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

Hilarious start to a brilliant book series!

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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: A Singular Baptism by Carlos J. Server #MPBooks

A hilarious contemporary comedy novel that’s out today!

A Singular Baptism book cover
UK book cover

Title: A Singular Baptism

Author: Carlos J. Server

English Translation: Annie Crawford

Genre: Contemporary, Humour

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Description:  Who hasn’t had the opportunity, or rather, the trial, of organizing a large family celebration? Thanks to a peculiar family tradition, Lucía, the protagonist of A Singular Baptism, is tasked with arranging the baptism of her son Argimiro on idyllic El Hierro, the smallest of the Canary Islands. During one frantic weekend, Lucía must deal not only with her husband’s and her own unconventional families, she must also find out if her suspicions about the true identity of her son’s father are correct or merely the result of a simple misunderstanding. With its cast of entertaining characters and everyday situations taken to extremes, A Singular Baptism will leave readers wondering if their families are as outlandish as Lucía’s.

Guaranteed fun. A must-read

My Review:  This is the second book I’ve read by Carlos J. Server and I have to say that he’s done it again! ‘A Singular Baptism’ (the new English translation of the Spanish ‘Un Bautizo Singular’) is one of the funniest books I’ve read this year and worth every one of the five feathers I give it!

Just like in his first book ‘A Lucky Day’ this book is filled with lots of humour but it’s a farcical daft type of humour that would look good in a movie. ‘A Singular Baptism’ takes place over the course of just one day but so much happens and it really is fun to read. The story begins with Lucía and her husband Paco driving frantically to pick up his parents in time from the airport. Lucía and Paco’s son will be baptised the following day but nothing in this story goes to plan and when they get to the church for a rehearsal there are soon question on who the biological father of the baby really is.

This book really is hilarious. I was smiling, laughing and couldn’t stop reading it until the very end. It’s not often that I truly laugh and enjoy a comedy book so much, but something about Server’s writing is exceptional and no matter what I’m just laughing at the ridiculous situations all the characters end up in. The best way to describe the plot is that it’s a farce. It reminds me of the silly humour you find in things like the Carry On films, it’s ridiculous and daft but also a good clean humour which I think many would enjoy reading.

I won’t go into details about what happens in the story but every scene is a moment of comedy. Over the top things happen and the cast of characters in this book really lends to the humour. The whole book is written in the third person but jumps between various characters and locations.  There are a lot of characters involved in the story but each is introduced in a way that makes it easy to grasp who is who and I was never left confused as all the characters are very different and many have extreme personalities. I really enjoyed all of them but the priest was once again a hilarious character in Server’s novel (‘A Lucky day’ also featured a priest). I especially liked the priest’s over the top performance towards the end of the novel!

The story is fast paced and although it’s a novel I could really see this book being turned into a film. The way scenes play out often showing scenes of minor characters who end up affecting the plot in a big way, just makes the whole thing feel like I’m watching a movie, in my head and I love it!  Although the whole book is pure humour there are warmer moments especially towards the end and I found myself smiling not only out of laughter but it also made my heart smile too.  The ending of the book is a satisfying one and I love the deeper message in the story and the quote before the first chapter. The book doesn’t have anything offensive at all and I think it would appeal to anyone who has that silly/daft sense of humour.

I’d really recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a farce.  This really is a brilliant book, well written (extra credit to the translator too) and I just can’t wait for Server’s next work!  I’d also recommend ‘A Lucky Day’ which features the same daft comedy but with a different situation.
-Thanks to the author for a free copy.

 


A Singular Baptism comes out today! (13th June 2017)  You all know how I feel about this book but are you interested in reading it?  Let me know!  Come check me out in these places too 🙂 : 

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#BookReview: Mrs Mole, I’m Home! by Jarvis #MPBooks

A hilarious kids picture book with little mini jokes adults will love!

Mrs Mole, I'm Home! book cover
Mrs Mole, I’m Home!

Title: Mrs Mole, I’m Home!

Author, Illustrator: Jarvis

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

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Description: Morris can’t find his glasses…anywhere.  And now he can’t see…anything.  Not to worry.  Morris is positive that his instincts will lead him home!
But just how good are Morris’s instincts?

My Review: This is such a funny book! Morris Mole works at a restaurant but when it’s time to go home he misplaces his glasses and decides it’s not that difficult to burrow his way home without them. As the front cover and the title show, Morris pops up assuming he’s home only to have burrowed into another creatures home. The rest of the book follows a predictable path of Morris repeatedly popping up in various different places thinking each time he’s home when he’s not.

The first pages of the book

This is a brilliant picture book and definitely has appeal to both kids and adults. The repetitive nature of the story will appeal to kids, it usually does, and the fun illustrations add a lot of humour to the already funny story. The copy of the book I have is an A4ish sized paperback with thick, colourful pages inside but papery rather than glossy. The pictures are quite simple and yet detailed in a way that there are little things to spot within the image that you might miss at first glance. The illustrations also feature funny things that only adults will really ‘get’ such as the name of the restaurant where Morris works or the titles of some books.

A closer look at another page of the book

The story is funny right to the end and although has a happy and predictable ending, there’s a twist on the last page which make me smile. I really like picture books like this and I would certainly recommend it to others but I do have a personal issue and that is the red colour used on both the front page and the first couple of pages inside the book. The colour is lovely but when I view the book in low light, that particular shade contrasts with the blue next to it in such a way that I squint every time I look at it, especially the book cover as the red feels like it’s almost ‘dancing’ It’s not a big issue but something to be aware of if you have sensitive eyes like me and plan to view this book in a low light atmosphere. Overall though a great and very funny picture book worth reading!

And this is where the real funny starts in this book! 😀

-Thanks to Walker Books for providing a free copy.


Do you like the look of this book?  Is it something you’d enjoy or are you thinking of buying?  Please do comment 🙂  You can also find me here, but apologies for not recently visiting some of them – will do so soon ❤ : 

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