Category Archives: Review

#BlogTour #Review #TheChristmasPlayRehearsal by Sue Wickstead | @JayJayBus @rararesources

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The Christmas Play Rehearsal

It is Christmas time, and the school has been getting ready to perform their Nativity play.

With lines learnt and songs to be sung, it is time for the dress rehearsal. The teacher knows there might be a few problems to sort out, but at least they will know what to improve on or change along the way.

Purchase Links

The Christmas Play Rehearsal  https://amzn.to/2zPugqt

Sue Wickstead’s other books on Amazon

Amazon .co.uk http://bit.ly/JJKSupersonic

Amazon .com http://amzn.to/2BxvU2l

A Spooky tale .co http://amzn.to/2Dq6P5X

A Spooky tale .com http://amzn.to/2zGGBtR  

Jay-Jay the supersonic Bus  http://amzn.to/2DyvTrO

Jay-Jay and his Island Adventure – e book http://amzn.to/2BWINPD

Jay-Jay and his Island Adventure http://amzn.to/2CdNEjO

Jay-Jay and the Carnival http://amzn.to/2E3Z6LL

Daisy Daydream the Nursery Rhyme Bus https://amzn.to/2NljxHY


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I am a teacher and an author and have currently written six children’s picture books with a bus theme.

For over 20 years, alongside my teaching career, I worked with a Children’s Charity, The Bewbush Playbus Association, which led me to write a photographic history book about it.

I soon found that many children had never been on a bus before, let alone a ‘Playbus’ and they wanted to know more. I decided to write a fictional tale about the bus, his number plate JJK261 gave him his name.

‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus,’ came out in print in 2014. It is the story behind the original bus and is his journey from a scrap-yard to being changed into a playbus for children to play in. From Fact to fiction the bus journey continued.

This story has now been followed by five more picture books.

I also undertake events and author bookings and love to share the story. There are also a few more stories in the writing process, with links to real events and buses.

The story has been read in many schools in the south-East of England, where I teach as a cover teacher, it is always well received and certainly different.

Social Media Links –

https://www.suewickstead.co.uk/

Facebook: – Author Page http://bit.ly/2kEEhPq

Twitter https://twitter.com/JayJayBus

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This book has come along just at the right time, Lily-May’s school is currently rehearsing their nativity (what I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall!)

We had a good little chuckle while we read this story, she asked me if it was her school many times as it looks like her school.

She followed the story and asked questions along the way, she even changed some names to the boys and girls in her class taking on the roles of the characters in the book (the star was my favourite!)

The perfect storage the time of year, I may even take it into school for the teacher to read at carpet time 🙂

4 thumbs

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#BlogTour #Review #BertieTheBuffalo by Wendy Jones | @WendyHJones @malcolmdown #LoveBooksGroupTours  

Today we kick off the tour for Bertie the Buffalo, the sweet, wee, floppy haired blue Buffalo.
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Bertie the Buffalo is based on a true story of when a Water Buffalo escaped from a Buffalo Park in Fife, near Dundee, Scotland. A rhyming book about the adventures Bertie got up to and how he safely returned home, demonstrating how important each of us is no matter how insignificant we feel. Bertie felt that no one noticed him. But he didn’t need to think that as we are all special. We are all a part of one big family.

Buy Link

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Award Winning Author Wendy H. Jones lives in Scotland, and her police procedural series featuring Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie, is set in the beautiful city of Dundee, Scotland. Wendy has led a varied and adventurous life. Her love for adventure led to her joining the Royal Navy to undertake nurse training. After six years in the Navy she joined the Army where she served as an Officer for a further 17 years. This took her all over the world including Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Much of her spare time is now spent travelling around the UK, and lands much further afield. As well as nursing Wendy also worked for many years in Academia. This led to publication in academic textbooks and journals. Killer’s Countdown is her first novel and the first book in the Shona McKenzie Mystery series. Killer’s Crew won the Books Go Social Book of the Year 2107. There are now six books in this series with Killer’s Crypt being released in August, 2017. The Dagger’s Curse is the first book in The Fergus and Flora Mysteries for Young Adults. This book is currently shortlisted for the Woman Alive Magazine Readers Choice Award Book of the Year. She is also a highly successful marketer and she shares her methods in the book, Power Packed Book Marketing.

Twitter Handles

@WendyHJones 

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First I need to apologise for the lateness of my review! This is what happens when you don’t write things down :/
I read this to my 3 year old daughter who loves animals! She loved Bertie and his floppy hair and how he ran and ran and ran….. I even got a demonstration!
She liked the bright colours and the rhyming of the words, she followed the story and was sad when Bertie and the farmer were sad.
We had a great big cheer for joy when Bertie found his way home and she liked his banner.
This is a wonderful book and has fast become my daughters favourite bed time read. Highly recommended and it may be in Santa’s sack for a few of her book loving friends 😉
5 thumbs
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#BlogTour #Review FAmeAndFortuneInTheGorbals by Kate Donne | @donnekate #LoveBooksGroupTours

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‘Robert James Muldoon. That’s me. Sixteen years auld wi bright red hair an legs like a chicken’ The Bobby Muldoon Trilogy is set in The Gorbals, Glasgow in 1968. The trilogy is a comedy and follows Bobby’s life as he deals with one life crisis after another. However, Bobby is a Gorbals boy through and through and, despite his lack of confidence, he overcomes every obstacle in his path with sheer determination and a sharp, witty sense of humour. Will Bobby become a confident, successful young man? Or will he go one step further and find…Fame and Fortune in The Gorbals?

Entirely written in Glaswegian Scots or ‘weegie’ as it’s called, books one and two The Wit and Wisdom of Bobby ‘Chicken Legs’ Muldoon and Life and Love in The Gorbals are already published and book three Fame and Fortune in The Gorbals now completes the trilogy. Kate is now working on an adaptation for the stage!

Buy Link


                https://amzn.to/2Pfv7pD

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Kate Donne lives in Dollar, Clackmannanshire with her Welsh husband Steve, her dog Brodie, two tractors and eight chickens! Kate runs her own personal development company, and spends her spare time writing.

She graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow with a BA Degree in Dramatic Studies and was awarded The Dorothy Innes Prize, The Arnold Fleming travelling scholarship and The Charles Brooke memorial prize.

Kate has spent many years involved in the arts and has been a professional singer, a director of musical theatre and an actress in many plays and musicals. Her poetry has been published in various anthologies and she was shortlisted for The Tarbert Book Festival writing competition 2017 with her short story Frae a Haggis.

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This is the third book in the series and they’re all with an entirely in Glaswegian Scots, I thought I might struggle but after a page or so the words just flowed.

This is a great book that focuses on Bobby, the struggles, the worries of a day without phones,  gadgets and social media (a better time, so my Mum tells me) I liked seeing Bobbys relationship with his parents and with his girlfriend Jeannie who have all the plans in the world!

It was a quick read which I enjoyed, I did jump into book 3 but don’t feel like I’ve missed too much from the other of you want to jump straight in with this one.

4 thumbs

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#BlogTour #Review #JacksonSuperhero #JacksonSavesAnOwl by Darren Garwood & Carl Osborne | @jacksons_smile @fayerogersuk

Jackson Saves an Owl

Jackson Saves an Owl
by Darren Garwood & Carl Osborne

Information about the book

Title: Jackson Saves an Owl

Author:  Darren Garwood

Illustrator: Carl Osborne

Release Date: 1st September 2018

Genre: Picture Book

Publisher: Untold Books

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Jackson Superhero might not be a real name, but it is a story about a real boy, and as the name suggests, Jackson is far from ordinary. By day, a rare disease limits his ability to move freely, but at night he is far from grounded. When the sleeping hours come around, and weightlessness takes over, Jackson takes to the skies. He knows what it means to need the support of others, which is why when he hears a call for help, he is quickly there to lend a hand.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42141736-jackson-saves-an-owl

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jackson-Saves-Owl-Superhero/dp/8799506262/

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Darren Garwood is the father of Jackson, a real boy living with a rare and terminal illness called Krabbe disease. Darren came up with the Jackson Superhero series because as Jackson can’t move during the day, Darren wanted to help him dream at night, when he was free to be anything he wanted to be. Jackson Saves an owl is written in lively, fantastic rhyme, and is the first in the Jackson Superhero series.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jacksons_smile  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jacksongarwoodsmile

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Firstly, we apologise for the lateness in the day for our review. Our copy arrived today so we saved it for tonight’s bedtime read.

Our mini reviewer, ready for bed in her own superhero PJ’s (she wanted to be a superhero like Jackson!) who was I to tell her no?!!

This is a beautiful book written with thought and love. My little one loved the drawings (she now wants a bed with her initial or as she called it her name letter, like Jackson) she liked that he helped the owl get dry so he could fly again. She also liked his costume and his stripey socks!

The letter from Dad on the back brought a tear or two to my eye and this book really did bring a smile to my face 😊

5 thumbs

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Monday 8th October

Girl Who Sciences

Tuesday 9th October

Donna’s Book Blog

Wednesday 10th October

Bumbling Blogger

Thursday 11th October

Black Books Blogger

Friday 12th September

Splashes into Books

Saturday 13th October

Big Book Little Book

OBC Mini Reviewers

Sunday 14th October

A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Monday 15th October

Dear Mummy Bear

Tuesday 16th October

Kirstyes

Wednesday 17th October

Obscurity of Life

Thursday 18th October

Life of a Nerdish Mum

Friday 19th October

Rosie Writes

Saturday 20th October

Leeds Dad

Sunday 21st October

Jazzy Book Reviews

#BlogTour #Review #EternalSeas by @lexi_rees @rararesources

We are thrilled to be kicking the Eternal Seas tour off for Lexi Rees!

First, the cover is stunning 😍 and we know this story will enthrall fans both young and old!

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Eternal Seas by Lexi Rees 

Such a small parcel

shouldn’t cause experienced

smugglers much trouble,

but this parcel is far from normal.

Chased across the seas, Finn and Aria must solve the

mysteries within the parcel. 

What does it mean? Who should they trust?

What will happen?

The fate of an ancient people depends on them

and time is running out …

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Pre-order Link – http://viewbook.at/EternalSeas

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Lexi Rees spends as much time as possible sailing and horse riding, both of which she does spectacularly badly. Attempts at writing whilst horse riding have been disastrous, so Eternal Seas was written on a boat; the storm described in the book was frighteningly real.

Social Media Links –

www.lexirees.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/LexiAuthor

https://twitter.com/lexi_rees

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Imagine what life must be like on the open seas, smuggling treasures to the unknown…… What if you suddenly became the treasure?!

This is what Aria and Finn must face in this action packed adventure book. They have to trust the untrustableand hope the ines they do trust dint turn on them for their own gain. This book is quickly paced and has you turning those pages time and time again, in fact I was shhhh’d multiple times while my daughter read this book….

What do you want for tea?

Shhhhhh!

Do you have any homework?

Shhhhhh!

It’s time for bed!

Shhhhhh!

I’ll let her have that one, at least she isn’t glued to a TV screen!

She enjoyed the pictures, the action, the few kept secrets that are revealed, and the fact that the chapter weren’t overly long (like me she likes to stop at a chapter end)

Hats off the Lexi for having my daughter engrossed in Eternal Seas until the very last page, which resulted in her running downstairs asking if the second books was out of if she has to wait 😂

5 thumbs

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Lexi Rees is having 2 AMAZING Blog tour competitions, see below for all the details and how to enter…

Win one of two £10 Amazon gift vouchers (UK only). To enter

  1. Share a photo of you with the book (paperback or ebook) on Twitter or Instagram
  2. Tag @lexi_rees (Twitter) or lexi.rees (Instagram) and #EternalSeas
  3. Closing date 30th November 2018
  4. UK only
  5. Winners will be drawn randomly

Illustration competition – would your children like to see their illustrations published in a book?

  • Six lucky winners will have their illustrations printed in the sequel to Eternal Seas
  • Winners and runners up will also have their drawings featured on www.lexirees.co.uk and on social media

Drawings must be in black and white, and can be in any of the following categories

  • Aria flying up in the sky
  • a cat
  • mountain ponies
  • a snow eagle
  • a demon-goddess
  • a sailing boat
  • Finn and/ or Aria

Please see detailed terms for entry requirements

  • Open to children aged 13 or under
  • You can enter as many categories as you like
  • Winners will be chosen by Lexi Rees
  • Children’s name and age will be published together with their illustration. Parents/ guardians must confirm they are happy with this when they enter. Other information (e.g email address) will not be shared.
  • No purchase necessary
  • Closing date 31/1/19
  • Entries must be scanned or photographed in high resolution and emailed to lexireads@hotmail.com. The winners may need to post originals if the images are not high enough quality for printing. Postage costs will be covered in this case.
  • Full entry details can be found on www.lexirees.co.uk

Be sure to follow the rest of the blog tour!

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#BlogTour #Review #Monstacademy by @MattBeighton @fayerogersuk

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Title: The Halloween Parade (Monstacademy #1)

Author: Matt Beighton

Release Date: 12th September 2018

Genre: MG

Publisher: Green Monkey Press

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36988699-the-halloween-parade

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Halloween-Parade-Monstacademy-Matt-Beighton/

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 It’s not every day that a vampire borrows your pencil. When was the last time you sat next to a werewolf in maths?

Meet Trixie Grimble, the newest pupil at Monstacademy. Unfortunately, in a school filled with monsters, she’s the only ordinary girl and when she’s asked to help prepare for the annual Halloween parade, everything starts to go wrong.

Oh, and she’s also been kicked out of her bedroom to make room for a cat circus.

Fans of Jill Murphy and Isla Fisher will adore the silly humour and loveable characters in this delightful modern classic.

Don’t forget, all of the Monstacademy series are available in both standard and dyslexia adapted format. To celebrate Dyslexia Awareness Week 2018, use the code DYSAWARE to get 15% of any Monstacademy orders at the Green Monkey Press Etsy store. Offer valid from Monday 1st October to Sunday 7th October 2018 at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/GreenMonkeyPress 

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Matt Beighton was born somewhere in the midlands in England during the heady days of the 1980s and continues to spend most of his days in the same shire. He is happily married with two young daughters who keep him very busy and suffer through the endless early drafts of his stories.

When he’s not writing, he teaches primary school (Kindergarten to some of you), messes around on canals in his inflatable kayak and supports his beloved Leicester City.

Website: http://mattbeighton.co.uk/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mattbeightonauthor

Twttier: http://www.twitter.com/mattbeighton

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCs9DBOkwtDpnTFBYZXUhUUw

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I read this to my 3 year old, 1 chapter a night before bed and she adored it! She liked the fact that a ‘normal’ girl was going to school with monsters, she liked that not all monsters are scary and that she made friends with a vampire (she tells me that’s very cool) and werepoodle.

From a parents point of view I liked that the book showed that we can all be different but all feel the same when we are left out, made fun of or are bullied. I pointed this out to my toddler, explained that we are all different in some ways but we all have feelings and it’s nice to be nice.

We enjoyed reading this together, she also liked the activities at the end of the book and getting to read about the acrocats.

4 thumbs

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Monday 17th September

Belleandthenovel

Donna’s Book Blog

Tuesday 18th September

Jazzy Book Reviews

OBC Mini Reviewers

Wednesday 19th September

The Bookish Fairy Blog

Pewter Wolf

Thursday 20th September

Splashes into Books

Girl Who Sciences

Friday 21st September

Kirstyes

A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

#BlogTour #Review #LoveTheStationeryInYourClassroom by Rebecca Palliser

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Love the Stationery in your Classroom
by Rebecca Palliser

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This delightful little book encourages children to learn about – and have fun with – the stationery they encounter in the classroom. Author Rebecca Palliser wants to help all children to find their feet in the primary school classroom.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40707518-love-the-stationary-in-your-classroom

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Love-Stationery-Classroom-Rebecca-Palliser/dp/1912262843

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Rebecca Palliser is a young primary school teacher whose experiences in the classroom inspired her to write to have an influence on her pupils. 

She is about to embark on a Masters programme where she hopes to continue to write alongside her studies. 

She takes inspiration for her stories from her travels exploring different cultures and cities, spending time with her little dog Darcy and of course her biggest muse, the delightful pupils she is fortunate to teach.

A sweet book about the stationary in your classroom not wanting to be bashed, broken and lost.

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I read this to my little one on my Kindle. She liked the cover and the pictures inside the book, however the writing is pretty small and the font isn’t child friendly (even I had to look closely) but not sure if that’s just because it’s a kindle version or if the paper book is the same.

She enjoyed the book and looking at the pictures. We talked about why we don’t break the things in the classroom and what happens when we do, she said her friends would be sad if they couldn’t colour or if the glue was dry they couldn’t do any sticking, she got the gist of the story.

3.5 thumbs

Tour Schedule

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Monday 13th August

Reading for Pleasure

Bumbling Blogger

Tuesday 14th August

Whispering Stories

Chrikaru

Wednesday 15th August

Book Babble

Thursday 16th August

Donna’s Book Blog

Friday 17th August

Jazzy Book Reviews

Saturday 18th August

Wrong Side of Forty

Sunday 19th August

Frasers Fun House

Love Books Group

Monday 20th August

OBC Mini Reviewers

Tuesday 21st August

Splashes into Books

Wednesday 22nd August

Criminally Good

Thursday 23rd August

Rosie Writes

Friday 24th August

Chris Philippou

Saturday 25th August

Emma’s Bookery

Sunday 26th August

Varietats

#BlogTour #MrSnufflesBirthday by #DavidGreaves

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‘It was a wonderful day for snuffling for truffles,

‘What a birthday treat!’ thought Mr Snuffles…’

Adults and children of all ages will delight in following Mr Snuffles’ frustrating woodland quest for his beloved truffles. But is Mr Snuffles on the right scent?

Beautifully illustrated by Emily Wallis, David Greaves’ Mr Snuffles’ Birthday is a glorious celebration of language, friendship and truffles: a tale to be treasured and to read aloud together time and time again.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39906509-mr-snuffles-birthday

Pre-order you copy —> www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1912562316/ref=cm_sw_r_wa_awdo_t1_XP05Ab8MQPJHA

 

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Born in Yorkshire in 1985, David Greaves’ warmth and generosity of spirit, and his love of travel and adventure led him to make friends around the world with people from all walks of life. His strength of character and devotion to achieving his goals was shown in his achievements as an ultra-marathon runner and Iron Man triathlete. It was also shown by his
determination to finish this book, and nine others, after being diagnosed with MotorNeurone Disease (ALS) in June 2015, just after his thirtieth birthday. In the fifteen months after his diagnosis he got married to the love of his life, climbed Mt Kilimanjaro, raising over
£12,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, and travelled through East Africa before settling in Newcastle upon Tyne. As David lost the use of his arms and speech he finished his collection of children’s books using revolutionary Eye Gaze technology which allowed him to type by tracking the movement of his eyes. David passed away peacefully at
home in September 2016. Mr Snuffles is David’s first book and his wife Philippa and family intend to honour his memory by eventually publishing all of his completed works.
About the illustrator 
Emily Wallace
Emily Wallis is an illustrator who uses traditional
hand-drawn techniques. She completed her MA
in sequential design and illustration at the
University of Brighton. She lives in London, UK.
Website:
http://emilywallis.com
Instagram:
https://instagram.com/emilywallisillustration/
Facebook:
https:// facebook.com/EmilyWallisIllustration
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This stunning and beautiful book is made even more special by David’s story!
Poor Mr Snuffles thinks someone is stealing his truffles and on his birthday too! We follow this fella through the woods on a truffle chase, will we discover the theif and where are all his friends going??
My toddler (aged 3) adored this book, she loved Mr Snuffles wearing his party hat and all the little details along the woodland trail. The illustrations fit perfectly with this sweet book and I definitely will be adding the actual book to her collection after reading it to her umpteen times already, maybe even gifting a copy to her little friends for birthday gifts too 💗
5 thumbs
Follow the rest of the Mr Snuffles tour!
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#BlogTour #TheEarthMyButtAndOtherBigRoundThings by @CarolynMackler

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Virginia feels like a fat, awkward outsider in her perfect family, especially next to her golden-boy big brother Byron. Not only that, but her best friend has moved away, the mean girls at school treat her like used chewing gum and there seems to be a boy who actually likes her – though she’d bet that he wouldn’t if he ever looked under all her layers of clothes.
To handle the pressure she develops the Fat Girl Code of Conduct, which seems to be working until something unthinkable happens and Virginia’s flawless family begins to disintegrate. As her world spins out of orbit, Virginia realises that breaking her own rules might be the only way back.
Award-winning author Carolyn Mackler updates her hilarious and heartbreaking novel for a new generation

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Carolyn Mackler is the acclaimed author of the YA novels The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things (A Michael L. Printz Honor Book), Infinite in Between, Tangled, The Future of Us, Vegan Virgin Valentine, Guyaholic, and Love and Other Four-Letter Words, and the middle grade novel, Best Friend Next Door.  Carolyn’s award-winning books have appeared on bestseller lists and been translated into more than twenty-five languages.  Her much-anticipated sequel to The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, entitled The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I, comes out in May 2018.

Carolyn lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.

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This book is a must read for any teen! It touches on so many subjects so I felt myself really relating to Virginia and her life….. well apart from her living in NYC…. and in a pent house!

It has a fun factor as well as dealing with real life events. School, friendship, boyfriends, even parents…..which I thought they are awesome to start with but then I realised that they spoke down to her, made her feel small and not I  the “family” and they always seemed to leave her at the weekends!! It’s like she was unwanted baggage 😲

I really liked how Virginia comes out of her shell as the story goes on, she finds courage to stand up to those that put her down and by the end I was fist pumping the air!!

5 thumbs

 

#BlogTour #PlanetStan by @elainewickson

Welcome to Elaine Wickson’s book tour for Planet Stan.  We have been super excited to share this book with everyone 😀

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Stanley Fox might as well be a planet seeing as his younger brother Fred buzzes around him like an annoying satellite all day long. They say we’re made of stardust, but Fred is 70% annoying and 30% fart. Brotherhood is supposed to be about developing fellowship and understanding not developing a snail collection under your bed. Why can’t Fred come with diagrams like his 1001 Space Facts Book?

Luckily life on Planet Stan comes with pie charts, survival kits, top tips, bruv bingo and the most complicated Venn diagram ever drawn (probably).

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As Stan tries to figure out what on earth he and his brother have in common, he charts all the ups and downs of his life in a series of hilarious infographics in this highly-illustrated and visually-appealing book.

Planet Stan is the out-of-this-world guide to sibling survival, and the first in a series of three.

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​I live in Oxford with my husband and two sons, and have written stories since knee-high socks.

Some of my many jobs have included school photographer, film extra, potato-peeler, and barmaid. I also worked within the media industry for both local radio and newspapers, but it was a visit to the Oxford Literary Festival that rekindled my passion for writing. Listening to authors and illustrators talk about their work ignited the imagination in my long dormant brain.

Nowadays, if I’m not star-gazing, I’m often found in my Plotting Shed at the bottom of the garden, where all my ideas germinate.

Top Tip: If you share a plotting shed with lots of woodlice, give them names – it makes them less scary.

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 You can read my fun facts, writing stories and sooo much more on Elaine’s website which can be found here —> http://www.elainewickson.co.uk

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CHRIS JUDGE

(He did the pictures)

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Chris Judge is an illustrator, artist and children’s picture book author based in Dublin, Ireland.

His work is a mixture of illustration, painting and design, and has appeared in books, advertising, newspapers, magazines, exhibitions and interiors.

His debut picture book, The Lonely Beast, won the Irish Children’s Book Award in 2011.

You can find out more about him here.

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The World of Planet Stan Pie Chart

Siblings

My family once spent an afternoon walking around a museum full of marble statues. My eldest was six at the time.

‘Did they not have pants in the Greek ages?’ he shouted. A fair observtion, I thought, as it echoed around the hall. I kept notebooks containing all the gems my sons came out with when they were growing up. Like the time one of them forgot what their elbows were called and renamed them armbows, which made more sense. I treasure those notebooks. It’s like travelling back in time whenever I leaf through the pages. At the heart of Planet Stan are two brothers – Stan and Fred. They are +conal, but some of our time-travelling memories glimmer through the pages.

Dinosaurs

Stan and Fred were originally in another story, but were itching to be given their own. I soon found one when I read about Dippy the dinosaur being replaced with a blue whale at the Natural History Museum in London. I ticked through my notebooks and travelled back in time to when my youngest was five and first saw Dippy.

‘It’s a longosaurus!’ he shouted, in another hall.

There’s something magic about seeing your first dinosaur fossil, and the smaller you are the better. I remember mine: it was an iguanodon, in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, which in itself resembles a dinosaur with its iron rib-cage roof. Although I also remember looking down at the spider crab and thinking nothing should have that much leg-to-body ratio.

Space Facts

Now I had my story: Fred, whose mission is to save the museum dinosaur, and Stan who just wants to focus on winning a telescope so he can study Jupiter’s moons. Because that’s what I’ve made my family do on countless winter nights, snuggled in sleeping bags on the lawn, sharing the binoculars.

‘I love looking up at the skyling,’ yelled the youngest, around 11pm, with no regard for neighbours. He may have been no match for Professor Brian Cox, but knew the planet closest to the sun was called Margarine.

Infographics

I probably shouldn’t tell you about the time my three-year-old asked if we could ‘put the baby in the microwave’ after his brother treated us all to an intense week of teething. He just meant to shut out the noise, not actually cook him. But also in those notebooks are the dynamics of sibling-hood: the ‘You Should Know Betters’, the ‘Sharing and Other Myths’, the ‘Concept of Borrowing’. And that sparked a sort of Haynes manual for siblings. Stan is mighly organised, enjoys his me-time, and his 1001 Space Facts full of infographics. His younger brother needed to come with diagrams too, being a chaotic, disruptive Frednado. Planet Stan is filled with charts, top tips, and survival kits. There’s a handy bingo card to take to the restaurant that will just about cover the embarrassment of being out with your family; and the Five Levels of Humiliation, because who hasn’t been embarrassed by their siblings on a daily basis? The most important chart of all is a Venn diagram, as Stan tries to stand out what on earth he has in common with his brother. Like this conversation, now remembered fondly by my sons with a smile and an arm punch:

‘All around the planets and back to Earth, that’s how much I love my brother,’ said one, as he lovingly threw Nerf bullets at his head. To which the other replied, without looking up from his comic: ‘I love you to the radiator and back.”

Snails

As for snails, I definitely didn’t accidentally put one through the wash after forgetting to check a pocket and have a sleepless night about it and this is my way of making it up to them.

Cake

The most traumatic thing my eldest son remembers from his younger years? Not the seven stitches on his left leg, but the time he refused chocolate cake round his grandparents.

‘Why?’ he laments. ‘Just… why?’

If only he could travel back in time.

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And who doesn’t love a book trailer!!

mini obc amy2

This book had me giggling the whole way through! If you have a younger sibling then you’ll definitely be able to relate to Stan and his younger and slightly grose brother Fred (snails n all!)

Stan goes into great detail about his life with his younger brother and the obsession he has over the dinosaur at the local museum, Fred has a great imagination, that sometimes gets Stan into a little bother unless he’s quick on the uptake. Now I have a little sister so my life isn’t as grose as poor Stan’s but I’m half way there! I have the bogies, the wanting to ‘borrow’ my stuff and the tantrums….. thankfully I’ve missed out of the farts!

I did feel sorry for Stan in some parts….. it’s like he’s always expected to look after Fred even though his Mum and Dad know he’s a little monkey but brotherly love really shines through towards the end of the book (I’m not going to spoil it for you) but it’s a heartfelt story from front to back with a giggle on every page 🙂 the illustrations really add to the story, from the fun chapter pictures to the fun MY GENERAL STATE OF MIND gauge.

A great fun read for all and I’m sure it will fly off our library shelf (we donate outlet review books to our community run library)

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