#BookReview: Where’s Wally? The Totally Essential Travel Collection by Martin Handford #MPBooks

A fun collection of Where’s Wally books with some extras.

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Where's Wally The Totally Essential Travel Collection book coverTitle: Where’s Wally? The Totally Essential Travel Collection

Author/Illustrator: Martin Handford

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Fun Activity book

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Description: Just what you’ve been waiting for…All the wondrous Wally worlds in one! Seven sensational classic Where’s Wally? books packed into a handy travel-sized edition. Wherever you’re going, however you’re travelling – join the spectacular search for Wally and be sure to send a postcard to all of your friends!

My Review: I really love Where’s Wally? Although I never had all the books in my collection, I grew up with them and loved searching for all the hidden extras you could find. Now, to celebrate 30 years of Where’s Wally, seven great books have been packed into this handy travel sized set which is perfect for those who either didn’t have all the books already or just want to keep them all in one place! The book is about A5 in size with semi-hardback covers and a material elastic band that can close the entire book so nothing spills out if you do take this book on your travels.

The first page of the book

Inside the front and back covers (slotted into a gap in the covers) there are some postcards you can to colour in, six in total, which feature a section of a random Where’s Wally scenes. The postcards are great and nicely detailed so will take some time (but not too much time) to colour in. The postcards are also thick which means pens will work as well as pencils for colouring in but what’s fun is that they also feature a short checklist of a few things to find on the front of the post card itself, which can be fun for both the person colouring in the postcard to find and the person receiving it!

The first page folded out to show you things to search.

The seven books inside this travel collection are: Where’s Wally?, Where’s Wally Now?, Where’s Wally? The Fantastic Journey, Where’s Wally? In Hollywood, Where’s Wally? The Wonder Book, The Great Picture Hunt and Where’s Wally? The Incredible Paper Chase.
All seven books are in this travel collection complete and I’m amazed at how they all fit in together but it’s cleverly done. Each book has an extra folded page at the start which unfolds to show a checklist of things to find in each scene. This is only half the checklist you usually find in a Where’s Wally book so the other half of the checklist is folded on the last page of the book. I’ve shown photos of how this is done. The folded pages are easy to spot in the book and basically mark where each book begins so it’s easy to find.

Another fun page of things to find 🙂

Each page of a Where’s Wally book is of course smaller than the original books but are nice glossy and quite thick pages with clear and colourful images. I have good near vision so I didn’t have any trouble spotting even the smallest of objects however I will warn you that if you don’t want to strain your eyes it might be harder for some to spot the little things such as Woof’s bone, a key, etc. The checklist text may also be a little too small for some people to read.

I love this travel collection as I never had every Where’s Wally book in my collection. There are so many amazing pages to look at and I just love the way that just one Where’s Wally page can keep you looking for hours as there’s so many funny things happening in ever corner of each page!

Some extra postcards to colour in!

I’d definitely recommend this to any Where’s Wally fan, but also to those who have never tried the books before. The full price of ten UK pounds for seven books is amazing considering how much each book costs individually and the added bonus of the six postcards plus having all the books in one place makes this a great buy for everyone.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


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#BookReview: We’re Off to Look for Aliens by Colin McNaughton #MPBooks

A fun picture book with a very clever twist!

We're Off to Look for Aliens book coverTitle: We’re Off to Look for Aliens

Author/Illustrator: Colin McNaughton

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

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Description: Colin McNaughton boldly goes in search of ALIENS!  Two books in one, this intergalactic epic will make your eyes pop out on stalks!  May the Wilberforce be with you.

My Review:  I enjoyed this book far more than I thought I would and I’m sure plenty of kids will too. ‘We’re Off to Look for Aliens’ is a fun picture book, a bit large being wider than A4 but only a touch shorter. Each page inside is a thick and glossy page with very colourful pictures throughout. The book is clever as it’s a story within story and narrated by a child. The first pages are about Dad and the new children’s book he’s created. He shows it to the kids and they all read the book which happens to have the same title and author as the one we are reading.

Lovely and clear illustrations

The story in the book is funny with brilliant repetitive lines. An example of the first page of this is: We’re off to look for aliens, Ugly-bugly aliens, We’re off to look for aliens, Wilberforce and I. This ‘Wilberforce and I’ rhyme keeps repeating on every page with the rest of the text following the same rhyme. You actually get into a rhythm reading this story and every turn of the page is fun to read.

Colourful pictures

The illustrations are very colourful and funny. There’s actually two sets of illustrations with the outer story looking a little more old-fashioned and the pictures from the book the kids are reading being a bit different, with lines being darker and a generally different feel to them. I really like the different aliens in the book and how strange some of them look. I actually really enjoyed the illustrations more than I thought I would as there’s quite a lot to see on many pages and the designs of the creatures are different to ones I often see.

Interesting and fun aliens

The ending of the book has a very fun twist that really made me laugh as I wasn’t expecting it. I think this book will have a wide appeal to both kids and even some adults and the repetitive sing-song nature of the inner story will keep many entertained. I’d definitely read this book again. I actually didn’t think I’d find it as fun as I did and I’d definitely recommend it, if just for that twist ending!
-Thanks to Walker books for a free copy.


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#BookReview: The Lonely Giant by Sophie Ambrose #MPBooks

A fun children’s book with a powerful message.

The Lonely Giant book coverTitle: The Lonely Giant

Author/Illustrator: Sophie Ambrose

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s Picture book

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Description: How the giant loved to heave and hurl logs and smash and mash mountains!  But the more he smashed and the more he bashed, the smaller and quieter the forest became.  Until, one day, little yellow bird appeared…

My Review:  This is a lovely picture book with a brilliant environmental message. ‘The Lonely Giant’ paperback book is as tall as A4 in size but slightly wider and filled with thick matt pages full of colourful illustrations and text. The story starts with the giant doing giant things such as puling out trees like they are weeds and smashing mountains. But soon the forest becomes quiet and the giant is all alone.

Great and large illustrations 🙂

The story is an environmental one and is told really well. I don’t want to spoil what happens, although I’m sure many can guess, but it’s a great message to give to kids about the importance of conservation. I really like the illustrations in this book. I love the way the giant looks, especially in the cave, and I love how simple all the pictures are. They really tell the story well, you don’t even need to read the text to know what is happening.

Lots of great and clear pictures among the text

Sometimes I dislike books that go on about the environment to children because some books can be overly pushy about it and try to scare kids, but I love this picture book as it doesn’t do that. Instead it’s a brilliant message with a lovely ending. I know I would have enjoyed this book when I was young, for the pictures alone, and the added message about the environment is a wonderful extra I’m sure many adults would love to teach their kids.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


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#BookReview: They Came From Planet Zabalooloo! by Sean Taylor & Kate Hindley #MPBooks

A fun and quite silly children’s picture book

They Came From Planet Zabalooloo book coverTitle: They Came From Planet Zabalooloo!

Author: Sean Taylor

Illustrator: Kate Hindley

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

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Description: Watch out, planet Earth!  Zoron, Bazoo and Zob have come from Zabalooloo.  They’ve got a supersonic-sucker with shrinker-nozzle…and they are ready for an EPIC adventure!  OOH LA LA!

My Review: This is a funny and slightly silly story. Zoron, Bazoo and Zob are creatures from the planet Zabalooloo and they have come to earth to take BIG-SIZED thing back to their own planet, but things don’t go according to plan. The paperback book is about A4 in size and filled with thick glossy pages of colourful illustrations.

A wide book with lots of fun images

The story is really silly and perfect for anyone with a daft sense of humour, I’m sure lots of kids would enjoy this for how silly it is. When Zoron, Bazoo and Zob arrive on earth you realise they are tiny creatures and the BIG-SIZED thing they decide to take back is an animal. What happens afterwards is a really silly but there’s a great ending to the story and it actually has a great message too.

More fun images!

The illustrations are brilliant and quite detailed too. I love the expressions on the animal faces and little extra details within each image. The pictures really do make this book funny and are just perfect for the silliness of the story.

Comic style images with text

Although some reviewers have pointed out how the creatures from Zabalooloo talk in a slightly strange way, I don’t think it’s anything that kids would find hard to understand. I actually think it’s quite engaging and a fun, if slightly silly/daft, book for kids to both read and look at with the funny illustrations.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


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#BookReview: My First ABC by Shirley Hughes #MPBooks

A fun picture book for young kids to learn their ABC.

My First ABC book coverTitle: My First ABC

Author/Illustrator: Shirley Hughes

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Young Children’s Picture Book

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Description: A is for apple, B is for ball.  Learning your letters is fun with Katie and her brother Olly in this charming first alphabet book.

My Review:  As the name suggests this is an introduction to the alphabet for young kids. ‘My First ABC’ is an interesting book that looks fun with a definite old-fashioned feel to it. In the book the young girl Katie and her toddler brother Olly go through the alphabet mentioning things that start with the letters of the alphabet and then give a little more information about them. An example is the first page ‘Aa is for aeroplane. High in the sky, an aeroplane zooms by, Olly and I wonder how far away it is going.’ Each letter of the alphabet is on one page and the whole alphabet is filled with lots of objects, some I didn’t expect.

Very clear letters and images.

While I enjoyed reading through the alphabet and I’m sure many young children will enjoy this book, I do wonder about some of the letter choices. Most of the letters are okay, with objects such as aeroplane, hats and leaves, and I think adding Grandma, Mum and Dad are appropriate too as kids will of course relate to these words easily, but a couple of the last letters were strange such as X for kisses and Z for zzzzzz(sleep). Although kids will see the letter X used as a kiss in cards and such, and the letter Z used to represent sleep in some fun books, I did think there were better words that could have been used such as the obvious Xylophone or Zebra/Zoo.

Some great word choices for the letters of the alphabet.

Each letter of the alphabet has a picture attached plus some extra information which Katie tells us. This is a fun extra which might help kids relate to the things being described. There is also a diagram on the back page of each letter, a word and a small picture attached to help kids learn even more things beginning with the letters of the alphabet. I do like this diagram as it’s a great index for kids to look at and more for them to learn, however I did think it was lazy to have some of the words repeat. A for example had Apple instead of Aeroplane, but C is a Cat in the story as well as the in the index. I also question the letter X being ‘box’. Box clearly starts with a B but I think it might confuse kids to have it as an X.

The list at the back of the book.

The illustrations are lovely but have a dated feel, this is probably due to the fact that this is a re-print of a book from the 80s. The pictures have lovely detail in them and I like the illustrations but I do prefer more modern artwork especially for very young kids. Overall this is a lovely book and there are some fun things to learn for kids but I still think some better words could have been used to represent the letters of the alphabet. Although this book is a story about Katie and Olly showing kids the alphabet, I think kids would find it easier to remember actual objects that begin with the alphabet and E for everyone or K for Katie sounds a bit strange to me. But that’s just my own personal opinion 🙂
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


What do you think of this book?  Have you seen this book when it was first printed, or do you have any favourite ABC books?  I’d love to hear from you so please do comment below.  Come check me out in these places too 🙂 : 

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#BookReview: Pigsticks and Harold: The Ends of the Earth by Alex Milway #MPBooks

A silly and very funny children’s book with some great illustrations.

Pigsticks and Harold book coverTitle: Pigsticks and Harold: The Ends of the Earth

Author/Illustrator: Alex Milway

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s/middle grade, humour

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Description: Pigsticks and Harold set off on a journey to dicover the Ends of the Earth, armed with Pgsticks’ love of adventure, Harold’s common sense, and a lot of cake.  They go further than any pig or hamtster has gone before – but when disaster strikes, will they ever reach the Ends of the Earth?  And will they ever make it home again?

My Review: This is such a short yet silly and funny book! Pigsticks is the last in a line of noble pigs and wants to do something memorable so he decides he will travel to the Ends of the Earth. But he will need an assistant to carry his things, so he hires Harold, a hamster with a love of cake.

Fun images among the easy to read text.

The book is very short, at about 80 pages, and filled with more images than text. The story is very simple but funny and I really enjoyed reading it. Pigsticks and Harold set off to find the Ends of the Earth but the journey isn’t as simple or easy as they first thought. The whole story has a silly/daft feel to it which I enjoyed. Apart from the overall plot which is funny in itself, especially with the repetitive idea that the Ends of the Earth are just a little further away, there are little hidden extras which some older kids and especially adults will find fun to spot, such as the paintings on Pigstick’s wall. My favourite is ‘The Squeal’ by Pigyard Munch (a pun on ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch)!

The illustrations are what makes this story really funny. I love the simple way that Pigsticks is drawn. The characters are very simple and yet so expressive and the larger pictures have lots of little extras to spot such as extra creatures you can find in the Jungle.

Some great and funny illsutrations 🙂

I think anyone with a daft sense of humour would like this book. It’s a very short read, it took me just a few minutes to get through the whole book, but I really enjoyed it and would love to read more adventures of Pigsticks and Harold.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


Enjoy daft/silly humoured books?  What do you think of the illustrations in this one?  I’d love to hear from you so please comment below.

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#BookReview: Mr Large in Charge by Jill Murphy #MPBooks

A fun picture book featuring the Large Family.

Mr Large in Charge book coverTitle: Mr Large in Charge

Author/Illustrator: Jill Murphy

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s picture book

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Description: Mrs Large isn’t feeling too well, so Mr Large sends her back to bed.  “We’ll take charge, won’t we, kids?” he says.  But with Mr Large, Lester, Laura, Luke and the baby hoovering, making lunch and playing football, will Mrs Large’s rest be as peaceful as she hopes?

My Review:  This is a fun story that many parents will relate to. Mrs Large wakes up feeling unwell so Mr Large says she should go to bed and he will take care of everything, but things don’t go according to plan. The story in this book is quite simple and funny with Mrs Large repeatedly interrupted by all the things that go wrong. Despite Mr Large being in charge of the family and the housework, he’s not very good at it and Mrs Large is disturbed again and again and she finds it very hard to get some proper rest.

Lovely illustrations among the text.

The story has an appeal both to kids and adults. It’s funny with the way that Mrs Large is constantly interrupted and the silly things that go wrong are ones that plenty of parents, especially those with a big family, can relate to. The images are what really makes this story and I love how detailed they are. I really love Jill Murphy’s Large Family illustrations. Though I haven’t read many of her books, every time I see pictures of the Large Family I’m just drawn into them so much. They are lovely and detailed and funny all at the same time, it’s fun to notice little things such as the way the elephant family hold everything (not with their hands but their trunks). The characters are also very expressive and you can follow the story easily just by looking at the pictures.

Really Lovely illustrations

The ending is a good one and the whole story is a bit silly but I think plenty of adults and kids will really enjoy reading this. Although a review or two I’ve spotted complained about the gender stereotype of the dad being useless versus the mum who is always busy, I don’t think any kids would even pick up on this and many families will probably recognise someone who is a bit useless at certain things, whether they’re the dad, mum or someone else. Overall a great and fun book.

Poor Mrs Large doesn’t look well.

-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


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