and was told by
the doctors that he should never play football again. It was during one of his many lengthy stays
visiting Robbie in the local children’s hospital that the idea for ‘Jump!’ drifted into JG Nolan’s
mind.
JG Nolan began to read the exploits of famous, maverick footballers from the past, to inspire his
son and give him hope. Whilst doing this, he became more and more drawn to the tales of
famous Celtic legends from the 1920s, whose names are still chanted in Parkhead to this day. It
soon became clear to him- his first book would have to be set in Scotland.
JG Nolan’s research led him to discover the iconic, ethereal, Cathkin Park.
After meeting Scottish actor Simon Weir, who has helped preserve the park for many years, the
pieces of the jigsaw fell into place and ‘Jump!’ was born.

When JG Nolan’s son started on his long road to recovery and fitness, his determination to
succeed reached the ears of famous local footballer Joe Hart, then at Manchester City. Joe very
kindly sent Robbie some signed goalkeeper gloves to cheer him up during treatment. Robbie
would eventually follow in Joe’s footsteps and attend the same secondary school in their home
town, Shrewsbury. Years later, after Joe had transferred to Celtic, he was thrilled to be asked to
read ‘Jump!’ and offered to write the foreword. A truly serendipitous chain of events!

Carina Roberts is an award-winning artist and illustrator who loves creating characters and telling
stories. Carina spent her childhood drawing, reading and befriending animals – it was in these
first few years that her dream to be an illustrator was born. She’s been running with it ever since!
She specialises in creating books, particularly for young readers – a lot of her inspiration comes
from the wilds of Wales where she lives. She adores fiction and nonfiction alike – after working
on illustrations for the National Trust in 2020 she is especially keen that her work encourages
more people to go on an adventure
545F6765-8315-4C2B-8686-18D33B9AD387

Benji and the Gunpowder Plot By Kate Cunningham @BenjiAndTheGunpowderPlot #KateCunningham @reading_riddle @RandomTTours #ChildrensBook #Middlegrade #BonfireNight #GuyFawkesNight

Benji and the Gunpowder Plot
By Kate Cunningham

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Meet several people from history in a fast-paced adventure through time. It is a page-turner! This is perfect for ages 9 to 12 years old. Thanks to Random T. Tours for inviting me to review. 

Blurb

Benji hopes that a trip out on Bonfire Night will add excitement to his normally ordinary life.

However, when he accidentally falls down a time hole he has a lot more adventure than he expected. Who are the strange men in the Duck Inn? Who can he trust What is so important about the letter he has been asked to deliver?

Events will take him to the Globe Theatre, down the Thames rapids and into the heart of Parliament.
London in 1605 is darker, dirtier and more dangerous than home, and Benji has no idea how to get back.

Meet Benji Vent in the first adventure of the Time Tumblers series.

Benji is on the biggest adventure of his life, where his decisions will affect the course of history, and he will find out a lot more about the people in his life, including his mysterious father.

Review

As the name suggests, the scene is set for time travelling back to 5th November. Before readers reach chapter 1, there is a cast list of some fictional characters and some who are real and then a quote by William Shakespeare – “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.”
Rather atmospheric and  apt for what unfolds. Then readers are thrust into chapter one about a bonfire and join Benji and friends Jacob and Ellen as they recite “Remember, Remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason should ever be forgot” and having a good time. In a turn of events he finds himself stumbling travelling back in time to and suddenly life is very different as he lands in the year 1605.

What readers get from this book is history amongst a great adventure through time and meet many people, including William Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre as they follow Benji through the streets of London in 1605. Some people he meets are nice, but others are rather unsavoury. There are many moments of trepidation, including sword fights. It is a story children can well and truly be immersed in, with illustrations throughout accompanying it. At the back is an Afterword which tells the real facts that are highlighted within the fictional story in an easy to read bullet pointed list. I think books like this are invaluable to children as they get something to learn from that may pique their interest as well as a story. It may be of interest to both those who enjoy fiction and/or non-fiction alike.

About the Author

 

Kate Cunningham

I was a primary teacher in large London primary schools for ten years after having initially worked in a development charity.

Being married to a historian I was constantly discussing the most amazing stories; sometmes large incidents that changed the politcal landscape, but often small personal tales that gave a glimpse of the life of our ancestors. My writing became more and more influenced by these events and the ripples we still feel from them.

My books now reflect that, sometmes directly in the picture books, but more as an influence, showing how people behave when caught up in events like in the pandemic in MARY.

I have three sons — my eldest, Sam, is an illustrator who works with me on the Vlad flea picture book series, and I visit schools (often in a kirtle) and create resources for parents and teachers.