Toppsta - Childrens Books – Reviews


Aged 10
Joined April 2015

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I read this book 22nd June '18

Football School: The Amazing Quiz Book
Authors: Alex Bellos , Ben Lyttleton Illustrator: Spike Gerrell
My son has recently got into football, and has read one of the other books from this series, so I thought that he would like this book. There are a number of chapters on various football related topics. Each has a two page introduction to the topic followed by several pages of questions with multiple answers to choose the correct answer from.

Initially he found it a bit frustrating - as a bit of a fact fiend, and as someone who does not know much about football, he found the format difficult because he had to keep going to the back of the book to find out the answers. If he had known more about football, he might have instead found the book challenging in a good way! He would have also preferred to have a book full of facts which he could read, absorb and learn.

Having said all that, he has since receiving the book, returned to it a number of times and has taken it to School to show and share with his friends. I think the format doesn’t really suit my son  and he has asked me to get more books from this series as he is very keen to learn more about football.

Was read to me 30th May '18

Crazy About Cats
Author: Owen Davey
Full of fascinating feline facts, this is a must for any animal lover.  It comprehensively covers all types of cats, from the smallest  (rusty spotted cat) to the largest (tigers), noting where they live, what they eat, how loud they are and all the special features that each has. There is also a section on cat mythology

There are beautiful illustrations throughout the book which really appealed to both my children and myself

We already have 'Mad About Monkeys' from the same series, and this book is just as good, and produced to a high quality.

I read this book 16th May '18

The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day
Author: Christopher Edge
Another brilliant book from Christopher Edge that explains complex scientist ideas in a way that they can be understood while wrapped up in a gripping tale with a number of twists and turns.

Maisie Day is no ordinary girl, and the book starts on her birthday with her hoping that her parents will give her the component parts she needs to build a nuclear reactor.  Quickly it becomes clear that this is not a 'normal' tale, as each chapter sees Maisie in a different reality, and she has to adapt quickly as she starts to realise what is going on and has to figure out what to do using her detailed scientific knowledge.

My son and I started reading this book together, but he soon raced off reading ahead by himself, and read this in a couple of days.  He stayed up late one night to finish it, and came to see me as soon as he finished, excitedly explaining what had happened and the ending.  I am definitely going to also read this book myself - and fully expect, as with the last two, to have a better understanding of some complex scientific theories!  

I would highly recommend any Christopher Edge books, he has quite a unique skill at explaining complex ideas in such a thrilling and exciting manner, and it is great to see how enthused my son is about science from reading these stories.

Was read to me 21st April '18

Battle of the Beetles
Author: M.G. Leonard
In our household, this was the eagerly awaited final book in the Beetle Boy trilogy, and we were not disappointed! The series is unusual in that as the title suggests, the story is driven by the fate of beetles.  In this book, Darkus and his group of young friends work together to attempt to foil the plot of the evil Lucretia Cutter to unleash hordes of giant beetles upon the world that will destroy crops and cause human starvation. The children discover that there is a giant Biome in the Amazon rainforest, and venture there to try to stop the evil plot.

What is great about this book, and this trilogy, is the amazing amount of information that is embedded in the stories and how much it helps children to learn about beetles and environmental issues.  I really love books that help children to learn in a fun way, and this is a fantastic example of that.  More importantly for the reader, the plot is exciting and moves at a fast pace, there are heroic characters, hapless sidekicks and an evil villainous enemy that needs to be defeated. The writing is cinematic, and I could not help but to see how these stories would make an excellent film.  

I cannot recommend this book and this series highly enough - we have all enjoyed these stories as a family and they have inspired in all of us a love and fascination with beetles. 

Was read to me 13th April '18

The Twits
Author: Roald Dahl Illustrator: Quentin Blake
Mr and Mrs Twit are disgustingly bad - both in appearance and behaviour (with the two likely being related!).  Mr Twit has a big beard in which food gets stuck, and the narrator suspects that it is not often washed. Mrs Twit is beardless but the story teller suggests that it might be better for her if she did have a beard to cover up her horrible face...  This is a rip roaringly funny tale of two despicable characters and how they get their come-uppence. 

Roald Dahl is rightly loved by children for his humorous and non-patronising tales - he perfectly understands how to get the attention of his audience and keep it. As an adult I have greatly enjoyed reading his stories to my eldest child, and am now looking forward to repeating the delights of his stories with my younger child.

Highly recommended, a great, fun and attention-keeping tale for young ones.