#BookReview: Julius Zebra Bundle with the Britons by Gary Northfield #MPBooks

A very funny book middle grade/kids book which any age may enjoy.

Julius Zebra Bundle with the Britons book coverTitle: Julius Zebra: Bundle with the Britons

Author/Illustrator: Gary Northfield

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Middle Grade/Children’s, Humour

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Description: So you think you know about Julius Zebra do you!
He’s handsone.  He’s the people’s champion of the Roman gladiator world!  He’s off on his jolly holibobs with his besties…
Emperor Hadrian has one last task for Julius before he grants his freedom, and it involves a trip to the strand and far-off land of Britannia!

My Review:  ‘We’re off on our holibobs!’ Why on earth that phrase makes me smile I don’t know but it does and I love, LOVE this book! ‘Julius Zebra: Bundle with the Britons’ is the second book in the Julius Zebra series and I just can’t wait to read more!

The story is about Julius, a zebra who is a champion gladiator of Rome. Julius is a bit of a celebrity and the book quickly introduces us to his other animal friends, Felix an antelope, Cornelius a warthog and Lucia a crocodile, to name a few. The story is very funny and Julius and his friends mistakenly think Emperor Hadrian has sent them off on their holibobs (holidays) to the strange land of Britannia but they soon learn the truth about what they are really doing there.

Fun pictures throughout the text.

The story is daft and silly but also very, very funny. I wasn’t sure I was going to get into this book at first, given the strange setting of a few animals walking and talking among the people of Rome but it quickly because an engaging read and the more I read the more I laughed. The book has lots of funny images, in black and white, among the text and for some reason I’m really drawn to the silliness of them. Julius and his friends are quite daft and the whole look of the illustrations just lends to this daft humour.

The story has a satisfying ending but leaves you with an epilogue that sets up the next book in the series which will be ‘Julius Zebra: Entangled with the Egyptians’ which I can’t wait to read. The back of the book has some interesting facts which I really enjoyed and it made me like this book even more. The author explains some of the things that the Romans brought to Britain, not all of them I knew about, but it’s done in a funny way that makes you laugh.
There is also an explanation of how roman numerals work.  It is educational but done in a very fun way with characters from the story explaining how it works. It’s included because this book has the fun added extra of every page number being written in roman numerals instead of the usual digits we use today.
My favourite extra at the end of the book though is Felix’s rock collection. Some of the rocks and their names really made me laugh.

Funny illustrations!

This book will really appeal to kids and older who like something silly but funny. It’s not a complicated story but I really enjoyed reading this and after the recent disappointment of another funny book aimed at kids, which wasn’t for me, I’m glad to say that this book has just the right sense of humour to really put a smile on my face. I can’t wait for the next instalment in the series and am now going to buy the first book ‘Julius Zebra: Rumble with the Romans’ too!
-Thanks to Walker books for a free copy.


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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: Poor Louie by Tony Fucile #MPBooks

A funny picture book for those who love their pets!

Poor Louie book coverTitle: Poor Louie

Author/Illustrator: Tony Fucile

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

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Description:  Louie has the life every Chihuahua dreams of.  Walks with Mum and Dad, ice cream on Sundays and snuggles every night.

But when Mum’s belly grows bigger, things begin to change…

My Review:  This is such a fun story!  It starts with Louie, a Chihuahua, sitting in a dark room telling us about how he tried to run away from home.  We’re invited to hear his story which goes on to explain how wonderful his life was, how pampered (and babied) he was, until Mum’s tummy grew bigger.  The story is a pretty simple from then on and it’s obvious what is happening with his Mum and Louie, having met some babies before, fears a potential baby in the house.

I won’t go into any more detail about the story, but I will say that there is an obviously happy ending but also a surprising twist on the last page which just make me laugh.  The whole book is short but funny throughout.  I really warmed to Louie, the first pages just made me feel for the poor dog, although this might be because I’m a deep animal lover and have a tendency to ‘baby’ them myself!  I think this really appeals more to people who have pets and pamper and treat them a little like babies.  A lot of reviewers have said that this story would appeal more to adults than kids given the funny way that the Mum and Dad ‘baby’ their little Louie.  But as someone who grew up with a cat I called my sister (you may laugh but it’s true!) I think plenty of kids would understand and enjoy this book too.  I certainly would have when I was young!

Cute simple pictures

I like the illustrations in this book.  There’s something cartoonish about them but in an old fashioned way, like the cartoons of old.  I also like the way that the whole book doesn’t use a variety of colours and sticks more to a set of colours with yellow, blue and brown being the main palette.  The images don’t have a lot of detail and with the restrictions on colours it makes you focus on the important parts of the picture which just adds to the story.  Louie’s expressions are so fun and the whole book just takes on a fun feel.

Louie being pampered – recognise anyone who does this? 🙂

I’d recommend this book, it can be enjoyed by any age, though of course targeted at kids but I think only those who understand the whole loving/babying your pets might really enjoy this. I also should point out that the book is a hardback, about A4 in height but a little wider with thick papery rather than glossy pages.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


Are you someone who papers your pets?  Do you know someone who does?  Like the look of this book?

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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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