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Children’s Hour: Friska the sheep that was too small


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

We’ve had Friska on our shelf for a long time, but it has only recently become popular, until now the kids haven’t been that bothered about it. It may not be Brown Bear, or Peace at Last, or Don’t Wake the Bear, Hare! (which are still firm favourites). Firska is the story of the smallest sheep in the herd. All the other sheep laugh at Friska because she is so small, so Friska decides to try lots of things to make herself look bigger.

The kids love to look at the different ways that Friska uses to make herself bigger. The favourite is probably stealing a fleece from a sheep who had been sheered. They love the annoyed look on the farmer when he finds out. and how silly Friska looks.

The expressions of the characters are one of the best things about this book. They make me chuckle- and you wouldn’t think a sheep could have so many expressions!

 

Buy Friska the sheep that was too small:

Paperback- new (from £660.62)

Paperback- used (from £0.01)

Hardback- new (from £50.99)

Hardback- used (from £2.99)

 

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

Sunday Surfing 27/7/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

 

Around the web this week

How Libraries Create Readers

Apparently Successful Writers Get Up Early. I’m screwed then

Art on Old Books

The Company Who Wants to Create the Whole of Alice in Wonderland in Temporary Tattoos

Ways of Organising Your Bookshelf.  Am I the only person who thinks it would be difficult to find something in a colour sorted bookcase?

The Longlist for the Booker Prize was Revealed

Can You Identify These Fantasy Books From Their Covers?

And on the blog this week…

I Reviewed Just Destiny

And The Pre-Raphaelite Seamstress

The Kids Read Fidgit and Quilly Make a Noise

 

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Children’s Hour: Fidgit and Quilly Make a Noise


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

Fidget and Quilly Make a Noise  is  all about the noises (believe it for not!). Fidget and Quilly are in a battle to see who can be nosier, CLANG! BANG! CRASH! It’s the noises which make the story (if you can really call it a story) enjoyable for the kids. They like to join in with shouting out the sounds, especially towards the end as it gets louder and louder. I can’t say that they’re bothered about the bits which make it more of a story.

 

Buy Fidget and Quilly Make a Noise new or used:

Boardbook- new (from £5.99)

Boardbook- used (from £0.01)

 

 

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The Pre-Raphaelite Seamstress- Amita Murray


Disclaimer: I was given this book free of charge, by the author, in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from amazon)

It is the 1860s, and Rachel Faraday is trying to follow in the footsteps of the Pre-Raphaelite artists. Struggling to make a living, in a world that looks down on female traders, she paints her fabrics in the colours and styles of the artists and sells them to wealthy women who daydream about clasping the men of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood between their thighs. One night, she meets a man, who, after the coldness of her cottage and the loneliness of her existence, shows her the possibility of a different life. The next day, he is arrested on suspicion of cold-blooded murder. As Rachel sets out to prove his innocence, she realizes that she must come to terms not only with the evidence in front of her, the vagaries of her trade, the hot-blooded attentions of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, but her own erotic longings and the secrets of her past.

Review

I’m trying to remember anything of note about The Pre-Raphaelite Seamstress. There isn’t a hell of a lot to be honest. In fact the main thing of note I can think of is that as a historical novel it seemed loose. I wouldn’t really say historically inaccurate, but it had little real history except for the setting.

As a crime novel it was better, but a little sketchy. Not as much detail as I would have liked, but enough to keep me wondering and reading.

The sections with Rossetti were…strange. It seemed almost as if Murray wanted to write the story about  Rossetti but couldn’t find a whole story there so decided to find a place in another story for it. It fit in with the rest of the story, but only slightly, it seemed an unnecessary plot line.

There was a romantic element too. Which was a driving force but a minor element to the story, according to amazon this book is the first in a series which is yet to be finished, I can see the romantic element being a larger plot line than in this first book.

3.5/5

Buy it:
Kindle (£0.77)
Paperback (£5.43)

 

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Filed under Crime, Fiction review, Historical, Mystery, Romantic

Just Destiny- Theresa Rizzo


Disclaimer: I was sent this books free of charge, by the author, in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from amazon)

What would you do if your whole world fell apart?
Jenny Harrison made some poor choices in the past, but marrying Gabe was the best thing she’d ever done. They had the perfect marriage, until a tragic accident leaves Gabe brain dead and her world in ruins.
Devastated by grief, she decides to preserve the best of their love by conceiving his child, but Gabe’s family is adamantly opposed, even willing to chance exposing long-held family secrets to stop her. Caught in a web of twisted motives and contentious legal issues, Jenny turns to best friend and attorney, Steve Grant. Steve wants to help Jenny, but he has reservations and secrets of his own.
When something so private and simple turns public and complicated, will Jenny relent? What is Steve willing to sacrifice to help Jenny?
Review
Just Destiny reminded me a lot of of Jodi Picoult books. A sort of debate. Is it right to take sperm from a dead guy? Even if he is your husband? There was the emotional element, and the personal element. There was a higher romantic element than in Picoult books, and that was, ultimately, what made it fall behind Picoult’s books.
The romance element was interesting, and I did like it. However it drowned out the moral elements, which were what interested me the most.
It was well written, and I quite liked the characters, especially Steve. It was an easy read too, and fairly compelling. I wouldn’t call it an amazing novel, but enjoyable enough
3.5/5
Buy it:
Kindle (£2.39)
Paperback (£12.73)

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Sunday Surfing 20/7/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

Sunday Surfing is on Monday this week, I was away yesterday

Around the web this week

The Library of Birmingham is up  for an architecture award

What margin notes reveal

Why it’s ok to love your e-reader

Amazon is Launching an E-book Subscription Service

How To Draw Kipper

And on the blog this week…

The kids read Goose on the Loose

I Reviewed Landline

 

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Landline- Rainbow Rowell


Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book by the publisher (via netgalley) free of charge in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (from amazon)

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and he still loves her – but that almost seems besides the point now.Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells him that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her – he is always a little upset with her – but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Review

I was all set to start my review with talking about how Landline is the best book by Rainbow Rowell that I’ve read so far. I even had to stay sitting at a bus top because I couldn’t walk home without finishing it. But today I finished Fangirl (the only book I hadn’t yet read by her), and Fangirl is just…better.

Landline was the best Rainbow Rowell book I’d read at the time, however, and I still think it was really good. It’s different to any of her others. It feels more adult than Attachments did. Maybe because Georgie is older, and Lincoln is basically a uni student stuck in a working person’s body (hey, aren’t we all a little like that?), maybe because Georgie has more of an ‘adult life’.

Landline is more instantly engaging than either Attachments or Eleanor & Park (or Fangirl actually, just Fangirl became like an addiction).

I expected the supernatural phone to the past to be a bit too far fetched, but somehow it worked. It seemed almost realistic. It felt more like a classic love story- or rediscovering love story. Plus it took some of the cuteness out of it, and sometimes love stories are too cute.

4/5

Buy it:

Independent via Hive:
Hardback (£8.77)

From Amazon:

Kindle (£4.99)

Hardback (£6.89)

Paperback- released March 2015 (£7.53)

Other reviews:

Curiosity Called the Bookworm

Words for Worms

Nylon Admiral

The Perpetual Page Turner

As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) (as part of month in review)

 

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Filed under Chicklit, Contempory, Fiction review, Romantic

Children’s Hour: Goose on the Loose


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

Goose on the Loose as a new book for the toddlers this week, and it had mixed reception. It’s about a goose which goes scooting, and is rather a threat to the road.

The kids enjoyed the loud “HONK! HONK!”‘s, but weren’t actually that interested in the story itself, and quickly lost attention. Having said that they were in a particularly wild mood today- so that could account for it.

I think they would have liked it if they were in a different frame of mind. It has a bit of a dramatic tone, and rhymes- both things which tends to be popular, and it has (a couple) of flaps to open. There was actually a book we used to have which was called The Skydiver (but I can’t find anywhere), which had three stories in it including a very similar one which the kids loved, so I can see that they would like Goose on the Loose

Buy Goose on the Loose:

Paperback (£4.81)

 

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Sunday Surfing 13/7/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

Around the web this week

J.K Rowling’s New Potter related Work

Virginia Wolfe Exhibit At The National Portrait Gallery

Rumours That The Goldfinch is to Be Made Into a Film

Children’s Books Banned in Singapore for Gay Message

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed The Glass Guardian

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The Glass Guardian- Linda Gillard


Synopsis (from amazon)
Ruth Travers has lost a lover, both parents and her job. Now she thinks she might be losing her mind.

When death strikes again, Ruth finds herself the owner of a dilapidated Victorian house on the Isle of Skye: Tigh na Linne, the summer home she shared as a child with her beloved Aunt Janet, the woman she’d regarded as a mother.

As Ruth prepares to put the old house up for sale, she discovers she’s not the only occupant. Worse, she suspects she might be falling in love again.

With a man who died almost a hundred years ago…

Review

This is probably the best Linda Gillard I’ve read since A Lifetime Burning (which still remains my favourite). They both do have a supernatural element, although much stronger in this one.

It actually reminds me quite a bit of Her Fearful Symmetry it has a similar gothic feel, and I always like gothic stories.

The love story was good too, strangely realistic, although the way it ended was a bit too perfect.

3.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£1.99)

Paperback (£5.93)

Other Reviews:

The Little Reader Library

Have I Missed Your Review? Leave Me a Link In Comments and I’ll Add it Here

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Filed under Contempory, Fantasy, Fiction review, Paranormal, Romantic

Sunday Surfing 6/7/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

 

Around the web this week

The Guardian is looking for nominations for their First Book Award

Authors intervene in the Hachette/Amazon row

Julia Donaldson talks about The Gruffallo, living simply, and family

Army Service People Reading to their Families Overseas

And on the blog this week…

Children’s Hour looked at A Bag Full of Pups

 

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Children’s Hour: A Bag Full of Pups


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

A Bag Full Of Pups is  story we (my sisters and I) read as children. We still have it on the shelf and my nephew was quite transfixed with it this weekend (apparently all dogs are big doggies). The story is about  a man who gives away puppies to various people, some are worker dogs (guide dogs, rat catchers), some are primped and preened (a show dog, a dog who is dressed up) and one is just loved.

My nephew liked seeing all the different dogs, but didn’t seem to be too bothered about what they were doing, although the pictures are interesting enough for an older child to get something out of it too.

Buy A Bag Full of Pups new or used:

Hardback- new (from £79.68)

Hardback- used (from £1.11)

Paperback- used (from £0.01)

 

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

Sunday Surfing 29/6/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

 

Last Sunday Surfing of 2013! Hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Around the web this week

Wimbledon’s Players Book Preferences

J.K. Rowling Actually Tweeted at People

Children’s Books Given Away at Food Banks

When Tumblr Made Harry Potter Fans Cry I think I prefered it when they made laugh.

What Would Your ‘Game of Thrones’ Occupation Be?

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed The Library of Unrequited Love

 

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The Library of Unrequited Love- Sophie Divry


Synopsis (from amazon)

One morning a librarian finds a reader who has been locked in overnight.

She begins to talk to him, a one-way conversation full of sharp insight and quiet outrage. As she rails against snobbish senior colleagues, an ungrateful and ignorant public, the strictures of the Dewey Decimal System and the sinister expansionist conspiracies of the books themselves, two things shine through: her unrequited passion for a researcher named Martin, and an ardent and absolute love for the arts.

A delightful divertissement for the discerning bookworm…

Review

So what to say? I got this book because a few people on The Book Club Forum were saying how much they liked it. And because it was on offer on kindle (it’s still cheap, but it was cheaper). It should be cheap really, it’s a short book, and lacks plot.

It does have a certain charm, but it wasn’t really my type of book. I disliked the protagonist. She seemed bitter, and thought highly of herself whilst looking down on others. She seemed to be a dreamer too though, and I liked that.

The whole book was one long monologue, so it’s best read in one sitting, although I think I may have got bored if I did actually read it in one sitting. It’s short so it is possible, it’s just I tend to use my kindle when travelling so I don’t have unrestricted time.

3/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£2.98)

Paperback (£4.89)

Hardback (£7.00)

Other Reviews:

Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link to your review in comments and I will add it here

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Sunday Surfing 22/6/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

 

Last Sunday Surfing of 2013! Hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Around the web this week

Romantic Passages for Book Lovers

Will the Internet ‘Kill’ Literature?

Are You a Literature Expert? I am…apparently

Should Schools Be Able to Fine Parents Who Don’t Read To Their Children? There are so many things wrong with this idea. It’s just…ugh…

Publishers are Being ‘Jailed’ to Protest Books Being Banned in Prisons. Is it just me or would 24 hours with nothing for company except a book actually be kind of nice?

Book and Music Pairings

The Literary Giveaway Blog Hop is on Until Wednesday

The Site Turning Handwriting Into a Typeface

Someone on Slate said Adults Should Be Ashamed to Read YA Books, this is the best response I have seen

Harry Potter Questions. This is hilarious. The best Harry Potter related thing I’ve read in years

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed The Temporary Gentleman

And Children’s Hour was all About Goodnight, Gorilla

 

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Children’s Hour: Goodnight, Gorilla


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.


When I bought Rosie’s Magic Horse for my niece I bout my nephew Goodnight, Gorrila. It’s not a book with a whole lot of words (the majority of them being “goodnight”) but the pictures tell an amusing story.

In the story we follow a zookeeper as he shuts up the zoo for the night, saying goodnight to all the animals as he goes. But something is going on in the background, and when the zookeeper is at home in bed he discovers that all the animals have followed him home.

The pictures are bright and I think very nicely painted. I especially like the expressions on the gorilla’s face.

It’s a great book for encouraging talking because the children have to try to tell what is going on from the pictures.

Buy Goodnight, Gorilla:

Paperback (£3.95)

 

 

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

The Temporary Gentleman- Sebastian Barry


Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from the publisher (via netgalley) in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (from amazon)

Jack McNulty is a ‘temporary gentleman’, an Irishman whose commission in the British army in the Second World War was never permanent. In 1957, sitting in his lodgings in Accra, he urgently sets out to write his story. He feels he cannot take one step further, or even hardly a breath, without looking back at all that has befallen him.

He is an ordinary man, both petty and heroic, but he has seen extraordinary things. He has worked

and wandered around the world – as a soldier, an engineer, a UN observer – trying to follow his childhood ambition to better himself. And he has had a strange and tumultuous marriage. Mai Kirwan was a great beauty of Sligo in the 1920s, a vivid mind, but an elusive and mysterious figure too. Jack married her, and shared his life with her, but in time she slipped from his grasp.

Review

Every time I read a Sebastian Barry novel I hope that it will be as good as The Secret Scripture. So far I have been disappointed. Although I have still generally enjoyed and had an appreciation for his work it just hasn’t met up.

I’ve put a little note on my goodreads review of this (where I sometimes make a note before I write a full review) which says simply “That was rather… anti climatic…“. Which is true. The whole way through it seemed that something dramatic was promised in the future, in fact it was part of what made me keep wanting to read- to find out what it was. Something happened (in a way) but it was more of a consistent event rather than one dramatic thing, and it was only a the end that I realised that it was what Jack was referring to.

The book had two parts. A story of what was happening now, and a story of Jack looking back at what had happened before. The looking back bit was what made up the bulk of the story, and the most interesting bit, although at times it was rather too brief about events. In a way that was because we only saw things through Jack’s eyes, so when things were happening at home when he was not there we only saw what Jack was told or the snippets of what Jack saw. We didn’t see what was really going on. In a way that was rather frustrating, because some of the most interesting things seemed to come about when Jack wasn’t there, but at the same time it gave us a good insight into what Jack was feeling.

Mai was undoubtedly the most interesting character. It might have been better to see things through her eyes. Jack seemed to have very little real understanding of her. He saw her as a beauty, and as somewhat untouchable- or out of his league. There was a certain disappointment with the way she went from being when he met her as a young woman to being who she was when she was his wife. The two people seemed completely different. It was almost as if she gave up on her dreams in order to be his wife, although I am not sure if it was that so much as the effects that certain events had on her. I would really like to know. That’s one thing which was rather unsatisfying, we could never get any answers when it came to Mai…maybe that will come in a later book- after all there are a lot of books related to the McNaultys already.

3.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£5.39)

Hardback (£12.23)

Paperback- pre-order (£7.59)

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Filed under Fiction review, Historical

Sunday Surfing 15/6/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

 

Around the web this week

The Best Literary Parents

The creator of Spot (and inventor of lift-the-flap books), Eric Hill, died

10 Things to know about Anne Frank’s diary. I have a feeling I’ve posted this one before.

Should bribery be used when teaching children to read?

Modern Versions of Classic Novels

 

And on the blog this week…

I reposted the Children’s Hour post about Spot

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Children’s Hour: Spot


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.
I’m doing a re-run this week, partly because wordpress wasn’t letting me in to schedule a post yesterday, and partly in memoriam of Eric Hill who died this week (did you know he invented the lift-the-flap book?)

Spot is one of those books which is more of a constant friend than a great favourite in toddler room. We can go days and days without reading it once, but the kids always come back to it. We have a few of them at the nursery. Spot’s Show and Tell, Time for Bed Spot, Spot’s Tummy Ache, Spot’s New Game and Spot and his Grandma. At the moment Spot’s Show and Tell is the forerunner but they’ve all had their moments.

The pictures are simple and bright. The stories are quite easy for the kids to relate to which is I think why they are always popular, another book might be more exciting but Spot is comfortable.

Buy Spot books:

Time for Bed Spot (£3.73)

Spot’s Show and Tell (new and used from £0.01)

Spot’s Tummy Ache (new and used from £0.01)

Spot and his Grandma (new and used from £0.01)

Spot’s New Game (new and used from £0.01)

See more Spot books

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

Sunday Surfing 8/6/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

 

Around the web this week

Literary Insults

Celebrities who love Judy Blume

Ebooks set to outsell print books by 2018

Book shaped benches are coming to London I don’t particularly like them myself.

George R.R Martin’s editor says there may be 8 A Song Of Ice and Fire books, but George R.R Martin says that’s unlikely

How libraries promote literacy

The ‘Hunger Games’ Salute has Been Banned in Thailand as it’s being used as a real political symbol

A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing has won the Women’s Prize for Fiction

So much The Fault in Our Stars Merchandise

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed Persuasion

And Weeks in Naviras

The Kids Read The Teeny Weeny Tadpole

 

 

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Weeks in Naviras- Chris Wimpress


Disclaimer: I was given this novel free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from amazon)

It’s late afternoon in the tiny fishing village of Naviras, where Eleanor Weeks is sipping wine and watching the ocean.

Even though she’s been there dozens of times, how she arrived that particular afternoon is a mystery to her. Until she remembers she’s the wife of the British prime minister, and that she’s just been killed in a terrorist attack.

As Ellie explores her personal afterlife, she recalls her troubled marriage during her husband’s rise to the very top of British politics. She remembers the tragedy and secrets which dominated the last ten years of her life, before recounting her role in a conspiracy which threatens to destabilise not just Britain but the wider world.

Review
This book wasn’t what I expected at all. I expected an introspective look back at what had gone wrong. Maybe a view other that Ellie’s at what had happened, and why. Possibly a detached look at what happened afterwards.
There was an introspective element, however that was about as far as it went. Mainly we saw Ellie exploring the world of her afterlife- but it wasn’t all that it seemed. Heaven? Maybe? Or hell? Either way there was something not quite right.
I expected, I don’t know. Something more political and less thriller. That doesn’t mean it was bad, just different. I think I might have prefered what I expected, however this probably is an easier read than the novel I expected, and it certainly kept you hooked.
There was a slight paranormal element which I wasn’t expecting, and which I still can’t quite figure out. If I’d known that there was a paranormal element I probably would have turned the free copy down. However it did make for a unique story, and I did rather enjoy it in the end
3.5/5
Buy it:
Kindle (FREE!)
Paperback (£7.99)

2 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Crime, Fiction review, Mystery, Paranormal

Children’s Hour: The Teeny Weeny Tadpole


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

One of our kids has become particularly interested in The Teeny Weeny Tadpole this week. I can’t really say what it is he likes about it, because he doesn’t seem to interact much with the story- even though it has its fair share of excitement. Possibly it’s the pictures which look a bit like something Axel Scheffler would draw. Beautifully bright and bold.

The story itself is a good one though, unfortunately there’s a page missing from our copy, so it’s not ideal to read to a whole group (or even just to one, but apparently M doesn’t mind that). It tells the story of a tadpole, and all tadpole wants to do is to jump. He meets other creatures who can jump, and wishes he could jump like them. Then he meets the big bad fish, who can’t jump. What will tadpole do?

The jumping about of the animals is exciting, and I can imagine if you did read it to the group then they would start jumping with the animals. Plus there’s the race as the tadpole tries yo get away from the big bad fish which is very energetic.

Buy The Teeny Weeny Tadpole:

Paperback (£4.49)

2 Comments

Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

Persuasion- Jane Austen


Persuasion was my May read for the To Be Read Pile Challenge

Synopsis (from amazon)

Spendthrift baronet Sir Walter overlooks Anne Elliot, his middle daughter, as he’s more concerned with his good looks and social ranking. Anne’s mother died years ago so and her sisters are not close to the refined, sensitive Anne, who appears destined for spinsterhood at age 27. She pines for Frederick Wentworth, however, and life takes an unexpected turn when Frederick re-enters her life.

 

Review

 

It’s taken me too long to get around to writing this review…after all it’s June now.

 

Part of that is that I really feel I have nothing to say on Persuasion. I’m sure I remember people telling me it was their favourite Austen…but I was also sure that it was in the comments when I reviewed Northanger Abbey- which it isn’t. It did say in the comments that they are two very different books- which they are. I really liked Northanger Abbey. It was humourous, and a little gothic. Persuasion was much more serious. It had a little light relief in form of Anne’s family. However generally I found Mary annoying (she was a bit like Mrs Bennett of Pride and Prejudice- but without Mr Bennett to make her seem funny), and Sir Walter shallow. I could see how they could both be light and funny- I just didn’t experience them that way.

 

I did like Anne though, and that’s what kept me reading.

 

Probably my least favourite Austen so far

 

3/5

 

Buy it:
Kindle (free!)
Paperback (£5.43)

 

Other Reviews:

 

Did I miss your review? Leave me a link in comments and I will add it here.

5 Comments

Filed under Classics, Fiction review

Sunday Surfing 1/6/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

 

Last Sunday Surfing of 2013! Hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Around the web this week

Writer Maya Angelo Died

Possibility of a ‘Hunger Games’ theme park…wait…what?!

Thoughtful J.K. Rowling Quotes

How Harry Potter Changed a Life

 

And on the blog this week…

I talked about GCSE English and how things could be better

I reviewed Before I Go To Sleep

And the kids read Peekaboo!

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Before I Go to Sleep- S J Watson



Synopsis (from amazon)

Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love – all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine’s life.

Review

A couple of years ago everybody was raving about Before I Go To Sleep. I didn’t read it then, partly because I’m not the biggest fan of crime fiction, partly because of my ever expanding to be read pile, and partly because the last raved about crime novel I remembered reading was The Da Vinci Code- which I have no desire to re-read. My Mum had read it, and my boyfriend and a handful of people from BCF had been very positive about it.

However it wasn’t the positive reviews which made me interested so much as the slight psychological plotline- that of Christine having basically no memory. Either way I was interested enough to go out and buy myself a copy, but when my Mum was sorting out books to get rid of (we have nine bookcases in our 3-up 3-down house, so need all the space we can get!) she put Before I Go To Sleep in the pile, and I moved it to my shelves (along with The Tiger’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry). When I actually got around to reading it I was in the mood for something which would be a quick, easy, but (hopefully) gripping read. I read crime the way other people read chick-lit, it’s more of a relaxed easy read (generally, there is some really good crime out there that you really can’t figure out, and that is more taxing). My Mum’s reaction to it more than anything showed me that Before I Go To Sleep would be what I was looking for.

It was that as well. Gripping enough whilst it lasted, but it didn’t really leave any lingering feelings. I guessed the twist quite early on, which meant that anything else was mainly just confirming my theory, although there were enough little twists on the way to make me want to keep reading for the story itself.

I had a bit of a love hate relationship with Christine. She was just too trusting! I understand that you have to trust someone in that situation, but it wasn’t even that she trusted people she met, she tried to force herself to feel things which she thought she should feel for them, I don’t really understand that.

The story was pretty unique. Which probably puts it above other crime novels of a similar quality. However it was just of standard quality. If you’re a fan of crime novels  then you may like this one, but I wouldn’t expect it to live up to hype.

Before I Go To Sleep is meant to be coming out as a film later this year. Nicole Kidman is playing Christine, which must mean they have made her younger. She’s not right for the part at all.

3.5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£3.89)

Kindle (£2.99)

Other Reviews:

Leeswammes’ Blog

Girl Vs Bookshelf

Heavenali

So Many Books, So Little Time

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Giraffe Days

Wensend

Piling on the Books

Nose in a Book

Literary Lindsey

Knitting and Sundries

Have I missed your review? Leave me a link in comments and I will add it here.

4 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Crime, Fiction review, Mystery, Psychology (fiction)

Children’s Hour: Peekaboo!


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

My niece and nephew were down this weekend so I’m going for one of their books again. We managed to get a few repetitions of  Peekaboo! between Horsey, Horsey, Don’t You Stop (which is still a firm favourite for my nephew). It’s not so much a reading book as an interactive book. Each page has a different face on it (a robot, a monster, a cat, your friend), and eye holes so you can use it like a mask. The words are simple, “I am a mouse. I like cheese.” for example, and some allow actions. The pictures are colourful and simple, but effective.

Buy Peekaboo!:

Boardbook (£3.74)

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

GCSEs and Book Choices


Image from The Learning Spy

One of the links in yesterday’s Sunday Surfing was about changes being made to the English GCSE syllabus. More specifically the exclusion of some American texts in favour of British texts.

This has caused quite an uproar. Partly because some of the most famous pieces of American literature have been taken off the syllabus; To Kill a Mockingbird, The Crucible, and Of Mice and Men. Partly because the choice doesn’t seem to be so much based on creating a better course as much as because Michael Gove doesn’t like these books, and thinks more British books should be studied. This article compares Gove to Mr Wormwood (of Matilda) and is well worth a read.

It is not so much the idea of changing the syllabus that I dislike. Whilst these books have a lot to offer, politically, historically, socially and in terms of the study of literature, they are not the only books which can offer this. Plus they have been on the syllabus for a long time, maybe it is time for a change?

As for the way of changing the syllabus I think that it makes a narrow syllabus. Studying only British literature means that the major world view seen through this literature will be British. Reading books from different cultures gives a different world view, and it’s one of the most accessible ways of doing so. If anything the syllabus should be wider. Not just American and British novels but novels from other cultures too. I think Murakami would be a really interesting author to study, for example,  or Rushdie. If the syllabus is to be changed then surely the best way to do so is to give access to a more varied book choice?

I am not saying scrap British texts either, but to give a broader range that simply British. Austen and Dickens have both been mentioned. I did study Dickens at school (just not at GCSE level), and whilst I can appreciate him he isn’t the easiest of writers to read, with, or without, analysis. Austen is easier, however it shows a narrower world view that Dickens. I think it could be a struggle for students. To Kill a Mockingbird, and Of Mice and Men are relatively easy reads, which means more time can be devoted to actually studying them.

I really don’t see why something needs to be taken out for something new to be added. Choice would be so much better, and if students could choose which texts to study themselves then they may well be more engaged in them.

You can sign a petition to re-think the changes here.

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Musings, News

Sunday Surfing 25/5/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

There was no Sunday Surfing last week, so a ‘bumper’ edition this week.

Around the web this the last two weeks

Apparently these are really good quick reads…but there are no descriptions. Has anybody read any of them?

The Literary Giveaway Hop is back

Six Stories and Poems from Wartime

Facts About Beverly Cleary

Autobiographies, families, and Lily Allen

Bookish Confessions

Italian Prisoners Rewarded for Reading.

Methods for Picking Books

Classic American Novels Removed From the GCSE Syllabus

 

And on the blog this week…

The kids read Rosie’s Magic Horse

I reviewed 31 Songs

And The Fault in Our Stars

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

31 Songs- Nick Hornby


31 Songs is also known as Songbook.

I read this book as part of The Rory List

Synopsis (from amazon)

31 Songs is best-selling author Nicky Hornby’s ultimate desert island disks

Through thirty-one songs that he either loves or has loved, Nick Hornby tells us what music means to his life. These personal and passionate pieces – refreshingly free of pretension – are a celebration of the joy that certain songs have given him. Together with additional writings on music from his column in the new Yorker – seen in the UK for the first time – 31 Songs is for Hornby what many of us have always wanted: a soundtrack to accompany life.

Review

31 Songs is not really a book of music criticism. It’s an ode to music. Nick Hornby talks about music the way one might talk about a beloved friend. He focuses specifically on 31 Songs (plus 14 albums, and with a quick mention of the top ten albums when he was writing). They are not neccersarily his favourite songs but they are songs which he has played obsessively at one point or another. Sometimes they are songs which he connects with memories, and that’s part of what makes them special. Sometimes he talks about how much he loves the lyrics, or the music.

The songs do tend to be in a similar vein, with a couple which break the trend- songs like I’m Like a Bird. Sometimes he really made me want to listen to the songs- which were often ones which I wasn’t familiar with. The Beatles- Rain I still want to listen to, but it’s not on Spotify.

Actually I think I prefer Nick Hornby’s non-fiction to his stories (although I’ve enjoyed them too). There is a certain amount of passion in it, although it’s interesting to see how some of the music he loves links to some of his novels- especially (as would be expected) High Fidelity.

Probably the main thing which I’d say negative about this book is that it is a bit dated. There are a couple of extra sections which update it, but they are still a little out of date. There is a discussion of the top 10 albums in August 2001- but that’s a good 13 years out of date (wow that makes me feel old- I remember most of those albums), but it’s generally negative, so the same love for music doesn’t come through. Then there’s a list of favourite songs from 2000-2010, but it’s just a list, no discussion.

I tried to listen to the songs on Spotify. Unfortunately there were some songs missing, however if you’re interested you can have a listen to what is there.

 

Oh almost forgot, I bought this book in Shakespeare and Company!

4/5

20140518_004530Buy it:

Paperback (£6.20)

Kindle (£3.41)

Other reviews:

Nose in a Book

Did I miss your review? Post me a link in comments and I will add it here.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Music, non-fiction review

Children’s Hour: Rosie’s Magic Horse


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

Rosie’s Magic Horse is the book I got my niece for her birthday. It’s a bit of a strange book. Rosie collects ice-lolly sticks which she likes to play with. The poor sticks think that now they have no lolly on them they are nothing. But Rosie turns them into a horse, and then the horse becomes real and starts searching for treasure with Rosie.

The pictures are (as usual with Quentin Blake) fantastic, and even the lolly sticks have personalities. The story is imaginative, and just about girly enough that it should satisfy girly girls without some of the febble girls you often find in princess’ stories.

Buy Rosie’s Magic Horse:

Paperback (£4.89)

Hardback (£8.96)

3 Comments

Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

The Fault in Our Stars- John Green


Synopsis (from amazon)

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

 

Review

So. The Fault is in Our Stars. So many people adore this book. That’s part of the reason I read it, and because I wanted to read it before the film comes out. Oh and because I forgot something to read in the bath whilst away from home.

I enjoyed it, I really did, but, I don’t know, I felt there was something off with it, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then I read Una’s review. She got me thinking

“Augustus may be the most unrealistic teenage boy ever written: he keeps cigarettes but doesn’t smoke them, his first topic of conversation is ‘oblivion’ and he talks like a Nietzschian philosopher. ” (from Una’s review)

It was Augustus. I didn’t like him instantly. He seemed so pretentious, and yes unrealistic. I’ve sorry but no teenage boy talks like that. And the whole not smoking cigarette’s so they loose they’re power. It’s a bit stupid. For one thing I doubt that most people start smoking because they want to breathe smoke in, so not smoking a cigarette doesn’t make it loose its power. I came to like Augustus more. He went from someone pretentious to a ‘perfect’ boyfriend. It’s still unrealistic but it was more real. I didn’t feel for him in himself though. I more cared about his effect on Hazel.

Hazel was more realistic. She seemed to struggle more. Maybe that was just because we saw things through her eyes, but, either way it made her more realistic. The whole battle type thing, in a way how she appeared. It was almost like she was a ‘normal’ teenager. Her approach to things is more hesitant, for a variety of reasons. Where outside she may be all bravado inside she has fears, and dreams.

Augustus had a more carpe diem attitude (or YOLO if you must), was that because he had been through different experiences, or did he just not care about potential bad consequences? Maybe a bit of both, but possibly the most realistic part of him was his denial of certain things which let him live in the moment. If I was Hazel I would have hated him for that. She didn’t, but they say love is blind.

There are better books about cancer. There are better books about love. This is an easy read however. Maybe a step towards more gritty books which whence your heart rather than pull its strings.

4/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£3.85)

Kindle (£2.49)

Hardback (£14.27)

Other Reviews:

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Book Journey

Reading is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac

Annette’s Book Spot

As the Crowe Flies and Reads

Reading With Tea

Under a Gray Sky

The Book Barbies

Owl Tell You About it

Polliwog Blog

Every Book Has A Soul

No Page Left Behind

Keep Watching the Words

Alison McCarthy

The Relentless Reader

Quirky Bookworm

Roof Beam Reader

Words for Worms

Silly Little Mischief

Writer, Reader, Dreamer

Book A Week

3 Comments

Filed under Fiction review, YA

Sunday Surfing 11/5/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

 

Around the web this week

Book recommending sites. Do you use any of these? What do you think?

Alan Bennett has said he doesn’t read British authors. Sounds pretty bad, except that isn’t it good to read of things you don’t know. It sounds a bit like he means that.

How to Tell If You’re Reading a Gothic Novel

John Green’s cameo got cut from The Fault in Our Stars, but here are some other author cameos

A Recently Discovered Breed of Wasp has Been Named After Dementors

A New Bookish Social Network and Online Store is Promoting Independent Bookstores

Great ‘Literary’ Moments. The last one is the best.

Topless Bookclub Makes Reading Sexy. Because, you know, that’s what you want from reading, sexiness (Link contains NSFW images)

Can Literary Works Be Devalued By Bookish Items?

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed Eleanor & Park

The kids read Itzy Bitzy House

I reviewed Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

No Sunday Surfing next week, I’m off to Paris :)

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened- Jenny Lawson



Synopsis (from amazon)

Have you ever embarrassed yourself so badly you thought you’d never get over it?

Have you ever wished your family could be just like everyone else’s?

Have you ever been followed to school by your father’s herd of turkeys, mistaken a marriage proposal for an attempted murder or got your arm stuck inside a cow? OK, maybe that’s just Jenny Lawson . . .

Review

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened has been on my radar and on my wishlist for a long time (it was listed on my 2012 wishlist on goodreads, which I used to choose books for The Wishlist Challenge last year). As with many things which I actually buy from my wishlist it was on special offer when I bought it- I have the awful tendency to add things to my wishlist but then buy things which are not on it. Part of me wishes I had bought it sooner, but then I wouldn’t have got a bargain. Anyway I am waffling.

Jenny Lawson is probably best known as The Bloggess but that’s not how I ‘discovered’ her. I read a few reviews of Let’s Pretend The Never Happened which compared Jenny Lawson to Caitlin Moran. Seeing as I pretty much got a girl crush on Caitlin Moran as a result of reading How To Be a Woman I basically had to add Let’s Pretend This Never Happened to my wishlist. Then it sat on my wishlist for about a year before I saw a few links to The Bloggess and decided to check her out. I knew it was Jenny Lawson so I’m not sure why I hadn’t looked at her blog initially, but it made me want to read the book even more, then it was on offer on kindle so I snapped it up.

First off I should say if you are easily embarrassed then don’t read this in public. You will not be able to contain your laughter in certain parts. (And guess what? If you try to explain to your boyfriend what you’re laughing at he will just look at it like you’re crazy, and say something about how it cannot possibly be true, because what person would think that making a squirrel into a puppet and pretending that it’s magic is good children’s entertainment?) I suppose I should say that there are bits that people might be a bit squeamish about (lots about taxidermy, and hunting, and wearing dead animals…yeah). At times I was squeamish myself but then something was funny, and I would forget things like Jenny accidentally running inside a deer (yes, that did happen).

As with How to Be a Woman there were serious bit too. Although  most things had a funny spin put on it. It was good to see Jenny Lawson explaining things in a more serious mode however, some things require a more serious tone. I think Caitlin Moran has a very similar sense of humour to Jenny Lawson too, although I also think I preferred How To Be A Woman, maybe because it was closer to my own experiences. I should really get around to buying Moranthology- that’s been on my wishlist since it came out.

5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£4.09)

Paperback (£5.59)

Other reviews:

Book Journey

Alison McCarthy

An Armchair By The Sea

Owl Tell You About It

Words For Worms

Have I missed your review? Post me a link in comments and I will add it here

1 Comment

Filed under Biography, Comedy, non-fiction review

Children’s Hour: Itzy Bitzy House


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

I’ve had the idea of writing about Itzy Bitzy House  for about a year, but haven’t because there’s little really to say about it. It’s about animals caught in the rain, looking for shelter.

It has elements which should make it popular. It rhymes, it has repeated sections, in has a variety of tone. The pictures are bright and clear, and child friendly. The kids though are only so so about it. They will listen to it fairly attentively, and if it’s in a selection they might pick it (so long as it doesn’t come up against a favourite like Brown Bear, or Peace At Last). They don’t have very strong reactions to it however. They don’t join in with the repeated bits, although they show more interest to the shouty bits

“Quick (animal) hide”

It’s not that they actively dislike it, they’re just not really bothered.

Buy Itzy Bitzy House:

Paperback- used (from £22.92)

Hardback- used (from £0.01)

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

Eleanor & Park- Rainbow Rowell


Synopsis (from amazon)

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she’s never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried. Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and – in Eleanor’s eyes – impossibly cool, Park’s worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by. Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose. Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor & Park is funny, sad, shocking and true – an exquisite nostalgia trip for anyone who has never forgotten their first love.

Review

There are so many reviews of Eleanor & Park out there that I almost feel that something original cannot be said. Do have a look at the reviews at the bottom for more detailed or different reviews. I tend to go with feelings rather than any real analysis.

So Eleanor & Park. After Attachments I expected to enjoy it, I didn’t expect better because it’s YA and I only usually read YA when I just want to read without thinking. As a more relaxing, easy read. It was on offer for the kindle though, so I thought I would give it a try. Actually I think it was better than Attachments. It was maybe in some ways less adult but it was less superficial I think. Especially from Eleanor’s side of the story.

I got Eleanor. The escapism. the shyness. The uncertainty. I was like her a lot in school. Whilst not having a bad time of it as she does; at home or at school, I could identify more with how she felt at times.

In a sense she was saved by Park. Una @ Watching the Words (see her review below) says it’s anti-feminist. Well maybe, but I don’t see that. It’s just another form of escapism. He facilitates so much of her escapism. The comics, the music. Why can’t he be a form of escapism himself? Does she need him? Maybe not. She ultimately helps herself. He makes it better though. He makes it easier. That’s not about him ‘saving’ her. It’s not about him being a boy. It’s about love. She doesn’t want that to end, of course she doesn’t.

I can’t say I liked Park so much. He grew on me. He understood more about life as he went through.

Yes this is a story about love, but it’s more than that. It’s a story about hope. It’s a story about overcoming bad things in life. It’s a story about finding yourself, and believing in yourself.

4.5/5

Also can I add I love the Rainbow Rowell US covers, the British not so much. Plus this one represents the book much better on the US version

Buy it:

Kindle (£1.49)- until 6th May only
Paperback (£5.59)
Hardback (£14.26)

Other reviews:

If I (somehow!) missed your review post a link in comments and I will add it here.

6 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Romantic, YA

Sunday Surfing 4/5/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

 

Around the web this week

The Bad Grammar Awards

Should We Be Concerned About Bad Grammar anyway?

Books Which Make Us Think Differently About Being a Woman

Scribd’s International Reader Survey. Apparently British readers are reading ‘The Story Of Sushi’, which I have never even heard of.

A Parent Called the Police because a Teenager Was Giving Away a Book Banned by the School. There are no words.

How Libraries Are Bridging the Cultural Divide

Tattoos Inspired By Books. I’m not a fan of tattoos but if I had one it was probably be a quote from a book.

To Kill a Mockingbird is Being Released as an E-book

And here are some other amazing things Harper Lee did. Number one is the best.

And on the blog this week…

I Reviewed The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

And The Kids Read LullabyHullaballoo

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Lullabyhullaballoo


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

Lullabyhullaballoo is one of the favourite books in pre-school at the moment, and I must say I like it too. It’s all about a little princess who can’t sleep, everyone is just making too much noise! What shall we do?

“We’ll tell them to shhhh…

Shhh!”

The kids like all the characters, and like telling them to shhh, plus they find it funny when the princess finally gets to sleep and starts to snore. I’ve read it to the toddlers too. They find it a little too long, although when encouraged they will join in with the shhh-ing, and like to open the flaps to see the character’s reactions.

Mick Inkpen is probably better known as the writer and illustrator of the Kipper books, but actually I think this one is better.

Buy Lullabyhullaballoo:

Paperback-new (from £3.24)

Paperback- used (from £0.01)

Hardback- new (from £141.56)

Hardback- used (from £0.01)

With CD- used (from £3.75)

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz- L. Frank Baum


This book was read as part of the To Be Read Pile Challenge, and is on the Rory List

Synopsis (from amazon)

Dorothy Gale and her little dog Toto are in for the ride of their lives when a tornado drops them off in the Land of Oz. Can Dorothy and her new friends survive the perils of Oz to reach the Wizard and find a way home?

 

Review

I’m sure there is nobody who hasn’t at least heard of the film of The Wizard of Oz, and most people have seen it. It was my first introduction to the land of Oz so I couldn’t help but compare the two. I do like the film, despite it’s cheesy-ness.

One thing I was surprised about was the lack of appearance of The Wicked Witch of the West in the book. Yes she is there, but she isn’t as much of a major character. The wizard himself is less likeable too, but more like the film version of himself.

I did like the story. Although I think if I didn’t know elements of the story so well I would have enjoyed it more. There’s a little note at the begginning about it being written for children’s pleasure rather than any moral lesson. It certainly is more fun than moral, however I do think there was a bit of a lesson, about how you can improve yourself, or how people change I suppose.

3/5

Buy it:

Kindle (FREE!)

Paperback (£4.49)

Hardback (£12.99)

Other Reviews:

Owl Tell You All About It

Alison McCarthy

 

 

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Filed under Children's, Classics, Fiction review

Sunday Surfing 27/4/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

Around the web this week

The BFG is Being Brought To The Cinema

And So Is Room see my review of the book here

The Guardian Has a Whole Series of Comics By Authors. This one is Masks by Gillian Flynn

Urban Dictionary Definitions of Famous Authors

Unique Bookends

Is Literary Fiction Really Better Quality?

Charlotte Brontë Got a Google Doodle

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed The Storyteller

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The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult


Synopsis (from amazon)

For seventy years, Josef Weber has been hiding in plain sight.

He is a pillar of his local community.

He is also a murderer.

When Josef decides to confess, it is to Sage Singer, a young woman who trusts him as her friend. What she hears shatters everything she thought she knew and believed.

As Sage uncovers the truth from the darkest horrors of war, she must follow a twisting trail between terror and mercy, betrayal and forgiveness, love – and revenge.

Review

The Storyteller is a little bit different when it comes to Jodi Picoult. Her books tend to follow a formula, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because the subject matter changes, and it works for the type of books she is writing. Her basic outline though is there’s an issue- you see different character’s point of views, and it’s not always clear who you should be backing- at least at first. Usually there’s a twist somewhere along the line which makes you question your own judgement of the situation. Basically they get you thinking- sometimes even after you’ve finished the book.

So you can understand why when I heard Picoult’s new book was centred around a former concentration camp worker I couldn’t work out how her formula would fit. You can make someone feel sympathy for someone like that but you can never make someone understand that there might be a good reason why they did what they did, so how was Picoult going to make that work.

There was a lot more in the past of this book, Franz’s past, the past of one of the women in the concentration camp, and her fictional story, which started before she was in the concentration camp and finished whilst she was there. Then there was the area now. With Sage finding out the truth about Franz. There is an element of should Franz have to suffer for something he had done so long ago, especially if he is remorseful (which at times he seems to be, but at times doesn’t seem genuine), if he is old and might well die before he even gets charged? Can he be forgiven?

It wouldn’t be much of a book if that was the only challenge, so yes there are more, and the history b its are interesting. There is little I can say without giving away some pretty major plot points (and I’m all for spoiler free reviews).

I’m still not sure I would say this is a favourite Picoult, but it’s a little too different to compare. In terms of others which are different it probably is the best, although even the different ones are hard to compare to one another.

4.5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£3.80)

Kindle (£2.00)

Hardback (£9.00)

Other reviews:

So Many Books, So Little Time

Sam Still Reading

Book Journey

Between the Pages

Did I miss your review? Leave me a link in comments and I will add it here

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Historical

Sunday Surfing 20/4/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

 

Happy Easter everyone :)

Around the web this week

The American Library Association has released a list of the most challenged books of 2013. Number one is Captain Underpants.

Is Reading Anti-Social?

Cringe-worthy Proposals From Fiction

Pultizer Winners Revealed

Books Which Grab You From Page One

Which Hunger Games District Do You Belong In? I got district 3, which would be ok, I guess

 

And on the blog this week…

I talked about the Birmingham Independent Book Fair

My Nephew read Horsey, Horsey, Don’t You Stop

I reviewed The Rosie Project

 

 

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The Rosie Project- Graeme Simsion


the rosie project, books, book, Graeme SimsionSynopsis (from amazon)

‘I’m not good at understanding what other people want.’

‘Tell me something I don’t know . . .’

Love isn’t an exact science – but no one told Don Tillman. A thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, Don’s never had a second date. So he devises the Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner. Enter Rosie – ‘the world’s most incompatible woman’ – throwing Don’s safe, ordered life into chaos. But what is this unsettling, alien emotion he’s feeling?

Review

Everyone in the book blogosphere seems to have read The Rosie Project, and most of those people have loved it, I’ve not seen one negative review. I am no exception. I loved The Rosie Project.

It was cute and funny, and romantic, and quirky. Don was such a unique, yet believable character. He was a little bit of a less asexual Sheldon Cooper (of The Big Bang Theory).

Big Bang Theory, Sheldon, Sheldon Cooper, Bazinger, books, The Rosie project

Sheldon

Rosie is Don’s complete antithesis, but, for some reason, it works. Rosie takes Don completely out of his comfort zone, she helps him to relax.  Don is so clever, but he’s blind when it comes to women, when it comes to Rosie. It means you see lots of times that Don is being clueless, you want someone to come and show him everything objectively- I think that could have worked for him.

I did love Don as a character. I loved reading the story through his voice. He obviously cares about things, he always works really hard at everything, but he doesn’t understand that you can’t learn everything from books, or in an intellectual way. It’s kind of adorable.

When looking for reviews of The Rosie Project I found out that a sequel is coming out this year. I’m excited to see the sequel but not sure if it will really work, especially if it was written just because The Rosie Project itself was so popular. I fear it won’t meet up to the amazingness of The Rosie Project, but I’ll still read it.

5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£3.80)

Kindle (£2.99)

Hardback (£9.52)

Other reviews:

Giraffe Days

The Little Reader Library

Bookjourney

Under A Gray Sky

So Many Books, So Little Time

Sam Still Reading

As The Crowe Flies (And Reads!)

Words For Worms

No Page Left Behind

Chrisbookarama

Leeswammes Blog

Farm Lane Books

What Hannah Read

Have I missed your review? Leave me a link in comments and I will add it here.

 

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Filed under Fiction review, Humour, Romantic

Children’s Hour: Horsey, Horsey, Don’t You Stop


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.
My nephew has had me reading/singing Horsey, Horsey, Don’t You Stop today. It’s a book of rhymes with pictures showing the baby sign which goes with the rhyme and some lovely bright pictures.

My nephew has specifically asked for “more cake” (pat-a-cake-pat-a-cake) and “more horsey” (Horsey, Horsey Don’t You Stop) and has been dancing and doing the actions along with it.

It’s a simple book, and if you already know the rhymes not really necessary, although it is good for the kids to be able to find the rhymes they want.

Buy it:

Board book- new (from £58.71)

Board Book -used (from £0.01)

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

Birmingham Indepedent Book Fair


I visited the Birmingham Independent Book Fair on Saturday, and I promised a post about it on twitter, so here we are.

The fair was hosted at the Ikon gallery,  run in conjunction with Writing West Midlands,  and featured a number of independent publishers and self-published writers from in and around Birmingham. I must admit I didn’t realise there were so many publishers in the area.

The publishers and authors were:

Twin Books | Fringeworks | Flarestack Poets | William Gallagher | Boo Books | Pigeon Park Press | Cinnamon Press | Silhouette Press | Cannon Poets | Shadow Publishing | TJB Books | Offa’s Press | Black Pear Press | The Alchemy Press | Ellie Stevenson | Nine Arches Press | Gingernut Books | Crowded Quarantine | Foxwell Press | Fair Acre Press | Five Seasons Press | Cassowary Press

Unfortunately we got to The Ikon a little later than intended and a couple of the stalls had already closed, having said that the majority seemed to be selling the types of books I don’t tend to read; crime, horror, poetry, short stories.

We did however visit a few stalls and found some things of interest.

The Pigeon Press stall was by far the most interesting. It was run by two of the authors; Heide Goody and Iain Grant.

What first attracted us to the stall was Heide’s map. She’s in the process of creating a map of places in the Midlands which feature in literature. I was able to add Ruby’s Spoon to her map. She’s hoping eventually to make an app. with the map so you can look up places where you are and see if there are books set there.

We bought a copy of the collaborative books between Heide Goody and Iain Grant Clovenhoof and Pigeon Wings, both of which look like they will be rather amusing. The boyfriend thought they sounded like they would be in a similar vein as Good Omens. I haven’t read that so I couldn’t really comment.

Just noticed the placing of the badge of Pigeonwings…

 

There were a lot of collaborative pieces from Pigeon Park Press actually which is interesting. I’ve always been interested about how the interaction between authors and each others characters work, seeing as authors tend to know more about their characters than is in the actual books.

 

What else? Cinnamon Press seemed interesting for writers. They hold lots of writing competitions, which I may enter if I ever finish my NaNoWriMo novel.

I also talked to Tom Bryson. It was interesting to talk about his writing process. He seems to go in for a lot more planning than me, and jumps around writing key scenes before linking them, which might actually work better, I’m not sure. My joining sections do tend to be my main problem.

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Filed under general, Musings, News

Sunday Surfing 13/4/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

 

Around the web this week

Author of the Adrian Mole books, Sue Townsend has died

A book of letters written by Paddington Bear will tell his story from his view point

Scenes you wouldn’t expect in classic books

When not ‘getting’ a book make you feel stupid

Which Little Woman are you? I got Jo, which is what you want really :)

New literary prize for self-published authors

Diary Of a Part-Time Indian has been banned…again

And The Bailey’s Prize shortlist was revealed….

And on the blog this week…

It’s been quiet, cause, Christmas and stuff. Just one post:

The kids read What Do I Look Like?

I reviewed House of Glass

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House of Glass- Sophie Littleford


Disclaimer: I was given this book free of charge (by the publisher, via netgalley) in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (from amazon)

Jen Glass has worked hard to achieve the ideal life: a successful career, a beautiful home in an affluent suburb of Minneapolis, a seemingly perfect family. But inside the Glass house, everything is spinning out of Jen’s control. Her marriage to her husband, Ted, is on the brink of collapse; her fifteen-year-old daughter grows more distant each day; and her five-year-old son barely speaks a word. Jen is on the verge of breaking, but nothing could have prepared her for what is to come….

On an evening that was supposed to be like any other, two men force their way into the Glasses’ home, but what begins as a common robbery takes an even more terrifying turn. Held hostage in the basement for more than forty-eight hours, Jen and Ted must put aside their differences if they are to have any hope of survival. They will stop at nothing to keep their family safe—even if it means risking their own lives.

 

Review

Have you ever watched the TV show Hostages? (Don’t bother is you haven’t it’s compulsive watching, but generally rubbish). There are certain elements of House of Glass which remind me of Hostages.

Obviously they both have a hostage type situation, there is also a hell off a lot going on in each of them which doesn’t really seem like it matters that much to the plot. It’s worst in Hostages because you know why the family are being held hostage, and therefore the extra bits are basically padding. Whereas with House of Glass you don’t know why the family were picked (you know to a level why they are being held hostage, but not enough), so anything which doesn’t seem to be related to the family being held hostage could be a reason.

They do seem both a bit contrived. Like there is too much going on for just one family. Everyone seems to have something bad going on, in the case of House of Glass only one of them is unlikely to be connected to the hostage situation. It feels a bit like there wasn’t enough story so Littleford added extra plot lines to stretch things out a bit.

They also both have a bit of the kidnapper’s own story. It’s something I like about both of them. In House of Glass it’s told through the hostage’s eyes, so you can never truly work the kidnapper’s out. Having said that it was pretty obvious- at least to me- who had bought the kidnapper’s to the family’s door.

It’s pretty action packed and keeps you reading. I wanted to know the truth throughout too, but it wasn’t the best crime book I’ve read, or the best thriller, or the best ‘issue’ book. The previous Littleford book I read was better, but then it was a bit more my type of thing, it’s what made me want to read House of Glass.

3/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£0.59)

Paperback (£8.97)

Other reviews:

Have you read this book? Leave me a link to your review in comments and I will add it here.

 

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Filed under Contempory, Crime, Fiction review

Children’s Hour: What Do I Look Like?


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

We have been doing a whole lot of work on emotions in toddler room over the last few weeks and reading  What Do I Look Like? as part of this (the other book we’ve been reading about emotions is Augustus and His Smile). There’s no real story to the book. It asks what the child will look like when certain things happen. Then you lift the flap and their face is shown. It’s good as a teaching tool because it talks about different emotions, and gets the children to talk about how they might feel in different situations. It also doesn’t actually name the emotions so the kids can talk about how they think the child is feeling from their expression.

The kids enjoy it because they like to lift up the flaps, and because they like to copy the faces.

Buy What Do I look Like?:

Paperback- new (from £1.50)

Paperback- used (from £0.01)

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

Sunday Surfing 6/4/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

 

Around the web this week

Famous books with bad reviews

The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film will be a thrilogy

Top 10 Fictional Mothers

Remember that lovely new library I talked about? The staff can’t reach all the books

Rooftoppers wins the Children’s Fiction Prize

And on the blog this week…

The kids read ‘Eat Your Peas’

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Eat Your Peas


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

The kids either love or hate Eat Your Peas. It tends to be the older of the toddlers who enjoy it, and even ask for it, but I think the younger ones tend to find it a little too long. It’s a story about a Mum trying to persuade her daughter to eat her peas, but Daisy doesn’t like peas. Mum’s bribes start getting more and more outrageous; 100 puddings, never have to was, dress, brush your hair, chocolate factories, zoo animals, space rockets, trips to superland, but still Daisy will not eat her peas.

It’s a funny book, and fairly simple. It’s great to be theatrical when you’re reading it too, as the Mum gets more and more desperate. The pictures fit the story perfectly, you could almost read the book with pictures alone, and as the pictures get more and more crowded the more and more desperate Mum gets. Plus they’re by Nick Sharrett which is always good

Buy Eat Your Peas:

Paperback (£5.03)

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

Sunday Surfing 30/3/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

I missed Sunday Surfing last week so here are two weeks worth of links

Around the web

Children’s classic books retold for adults. I like the Brown Bear one

James Patterson is the world’s best selling author. J.K. Rowling comes top in the UK

A quiz, What Type of Book Are You? I got second-hand book, not sure whether to be offended!

Some People Got Money From Amazon

Alice Munro is being dedicated on a Canadian coin

And Astrid Lindgren (author of Pippi Longstocking) is going to be on a Swedish note

Real beautiful places featured in books

You can no longer send books to British prisoners…or can you?

J.R.R Tolkien’s translation of Beowolf to be published

Some original Harry Potter artwork is up for sale

Read an extract from the next Song of Ice and Fire book. (Spoiler free link)

The ebook royalties war

 

And on the blog…

I reviewed A Long Thaw

And A Game of Thrones

I took part in It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

The kids read There’s an Ouch in my Pouch

And My Mum And Dad Make Me Laugh

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