Category Archives: Book review

Picture Book Review: Can you Keep a Secret? by Melissa Castrillon

Can you Keep a Secret? by Melissa Castrillon

If you met a dragon, could you keep it a secret? One day in the forest, Winnie discovers the last dragon in the whole world. His fabulous friends, the gryphon, the winged lion and the tree-man are the last of their kind, too. They’ll be in danger if a grown-up discovers them. But can Winnie really keep them secret?

A fantastical story of wondrous creatures and a little girl with an important secret to keep. Winnie sees pictures of the dragon, gryphon, winged lion and tree-man and wonders whether they could still be alive. But her parents reassure her they can’t be as they were defeated in battle.

Winnie prepares herself just in case, practising her sword fighting in the garden, showing herself to be a brave heroine. One day Winnie is swept away by a magical wind and finds herself on the back of a dragon! Winnie’s adventure that follows is a gentle reminder of what being endangered really means – and how it’s humans that are often the cause of this.

Stunningly illustrated with vibrant colours and a mythical feel, Can you Keep a Secret? will spark the imaginations of young readers everywhere.

With thanks to Alison Green Books at Scholastic for sending me this book to review. Find out more at

Picture Book Review: The Boys by Lauren Ace illustrated by Jenny Lovlie

The Boys by Lauren Ace

The boys had been friends for as long as they could remember, and a little while before that. They were like brothers. Follow the adventures of four boys as they grow up, forming bonds of friendship to last a lifetime – even if they are occasionally put to the test...

The Boys portrays the essence of boyhood, friendship and growing up through a simple narrative, accompanied by heartfelt illustrations. Many of the changes we all face in our friendships as time passes are captured here – from finding new love, making different friends, competing with each other to feeling sad and alone and realising just how important our friends are.

Reading this as the mother of two boys made me smile – you can almost hear the shared laughter of the boys as they play and feel the changes as they happen. This story reminds us that real friends are there to love and be loved, and will always be there no matter what. And it shows boys in particular that it’s good to share your feelings and ok to cry. Endearing on every page, The Boys would make a great gift for inspiring the young boys in your life.

With thanks to Little Tiger for sending me this book to review.

Picture Book Review: Sometimes by Stephanie Stansbie illustrated by Elisa Paganelli

Sometimes by Stephanie Stansbie illustrated by Elisa Paganelli

Your body’s full of feelings: like the tide, they ebb and flow. Sometimes they lift you high and sometimes they bring you low.

An absolutely joyous picture book, gently explaining the many and varied emotions we might feel in just one day. Shown through the eyes of a brother and sister as they play outside, the rhyming narrative captures each moment and how we might respond in a given situation. The joy of leaping over waves, the wonder of flying a kite in the wind – and the fear we might feel or frustration when the kite gets stuck in a tree. Each theme is cleverly matched with the colour and tone of the illustrations.

At the back of the book is a descriptor for some of the more tricky emotions we feel, and a suggestion of what you can do to make yourself feel better. Sometimes would be a great way to explore emotions with young children, as a family or a class. But it’s also a lovely, gentle story to enjoy, reminding us that the strongest and most important emotion of all, is love.

With thanks to Little Tiger for sending me this book to review.

Picture Book Review: Pip and Egg by Alex Latimer illustrated by David Litchfield

Pip and Egg by Alex Latimer illustrated by David Litchfield

Pip and Egg are like two peas in a pod. But as their friendship grows, so do they. For Pip, this means growing roots. For Egg it means growing wings – and she can’t wait to use them. And though their lives take them away from each other, true friends always find their way back to one another, and there are no truer friends than Pip and Egg.

What a beautiful story. At a time when many of us haven’t seen our friends for such a long time, this really does remind us that true friendship never ends. From the first page, Pip and Egg are utterly enchanting as they meet and begin their friendship of a lifetime. As they each change, they adapt and find new ways to play together. When Pip grows into a sapling, Egg still visits him every day.

And when Egg becomes a beautiful blue bird, discovering her wings and the world to explore, Pip tells her she’ll always know where to find him. Young readers will be captivated by their friendship and identify with the care they have for each other. The narrative is brought beautifully together through the warmth of the stunning, detailed illustrations. I won’t spoil the ending, but suffice it to say, it couldn’t be more a more perfect illustration of friendship – in both words and pictures.

With thanks to Scholastic for sending me this book to review. Pip and Egg publishes on 6th May 2021.

Picture Book Review: The Busy World of Richard Scarry published by Faber

I was utterly thrilled when Faber sent through not one but FOUR Richard Scarry picture books to review. The renowned children’s publisher has launched a new list of books by the internationally adored Richard Scarry. Packed with zany humour and warmth, these four classic titles, promise to restore Scarry’s place as a national treasure and bring his best loved characters to a new generation of young readers.

Richard Scarry is one of the most-loved children’s illustrators of all time. He wrote and illustrated more than 250 books, which have gone on to sell more than 150 million copies globally. He once wrote: ‘It’s a precious thing to be communicating to children, helping them discover the gift of language and thought.’

I have incredibly fond memories of these books and can remember pouring over them drinking in the detailed illustrations and wonderful world of fantastic animal characters. Not only this, but they are full of fascinating facts and information providing entertainment AND education! The four titles published by Faber include Richard Scarry’s Best Busy Year Ever, Peasant Pig and the Terrible Dragon, The Adventures of Lowly Worm and the ABC World Book. And they are just as brilliant as I remember – so much to see and lots of interaction. Children will LOVE getting know the characters who are so full of fun. And they’ll love looking at all the amazing illustrations and getting drawn into Richard Scarry’s wonderful world of imagination.

If you’ve never been to the Busy World of Richard Scarry – or perhaps your children haven’t – now is the time to visit! These books offer a shared reading experience you’ll enjoy again and again and they are the ideal entertainment for any day of the week.

With thanks to Faber for sending me these books to review. Find out more at