The Little Gems reads, produced by the fabulous Barrington Stoke, are a delightful series of short chapter books with engaging stories and featuring plenty of colourful illustrations that are perfect for emerging readers. Albert Johnson and the Buns of Steel is one of the newest additions to the series and sees author Phil Earle and illustrator Steve May reuniting again.
Albert Johnson comes from a family of Master Bakers and his father has high hopes of his son carrying on the family tradition. With a thriving business, it is the perfect time for dad to teach Albert the art of baking. Only one problem…Albert prefers eating to baking and would really rather be playing sport.
Distraught with his son’s lack of interest in the family business and tired from working long hours, dad thinks he has come up with the perfect solution to his baking problem…the Doughmaster 5000 - a state of the art baking machine. But soon the Doughmaster comes to life and is causing all manner of chaos and is completely out of control. Armed with cricket bat, tennis racquet, golf club and two table tennis paddles, Albert is ready to bring the baguette throwing, bun chucking, dough launching baking menace to its knees. But can he really stop a rampaging robot and its buns of steel…
I feel very hungry after reading this story and desperately want to try a cake or loaf from the Johnson’s family bakery - preferably served by the delightful Mr. Johnson and not thrown at me by the out-of-control Doughmaster 5000. This is a fabulously engaging sci-fi adventure that sees a disgruntled robot turn on his inventor and children will love the hilarious battle sequence. But what will come out on top, balls or baguettes?
Even though this is a short story at under one-hundred pages, I really feel like I got to know the characters and sympathised with both of them. Dad is tired from all of the baking and is desperate to keep up with the demand of his customers. But all of this work has meant that he has become distant from his son and doesn’t realise what is important in Albert’s life. By the end, the two have reconnected over a shared love of sport and who knows, maybe Albert will find some time to fit a spot of baking into his life too!
Barrington Stoke have a wonderful reputation for producing dyslexia friendly books and this addition to the ‘Little Gems’ series is printed in dyslexia friendly font and on cream tinted paper ensuring the book can be accessed by every child. Bold and bright illustrations by Steve May are awesome and bring the baking chaos to life - I loved the action scenes of the battle. An added extra comes in the form of a spot-the-difference that can be found on the inside front cover.
Recommended for 5+.