Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- Fortunately, The Milk

Fortunately, the Milk...

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

You know what it’s like when your mum goes away on a business trip and Dad’s in charge. She leaves a really, really long list of what he’s got to do. And the most important thing is DON’T FORGET TO GET THE MILK. Unfortunately, Dad forgets. So the next morning, before breakfast, he has to go to the corner shop, and this is the story of why it takes him a very, very long time to get back.

Featuring: Professor Steg (a time-travelling dinosaur), some green globby things, the Queen of the Pirates, the famed jewel that is the Eye of Splod, some wumpires, and a perfectly normal but very important carton of milk.

Thoughts:

I have read some Neil Gaiman before, so I was expecting something a little unique. I certainly got that with Fortunately, The Milk. First off… what an amazing title, hey? I love the title. So odd. It totally sets the tone for the rest of the story. Fortunately, The Milk is a quirky little story, perfect for a pick me up for an adult or a crazy read for a child!

The story centres around a dad who goes to get milk for his kids to put on their cereal. Whilst out for the milk, he ends up on an adventure. The children are wondering where on Earth their father has gone. In fact…their dad was not on Earth at all. He was kidnapped by aliens, encountered a time-travelling dinosaur and experienced so much more that I don’t want to spoil. It was an incredibly unbelievable reading experience but so bloomin’ wonderful at the same time.

I love the illustrations from Chris Riddell. They perfectly complemented the story. They fit well with Neil Gaiman’s wonderfully quirky writing style. I loved the characters and enjoyed following their journey. Neil Gaiman really is a terrific writer and I’m looking forward to reading more from him.

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 (September):
Saffy’s Angel – Hilary McKay

Advertisements

Top Ten Books I Aim To Read To My Class This Year

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s list is a back to school freebie. Now, I don’t start back until September, but I thought I’d mention 10 books I’m going to read to my class this year! This year I’m teaching 6-7 year olds!

Click on the book image to get to the Goodreads page for the book! 🙂

Lost and Found (The Boy, #2)

This is the first book I’m going to read with my class. It’s a quick read about a boy and a penguin who become good friends!

Up and Down (The Boy, #4)

I’ve heard that this book goes beautifully with Lost and Found! 

George's Marvellous Medicine

I enjoyed reading this book with my first class! So I’m looking forward to going back to it.

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig

I really like twists on fairy tales, so I’m intrigued to see what this one is like!

The Bolds

I’m looking forward to reading this book as I’ve heard great things. I’m wondering if I should pre-read it as Julian Clary is known for being full of innuendos. I’m sure the children won’t get it, but I have an inner worry! 😉

Beware Of The Storybook Wolves

This book sounds super cute! 🙂 I like Lauren Child’s writing so I’m sure this’ll be a hit!

Meerkat Mail

I have heard good things about this book! 🙂 It does look like a sweet read.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, #1)

I adore this book and my first class loved it too, so I’m excited to see what they make of it!

There Is No Dragon In This Story

LOVE the look of this one.

The Three Bears ... Sort Of

I love combining well known stories and reading them with a twist!

What have you done for your back to school freebie? Let me know! Feel free to leave a link to your post this week and I’ll stop by.

Furthermore

Furthermore

How did I get it?:
It was a gift from Beth!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Alice Alexis Queensmeadow 12 rates three things most important: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. Father disappeared from Ferenwood with only a ruler, almost three years ago. But she will have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is Oliver whose own magic is based in lies and deceit. Alice must first find herself—and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss

Thoughts:

I was bought this book at Christmas, by my sister and fellow book blogger, Beth. I was really excited to read it, but somehow took over 6 months to get to it. Pesky TBRs… I was super excited to read Furthermore. It looked different to the Shatter Me series and it really was. Furthermore is such a captivating, unique story and I’m thrilled that I read it.

Furthermore centres around Alice who lives in Ferenwood. In Ferenwood it is incredibly colourful and magical. Alice is different to the rest though. She lacks pigmentation so she stands out in her community. However, this isn’t the only thing wrong with Alice’s life. She’s lonely, her father has disappeared and the Surrender ceremony that happens in Ferenwood is looming. Alice’s life is about to get a whole lot more daring…

I absolutely love Tahereh Mafi’s writing. I know that some readers find her writing quite ‘flowery’ and descriptive, but I think it’s beautiful. I’m always captivated by her words and the worlds that she creates. Ferenwood is an enchanting but unusual world. I could picture it as I was reading. I’m a big fan of fairy tales, so this magical middle grade read really did tick a lot of boxes for me. I adored the magic. I thought there was a good pace to the story and a great deal of action amongst the weirdness. I can see that it would captivate many readers both younger, into YA and beyond.

As for the characters… I bloomin’ love them. Alice is so unique but lovable. I loved her sassiness. Goodness knows, I love a sassy character. Oliver took a while for me to warm to, but I enjoyed his character in the end.

I think this book will appeal to a wider age range than middle grade. There’s adventure, fantasy and sass. Surely many people would enjoy that?

Would I recommend it?:
Of course! 4.5 stars

I was worried that I’d hyped this book, but I didn’t… I was captivated right from the start!

Why you should still read picture books to older children! (5 Reasons Why #2)

For this feature, I like to explore a certain topic and list my reasons why or why I don’t support the topic in question. This time, I’d like to talk about picture books!

It seems that a lot of parents want to push children on to chapter books ASAP. I don’t know if it’s because they think their children are more proficient when they’re on chapter books. I would like to say that there’s still a time and a place for picture books for children up to the age of 12 and some beyond that!

Here are my reasons why I love reading picture books to older children!

  1. Some picture books have incredibly complex sentence structure and rich vocabulary.
  2. The illustrations can encourage conversation and allow children to find something new each time.
  3. Pictures can stimulate the imagination much more than a chapter book. They give children with little imagination an idea. They can paint a picture in the child’s mind.
  4. There are so many more picture books out now for older children. Don’t be put off by books aimed at younger children. There are some fabulously rich text picture books out there now for them.
  5. Pictures books can encourage fantastic conversation.

Here are just two ideas of picture books for older children:

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- The Prime Minister’s Brain (The Demon Headmaster #2)

The Prime Minister's Brain (Demon Headmaster, #2)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Demon Headmaster

Synopsis:

Everyone at school is playing the new computer game, Octopus Dare – but only Dinah is good enough to beat it. As it begins to take hold, Dinah realizes that the game is trying to control her. But why is it happening, and how is the Demon Headmaster involved?

Thoughts:

I absolutely loved The Demon Headmaster when I was younger and reread it many times. I enjoyed re-reading it last year. I remember not being as fond of The Prime Minister’s Brain, but couldn’t quite remember why. Having read it this week, I totally remember why I wasn’t as keen on it.

The story centres around Dinah, her brothers and some school friends. Everyone at school is obsessed with playing the new game Octopus Dare at school. Only Dinah is good enough to beat the game. The game seems to be pulling Dinah in and attempting to control her. Before long, Dinah finds out that the Demon Headmaster is involved in the game. They need to find out why, what his motive is and how on Earth they’ll stop him again…

I do find Gillian Cross easy to read, but the story didn’t excite me as much as its predecessor did. It may be because I’m not that interested by computers. I just wasn’t as gripped by it as I wanted to be. I remember that I never read the following books in the series and I think that’s down to my impressions of this book. I didn’t feel compelled to read on. Being controlled by computers would seem incredibly modern when this book was first released (1987). However, reading it currently makes it not seem as fresh as it was back then. I do think this means this book can date really easily and not seem as relevant.

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 (July):
The Reptile Room (A Series Of Unfortunate Events #2) by Lemony Snicket

Why I love reading David Walliams to my class (5 Reasons Why #1)

I like to spice up my blog content to keep things fresh so recently thought about doing a 5 reasons why post every now and then with a topic of my choice.

First up are reasons why I love reading David Walliams to my class. My current class (20 week days left with them… 😦 ) are between 7-9 years old.

This school year we have read:

  1. They make them laugh out loud. David Walliams is funny.
  2. His stories (particularly The World’s Worst Children) have inspired some fantastic writing (and drawing!)
  3. The children genuinely enjoy his writing.
  4. It’s a logical step up from Roald Dahl. Walliams writes in a similar style.
  5. Lots of his stories have heart. Quite often they carry with them a lovely message. When we read Gangsta Granny recently it particularly touched one child who had gone through a similar thing (no spoilers) with her grandparent. The story brought tears to her eyes!

Banned Books #35- Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story From Afghanistan by Jeanette Winter

Banner made by Luna @ Lunaslittlelibrary

Welcome to May’s edition of Banned Books. This month we read Nasreen’s Secret School by Jeanette Winter.

Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan

Synopsis:

Young Nasreen has not spoken a word to anyone since her parents disappeared.

In despair, her grandmother risks everything to enroll Nasreen in a secret school for girls. Will a devoted teacher, a new friend, and the worlds she discovers in books be enough to draw Nasreen out of her shell of sadness?

First published: 2009
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2015 (source)
Reasons: religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence

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

BETH: This book was published about eight years ago now and I don’t think attitudes have changed that much in the past eight years so my thoughts on the book being challenged “then and now” are going to be the same. Unfortunately due to a number of terrorist attacks in the past fifteen years, religion has become one of those really tricky areas that some individuals tend to blame and rail against when these atrocities occur. Of course nowadays, it’s the terrors of ISIS but I remember so clearly when we used to be talking about the Taliban and their ideals. I did a little bit of background research on why this book was challenged/banned, especially in the USA and one opinion I came across (not entirely sure of its validity) is that Nasreen’s Secret School is a book which promotes Islam and that should be a reason for banning it. Never mind the truth behind this, these sorts of things just make my blood boil. Why should any book be banned for educating us all a bit about a particular religion? Personally, I find it interesting to learn about a different culture and belief system but hey…maybe that’s just me?

CHRISSI: It actually makes me cross that this book is challenged. It’s a children’s book! I’m pretty sure my face was of utter confusion when I finished this book. I always try and keep in my mind that I’m reading it for this challenge, so I can look out for things that might make it a challenged book. I couldn’t find any. It’s not explicitly violent. It does include a girl going to school in secret, but I thought it had such a sweet message. It was a message about the power of education and I really didn’t agree with the reasons for it being challenged. It was pretty inoffensive to me. It really was.

How about now?

BETH: Let’s go into a couple of the other reasons for challenging/banning this book. Unsuited to age group. *silently seethes.* This is a PICTURE book recommended for children of six years and older and the illustrations and words are such that it can easily be understood and enjoyed by children of this age group in my opinion. As with the last reason – “violence,” I believe some people may be concerned that the Taliban taking Nasreen’s father away and then her mother also disappearing might be too brutal for some kids to take. Don’t get me wrong, that’s absolutely horrific, of course. BUT. The story is written and drawn in such a way, as I said, that it is never made explicit what exactly happens to Nasreen’s mother and father, the young reader is almost shielded from the reality of what has happened so I cannot see how this can be offensive. It is upsetting, Nasreen stops talking for quite a while and she is very distressed. Yet with the help of her courageous grandmother and by making a friend at the secret school she finally learns to be happy again and yes, to speak as well. 

CHRISSI: I get that Nasreen lost her mother and to not very nice circumstances, but surely that’s what we infer as adults? Would children get that from reading a picture book? I’m not sure. It certainly doesn’t explicitly tell the reader why. It just shows Nasreen’s obvious distress. Many children would be distressed if they lost their family under any circumstances, so I don’t see why this book was any different.

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: As this is a picture book, I read it so quickly. The illustrations are simple but effective but it was the words that affected me more than anything. I fell in love with Nasreen, her grandmother and the bravery of the people that were risking their lives to educate girls once it had been forbidden by the Taliban regime. In just a few pages I felt like I learned so much and I think it’s a really important read for children so that they can be educated about how lucky they are to have free schooling, sadly a privilege not everyone is entitled to and something people should definitely be made more aware of.

CHRISSI: I thought it was incredibly adorable. I thought the characters were brilliant and the story was well told. The illustrations were simple and sweet. It’s an important and educative story, in my opinion!

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Of course!