#BookReview: They Didn’t Teach This in Worm School! by Simone Lia #MPBooks

A very funny middle grade book with a silly story but a great message of friendship.

They Didn't Teach This in Worm School book coverTitle: They Didn’t Teach This in Worm School!

Author/Illustrator: Simone Lia

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s/Middle Grade, Humour

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Description: Marcus is a worm.  He likes the colour brown.  He likes mud (because it’s brown).  And he likes digging holes in the mud-brown earth.  But when Marcus meets Laurence (a scruffy, fat bird who looks a lot like a chicken…and thinks he’s a flamingo!), he comes face to face with his worst fear.  Marcus has two choices: Survive.  Or be slurped up like piece of spaghetti…

My Review: I really love this book.  It’s so funny and silly and has some great messages about friendship too.  Marcus is a worm and likes to do worm things, but one day he ends up on a plate in front of a bird.  About to become the bird’s breakfast he does the only thing he can…he says hello.

The story in this book is silly with Marcus the worm getting to know Laurence the bird and agreeing to help him go on a journey.  I don’t want to give away the plot but this book is just really funny and daft.  The book is told from Marcus’s point of view and is written in the first person.  Every page of the book is filled with funny moments.  The whole way the book is narrated and Marcus tells it is funny, there’s never a moment that isn’t and the illustrations just add to the humour.

Some funny illustrations.

There are pictures throughout the story and there isn’t a page in the book that doesn’t have an image around the text.  The illustrations are all black and white and grey with the exception of the pink used to colour Marcus and a few other things.  I really like the style of the pictures and especially the way that Marcus looks with no outline and that cute little face.

Funny images around the text.

The story has a great message of friendship wrapped around the humour and I especially liked the ending which is of course funny but also quite heartwarming too.   I enjoy a lot of funny children’s books but this is one of my favourites, there were moments I actually laughed aloud, especially when the ‘Eiffel Tower’ made an appearance.  I think plenty of adults would really enjoy reading this every bit as much as kids would and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a book to cheer up their day.  It’s definitely a story I’ll be reading again in the future!
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


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#BookReview: Hansel and Gretel by Michael Morpurgo & Emma Chichester Clark #MPBooks

A wonderful retelling or a classic fairytale with illustrations to add to the magic.

Hansel and Gretel book coverTitle: Hansel and Gretel

Author: Michael Morpugo

Illustrator: Emma Chichester Clark

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s/Middle grade, Classic

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Description: No child ever forgets the story of the witch, the breadcrumb trail and the gingerbread house in the woods.  Retold by master storyteller Michael Morpurgo and illustrated by celebrated artist Emma Chichester Clark, this powerful and beautiful retelling of the Brothers Grimm classic will grip the imagination of a while new generation of children.

My Review: This is such a magical book. I couldn’t remember the story of Hansel and Gretel properly. Most of the story I remember, the gingerbread house and what happens next, is actually the ending of the story, so it was wonderful to sit down and read through this book and be reminded of how this tale started.

Beautiful illustrations.

I won’t go into the plot in any detail but it is an exciting read: Gabriel and Lisette are a wonderful and happy couple who love their kids Hansel and Gretel very much, but one day an old witch spies on the family and wants to have Gabriel and the kids to herself. This version of the classic fairytale really has an enchanting and haunting feel. I felt drawn to reading this from the first page and couldn’t put it down until I had finished the whole story.

The illustrations really lend to the tale and its atmosphere. There are images throughout the pages, sometimes a double page image, sometimes a picture among the text. All of these illustrations though are so amazing that I felt they really pulled me into the atmosphere of the story. I especially liked the way Belladonna’s eyes are so different from the others.

Lovely images among the text.

I’d really recommend this book to everyone. Although it is aimed at kids it is certainly a book adults can enjoy reading too. With a great ending but enough of a haunting atmosphere to really grip kids, this is a wonderful version of the classic fairytale and one which I’ll be reading again.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


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#BookReview: The Tale of Angelino Brown by David Almond & Alex T. Smith #MPBooks

A funny and heartwarming children’s story about an angel.

The Tale of Angelino Brown book coverTitle: The Tale of Angelino Brown

Author: David Almond

Illustrator: Alex T. Smith

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s/Middle Grade, Humour

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Description: Bert and Betty Brown have got themselves a little angel. Bert found him in his top pocket when he was driving his bus.

Bert and Betty’s friends think he’s lovely. So do Nancy and Jack and Alice from Class 5K. What a wonder!

But Acting Head Teacher Mrs Mole is not so sure. Nor is Professor Smellie. Or the mysterious bloke in black who claims to be a School Inspector.

Then there’s Basher Malone – big, lumbering Basher Malone. He REALLY doesn’t like Angelino. And it looks like he’s out to get him

My Review: This is a funny and lovely children’s book. When I started reading ‘The Tale of Angelino Brown’ I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I did. The story begins with Bert Brown, a bus driver, who is married to Betty. While driving the bus Bert thinks he’s having a heart attack but finds a little angel inside his pocket instead. He takes the Angel home and together Betty and Bert decide to look after him and name him Angelino.

Images along side the text.

I don’t want to go into too much detail about the story as it will spoil it but this really is a lovely tale. Angelino is loved by everyone nice and brings out the best in everyone, but not everybody likes to see an angel and Angelino faces some trouble from some bad people. The story is a middle grade/ older children’s book although anyone older might enjoy this too. On the whole the story seems a simple and funny one. A lot of the characters are very silly and the situations are daft too (including some references to farting). But although on the surface the story just seems like any other funny story, this book has a deeper story inside it. I don’t want to explain what that part of the story is as it will give away the ending but it has a really heartwarming ending and it really put a smile on my face.

There are illustrations throughout the book, although some double pages don’t have any images a lot do. These are black and white pictures which are funny and add to the overall fun mood of the story. I do like these images as they make reading this book more fun and I particularly like the pictures of some of the teachers!

Fun pictures add to the humour of the book.

Some of the language used in the book is written with accents in mind, such as the word ‘maybe’ being spelt ‘mebbe’ when characters talk. This didn’t bother me but some kids might be confused by such words. Overall though this is a really lovely book, sweet and heartwarming and I’m glad I read it as I love the ending! I’m sure lots of kids and adults will enjoy this book.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


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#BookReview: Timmy Failure: The Cat Stole My Pants by Stephan Pastis #MPBooks

A daft and funny kids book which I just didn’t find that funny.

Timmy Failure The Cat Stole My Pants book coverTitle: Timmy Failure: The Cat Stole My Pants

Author/Illustrator: Stephan Pastis

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Middle Grade/Children’s, Humour

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Description: Crime doesn’t take a holiday.  Neither does greatness.

So although I, Timmy Failure, the world’s greatest detective, am in Key West, Florida, I am NOT on holiday.  And I am DEFINITELY NOT on a honeymoon with my mother and Doorman Dave, having found zero evidence that they even got married.

But I am stuck in this hotbed of criminals with only the help of an unpaid intern.

There is no privacy on the island, but I know this: There is treasure.

My Review: I must be in a big minority because unfortunately I just didn’t enjoy this book like I had hoped. ‘Timmy failure: The Cat Stole My Pants’ is the sixth book in the series of Timmy Failure books and while it’s probably funny for a lot of people and kids, it was just too daft for me.

The book comes as a lovely hardback and is filled with lots of pictures as well as text. A lot of the book is pictures or handwriting and appears a bit like a notebook which it sort of is as Timmy is the narrator of his story. The whole story of ‘The Cat Stole My Pants’ is very daft. Timmy is a detective and runs a detective agency. He has a new intern called Emilio which is really another kid who’s on holiday with him and his mum and her new husband Doorman Dave. Timmy is a bit of a brat and loves to over exaggerate like so many kids would and it’s this unique humour that’s supposed to be funny but I just didn’t ever laugh at this book.

Some of the images inside the book.

There are bits I do like in this book. I actually like Emilio’s character. He looks strange and seems weird but I really liked him, especially his fondness of a certain bird. I also liked the ending of the story. I’m not going to give the ending away but it was nice and I think a little deeper than the rest of the book.

Some more pics among the text.

The images in this book are all quick drawings in black and white and do look funny. The pictures really lend to the story and I would have liked even more of them in the book, I think I also would have liked all the text to have looked handwritten too.

More silliness and fun.

I think this book will appeal to a lot of kids and adults too. I also feel as if boys might enjoy this a lot more and I think those with a very silly (almost over the top silly) sense of humour will love this most. The book just didn’t seem funny for me though and it’s not a book I would have enjoyed when I was younger. Maybe if I had read some previous Timmy Failure books this would appeal more but I just never got into the story, I never connected with Timmy in any way and it’s a shame because I really tried hard to enjoy this story.
-Thanks to Walker books for a free copy.


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#BookReview: The Cherry Pie Princess by Vivian French & Marta Kissi #MPBooks

A very fun fairy tale children’s book

The Cherry Pie Princess book cover
UK book cover

Title: The Cherry Pie Princess

Author: Vivian French

Illustrator: Marta Kissi

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: MG/children’s Fiction

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Description: Princess Peony has a bad feeling that her father might be a tyrant.  She doesn’t want to believe it, but he has a nasty having of throwing people in dungeons…

There’s a royal party coming up, and the king’s in an even worse mood than usual.  He flat out refuses to invite the wicked hag, which can mean only one thing: TROUBLE!

My Review: This is a very fun story for kids and one which I would have adored reading myself when I was younger.  Princess Peony is different to her family, the King, Queen and her six sisters.  During a Royal visit to the library Princess Peony, the only one of her sisters to show any interest in the books there, borrows a recipe book.  But Princesses aren’t supposed to bake and when her father King Thoroughgood finds out, it is only the start of Princess Peony’s troubles.

‘The Cherry Pie Princess’ is well written and really fun.  It’s like a new fairy tale story with a bit of humour thrown in.  It’s easy to get into this children’s book right away and although it is not a specifically funny book, the names of some characters and the illustrations inside will make you smile and laugh.  The story is quite simple but surprised me as I didn’t know what was going to happen.  Although the story follows Princess Peony at the beginning it also briefly follows some seemingly random characters like the Fairy Godmothers and a Hag.  All these characters stories later entwine to make a really good ending.

Cute illustrations at the start of the book

The illustrations are funny and have enough detail for me to really like them.  There are illustrations throughout the book, in black and white and there’s are illustrations on every other double page.  The pictures really lend to the story and are really well drawn, I especially like the image later of the cat sitting in the tree.  The ending of the story is a really good one and even though it’s predictably happy, I still didn’t know how everything would get resolved or what would happen to Princess Peony after a spell was cast!  (can’t say more or I’d spoil it!).

Some of the funny images that can be found throughout this book

I think kids will love this story, particularly if they are into fairy tales and although girls might be more inclined to enjoy this book, given the title and the cover, I’m sure some boys would too as Peony herself isn’t overly girly in her personality.  Adults might also enjoy it as I did.  I’d definitely recommend this book to others, given the fact it’s like a fairy tale it also has a little lesson that some characters have to learn but it’s all told in a really fun way and I’ll certainly be on the lookout for more Vivian French books after I’ve read this one!
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


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