And the winner of the June Giveaway is…
There were over 500 entries in my June Giveaway for the 5x Famous Five colour short story books and I heard from lots of raving Enid Blyton fans. It was so nice to meet you all.
I’ll be sorry to part with these books, but the mighty KingSumo has chosen a winner. And it is…
So, well done to Jackie and sorry to everyone else.
The summer sun is burning down here in sunny Wales. Hope it’s shining with you but just in case it isn’t, here’s a photo of Aberystwyth beach.
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:
- Lost on the Beach
- Winnie at the Seaside
- Polly Parrot pics a Pirate
- 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.
Book review: Where’s the Dragon by Richard and Jason Hook
We 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.
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.
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 would make a great birthday or Christmas present.
The Tale of Mummyhood
Billy has a Birthday
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 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.
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.
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
I’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.
The Tale of Mummyhood
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.
Congratulations to Katie.
Happy Reading everyone.
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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?
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
British Books Challenge
Book review: The Mystery of the Disappearing Underpants
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?
A perfect eye-catching genre cover. So far, so good.
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 summer 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. 🙂
Harry, 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.
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.