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

A fun picture book with a very clever twist!

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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: Goodnight Everyone by Chris Haughton #MPBooks

A fun and very colourful bedtime picture book for children.

Goodnight Everyone book coverTitle: Goodnight Everyone

Author/Illustrator: Chris Haughton

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s picture book

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Description: The sun is going down and everyone is sleepy.  Well…almost everyone.  There’s still one Little Bear, who is very wide-awake…

My Review: This is a lovely bedtime book I’m sure many young children will enjoy. I haven’t seen or read any of Chris Haughton’s other books before, but I love the illustrations in this and the simple message of everyone going to sleep. The paperback copy is around A4 in size, a little wider and a little shorter, with thick and colourful matt pages inside

‘Goodnight Everyone’ starts with the sun going down and everyone is getting sleepy. But Little Bear isn’t tired and doesn’t want to go to sleep yet. Although the rest of the book has full pages, there are some half pages at the start of the story which I’ve tried to show in the photos I have taken. It’s a fun way of turning the pages and showing all the animals getting sleepy. The story itself is very simple and not much of a story, with Little Bear soon feeling sleepy himself. The whole book has a lot of fun repetition of wishing the animals goodnight.

Lovely colourful pages.

The illustrations are what I really enjoy about this book. They are so simple and yet the expressions on the animals faces are easy to see. I love the block shape of Great Big Bear’s legs and the whole way that all the animals are made out of simple coloured shapes. The colours in this book are great too. The book has an amazing amount of colour, with purple, orange, green and blue being the main colours in use. Some people might find the colours a little strong but I think kids really enjoy a colourful book and I know as a child I would have loved this book’s illustrations.

Interesting page with several sections.

The book has a lovely end which is obviously predictable, but there’s also and added extra on the first and last pages. At the front, before the story begins there is a picture of the southern night sky. This is a complete image of all the star constellations, and is a clear illustration. The back of the book features the Northern night sky with a special extra image where ursa minor and major are shown. I love this added extra, it not only is a fun little extra image to add to the book, but makes this something kids can look at when they are older too, if they want to learn the star constellations in the future.

Simple fun images and easy to read text.

I really do love this book, I know I would have loved it when I was younger. The colours, the shapes and the fun and simple story make this the perfect book to read to kids, especially if like Little Bear, they don’t feel sleepy yet.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


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#BookReview: My First 123 by Shirley Hughes #MPBooks

An excellent children’s book for learning numbers.

My First 123 book coverTitle: My First 123

Author/Illustrator: Shirley Hughes

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Young Children’s picture book

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Description: Learning to count is easy – at the seaside, on the bus, playing with friends or at home with Mum.  It’s fun learning to count anytime, anywhere, as Katie and her little brother Olly discover.

My Review:  This is a great book that teaches young kids how to count to ten. Katie and her baby brother teach kids how to count, with lots of great pictures and an easy way for kids to learn to count. Each page or double page represents one number. The number is shown in the top left hand corner of the book along with dots, as many large dots as the number represents, so three dots for the number 3. Below the number is a fun illustration showing the number in use such as four kittens. There is also a short description with the number shown in letters (two instead of 2) in bold print. Each page gives kids several ways to remember each number and I love the way this book does this so simply.

Fun and clear images

The illustrations in this book are very fun but also have a dated feel. The characters all have clothes and a look that says ’80s to me despite this being printed more recently. This is due to the fact that Katie and Olly first appeared in children’s books in the ’80s but I don’t know if this would put off some young kids today. At the back of the book as well as the first double page before the main ‘story’ there is a diagram, a sort of index of each of the numbers. The number as well as a set of dots and a little picture give kids more chances to count and I really like this little index.

More fun images to help with understanding numbers

I do like this book, much more than Shirley Hughes ‘My First ABC’. Despite the old-fashioned pictures I really do like the way this book makes it so easy for kids to remember their numbers up to 10. There are so many chances to count, either the dots or the objects in the picture and having the numbers written in letters too makes this a great book for kids and one I think I would have liked as a child. Overall a great first numbers book!

The fun index! 🙂

-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: 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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