#BookHaul: Bookbridgr December 2017 #MPBooks

A quick Christmas book haul 🙂

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Just a quick post today, as I’m not at home long enough to post something longer, to show you a lovely Christmas book I’ve received from the kind people at Quercus Books via Bookbridgr.  I’ll be reading this book right away.  I’m trying to finish off all my outstanding books on my tbr pile before Christmas – at least the ones I’ve promised to review for others, but this book just has to go first as I can’t stop cooing over the cute little puppy! 😀   So expect a review for this book very soon, it’s just sooo cute, and what’s more exciting is it’s told from the point of view of the puppy! 🤗🐶😍😍

 

Such a cute puppy!!!

The Christmas Guest by Daisy Bell – When Teddy runs away from home a week before Christmas, he is confronted by a cold, scary and oh, so big world.

Then he finds the Woods family.  With their kind hearts and cosy cottage, Teddy forms a special bond with Claire and Ben, but it’s in little Emily that he finds the best friend he needs.

But Emily is ill, and raising a puppy is hardly a priority for her stressed parents.  If only he can prove to them how much happier he can make them all, Teddy might just find his forever home this Christmas.


 

What do you think of this book?  What books, if any, have you recently received and are excited to read? 🙂 Tell me, I love hearing from you 🙂  Don’t forget you can also find me in these places: 

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#BookReview: The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen #MPBooks

A very funny book with great illustrations and a brilliant twist ending!

The Wolf, The Duck and the Mouse book coverTitle: The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse

Author: Mac Barnett

Illustrator: Jon Klassen

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s picture book

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Description: Early one morning, a mouse is gobbled up by a wolf.  “Oh Woe!” he cries.  “Oh me!”  He fears it is the end…until, that is, he meets a duck in the belly of the beast.

My Review:  I love this story! It’s funny, a bit silly and ended in a way I didn’t expect. ‘The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse’ is a lovely hardback book around A4 in size and filled with thick matt pages. The book has an additional sleeve making it feel more special. The story is funny, one day a mouse meets a wolf and gets gobbled up. He thinks he is doomed now that he’s inside the belly of the wolf…until he meets a duck who’s already there.

Fun illustrations with a certain colour palette.

The story is a bit silly but one I really enjoyed. While inside the wolf, the mouse learns that the duck is already living there quite happily. I don’t want to reveal more of the plot as it really would spoil it and the story is a bit short but it’s very funny and put a smile on my face when I read it. The ending is a good one and it’s funny but it wasn’t what I expected when I first started reading this book. I really love the ending twist though and it kind of explains the reason behind a typical wolf trait (at least it gives a humorous reason).

The pictures are what really makes this tale a funny one. I love Klassen’s style of illustrations and there’s just something about the way all the characters look, the way they stare and those eyes, it just makes me laugh every time I see these illustrations. The pictures are all monochrome with just a few pieces of colour here and there but the images are all so clear and easy to see and I think kids and adults will both enjoy this style of illustration.

More fun illustrations with easy to read text.

I really do love this book, the story is so simple, kids will find it easy to understand and I think it’s a book that both kids and adults would enjoy taking a look at. Unlike a previous book I read by Barnett and Klassen called ‘Triangle’ which had a bit of a strange ending, this book’s clever twist is one which makes the whole story more enjoyable and one I’d recommend.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


What do you think of this book?  Have you read any books by this author and illustrator before? Let me know I’d love to hear what you think 🙂  You can also find me in these places: 

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#BookReview: The Pets at Primrose Cottage: Part One A Place to Hide by Sheila Norton #MPBooks

A lovely start to this four part novel featuring animals.

The Pets at Primrose Cottage part oneTitle: The Pets at Primrose Cottage: Part One A Place to Hide

Author: Sheila Norton

Publisher: Ebury Digital

Genre: Contemporary

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Description:  Emma Nightingale needs a place to hide away. Pursued by the demons left by her ex-boyfriend, she takes refuge in quiet Crickleford, a sleepy town in Dartmoor, where she can lay low.
Life in Crickleford is quiet and peaceful, but it won’t be for long if people discover the truth about Emma’s past. Not wanting to make too much of a fuss, she ends up lying about why she’s there – she’s looking after some cats, she says – then suddenly the town’s new ‘pet-sitter’ is in high demand!
While looking after an Alsatian, Emma finds all attention is on her, and the handsome young reporter from the local paper takes an interest in her story…

My Review:  I really enjoyed getting into this story. ‘The Pets at Primrose Cottage’ is a lighthearted contemporary book that will be released whole in a few months but at the moment has been split into four parts with ‘Part one: A Place to Hide’ being a great introduction to the tale. Emma needs a place to get away from her old life and heads into the small town of Crickleford where she hopes to start a new life, away from anyone who might know her. But in a small town where people talk, can she really leave her old life behind?

I really enjoyed the last serialised book I read by Sheila Norton which was ‘The Vets at Hope Green’ so I was more than happy when the publisher asked me if I’d like to read this one. It was easy to get into the story right away with Emma narrating her tale. I enjoyed reading about the small town atmosphere and what it was like to be a new person there and I immediately warmed to Emma’s character as I could see myself feeling out of place in a small sleepy town too.

Once Emma settles in as a lodger with a family it’s not long before she is asked to take care of some animals. Through doing this we’re introduced to more characters and I love how much focus there was on some of the pets. A particular alsatian was really well portrayed and I loved the way Sheila Norton’s books can focus so much on the animals and yet still be about the human characters too. All of the human characters are well thought out, just like the setting, I could instantly see everything in my mind and really enjoyed getting into this story.

This first part is only a snapshot of what is happening in the story but it ends in a brilliant way that keeps you eager to read more. I’ll definitely be reading all four parts and can’t wait for the next one already which will be ‘Part two: New Beginnings’. If you don’t enjoy having to wait for all four parts to be released or prefer them all in one book then you’ll have to wait until February/March to get your hands on the full story but I can certainly recommend this series already based on what I’ve read.

As I said, I enjoyed Norton’s ‘The Vets at Hope Green’ already, but in this book, there’s something about the mystery surrounding Emma’s past and her being an outsider to a small town that makes this book even more appealing, to me, than ‘The Vets at Hope Green’. Although this book already has an air of predictability to it, being a lighthearted romantic contemporary story, this didn’t bother me as there’s still so much of Emma’s past to be revealed and I can’t wait to see what else will happen with the animals in the next part of the story!

-Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy.


What do you think of this introductory part to the novel?  Have you read any books by Sheila Norton before?  Let me know I’d love to hear what you think 🙂  You can also find me in these places: 

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#BookReview: Julius Zebra Rumble with the Romans by Gary Northfield #MPBooks

Hilarious start to a brilliant book series!

Julius Zebra Rumble with the Romans book coverTitle: Julius Zebra Rumble with the Romans

Author/Illustrator: Gary Northfield

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Middle grade/Older Children’s fiction, Humour

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Description: So you think you know ZEBRAS, do you?  They’re handsome, eat lots of grass, and um…are always getting eaten by lions.  Let’s face it, they’re a little bit boring and stupid, too.  But a tussle with a grumpy gladiator can soon change a zebra…So cheer on our stripy hero, Julius, as he scraps for survival in history’s deadliest theatre: THE COLOSSEUM!  Just don’t call him a horse! (or Debra…)

My Review:  This book is so hilarious and just so silly but with a brilliant story too! ‘Julius Zebra Rumble with the Romans’ is the first book in the Julius Zebra series with the second and third books being ‘Bundle with the Britons’ and ‘Entangled with the Egyptians’. This book is where the adventures of Julius begins. Having been forced to go to the lake with his mother and his brother Brutus, Julius wants nothing more than to leave the stinky place and go home. But when a stampede of animals runs from the lake Julius finds himself alone, with a very annoying warthog, and together they have to escape both a lion and the Romans who are after them.

I started reading this series from the second book and have really loved it but going back to this first book I was a little worried that I might not find it as funny as the later ones, as sometimes happens when you enter a series in the middle. However I shouldn’t have been worried, this book had me laughing from the first pages ad it’s fun to see how Julius, a zebra from Africa, ends up battling Roman gladiators.

Very funny and silly images throughout the text.

The book is pure humour and a very daft/silly humour which I just love. It has a very British humour, even down to the characters saying things like ‘Cor!’ and it feels like some classic British comedies where there’s a lot of silliness and slapstick involved. The book also has a Horrible Histories feel to it seeing as Julius is a zebra in the times when the Romans were a powerful nation. As the story unfolds there are lots of illustrations to go along with the text. These pictures have to be read along side the text, they make up part of the story and something about this style of book is just so appealing and I really enjoy it.

The illustrations are hilarious and there’s just something I find instantly funny about Julius, his friends and those eyes! Every pictures is silly and I’ll admit I laughed aloud on more than one occasion from the pictures alone! The pictures are all black and white. The ending of the story is a satisfying one, in fact it is my favourite ending of any Julius Zebra book (so far) given what Julius does. The book has a proper conclusion but also an epilogue which leads nicely into the second book ‘Bundle with the Britons’.

Fun images tell the story as well as the text.

One thing I really love about this book is the setting and the fact that it’s a bit of a historical lesson in Romans too. There is a glossary at the back of the book explaining some of the Roman terms and words that you read in the text as well as a fun lesson on how to count in roman Numerals and of course Cornelius is always explaining facts within the story.

I can’t recommend this book enough, and in fact the entire series. I have definitely become a fan of Julius Zebra and can’t wait for every adventure he goes on. It’s a wonderfully funny book which plenty of kids will love, but it’s also a bit educational too. I also think a fair few adults will enjoy this story too.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


What do you think of this book and the series?  Do you enjoy humorous books or do you prefer more serious ones?  Talk to me in the comments box below, I love hearing from you 🙂  You can also follow me in these places: 

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#BookReview: My Favourite Animal: Dolphins by Victoria Marcos #MPBooks

A fun and informative book for kids all about this lovely marine animal.

My Favourite Animal DolphinsTitle: My Favourite Animal: Dolphins

Author: Victoria Marcos

Publisher: Xist Publishing

Genre: Children’s, Non-fiction, Nature/Animals

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Description: Learn all about dolphins in this fun and informational text. Like all books in the My Favorite Animal Series, Dolphins offers engaging facts and checks the reader’s knowledge and comprehension throughout the book.

My Review: This is a lovely book all about dolphins and is a great book for introducing these beautiful marine mammals to children. I’ve viewed a digital copy so I can’t comment on the size or the quality of the print book itself but it’s aimed at young children and filled with colourful pages.

Every page of the book is filled with colour, there are large photographs across one or two pages with text on the side or within each picture. The parts of text take on a dolphin/marine theme being grey, pale green or pale blue under the text rather than white. The start of the book has a beautiful photograph of dolphins along with the contents and the rest of the book is made up of simple facts explained alongside detailed dolphin images. The facts are easy to understand and written in a way that young children will easily grasp. Despite the seemingly simple facts there are interesting things even I didn’t know such as what the world’s smallest dolphin is and how fast dolphins can swim and dive. The book is a short one to read but along the way there are question pages that have another lovely photo of a dolphin along with a question. These questions are simple reminders to see if kids remember what they’ve read on the previous pages and are simple questions which kids should be able to answer. There is an unfortunate error on the digital copy I received via NetGalley (whether this is in the final version available to buy I don’t know) it’s on the first question which should be ‘What do dolphins breathe through?’ but my copy is missing the word ‘through’ which makes the answer on the back page seem wrong. As I said it may be a small error on my copy alone but worth checking before giving this book to kids (pointing out the missing word if it is indeed on the final version of this book).

The photographs are what really make this book special. The facts alone are interesting but it’s the photographs that appear on each page which really make this book worth getting. The photos are of the same quality as on the front cover. Every photograph features a dolphin, not all bottlenose, and many of the photos feature close-ups or some interesting positions such as one photograph, which really made me smile, features a dolphin close to the camera, near a turtle, its mouth so close you can’t help but think the dolphin is smiling and saying hi to the turtle.

The back of the book features a short glossary of terms and the answers to the questions. This is a simple and yet really lovely book to give to kids as an introduction to dolphins. I know I loved looking at photographs of dolphins as a child and just looking at such beautiful images can really inspire kids to want to know more. The facts in this book are a great introduction too, especially when read alongside looking at the pictures. The only thing I would have liked as an added extra would have been a note on the photo (or in the back of the book) of which dolphins feature in the photographs as well as a possible picture of an orca after it is mentioned in this book. However overall I think this is a lovely book and I’ll be looking into more of the ‘My Favourite Animal’ series of books.
-Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy.

No pictures were available for this review as this was a digital copy of the book.


Do you like dolphins?  Would this be a book you’d like to have read as a child?  Please let me know any of your thoughts I’d love to hear from you 🙂  You can also find me in these places: 

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#Book Review: The Wonderling by Mira Bartók #MPBooks

A beautiful and magical fantasy tale for all ages!

The Wonderling book coverTitle: The Wonderling

Author: Mira Bartók

Illustrator: Mira Bartók

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Middle grade/ older children’s fiction, fantasy

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Description: Welcome to the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures, run by the evil Miss carbuncle, a cunning villainess, who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer.
For the Wonderling, an innocent one-eared “groundling” – a mix of fox and boy – the Home is all he has ever known.  But when unexpected courage leads him to protect a young bird groundling, Trinket, from being bullied, she in return gives him two incredible gifts: a real name – Arthur, like the good king in the old stories – and a best friend.
With the help of an ingenious invention by Trinket, the two friends escape from the Home and embark on an extraordinary quest into the wider world and down the path of Arthur’s true destiny.

With its shimmering language and richly imagined plot, The Wonderling is a spellbinding adventure that will leave readers with a head full of wonder and a heart full of song.

My Review:  This is such a beautiful and magical tale, it’s the perfect story to read no matter how old you are. ‘The Wonderling’ follows the story of Number thirteen, a very shy one eared half-fox half-human boy who lives at Miss Carbunkle’s Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures. The orphanage is an unpleasant place, there is no space for the young groundlings (the half-animal half-humans) to have fun, and poor Number Thirteen is so shy and alone that he doesn’t have any friends or even a proper name. But one day he’s forced to do something brave, an act that begins his journey to his destiny.

The book is quite large for a children’s book, at around 460 pages for the hardback, and contains some beautiful old-fashioned looking illustrations throughout. The hardback I have has an outer sleeve covering an old fashioned style dark green book (beautifully bound), and the sleeve has some beautiful images (like the ones found inside) along with some lovely shiny copper embellishments which can’t be seen easily from the above picture. The book is separated into three parts with each part being given a brief description along with some illustrations. There is also a lovely map at the start of the book which all together gives this book such an old-fashioned and beautiful feel.

The story is so easy to get into and I was enjoying it from the very first page. There is a real adventure feel to this as well as a magical Dickensian vibe. The story is set in the Victorian age, given the way the characters look and the technology they have, but it is firmly a fantasy world where groundlings exist. Number Thirteen, or Arthur as he is later known is such a sweet character, very timid but also with a heart of gold. It was so easy to like him straight away and like many magical children’s stories I think kids will warm to his character straight away. As the story progresses chapters occasionally switch to different characters. The whole story is written in the third person but you sometimes find out what is happening elsewhere in the story. This switch is never confusing and is often very interesting as sometimes characters are not just described by their names but in a more outward way, such as one scene talking about what two birds are doing in a house, mentioning them as birds rather than using character names. It gives the book a very magical feel and an almost movie quality to each scene.

An example of the style of illustration found throughout the book (I didn’t want to include any more images as it would spoil the story to see them)

A lot happens in the story and I really don’t want to spoil it by explaining as it’s really a magical adventure that Arthur and his friend go on. But I will say that this book really kept me reading on and on and it sucked me into this magical world that is so beautifully imagined. The Victorian style world where groundlings exist as well as some magical and powerful creatures is just amazing. The pictures really add to this magic too. All of the pages have some beautiful embellishment, even text only pages have some decoration around the page numbers, and when there is an illustration it wraps beautifully around the text. The pictures have a slight brown/sepia tint to them, with a hint of orange being used in pictures of Number Thirteen. The illustrations are really beautiful, you have to see them to see the beauty. They really enhance some of the images you create in your mind when reading the book and I can’t help but feeling a twinge in my heart when I see a picture of the little fox groundling or of his friend who I can’t help think looks like a very cute Kiwi bird.

The ending of the story is satisfying and it feels like the perfect tale to read at Christmas, as the date is significant in the story. I feel like I’ve been on a magical journey after reading this book and I wouldn’t be surprised if this book was one day turned into a magical movie as it’s just so wonderful a read. I would recommend this to anyone of any age. Of course it is aimed at older children but I doubt anyone older, who enjoys magical fantasy stories (especially ones featuring animals) would be able to resist enjoying this book!
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


What do you think of this magical story?  do you enjoy reading magical/fantasy stories?  What about tales with animals in them?  Please let me know your thoughts I’d love to hear from you 🙂  You can also find me in these places: 

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#BookReview: A Mighty Bitey Creature by Ronda Armitage & Nikki Dyson #MPBooks

A funny story with some very funny pictures.

A Mighty Bitey Creature book coverTitle: A Mighty Bitey Creature

Author: Ronda Armitage

Illustrator: Nikki Dyson

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s picture book

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Description: Shh…there’s something coming!  Something MIGHTY, and something BITEY… OUCH!  GRAAH!  YAHOO!  It’s biting everyone’s bottoms…and it might bite YOU!

My Review: This is a funny story with some great illustrations. The paperback is around A4 in size although a bit wider and filled with thick glossy and very colourful pages. The story is a good one and very funny, all is quiet in the jungle until…Frog screams because he’s been bitten by something mighty and super-sharp bitey. He decides tell Lion, who’s King of the Jungle because Lion will know what to do.

The whole story relies on repetition and it’s very funny. As Frog rushes to see Lion he bumps into other animals, who all suffer the same thing in turn. Every animal he meets wants to then join Frog in going to see Lion. And when they finally meet Lion, you can guess what happens to him. I won’t reveal the very ending of the story or what seems to be biting everyone as I know it would spoil a funny book. I do like the ending, although to be honest I was expecting it to be more funny or silly. For a kids book with such a build up with all the repetition and silliness I felt the ending was a bit flat. However it’s that repetition that really makes this story work and it’s something I do love in picture books.

Fun repetitive words and pictures throughout the book.

The illustrations are brilliant. They are all very colourful and funny. I really like the style of the pictures and couldn’t help but see a bit of similarity between them and a well known animation, given the way the faces are expressed and the way Lion looks on the last page. I think kids would love this book for the pictures alone. They are more detailed than it first appears and there are extra things to spot such as bees and butterflies. It’s also worth going back and looking at the pictures again after reading the book as you might spot something else hidden in the images.

Very funny and colourful pictures with lots of things to spot.

Overall I think this is a very fun book and one lots of kids will enjoy. Although I’d prefer a better ending, perhaps one with a bit of repetition seen throughout the book, it’s still a good ending and the with all the funny pictures and silly repeating story, its a book that kids and maybe a few adults will enjoy looking at.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


Do you like the look if this book?  Is it something you would buy or would have loved reading when younger?  Please let me know your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you 🙂  You can also find me in these places: 

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