Blog Tour- Invisible Us by Dougie Arnold

Invisible Us

How did I get it?:
Sent to me for the blog tour. This does not affect my opinion of the book!

Synopsis:

Can you imagine being almost invisible? Well, that’s exactly what Gecko felt he was, so decided to set out on an adventure to find some new friends like him. Join Gecko on his journey and you will be amazed at the fantastic creatures he meets. Have fun trying to find them in this magical story.

Thoughts:

I was asked to review this sweet book and I jumped at the chance to explore a new picture book. I’m a primary (elementary) school teacher so I’m always looking out for new picture books. I’m also keen to try authors that aren’t as well known as you can find some real gems.

Invisible Us is a story about a Gecko who doesn’t seem to fit in because he was camouflaged by his habitat. Gecko goes on an adventure and finds other animals that are also ‘invisible’ because of where they live. I loved the story of friendship and how even though the animals looked different, they had something in common. What a lovely message for young children.

Unfortunately, it being the start of the school year, I didn’t have the opportunity to share this book with the children as we’ve been super busy. I am going to take it into school for them to enjoy. There’s so much to look at with the lovely illustrations so I’m sure it’s going to be a book they’ll enjoy!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

A super sweet story about friendship! Perfect for 4-7 year olds.

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Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- The Royal Rabbits Of London (Royal Rabbits of London #1)

The Royal Rabbits Of London

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Life is an adventure. Anything in the world is possible – by will and by luck, with a moist carrot, a wet nose and a slice of mad courage!

Shylo has always been the runt of the litter, the weakest and queitest of all of his family, his siblings spend their days making fun of him for not being like the rest of them. But when Shylo stumbles across a band of ratzis and overhears their evil plan to take a photo of the Queen in her nightie, it’s up to this unlikely hero to travel to London and inform the Royal Rabbits of London about the diabolicial plot! The Royal Rabbits of London have a proud history of protecting the royal family and now the secret society need to leap into action to stop the ratzis… But can a rabbit as feeble and shy as Shylo convince them that Queen is in danger?

Thoughts:

Oh my goodness, this is such a cute book! So cute that I immediately took it into my classroom library ready for my class to enjoy this coming school year.

It centres around rabbits (which are my favourite animals!). Our main character is Shylo, a pretty weak member of his family. His siblings spend most of their time making fun of him for not being as strong as them. Shylo comes across a band of ratzis who are determined to take a photo of the Queen in her nightie. How scandalous! It is up to Shylo, to travel to London to make the Royal Rabbits of London aware of this terrible plot. The Royal Rabbits of London protect the royal family and they need to come up with a plan to protect the Queen… if they believe a meek rabbit like Shylo!

Shylo is such an adorable character and a wonderful role model for young children. Even though he is constantly mocked, he rises above and finds inner strength to save the Queen from a terrible plot. I loved the illustrations, the story line and the perfect balance of adventure and humour. I think it’s one that can be enjoyed by adults and by children. I thought it was utterly adorable.

For Beth’s wonderful review, please check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit Challenge (September):
I Capture The Castle- Dodie Smith

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- The Dreamsnatcher (Dreamsnatcher #1)

The Dreamsnatcher (Dreamsnatcher #1)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Twelve-year-old Molly Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare – the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life.

Because Moll is more important than she knows… The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure. 

Thoughts:

I had heard good things about this author, so I was intrigued to pick up a copy of The Dreamsnatcher. For me, it was a little slow to start but when it picked up the pace, it was hard to put it down.

Our main protagonist is a 12 year old girl called Molly. She wakes one night in the middle of the forest, having being lured there by a nightmare. The nightmare that keeps on recurring. When she arrives there she realises The Dreamsnatcher is waiting for her. He has taken her dreams and wants to take even more. What Moll doesn’t realise, is that she’s actually very important. She and the wildcat, Gryff are the only ones that can battle The Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic. We’re thrown into Moll’s world as she begins to unravel secrets through her journey and adventures.

I really enjoyed the world in which this book is set in. Abi Elphinstone’s writing is superb and so easy to read. There’s so much to get stuck into and enjoy. I really think it would capture the attention of both adults and children. The chapters are fairly short so it leaves you eager to find out what is going to happen next.

For Beth’s wonderful review, please check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit Challenge (August):
The Royal Rabbits of London- Santa Montefiore and Simon Sebag Montefiore

Banned Books #60- In The Night Kitchen

Banner made by Luna @ Lunaslittlelibrary
Welcome to this month’s edition of Banned Books! This month, we read In The Night Kitchen.

In the Night Kitchen

First published: 1970
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2004 (source)
Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit.

Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: Trying not to scream at this moment in time. I’ve just finished this book (as it’s a picture book it took me about 30 seconds!) and sat down to collect my thoughts on why it might be banned. As always, I don’t like to read the reasons until I’ve finished the book and I had a sneaking suspicion nudity might be in there but as for the others? I just can’t deal with it. This book is one of the less recent banned books in our challenge so far, being published in 1970 and although I wasn’t around back then, I’m struggling to understand why a children’s picture book could cause such offence. Especially for the reasons mentioned! Let’s go back to the nudity thing. Yes, there is a cartoon picture of a naked little boy. It’s not gratuitous or explicit in any way and I really can’t comprehend why an innocent drawing could cause a furore. Answers on a postcard please.

CHRISSI: I thought it would be nudity when I saw the pictures. As Beth said, it’s a cartoon naked boy. It’s not an explicit, detailed picture and it’s not on every single page. So do I agree with any of the reasons? No. There really isn’t a reason that I could get behind for challenging this book. Would I read it to my class? I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s a great story in my opinion. No other reason than that!

How about now?

BETH: Sigh. A challenge on this book was raised as recently as 2004 which means for me that some people somewhere are still having an issue with this book. Okay let’s take nudity out of the question because that might be just some people’s personal preference – which I can kind of understand, innocent though it is. But sexually explicit and offensive language? Was I reading a different book?! Has it been re-published and watered down for the noughties children, amending some lurid details from the seventies? Please can someone enlighten me because if it hasn’t, I don’t understand where the sexual explicitness and offensive language came from. In my eyes, there was none! Ridiculous.

CHRISSI: I honestly can’t see anything wrong with this book. I, too, understand that naked children is a bit of an issue, but it’s a story. There’s nothing sexually explicit about it whatsoever. I’m a bit baffled by it. Like Beth, I’m wondering if the story has been changed?

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: I understand that Maurice Sendak is a beloved children’s author however for me, this book didn’t quite work. I appreciated the fantastical, whimsical elements but I sadly didn’t connect with it on the level that I wanted to. Perhaps because I’m not the intended age group for the book? It has fans all over the globe though and was nominated for the Caldecott Medal in 1971 so it’s obviously a treasured piece of children’s literature.

CHRISSI: It was very, very odd. I do like whimsical stories but this one didn’t really work for me. I actually finished it and wondered what on earth I’d been reading!

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: Probably!

CHRISSI: Yes!

 

Beth and Chrissi Do Kit Lit- What Katy Did

What Katy Did

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Katy Carr intends to be beautiful and beloved and as sweet as an angel one day. For now, though, her hair is forever in a tangle, her dress is always torn and she doesn’t care at all for being called ‘good’. But then a terrible accident happens and Katy must find the courage to remember her daydreams and the delightful plans she once schemed; for when she is grown up she wants to do something grand…

Thoughts:

I read this book a while back on recommendation from Beth. It was really great to revisit it again. Although I didn’t read it as a child, like Beth did, it still felt nostalgic coming back to it 8 years after I first read it.

It centres around the bundle of energy that is Katy Carr. Katy lost her mother when she was younger and feels responsible for her 5 siblings. Katy’s always getting into trouble. She’s a feisty character who is often in trouble for talking in class, for breaking things and for generally being a bit careless. Katy is involved in an accident which changes her outlook on life. When visited by her cousin, Helen, who is unable to walk, Katy soon learns that her situation isn’t as dire as she thought. She takes on Helen’s advice and feels more hopeful about the future. I really like Katy as a character. She’s feisty, strong and full of energy!

Whilst it does come across as a little old-fashioned (it is over 100 years old!) it’s such a charming read. I liked that it did have a darker more serious side to it. I think it teaches children that life isn’t always straight forward. . I loved how it taught many lessons without being preachy which can be an issue sometimes. Old children’s books really do have something special about them.

For Beth’s wonderful review, check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit Challenge:
The Dreamsnatcher- Abi Elphinstone

Top Ten Authors That My Class Love

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It’s all about love of lists, love of literature and bringing bookish people together. 

This week it’s all about childhood books. I’ve done this topic before so I decided to put a little spin on it. Instead, I’m going to mention 10 authors that my class of 7-9 year olds love!

In no particular order:

David Walliams- They find him funny and I do too.

Jeff Kinney- They adore the Wimpy Kids books.

Andy Griffiths- Treehouse books- I started this as series as a class read and so many children have kept on reading. I love that!

Mark Lowery- They are starting to explore this author after we read The Jam Doughnut That Ruined My Life.

Daisy Meadows- The girls in particular really enjoy this series of books about fairies.

Andy Stanton- The Mr Gum books are very popular in my class.

Dav Pilkey- The children are obsessed with the Dog Man books!

Jill Murphy- They still love the Worst Witch books!

Roald Dahl- I love that there’s still a place in children’s hearts for Roald Dahl.

Enid Blyton- I love that children are still reading The Famous Five.

Three of these authors were my childhood favourites! 🙂 Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton and Jill Murphy. I love that their books are still relevant!

What did you do for your list this week? Feel free to leave me a link and I’ll stop by!

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- The Enchanted Wood (The Faraway Tree #1)

The Enchanted Wood (The Faraway Tree, #1)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Joe, Beth and Frannie find the Enchanted Wood on the doorstep of their new home, and when they discover the Faraway Tree they fall into all sorts of adventures!

Thoughts:

Well, well, well… I used to be quite the fan of Enid Blyton when I was younger. I loved her whimsical writing and I was looking forward to getting stuck into the adventures once more. It is still totally charming, but I’m a little sad that they’ve changed the name of the characters. I believe Frannie was once Fanny. I can see that children would laugh at that now but they probably would’ve done so when reading it when it was first published too. Beth reminded me that Dame Snap had been changed from Dame Slap. For goodness sake, censorship is a little ridiculous nowadays. I don’t see any harm in those names at all. I know when I read about a character named Dick in my class, the children giggle. I just have to explain that it’s short for Richard and they tend to get over it quickly. This is a story and children aren’t as delicate as we think.

Mini rant aside, I thought this book was just as whimsical and lovely as I remember. I remember absolutely loving Moon Face! 🙂 I loved their magical adventures and always wondered what land would come up next. As an adult, I think I look at it more critically which is a shame. However,  it’s strange to think how easy-going the children’s parents were. It was apparently fine to go off until midnight into a magical land! If you can put little things like that  aside, then I really think this story will bring you a lot of joy. It certainly perked me up!

For Beth’s wonderful review, please check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit Challenge (June):
What Katy Did- Susan Coolidge