Tom Fletcher’s Book Club is a wonderful initiative aimed at encouraging a love of reading for pleasure and to help families discover exciting children’s books. Launched in early summer, the Book Club brings together ten titles selected by Tom, a member of the hugely successful band McFly, a parent himself and a best-selling children’s author. Helping parents encourage their children to get into reading is a cause close to my heart, so I was delighted to be invited to read and review this fantastic collection of books. There is something wonderful about receiving a large box of books through the post – especially when they arrive in a set of gorgeous WHSmith stationery boxes!
I have a soft spot for WHSmith; my local branch being the first place I ever bought a book and where I used to spend many an afternoon browsing the bookshelves planning which book I was going to spend my pocket money on next! Here I discovered Mrs Pepperpot, Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High, Judy Blume and then Flowers in the Attic, Maeve Binchy and many others. Today, there are so many fantastic titles on offer with so many brilliant authors writing for children, it can be really hard to know what to choose – for both children and their parents. Tom’s Book Club provides a great antidote to not knowing where to start and sets children on the path to discovering brilliant books, all the while giving much needed support to parents and teachers including online resources, reviews and author interviews.
Instantly attractive, with colourful jackets and a range of genres, the books are a brilliant selection of some of the most talented authors and illustrators in children’s books today. Some already familiar to me and some I hadn’t yet read, today I’m sharing a brief review of each title – all available from WHSmith and as a bundle with a helpful discount.
The Chocolate Factory Ghost by David O’Connell illustrated by Clare Powell I loved this story – full of adventure, magic, sweets and much more. A brilliant combination of fun and fantasy with some great characters, the mystery of Honeystone Hall is great entertainment. Review available here.
Dave Pigeon by Swapna Haddow illustrated by Sheena Dempsey I literally laughed out loud at this delightful and daft tale of two pigeons. They are quite simply hilarious, doing their best to escape the clutches of a very mean cat. Expect lots of comedy, some feather-brained ideas (pardon the pun!) and some delicious baking!
The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones by Will Mabbitt illustrated by Ross Collins One of my earliest reviews, this tale tells of bloodthirsty pirate, strange creatures, dear little nose-picking Mabel and of course, treasure. It’s a rip-roaring adventure and will have readers gasping and giggling at the same time!
The Nothing to See Here Hotel by Steve Butler illustrated by Steven Lenton A marvellous, madcap adventure with a very likeable hero and a weird and wonderful cast of characters you want to see to believe! If creepy critters, ghoulish goblins and hungry garden lawns are your thing, this is the perfect book for you – I shall definitely be looking for this hotel next time I’m in Brighton!
I Swapped my Brother on the Internet by Jo Simmons illustrated by Nathan Reed Ah we’ve all been there – that terrible moment where you wish away your irritating sibling! But you should be careful what you wish for as Jonny discovers on receiving an unusual array of ‘swaps’ for his brother, creating mayhem, chaos and lots and lots of laughs in this very funny tale of sibling rivalry gone awry! Review available here.
The Travels of Ermine Trouble in New York by Jennifer Gray illustrated by Elisa Paganelli You have to love the gorgeous Ermine the very determined and full-of-character travelling stoat! And you’ll love her fabulous New York adventure complete with sight-seeing, diamond thieves and a near-miss with hungry alligators. Young readers will be eagerly awaiting her next adventure and will delight in making their own travel scrapbook as featured at the end of the book.
Iguana Boy by James Bishop and illustrated by Rikin Parekh Superheroes lookout – you’re about to be upstaged by Iguana Boy! It may not be the coolest superpower but talking to iguanas can be surprisingly useful – especially when you have to save the world. This story is full of madcap ideas and very funny moments with comic strip humour readers will love.
Timmy Failure Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis A detective agency with an over-confident detective who never quite gets it right? A polar bear sidekick? Brilliantly drawn quirky illustrations? It’s a recipe for success and this story features hilarious observations throughout making Timmy Failure a very funny and at some points quite touching read.
My Magical Life by Zach King illustrated by Beverly Arce My Magical Life features Zach, a boy with yet to be discovered magical powers facing all the perils of secondary school. Hugely colourful with zany cartoon illustrations the story keeps you thoroughly entertained. I didn’t read it with the app, but am sure this will be a hit with young readers, especially those who are more reluctant to put down their screens and pick up a book.
The 39-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton The most incredible (and slightly bonkers) treehouse ever to exist is brilliantly brought to life in this story. Inventive with everything you could possibly imagine happening at once, the story is bursting with adventure, larger than life characters and lively illustrations leaping off the page.
Find out more about Tom Fletcher’s Book Club 2018 #TomsBookClub
With thanks to the organisers for sending me these fantastic books to review.