Author Archives: damyanti

Funny Chapter Books

We have been enjoying a trio of fabulous books from the publisher, Nosy Crow.
First up is the second book in a series published by Nosy Crow in partnership with the National Trust, The Secret Diary of Jane Pinny, Victorian Housemaid (and accidental Detective) by Philip Ardagh & Jamie Littler.

This highly illustrated story is brimming with facts, laughs, drama, intrigue & a pigeon who writes. The story is generously peppered with historical nuggets, interesting & short enough not to distract you too much from the exciting story. I really liked the way it gently introduces some history alongside painting a vivid picture of life in a grand house. I have no doubt that on our next visit to a NT stately home property we shall be thinking about Jane & life as a housemaid.

A book we just couldnt put down was Spectre Collector, To Ghoul for School by Barry Hutchinson. In this story a schoolboy calked Denzel finds himself mixed up with Spectre Collectors, a secret ghost-battling organisation. He finds himself suddenly losing any sense of normality & being left completely unprepared to deal with the supernatural. Luckily he discovers some friends to help him save the day

While reading I was reminded of great blockbuster movies such as Men in Black & Ghostbusters owing to its fast pace, great sense of humour & explosive action.

The last book is You Cant Make Ne go to Witch School by Em Lynas which follows the story of Daisy Wart. Daisy finds herself at Witch school but feels it’s a big mistake as she should really be at drama school. Her attempts to escape the school lead to adventures, new discoveries & more importantly new friends. 

Daisy is the star of this show & it was great to have such a sparky characterful protagonist bringing this story to life. 

Al’s Awesome Science: Egg-speriments by Jane Clark and James Brown

Al’s Awesome Science is not only a fun introduction to conducting science experiments but a sweet story too. Its easy to get carried along with the enthusiasm of Al & his sister Lottie as they work towards testing whether an egg is the most suitable shape for a time machine.

Throughout the story Al writes up his experiments noting down what the used, what they did, the results & most importantly his observations. There are also some handy tips if tempted to try these out at home.

After reading this book I did have a few worries about what mess I might find in the garden as daughter took it on herself to experiment. I soon realised however that if the book encouraged curiosity, independence, a desire to question and to test out theories, a few broken eggs would be totally worth it.  

Thanks to the publisher, Five Quills,  for the review copy.

Donut of Doom by Elys Dolan

We have been lucky enough to discover lots of funny books this summer including this absolute wonder, The Donut of Doom by Elys Dolan. Thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.

We have all enjoyed this book & my 6 yr old has a few things she wanted to share about the book;

“The Donut of Doom is an inspiring & funny book. It has different foods & the heroine is Nancy McNutty who is a peanut butter sandwich working as a reporter. When I read it aloud I like to giver her an American accent.

The book is about Nancy McNutty saving everyone from the evil “Donut of Doom”. The donut was an experiment going wrong at Lemon Labs by Professor Nutcase who combined “batter icing & a whole load of sprinkles” & made a giant food eating donut. The police, firemen & the army all tried to defeat the donut but it was Nancy who saved the day.

I liked all the food puns, like a mugger who is mug or the biscuit police who say they will take the donut ‘into custardy’ they made me laugh & they were fun to spot. As well as the main story about the Donut there are also other things the different food are chatting about like the lemon looking for Gary. 

I would recommend this book to people who like eating food & who like puns.”

Daughter also tried to creat her own foodie characters in the style of book.


Fun Library Haul

Here are some recent books we’ve had trouble letting go & returning to the library because they are just so much fun;

King Coo by Adam Stower, 
a highly illustrated short chapter book featuring my new favourite zany bearded heroine, King Coo. With fabulous illustrations this exciting romp was a joy to read & favourite for the whole household.

Inspector Flytrap by Tom Angleberger & Cece Bell
had us in stitches with the premise alone. A detective Venus Flytrap scooting around town on a skateboard, pushed by a goat, solving silly crimes! With ingenious illustrations these comic capers were a hit & we cant wait to read more.

The Curious case of the Missing Mammoth by Ellie Hattie & Karl James Mountford.

In this tale we are chasing a baby mammoth around a museum where the exhibits all come to life. There are numerous flaps on each spread full of fascinating facts. The are also jokes aplenty with beautiful detailed illustrations to pour over & luxuriate in. Its a fun informative book & so much less tiring then taking the kids round an actual museum.

The Legend of Rock, paper scissors by Drew Daywalt & Adam Rex is brimming with gags & hilarious fighting talk. An origin story for Rock, Paper & Scissors we get to delight in the absurd pairings they encounter before they finally discover each other & the legendary game is born.

Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes by Rachel Cloyne

We were lucky enough to get out our colouring pens & pencils again to try out these exquisite new colouring books of cards & envelopes by Rachel Cloyne from Nosy Crow.

These two books feature illustrations inspired by patterns & objects found in the British Museum. One is themed around flowers & patterns and the other around animals & birds.

The intricate patterns are perfectly suited for either big swatches of colour for those who like to fill the page quickly or for more detailed colouring for those who like to fill each individual line area. In my experience the children start slowly & delicately but have a tendency to rush near the end.

We have enjoyed looking at the objects at the back of the book & making plans to track them down at the British Museum next time we visit. 

With school nearly over & a number of thank you cards for the children to write to their hardworking patient teachers these book have arrived at the perfect moment!

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

The Big Bird Spot by Matt Sewell

This is a fun spotting book focusing on birds in a variety of different habitats across the world. Each page is a glorious explosion of colour & shape making it a joy to study while endeavouring to find all the birds. 

My experience of bird hides with the children involve unsuccessful attempts at being quiet, an inordinate amount of time getting binoculars into focus followed by 10 seconds of watching & declaring there are only ducks. 

No such drama with this book! The pages are awash with birds & while some pages trickier than others, spotting 22 Ibis amongst flamingoes was no mean feat, it has kept us thoroughly entertained. 

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

Chapter Books April

A couple of favourite Nosy Crow reads this last month have been the fabulously funny Werewolf in my Tent by Pamela Butchart with illustrations by Thomas Flintham & the thrilling Jamie Drake Equation by Christopher Edge.

Werewolf in my Tent is the 6th book featuring Izzy & her friends. While B was already a firm fan of this series it was new to F & me. We read it together over the course of a week with regular cries of “please don’t stop, just one more chapter”, clearly a complete hit.
As camping trips go this was filled with plenty of strange goings on including spooky howling noises, missing sausages, scratch marks & a big poo (you can just imagine the giggles this induced). Izzy & her friends draw their own conclusions leading to plenty of excitement & adventure.
There is lots to enjoy about this book, the fabulous illustrations, the wonderful voices of the children, the great friendships, laugh out loud moments & the simple style of writing making it perfect for confident early readers. 

The Jamie Drake Equation is for older readers & was quickly devoured by B (9yrs). I thought this was a great example of science fiction for children & B declared he “liked how the book taught you about space & technology through an emotional story”. 
B summarised the story as “a novel about a boy who’s father is an astronaut. His dad goes on a mission to the international space station to launch some space probes but when his mission goes wrong its up to Jamie to save the day”
We both enjoyed this book, I liked how the family drama intermingled with the out of this world adventures. B however was very much taken with the science aspect & was quick to include an equation is his own science fiction story. An inspirational & engaging read.

Thanks to the publishers for providing a review copies.

The Secret of Black Rock

The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton

Photo of book coverThis is a fabulous picture book featuring an adventurous feisty heroine, Erin. Erin is determined to discover more about the legend of Black Rock. After sneaking onto her mums fishing boat she soon gets her wish when she comes face to face with Black Rock & uncovers the real truth. 

A marvelous ‘modern folk tale’ touching on issues of the environment & the dangers of rumours based on fear.

Photo of play do model of Erin

Play Doh model of Erin made by daughter

During the Easter holiday the children fell in love with paddling in the sea & scouring rock pools for sea life. The Secret of Black Rock proved the perfect end to their own coastal adventures night after night. 

Pictures by the children

Scratch Art Black Rocks

Thanks to the publishers for providing a review copy. 

Easter Colouring from Nosy Crow

We are very excited to try out these gorgeous high quality activity books from Nosy Crow. They are also proving to be excellent in keeping the children entertained over easter.

With the Press Out & colour books the children loved choosing their favourite birds. Both the birds & eggs are made from nice quality card which meant we could colour from feltips to pencils. 

The Press Out & Colour Easter Eggs book has been a useful source for easter activities including bonnet making. I am also looking forward to hiding a few for the Easter Egg hunt on sunday (hoping it will help reduce the amount of chocolate!)

Something else we are looking forward to doing is filling these beautiful gift boxes.

There is more to colour with these boxes and I found them not as robust as the press out eggs or birds book. The patterns however are very beautiful & perfect for spring. 

I may fill a few uncoloured boxes with some small crayons as the ideal activity when we are out & about.

Thanks to the publishers for providing these review copies.