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Friday, 14 June 2019

SOUTH WALES EVENING POST CHILDRENS BOOK REVIEW JUNE 15-16 2019

This week my children's book reviews include a swashbuckling adventure for independent readers, an introduction to legends of rock for the very young, a picture book posing a very important question and a modern day coming-of-age drama for teen. Some great books to share on Father's Day



Also in the Weekend section of The South Wales Evening Post. Enjoy!




BOOK OF THE WEEK 

THE JOLLEY-ROGERS AND THE PIRATE PIPER BY JONNY DUDDLE
CHILDREN 6+
The pirate series returns with an adventure full of swashbuckling and dastardly deeds. When Dull-On-Sea is infested with rats the town employs a strange piper to dispense with them. But when the greedy Mayor refuses to pay the piper he takes his revenge. Can pirate children Matilda, Jim Lad and their dog Nugget save the day? This richly illustrated chapter book, based on the Pied Piper is a rip-roaring adventure which will capture the imagination of independent readers.
ISBN 9781787415133 PB Templar £6.99


THE STORY OF ROCK BY NICOLA EDWARDS & LINDSEY SAGAR
BOARD BOOK 1+
Rock-loving Dads will love sharing this introduction to the legends of rock with their little one. From Elvis to Beatlemania, Bowie to Nirvana, children can shake, rattle and roll with this sturdy rhyming board book. The entertaining illustrations are hilarious and I especially loved Slash's top hat! If the family's tastes lie more with Jay-Z The Story of Rap is also available. It's never too early to inspire a new generation of music lovers!
ISBN 9781848578296 HB Caterpillar Books £5.99



WHY ARE THERE SO MANY BOOKS ABOUT BEARS? BY KRISTINA STEPHENSON
PICTURE BOOK 4+
The animal professors of science and literature in Mollusc College, Oxford are debating an Impossible Question. Why are so many books about bears? Adorable illustrations accompany the cheerful text and clever twists on names such as William Snakespeare and Albert Swinestein. Children will love guessing who's their mystery guest banging on the door. Maybe the answer is under their noses in the double spread fold-out at the end? A charming book to read out loud.
ISBN 9781444946017 HB Hachette £12.99



THE GIFTED, THE TALENTED AND ME BY WILLIAM SUTCLIFFE
YOUNG ADULT 12+
When fifteen-year-old Sam's family become rich and they move to London he is forced to attend an Academy for the Gifted and Talented. But Sam just wants a normal life. A witty satirical take on an aspiring modern family and the pitfalls of trying to fit in. As Sam and his family crash from one well-meaning misadventure to another, you will cry with laughter. Adrian Mole meets Absolutely Fabulous. I'm still giggling...
ISBN 9781408890219 PB Bloomsbury £7.99

Friday, 7 June 2019

SOUTH WALES EVENING POST CHILDRENS BOOK REVIEW JUNE 8-9 2019

This week my children's book reviews include a riveting middle grade drama commemorating D-Day full of fascinating historical facts, two picture books perfect for Fathers Day including a farty bear and a time strapped Fox and a football middle grade  drama for girls just in time for the FIFA Womens World Cup. 



Also in the Weekend section of The South Wales Evening Post. Enjoy!



BOOK OF THE WEEK

D-DAY DOG BY TOM PALMER
CHILDREN 8+
While Jack is visiting the D-Day landing beaches with his school his soldier Dad is called into action. As Jack begins to question the point of war he uncovers a story about a paratrooper and his dog and is determined to discover their fate. An accessible and thought-provoking read commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day. It's a revelation to read the heroic animal war stories at the end who went beyond the call of duty.
ISBN 9781781128688 PB Barrington Stoke £6.99





DADDY FARTYPANTS BY EMER STAMP & MATT HUNT
PICTURE BOOK 4+
Daddy Fartypants is a very windy bear which he never apologises for much to the embarrassment of his son! But when he meets his son's fragrant new teacher can she teach him a lesson about lying and blaming others? The explosive illustrations will make children laugh their pants off! This is the perfect gift for Father's Day, especially if he's a little gassy and likes to blame others!
ISBN 9781408356357 PB Orchard £6.99




FIVE MORE MINUTES BY MARTA ALTES
PICTURE BOOK 4+
A young fox gives his time-starved Dad sage advise about what time really means. Many Dad's and children will relate to how the young want everything NOW while Dads just need a few more minutes to rest, sleep and read...An observant and poignant story to share on Father's Day about how children and adults experience time in different ways. Dad's will especially relate to Daddy Fox's resigned expression as opposed to his child's expectant one!
ISBN 9781509866021 HB Macmillan £12.99



LILY AND THE ROCKETS BY REBECCA STEVENS
CHILDREN 9+
It's 1918 and fourteen-year-old munition worker Lily loves to play football with the factory's female team, The Rockets. But what will happen when the men return from war? This emotionally charged coming-of-age drama is inspired by true events with girl power at its heart. The postscript at the end is inspiring, infuriating and ultimately hopeful. Girls will be galvanized to follow their dreams, break boundaries and play football! For fans of FIFA's Women's World Cup and historical drama.
ISBN 9781912626120 PB Chicken House £6.99



Friday, 31 May 2019

SOUTH WALES EVENING POST CHILDRENS BOOK REVIEW JUNE 1-2 2019

This week my children's book reviews include an adventure with a  Welsh secret dragon, the story of how the unicorn got his horn, an adventure handbook for the seaside and a fun coming-of-age drama for teens.  



Also in the Weekend section of The South Wales Evening Post. Enjoy!



BOOK OF THE WEEK 

THE SECRET DRAGON BY ED CLARKE
CHILDREN 8+
Mari is fascinated by the fossils near her coastal home in South Wales so when she finds a tiny dragon alive she wants to study it. But Gweeb, the mischievous little dragon just needs a friend to help him find freedom. An hilarious adventure full of family and friendship with a pertinent message about animal rights at its heart. Children will also love the fossil facts and the cute illustrations on the head of each chapter. Magical.
ISBN 9780241360514 PB Puffin £ 6.99


ONCE UPON A UNICORN HORN BY BEATRICE BLUE
PICTURE BOOK 4+
When little girl June enters an enchanted forest she finds little horses learning to fly. But one can't seem to fly however hard he tries. Can June help him find his own special talent with some kindness and a bit of something delicious? Children will be entranced by the adorable illustrations. A gorgeous and unique re-telling of how a unicorn gets his horn. A lovely book to share and read out loud.
ISBN 9781786035882 HB Quarto £12.99



GO WILD AT THE SEASIDE BY GOLDIE HAWK & RACHAEL SAUNDERS
CHILDREN 7+
The ultimate adventure guide to the seaside and how to enjoy it. Packed with activities such as rock pool safaris, quizzes and learning how to spot molluscs, birds and shells, this book can be shared with the whole family. In addition, kids can read about water safety and conservation. In association with the National Trust, this colourful handbook is perfect for the holidays and shows how to have fun on the coast responsibly.
ISBN 9781788003322 HB Nosy Crow £7.99



SUMMER OF NO REGRETS BY KATE MALLINDER
YOUNG ADULT 12+
Four sixteen-year-old friends pledge to enjoy the summer without regret. But it can be a challenge. Sasha is meeting her fathers' unfriendly new girlfriend, Hetal is off to science camp, Cam is determined to find her birth father and Nell must learn to deal with her panic attacks. This entertaining holiday read is bursting with friendship, romance and fun. I especially love the 'seize the day' theme and felt inspired to do the same!
ISBN 9781910080948 PB Firefly £7.99

Friday, 24 May 2019

SOUTH WALES EVENING POST CHILDRENS BOOK REVIEW MAY 25-26 2019


This week my children's book reviews include a contemporary and engaging drama promoting understanding of autism, a factual and fun board book about animals of the Savannah, an rip-roaring adventure book explaining Baroque Opera and an inspiring middle grade contemporary quest about a ballet loving asylum seeker.



Also in the Weekend section of The South Wales Evening Post. Enjoy!



BOOK OF THE WEEK


CAN YOU SEE ME? BY LIBBY SCOTT & REBECCA WESTCOTT
CHILDREN 9+

Tally is autistic but she tries to hide it because when people don't understand something they can be cruel. But sometimes when somebody views the world differently they can help to make it a better place. Interspersed with diary entries by eleven-year-old Libby based on her own experience of autism, this coming of age drama will strike a chord with children who feel differently or misunderstood. A gripping drama which promotes understanding and empathy about autism.
ISBN 9781407195674 PB Scholastic £6.99

HELLO, MRS ELEPHANT! BY SAM BOUGHTON
BOARD BOOK 2+
A fun and fact-filled board book with lift-the-flaps that explores the animals of the Savannah. Say hello to elephants, zebras and lions amongst other African animals. Did you know a baby hippo is called a calf and that zebra can sleep standing up? Young children will love the colourful jaunty illustrations and tongue in cheek humour. Equally entertaining in the series and perfect for little paws is Hello Mr Dinosaur.
ISBN 9781787414143 HB Templar £8.99



THE ACADEMY OF BARMY COMPOSERS: BAROQUE BY MARK LLEWELYN EVANS & KARL DAVIES
CHILDREN 8+
When Jack and Megan find an old magic trunk it takes them back to 1597 to meet the inventor of opera, Professor Peri and a host of famous composers such as Perfect Purcell. But can they save opera from Cruel Cromwell? Children will be introduced to musical terms, voice types and instruments in this richly informative and hilarious romp through 500 years of Baroque. It will help cultivate an appreciation for this uplifting and emotionally rich art form.
ISBN 9781912213863 HB Graffeg £12.99



NO BALLET SHOES IN SYRIA BY CATHERINE BRUTON
CHILDREN 9+

Dance lover Aya is an eleven-year-old Syrian refugee seeking asylum in Britain with her family. Will Aya be allowed to stay in Britain and apply for a prestigious ballet scholarship? This ballet filled drama is combined with a sensitive and insightful portrayal of the plight of refugees. Dance lovers will adore the ballet details woven in and relate to Aya's ambition and sense of freedom and expression when she dances. For fans of Eva Ibbotson and Noel Streatfeild.
ISBN 9781788004503 PB Nosy Crow £6.99

Monday, 20 May 2019

Boot by Shane Hegarty Blog Tour May 20th 2019


I am delighted to be starting the Blog tour for the adorable little robot Boot by interviewing author Shane Hegarty about his new book and life as a writer! I've also just made this gorgeous middle grade adventure my Book of the Week in the South Wales Evening Post (review is posted after the interview).


But first Hachette has challenged the bloggers on the book tour to discuss what piece of old tech holds the biggest memory for them. I have very fond memories of my old bright red Sony Walkman. I loved listening to my mixed tapes that I put together myself!! It was a stress free system. I still don't know how to download music!!

Interview with author Shane Hegarty


Can you describe your book in once sentence. 

 A toy robot wakes up in a grinder and with only two-and-a-half memories escapes to go find its owner.



What inspired you to write this book?

Two things really. Firstly, I look at all the advances in robotics and artificial intelligence and wonder what it will be like in a few years time if we make things that know they're being thrown away. And secondly, Boot is sort of like my children, thinking the world is simple only to discover things are more complicated than they seem... 



What is your favourite part of the book?

Oh that is so hard to say! I love it all. But there is a part late in the book where Boot takes control of a certain problem, and I'm very proud of it, and how illustrator Ben Mantle draws it. But no spoilers! 



What character do you most relate to?

 Boot is like a child, and even though I am now a very, very old man (according to my kids) I think we all still have those childlike worries, curiosities and longing for friendship inside us even as adults.



Can we have a sneaky clue what Boots next adventure will be about?

 It's called The Rusty  Rescue, and all starts when Boot and pals go in search of a new nose - only to meet a robot that's been stuck doing a repetitive job in a Testing Lab for a very long time.





As a professional writer what has most surprised you that you didn't expect?

 Just how amazing the young readers are when I meet them in schools, bookshops and at festivals. They're an incredible audience, never shy of enjoying themselves or asking great questions and saying crazy things. 



What's a typical writing day for you?

 I have an office that I escape to and try and work a 9-to-5 day - but there's often a lot of other stuff to do with organising events, planning things, emailing, watching too much YouTube, and dreaded tax forms that get in the way! So when I can write, it's bliss.



Who is your favourite literary hero or heroine?

 I have always loved Arthur Dent in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, because there's nothing more appealing to me than an accidental and hapless adventurer. He woke up thinking it would be a normal day and quickly found himself on a spaceship after the Earth had blown up. What a start to a story!



Which is your favourite bookshop?

 I don't want to forget any of the great bookshops  I get to visit! There are so many big and small that I've had the pleasure of visiting in lots of different countries. I will give a shout out to my the only bookshop in my town - Skerries Bookshop - which I think is the smallest I've yet to visit. Theres room for about 5 people at one time, and half the space is given over to children's books. It's owner Paddy is a legend in my town.




Your favourite quote?

Me and my son are always quoting lines from Hot Fuzz at each other because it's one of our favourite films, so any line from that (although some of them are a bit rude...)


SOUTH WALES EVENING POST CHILDRENS BOOK OF THE WEEK
BOOT BY SHANE HEGARTY
CHILDREN 7+
Toy robot, Boot has been accidentally thrown away and must find his owner, Beth in a city full of danger. Can Boot find his way home armed with only two and half memories and a band of rusty robot has-beens? Children will love the gadgets galore, excitement and friendships as well as Ben Mantle's evocative illustrations throughout. A heart-warming quest bursting with adventure, empathy and humour. WALL-E meets Toy Story.
ISBN 9781444949360 PB Hachette £6.99


A Huge thank you to Shane for his fascinating interview. You can follow him on Twitter @shanehegarty Instagram shanewhegarty and hachette's on Twitter @HachetteKids or @hodderchildrens 


Follow the blog tour below. 









Friday, 17 May 2019

SOUTH WALES EVENING POST CHILDRENS BOOK REVIEW MAY 18-19 2019


This week my children's book reviews include a little robot on a quest of a lifetime, a fun and fact filled adventure about bumble bees, a duck with super powers and a powerful retelling of Cinderella's ugly sisters. 


Also in the Weekend section of The South Wales Evening Post. Enjoy!


BOOK OF THE WEEK 

BOOT BY SHANE HEGARTY
CHILDREN 7+
Toy robot, Boot has been accidentally thrown away and must find his owner, Beth in a city full of danger. Can Boot find his way home armed with only two and half memories and a band of rusty robot has-beens? Children will love the gadgets galore, excitement and friendships as well as Ben Mantle's evocative illustrations throughout. A heart-warming quest bursting with adventure, empathy and humour. WALL-E meets Toy Story.
ISBN 9781444949360 PB Hachette £6.99

LOOK OUT FOR MY BLOG TOUR POST THIS MONDAY FOR BOOT. A FASCINATING INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR AND WHAT INSPIRED HIM!



WHEN THE BEES BUZZED OFF! BY LULA BELL & STEPHEN BENNETT
PICTURE BOOK 4+
Three brave bugs and one grumpy snail must find out where all the bees have gone. Children will love helping look for the missing bees by lifting flaps and following their trail. Fascinating bee facts are sweetened with hilarious asides in this adventure story which will encourage little ones to explore and appreciate the natural world. An important message that is also thoroughly entertaining and that can be shared with family or in the classroom.
ISBN 9781848694408 PB Little Tiger £7.99


ADVENTURE DUCK VS POWER PUG BY STEVE COLE
CHILDREN 6+
Adventure Duck only wants to nest on his duck pond eating soggy bread. But when a meteor gives him superpowers he must use them to battle super villain Power Pug before he takes over the world with his hypnotic stare! The hilarious illustrations by Aleksei Bitskoff add to the witty adventure and are perfect for newly independent readers. A brilliant bonkers new series that will Quack you up! Perfect for fans of the Astrosaurs series and Dave Pigeon.
ISBN 9781408356838 PB Orchard £5.99



STEPSISTER BY JENNIFER DONNELLY
YOUNG ADULT 12+
When Cinderella is whisked away by her prince what happens to her stepsisters? The youngest, Isabelle is not pretty but she is brave and strong-willed. Can she find redemption and cheat fate in a man's world where being pretty is the only currency they understand? A feminist retelling of the classic fairytale from a fascinating perspective of the ugly sister. Can people truly change for the better? An empowering and riveting tale for independent girls everywhere!

ISBN 9781471407970 PB Hot Key £7.99

Friday, 10 May 2019

SOUTH WALES EVENING POST CHILDRENS BOOK REVIEW MAY 11-12


This week my children's book reviews include a fantastical maritime adventure, a cute kitty who wants to be a superhero, a young mouse who joins the Resistance in World War Two and a contemporary coming of age drama that is compelling and thought provoking. 



Also in the Weekend section of The South Wales Evening Post. Enjoy!


BOOK OF THE WEEK


MALAMANDER BY THOMAS TAYLOR
CHILDRENS 9+

Herbert Lemon, the Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel must help find Violet's parents in the strange town of Eelie-on-Sea. Is the Malamander, a legendary sea-monster the cause of their disappearance twelve years ago? A wondrous and fantastical seaside adventure awash with magically Gothic overtones. I loved the curious bookshop, home to mysterious mermonkey. A captivating cast and imaginative mythical creatures will have young readers hooked from start to finish. Tim Burton meets Treasure Island.
ISBN 9781406386288 PB Walker Books £6.99



SUPERKITTY BY HANNAH WHITTY & PAULA BOWLES
PICTURE BOOK 4+
Kitty works for the Sensational Superhero Agency answering the phone. But all she wants to be is a crime busting superhero like her friends. When a dinosaur bone is stolen from a museum can Kitty save the day? Children will love 'pawing' over the adorable illustrations including double page spreads. They will relate to Kitty trying to be brave and learning to believe in herself. Small can be MIGHTY! A great book to share about Girl Power.
ISBN 9781471175091 PB Simon & Schuster £6.99



THE UMBRELLA MOUSE BY ANNA FARGHER
CHILDREN 9+

When Pip loses her family and home in the London bombings of 1944 she must find a new home in Italy. On her quest, Pip joins Noah's Ark, a secret gang of animals fighting the resistance in France. An extraordinary World War Two adventure as seen through the eyes of a tiny mouse that children will be immediately relate to in a big world. Sam Usher's ink drawings beautifully capture the endearing cast of brave animals.
ISBN 9781529003970 PB Macmillan £6.99


WE ARE NOT OKAY BY NATALIA GOMES
YOUNG ADULT 14+
Four teenage girls are trying to survive the pitfalls of school, love and friendship in a ruthless and unforgiving digital age. A raw account which deals with difficult issues including bullying, sexual assault and suicide. The four compelling and interwoven tales lead up to a heartbreaking climax and a reminder of how important it is to be supportive of your friends without judging them. A thought-provoking book that would be good for a book club.
ISBN 97810008291846 PB Harper Collins £7.99