Posts Tagged With: children

Whiny Whiny Rhino by McBoop

whiny-whiny-rhinoTitle: Whiny Whiny Rhino
Author: McBoop
ASIN: B00MBZNXJW (Kindle e-book)
Publisher: Blue Blanket Publishing
First Published: 131 July 2014 (Kindle)
No .of pages: 32

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Can Tiny Tiny Rhino have a fun day?
Or will all of his whining get in the way?

If you’ve ever been worried to try something new,
then Whiny Whiny Rhino is the book for you!

From creative team McBoop, comes the story of a whiny rhino with a big head and an even bigger imagination.

Review:

This fun rhyming story with delightful, colourful illustrations, is a joy to read along with small children. They can enjoy the story with all its jungle characters, and also identify with the small rhino who is so wary of new things that he’s missing out on all the fun, while learning that although trying something new can be a scary thing, it can also be exciting.

It’s a lovely book for those kids who just need a little extra confidence, as it can open the door to taking about any fears they have, while seeing that sometimes you just need to take that leap of faith and enjoy the ride.

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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Why French Children Don’t Talk back by Catherine Crawford

why-french-children-don-t-talk-backTitle: Why French Children Don’t Talk Back
Author: Catherine Crawford
ISBN: 978-1848547124
Publisher: John Murray
First Published: OSeptember 2012 (paperback / Kindle)
No .of pages: 256

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Catherine Crawford, a mother of two young daughters, is tired of the indulgent brand of parenting so popular in her trendy Brooklyn neighbourhood. All of the negotiating and bargaining has done scant more than to create a generation of little tyrants. After being exposed to the well-behaved, respectful children of her French friends, une lumière went on – French children don’t talk back!

Why French Children Don’t Talk Back is a witty and insightful look at how the French manage to bring up obedient, well-adjusted kids. It occupies a pragmatic place on the book shelf and in life – an anti-Tiger Mother approach to parenting.

Review:
I’ve never been much of a one for parenting books, but as a mother of an increasingly cheeky four-year-old boy (I swear, he was perfect before he went to nursery school!), I found myself intrigued by the title, and being something of a Francophile, I thought in for a cent, in for a Euro, as it were!

I was pleased to discover a very common sense approach presented on the pages! It really is all just straight forward advice on setting boundaries for your children in a way they will understand, while not driving yourself crazy and drinking yourself into oblivion every night after the bedtime battle lasts several hours (fortunately, the bedtime battle is one we’ve never had to fight, as our son has always had a very strict bedtime routine).

As it turns out, our parenting approach is particularly, well, French, I suppose! We already did quite a lot of the things mentioned in the book, such as insisting on proper manners and having good behaviour when we eat out, however I decided to try a little experiment in some other areas and to my surprise, after only a few days, they are already beginning to work! Suddenly our son no longer has an outburst when we tell him that no, he cannot watch a second film in one day or have the television on in the background! In fact, just yesterday he watched The Wizard of Oz then asked to watch Mary Poppins as soon as it was finished, When I replied that he had already watched one film and one was all he was allowed, he shrugged and said, “OK, Mummy. Can we have some music on instead please?” Another rule we’ve suddenly implemented is no sweets except at the weekend. He never got a lot of confectionery to begin with, but we were in the habit of rewarding him with a small piece of chocolate roughly every other day if he’d been even remotely good, in the hopes that this would ensure further good behaviour. Today he asked for some chocolate and I said no. He asked once more and I repeated that there would only be chocolate on the weekends. I was floored when he asked for a banana instead!

I suppose what I’m getting at is that this seems to be one parenting book where the advice actually works! Some parents may find some of the steps difficult to follow (such as entirely ignoring a child throwing a tantrum – the sooner they realise they will not even be looked at, the sooner they stop screaming), but with a little perseverance it should all become second nature and, theoretically, we could all have well behaved little munchkins who don’t show us up in public and do as they are asked without us having to repeat it ad nauseum.

Crawford’s style is easy to read – I really felt like I was chatting with an old friend – and her own trial and error experiments with these techniques on her own two daughters are laid bare, complete with what worked and what she’s still working on with them, but if she is to be believed, her girls are transforming into well behaved, very French kids.

Now all I have to do is get our boy to enjoy his food, complete with vegetables and we’ll be completely Frenchified too!

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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The Golden Acorn by Catherine Cooper

Title: The Golden Acorn
Author: Catherine Cooper
ASIN: B004EHZDBQ
Publisher: Infinitie Ideas
First Published: August 2010
File Size: 2825 KB (Kindle edition)

Rating: 3/5

At the time of this review, The Golden Acorn is available as a FREE Kindle e-book download. You can also purchase it in paperback format.

Synopsis (from Amazon):
When Jack Brenin finds a golden acorn lying in the grass, little does he know that it is the beginning of a thrilling and magical adventure. Just an ordinary boy, Jack has been chosen for a hugely important task, and enters a world he believed only existed in legend. Full of twists and turns, talking ravens and mischievous Spriggans, ‘The Golden Acorn’ is a hugely entertaining and exciting tale from a very talented new author. Your kids will love it, and so will you! This brilliant story deservedly won the Brit Writers’ Awards 2010 for unpublished writers. Jack’s adventures continue in ‘Glasruhen Gate’ and ‘Silver Hill’.

Review:
This is more than a little “Harry Potter-ish” in that the main character is a young lad who discovers he is “The One” and suddenly has to get to grips with a whole magical world he never knew existed, but the twist here is that it’s not just the fantasy-style magic these kinds of novels usually feature; instead it’s based on Celtic and Druidic lore. Yes, there are still magic wands and transfigurations, but it’s nice to have a different background for it all. I would have liked it more if the history had been explored a little more, but perhaps that’s a little much to ask from the first book in the series.

There are beautiful little ink line drawings at the start of each chapter to illustrate the main plot points without giving the game away, and a charming little map of the area in the same style which serve the story well and give a little taste of things to come.

The problems that occurred in the story seemed to be overcome quite easily and whatever peril they encountered was swiftly resolved with very little in the way of real and present danger – it was almost all just a step removed. There’s nothing hugely original here – it borrows heavily from other young adult fantasy novels of the same ilk – but neither is it a carbon copy. It’s a breeze to read and the characters are refreshing and fun, especially Camelin (the raven), as he is so brash and bold, yet improves himself over the course of the story, even if it is for his own secretive agenda.

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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The Black Book of Colours by Menena Cottin and illustrated by Rosana Faria

Title: The Black Book of Colours
Author: Menena Cottin
Illustrator: Rosana Faria
ISBN: 978-1406322187
Publisher: Walker
First Published: March 2012
No. of pages: 24

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis (Amazon):
Our eyes tell us about colour. But what if you are blind? Can you still know colours? Using simple language and beautiful textured art, this book shows you how to “see” without your eyes. The pages are black, but using your imagination and your senses you can hear, smell, touch and taste colours! Red is sour like unripe strawberries and sweet as watermelon. Yellow tastes like mustard, but is as soft as a baby chick’s feathers. Blue is the colour of the sky when kites are flying. From out of the blackness, a beautiful rainbow of colours emerges!

Review:
I picked up this book in our local library for my three-year-old son because I was enchanted with both the cover (the picture is black on black, but is raised and glossy) and the concept (a book about colour with no colours!).

The text inside is bold white on black pages and is accompanied by braille, and on the opposite pages are beautiful raised illustrations (black on black) so that the colours being described by “Thomas” can be experienced by touch, rather than sight. The words are beautifully descriptive – yellow tastes like mustard, but is as soft as a baby chick’s feathers; brown crunches under his feet like autumn leaves – and I found myself closing my eyes to better absorb them with the pictures.

Reading this book with my son prompted a discussion about how some people can’t see and that they experience the world in different ways. It also resulted in us playing a game of “What colour does this taste / smell / feel / sound like?” which was fun and revealing – apparently the rustle of plastic bags sounds orange to Xander, but I suspect that’s because he’s seen the ones from Sainsbury’s, and grapes tasted purple, even though we only had green ones!

The only slight issue with this book is that the braille isn’t really raised enough to distinguish the words, and I have read elsewhere that sight-impaired children find it next to impossible to read as a result, which is a shame, because this really is a wonderful book.

The Black Book of Colours is a magical experience for both young readers and the adults who read with them and is highly recommended by both me and Xander!

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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The Complete Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

Synopsis from Waterstones

Complete WTP brings together two of A. A. Milne’s best-loved stories: Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. It is illustrated throughout with the original black and white line drawings by Ernest H. Shepard.

This book was an absolute delight to read. Every Winne-the-Pooh story was there and every one I enjoyed. The stories feature all the well-loved characters: Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit, Kanga and Roo, Tigger and Christopher Robin.

Milne is a fabulous writer and there is plenty of wit and intelligence in these books. If you think they are just for children you are wrong. There are several comments that children would not understand but would make an adult laugh. There were plenty of times I sniggered and I read all the stories with a smile on my face.

I found these stories so compelling and the more I read the more I wanted. The illustrations are beautiful too and just complete the book. I loved this collection and I cannot wait to get onto the poems. This is well worth reading for both adults and children.

5/5

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The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

Waterstone’s Synopsis:

The most loved of all the Chronicles, this wonderful tale can be enjoyed again and again. Lucy steps into the Professor’s wardrobe but steps out again into a snowy forest. She’s stumbled upon the magical world of Narnia, land of unicorns, centaurs, fauns! and the wicked White Witch, who terrorises all. Lucy soon realises that Narnia, and in particular Aslan, the great Lion, needs her help if the country’s creatures are ever going to be free again.

This is the second book in the Narnia series, and my personal favourite. This is the first time the children: Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy enter Narnia. Awaiting them are many adventures, including running through the countryside with the Beavers, and fighting alongside Aslan.

I loved this book. It is a children’s book but fully enjoyable for an adult. Lewis is a wonderful writer. He pulled me in and made me want to follow the story. It did not matter that I already knew this story, it was fun to read it again. Lewis is descriptive and writes wonderful adventures and amazing characters.

It is hard to pick a favourite character. I think the Beavers probably win. I found it highly amusing that Mrs. Beaver wanted to take things like a portable oven with her as she fled from the White Witch. On the other side, I really didn’t like the White Witch. She was rude, short-tempered and deceptive. I loved that Lewis wrote her so well that I had such strong feelings towards her.

It is clear that this book is based on Christianity and the Resurrection of Christ, but this did not spoil the book for me and I thought that Aslan was a great character.

Even for adults, this is an amazing story. For children, I think they will love it.

5/5

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The Wonderful Adventure of Uncle Wizard by Richard Anderson

uncle wizard

Amazon synopsis:

The Wonderful Adventure of Uncle Wizard is a fun-packed adventure story for children under the age of 10. It features over 40 fantastic illustrations of Uncle Wizard’s adventures, from mixing spells in his wigwam in Happy Apple Lane, to facing the Thunder Troll in the Land of Forever.

Uncle Wizard is the not the greatest wizard in the world. In fact, when it comes to magic it’s fair to say Uncle Wizard has his problems. His spells always go disastrously wrong. He’s turned his television into a penguin, accidentally sucked all the clouds out of the sky with an enchanted vacuum cleaner, and no one has ever quite recovered from his unfortunate ‘turnip’ spell. But, when the most evil wizard to ever live, Grim Wizard, kidnaps all the Great Wizards and captures Wizard HQ, only Uncle Wizard can save the world.

Together with his trusty friend, Bob the Pigeon, Uncle Wizard sets off to the Land of Forever in search of the only spell that can defeat Grim Wizard. There he encounters hoardes of hideously fanged creatures; Water Dragons and the Ghost Giant of Haunted Hill, and a host of magical delights; Moon Camels, the Waddling Rocks of Boom Mountain, and a beautiful witch…

Can Uncle Wizard find the spell to defeat Grim Wizard and save the world? Find out in The Wonderful Adventure of Uncle Wizard.

This is a novel written by Richard Anderson and illustrated by his brother. With over 40 illustrations the book is neatly broken up and being a children’s book this adds to the magic and imagination.

The star of this book is Uncle Wizard – a wizard who is not very good at magic. He reminded me a lot of Rincewind out of the Discworld books. His sidekick is a pie-loving pigeon called Bob. When the Grim Wizard defeats the Great Wizards it is down to Uncle Wizard and Bob to save the day, with the help of the Witch and the Land of Forever.

There are a lot of adventures in this book, which I found a quick and easy read. There is excitement and some amazing characters. Anderson has a wonderful imagination and this is very visible throughout the book. This is a children’s book and that is obvious as you read it, but for those under the age of 7 or 8 I would read it first; I thought there were parts which would scare younger children.

I thought this was well written – descriptive and gripping. The writing is simple and perfect for children. For those of an older age they will love this book. There are some amazing characters in the book, such as the moving rock. There were also some amusing movements, like when Uncle Wizard turned the river into an ice slide and went skating.

I did however find Bob the pigeon irritating. His trademark is his love for pies, but I found that annoying me after a while. That said, this was an alright book and I think children will enjoy it.

7/10

Publisher: Rules Review Publishing Limited

Website: http://www.unclewizard.co.uk/#

RRP: £5.99

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The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

the-voyage-of-the-dawn-treader

Synopsis from Amazon:

Book five in the Chronicles of Narnia sees the intrepid Edmund and Lucy returning to Narnia–with their beastly cousin Eustace in tow–on the ship The Dawn Treader where their old friend Prince Caspian is searching for lost friends of his father’s. As the children take to the Eastern Seas in their hunt for the friends they find themselves embroiled in a dangerous adventure that leads them once again into the arms of Aslan the lion.

This is the fifth book in the reading order of The Chronicles of Narnia. In this book we only see two of the childern – Edmund and Lucy, as they go on their final journey through Narnia. The adventure starts in their Aunty’s house in Cambridge, in a room with a picture of a boat hanging up. On careful examination they discover the boat is Narnian, and all of a sudden they are in the sea, and not alone, they have their hideous cousin Eustace with them! They are rescued by Caspian and set sail in search of seven friends of Caspian’s father, who had been out-lawed by his evil uncle. Their adventures lead them to pirates, dragons, sea people and of course, Aslan. They travel to the end of the world, and see all sorts of magic, goodness and evil.

I enjoyed this book. Not my favourite of the series but still enjoyable. This book is full of fantasy, with the dragons and sea creatures, and all sorts of other magical beings. It was a good book, I had fun reading through it.

I was a bit disappointed it was only Edmund and Lucy this time, but I was aware that would be the case. I liked having Caspian in the book though, for a bit more consistency. We only really get fleeting glances at Aslan, but he is always there to teach them a lesson and help them out. I didn’t really have a favourite character this time round.

Overall, I found this book to be enjoyable like the others but not the best. I think both adults and children will like this story. It was easy to read and had its fair share of adventure and fantasy.

7/10

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The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis

the-horse-and-his-boy

Synopsis:

An orphaned boy and a kidnapped horse gallop for Narnia… and freedom.

Narnia, where horses talk and hermits like company, where evil men turn into donkeys, where boys go into battle, and where the adventure begins.

During the Golden Age of Narnia, when Peter is High King, a boy named Shasta discovers he is not the son of Arsheesh, the Calormene fisherman, and decides to run far away to the north – to Narnia. When he is mistaken for another runaway, Shasta is led to discover who he really is and even finds his real father.

This is the third book in the Narnia series – if read in chronological order. This is a fun children’s book that takes us back to the wonderful land of Narnia. Peter is still on the throne and Aslan is around. Shasta is an orphan, running away from a fisherman’s life, helped by Bree, a horse from Narnia, also running away. On their adventures they are pushed together with Aravis and her horse and they see all types of adventure on their bid to get to Narnia – including lions, deserts and war.

I really enjoyed this book. Lewis is a great writer, engaging his audience. This is a book primarily aimed at children, and it is easy to see why they are popular, however as an adult I also enjoyed this book, and recommend it to adults too.

The characters were great. Aslan is still based loosely on God and this could be seen through the way he guided the children and his other actions. He is still my favourite character, however I loved Aravis, a strong willed girl who took no nonsense and Shasta as he grew up and became noble.

The whole book was engaging and fun. It was exciting and easy to get into. Short and sweet, a book well worth reading.

8/10

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The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

the-tales-of-beedle-the-bard

Synopsis from Amazon:

‘You’ve never heard of The Tales of Beedle the Bard?’ said Ron incredulously. ‘You’re kidding, right?’ (From Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) Published by the Children’s High Level Group in association with Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, The Tales of Beedle the Bard is the first new book from J. K. Rowling since the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The Tales of Beedle the Bard played a crucial role in assisting Harry, with his friends Ron and Hermione, to finally defeat Lord Voldemort. Fans will be thrilled to have this opportunity to read the tales in full. An exciting addition to the canon of Harry Potter, the tales reveal the wonderful versatility of the author, as she tackles with relish the structure and varying tones of a classic fairy tale. There are five tales: ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’, recounted in Deathly Hallows, plus ‘The Fountain of Fair Fortune’, ‘The Warlock’s Hairy Heart’, ‘The Wizard and the Hopping Pot’, and ‘Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump’. Each has its own magical character and will bring delight, laughter and the thrill of mortal peril. Translated from the original runes by Hermione Granger, the tales are introduced and illustrated by J. K. Rowling. Also included are notes by Professor Albus Dumbledore, which appear by kind permission of the Hogwarts Headmasters’ Archive. CHLG is a charity co-founded by J. K. Rowling and Emma Nicholson MEP and campaigns to protect and promote children’s rights and make life better for vulnerable young people. The Children’s High Level Group is a charity established under English law. Registered Charity Number: 1112575.

If you are a Harry Potter fan, this book is for you. It contains five wizard fairytales, and notes made by the Professor Albus Dumbledore. Like with Muggle fairytales, they contain moral messages and words of wisdom to the budding wizard. They are short and thoroughly enjoyable. The notes made by Dumbledore had me chuckling – what a great character! I loved how the books linked back to the Harry Potter series, making the book a must-have for Potter fans.

My favourite Tale was “Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump“- very funny. A great washer woman. A fiery character who taught a valuable lesson and had a genius laugh.

As ever, Rowling writes in an engaging and fun way, and although this is predominantly a child’s book, adults will appreciate the book too, with some subtle adult humour and comments. This was a gripping and fun book to read, and I loved the illustrations, done by Rowling herself. This is a great companion to the much-loved Harry Potter books, and I highly recommend this little gem.

10/10

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