#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.

#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)

#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 – The Boy Who Couldn’t by R. Coverdale @RLCoverdale #RandomTTours #TheBoyWhoCouldn’t #InternationalFriendshipDay #8-12yearolds #ChildrensBooks #PrimarySchool #Nature #Badgers

The Boy Who Couldn’t
by R. Coverdale

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Boy Who Graphic

The Boy Who Couldn’t is a positive story that is perfect for 8-12 year olds, that is great for the home and for school, with highly relevant and teachable themes.
School Resources are available and there is also a fun quiz at the back of the book.
Find out more in the blurb and review below. There is also fascinating information about the author after that too, as well as website and social media links for her and the Badger Trust.

Blurb

The Boy Who FINAL CoverThe school bully is the only one who can save them.

James’ life has been turned upside down and now the local bully has made him a target. So why would his mother insist he should invite him over? Especially when they’re hiding a secret badger clan at the bottom of the garden.

Now the badgers are under threat from a gang with fighting dogs and the badgers aren’t the only ones in peril.

Danger is approaching and it will make the most unlikely of heroes.

A story about becoming the person you can be, not the person you are expected to be.

Review

The chapters go between James and Greg, beginning with James, who is in the middle of a real life drama, he didn’t expect to be in and his parents are in some financial trouble. It is however his 11th  birthday and is a home with love in it and fun. His dad is into adventures and wildlife and home life is quite stable. He’s quite inspirational and takes time with his son, teaching him about badgers and they build a badger sett with Ahmed. Older children and young adults may be inspired to get into the outdoors and create dens, learn about wildlife and nature and have fun along the way.

When readers meet Greg for the first time, he is just turning 13. His parents are also having some issues, as does Greg himself, but finds being amongst nature calms him down. His homelife is, in complete contrast the James’s homelife, more unstable, and where he feels rather invisible to his parents, and his dad has been in prison, but he does have Uncle Kev, who shows him different things and pays him attention, when he visits.

James and Ahmed come from better off backgrounds than Greg does and different places, Greg from an estate and the other 2 boys not. They do however meet in the woodland, even though they feel awkward and Greg can be a bully, plus there are just differences because of their circumstances.

The book deals with bullying and what Greg feels like when he is the one who is frightened and James and Ahmed are showing bravery, instead of how it used to be the other way round, but in the end it is Greg who also has to show some courage when men come and start capturing badgers with their dogs, even though he initially freezes. There’s much trepidation and so much that will have children gasp and have them gripped. There are twists and turns as human and badger lives are put in danger. There’s also courage of a different kind, which is turning your life around for the better…

It has the absolute best of endings that will have everyone smiling by then.

Children will either be able to relate or they can empathise with people who’s home lives are perhaps similar or different from their own. It also shows how families can be different from each other, which encourages this empathy and understanding, as well as how very different people can end up in friendships, even when it doesn’t seem it would be likely due to life circumstances. It also encourages care for wildlife, in-particular, badgers. It also really highlights wildlife crime too.

At the back of the book, there is a True or False Quiz that readers can do for fun or in a classroom setting, that will enhance their understanding of what they’ve just read. In addition to this, there are also teacher resources that can be obtained, so it can be used in depth in schools.

There is a website at the back of the book, I’ll also include here, for The Badger’s Trust, for those interested.
www.badgertrust.org.uk
The author is also responsible and has included info about what to do if children/young adults do ever find themselves in danger in the UK and also the number for Childline: 0800 1111

About the Author

Rachel Coverdale Author PicRachel Coverdale was born and bred in the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside in North East England. Raised with copious amounts of animals but without the distraction of a modern TV set, she turned to books and her own imagination for entertainment. Animals were and still are a huge part of her life and inevitably they made their way into her stories. Believing strongly in fresh air, nature and outdoor play to give children a sense of fun and freedom, Rachel uses her books to encourage children to connect with nature and venture into the countryside.

Having taught as an English teacher for many years and now settled happily into the role of school librarian, Rachel ensures all her books are not only creative, imaginative and exciting, but also of great educational benefit. Teaching resources and a scheme of work are available for “The Boy Who Couldn’t”.

Rachel is regularly featured on BBC Radio Tees Book Hour with Bob Fischer and Shack discussing and reviewing her latest reads. She also travels her native North East England paying visits to Primary and Secondary schools, giving talks on her books and about the importance of nature and the environment they live in.

Social and Website Links

Twitter @RLCoverdale

Instagram @rachellouisecoverdale

Website: https://www.rachelcoverdale.com Facebook: rachellouisecoverdale Twitter: @RLCoverdale

The Boy Who Couldn't BT Poster (1)