Category Archives: Uncategorized

March Reads

Here are the kids top reads for the month of March all scoring 4 or 5 stars.

  • Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve – a thrilling adventure that keeps you hooked at every word but beware the sad ending
  • Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer
  • Politics for Beginners by Alex Frith, Rosie Hore, Louie Stowell and Kellan Stover
  • Amelia Fang & the Half-Moon Holiday by Lauren Ellen Anderson

    Rosie Revere & the Raucous Riveteers by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts – an entertaining funny book all about never giving up even if things are going wrong.
    Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez Gomez – has such amazing pictures and colours.
    Little Bears Spring by Elli Woollard and Briony May Smith – I like it because when things seemed terrible there was light and the pictures are beautiful.
    The Ice Monster by David Walliams and Tony Ross – is very funny & made me laugh out loud.

Illustrated Library

Libraries & librarians in picture books

The book Without a Story by Carolina Rabei

Discover life in the library at night & where the importance of readers is explored.

Lola Dutch is a little bit much by Kenneth & Sarah Jane Wright

Meet the unstoppable Lola Dutch who has great ideas including heading to the library.

Heading home with ALL the books

The Covers of my Book are Too Far Part (and other grumbles) by Vivian French & Nigel Baines

A book celebrating all that is brilliant about books & reading. Snippets of bookish thoughts & experiences

A horse librarian

An asian Harry Potter 👍🏽

February Reads

Here are the kids top reads for the month of February all scoring 4 or 5 stars. This month they got to read part 8 of a long running favourite graphic novel series and plenty of exciting stories.

Supernova by Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet Series Book 8) – a comic series full of adventure & twists & turns.

In The Hands of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce (Alanna Series Book 2) – is exciting to see what happens next to Alanna & in this book she meets a magical cat.

Ninja Kid: From Nerd to Ninja by Anh Do and Jeremy Ley – a funny book with a silly grandma who makes amazing inventions.

Pages & Co: Tilly & the Bookwanderers by Anna James – an exciting book with great literary recommendations

The Starspun Web by Sinead O’Hart – a super good science fiction book involving quantum dimensions.

Race to the Frozen North by Catherine Johnson illustrated by Katie Hickey – history that everyone should know about, the story about the first man to the North Pole, Matthew Henson forgotten about because of the colour of his skin.

January Reads

Here are the kids top reads for the month of Jan all scoring 4 or 5 stars. It was the month they both discovered manga series they liked from the local library as well as re-reads of favourite series.

  • Sea (Huntress Trilogy) by Sarah Driver – an exciting adventure book set in a complete fantasy world.
  • Goblins by Philip Reeve – a funny read with a great adventure.
  • The Stormkeeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle – a magical amazing read with heart (highly recommended)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa – magic & wizardry 

  • The Legend of Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood & David Wyatt – its a great adventure series.
  • Bunny vs Monkey by Jamie Smart – is really really funny.
  • Splatoon vol 1 by Sankichi Hinodeya – liked the characters & their cool names.
  • Harry Potter & the Philosophers Stone by J.K.Rowling & Jim Kay – thrilling & I wanted to know what happens next.

Mini Bookish Village – Advent

In Dec 2018 I created a mini bookish house/hotel/library/castle/zebra crossing etc. each day leading up to Christmas based on some of our fave reads. 

Luckily with such fantastic illustrated fiction it was easy to copy iconic buildings to hide an advent treat behind.  It was also a fun way to rediscover some glorious books & reminisce about why we enjoyed them so much.

Here are some close ups and pics of all the wonderful books that they were based on which we highly recommend.

Going from the top row –

And last but not least a series we discovered watching the Blue Peter book awards and has become a huge favourite. 


Harry Potter series by JK Rowling (we also love the illustrated series by Jim Kay)

Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

Riddle of the Runes Dr Janina Ramirez Illustrated By David Wyatt

Pugs of the Frozen North by Sarah McIntyre & Philip Reeve 

Witch Wars by Sibéal Pounder & illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson

House on Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl illustrated by Quentin Blake

Ottoline series by Chris Riddell 

Uncle Stories by J.P Martin illustrated by Quentin Blake

Nothing to See Here Hotel by Steven Butler illustrated by Steven Lenton

Hilda by Luke Pearson

Wild Robot by Peter Brown

King Flashypants by Andy Riley

Dave Pigeon by Swapna Haddow illustrated by Sheena Dempsey

Beetle Boy series by M.G Leonard illustrated by Júlia Sardà

Bunny vs Monkey by Jamie Smart

The Murderer’s Ape by Jakob Wegelius

Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Sinclair’s Mysteries by Katherine Woodfine illustrated by Karl James Mountford 

Mango and Bambang by Polly Faber illustrated by Clara Vulliamy

The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig illustrates by Chris Mould

The Hobbit by J.R Tolkien

Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson 

Podkin One Ear by Keiran Larwood illustrated by David Wyatt

Hilarious picture books

A couple of picture books that have had the kids rolling on the floor with laughter.Oi Duck-Billed Platypus by Kes Gray & Jim Field.

Cat, dog & frog are back for a fourth book and this time they face a ‘crowd of animals with impossible-to-rhyme-with names’. The only solution is to rhyme with their first names. 

Glorious brightly coloured pages of animals sitting on the absurd & wonderful rhymes to wrap your tongue around, comedy gold.

Going on a volcanco by Andy Stanton and Miguel Ordóñez

This book does what it says on the cover ‘So funny you’ll ERUPT with laughter’ and no matter how many times we read it (quiet a lot) it does not fail at making the kids laugh out loud.

A simple tale of Dwayne & Jane-o, going to the volcano told in repetitive rhyming couplets. Adding an -o to the end of words triggered endless chuckles, as did the funny characters including ‘Roger the incredible colour-changing cat’. 

The perfect silly read.

Summer Reading Map

In the summer son decided to read books set in different countries. So after drawing & painting a map of the world, asking our local bookshop & twitter for suggestions he was ready to set off.

It was an epic journey discovering new authors, trying different genres, hunting out books set in exotic locations & remembering to write a postcard from each book. 

Books read:

ANTARCTIC – Below Zero by Dan Smith

ARCTIC – Voyage to Magical North by Claire Fayers

BRAZIL – Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson

CANADA – Spynosaur in The Spys the Limit by Guy Bass

CHINA – Ghosts of Shanghai by Julian Sedgwick

EGYPT – Jake Atlas and the Tomb of the Emerald Snake by Rob Lloyd Jones

FINLAND – Big Game by Dan Smith

FRANCE – Gommer Goof:Mind the Goof (Gaston Lagaffe) by Andre Franquin & Jerome Saincantin

Peril in Paris by Katherine Woodfine

INDIA – Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth

INDONESIA – Kick by Mitch Johnson

IRELAND – Midnight (Skullduggery Pleasant) by Derek Landy

ITALY – Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

MEDITERRANEAN SEA – Illegal by Eoin Colfer

MEXICO – Jake Atlas and the Hunt for the Feathered God by Rob Lloyd Jones

PAKISTAN – I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban By Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb

RUSSIA – House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

Spirou & Fantasio in Moscow by Tome & Janry

UK  -Itch by Simon Mayo

The Whispering Mountain by Joan Aiken

USA -Wonder by R J Palacio

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil by E. Frankweiler

Pony on the twelfth floor by Polly Faber and Sara Jennings

This week we have been reading Pony on the Twelfth Floor by Polly Faber illustrated by Sarah zjennings
This is a story about a girl called Kizzy who’s dreams come true when she discovers a pony in her local supermarket. Looking after a pony when you live in a tower block without your mum finding out is however not without its problems. 

We were not pony mad when we started the book but by the end Kizzys unwavering love of all things horses & her dedication to caring for Flapjack completely won us over. 

Kizzys schemes to keep flapjack & fulfil her dreams of learning to ride kept us completely hooked & often in fits of giggles, anything relating to horse poo were a particular favourite with daughter (luckily this featured a lot)

This funny read with its tremendous heart depicts the power of friendship & community in helping realising your dreams. (Another key message is drawing horses takes lots of practise)

Summer Adventure Books

Here’s the perfect solution to summer moans of ‘I am bored’, two recently released chapter books

A Chase In Time by Sally Nicholls & illustrated by Brett Helquist is the first in a new timeslip adventure series. The story is about Alex & his sister Ruby who, while staying at their Aunts house, are pulled through a mirror back to 1912. Luckily they are befriended by Dora & Henry and it isnt long before the four children fall headlong into a mystery that needs solving & criminals that need catching.

This is a fast paced exciting quick read with heaps of action & plenty of historical detail. Finding themselves in Edwardian times Alex & Ruby are continually amazed at how things have changed and are often comparing modern life with the past which I thought was a great way of bringing history to life. 

I also liked the way the story while set in the past had ties to the present. Alex & Ruby were not only fortunate enough to meet their ancestors but in helping them they also get to help themselves making for a fulfilling read.

Packed with adventure, including a gripping car chase, and a great cast of children & adults there is plenty to enjoy in this book.

In Knights & Bikes,  by Gabriella Kent illustrated by Rex Crowle & Luke Newell, we head off to the Island of Penfurzy for more adventure although this time with a touch of the fantastical & strange (but in a good way). 

This book is based on an upcoming video game, of the same name, and now having met the main protagonists Demelza & Nessa am in no doubt that whatever the format these two rule.

This was another excellent & exciting read with a budding new friendship, a goose called Captain Honkers, a town full of eccentrics & a knight worthy quest. Daughter was keen on wanting to read more adventure stories and this more than fitted the bill.

Demelza & Nessa are on a quest to uncover the mysteries of the Penfurzy Knights which leads them to perilous situations & dangerous obstacles to overcome. They are determined to find the treasure and save the day.

There is much to celebrate in the book especially the two heroines whose courage & loyalty drive the story as they battle with diggers, statues & even a castle. Their tendency to dive in regardless of the danger or risk is why I am in no doubt that these are the role models that my daughter has been waiting for.

For me part of the fun of the book was in the quirky setting & in spotting 80s pop culture references.

This is the perfect summer read for when the children are taking a break from their own amazing madcap adventures and the good news is it looks like there is more to come!

Fabulous Picturebooks

Lately we have been reading 3 picture books which I would urge you to seek out & enjoy too.

This beautifully poetic book by Chitra Soundar & Poonam Mistry is the perfect bedtime read. Mama Elephant (who according to daughter reminds her of me, am hoping more for my comforting nature & less for my size) is helping a group of young animals get to sleep. Out in the wild they are kept awake by noises such as the wind, thunder & rushing water. Luckily Mama Elephant has comforting words of wisdom weaving the perfect soporific atmosphere. With hypnotic words & illustrations we were all ready for a good nights sleep after reading this. 

From the sleepy to the exuberant next up is New Neighbours by Sarah McIntyre where we meet a tower block of characterful creatures. 

News reaches the young bunnies at the top about the arrival of new neighbours. They race down to tell the others but joy soon turns to worry as each neighbour adds their own concerns & prejudice. Unsurprisingly their neighbours arent all they feared. 

This is a gem of a book full of fun but with an important message too. Both children instantly understood the dangers of jumping to conclusions & the value of being welcoming. They were pleased that the neighbours learnt this lesson too. 

Daughter was very taken with the young rabbits whose enthusiasm to meet the new neighbours wasnt dampened by the others. Using the activity sheet created by the author she started her own comic, featuring versions of the rabbits, titled the ‘Magic Portal’, hopefully a portal to a generous & understanding world.

Our last read introduced us to our new favourite heroine, Billy in Billy and the Beast by Nadia Shireen. With donuts in her hair, compassion & intelligence whats not to love! 

Billy & Fat Cat are walking in the woods one day when they meet a big hairy hungry beast. Fortunately with some quick thinking  Billy is able to save the day. There is plenty of fun to be had in outwitting the Beast & we are Team Billy forever.