BLOG TOUR: One More Try by Naomi and James Jones

Today is the final stop on the blog tour for a wonderful new picture, One More Try, by Naomi and James Jones, published by Oxford University Press. This delightful story introduces a very determined Circle who will just not give up!

Circle loves the tower that the squares and hexagons have built. But Circle and his friends are much rounder or pointier…and much wobblier so making a tower turns out to be quite tricky. When the shapes are ready to give up, Circle asks them to have one more try. Can he find a way?

A follow up to their 2021 debut picture book, A Perfect Fit, which featured a triangle trying to fit in, this time we meet a very determined Circle in another shape-filled adventure. Circle and his friends try everything to make their tower-building work – from making themselves stronger and smarter to looking at the problem from every angle. Finally, when all the others are ready to stop, Circle asks for one more try. And you guessed it, it works!

A thoroughly enjoyable story about workings out, seeing things from different perspectives and not giving up, One More Try is sure to bring a smile to your face and get little minds thinking. I love the shapes as characters, each with their own personality, and I can imagine if my boys were still young they would be asking for ‘one more’ read of this colourful story!

With thanks to Oxford University Press for sending me this book to review and Liz Scott for inviting me to participate in the blog tour. Find out more on the rest of the tour:

New reviews: Picture Book Round-Up!

Today on the blog, I’m sharing a round-up of the plethora of brilliant and beautiful picture books I’ve read over recent weeks. Full of fun, themes of friendship and acceptance right through to wacky adventures, readers young and old won’t fail to enjoy these delightful stories!

Super Silly Museums by Nick Sharratt is a simply a delight! Everything a picture book needs to be to grab young reader’s attentions: inviting, entertaining, informative and jam-packed FULL of brilliant illustrations and fold-out pages. Readers are invited to explore the silliest museums ever, from the toe-tapping Shoe-seum to the somewhat stinky Pooseum. As the book says ‘going to the museum has never been so much fun’! Published by Scholastic (who are also running a fantastic competition to celebrate the book).

Frank and Bert by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros is a gorgeous story about kindness and making your friends happy. Join friends Frank and Bert, as they play hide and seek, and Frank discovers that there is more than one way to win. Beautiful illustrations and a simple narrative with a huge heart; this is simply a great picture book! Published by Nosy Crow.

Punk Rocker Poodle by Laura Dockrill and Sandhya Prabhat brings to life a noisy, punk-tastic poodle (who is a toddler with terrible twos in disguise!). A stomping, rhyming, rap-filled narrative shows just how much attitude this little pooch has – until it’s time to go to sleep; then all she wants is a cuddle!! Illustrations leap off the page and the whole story is so full of colour, readers will want to listen to Punk Rocker Poodle again and again (but maybe with the ‘volume’ down a little if it’s bedtime..!!). Great fun! Published by Faber.

Oh No George! by Chris Haughton celebrates it’s tenth anniversary this year! The perfect tale for dog lovers everywhere, it features George, the hapless hero who simply can’t be good. Whether it be eating cake, chasing cats or digging up the flower bed, George is powerless to resist. How can he make it up to Harris, his owner?! You’ll have to read this funny, entertaining tenth anniversary edition to find out! Published by Walker Books.

SuperQuesters: The Case of the Stolen Sun by Dr Thomas Bernard and Lisa Moss illustrated by Amy Willcox is the first in a new STEM-focused adventure series. Great for sharing, this engaging title brings STEM topics to life, introducing a great cast of magical characters, taking readers on an exciting adventure and inspiring their learning. With opportunities to participate and gain rewards in the shape of colourful stickers, children will love each STEM Quest and the opportunity to become STEM superheroes! Published by QuestFriendz.

You Are Enough: A Book About Inclusion by Margaret O’Hair illustrated by Sofia Cardoso is an inclusive and empowering picture book inspired by Sofia Sanchez, a 12- year-old girl with Down Syndrome. Featuring a cast of characters with all kinds of backgrounds and disabilities, You Are Enough encourages children to be brave and courageous no matter what they are facing. It also shines a light on the difference kindness can make and how we all need a cheerleader or two in our lives. Inspiring and engaging with lovely illustrations, this is a great book to share and prompt discussion. Published by Scholastic.

Monkey Bedtime by Alex English and Pauline Gregory is a wonderfully funny look at monkeying around at bedtime – with real monkeys! If you don’t know your marmoset from your gibbons, Monkey Bedtime will introduce you. Meet a whole host of marvellous, mischievous monkeys as one little boy tries to get to bed. As the time ticks on and Mummy keeps calling out ‘it’s time for bed’, more and more monkeys arrive through window, doors and even down the chimney! Find out if he’ll ever get to bed in this delightful, wonderfully drawn tale perfect for anytime of day! Published by Faber.

Wowee Zowee: A Flight of Imagination by Jurg Lindenberger invites young readers to join the fun as they step on board the airline of imagination. Travelling to some weird and wonderful places, they’ll meet a some crazy characters along the way. With space for their own imaginations to come to life on the page, children can draw and colour throughout, in places like the Fruitnveg Megaburb, Frostonika and Vectoland. In amongst all the fun, they’ll learn about what to pack for a journey and even navigating the airport. I think it’s time for a Wowee Zowee adventure – the perfect travel companion! Published by Cicada Books.

With thanks to all the publishers for sending me these books to review. They will be finding new homes via my local foodbank.

BLOG TOUR: Uncle Pete and the Forest of Lost Things by David C. Flanagan illustrated by Will Hughes

I’m so pleased to be hosting the final day in the blog tour for the second book in this delightful adventure series, Uncle Pete and the Forest of Lost Things by David C. Flanagan, illustrated by Will Hughes published by Little Door Books.

Uncle Pete the explorer and his fearless mouse sidekick, TM, have lost their stardust-powered plane. Where should they look for it? The strange and mysterious Forest of Lost Things? That’s crazy! Nobody should EVER go there! With lots of dangerous dilemmas to overcome, Uncle Pete and TM head out on a brand new adventures that’s full of surprises, laughs and a few scares. Along the way they meet some ingenious squirrels, a kindly dolphin, 12 enormous cats and a lost polar bear. Can bravery, kindness and lots of jam sandwiches help Uncle Pete and TM find there plane and get back home safely?

Having been lucky enough to read the first adventure featuring Uncle Pete (read my review here), I did catch a sneak preview of this latest adventure – and have been looking forward to finding out what happens ever since! We join Uncle Pete and TM as they set out to find the wonderful, rickety bi-plane that takes them on their adventures, and see them use all their ingenuity to find it! Readers will not fail to be entertained as Uncle Pete’s delightfully eccentric character comes to life once again, along with his brilliant sidekick TM (Tiny Mouse!) – through both the lively narrative and the quirky illustrations. And readers will love meeting new characters – like Tiddles the giant scary cat (not so scary when he starts licking his bottom at the wrong moment, just like normal sized cats do…!). Full of delightful detail, little bits of magic and as it turns out, more than just a plane rescue, Uncle Pete’s adventures in the Forest of Lost Things will have young readers clamouring for more!

With thanks to Little Door Books for sending me this book to review. Find out more on the rest of the blog tour:

BLOG TOUR: Wolfbane by Michelle Paver

Today I’m hosting the final stop on the blog tour for Michelle Paver’s new novel, Wolfbane published by Zephyr Books, the grand-finale in the legendary Wolf Brother Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. The Stone Age adventures have been read by three million readers worldwide and I’m sure many of them will be waiting with bated breath to find out what happens to Wolf, Torak and Renn.

The end of winter is a perilous time when ice rots and frozen rivers awake. Wolf finds himself adrift at Sea, far from his pack and hunted by an ice demon bent on devouring his souls. While Wolf battles hunger, loneliness and the monsters of the deep, Torak and Renn must find him before the demon can – or lose their beloved pack-brother forever…

Gripping from the first page, Wolfbane is a stunning conclusion to an incredible series that spans eighteen years! Over that time, author Michelle has created an immersive and breath-taking world, bringing to life an ancient time every reader should visit.

As Torak and Renn race against time to find Wolf, not only must they battle the demon, they must face rival clans and the immense and terrifying power of nature itself, before it’s too late. The thrilling narrative sweeps you straight back into the story, with edge-of-your-seat action alongside heartfelt moments between the characters, that shine a light on the themes of friendship and loyalty. A fitting end to a fantastic series, Michelle Paver has crafted another brilliant story in this middle-grade series that generations of readers to come are sure to enjoy!

Share your memories of the Wolf Brother series on the author’s website here and follow her on Twitter or Instagram. Read my review of another title in the series, Viper’s Daughter here.

With thanks to Zephyr Books for sending me this book to read and review. Find out more on the rest of the blog tour:

New reviews: Middle-Grade catch-up!

It’s been an amazing start to the year for children’s books; so many brilliant titles to read and such an abundance of choice for young readers! Here’s a snapshot of the middle-grade books I’ve enjoyed over the last few months which I recommend you add to your bookshelf, classrooms, school libraries and general TBR pile!

Starfell: Willow Moss and the Magic Thief by Dominique Valente illustrated by Sarah Warburton is the fourth book in the Starfell series, which has proved totally charming with a delightful and determined heroine at it’s heart. With themes of kindness, resilience and equality, in this final story we see Willow seeking to restore her magic so she can defeat Silas, the evil wizard determined to steal all magic for himself. Expect an exciting adventure full of humour and the characters we’ve come to know and love, with some new ones to add to the magic! A great read. Published by HarperCollins (Age 8+).

Max Counts to A Million by Jeremy Williams is the heart-warming story of one boy’s experience of lockdown and reflects much that we can all relate too, young or old. Max, in a fit of anger, decides to count to a million rather than the 100 his mum suggests to help him calm down. This leads to more than just a calming-down exercise, as we see how one child attempts to control the world around him as the pandemic ensues. I love the premise behind this story – one Dad’s desire to capture the extraordinary period we have all been through from a child’s perspective. Written in just two weeks, the resulting tale is warm, funny, moving and shows just how courageous we have all been in just keeping going. Published by Nosy Crow (Age 7+).

Rainbow Grey Eye of the Storm by Laura Ellen Anderson creates a wonderful world of imagination, as we enter the second story in this fantastic series. Ray is learning to master her magic, despite things not always going to plan! Readers are drawn into another colourful adventure, with equally colourful characters, as Ray realises there is something dark behind the disappearing cloud creatures. Magic abounds as Ray seeks to prove her innocence, and once you get to know the wonderful cloud-cat again, Nim and a whole host of others, you’ll want to visit The Weatherlands every day. An absolute treat of a story! Published by Farshore (Age 7+).

How to Steal the Mona Lisa by Bethany Walker illustrated by Jack Noel is cleverly told through all manner of written communications (think texts, emails, blogs, coded messages and so on) as Mia and her former best friend Jake attempt to solve the mystery of the Mona Lisa, missing for 200 years, win the £25m reward and save the art department in their school! With strange behaviour by teachers at school, and Mia’s parents at home, there’s more than meets the eye in this uniquely told tale. A celebration of the importance of art in our lives, there’s laughs galore, a lovely relationship between Mia and her Granny, as well as a BIG twist at the end. Confident readers will love How to Steal the Mona Lisa. Published by Scholastic (Age 8+).

The Girl Who Lost a Leopard by Nizrana Farook takes readers back to the beautiful land of Serendib, where Selvi loves to run free in the mountains, just like Lokka, a wild and beautiful leopard. For animal lovers everywhere, this story will delight and hold readers spellbound, as Selvi and Lokka build a bond of friendship and battle against evil hunters. An opportunity to explore themes of conservation, as well as the connection between humans and animals, The Girl Who Lost a Leopard is a richly drawn adventure to be enjoyed by all! Published by Nosy Crow (Age 9+)

Carnival of the Lost by Kieran Larwood illustrated by Sam Usher brings to life an atmospheric, marvellously creepy, Victorian-inspired London and a host of fantastic characters who perform in a Carnival. This story will hold readers in awe, as mystery seeps from the page when no-one but the Carnival Troupe is interested in helping discover where vanishing, poverty-stricken children have gone. Expect the unexpected with a brilliantly written narrative, which includes fascinating historical detail about the period throughout and wonderfully drawn illustrations. It’s definitely time you found the Carnival of the Lost! Published by Faber (Age 9+).

With thanks to all the publishers for sending me these books to review. They will find new homes via my local foodbank.