Book Review Logo

#BookReview: Alex Rider: Never Say Die by Anthony Horowitz #MPBooks

Alex Rider Never Say Die book coverTitle: Alex Rider Never Say Die

Author: Anthony Horowitz

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Middle Grade/Pre-teen, Action, Thriller

Feathers: One My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books feather

 

Description: The explosive new mission in the no. 1 bestselling series. After being forcibly recruited by MI6, teenage super-spy Alex Rider vowed he would never go back.  But even Alex can’t fight the past, especially when it holds a deadly secret.  Alex is Back.

My Review: I’m surprised how much I enjoyed this book despite a shaky start. ‘Alex Rider: Never Say Die’ is the eleventh instalment of the series and given the fact I had never read a previous book in the series before, I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it, but I did. The story begins with an interesting, almost movie-like, opening at the Suffolk Air Show before moving onto Alex, now living in America.

The Alex Rider series is like James bond for kids, at least that’s the feeling I got from reading this novel. I did find it hard to get into the story at first. It wasn’t the actual plot that I found difficult, this in fact sucked me in and I loved all the action that was happening throughout the story, but I found it hard to connect with Alex. It could have been the fact that I didn’t know the Alex Rider series before reading this book, but something about Alex always able to get out of a difficult situation, and not being overly emotional (despite having some bad dreams) made the book feel a bit unbelievable. However I stuck with reading it and I’m glad I did as the story just got better the further I read on.

Although at the start of the story Alex is in America, he wants to find out what happened to his friend Jack, whether she really did die, so he sets off around the world, first to Egypt and later to Europe. Despite the fact that there are references to what happened in previous books, and the people Alex has met, I never found the story confusing, as these parts are explained well, and it really can be read as a stand alone novel.
The action is what really made me enjoy this book, there’s never a dull moment with things happening all the time and the whole story told in a way that really made me feel as if I was watching a movie! Although the action primarily follows Alex, there are scenes with other characters (just like in a film) and I’m amazed at the effect the whole book has had on me after reading it.

I never really did connect with Alex as a character, but as I read this book I did start to like him after a while and the action is what drove the story more than anything else. I would have liked a deeper story with more emotion but once I realised that this was more about the action, and the amazing way the plot unfolds, I found it easy to enjoy this and couldn’t put the book down! There’s something about the way Horowitz writes that is amazing and the way everything was described, I just really felt like I was watching a movie in my mind, and I felt the same suspense and drama you feel when watching an action movie.

The ending of the story is a satisfying one with the plot set up for a potential next book in the series. The whole plot was actually really satisfying to read and I never guessed what was going to happen, even at the end, which made this a really great read.
Being for the pre-teen age group (and perhaps early teens might enjoy this too) there is nothing offensive, although there is a lot of action involving some characters that die, nothing really gruesome but sometimes a bit shocking to read.
After finishing this book I feel like reading it again, and I think I’d enjoy it all the more if I took the book mainly for action rather than trying to see more emotion in the characters. This book has also made me want to read others in the series and I’d definitely recommend this to anyone, especially pre-teens who enjoy a lot of action thriller stories, a little like Bond.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


Have you read the Alex Rider series, or if not how do you feel about action thrillers?  Please let me know I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂  You can also find me in these places: 

Facebook  Twitter  Google+ Instagram  Pinterest  Goodreads  Bloglovin’  StumbleUpon

Advertisements
Book Review Logo

#BookReview: Through the Magic Mirror by Anthony Browne #MPBooks

Through the Magic Mirror book coverTitle: Through the Magic Mirror

Author/Illustrator: Anthony Browne

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Feathers: One My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books feather

Description: Toby is fed up. Fed up with books, fed up with toys, fed up with everything. But when he walks through the magic mirror, things are amazingly different. Toby can hardly believe his eyes.

My Review:  This is such a surreal book and an amazing visual feast! Toby is bored and doesn’t know what to do with himself, he tries going downstairs but there’s nothing to do, so he goes back upstairs and spots something strange in the mirror. ‘Through the Magic Mirror’ is a small book, around A4 in width and is filled with lots of thick and glossy pages of illustrations and a little text.

The start of the book looks quite bare with little happening in the image.

The story is all about Toby’s adventure through the magic mirror and what he sees when he’s stepped through. The world beyond the mirror is very strange and completely surreal where nothing is what it first seems. There are invisible people walking, a window of a building is filled with fish swimming and a dog is walking a man! There are so many strange and surreal things and the book doesn’t really make much sense but it’s more of a visual experience than anything else.

Simple images but with a slightly dated feel

The illustrations are amazing and very Dali like in their appearance, which I love as Dali is one of my favourite painters. Each picture needs to be looked at more than once as some pictures seem normal at first and then you spot just how surreal things are! The book is really about the pictures and what you see and I love how colourful some of them are, it’s a very strange and different world to the one we know.

Wonderful vivid and surreal images 🙂

The ending of the book is satisfying although to be honest it seemed a bit strange when I first read it as the ending was so abrupt, but it’s a great end to the visual experience Toby has and the book is a great illustration of how the imagination can take you on a journey. I have to say I do like this book for how surreal it is although I do wish there was a stronger story throughout like there was in the book ‘Look What I’ve Got!’ which is also by Anthony Browne. But seeing as the book was first printed in the 70s, it’s still a great book which I’m sure many kids and adults will enjoy looking at, especially if you enjoy looking at surreal pictures!
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy (as part of The Anthony Browne Collection).


Do you enjoy surreal images or books?  What do you think of this book?  Let me know I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂  You can also find me in these places: 

Facebook  Twitter  Google+ Instagram  Pinterest  Goodreads  Bloglovin’  StumbleUpon

Book Review Logo

#Bookreview: Pugs & Prejudice by Jane Austen & Eliza Garrett #MPBooks

Pugs & Prejudice book coverTitle: Pugs & Prejudice

Author: Jane Austen & Eliza Garrett

Illustrator: Bob Venables

Publisher: Wildfire

Genre: Classic, Short Story, Picture Book

Feathers: One My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books feather

Description: The greatest works of literature, as told by the finest breeds.
Mrs Bennet has five unmarried daughters, living in a house that can only be inherited by a male heir.  The Bennet litter must be married off soon – but to whom?
Fuzzy-muzzled Mr Bingley seems like the perfect match for sweet-tempered Jane; and might his glossy but grumpy companion Mr Darcy be just right for her witty sister Elizabeth?
Perhaps.  Or perhaps not…

My Review:  I love classics and I love the cute pug dog breed so I couldn’t resist this book when I saw it!  ‘Pugs and Prejudice’ is the first in the Classic Tails series which currently has four books but I hope will have more.  Each of the books are hardback with a matt finish to this, and are filled with some lovely thick, glossy pages which have some lovely pictures.  The books remind me of the Ladybird books I had as a child as the story is on one side of the page with a old-fashioned style image on the other.

The basic story of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is told in this book but it’s a much shorter and simpler version (with added pug references) with only the main parts of the story told.  It’s not necessary to have read Pride and Prejudice, or seen an adaptation before, as it’s easy to understand what is happening but it’s much more enjoyable if you do know the story.  The Bennet family consists of a couple and their five daughters who must be married as soon as possible as only a male heir can inherit the Bennet family home.  But will Elizabeth find a matching suitor?
The tale is easy to read and with the simple text that isn’t as complicated as the Shakespeare text of ‘Romeow and Juliet’ (also part of the Classic tails series) and because of this I think it would be easy for some younger ages to read this book.

Some lovely illustrations with the story on the left.

What I really love about this story is the pug references.  The story starts by talking about the Bennet litter, rather than daughters, and there are constant mentions of dog things such as Mr Collins the clergypug, the Bennet’s home is referred to as the kennel and I love the way the pictures also add a fun dog feel, with characters presenting bones to eat and a sick dog in bed with a cone around its neck!

The illustrations are amazing and very detailed with an old-fashioned feel to them.  Each picture is like a painting and in fact they all have some subtle design that make them look like old paintings with a cracked oil paint finish.  Although there have been many versions of Pride and Prejudice over the years, the pictures remind me of the tv version I saw in the 90s.  Every character is a pug and there’s something really special about a pug’s face that just makes it look so cute in the pictures, even the famous Darcy coming out of the water looks cute/funny!  I really love the detail of some of the character’s faces and all the images just make the book more special to read.  The illustrations also add a fun twist on many things mentioned in the story, such as the ball not just being a dance and I love the twist on one of the sisters names!

Another great picture of a ball!

This really is an amazing book and perfect for anyone who loves animals (especially pugs!).  It’s a perfect introductory tale for anyone who doesn’t know Pride and Prejudice and even more enjoyable for those that do, and given the simple and easy to read text kids might enjoy being introduced to this great classic too.  I can’t recommend this enough!
-Thanks to Bookbridgr and the publisher for a free copy.


Do you love pugs or Pride and Prejudice?  What do you think of this Classic Tail? 🙂  Please let me know I’d love to hear from you.  You can also follow My Peacock Books in these places: 

Facebook  Twitter  Google+ Instagram  Pinterest  Goodreads  Bloglovin’  StumbleUpon

Book Review Logo

#BookReview: Return by Aaron Becker #MPBooks

Return book coverTitle: Return (Journey Trilogy 3)

Author/Illustrator: Aaron Becker

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Feathers: One My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books feather

Description: A lonely girl returns, once more, to an enchanted world of kings and emperors, looking for friendship and new adventure…

My Review:  This is such a beautiful and amazing book I’m stunned at how much I’ve enjoyed “reading” it. ‘Return’ is the final book in the trilogy, with ‘Journey’ and ‘Quest’ being the first two.

I never read the first two books so I cannot comment on the overall story of the trilogy but for me, this is a stand alone book in itself and is such a fun read. The paperback is around A4 in size and is filled with wonderful thick glossy pages with some beautiful and colourful pictures. What is amazing about this book is that there is no text! The story is told entirely through the pictures which is something I’ve rarely seen in picture books but it really works!

Wide and clear images

The story starts with the little girl who seems bored and draws a door on the wall to escape into a magical world. She vanishes through the door and when her father notices he follows through in search of his daughter. I won’t detail more of the story or I’ll be giving the majority of it away, but it is a lovely tale which ends in a happy and satisfying way.

Illustrations that clearly show the story

The story is so easy to follow and it really is amazing how much can be told through just the illustrations. Most pages have beautiful double page spreads with quite a lot of detail in them, but some pages have simpler images which are still easy to follow and help move along a part of the story. I never found it hard to understand the story at all and I’m sure children would understand it easily too.

Another beautiful picture 🙂

Whether this book is as good as the others in the trilogy I don’t know, I haven’t seem the others, but as a stand alone story it’s great and one I’d recommend. It may not be the most complex story but the pictures have a magic of their own and this book makes me want to look at it again and again!
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


Have you read the first two books in the trilogy?  What do you think of a story told through pictures?  Let me know I’d love to hear from you 🙂   You can also find me in these places: 

Facebook  Twitter  Google+ Instagram  Pinterest  Goodreads  Bloglovin’  StumbleUpon

Book Review Logo

#BookReview: Romeow & Juliet by William Shakespeare & Eliza Garrett #MPBooks

Romeow and Juliet book coverTitle: Romeow and Juliet

Author: William Shakespeare & Eliza Garrett

Illustrator: Bob Venables

Publisher: Wildfire

Genre: Classic, Short Story, Picture book

Feathers: One My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books feather

Description:  The greatest works of literature, as told by the finest breeds.
In fair Purrona, two furry families are at war.  But when Romeow, the son of Lord Montamew, sneaks into a Cattulet ball, he falls in love with the beautiful Juliet – the daughter of his father’s sworn enemy.
So begins the tale of two star-crossed kitties, who defy this feline feud for the chance to live – but ultimately die – together…

My Review:  This is such a beautiful and wonderful book to own and perfect for anyone, no matter if you’ve read Shakespeare or not!  ‘Romeow and Juliet’ is a much shorter version of the classic play by Shakespeare, with a great feline twist.  Although many know the original play of Romeo and Juliet, for those that don’t the basic story is a tragedy.  There is a family feud between their two families, the Montagues and the Capulets but by chance Romeo and Juliet meet and fall in love.  However their love is doomed from the start.

This book gives a great spin on the original story.  Although the basic story is exactly the same, and some of Shakespeare’s original words are used, the whole book is written in a more modern language which is good for people who haven’t read Shakespeare before, or are reluctant to because of the old language.  Being a feline tale though, the book is filled with references to cat things, such as the family names are Montamew and Cattulet (rather than Montague and Capulet), Mercutio is now Mewcattio and phrases like ‘Juliet was in her basket’ to name some of the many, many cat themed references which make this book so funny.

Text on the left with a lovely old-fashioned image on the right.

The illustrations are so amazing that I can’t help but constantly look back at this book as they are so detailed and so beautiful.  The pictures look very old fashioned and appear on every double page, text is on the left with a lovely illustration on the right.  The paper used is glossy and thick which makes the pictures look better than they would on matt paper.  The way this book looks along with the fact it is a small hardback (which has a matt finish to it) and is around A6 in size really reminds me of Ladybird books I had as a child.

Every picture features an old fashioned scene but rather than images of people they are cats which look like people, human-like bodies but otherwise they are cats.  The pictures don’t just look old fashioned though, they look like actual old paintings, with the detail you’d expect in old paintings like a very clever cracked oil paint effect on all the pages, it’s subtle but also gives each picture a really old fashioned look making it all the more special.  Although some people may find the anthropomorphic images strange (cats with human bodies) I love it and think many animal lovers would too!

Fun cat images of a classic play 🙂

I have really enjoyed this book and can’t recommend it enough to anyone who has a love of cats and interest in knowing the Shakespeare play.  I think the book would be loved by anyone who likes cats or animals as well as people who are fans of reading and Shakespeare, but I also think those who have never read any Shakespeare or don’t know the original story of Romeo and Juliet could enjoy this as a sort of introduction to Shakespeare/classics book.  Although some of the text is original Shakespeare which can make some lines harder to understand for some people, the images and the rest of the story make this an easy read and I think this would be a great book to even show to younger ages to get them interested in this classic.
-Thanks to Bookbridgr and the publisher for a free copy.


Do you enjoy reading classics, or would this entice you to read?  Please let me know your thoughts on this book I’d love to know what people think of this ‘Classic Tails’ series 🙂  You can also follow me in these places: 

Facebook  Twitter  Google+ Instagram  Pinterest  Goodreads  Bloglovin’  StumbleUpon

Book Review Logo

#BookReview: The Anthony Browne Collection #MPBooks

The Anthony Browne CollectionTitle: The Anthony Browne Collection

Author/Illustrator: Anthony Browne

Publisher: Walker books

Genre: Children’s Picture books

Feathers: One My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books featherOne My Peacock Books feather

Description: From the best-selling author and master illustrator Anthony Browne comes this brilliant 10-book paperback collection, perfect for bedtime reading. Anthony Browne s work is loved around the world with classics including Look What I ve Got, Through the Magic Mirror and Willy the Wimp, this collection is sure to become a firm bedtime favourite in any household. Titles in this collection (10) include: Look What I ve Got, Through the Magic Mirror, Willy the Wimp, Willy the Champ, Will and the Cloud, Willy the Dreamer, Piggybook, Silly Billy, The Tunnel, Changes.

My Review:  This is a lovely pack of 10 full sized books in one handy collection. These ten books, all paperbacks, come in a thick rubbery plastic zip pouch and I’m amazed that you actually get the full sized set as I was sure this collection would feature smaller versions of each book. There are ten great books by Anthony Browne with four of them featuring Willy the Chimp, and each of them illustrated in that interesting and often surreal sense that I’ve come to recognise in Browne’s books.

The ten books you get are: Willy the Wimp, Willy the Champ, Willy the Dreamer, Willy and the Cloud, The Tunnel, Silly Billy, Changes, Through the Magic Mirror, Piggybook and Look What I’ve got!.
Each of these books has glossy thick pages with some excellent illustrations inside. Although all of the stories in the books seem simple at first, and with some stories they almost feel too short or like there’s little depth, they all have a deeper meaning to them than it first seems and are books you can read again and again.

The pouch is clear and you can see the books on one side.

The illustrations are excellent with so many of the books having a surreal feel to them. I never read any Anthony Browne books before now but I’m definitely a fan of his artwork now. Every book has detailed extras in each picture which are fun for kids to spot, although some of these seemed to be lacking in the most recent book ‘Willy and the Cloud’. I love the surreal pictures of so many of the books especially as there’s a sort of Dali-like feel to many of them and I personally love Dali’s work and the details you find in his paintings.

Although the pictures are fun to see and the stories tend to have a deeper meaning, I don’t think a lot of the depth of the books is understandable to children without having an adult to help explain them. ‘Changes’ is one such book which covers an interesting topic but I’m not sure it helps many kids with understanding their own family’s changes.

A sheet on the back of the pouch tells us what’s inside 🙂

Although I have mixed feelings about some of the books I do think they are all excellent and my favourite is ‘Look What I’ve got!’ which has such a excellent message of the power of imagination. Other favourites of mine are ‘Silly Billy’, and ‘Piggybook’. I’ll leave a brief description of each book here and will post a review of each book in full will pictures. If you are a fan of Anthony Browne, of surreal artwork with a great message behind it then I can recommend this pack, and the zip pouch it comes in is a handy extra for keeping all the books in one place.

As well as pictures of the pouch I have also included an extra picture of one of the books (Look What I’ve got!) to give you an idea of Browne’s illustration style.

An example of the surreal images in Anthony Browne’s books.

A brief description of each book is below (reviews to come shortly):

Willy the Wimp – Sick of being called Willy the wimp by the suburban gorillas who always laugh at him, Willy answers a body-building advert. A great book about self-confidence.
Willy the Champ – Willy likes listening to music and reading, but he’s not sporty and isn’t good at anything the gorillas are good at. It seems he isn’t good at anything until he has to face a bully.
Willy the Dreamer – An interesting and surreal book of willy’s dreams, with images featuring famous paintings and characters, but all with a Willy the Chimp feel.
Willy and the Cloud – There’s cloud in the sky and it seems to be following Willy. A great book with a message about a cloud of emotions kids can feel.
The Tunnel – A sister and a brother don’t get along, until one day they find a tunnel. A book with a lot of subtle reference to fairy tales.
Silly Billy – Billy is afraid of a lot of things and feels silly until one day his grandma tells him her secret. A great book featuring a real-life solution to children who have fears.
Piggybook – Mr Piggott and his sons boss Mrs Piggott around until one day when she disappears. A great visual book with a message about selfishness.
Through the Magic Mirror – A surreal treat as a boy who is bored one day goes through a mirror into a strange world. Very interesting images but a possible story of imagination a little lost in this.
Changes – Joseph’s father has gone to pick up his mother, he said things would change, but as Joseph notices the kettle morphing in to a cat, he wonders, is this what his father meant? An interesting visual book but the message of family change is a bit hard to understand.
Look What I’ve Got! – Jeremy loves to show Sam what he’s got, a new bike, a new outfit, but he doesn’t want to share his new things. Sam isn’t bothered though, he has something far more valuable. This book has an amazing message (which seems lost on many) of the power of imagination over materialism and some excellent illustrations!


What do you think of this amazing ten book collection?  Let me know your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you 🙂  You can also follow My Peacock Books in these places: 

Facebook  Twitter  Google+ Instagram  Pinterest  Goodreads  Bloglovin’  StumbleUpon