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Fatima Al Fihri is a beautifully illustrated book aimed at young readers and tells the story of the creation of the world’s first University, the University of Al-Qarawiyyin. This book, named after the university’s founder, is a brilliant way to bring lesser known history to the forefront and celebrate it. The first part of a larger series focusing on Muslim women who made history, this book reminded me of the ‘Fantastically Great Women’ series and I think it is an amazing way to share history with younger children. The bright full page illustrations and easy to follow text tell of how Fatima Al Fihri shared her love of education by creating a space at her mosque where anyone of any faith could come to learn. On the final page there's a summary of facts about the University. I think that this book is a great starting point for children to then go on to learn more about Fatima, or to learn more about the other figures as the series continues. I think that Fatima Al Fihri is a great book that would sit well on any child’s bookshelf or in any library. I can’t wait to see who else will appear in this series.
When Philippa discovers that a bee has lost its home due to a tractor ploughing up a meadow, she endeavours to find it a new habitat. Sadly each time she explores a possible location, she discovers that it is unsuitable due to human interference or damage. Eventually, however, she finds a farmer who has the perfect setting for bee to have a happy life. Told in rhyme, with bright and attractive artwork, this little book would be a good acquisition to the infant school library and a perfect gift for a young child. With £1 of each copy sold going to the Friends of the Earth charity, there is helpful information at the end of the book outlining the work of FOE and how we can support bees. Val Rowe, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
'Delivered' is Sylvia Hehir's sequel to 'Deleted'. I haven't read the first book but I don't think that detracted one bit from my enjoyment of this absolute gem of a book. The title is so significant and clever, as it refers to both the birth of a child and the saving of family and personal relationships and maybe even a life. Our heroine, Frankie, hasn't seen her older sister, Keira, for over three years, after she walked out of the rather dysfunctional family home. She returns to her home area unexpectedly, obviously in need of a lot of help and support but Frankie has just arranged to gig with a band in Glasgow for a few weeks, along with her new partner, Alec. Keira refuses to have their parents involved, and, unable/unwilling to get out of her commitment to the band, Frankie leaves her sister and throws herself into Crazy George's struggle to get themselves heard and known. The story is very readable, exciting and completely engaging. It contains such a range of emotions and conditions, from panic, disappointment and addiction to affection, love and pure elation, with the atmosphere portrayed at the gigs and festivals electric and the ending hopeful. I would really love to read the first book in what I hope is to become at least a trilogy. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
I am becoming very fond of Justine Avery's eclectic collection of books. She has the ability to consider issues relevant to children and young people that many adults would fail to recognise. This bright and colourful little book almost acts as a little aide-memoire reminding us that when we encounter problems, we need to trust in our abilities, thoughts and ideas and 'think outside the box'. The artwork is attractive and feels new and fresh and the text is professionally constructed. A delightful addition to an already pleasing series. Val Rowe, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Inspired by a fantastical world imagined by the authors’ twin daughters, this educational activity book is underpinned by a belief that “children, especially girls, learn STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills best when these skills are approached within a storytelling context”. This brightly illustrated book certainly fulfils its aim of introducing STEM skills in an imaginative, interactive way, and its main character’s infectious enthusiasm for all things scientific will surely inspire more girls to get into STEM subjects. Lilli loves nothing more than finding things that “challenge her curious, scientific mind”. One night she transforms into her superheroine persona and embarks on a quest to help her friend fly from WooWoo Land. Young readers are invited to join Lillicorn’s quest, solving ten STEM puzzles in her vibrant world. With an appealing rhyming text, and charm tokens to collect along the way, the clear design conveniently signposts the STEM skills nurtured by each activity (including pattern recognition, abstraction, structured problem solving, sequencing, spatial perception and sorting) without detracting from the puzzle-solving or story. In some ways, the book’s structure is reminiscent of a computer game, with prompts and well-timed narrative pauses that invite readers to get stuck into the self-contained, bite-sized activities. What’s more, the tone is warmly encouraging, with the text informing readers that Lillicorn needs their help. Once the quest is complete, the solutions can be checked at www.lillicorn.com, where questers can also download a certificate and unlock additional activities.
Milo is a mouse who wakes one morning and can smell something! he sniffs and sniffs until he finds the source of the smell and is delighted when it's cheese. There's a problem though and just when it looks like he is about to make a terrible mistake, a lucky sneeze saves the day! This book is a delight from start to finish. There are lovely illustrations to accompany the story and along each illustration is a 'sniff, sniff' that children reading it themselves or reading along with an adult would enjoy joining in with. The story is simple and enjoyable and should occupy a place in every child's bookcase and every key stage 1 class book corner. I will be buying this book for sure. Nikki Telling, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Steggie Belle & The Dream Warriors is an interesting fantasy tale which leads us into the dark world of dreams. Reminding me slightly of a darker Peter Pan, the main character and “author” of the story you’re reading is Zoofall and is hurrying to recollect the tales of his travels in the dream worlds. Tying in the concepts of lucid dreaming with mythology, Steggie Belle & The Dream Warriors is an adventure story with a Good vs Evil Battle at its heart. I liked the style of writing throughout, Zoofall’s written account is conversational in tone, giving it the feel of a spoken story. It reminded me of the style of Homer’s Odyssey, with moments when the storyteller addresses you directly interspersed throughout the plotline of events that have already happened. I also like the threads of Greek Mythology and scientific explanation which run through the book. I think that these elements make Steggie Belle & The Dream Warriors multi-faceted and adds a believable edge to the story as a whole. There’s scope to add more to this story, to discover in more detail what happens after Zoofall finishes writing. However, I also think that this book is perfectly well-rounded as it is. It leaves you with questions, but this adds to the mystery of the book and allows the reader to draw their own conclusions.
The Amazing Adventures of Jimmy Crikey is a fast moving fantasy children’s book following the many, many, many adventures of one Jimmy McGellan, nicknamed Jimmy Crikey due to people’s reaction to his unusually large feet. This is a nice story about a boy who travels to a number of different worlds where some of the characteristics that he was bullied for at school, come in handy and allow him to solve problems and overcome obstacles. A great story of friendship and teamwork at its heart with occasional but beautifully detailed black and white illustrations. I think that this book would be best for middle grade readers, the story is well-written, the descriptions of the different worlds and the characters are wonderfully clear and detailed and the plot does move very quickly. Jimmy travels to lots of different places and has a multitude of adventures in this book. In all, I think that The Amazing Adventures of Jimmy Crikey is a brilliant little fantasy story that I think would work very well as bedtime reading or simply a book for children to enjoy.
A fabulous book. Granny Franny is a great character, every child would love a granny like her. She takes her grandchildren on a big red bus to see the sights of London for a birthday treat. As a granny myself, it reminded me of playing 'buses' with my own grandchildren when they were younger. Maybe the Big Red Bus could do future trips around some other places. Big, bright illustrations and a story told in rhyme, makes this a really fun book to encourage children to make their own 'buses' and go on their own adventures. Chris Woolfenden, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
A group of animal friends think they have found some stars that have fallen to earth. Together they endeavour to get the stars back into the sky. Reach for the Stars is a book about teamwork and encouraging others to do their best. This is book three of a larger series however I think they could be read in any order. This is a very unusual book as it is designed to be read aloud by a group, giving 4 children the chance to be one of the characters and allowing them to read the book between them. I liked that the contribution from each character is clearly stated at the start as I think this could be a nice way to encourage less confident, or perhaps younger readers to join in. At the end of the book are suggestions for discussion and a chance to explore our feelings. I liked the illustrations, which are clear and colourful and I think that Reach for the Stars is a good book for early readers to enjoy. I think that this is a lovely book to share with friends or siblings and take it in turns to be each character.
This is an utterly charming little gem of a book which I found incredibly moving. It traces in rhyme format the joy of a mother welcoming her baby into the world and the impact that this is to have have upon her life. The beautifully detailed and nostalgic illustrations are a sheer delight and match the text so well. This would be a perfect book for a mother-to-be to place in a treasure box for her child or perhaps for a new granny to buy for her daughter. It is absolutely gorgeous. Val Rowe, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Ballistic Kids is a lyrical picture book. Both rhyme and colourful images tell the tale of Scott, a young boy from a small village, who shows you can achieve your dreams with some hard work and Rock ‘n’ Roll. The rhyming in this book makes it easy to follow and I think it would be nice to be read aloud by either a child or a parent as a bedtime story. Scott and his best friend Matt don’t feel like they fit in, but instead of changing themselves to find acceptance, they form a band, meet new friends, have fun and work hard to be stage ready for the school talent show. The message in this book that stood out the most to me is the importance of hard work and not trying to change to fit in. However, there are a number of other themes throughout Ballistic Kids that I think are valuable in a children’s book. Scott and Matt formed a band in order to make new friends and have fun and I liked that from the start the band enjoyed playing and persevered until their sound improved. The band’s teamwork and dedication lead to recognition of their talent - a talent that is acquired through dedication and persistence. Although important to the success of the band in the story, these are messages that I think are easily applicable to a range of different situations. I think that these are themes that all children can relate to, although I’d say the writing and layout for the book are aimed at the 5+ age-range. This is a nice story for older siblings to read alongside someone younger, as the underlying themes are equally applicable to much older children too. A bonus with Ballistic Kids is the collection of six songs that are available to listen to for free online. Each song was written in connection to a different part of the story. They are punky but accessible to children. In all a cool collection and a nice accompaniment to the storyline. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
This beautiful book is delightful. It's rather old fashioned in it's presentation with really clear and colourful pictures which illustrate each action in the story. It tells of a wild boar in search of truffles. However, he can't find any and when his other friends appear to be going to a birthday party, he wonders why he hasn't been invited. Lots of visual and written clues for the children to follow and discover what is going on. It's told in rhyming verse with some interesting and challenging language. Ideal to read to younger children and the illustrations provide plenty to discuss. Chris Woolfenden, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
I absolutely love this book. The illustrations are beautiful with so much colourful detail. The story is very poignant, we've all been stuck in places we don't want to be, trying to find the courage to change our situation. The Fox does just that and the story ends on a positive note, a lesson for us all. The story is told in verse, but not the simple baby verse of early readers. This is much more subtle rhyming, but it flows easily. My grandchildren ( ages 6-10) all enjoyed reading this book and have asked for it a few times. A book to be enjoyed on many levels and one for the bookshelf. Chris Woolfenden, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
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