Toppsta - Childrens Books – Reviews

Train boy

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lynn-plymouth
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Was read to me 25th October '18

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library
Author: Chris Grabenstein
WE had heard that this is a classic read and a really good book so we were keen to try it out. I think I would have given it four stars based on my son's enjoyment of the story, but for me it didn't quite meet the high expectations I had  built up about the book.

It's an excellent idea. A Willy Wonka-esque character, a game maker and toy creator, who builds an interactive and fun library which is actually the set for a giant game - of which 12 children are selected to be the players. The only goal is to use the library's resources and clues to find a secret exit out of the library - and win the best prize ever!

The characters while interesting fall a little flat. As such, there are kids you definitely don't want to win (as in Charlie and the Chocolate factory), but we didn't really root for any of the other children to win - probably because the characters were not built up very well in the beginning of the story.

There were some really exciting bits and the children were gripped, but we also found the story flattened a bit by the overly long descriptions of book titles and dewey decimal numbers, which having not read many of them didn't mean much to the children (authors were writers like Tolstoy etc)

It's a good concept but the clues were quite hard and I don't think we could have worked it out from the clues given in the book, is not explained by the characters.

IT was an ok  book, wouldn't give it a rave review though.

Was read to me 3rd October '18

The Indian in the Cupboard
Author: Lynne Reid Banks
It's a classic book and greatly deserves the good reviews it attracts. It gripped my 10 year old son, who goes through stages of avid reading and not wanting to read, but this book really pulled him back into bookworm mode! So much so, that he immediately asked me to order the next three books that follow on from this one from the library.

I have also been trying to move my 6 year old on from picture books and expand his experience of literature, so have been reading him The Indian in the Cupboard. Again, he was absolutely gripped, begging for more chapters each night and he listened intently (which is amazing as he usually loses focus if books don't have pictures). I really credit this book with moving him on to the next stage in reading.

It's well suited for both boys and girls -particularly boys who love a good Cowboy and Indian stand off! But it is much more than than - a story of how  the Cowboy and Indian overcome their personal and cultural differences to become the closest of friends.

It also captures the imagination with magic - the main premise being a magic cupboard which can bring plastic character toys to life. Both boys demanded I seek their old indian and cowboy figures out of the loft once they had read this book - and spent many hours playing with them again. 

We would highly recommend this book and we are now reading the sequels!

Was read to me 12th May '18

RHS I Can Grow A Sunflower
Author: Royal Horticultural Society
 
This is a really nice, simple and well illustrated book for preschool and reception children - and it comes with some sunflower seeds so that your child can grow their own flowers and track the stages of growth as they are happening.

The lift flaps keep little ones interested and reveal what's happening to the seed under the earth. Bright, bold illustrations also keep the interest of little ones. The plant calendar is also useful, as you child can measure what is happening to their seed ' after so many sleeps' and activity under the earth is illustrated. 

It also has a height chart, so your child can interact with measuring the progress of their sunflower. I think it's a lovely idea for a book for young ones - and even my 6 year old is getting into planting the sunflowers!

Was read to me 12th May '18

Unplugged
Author: Steve Antony
Let me start by saying that this book deals with an important and timely message about technology shrinking the experiences and balance of healthy activity of children in today's society. If a story can plant a seed in children's mind about getting outside and ditching the screens - then it's an important book.

However,  unplugged is a little lacking in some areas and if truth be told - a little bland in it's delivery of the message. The story is fairly flat and although my 6 year old was interested on the first read, he lost attention towards the end and it wouldn't stand up to a second read. Perhaps it is more for a younger audience of 1 to 4.....

Another reviewer made a very good point -  that it is rather cliche for this book to represent computers as black and white with blocky graphics. 

In this sense, like computers of the 80's, the comparison between boring screens and a bright and colourful outside world isn't really how children of today's society experience computers. Computer games now are bright, colourful, multi sensory experiences and this book just doesn't represent the reality of how our children experience computer play today. 

The story follows Blip, a robot. Blip spends most of her time plugged into her computer. but when there's a power cut Blip discovers the joys of the great outdoors, playing games, dancing and having fun. 

Was read to me 7th April '18

What's Weird on Earth
Author: DK
Wow, what a jam packed book full of all sorts of information and interesting facts, we've learnt a huge amount and there is still so much to go! 

Our favorite weird things have been the UFO, toxic treats and submerged sites pages - but there is just so much more we've yet to enjoy.

The book is really nicely laid out. It is easy to pick up and put down in short or longer stints depending on how much time you have. It would be a great addition to any bookshelf or school library - it's both interesting and educational.

We are really glad to have this book and will come back to it time and time again. DK books never disappoint!