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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Finding a Voice by Kim Hood - Blog Tour!

Summary from Goodreads

Jo could never have guessed that the friendship she so desperately craves would come in the shape of a severely disabled boy. He can’t even speak. Maybe it is because he can’t speak that she finds herself telling him how difficult it is living with her eccentric, mentally fragile mother.

Behind Chris’ lopsided grin and gigantic blue wheelchair is a real person — with a sense of humour, a tremendous stubborn streak and a secret he has kept from everyone.

For a while it seems life may actually get better. But as Jo finds out just how terrible life is for Chris, and as her own life spirals out of control, she becomes desperate to change things for both of them. In a dramatic turn of events, Jo makes a decision that could end in tragedy.

This is the story of how an unusual friendship unlocks the words that neither knew they had.


Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 11th 2014 by O'Brien Press 

Guest Post

RESEARCHING FINDING A VOICE

In a way, I have been doing research for Finding a Voice most of my life. It just so happens that many of my experiences in life have involved people with disabilities and challenges of various kinds.

My ‘day jobs’ have always been very interesting. I’ve taught kids in interesting places—like way up north in Canada and across the globe in Malawi. I’ve also taught interesting kids—kids who had tough times in regular classes because they just didn’t fit. Sometimes they didn’t fit because of mental health challenges, or because reading was a challenge, or because they had a unique way of experiencing the world that made it difficult for others to relate to them. I’ve also supported people with various disabilities to live in their homes. And occasionally, I have had the difficult task of supporting people when they needed the safety of a psychiatric ward in the hospital.

So when I naively started to write this novel, with no outline whatsoever, the characters that emerged came from those experiences I suppose. I wouldn’t say that they are ‘typical’ though, any more than any character in a novel is typical. Stories, even realistic stories, are supposed to be an exaggeration, aren’t they? Just a little happier, or a little sadder, or a little faster paced than our own lives.

And yet, I hope that this is a book that kids can ‘see themselves’ in. There are not enough books out there that depict the vastly varying experiences of kids--about ten percent of who happen to have a disability of some kind. I wonder if authors shy away from writing characters with disabilities because they are afraid of ‘not getting it right’. Even with half a lifetime of experience working with people with disabilities and mental illness, now that Finding a Voice is out there, I am afraid that I didn’t capture the experience of having a disability or mental illness correctly.

The stories that might not be told because of this fear! There are so many ways to find out more about kid’s experiences with disability and mental illness. There is the internet of course, but more importantly, there are real people out there who can share their experience. It’s okay to ask a person with a disability questions (someone you know of course!). There are also people like me—teachers, special needs assistants, therapists, support workers—who would be happy to answer questions about ‘technical stuff’ and maybe even make introductions to someone with a disability who might help with research.

I do hope that if an author has a great story, with a character who happens to have a disability, that the fear of ‘getting it wrong’ becomes less than the need to write the story, because kids need diverse books that reflect the diversity of their lives. I think we have an obligation to write those books.  

About the Author

Kim Hood grew up in a Canada and now lives in Ireland with her family and a menagerie of animals. Writing is her all-time favourite thing to do—nearly a tie with reading. Her first novel Finding a Voice has just been published by O’Brien Press. www.kimhood.com


 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Found by Salina Yoon


My Review

Found is a very heart-felt and heart-warming tale full of friendship and doing the right thing. I think I quite possibly loved this a little more than an adult should....

Bear is such a lovely fellow, who stumbles upon a lost bunny while out on his travels. Being such a great guy, he makes it his mission to reunite the poor bunny with it's owner - who Bear is sure must be very sad!

He makes posters and searches high and low. Not having any luck, Bear lets himself have a fun filled day with the bunny he's come to love so much. Bear learns that doing the right thing isn't always the easiest.

We are huge fans of Salina Yoon's big blocky illustrations. They really are rather marvellous and Bear really is super duper cute.

Found proves the point that one man's trash is another man's treasure and our hearts just burst with happiness at Bear's happy ending. A really really beautiful story - we simply adored it!

5 / 5 Stars

*Special thanks to Bloomsbury for the review copy*


Monday, 25 August 2014

Specs for Rex by Yasmeen Ismail


My Review

Specs for Rex couldn't have arrived at a more perfect time for us. My little lady got her very first pair of glasses on the very same day...so it really was meant to be!

Rex is such a cool dude, who has just gotten a new pair of glasses. But the glassed are big and round...and red. So, they stick out for everyone to see. Rex doesn't want everyone at school to see his specs...so he hides them...in the funniest of places!

Turns out, having super cool glasses isn't such a bad thing when they help earn him a gold star. Even his friends fancy a pair themselves.

The illustrations are made up of big bold brush strokes of striking colour and we just didn't know what to feast our eyes upon first.

Specs for Rex is a super fun story with the most amazing positive message to reassure little glasses wearing folks everywhere. We heartily recommend!

5 / 5 stars

*Special thanks to Bloomsbury for the review copy*




Monday, 21 July 2014

Reading Rocks Blog Tour - Why? by Tracey Corderoy

 Summary from Amazon UK

Archie is a rhino with a LOT of questions. He wants to know everything: "Why glue is so sticky? Why do dropped things go SMASH?" If only finding out was a little less messy...Everybody's much-loved rhino returns in this brand-new sequel to No! from the wonderful Tracey Corderoy (Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam and The Little White Owl) and award-winning Tim Warnes (I Don't Want to Go to Bed). Brimming with gorgeous illustrations, this warm, funny book is guaranteed to become a firm favourite. A must for all families with curious toddlers who just love to ask "WHY?"



My Review

Why? is a delightful picture book full of fun, adventure and a little bit of frustration...on the parents part anyway. Every child goes through the why stage and while it can be rather cute and funny at times, it can also have some parents pulling their hair out.

We adored Tracey's last picture book, No! and we were just as pleased with this. My daughter said to me recently "You know, children are allowed to ask lots of questions because that's how they learn about the world around them." I was baffled, who on earth had she been talking to? But it also make me realise that she was exactly right. While an endless stream of questions and whys can be tedious, a child's inquisitive nature is a really great thing.

This storyline sees the super cute Archie asking why? to just about everything. Not only that, he's making the biggest mess along the way. His parents decide to take him to the museum, because lets face it, that seems to be a good place for asking questions...until he starts asking some embarrassing ones...

The ending will most definitely put smiles on faces everywhere!

Tim Warnes' illustrations are so good. They are super vibrant and very busy. We think little Archie is the cutest rhino in rhino history!

Why? is a wonderful picture book that is not only perfect for inquisitive toddlers but also worn down parents. It really is a must!

A BIG 5 stars!










Why? 
 by 
Tracey Corderoy 
Image 
Why do worms wriggle? 
Why is rain wet?  
Why cant I eat ice-cream forever! 

When we are young the world is jam-packed with so very much to find out. Possibilities are endless, expeditions imperative, and consequences rarely considered. Finding out is fun and something to be done. Now! Lets go! Quick! 
In Cider with Rosie, three-year-old Laurie Lee finds himself dumped in an overgrown garden bursting with whats, whys and wherefores. Its a place he can neither understand, nor leave alone. A world which is both terrifying and compelling, and one which is his to master: 

‘…The June grass, amongst which I stood, was taller than I was, and I wept. I had never been so close to grass before. It towered above me ... thick as a forest and alive with grasshoppers that chirped and chattered and leapt through the air like monkeys From stone to stone in the trackless yard I sent forth my acorn shell of senses, moving through unfathomable oceans like a South Sea savage island  hopping across the Pacific. 
 Cider with Rosie Laurie Lee 
Laurie Lees words resonated with me, and Archie in Why? also possesses this urge to understand and become master of his world. He too, like some savage South Sea island, moves across his landscape (from kitchen to garden to museum to parents bedroom!) with purpose, enthusiasm, and endless, endless questions!  
But of course, these questions are to be encouraged. His parents know that, and we parents know it too. We want our children to have lively minds, sparkly eyes and muddy fingers – even if their never-ending stream of, WHYS?” keep coming and coming and coming!    
Image

So although Archie is up and asking questions even before the sun rises, would his parents have him any other way? Of course not!  
 Hooray then, for the finders-out of this world! For little Archies up and down this land. For their parents, too this book is for YOU.  
And why not?!  

Tracey was born in South Wales and now lives in Gloucestershire with her husband, two daughters and a menagerie of animals. She is a trained teacher and used to run specialist literacy programmes in schools before becoming a full-time writer. Tracey has always had a passion for wonderful literature and began writing for children in 2006.



The Colour Thief by Gabriel Alborozo


My Thoughts

The Colour Thief is a visual masterpiece that we could of happily stared at all day long. It also has some really great positive messages that truly make it a must read!

Zot, lives in a dreary far away land that doesn't have any colour. He stares longingly at the super vibrant earth, deciding he must go and get some of that cheeriness for himself. When he arrives, he is overwhelmed with all the wonderful colours. He opens his suitcase, says the magic words and steals the colours from the world. Zot gets greedy but when leaving for home again he has a last moment flash of conscience.

A little boy shows an act of kindness that fills Zot's heart with joy. One little selfless moment transforms not only Zot's life but also the lives of others in a really beautiful way.

While we loved the storyline itself, the artwork really is something else. Starting off colourless, to build into a riot of vibrancy awesomeness really shows how much life colour can truly bring. Seeing it all be taken away only proves the point.

The colour thief is a glorious riot of life and colour! It shows kindness is a thing to be treasured and proves the point that 'a little colour can go a long way.'

4/5 Stars

*Special thanks to Bloomsbury for the review copy*


Friday, 18 July 2014

Harry and the Monster by Sue Morgan & Nick East


My Review

If you're a parent then you've most probably been disturbed in the middle of the night by a loud 'Theres a monster under my bed!!' This laugh out loud picture book shows little guys how to fight back against those big bad bedroom monsters.

The little boy in this story, Harry, is awoken night after night by a big nasty monster. His parents give him some super tips, including imagining pink pants on it's head...to try and make him look less scary. But what do you think monsters are really afraid of?

The ending is hilarious...I think it's hard not to be a little frightened by the thing that frightens our monster!

Harry and the Monster is a really great read full of fun, adventure and surprises. Nick East's illustrations pop right up out of the page and bring everything to life so vibrantly. A perfect bad dream kicker!

4 / 5 Stars

*Special thanks to Little Tiger Press for the review copy*


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr Seuss


My Review

This has to be the most brilliant book in brilliant book history. It is funny, rhymes in a sing songing way and needs to be read with great booming enthusiasm. Warning - this book is not for the timid reader!!

Mr. Brown really is quite wonderful and the different sounds he can do are all rather outstanding. As the reader goes through all the different things the text turns into a bouncing song that begs to be read out loud. Little ears and little mouths will revel in learning and trying out these super sounds with Mr. Brown.

The illustrations are really memorable. They have this old time cartoon feel to them, which is really wonderful.

This is a sounds adventure that will stick in heads everywhere. It is full on fun and packs a big punch. We simply can't recommend it enough!

5 / 5 stars

*Special thanks to Harper Collin's Children's Books for the review copy*


Thursday, 3 July 2014

Abigail by Catherine Rayner


My Review

Aw, what a simply beautiful picture book this is. Abigail is a delicate beauty who is gentle and patient with her friends. Catherine Rayner captures the slow, majestic beauty of the giraffe like no other and it's ever so stunning!

Abigail loves to count more than anything. Finding something to count proves to be a bit of a tricky business though, as her friends just won't keep still. But Abigail soon discovers that there is an endless supply of things in the world to count and also that she is a rather fine teacher.

What a really lovely and gentle way to introduce counting to little folks. Everyone needs a copy of Abigail to call their own.

The illustrations are gorgeous, with only a few subtle colours - they are a real treat.

Abigail is a truly memorable counting picture book that is full of warmth and beauty! Go grab a copy today!

5 / 5 Stars

*With special thanks to Little Tiger Press for the review copy*


Monday, 30 June 2014

Mighty Mo by Alison Brown

My Review

Ever have a child who is board, board and more board? Actually they are so fed up with having nothing to do that they’re sulking? Yes? Well then, Mighty Mo is the book for you!

You see, Mo is board. He wants to do something marvellous, so he tries out a few different things. Unfortunately, none of those things are the right fit for Mo and he has a few…mishaps. When the Golden Dodo Zoo encounters a disaster though, there really is only one person up to saving the day!
 
The illustrations are ever so fantastic and we delighted watching as Mo had is moment. We also loved seeing some of those rather funny mishaps.

Mighty Mo is a charming adventure tale with one super cool hero who has a wonderful group of friends. The message that everyone is good at doing different things is a really positive one and we would easily recommend this!

4 / 5 stars

*Special thanks to Little Tiger Press for the review copy*


Sunday, 22 June 2014

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by James Dead & Eric Litwin


My Thoughts

Haha! This is a fantastically funny feel good book that helps everyone to realise that everything is never quite as bad as it may seem.

Pete the Cat is a cool dude, who loves his white shoes. And why wouldn't he? They look ace...until he steps in some strawberries. But what colour would that turn his pearly white shoes? Not one to get upset Pete carries on in his red shoes singing his song!

The illustrations are ever so striking. We loved the big blocky colours and of course looking at Pete doing his thing.

The ending is fantastic and we loved the little moral ' no matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song...'

Pete the Cat is a sing song adventure perfect for sharing with the little folks in your life. It introduces a lot of wonderful colours in an easy and very memorable way. Check Pete out today...he's a dude!

4 / 5 Stars

*Special thanks to Harper Collins Children's Books for the review copy*


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Love Monster and the Last Chocolate by Rachel Bright


My Review

Well hello Monster *waves*, it's ever so nice to see your super cute face again!

We are HUGE fans of Love Monster, so we were obviously delighted to go on not only another Monster adventure...but a chocolate monster adventure - yay!

In this tale, Monster has a bit of a chocolate dilemma. Finding a box of chocolates should of been a wonderful surprise for Monster...but it turns out to be a bit of a head pickle. What if he shared them with his friends and they ate his most favourite? What if there wasn't enough? Worst of all, what if they only left him...the coffee one!!?

The ending was so charming and quite simply perfect!

We always adore Rachel Bright's illustrations, they are so fuzzy, wussy, cuddly, bright and super duper cute!

Love Monster and the Last Chocolate is a charming tale full of friendship, sharing and thinking of others. It's a real must read!

5 / 5 Stars!

*Special thanks to Harper Collins Children's Books for the review copy*


Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Hueys in None the Number by Oliver Jeffers


My Review

Hooray for more adventures with the super kooky Hueys! We adored this!

None the Number is a super fun counting Huey adventure. It is filled with all the wit and charm you can always expect with a Jeffers book. The Hueys are having a number discussion. It all kicks off with one Huey trying to explain to the other about the number 0.

Leave it to those quirky little fellows to put a cheeky little bit of confusion into counting. Is none really an number? What do you think?

Each page is filled with super simplistic illustrations that are just gorgeous to gaze at. We particularly liked the 9 naughty seagulls, that were trying to steal poor Frank's chips.

The ending is totally smile worthy :)

None the Number is another fab Huey tale that is full of humour. We can't wait to have some more fun with these little guys!

4/5 stars

*Special thanks to Harper Collins Children's Books for the review copy*


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Father's Day Round-up!

Peppa Pig: My Daddy

This gorgeous little board book is all about Peppa Pig and her daddy! It would make the perfect Father's Day gift and is just wonderful for daddies to share with the little people in their lives.

In this story, Peppa tells us why her daddy is so special. He is funny, likes to have fun, reads bedtime stories, goes on seaside trips, is super brave but also a tad lazy and a little clumsy. Best of all Peppa knows he loves them more than anything else in the world.

We adored seeing Peppa, George and their daddy go on super fun adventures. We especially enjoyed the teeny tiny bit clumsy page.

My Daddy is a lovely little read that is full of fun, humour and a father's love. It really is a must read for Peppa fans everywhere.

Baby Touch: Hello Daddy!

Hello Daddy is a marvellous board book that is all-round charming and perfect for sharing with dad's everywhere.

Each page has a baby animal and the question - 'where is your daddy?' and on the opposite page is it's daddy animal. Also with a lovely little touch and feel bit to discover and explore.

Our favourite page has to be the last one as it has an illustration of a baby and a mirror. We all know babies love mirrors - so this is wonderful for them to gaze at themselves and of course their daddies in.

The illustrations are ever so bold and vibrant. Babies will delight in all of the beautiful colours.

Another big winner from Ladybird's Baby Touch range. These books are just made for exploring together. We can't wait to have our hands on the next one.

Sorry Dad by Maxine Lee

You know those days, when everything that can go wrong will go wrong? And your children will accidentally push your buttons all day long? Well this book is a bit like that.

The father and child in this tale are usually the best of friends but seem to be having a bit of an off day. The little person in this story seems to be getting up to a bit too much mischief and his poor dad is anything but happy. The pair manage to make it up in a rather funny way though.

There really isn't anything better than a father's love and bond with their child - this fab book pushes home that point wonderfully. It even makes parents feel a tad relieved that they aren't the only ones to have these off days. Also, anything can be solved by apologising and some well meaning gestures.

Sorry Dad is a fantastically illustrated book that is full of fun, mis-hap and great messages - perfect for some daddy time!

Me and My Daddy

Looking for something perfect for your child to share with their dads this Father's Day? Then look no further than this fantastic little carry case, complete with card and collection of four books.

The Fathers Day card is really wonderful and children will delight in decorating their very own card for their dads special day. The card comes with a sheet of super cute stickers to help with the decorating.

The books are all father themed and are just great for snuggling up and sharing with dad. The four books are called: Oops-a-Daisy, My Daddy and Me, Before We Go to Bed and The Very Happy Hippo. Our personal favourite being the adventurous and very touching My Daddy and Me.

This fantastic Me and My Daddy carry case is a bright and cheery must have for children everywhere - we love!

*With special thanks to Little Tiger, Caterpillar & Ladybird for the review copies*





Sunday, 8 June 2014

How to be a Skullabones Pirate


My Review

Arrrrr! Another fab Skullabones activity adventure to dive into! We adore spending time with these super fun pirates!

This activity book is jam packed with super fun things to do, including: matching, dress-up, counting, spot-the-difference, dot-to-dot, drawing, puzzles, colouring, treasure hunts, jig-saws and lots and lots of STICKERING - hooray! Did  mention the 200 stickers?!

Kids will be entertained for hours on end with this super duper activity book. My daughter particularly enjoyed the dress-up and treasure hunt pages. Also, because this is a Ladybird book you can search for the lovely little ladybird hidden on each page.

How to be a Skullabones Pirate is an all-round big winner that we loved. Perfect for taking on car journeys or those rainy days.We just can't wait to go on our next Skullabones adventure!

5 / 5 stars!

*Special thanks to Ladybird for the review copy*


Thursday, 5 June 2014

My Pop-up World: Weather by Nicola Killen


My Review

This fantastic little pop-up weather book is a huge favourite in our house as there is plenty to discover and explore.

Kids will adore turning each page to find a brand new weather related pop-up. The pop-ups themselves are excellent and really bounce right up out of the page. Our favourite had to be the page with the twirly whirly scarf, as it sprung and boinked right up over two pages.

The only downside - the pop-ups are very easily ripped, so I would say this book is best shared with those rough little fingers.

What child doesn't want to learn about the world around them and this is a wonderful little insight into different sorts of weather. We loved that when the weather was really terrible, the little person in this book stayed indoors and read the little book of weather.

A bright and cherry pop-up book that introduces weather in a really fun filled way - what's not to love?

4 / 5 stars

*Special thanks to Egmont for the review copy*

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Maisie Hitchins: The Case of the Secret Tunnel by Holly Webb - Blog Tour!

Summary from Amazon UK

Maisie Hitchins longs to be a detective. She's sure there are lots of adventures to be had on the streets of Victorian London. And, together with her faithful puppy, Eddie, she is determined to follow even the slightest scent of a mystery - no matter what! In Book 5 of the Maisie Hitchins series, Maisie is intrigued by a new lodger, Mr Fred Grange, who isn't quite what he seems...Mr Grange claims to work as a clerk for a biscuit company, but he's out and about on the London streets at odd hours, and Maisie soon discovers something very precious hidden in his rooms. Determined to unmask him as a thief, she soon discovers that the truth is far more complicated - and dangerous. Before long, Maisie and her friends are led into a web of mystery lurking underground...

A fantastic mystery series from best-selling author Holly Webb, packed with adventure, Maisie Hitchins is perfect for readers aged six to eight years.

Paperback: 176 pages 
Publisher: Stripes Publishing (5 May 2014)

Character Profile

Full Name: Maisie Victoria Hitchins
Age: 10
Likes: Mint humbugs and people-watching.
Dislikes: Boiled fish, housework (even though she's good at it), stuck-up girls, cleaning out Professor Tobin's parrot cage (smelly, and Jasper is very hard to get back in again).

Hobbies: Detecting - Maisie works very hard at the boarding house, so she doesn't have a lot of time for hobbies but detecting can often be fitted in when she's out on errands.

Favourite things: Maisie's hero is Gilbert Carrington, the famous detective. There aren't many books at the boarding house, but Maisie follows Gilbert Carrington's cases in Gran's newspaper. Her most treasured possession is the magnifying glass given her by Professor Tobin.

Friends: Eddie, her dog. Eddie is Maisie's Faithful Assistant (all detectives should have one); Alice - really Maisie and Alice shouldn't have much in common, as Alice is very rich and spoiled. But they are both a little lonely, and they struck up a friendship when Alice came to the house for French lessons with Madame Lorimer; George, the butcher's boy. One of Maisie's first cases was clearing George's name, when he was suspected of stealing money from the butcher's shop. George is useful back-up when Maisie and Eddie need help, and being a delivery boy, he has great cover as a spy. 




Holly Webb started writing while working as a children’s books editor. She lives in Berkshire, with her husband and three sons, and is the author of many best-selling books. Find out more about Holly at her website, www.holly-webb.com

Some Thoughts 

We haven't actually finished reading this book yet so we couldn't review it.  To be honest we are taking our time reading these books as they just beg to be savored and adored.

Maisie is a fantastic heroine who is a wonderful role model. The Victorian London setting is really interesting and we are loving being transported there alongside Maisie while she looks for clues.

The illustrations are really lovely and break up the book beautifully. My sneaky daughter was skipping ahead to see the next picture.

Eddie the dog is a wonderful companion and friend to Maisie. My son is called Eddie, much to my daughters amusement.

We think these books are exciting and a little bit different from everything else out there on the market. We are thoroughly enjoying the mysteries in each book and can't wait to go on more adventures with Maisie!

Look out for my reviews in the coming weeks!


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A Day WIth Barbapapa by Annette Tison & Talus Taylor


My Review

A big hip hip hooray for a chunky Barbapapa tabbed board book! Just perfect for sharing with rough little fingers and making brand new Barbapapa fans!

My 17 month old LOVES this book and he just adores nothing more than to flip back and forth pointing to his favourite Barbababy - he's a big Barbabeau fan!

The storyline takes us through a day in the life of the Barbapapa family. We get to see what each Barbababy is good at, they all have their own unique talent. The day even winds down with a family bed-time story.

There is a lovely little message in any Barbapapa book - that everyone is different and also that everybody is good a doing different things.

A Day With Barbapapa is a really wonderful story. It's bright, colourful and it's unique illustrations make it stand out from the crowd. Just perfect for any toddler!

5 / 5 Stars

*Special thanks to Orchard for the review copy*


Monday, 26 May 2014

Goodnight Pirate by Michelle Robinson & Mick East


My Review

We love, love, LOVE Goodnight Pirate! My 17 month old simply adores it, he picks it up at lots of different times throughout the day and brings it over to be read. He sits quietly (shocking!) and his eyes light up. It's fair to say it's his favourite book.

This Goodnight book is about a little boy, who is tidying up his pirate toys to get ready for bed. While tidying he veers off on a last minute swash buckling adventure before winding down nicely for a sleepy ending.

The text is really gorgeous and rhymes in a really fantastic sing-songy way. We loved the little build-up bit in the middle - it causes some great excitement.

The illustrations are quite simply fabulous! The Little boy is ever soooo cute and we adored seeing his pirating adventure unfolding so vibrantly before our eyes.

Goodnight Pirate is a BIG winner! We wonder if there will be more Goodnight books....

5 / 5 Stars

*Special thanks to Puffin for the review copy*