Tag Archives: Humour

From 15 years without a book to “15 Days Without a Head”, Dave Cousins nails it with this uplifting tale of growing up for teenagers

                      Fifteen days refers to 15 hot days in the middle of summer when life begins to unravel for fifteen-year old Lawrence, his six year old brother Jay and their … Continue reading

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Five favourite family board games enjoyed during the holidays and not an on-switch in sight!

Board games, it appears, are making a comeback – see a recent piece in The Guardian.  I, myself, have always loved board games – there is no on/off switch, they can be competitive or collaborative and they can be hilarious: … Continue reading

Posted in Adult, Age 4-6, Age 6-8, Age 8-10, Knizia, Reiner, Pre-teen, Teenage, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Autumn releases from Barefoot Books: enchanting, engaging new stories for independent readers and gorgeous picture books for those just embarking on their reading journey (Part One)

Autumn by Elli Woollard In the brisk and bracing breeze The trees perform their year’s strip-tease. Shimmy-shaking bits of bling, The golden leaves first flutter, fling Themselves upon the floor; Bronze ones, brown ones, then some more, Until (so skimpy! … Continue reading

Posted in Age 0-2, Age 2-4, Age 4-6, Age 6-8 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pea and the Princess: an endearing twist on a well-known fairytale plus a lovely Princess and the Pea sewing project from Mollie Makes

 From pod to palace – the real story of the princess and the pea…” I love it when writers come up with an original twist on a well-known fairytale and you can’t get more original than Mini Grey’s take on … Continue reading

Posted in Age 2-4, Age 4-6, Age 6-8, Age 8-10 | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Terrible Thing That Happened To Barnaby Brocket: A Wonderful Tale Celebrating Difference by John Boyne

“That’s just not normal, that”. But what exactly is normal and who, if anyone, has the right to decide what is normal?  Your parents, your wider family, your friends, your teachers, society? Where do we learn what is ‘normal’ and from … Continue reading

Posted in Age 8-10, Boyne, John, Pre-teen, Teenage, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reading books and ideas for when boys and girls (but especially boys) fall behind in their reading

It is well documented* that there is a “reading gender gap” between boys and girls and that it is growing.  Schools are attempting to address reading issues by using synthetic phonics to teach the mechanics of reading from Reception onwards.  And … Continue reading

Posted in Age 8-10, Bradman, Tony, Breslin, Theresa, Cann, Kate, Cottrell Boyce, Frank, Morgan, Michaela, Palmer, Tom, Pre-teen, Teenage | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Getting to grips with Shakespeare: Great resources for gently introducing the writings of the Bard to children plus a fun Shakespeare game

There’s no doubt that the retelling of Shakespeare’s stories to a younger audience presents a challenge.   In Shakespeare’s original tales, the language is not entirely straightforward and I can remember when studying Twelfth Night for O level getting very bogged down … Continue reading

Posted in Age 6-8, Age 8-10, Matthews, Andrew, Mayhew, James, Pre-teen, Ross, Tony, Ryan, Patrick, Teenage, Williams, Marcia, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans: A Little Babbler review by Lucy, age 7, from High Wycombe

I really enjoyed this book because it is full of mystery.   Stuart and his friend April want to find Stuart’s Great Uncle, Tony Horton. Stuart’s Great Uncle was a really good magician who never believed in magic until he … Continue reading

Posted in Age 6-8, Age 8-10, Evans, Lissa, Pre-teen, Teenage | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Children’s magazines and comics: two more examples of when children’s magazine publishers get it right

A short while ago (April 2012), I wrote a piece expressing my dismay over the poor quality of most children’s magazines available on the British high street and in supermarkets.  “Buy one magazine, get five tacky, two-minute-wonder toys for free” was the … Continue reading

Posted in Age 6-8, Age 8-10, Pre-teen, Teenage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Vampire Fighters by Pete Johnson: a great book to stimulate reading and creative writing for boys (and girls, if I’m honest)

Life’s already complicated enough when you’re thirteen. Girls are becoming ‘interesting’, you’re a teenager walking along that bumpy path to adulthood and you’re parents still think they can tell you what to do all the time. All quite normal so … Continue reading

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Wonder by R.J. Palacio: “My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”

First impressions?  When I got this book out of the envelope after it had dropped through my postbox, I immediately thought what a grotty looking cover!   I turned it over to read the blurb (as you do).  It said Point made.  And I … Continue reading

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The Demon’s Watch by Conrad Mason : A fast-moving adventure of pirates, magic and improbable heroes, perfect for ages 9+

The Demon’s Watch – a debut novel by Conrad Mason, published 1st March 2012 by David Fickling Books Port Fayt.  Trading heart of the Middle Islands.  Situated between the Old World and the New World, it has long been a safe haven … Continue reading

Posted in Age 8-10, Mason, Conrad, Pre-teen, Teenage | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Noah’s Rocket: a highly entertaining and modern reworking of the Noah and the flood story, a great read for children age 5-9

Recognise the rocket on the front cover of Noah’s Rocket by Tony Frais?  No? Well, here’s a big clue.  Next time you are walking through the City of London or watching the latest news about bankers’ bonuses, take a good look … Continue reading

Posted in Age 4-6, Age 6-8, Age 8-10, Frais, Tony | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans: shortlisted for Costa Children’s Book Award 2012 and recommended for girls/boys age 8+

The Costa Book Awards 2012: The Children’s Book Award: Shortlist Flip by Martyn Bedford (Walker Books) The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Walker Books) Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans (Doubleday) Blood Red Road by Moira Young (Marion … Continue reading

Posted in Age 6-8, Age 8-10, Evans, Lissa, Pre-teen | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce: shortlisted for Costa Children’s Book Award and recommended for girls/boys age 9+

The Costa Book Awards 2012 : Children’s Book Award: Shortlist Flip by Martyn Bedford (Walker Books) The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Walker Books) Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans (Doubleday) Blood Red Road by Moira Young (Marion … Continue reading

Posted in Age 8-10, Cottrell Boyce, Frank, Pre-teen, Teenage | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Flip by Martyn Bedford: Shortlisted for Costa Children’s Book Awards and recommended book for girls and boys age 14+

The Costa Book Awards : Children’s Book Award 2012 Shortlist Flip by Martyn Bedford (Walker Books) The Unforgettable Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Walker Books) Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans (Doubleday) Blood Red Road by Moira Young (Marion … Continue reading

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A brilliant guidebook on spying for young Bonds everywhere (age 7 upwards): Ralph is Not a Spy by Corinne V Davis and El Ashfield

Ralph is Not a Spy is no ordinary book. For within its sumptious pages a spy story gets you hooked! Ralph is a Chess Champion of extraordinary talent. And the members of the International Chess Academy? Well, you could hardly … Continue reading

Posted in Age 6-8, Age 8-10, Ashfield, El, Davis, Corinne V., Pre-teen | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 children’s books about monsters for our very own little monsters to enjoy

Have you got monsters-in-training?  I have!   The thing about ‘hoomum’*monsters is that they might look angelic but don’t be fooled!  Beneath that wide-eyed, sweet-smiling exterior is a tantrum of monstrous proportions ready to EXPLODE!   Know what I mean? (*hoomum, by the … Continue reading

Posted in Age 0-2, Age 2-4, Age 4-6, Age 6-8, Age 8-10, Bass,Guy, Donaldson, Julia, Schleffer, Axel, Stewart, Joel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Granny by Anthony Horowitz : A Taster for a Forthcoming Post about Grannies in Children’s Books

What is it about grannies that inspires so many authors to write books about them or feature them in their stories?   David Walliams is currently topping the children’s books bestsellers list with Gangsta Granny (see later post) and who can … Continue reading

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If you like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, you’ll love these…3 more children’s books that will have you laughing out loud and great for reluctant readers too

                Books that are stuffed full of jokes or have highly-original storylines or are a bit subversive or naughty are the very best for getting children back into reading.    Graphic or comic-style illustrations … Continue reading

Posted in Age 6-8, Age 8-10, Kinney, Jeff, Lawrence, Michael, Nelson, Peter, Pre-teen | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Using Children’s Fiction to Inspire Interest and Take Up of Science and Engineering Subjects – ‘Is’ by Derek Webb

          Derek Webb is the author of Is.   And Derek Webb has been very clever.   Firstly, he has written a children’s fictional book which will enthuse children about all things science and engineering.   And secondly, by … Continue reading

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Author Spotlight : 5 Brilliant Books by Morris Gleitzman. From Frozen Chicken Thawer to One of Australia’s Most Successful Authors

What I REALLY like about Morris Gleitzman are all the things he was BEFORE becoming a writer.   Here, for example, are some of the things he tells us he has done – frozen-chicken thawer, sugar-mill rolling stock unhooker, fashion-industry trainee, … Continue reading

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