Toppsta - Childrens Books – Reviews


Aged 10
Joined April 2015

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I read this book 24th September '18

Beyond the Odyssey
Author: Maz Evans
The third book in a series of four, continues Elliot Hoopers quest alongside Greek gods. This time he is looking for the third chaos stone. Alongside a life on Earth mixed up with Greek gods, Elliot has to cope with his mums ill health and the return of his convict father. Needless to say there is A Lot going on, and the story balances humour with poignancy as the tale takes you on an epic adventure.  My son really enjoyed it and can't wait for the final book. He did want to give the book four stars, but that was because of the cliff hanger at the end, so I think really this book does deserve five stars!

Was read to me 17th September '18

Really Remarkable Reptiles
Author: Jake Williams
This is a book that appeals to all ages (grown ups included!).  As an object, the book is made of high quality materials and full of beautiful, simple and engaging illustrations of reptiles of all and every kind.  Full of facts that are presented in easy and accessible language, this is a great book that both entertains and informs.  From explaining what reptiles are, to providing information on a range of them, the book leads on to the habitats that they can be found in and how the human impact on these habitats is endangering reptiles.  This book is sure to inspire a love of reptiles and a concern about protecting their environments to ensure their survival.  I love books such as this that are designed to educate, inspire and engage young children to care and act about protecting their environment.  

We loved reading this book together as a family, and will certainly dip in and out of it in the future.  It will also make a great reference book for school projects.   We would also recommend 'The Egg' by Britta Teckentrup, which is similar in range but covers everything you need to know about eggs in a similar manner to how this book covers everything you need to know about reptiles!  

We would definitely recommend this book, and it would make a great present for any child who loves reptiles.

I read this book 10th September '18

A World of Information
Author: Richard Platt Illustrator: James Brown
This is a truly stunning book - beautiful to look at and to hold, and full of a whole host of interesting information about the world.

The book is formatted by two pages dedicated to a particular subject, with facts and small illustrations on one side accompanied by poster like graphics and short text on the other. Topics span the human skeleton, tides, how an orchestra is laid out and the Greek alphabet. All topics are fascinating and (as the title of the book suggests) informative. The 'bite size' pieces of information mean that this is a book that you can dip in and out of, one that will be great for school projects and can provide a springboard into finding out more about a particular topic. 

Upon giving this to my son, he immediately sat down and became immersed in reading it. And again at bedtime we have read more together, and it had been a book that both my children (aged 10 and 6) and myself (aged Slightly Older) have all enjoyed.

This is a beautiful and amazing book and one that I would recommend for any curious chidc (or adult!).

Was read to me 10th September '18

Beetle Boy: The Beetle Collector's Handbook
Author: M.G. Leonard
This is a unique book that is truly unlike any other. A spin-off from the Beetle Boy trilogy, the collector's handbook is the source of information used by the main character. While this is in some ways a 'fiction' book, it is also a guide to beetles from around the world. In this aspect, it is also has a slight soon on the way information is presented. So unlike a traditional information book about beetles, this does not provide a taxonomy- based listing of species. Rather the author has selected interesting beetles and groupings to highlight. In this way, the book opens a door to the world of beetles for those with a the first inklings of an interest, and points the way for further investigations for those who want to learn more.

What I liked about this book was the inclusion of lots of facts, the beautifully detailed drawings, the level of enthusiasm and enjoyment that the author instills into the subject and the chatty, incidental anecdotes by the narrator. The latter is great at engaging a young audience. I think my children's favourite bit of the book was leaning that that are still lots of beetles to be discovered. When so much of the world seems set out, knowing that this is an area of knowledge still to discover had inspired an even greater enthusiasm for the subject! 

As an adult reaxer, I learnt much from this book, and also developed a greater appreciation of the amount of research undertaken in writing the trilogy.

This is a book that our whole family highly recommends!

Was read to me 4th September '18

Junkyard Jack and the Horse That Talked
Author: Adrian Edmondson Illustrator: Danny Noble
Junkyard Jack is about a boy whose mother is in jail (for a crime she claims not to have committed). He lives with his Aunt her cruel husband and their mean daughter who do not provide him with a warm and loving home environment. On top of this, Jack has dyslexia, so he has quite a lot to deal with.

Jack decides to run away from his, and on his way meets a talking horse. And so the adventures begin...

While my six year old loved this (and my ten year old was soon listening in each night, this book didn't grab my attention. I was expecting something much more funny, along the lines perhaps of Roald Dahl, David Williams or Andy Stanton, and... it felt a bit average. There are so many good books out there for children that perhaps this doesn't quite live up to what we have got use to. Having said that, my children loved it, and really they are the target market, not me!