Toppsta - Childrens Books – Reviews

AnnaMP

Aged 7
Joined April 2018

Favourite book EVER is Kipper�s Birthday
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Was read to me 11th March '19

Captain Cat and the Treasure Map
Author: Sue Mongredien Illustrator: Kate Pankhurst
We all enjoyed this funny, pirate adventure with its 'race to the treasure' storyline.  The wisecracks had the children laughing out loud - as did the references to poo - and they both got caught up in the excitement of the race.  The crew intro at the beginning of the book was really helpful while we got our bearings with the characters, and the children enjoyed tracking the adventure on the map (who doesn't love a map?!) as the story unfolded.  We also liked Kate Pankhurst's illustrations which were a perfect match for the narrative.  While I read this as our bedtime story, my daughter is now looking forward to reading it by herself and has added it to her reading pile.

I read this book 11th March '19

Two Sides
Author: Polly Ho-Yen Illustrator: Binny Talib
This is a warm and thoughtful story, which highlights the ups and downs of friendship and demonstrates how being brave enough both to forgive and to say sorry can make life much brighter again.  Both Lula and Lenka are likeable and relatable characters and we liked how each girl is so different from the other.  I particularly love how this story has been crafted: both girls narrate in the first person and each has her own font, so it is clear who is speaking.  The differing font sizes provide interest on the page, and the colourful, expressive illustrations are plentiful and add visual impact to the book.  It would be enjoyed by those who are interested in friendship stories, and, of course, for anyone who has fallen out with their BFF and needs a little help to get their friendship back on track...

Was read to me 10th March '19

Storm Hound
Author: Claire Fayers
We have enjoyed this engaging book hugely. It’s a magical adventure where Norse mythology meets Welsh legend in a present-day setting. We loved Storm’s arrogance and condescension throughout and howled (excuse the pun…) when he was faced with a cat who laughs in the face of dog. We particularly liked the characters of Jessica and David/Morfran. Jessica is having to cope with a great deal of upheaval in her life due to a family breakup and this provides an additional dynamic to the story. David/Morfran – the boy who isn’t a boy (don’t want to give too much away here!) – grows emotionally as the story unfolds as he starts to respond to the power of friendship. All in all, it’s an entertaining read that has a dry, humorous thread woven throughout.

Was read to me 10th March '19

All the Ways to be Smart
Author: Davina Bell Illustrator: Allison Colpoys
This is such a beautifully-executed, inclusive book.  Written in rhyme, it explains to young readers that being smart is not just about being academically bright – it’s so much more than that.  It’s being creative, sitting still, being imaginative, being kind, paying attention to detail – in fact so many different things, that every child should be able to spot something that they are ‘good’ at or enjoy doing.  Indeed, that’s what I love most about it – every child will be able to see themselves in the book and thus draw confidence and reassurance from it.  The language is simple and effective and is supported by fabulous, (gender-neutral) coloured graphics.  It’s a book that will resonate with all readers, but especially those who may be lacking in self-confidence or who feel different from their friends.  

Was read to me 19th February '19

The Girl with the Shark's Teeth
Author: Cerrie Burnell
This is a fabulous, magical story, with courage, friendship and self-discovery at its heart.  While it has a timeless, classic feel to it, it is bang up to date with its inclusive characterisation.  In the thought-provoking foreword written by Cerrie herself, she stresses the importance of readers having characters in their own image to help put them in the heart of the story, and that's exactly what she's done with this wonderful tale.  The characters are strong, gutsy and well-developed and the story is pacey and exciting.  I shared this with my daughter who was mesmerised by it and for me, Cerrie's beautifully descriptive, lyrical writing made it an absolute joy to read out loud.  While it is very early to say, I suspect that this will be one of our stand-out children's reads of this year.