A very funny book with great illustrations and a brilliant twist ending!
Title: The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse
Author: Mac Barnett
Illustrator: Jon Klassen
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s picture book
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.
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.
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:
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.
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’.
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:
A fun picture book tackling the issue of new siblings in a different and fun way.
Title: His Royal Tinyness: A Terrible True Story
Author: Sally Lloyd-Jones
Illustrator: David Roberts
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s picture book
Description: Once upon a time there was a Happy Family. Then, one horrible, NO GOOD day, a new ruler was born…BEHOLD – His Royal Highness King Baby!
My Review: This is a funny book with a great message and is perfect for any kids with younger siblings who may sometimes feel jealous of the attention they’re getting. ‘His Royal Tinyness: A Terrible True Story’ is about A4 in height although wider than a typical A4 piece of paper. The hardback book comes with a sleeve which has some lovely bronze shiny outlines on the cover. Inside the book is filled with thick matt pages with lots of colourful illustrations and text.
The story is a simple one and is told by the little girl in the book. She starts by telling us how there was once a happy family with a mom, dad, a gerbil and her, a wonderful and perfect princess (her). But then a new ruler, King Baby(her baby brother) was born which meant that the princess was no longer cared for by her parents and left to fend for herself in the world. The story is actually very funny and is entirely from the perspective of the little girl who doesn’t like her new baby brother or the way her parents now look after him so much and seem to not care about her at all. She has to cook for herself, and generally take care of herself all alone while her parents are busy with the baby. However the story isn’t quite as true as it first appears and the illustrations show exactly how ‘true’ the little girl’s story is.
The pictures in this book are very funny. I love the way that they show so much detail about what’s really going on, such as all the heavy shopping that the poor princess has to carry (which is actually just one aubergine in a basket while dad carries bags of shopping!). Although most of the pictures are what is actually happening in the family, some pages show the girl’s own drawings and how she perceives how things are. I really like the style of pictures, there’s something about the way the characters look that I just enjoy and I like the hidden extras in each picture, not only of what is really happening with the girl but all the little extra things in the pictures to spot including the gerbil.
Some reviewers haven’t enjoyed this book much, stating that some children wouldn’t enjoy it, but I really have and can see kids enjoying this too although they might need an adult to sit down with them and point out all the little things in the pictures and show kids that the princess isn’t as poor and alone as she thinks. The whole story is about the girl’s imagination, the fact that she says right at the start that she has long flowing hair, when in fact she is wearing yellow tights on her head, shows how the whole story is just a bit of make believe. The ending is funny and has a wonderful message of getting along with younger siblings. I won’t give away the ending but it shows that all is well and kids shouldn’t fear or get upset about having younger brothers or sisters (particularly baby ones) as there’s plenty of good things including the bonus on the last page!
Overall I really liked this book and think it would be great fun for any kids to read. Whether kids ‘get it’ probably depends on how involved an adult is in reading the story with the kids, showing all the fun extras, as well as how creative and imaginative the kids are. I certainly would have enjoyed and understood this book, even as an only child, as I have always been very imaginative and could relate to the girl and her imaginative story telling.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.
What do you think about this fun way to tackle the subjects of baby brothers and sisters? Would you enjoy reading a book like this? Please let me know your thoughts I’d love to hear from you 🙂 You can also follow me in these places:
A brilliant fun book to tie-in with the popular television show
Title: The Crystal Maze Challenge
Author: Neale Simpson
Genre: Non-fiction, tv tie-in
Description: The Crystal Maze is back and there’s no place like dome! With this book you can create your very own maze experience with friends and family in the comfort of your own home. Packed full of over 100 weird, wonderful and quite frankly ridiculous mind-benders, games and riddles.
Venture through the Aztec, Medieval, Futuristic and Industrial zones as you lead your family and friends through a time-travelling adventure towards the fabled Crystal Dome.
Discover the story of how the show came to be and hear from the geniuses behind the original series.
Don your most garish clothes and take on the all-important role of the Maze Master (head shaving is optional).
Learn how to build a full-size maze in your own home (good luck sourcing the 80, 000 screws you’ll need to put it all together).
Adventurers, The Crystal Maze is ready and waiting…will you start the fans please!
My Review: This is such a fun book and perfect for anyone who’s a fan of The Crystal Maze, old or new! ‘The Crystal Maze Challenge’ is a complete guide on how to recreate the Crystal Maze experience in your own home. The hardback book’s about A5 in size and filled with thick glossy pages which not only feature games you can play, but also lots more about the making of the Crystal Maze series.
I’ve always loved watching the original Crystal Maze series and have been a fan of the new one since it came back to our screens, and I have always, secretly, wanted to take part, so when I saw this book on how to recreate the maze in your own home with friends I jumped at the chance to read it. The start of the book has an introduction explaining a bit about the show as well as explaining how the book works and how to be a maze master, before moving on to the games themselves. Now nobody at home can possibly recreate all of the games that exist on the tv show, but this book is packed with so many ideas that they’re all equally fun and challenging to play.
Each game is part of a zone, and the games are arranged in zones. One or two pages show you how to play each game and the instructions for both setting it up and playing are very fun and easy to understand. The instructions are actually written in a way that will make you laugh, and there are so many games to recreate that everyone will find some they will enjoy.
Like in the tv show the games are marked as being physical, mental, skill or mystery and each one of them looks like a lot of fun to play. Some of the game ideas are things such as: ‘Balls Up’ where players wear a plate strapped to the top of their head and have to put balls on top of it and then walk around a room of obstacles without dropping any of them (an automatic lock in if they drop them three times), ‘Totem Pole’ which recreates the totem pole game from the actual show where you arrange pieces of the totem in the correct order. There are so many games it’s impossible to list them but there are a wide variety from the more normal games such as riddles, coin flipping, card stacking to some really ridiculous ones like ‘Victory of Bust!’ and ‘Head Hockey’ which are so silly you’d have a hard time playing the game from laughing so much at the props!
The book lists a lot of games but you only need to play a few from each zone, like in the show. This means that you can recreate The Crystal Maze at home again and again, each time playing new games. The book even explains how you can recreate the Dome experience easily although you’ll need a lot of time to set it up. All of the games in the book are easy to recreate at home using everyday items and they way they are explained is easy too, with many of the games having added images making it easier for you to understand how to play it. some of the mental games feature riddles and the answers to them are at the back of the book rather than on the page which is good if the person reading it wants to later play the game rather than be maze master.
The book isn’t just about recreating the maze experience (although that’s my favourite part of it). It’s also a book filled with information and interviews about the creation of the original maze as well as the new one. There are interviews with the makers of the original game as well as Richard O’Brien, the original maze master. There’s also information on how you can remake the whole Crystal maze yourself to scale, although I wouldn’t recommend trying that! And lots of other information which I am pleased to say I didn’t know such as how exactly The Crystal Maze was invented – the original idea for the tv show was going to be something very different. All of these parts are filled with wonderful and clear photos or images. These extra parts of the book make it much more special and a because it’s in hardback it feels like a special celebratory gift for any Crystal Maze fan.
This book will definitely appeal to fans of The Crystal Maze tv show but it can also appeal to anyone looking to have a fun games experience at home with family and friends. I personally can’t recommend this enough, but then I’ve always enjoyed watching the show. Whether my own attempts at recreating it are any good I’ll have to see, but I’m going to have fun trying and I’m sure anyone picking up this book will enjoy reading and trying it out too.
-Thanks to Bookbridgr and the publisher for a free copy.
What do you think of this book? Would you enjoy playing the games? Are there any game shows you’d like to take part in? Please let me know you thoughts, I’d love to hear from you 🙂 You can also follow me in these places:
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.
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.
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:
Description: So, you think you know about Julius Zebra do you?
He’s a gladiatorial champion! Liberator of enslaved beasts! A rebel of the Roman Empire!
But when Julius is shipwrecked on the shores of Ancient Egypt and mistaken for a horse god his luck takes a new turn and soon he’s bathing in donkey’s milk and being crowned Pharaoh of Egypt. Just how long will his golden fortunes last?
My Review: This is such a funny book and perfect to bring a smile to anyone’s face. ‘Julius Zebra: Entangled with the Egyptians’ is the second book in the Julius Zebra series, the previous books being ‘Rumble with the Romans’ and ‘Bundle with the Britons’. You don’t need to have read any Julius Zebra books before reading this one as it’s a complete story in itself, (and I never read the first book before trying out the second one a few months ago) but it is extra fun to know where all the characters come from and what they’ve been through.
The hardcover book has shiny gold on the cover and inside the whole story is written in easy to read text along with funny illustrations on every page. After his last adventure in Britannia Julius and his friends find themselves shipwrecked on a beach. Before they know it the Egyptian army finds them and somehow Julius gets mistaken for a horse god! I don’t want to explain more of the plot as it’s just too funny and it would spoil it for me to go into detail, but will say that this book is hilarious and has a very daft and silly plot. When I read the previous book I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at all the silly things that happen to the characters and the way they react and I wasn’t disappointed with ‘Entangled with the Egyptians’ as there’s more of that brilliant humour!
The story is just really silly with every moment being a chance for something funny to happen, and what makes it even more funny is the pictures. Rather than the odd illustration in the book which you’d look at after reading the text, there are pictures on every page and they are part of the story. You have to see what’s happening in the pictures and read the characters speech bubbles before reading the next part of the text. I love this style of illustrations and the images themselves are just really funny. Every small picture or large one spread on a double page is funny. It’s hard to describe but somehow the way the characters are drawn (and those eyes!) makes the plot all the more funny and just looking at the cover makes me laugh.
The story throughout is hilarious, there’s never a dull moment and although it’s predictably going to be very silly, I still didn’t know what was going to happen, especially at the end. I like the ending it’s fun and made the book feel like the last in the series but there’s an epilogue that shows that the story is far from over for Julius and his animal friends, which I’m so happy about as I really can’t get enough of Julius and his friends.
After the main story is finished there are a few pages of extras. There’s a quick explanation of how to read roman numerals, as all the page numbers are written in roman numerals. There is also information on how to write in hieroglyphics, a funny explanation of mummification along with some great pictures, and a glossary, explaining some of the real life things that exist in the book. A glossary was also in the previous book which I found fascinating and I especially liked this book’s addition as I’ve always loved learning about Ancient Egypt and I didn’t realise where ‘Heter’ comes from.
This whole book is so funny and silly and it really put a smile on my face. Although aimed at kids this book will make any adult laugh too. I think the sense of humour in this book is just perfect for me, and how funny someone finds the book might depend on their own type of humour, but I’d really recommend this book to anyone to try, especially if you enjoy really daft/silly stories. I can’t wait for a future instalment of the series and I could see this series going on for a long time, as long as there are ancient places for Julius to visit. A really great book and the fact that the line ‘We’re going on our holibobs!’ is used again just cracked me up (no idea why but it does!)
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.
I loved this funny and silly book! Would you like it too? What do you think of the illustrations? Let me know in the comments below. Come check me out in these places too 🙂 :
Title: The French Exchange Whale and Other Book Ideas
Author: Cal King
Illustrator: Sean Bright
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Genre: Humour, Non-fiction (Joke book)
Description: It’s said that everyone has a book inside them. Hapless would-be writer Cal King doesn’t have just one though – he’s bursting with ideas for everything from children’s books to (in his mind) prize-winning novels. Unfortunately all his ideas are terrible.
Cal was initially hurt when it was suggested he compile his pitches into a collection of ‘ridiculous book ideas’. But, driven by an all-consuming need for approval, he agreed. He hopes his ideas will prove to be an inspiration to anyone who has ever dreamt of being an author. His publisher thinks they’ll make you laugh out loud…
My Review: This book really put a smile on my face and is perfect for anyone wanting a quick laugh. Cal King is bursting with ideas for lots of different books, but the trouble is that none of his ideas are really that good. That didn’t stop him pitching his ideas to a publisher though, and the result is this book!
‘The French Exchange Whale and Other Rejected Book Ideas’ is exactly what it’s name suggests, a collection of book ideas, all of them very funny (most of them not very good), and each of them listed here along with a brief description and an illustration of the book cover to match. The book starts with a brief introduction from the author, and another one from the publisher, before launching straight into the book ideas. Each one of these potential novels has a title, a tagline and a short synopsis which is usually no more than a page in length with a funny cover illustration on the other side of each double page. Although the book can easily be dipped into and read in any order, the recurring titles make it funnier if you read the book in order.
Like any joke book out there, this is all about having some silly fun and for me this book didn’t disappoint. I didn’t find each title hilarious but they were all silly and raised a smile. Some were definitely funnier than others, such as ‘Como Se Llama?’ Learn Spanish with Llamas, ‘Gordon’s New Trousers’ which doesn’t sound funny unless you see the picture and read the synopsis (Gordon is a highland cow) and I love ‘The Chartered Surveyors’ and the silly descriptions. The pictures really helped make this book much funnier than it would be without them. Each illustration is black and white and I love the simple yet fun design.
This book might be a short read, but it’s funny and one I keep looking back at whenever I feel like a quick laugh. There are a lot of book ideas and, strangely, I can imagine some funny (if slightly ridiculous) movies being made out of them. A few titles even had me laughing aloud. I’d certainly recommend this book for some silly fun, especially as a gift for anyone who enjoys funny books.
-Thanks to the Bookbridgr and the publisher for a free copy.
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