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October 2018 Book of the Month | | The Nothing to See Here Hotel offers a 5 star reading experience for youngsters, hilarious but still exciting adventures, a fabulous setting and a cast of totally eccentric but utterly lovable characters. The hotel you see is not for humans, but magical creatures – a scenario offering all sorts of possibilities, exploited brilliantly by writer Steven Butler and illustrator Steven Lenton. In this second book, preparations for the annual Trogmanay celebrations are threatened, first by the arrival of a family of yetis (in magical snowstorm), then by something that seems a lot less friendly. Can Frankie, son of the owners and our hero, sort things out before the Trollidays are ruined? No matter how much snow and ice the yetis bring, reading this provides a real sense of warmth, and everyone will want to be part of the hotel’s community.
There’s monster-sized fun for readers to be had at the Nothing To See Here Hotel – after all, it is the world’s number one holiday destination for magical creatures. In the company of the proprietors’ son, the irrepressible Frankie Banister (who is part troll by the way), we get best seats for the action which here concerns the return of Frankie’s great-great-great-grandfather Abraham, as a ghost. You’d think great-great-great-granny Regurgita would be happy to see her husband back, but nothing goes as you’d expect in these stories, and maybe everyone should be a bit suspicious of Abraham. Adventures don’t come more extraordinary or more enjoyable than these, and any readers with a taste for fast-moving, fabulously funny illustrated tales should book in asap.
To the canon of disgusting, disreputable villains loved by children – the Twits, Mr Gum, Armitage Shanks – can now be added Spangles McNasty and his sidekick Sausage-face Pete. To give you an idea of how nasty Spangles is, his ideal day would include collecting (ie stealing) something spangly from an old lady in a library, whilst eating cold chips, farting, pulling a face and shouting all at the same time. Spangles plans to steal all the goldfish in the town of Bitterly Bay because he thinks they’re made of real gold, but he’s reckoned without young Freddie Taylor. With its zany plot, an abundance of the fanciful imagery and word play that young readers love, and highly eccentric cast of characters, this is unadulterated fun! Perfect for fans of Mr Gum, readers who enjoy the adventures of Spangles McNasty will also like William Sutcliffe’s Circus of Thieves books. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: a roller-coaster ride of zany anarchic fun | Spangles McNasty is an absolute rotter, the sort of menace happiest when eating cold chips from bins, shouting at babies, and farting in the library – preferably all at the same time. He is therefore the perfect hero for this kind of anarchic adventure and for readers who revel in descriptions of bad, bad behaviour. In this latest outing, the surprise inheritance of a roller-coaster sparks Spangle’s latest get-filthy-rich quick plans. As ever he has his pungent friend Sausage-face Pete to help, and young Freddie Taylor to stop him in his tracks. With its zany plot, eccentric characters and inventive word-play this is as much fun as a ride on a roller-coaster. Perfect for fans of Mr Gum, readers who enjoy the adventures of Spangles McNasty will also like William Sutcliffe’s Circus of Thieves books. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: anarchic fun and adventure in Bitterly Bay Spangles McNasty is one of those children’s book characters readers just love to hate. He’s irredeemably horrible – indeed, he prides himself on his nastiness – and his sidekick Sausage-face Pete is no nicer. In this new escapade, the two are plotting to steal the star exhibit from the Bitterly Bay museum’s new pirate exhibition, a diamond encrusted pirate hat. As fans of the series will know, Spangles is highly likely to be hoist by the petard of his own greed and ineptitude, while young Freddie Taylor is wise to his tricks too and there to frustrate them. It’s all good, disgusting fun, inventive, surprising and full of the wordplay and zany humour that delights readers. ~ Andrea Reece Perfect for fans of Mr Gum readers who enjoy the adventures of Spangles McNasty will also like William Sutcliffe’s Circus of Thieves books.
Ever been up to your neck in a croc-infested swamp with enemy soldiers tracking your every move? Me neither! But don't let that stop you coming to the Outdoor Activity Centre, where Basbo is on red alert for sharky-sharks, Twig is searching for brains, courage and a heart and Hooey is flying high - without a plane.
Well, here’s a book that ticks some absolute favourite first reader boxes: Vikings – tick; bare bottoms – tick; knickers – tick; a bouncy rhyming text just right for reading aloud – tick; lively, action-packed illustrations – tick, tick, tick! The plot concerns some chilly Vikings and their quest to obtain yeti hair with which to knit cosy new knickers, and while it all builds to a tremendous and satisfying climax, most readers will be totally won over on page one, with the lines: “Well, they’d got into a fight, had their undies set alight,/ Now their pants were all in pieces and their bums were turning blue!” Just great fun!
Wimpy Kid fans will love this new boy-diary with a difference. Saddled with the name Timmy Failure, our narrator has clearly been dealt a tough hand. Luckily, he has a perky temperament and is not easily deflected from his ambitions. Timmy founds Total Failure Inc, the best detective agency in town. Or is it??? Young readers will enjoy spotting Timmy’s rookie errors which are wittily conveyed in both the words and the engaging illustrations. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Timmy Failure a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It is really funny… Anyone who likes 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' or 'Mr Gum' will like this book, I think it is even better.'.... Scroll down to read more reviews... CLICK HERE to download a Schools Reading Guide for this book.
One of our Books of the Year 2015 - A Reader Review Panel Pick of the Year 2015 - chosen by Alexander Bisland, aged 10 - October 2015 Book of the Month ‘To the best of my knowledge’, announces Timmy Failure at the start of this book, in a chapter called Let’s Do the Timmy Warp Again, ‘everyone on earth has now read the prior three volumes about my life.’ That’s one of the things about Timmy: he’s very confident. He certainly believes he’s a clever detective and, with his associate Total the polar bear, sets out to solve a case of missing money in this new adventure. Timmy’s sleuthing, and views on the world around him, are as funny as ever. Stephan Pastis’s stories are full of quirky humour and Timmy is an irresistible central character. There’s stuff going on with his long-suffering mum in this story too, and their relationship is another one of the pleasures of the books. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: absurd comedy genius | Timmy Failure is the best worst detective in children’s fiction, and a wonderful comic creation. In this adventure he’s having to ply his trade very surreptitiously indeed – Mum has banned all detective work until the school holidays. To make things worse, forced to share his room with his cousins, he must set up his office in a garden shed at the local hardware superstore, a place referred to always as Home Despot. Additional trials in Timmy’s life include piano lessons, and trips to orthodontist Mr A Goni. The plot brings even the most surreal strands together and it’s very satisfying. Timmy narrates with the exasperated air of the misunderstood genius and his version of events is just one of the things that makes these books so enjoyable. ~ Andrea Reece Timmy Failure will appeal to fans of those other thwarted heroes Tom Gates, Barry Loser and Greg Heffley.
In a nutshell: Hilarious sleuthing with boy detective and his sidekick polar bear… | A new Timmy Failure book is always a cause for celebration and this is another glorious mix of humour, surrealism, incompetent detection – and chickens. Timmy is on holiday in Florida with his mum and her new husband. With Total the polar bear hiding out in Cuba he needs a new sidekick – step up Emilio Empanada, willing if nervous unpaid intern. Together they cause the kind of chaos and confusion that is Timmy’s natural state, while adopting a chicken along the way, and it’s wonderfully funny. The description of a surprise meeting with his father for Timmy tugs at the heartstrings as well as finding the funny bone. Stephan Pastis’s cartoon illustrations are a joy in themselves and this is clever, original, inspired fun. ~ Andrea Reece
October 2018 Book of the Month | One of our 2018 Books of the Year | The Timmy Failure books are works of absolute comic genius and Stephan Pastis succeeds with each new story in making the adventures of Timmy and his sidekick Total the polar bear funnier, even more satisfying, and still more poignant; never more so than this the last in the series. Timmy has decided to retire from detective work but has a new project: he’s writing the script for his form’s Christmas film show, and has decided it will chronicle his own greatness. Meanwhile he is also negotiating a new relationship with his dad, now permanently on the scene, and helping reunite Total with his long lost polar bear family. The gap between what’s real and what’s real in Timmy’s imagination has never been more acute, or more affecting. The story will have readers crying with laughter, while the ending may well bring tears of a different kind. Totally great.
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