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Win 5 Summer Picture Books in the July #Giveaway
Win 5 Summer Picture Books in the July #Giveaway

Win 5 Summer Picture Books in the July Giveaway

Well, summer is in full swing here in sunny Wales. To celebrate the long hot days, I’ve got some special summer picture books for you in this month’s giveaway.

July’s titles include:

  1. Lost on the Beach
  2. Winnie at the Seaside
  3. Polly Parrot pics a Pirate
  4. Superworm
  5. Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy.

All you have to do is answer one simple question on the form below.

I’ll be drawing the winner via KingSumo on the 1st of August.

Good luck and happy summer everyone.

Suzie xx



 

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Book review: Where’s the Dragon

Book review: Where’s the Dragon by Richard and Jason Hook

Where's the DragonWe have a new favourite story in our house. Where’s the Dragon?, written and illustrated by father and son duo Richard and Jason Hook, is a book with gorgeous pictures full of hidden dragons.

Where's the Dragon

With over 70 dragons hiding in trees, mountains and lakes, this is the Where’s Wally of the dragon world. It has fantastic embossed pages and shiny spot laminations which makes the dragons really pop. My grand-daughter loves the ‘bumpy’ feel of this book. At £9.99 it was quite expensive but it is a hardback and doesn’t show any signs of wear after our many, many readings. I think it was well worth the money.

Where's the Dragon

The story tells of George and his grandfather who go on a ‘dragon hunt.’ George can see dragons everywhere but grandfather doesn’t see any… even after they eat his boat. (Grand-daughter loves that part).

Where’s the Dragon has a quaint old-fashioned feel and the dragon is super cute.

Where's the Dragon The suggested age range for the book is 4 – 7 years but grand-daughter loves it and she’s only two.

Where’s the Dragon would make a great birthday or Christmas present.

Happy reading

Suzie xx




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Billy has a Birthday: a book about bullying, by James Minter

Billy has a Birthday

Billy has a Birthday

Billy has a Birthday is the first book in the eight book Billy Books series by English author, James Minter. Aimed at children between 7 and 9, they deal with the important issue of bullying.

Very often we see bullying in a school setting, but in this first book our hero, ten year old Billy has to deal with two older boys who demand money from him. Unsure how to handle the situation, Billy gives them the birthday money he has just received from his Grandad. Luckily, Billy’s friend Max tells Grandad what has happened. Together they hatch a plan to get the money back and stop the bully’s.

Billy has a BirthdayThe characters.

Billy and his friends are great characters. The bullying incident comes relatively late in the book by which time we’ve got to know Billy well. He’s ten years old, trying to be grown-up but not really there yet: it’s a struggle we can probably all relate to.

My favourite character is Billy’s Grandad. He’s awesome; knowing just how to make Billy feel special. I especially liked that it was Grandad who foils the bully’s. It’s not often grandparents come out as the hero’s.

A special mention should go to the illustrator, Helen Rushworth. There is a picture at the start of each chapter and I thought they were just right for the narrative.

Billy has a Birthday

The story gives a clear message that you should always reach out and ask for help when facing bully’s. There is free activity book and some teaching notes to go with the book which will make talking about the issues raised easier either with your child individually or in a classroom setting.

Final thought

I’m going to leave you with the dedication from the book, which says it all.

To those who think bullying and aggression are the way to go through life; you are so wrong.

The British Books Challenge

British Books Challenge 2017I’m including Billy has a Birthday as my June book in the British Books Challenge.

Although James Minter has only been writing since 2009, he has already penned fourteen books.

This is a well-written story that deserves success.

Happy reading.

Suzie xx



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5 Classic Picture Books May Giveaway Winner !!!

May Giveaway Winner

Wow, there were nearly 700 entries in the “Win 5 Classic Picture Books” contest. Kingsumo made the draw and the May Giveaway Winner is …

… cue awesome drum explosion from my daughter …

… and the May Giveaway Winner is Katie.

 Commiserations to everyone else.  In the meantime, there are eleven awesome ebooks for children to download for free, including my own Better BuckIe Up. You can read on your Kindle, your phone, your tablet or on your computer; just download the file type you’d prefer.

children's ebook giveaway

Choose your free books Here

Congratulations to Katie.

Happy Reading everyone.

Suzie xx

Win 5 Famous Five colour short stories in the June #Giveaway
Win 5 Famous Five colour short stories in the June #Giveaway

Win 5 Famous Five colour Short Stories

You could Win 5 Famous Five colour Short Stories in the June Giveaway. With up-to-date illustrations, these books are a perfect introduction to a world of Enid Blyton adventures for readers aged 6 – 9.

Titles in the giveaway include:

  • Five and a Half-term Adventure
  • Well done, Famous Five
  • Good Old Timmy
  • George’s Hair is Too Long
  • A Lazy Afternoon

All you have to do is answer one simple question below.

I’ll be drawing the winner on the 1st of July.

Good luck everyone.

Suzie xx



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Book review: Famous Five colour Short Stories

Famous Five

I grew up on a diet of Enid Blyton. Oh, how I wanted to be one of the Famous Five; solving mysteries and having adventures.

Five on a Treasure IslandThere were twenty-one Famous Five novels in all. Enid Blyton could write a book in a week!!! (Excuse me while I have an “Oh, how I want to write as fast a Enid Blyton” moment.)

The first book, Five on a Treasure Island, was published in 1942. It’s a product of a different age. Even though the oldest of the children is just 12 years old, they roam about the countryside unsupervised; they attend boarding school and have parent’s rich enough to own islands. But that doesn’t take away the fact that our heroes still outwitted criminals, solved crimes and had loads of fun.

What I didn’t know was that Enid Blyton also wrote a series of Famous Five short stories for publication in magazines. These have now been released as books in their own right by Hodder. As I’m working on a middle grade book at the moment, I got hold of a few of the books to see what they were like.

Famous Five colour Short Stories

famous five colour short stories

At 80 pages long, they’re not too long for beginner readers and I was happy to find that they have lost their cutesy 1950’s image and look current and fresh for modern kids. Inside, the illustrations are full colour too, giving them an almost comic book feel.

I did worry whether the 1950’s language might jarr alongside the contemporary artwork but I think it stood up admirably.

Readers of my blog will know I’m a BIG fan of text that complements the illustrations and tried to incorporate that into my own picture book design.  Jamie Littler, the artist on the Famous Five books, does this really well.

famous five short stories

What are the books about?

 Five and a Half-term Adventure

George’s dog Timmy sniffs out an adventure when he spots some suspicious-looking passengers on a train. He is very interested in one of them, but what has he spotted? Can the Famous Five solve this mystery?

Five and a Half-Term Adventure

Well done, Famous Five

The most famous racehorse in England is being trained in Kirren, and the Famous Five are eager to watch. But when the horse bolts the Famous Five need to think quickly to make sure he isn’t lost or injured. The whole of England is depending on them.

Well done Famous Five

Good Old Timmy

After the Five see a boy being kidnapped at the beach, they set out to find him. But where have the kidnappers hidden the boy? Will Timmy lead them to the answer?

Good Old Timmy

George’s Hair is Too Long

Borrowing some scissors is the beginning of an adventure for the Famous Five, as George manages to get mixed up with some burglars. Julian, Dick and Anne are too busy eating ice cream to realise that George is in trouble! Will the Famous Five manage to catch up with the burglars and save the day?

George's Hair is Too Long

A Lazy Afternoon

It’s so terribly hot, the Famous Five are having a lazy afternoon…but the gang don’t get the peace and quiet they imagined! What are the men on the motorbikes up to? Can they be stopped?

A Lazy Afternoon

My verdict.

I really liked this new series. I’m sure they’ll be a hit for children transitioning from early readers to ‘real books’ and reluctant readers will love the colourful pages. They are a great introduction to Enid Blyton’s classic series.

I’ll be giving away copies of the 5 books in my June Giveaway, just answer the easy question below.

Thanks for reading

Suzie xx 

PS There’s still time to enter my 5 Classic Picture Books May Giveaway


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Check out the latest book review of Things Evie Eats

Check out the latest book review of Things Evie Eats

It’s always exciting when you get a book review so I wanted to share the awesome review of Things Evie Eats that I received from the lovely Karen over at  The Next Best Thing to Mummy.

This is a delightful book with fantastic illustrations

Things Evie Eats

Especially useful to parents and carers who have a fussy eater

Reviews are like gold dust to authors. You can read the full review HERE while I do my happy dance.

happy dance photo

Thanks, Karen.

Suzie xx



Book review: Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane

Book review: Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane

I was really happy to win a copy of Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane recently in a giveaway on GetKidsIntoBooks. I thought it looked like a great story to share with the grandchildren. Here’s how we got on.

pilot jane and the runaway plane

My grandson is into planes at the moment. His favourite toy is “Dusty Crophopper” 🙂 So he was excited to see a new book about a plane. He wasn’t bothered that the plane was pink and flowery in the slightest but I was a little surprised by it’s colour given the books clear attempt to challenge gender stereotypes.

The illustrations are bright and colourful with enough detail for us to talk about, and I loved the characterization of Pilot Jane. Grandson is also a big fan of rhyming text, so that was another point in the books favour.

Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane

The Pilot Plot

The story tells how Pilot Jane and her plane, Rose, go on lots of exciting journey’s. They earn such a great reputation that the Queen asks them to fly her to a party.  Unfortunately, Rose eats ‘cake fuel’ the night before and wakes up with ‘plane flu.’ which means that Jane has to take the Queen in ‘Mighty Mitch’.

Naughty Mighty Mitch is cross that his new pilot is a girl.

Mitch groaned: “A girl pilot! Bother and drat!

I’ll bet she’s slow – or a big scardey cat!”

He starts to behave badly to scare her and to show off. (Grandson liked that he was naughty lol) But there’s a storm coming and that’s where things start to go wrong. Happily, Pilot Jane has the necessary skills to bring the situation under control and the pair ends up working together and becoming friends.

Pilot Jane and the Runaway PlaneThe story kept grandson’s attention the whole time. He insisted on a second and third reading straight away and asked, “Where’s the new book about the plane?” on his next visit. That makes Pilot Jane a definite hit.

Despite the message – girl’s can be pilot’s too – the last line was particularly good.

Whatever the weather, we work together,

Hurray for Girl – and Boy – Power Forever.

Final verdict

After the ‘girl bashing’ in the book I reviewed last, it was nice that the story fostered some much needed gender co-operation. In fact, I grew to like the pink plane. This was a book that showed girls can be girly, as well as strong and able.

Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane

British Books Challenge 2017

British Books Challenge

Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane is written by Oxford-based writer, Caroline Baxter so it was a perfect choice for my British Books Challenge.  You can read my previous reviews here.

Suzie xx




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Book review: The Mystery of the Disappearing Underpants
Book review: The Mystery of the Disappearing Underpants

Book review: The Mystery of the Disappearing Underpants

I’m happy to be reviewing The Mystery of the Disappearing Underpants for this month’s British Books Challenge.  The book is published today (28th of April) and is the debut novel of Nikki Young.

The Blurb

The Mystery of the Disappearing Underpants is a spy story with a difference.

When Harry and James form a secret agency for the summer, their first task is to investigate the disappearance of Harry’s lucky underpants and to prevent nosey neighbour, Stacey, from interfering in their business.

But when a mysterious couple move into an old house on their street, the children are intrigued. Harry and James must join forces with Stacey in order to uncover what is going on at number 35. And with Harry’s attention diverted from the hunt for his lucky underpants, will he ever be able to find them?

The cover

Mystery of the Disappearing Underpants

A perfect eye-catching genre cover. So far, so good.

The Story.

The Mystery of the Disappearing Underpants: this story should be a hit with middle grade readers on its title alone.

We start off with our would-be spies investigating thefts from washing lines. The initial culprit is unexpected, but harmless, and I was concerned that the story might be a bit bland even for the intended 9-11 age group. Happily, I needn’t have worried, as events quickly escalate into something much more sinister and thrilling.

Harry, James and Stacey take turns narrating the events of their summewashing line photor spy club and I liked that this gives readers an insight into the minds of three children. I loved their imagination and innocent logic as they try to solve mysteries (both real and make-believe) and I liked the way they suspected someone and then discovered they were wrong. For example, after seeing a ladies underskirt on the washing line of a man who lived by himself, they find out he does the washing for his mother. Oops!

There were a few surprises and I never saw the identity of the washing line thief coming. 🙂

A niggle

children playing together photoHarry, James and Stacey turn out to be quite a team, but it’s not always that way. At the beginning of the book, I didn’t like the way the boys treated Stacy. There was a lot of, “I hate girls,” “We warned Stacey not to come anywhere near us or we’d show everyone in school the video that shows her playing with dolls like a little girl,” and “Let’s face it, she’s annoying anyway AND she’s a girl.”

Now, Stacey turns out to be a strong character and she does get her own back but I would have liked a little more gender co-operation from the start.

To sum up.

British Books Challenge 2017This is a fun book with a great cover, an engaging plot and a believable cast of characters which I’m sure young readers will identify with – a winning combination.

Nikki Young is an author, a blogger and a copywriter who hails from the South-East of England: perfect for me to link up with the British Books Challenge.

So, do Harry, James and Stacey find the lucky underpants? You’ll have to read the story to find out.

Suzie xx




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Win 5 Classic Picture Books in the May #Giveaway
Win 5 Classic Picture Books in the May #Giveaway

Wanna Win 5 Classic Picture Books?

During the month of May, readers of my blog will be able to Win 5 Classic Picture Books by answering one simple question below.

Titles I’m giving away include:

  • The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
  • Kipper by Mick Inkpen
  • Burglar Bill by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
  • Guess How Much I love You by Sam McBratney
  • The Scarecrow’s Wedding by Julia Donaldson

They are all firm favourites in my house and are perfect for reading with your little one.

The winner will be drawn on 1st June.

Good luck

Suzie xx

PS The more you share, the more chances of winning you’ll have. 🙂

 


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