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Fun Inspiring Reads

This week we have been enjoying

Ten Fat Sausages by Michelle Robinson & Tor Freeman

This book had us running a gamut of emotions, from hope, fear, concern to stifling the giggles. A fantastically funny twist on the 10 Fat Sausages rhyme for those with a slightly dark sense of humour. 

For the sausages getting out of the frying pan might seem like the easy part but navigating the kitchen is like jumping into the fire, will any of them make it free?

An instant hit in the house with everyone this book is bursting with personality, silliness & heaps of fun.

Little Red Reading Hood by Lucy Rowland & Ben Mantle

A wonderful book celebrating imagination & the creativity stories can inspire. 

In this story Little Red Reading Hood is off to return some library books but meets a wolf who encourages her to strays of the path. As the story proceeds down the familiar route, of the wolf plotting to eat up our clever heroine, she is left to rescue not just herself but the wolf as well. 

I loved the illustrations especially the spreads of her reading, showing the magic & wonder of getting lost in a good story.

An inspirational & fun story which had my daughter creating new fairy tales as soon as we finished reading the book!

The Man Who Loved Libraries: The Story of Andrew Carnegie by Andrew Larsen & Katty Maurey

This is a story about the philanthropy of Carnegie who was responsible for creating public libraries around the world. With painterly illustrations depicting Carnegies life from boy to man and showing how through the opportunites provided by a library he was able to build a successful business. While the footnotes hint that not all Carnegies actions were so generous the story does however highlight the power of public libraries in helping people realise their potential & provide opportunities for all. 

With the UK suffering widespread under investment in libraries leading to closures and/or reduction of services & skilled staff opportunities are sadly being removed from those who need them the most. 

Juniper Jupiter by Lizzy Stewart

This is a sweet story about friendship. 

Juniper Jupiter is a super-hero but ‘its no big deal’ on a mission to find a side kick. A story focusing less on the super hero tricks of flying & more on what makes us all heroes, being brave, strong, smart & funny. 

Juniper eventually finds her sidekick right under her nose & she doesnt need to look to far to find another superhero, her mum of course.

The Wonderling by Mira Bartók

This week I have been reading The Wonderling by Mira Bartók, an atmospheric & enthralling story. 

The hero of the story is a one eared groundling, a mix of fox & boy, of many names who embarks on a quest full of adventure & peril where heart wins out.

The story starts at a miserable orphanage, Miss Carbunkle’s Home For Wayward & Misbegotten Creatures, where we meet Number Thirteen, a shy foxlike groundling. With the help and courage of friends such as Trinket he escapes the orphanage and goes looking for his past but soon discovers he has a much bigger destiny to fill.

As with any quest there are villains to battle, obstacles to overcome & friendships to discover. Although the story rolls forward at a gentle pace the wonderfully realised world with its mix of magical fantastical characters against a steampunk background meant I was happily captivated throughout. 

This is a book to get easily lost in & a reminder of the healing power of music, hope & dreams.

Thanks to the publisher for sending this review copy

Unicorn Academy by Julie Sykes and Lucy Truman

“Imagine a school where you meet your own unicorn and have amazing adventures together! That’s what happens for the girls at Unicorn Academy on beautiful Unicorn Island.”

I was hooked on the premise alone, unicorns & a school story! Things only got better when I saw the sparkly covers. I thought this would be a fun, heart warming easy read & it didnt disappoint.

In this series you get to meet different pupils & unicorns of Unicorn Academy as they face familiar school tropes alongside mini adventures.

In Sophia & Rainbow, we meet Sophia on her first day at school. She soon settles into school life, makes new friends and bonds with Rainbow her unicorn. When magic starts to go wrong, can Sophia & Rainbow save Sparkle Lake?

I think this fun series is the perfect comforting read when you are in need for something gentle and sweet. I can see F devouring these easily & luckily we have Scarlett and Blaze to read next.

We were kindly sent these books from the publisher.

Bright colourful reads

Here are some books we have been enjoying recently;

Spyder by Matr Carr

Spyder is the perfect fun-size adventure.

When the worlds smallest secret agent is given a special mission she has to use all her smarts to save the day. The bright illustrations instantly attracted the children as did seeing the world from Spyder’s point of view.


With its punchy humour, sweet story & a sprinkle of spider facts this was a treat of a read.

Pirates of Scurvy Sands by Johnny Duddle

Matilda & the Jolley-Rogers are back in this swashbuckling sequel to ‘The Pirates Next Door’ and this time its Matilda’s turn to feel out of place. This mirrors the first story offering a sense of familiarity as you spot the many references to the original. 

The children are huge fans of Jim & Matilda & quickly devoured this book. They especially enjoyed the reversal of roles like the pirates being shocked at Matilda good table manners.

A rollicking rhyming riotous pirate adventure with plenty of detail to spot, this helps make the constant re-reads always feel fresh.

The Knight Who Said “NO!” by Lucy Rowland & Kate Hindley

This is another brilliant rhyming story of a young knight Ned who always says Yes until the day he gets cross & decides to say No.

The kids thought both Ned & the dragon looked polar opposites but were actually very similar & just in need of a friend. The story also touches upon the message that everyone can get cross sometimes & thats ok, who hasn’t felt ‘all hot inside and cross from top to toe”

The books is also wonderfully illustrated & the kids were especially keen on the parents who they thought were ginormous.

A heartwarming story that leaves you smiling.

I Do Not Like Books Anymore by Daisy Hirst

When this book arrived from the publisher for review the kids whisked it away & decided to take over this post!

B (10) & F (7)

“Weve been reading Daisy Hirsts I Do Not Like Books Anymore. Its about Natalie & her inquisitive little brother Alphonse. Natalie is struggling to learn how to read and in the story she gets frustrated and wants to give up because she thinks she cant do it until she remembers how she likes making up stories. I think this book is all about not giving up. 

B: What was you favourite part of the book?

F: I liked the end when Natalie reads the book that she made with her brother.

B: Why do you like that part?

F: Because Alphonse is so funny asking is it terrapins!

B: Which character did you like in the story?

F: I like Miss Bimble because she is kind & helpful.

B:If you could write a book like Natalie what would it be called?

F: The crayons that came alive.

F: Who is your fave charcater?

B: I liked the parents because they were encouraging but also let Natalie find her own way.

F: What is your favourite part & why?

B: I liked it when they were making up their story because they invented a cool story & used their toys to act it out.

F: What was the funniest part in the story?

B: Alphonse’s interjections to the story 😂

We would give this book 5 out of 5 stars, everyone will like reading it.

We decided to be like Natalie & Alphonse and make our own story”

Neon Leon & Firefly Home

We have been reading Neon Leon & Firefly Home by Jane Clarke & Britta Teckentrup.

In Neon Leon we meet a chameleon who doesn’t change colours like the other chameleons and is looking for somewhere he can fit in. In Firefly Home we meet Florence the firefly who needs help finding her way home.

I think these are perfect read aloud books as the children can join in either counting to 10 before turning the page, tracing the bright firefly trails or answering the simple questions to help Florence or Leon. As well as having fun joining in & feeling part of the story the books also teach the importance of kindness & helping.

These beautifully bright eyecatching books have you glowing inside & out.

The books also inspired us to get creative. We added our own twist to the Hot & Cold game. While one of us hid a see through chameleon who could blend into any background the other (with Leon & Florence) had the tricky task of finding them.

We were kindly sent these books from the publisher.

Tin by Pádraig Kenny

A review by my 10yr old

“Tin is set in a world where mechanicals are self aware. Engineers who make these mechanicals use a combination of metal & magic runes.

Christopher is an ordinary boy who lives with Mr Absalom, a greedy engineer, and his mechanicals; Jack, Round Rob, Grippa & Manda. 

Christopher is involved in an accident which uncovers an alarming secret & leads to him being taken away. His mechanical friends & Estelle, a “skin maker”, go on a daring rescue mission enlisting the help of one of the greatest mechanics of all time.

This is a sentimental book focusing on friends & family alongside an exhilarating adventure. I enjoyed how the adventure brought the friends, with their different personalities closer together. I also thought the human characters were always quick to anger and I felt the mechanicals showed more humanity, which made me think about how the humans could learn from these robots. 

My favourite mechanical in the story is Round Rob, with his barrel shaped body he was always rolling around & losing his head which made me laugh.

I would recommend this book to anyone who liked Peter Bunzl’s Cogheart (another good read), likes adventures and likes stories that make you think. “

Spy Dad by Jukka Laajarinne and Timo Mänttäri

There is plenty to enjoy in Spy Dad, with its stylish retro illustration, intelligent humour & story with an important message. 
In the story Olivia has had enough of her parents being constantly busy. Her dads job as a spy means long hours so when he decides to quit to spend more time with her it isnt long before Olivia realises that they need something that makes them both happy. 
Like all exciting action movies the first double page has our hero in peril tied to a chair with a ticking bomb, he frees himself with seconds to spare and gets away hanging off a helicopter. Usually at this point the camera pans away as we breathe a sigh of relief that the hero escaped but this time we get to see him take a call from his daughter who is keen for an answer to the important question of getting a pet.

I really enjoyed the humour of the juxtaposition of the mundane with the exciting spy life. It also provided a remarkable backdrop to the theme of the story, a common worry for some families about spending enough quality time together.

This was a story I could very much relate to, while my occupation has more to do with spreadsheets & less to do with death defying adventures, as a family we do strive for a better work life balance in order to that we could all be happy.

A beautifully designed & smart picture book highlighting some of the tricky decisions adults face.

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy