Created by some of the best authors and illustrators of children’s books, Barrington Stoke’s series of Little Gems, with a reading age of 5+, are excellent for emerging and newly independent readers and are a must have for the school or home library. These small packages, that are perfectly sized for little hands, offer a brilliant reading experience and give young children that sense of achievement of finishing a chapter book. No matter which title readers choose they are going to be richly rewarded with engaging and heartfelt stories that deal with issues, emotions and situations that matter and are relatable. Colourfully illustrated throughout, short chapters are perfect for building up reading stamina and dyslexia-friendly font and page tint ensure that every child can enjoy these fantastic titles. And if all of that wasn’t enough, bonus content, including games, trivia and jokes, can be found on the endpapers.
Carrie and the Roller Boots; Lisa Thompson, illustrated by Jess Rose
Best friends Carrie and Sidney love watching the TV talent show Entertain Us. At school, Friday’s assembly is a chance for the children to showcase their special talents and Sidney is excited to tap-dance in front of the whole school. Carrie wants to join in too and whilst Sidney dances she will wow with her amazing roller skating. There’s just one hitch…Carrie has never roller skated before. Little does she know how hard it is and how much practice is required. As the talent show assembly approaches, things are not looking good. Will it be a Friday Fun Time fiasco or can their friendship help them dazzle their audience…
Carrie and the Roller Boots is the second empathy-filled adventure starring Carrie and Sidney who we first met in Sidney Makes a Wish. Reading perfectly well as stand-alone, this time the roles are reversed as Sidney comes to the aid of his friend in her time of need. This sweet read offers a tender and heartfelt look at friendship and discovering what you are good at. In a story of falling down and getting back up again there are lovely messages around determination, persistence and resilience, and how working together can allow everyone to shine.
The experiences of Sidney and Carrie will resonate with many. Kind, supportive and compassionate Sidney epitomises practice makes perfect and fully understands the need to put in the hours to work on your craft. Carrie, eager but lacking patience, is a typical enthusiastic child who immediately wants to be good at her new favourite hobby but doesn’t realise the challenges involved. With Sidney by her side Carrie learns the value of practice and that even though something is difficult to begin with it is usually worth sticking with it. I’m currently trying to teach my niece magic tricks and she definitely embodies Carrie’s mentality of I want to do this and I can do it straight away - hopefully we will get there in the end!
Lisa’s special talent is weaving gentle life lessons and universal messages into heartwarming and engaging stories. Her latest title would make for a great read aloud in a key stage one classroom, opening the door for questions such as: What makes a good friend? What is your special talent? Why is it important to practice?
The Ghost Cat Who Saved My Life; Pamela Butchart, illustrated by Monika Filipina
The saying goes that ‘curiosity killed the cat.’ Whilst no cats are harmed here, curiosity is the precursor for hijinks and hilarity.
When Liam and Sav hear noises - specifically meows - coming from the flat upstairs they decide to check it out. But the flat is empty and the owner, who never owned a cat, moved out last week. So what is making the noises? Sav and Liam are determined to get to the bottom of the ghostly goings-on. Can they catch the phantom feline? Will the spooky kitty be the purr-fect pet for Sav…
We’ve all heard strange noises in the night and whether we are scared or intrigued by the sound we are uncontrollably drawn in the direction of it, like some great investigator, to find out the source. This is exactly the scenario that Liam and Sav encounter in this paw-some tail.
Goosebumps meets Scooby Doo in a thoroughly enjoyable ghost-busting adventure infused with all of Pamela Butchart’s trademark cheeky humour and featuring the energetic artwork of Monika Filipina. With plenty of surprises, a few mishaps and a smidge of peril, this funny game of cat and mouse, or more accurately, cat and children, is sure to keep readers entertained.
The Ghost Cat Who Saved My Life is purr-fect for animal lovers, especially those that have a cat in their life or who, like Sav, are desperate to add a fur ball to the family home. Heaps of mystery, an abundance of fun and an ending that has everyone feline good will ensure young readers are purring with delight.
The cat’s whiskers!
With huge thanks to Barrington Stoke for the copies I received in exchange for honest reviews.