Nat Luurtsema brings her comedic genius to the middle grade book scene in a laugh-out-loud read.
If, like me, you’ve wondered what animals were thinking and what they would say if they could communicate with humans, then wonder no more as Opie Jones has the amazing - and maybe somewhat useless - ability to read the minds of animals! Brilliant, well at least I think it is which is not a view shared by most of the other characters in the story. Speaking of…
I loved going to the theme park as a child, the excitement of all the different rides, the delicious smells of hotdogs, candy floss and sugary doughnuts, and of course, meeting the mascots (Henry Hound being a personal favourite).
Unfortunately, the Happy Ranch theme park has seen better days and is set to be demolished leaving its resident mascots extremely upset, homeless and unemployed. Buck and Bronco have only ever known life at the Happy Ranch and making people happy.
I’m a massive fan of Pip Jones’ books so I was absolutely delighted to hear that she had teamed up with Barrington Stoke to write a story for their superb Little Gems series. Jones’ previous works, that include Squishy McFluff, Izzy Gizmo and Piggy Handsome, are all brilliant and make for excellent choices for newly independent readers and I can now add Madam Squeaker to that list.
All is not well at Hollyhock House. The rats are taking over. They are eating all the food, and worse still, they want the entire house for themselves, forcing all the other animals to go and live in The Bogland. This is completely and totally unfair and Minetta Squeaker plans on doing something about it. But Minetta is having a confidence crisis. Barely taller than a cotton reel and with a squeaky little voice no-one pays her any attention.
As today is ANZAC day, I wanted to share with you a beautiful new book that I picked up from my local library. This is Where I Stand is told from the viewpoint of a statue of a World War I soldier who narrates to the reader what he has witnessed from his years on his pedestal before recounting his memories of the war.
No matter the weather a soldier stands proudly on his plinth. Ever awake, he witnesses the seasons as they change, the people as they visit and the nocturnal animals that awaken from their daytime slumber. Some people stop and stare, others pass by as if he wasn’t there. Curious children reach out to touch and to feel, their eyes drawn to the gun that hangs from his shoulder. Once a year, the solider is joined by others who proudly display war medals and light up the dawn skies with their candles and torches. They have come to join him, to remember, to pay tribute to those that have given their lives for their country.
Muhammad Ali Was a Chicken? (Wait! What?); Dan Gutman, illustrated by Allison Steinfeld
Dan Gutman is a well-known author of children’s books and his latest offering is a series of non-fiction reads that take a look at famous faces and reveal some of the more interesting facts and probably lesser-known details about their lives.
You’ve probably heard of the name Muhammad Ali, he was - after all - one of the greatest sporting icons of all time. He was a legend of the boxing ring, he was the man that floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee and liked to remind his opponents that, “His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.” But did you know that he got into boxing after a chance meeting with a part-time boxing instructor, or that he wrote poems about his opponents, or that he refused to join the army and faced the possibility of going to prison?
Are you smarter than a shark? One of life’s less asked questions but also one that has plenty of validity and is sure to intrigue as this new non-fiction book proves.
Sharks, just like humans, learn, remember, are curious and love to play. Sharks also think a bit differently to most other ocean life. But are they really smarter than humans? Are their brains really as good as their bite or is it all bravado? Take the test and find out for yourself, but be warned…sharks are already one ahead of you as they have a ‘special’ sixth sense unlike your five…
Little People, Big Dreams: Hans Christian Andersen; Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, illustrated by Maxine Lee-Mackie
It is very fitting that one of the world’s greatest storytellers has his own story told in a book for the very children who he wrote his books for.
Born in Denmark, little Hans was not privy to luxury and every penny was carefully accounted for.
But there was one priceless thing in the family home…a book, and Hans loved it when his father would read him stories of magical objects, faraway places and flying carpets. Inspired by street performers, Hans wanted to perform on stage and help retell the stories written by others. But when that didn’t work out he wrote stories of his own. And these stories would be read by millions around the world…