#Review By Lou of The Secret School Invasion by Pamela Butchart @Pamela_Butchart @NosyCrow #ChildrensFiction #Humour #MiddleGrade

The Secret School Invasion
By Pamela Butchart

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Pamela Butchart has written this as part of the laugh-out-loud series and readers 7 plus are in for a treat. She is known for writing so many children’s books including the Wigglesbottom primary and many more, always with a sense of humour that children appreciate and adults can have fun reading along or to them.


The twelfth book in the laugh-out-loud series from Blue Peter Best Story Award winners Pamela Butchart and Thomas Flintham, perfect for 7+ readers!

Izzy’s school is being merged with St Bartholomew’s Primary, their GREATEST RIVALS! What will happen when the new kids join, in their too-shiny shoes and with their too-loud singing? And what if they’ve got a secret mission and that mission is a BAD mission? Only Izzy and her friends can discover the truth, even if they must go SO DEEP UNDERCOVER that they might not come back…

Hilarious, pitch-perfect stories where everyday school life becomes completely extraordinary, with laughs on every page!


Humour and laugh out loud, this book most definitely is. Children are going to love it! There’s even a mystery thrown in. This is better than any normal school day because it is extraordinary and will make children wishing days were more like these, in some ways. Oh, but hang on, will they come back from their mission? You have to read the book for that.

The writing is exquisite in a very fun way for children to just relax and it’s one to gather friends around and have a laugh. Pleasure will most certainly come with reading this zany book.

I can see why the author is a Blue Peter Best Story Award Winner. Her many books have that humorous quality, whether it is for younger children with books such as ‘Never Tickle A Tiger’ or Middle Grade such as this one. This is a book to watch out for.


#Review By Lou of Science Comics: The Periodic Table of Elements By Jon Chad @jon_chad @01FirstSecondBooks #ChildrensNonFiction #GraphicNovel #STEM #Science

Science Comics: The Periodic Table of Elements
By Jon Chad

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Science Comics: The Periodic Table of Elements is a combination of story and fact to help teach and engage in STEM – Science. I have the blurb, thanks to the publisher – First Second Books and then onto my review below.


Step out of your element with Science Comics: The Periodic Table of Elements, the latest volume of First Second’s nonfiction graphic novel series!

A book of fun chemistry experiments has fallen into the wrong hands. Only Mel can use her knowledge of the periodic table to put an end to a maniacal madman’s evil schemes.

The periodic table helps us quickly understand the 118 elements, those tiny substances that make up everything in the world. By using the periodic table, we can recognize how these building blocks behave, find trends and patterns in the universe, and make predictions about elements that haven’t been discovered yet. Join us in learning about the periodic table, and maybe the next big discovery will be yours!


This could be used as a great resource for science classes and in the home to learn aid learning in a fun way. It makes science a bit more fun, not that this substitutes the usual text books, but is instead a great addition to them. It will be a useful resource in schools and at home. Here’s why:

The book has a story throughout it, but done in a way that also encourages learning of the periodic table and has the necessary facts throughout. It also has a little about exam anxieties and how they can be overcome too. It helps show science in a positive light and would be an asset to classrooms. It could be used as a useful tool to assist learners engage and especially those who struggle in their learning using more traditional methods.

In the home it can be used as an adventurous story that has trepidation in its fun, engaging plot and whilst readers can be enjoying this, they will naturally be soaking up the factual elements too.

#Article By Lou – Celebrating Actors and Authors Series -Clive Mantle @MantleClive #CliveMantle #WishYouWereDead #Grace #Casualty #FreddieMaloneSeries #TV #Theatre #Books #Reviews #Article #EduTwitter #SchoolReading #ChildrensBooks #Books #Audiobooks #paperback #ThePeoplesBookPrizeWinnerAward #CelebratingAuthorsAndActorsSeries

My blog will be 5 years old in September. For those just joining this series of blog posts, I am celebrating certain authors and actors between now and September, when my blog turns 5. This time, I am celebrating actor and author – Clive Mantle. Discover some of his works below on tv, screen and stage, as well as about his children’s books (suitable for 9/10 years upwards). He is a People’s Book Prize Winner! 

Clive Mantle is known for acting on tv and theatre for many years as well as writing children’s books. He is probably best known for being Little John in Robin of Sherwood, Mike Barratt in Casualty, Simon Horton in The Vicar of Dibley. He has also starred in Doctors, Midsummer Murders, Still Open All Hours, Heartbeat, Birds of a Feather and more…
He also appeared on The Chase spin-off – Beat The Chasers and won a phenomenal amount of money for his choice of charity, showing he has a wide range of knowledge he can quickly recall.
He has also voiced Thomas the Tank Engine, many audiobooks and video games as well as attend comic-cons.

On stage, he is currently on tour in the UK until at least 25th July with the play Wish You Were Dead, based on the book of the same name, by Peter James. Tickets are still available now! I highly recommend this Grace mystery that also has another  former Casualty actor – George Rainsford as Roy Grace and Giovanna Fletcher. It is a compelling, eerie crime thriller, with terrific acting. It takes place with Grace on holiday. It’s supposed to be time away from the job, but things change and he and all who are with him are in mortal danger. George Rainsford and Clive Mantle, in-particular, own the stage, entrancing the audience in a twisty thriller.

Did you know he is a kind and very clever gentleman, who is an avid reader, who has a passion for Mount Everest and also writes amazing children’s books?
There are 3 in the Freddie Malone series so far. I bought, read and reviewed them some time ago. They are more than worthy of being read by children and to being in school libraries and on reading lists. Each fast-paced, action-packed adventure books tells a story featuring Freddie Malone. They include some time-travel from the UK to different parts of the world (they include maps). They also deal with issues ant school.
Each book then has a couple of pages or so of factual information about what you’ve just read. They are compelling and memorable for children, who will also learn something new as well as being entertained.

He was inspired to write the Freddie Malone adventures during a trek to the Everest Base Camp for the charity Hope and Homes for Children. Discover a bit about these books below:

The Treasure At The Top Of The World is book 1 in A Freddie Malone Adventure. There are 3 in total, follow down for the rest.

This first one takes place on Freddie Malone’s birthday. He gets a mirror, which happens to have magical properties. This is useful for escaping the school bullies he endures each day. He inadvertently ends up in Nepal, meets a Sherpa around Mount Everest and sees a Bazaar (of which there is a photo of in the book).

It is an excellent introduction to Freddie and his friends, as well as his foes. It deals with many issues children face today, as well as being entertaining throughout on a grand adventure.

Find out more about the actor and book, including the blurb in the link:

The Treasure At The Top of the World

A Jewel In The Sands of Time takes Freddie back through the mirror, now he has a taste for exploration. He lands in Egypt and meets a Collector, studying a mysterious gemstone. The Collector wants to turn back time to steal a priceless artifact and a precious, legendary elixir to prolong his life.

Freddie goes back in time to meet Tutankhamun and learns how he became King at a young age and he discovers more about The Valley of the Kings.

Back home, he is reunited with his friends, but still, the school bullies are around too.

It is another action-packed adventure with lots to get your teeth stuck into.

Find out more and the blurb in the link:

A Jewel In The Sands of Time

In The City of Fortune and Flames takes Freddie to London and to the time of The Great Fire of London. Prior to this, there is the mystery as to why the map, so directionally and pertinently, took him to meet Pepys, and also why he got to know something of King Charles II and the plague on Drury Lane.

It is another fascinating, Must Read book, full of adventure, excitement and jeopardy.

Find out more in the link, including the blurb.

In The City of Fortune and Flames

#BookReview By Lou of #MiddleGrade #ChildrensBook Libby and The Highland Heist By Jo Clarke Illustrated By Becka Moor @bookloverJo @FireflyPress #Kidslit #Mystery #Adventure #ScottishCastle

Libby and The Highland Heist
By Jo Clarke
Illustrated By Becka Moore

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Libby and The Highland Heist is a middle-grade book for ages 8-12, set in the Highlands of Scotland and its capital city – Edinburgh. Thanks to Firefly Press, I have been able to write a review on my blog. First, steal yourselves down to the blurb and then my review below.


After a tumultuous term in Paris, Libby and Connie are looking forward to a quiet holiday at Connie’s family home. But before long they find themselves caught up in another mystery, this time set against the dramatic backdrop of the Highlands and Edinburgh.


Not having read and reviewed the first in the series, I don’t think it matters too much if children jump in on this second in the series or read from the start. Middle-grade readers will soon get to know Libby and Connie and how they travel on adventures.

It’s mysteriously atmospheric with a Scottish castle that holds secret passageways and priceless paintings, that are stolen, which in-turn gives the two very good friends a mystery to solve. The book is full of friendship, puzzle-solving and mystery.

There’s plenty of entertainment for young armchair detectives to let their imaginations go wild within, aided by mystical illustrations and the fun cover.

About the Author

Jo Clarke is an award-winning book blogger and primary school librarian. Her blog, BookloverJo, enables her to indulge her love of reading children’s books. She is actively involved in the children’s book community and has been a judge for both the British Book Awards and Alligator’s Mouth Book Awards.

Growing up she liked nothing better than reading mystery and boarding school stories by torchlight, when she should have been fast asleep.

She lives in Hampshire with her husband, two daughters and three cats.

Becka has been illustrating children’s books since 2012 and has over 60 books published. She has a real passion for design, and reading as many books as she can get her greedy hands on.

She lived in Wales for a time studying Illustration for Children’s Publishing at Glyndwr University, before returning to Manchester where she currently lives with her partner and two cats.

#QuickReview By Lou of Best Buddies by Lynn Plourde Illustrated By Arthur Lin @LynnPlourde #ArthurLin #BestBuddies @RaintreePub #FriendshipStory #DownsSyndrome #Dogs

Best Buddies
by Lynn Plourde
Illustrated By Arthur Lin

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Best Buddies is a picture book that tells a story of a boy with downs syndrome, the bond with his dog and starting school. Find out more in the blurb and my review below. Thanks firstly to Raintree Publishers for a review copy.

Best Buddies introduces a boy-and-dog duo who are BEST FRIENDS and who do EVERYTHING together! So how will they manage being apart when the boy heads to school for the first time? Find out how a clever boy with Down’s syndrome and his loyal pet find the perfect way to feel close even when they can’t be together. A sweet, inspiring story that will ease concerns about the first day of school and other big changes for kids.


Boy and dog have a special bond and don’t ever want to apart from each other. The time comes for the boy to start school and it’s tough because it means leaving the dog behind. They literally do everything together. All is not lost though as slowly but surely they both find ways of coping and getting used to a new routine. By the end, the boy and his dog discover having to part for awhile isn’t all bad. The loyalty remains and they will reunite after school.

It’s a sweet story with fun illustrations and one that can be red for the joy of it and also to prepare for starting school, either in a new term, after a holiday or if you suddenly get a new pet and child and pet have bonded.

#BookReview By Lou of The Keepers of The Arkle By Tommy Ellis @TommyEllis14 #MiddleGrade #ChapterBook #Fantasy #Adventure

The Keepers of The Arkle
By Tommy Ellis

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Sometimes it’s good to try something new and different with a child, to feed into their imagination and widen their choice of books. The middle-grade book – The Keepers of the Arkle does exactly that. The author has previously written a middle-grade book previously called The Puddle People that’s adventurous with a touch of science. He also has novellas for adults, such as The Midas Cat.nNow he is back with a second book for children aged 9/10 years olds plus . Discover the blurb and review below.

Twelve-year-old Kevin Latimer is being followed. Whenever his adoptive parents move him to a different part of the country, weird old Mrs Warwick always shows up in the same town.
The morning he sees the old woman pull a wooden nose from her bag, he’s intrigued. When it sneezes, though, his life changes forever.
Follow Kevin and his best friend, Megan Davies, as they uncover a shadowy world of immortal pensioners, corrupt authority figures, and a secret that could bring down the monarchy and start a civil war.

Set in Wales, Kevin Latimer, aged 12 is the character children are going on an adventure with to discover what the Arkle is, and then also join his best friend – Megan Davies. As they read, children will pick up some little nuggets of knowledge along the way. Fictionalised books that have a historical reference or person named, if the child enjoys it, tend to remember it for a lifetime, in my humble experience.

The short chapters give it a fast pace with plenty to explore in a mysterious, fantastical world where pensioners are immortal and a clockwork head is so magical, it can talk. It all started with a sneeze and life changed for the 2 best friends, all in 52 pages. This makes it involving for children who want a new adventure and a good size for those wanting a quick read or can be used to encourage reluctant readers.

Reading further, it gets a bit darker. All is not well in this world, with conspiracy rife and corrupt authorities are around. There’s also a secret to uncover that could be deadly. There’s a lot at stake to keep children on tender-hooks as they explore and intrigue and intensity heightens. It’ll certainly keep children entertained and full of adventure.