Children’s Book of the Week and Other Book Reviews


 

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Hi everyone, having decided to change the format of C.B.W., I am pleased to say that the highlighted Children’s Book of the Week is still here,  but there are now also three other children’s book reviews for you to read, so please don’t forget to scroll down the page.

Children’s Book of the Week: Pibbin the Small: A Tale of Friendship Bog by Gloria Repp
Published on Amazon Kindle $1.24 and Paperback $5.99

I consider this book a wonderful find. ‘Pibbin the Small’ is the sort of book any child will surely enjoy. It has all the right ingredients; a great plot, action, a hero, a villain,  loads of endearing characters, bucket loads of kindness and friendship, and marvellous illustrations by Tim Davis.

Pibbin the Small by Gloria Repp featured as Children's Book of the Week on mungaiandthegoaconstrictor.me

My Review

Pibbin the Small is the most delightful story about the reluctant adventures of a small tree frog – one filled to the brim with the sort of kindness found only in those who care deeply about others. The opening chapter finds Pibbin shocked to discover his dear friend Sheera the Turtle has been hit by a truck and her leg is badly damaged.  Various opinions are offered as to how to alleviate Sheera’s suffering. ‘The Carpenter’ even mentally sizes her up for a wooden leg. But Sheera herself tells Pibbin there is only one cure – a wrap made of Sweetberry leaves.

Unfortunately, Sweetberry leaves can only be found far away in the garden of Sheera’s friend, the Doctor, who lives near the Silver Sea, and Pibbin must make a perilous journey to get there.  The very thought of the long and hazardous trip strikes terror in Pibbin’s heart. But he is quite determined to pluck up the courage to go, and in doing so, save his friend from the terrible fate of a wooden leg that won’t bend, or, worse still, death. He is given two pieces of advice by Gaffer, an old tree frog: “Get the Doctor’s name” and “Find yourself a pal who’s quick and smart.” Both of which he does! Pibbin is only small and does not think of himself as being brave, but his friend needs the leaves or her leg will not recover. So he puts his fears behind him and concentrates on the task in hand, and he and his new-found pal go off in search of the leaves. The journey is far from uneventful, but not once does he shy away from his mission, ever motivated by the thought of his suffering friend – a friend who had been so kind to him and shielded him from harm when he was even smaller. This is the story of his journey.

I cannot imagine any child or adult not enjoying this book. I am a bit of a lover of animal stories and this ranks very highly amongst my favourites. Beautifully told with gorgeous illustrations, this would be an ideal addition to any child’s library. The author skilfully weaves the tale around the importance of friendship and throws in a pretty good plot to boot. We are taken straight into the story and soon introduced to Pibbin’s colourful friends, all of which are well enough described for the reader to imagine them, and their boggy environment, even without the illustrations. Pibbin displays tremendous courage in the face of danger and finds out he is a much braver frog than he thought and all because his love for his friend was far greater than his fear of the unknown. A marvellous lesson in courage for children! And the lesson is subtle rather than preachy – which works very well. Gloria Repp has created a story which is faultlessly written, perfectly structured and an ideal fit for the age group it is intended for, though I am quite sure older children will enjoy it just as much. I look forward to reading more of this author’s work in the future. Definitely a 5 star read!

Other books I have read this week

The Incredible Escape of the Sly Little Fox by Lily Lexington
Published on Amazon Kindle 99c

The Incredible Escape of the Sly Little Fox is a wonderful rhyming story from which many children may learn about kindness and sharing.
The little fox starts out as a very mean little fox that has no consideration for anyone but himself. Until, that is, he finds himself in a bit of bother! The only help available comes from sources the little fox would have least expected – the animals he has hurt. But, as you would imagine, the story develops and the little fox, following his wake-up call, learns to be a not-so-sly little fox.
The most delightful part of this book is the nigh perfect rhyming verse throughout. It’s clever and it flows beautifully. The same phrase is repeated as each animal moves on by, adding to the joy of the book. The lively illustrations are sweet and very well done. The moral is good and clear, and children will have no difficulty understanding it, whether a parent is reading aloud to them or they are reading by themselves. I would say this book would be most suited to 3 to 6 year olds. A fun and enjoyable read worthy of  5 stars.

Nimpentoad by Josh Herz, Henry Herz and Harrison Herz
Published on Amazon – Kindle $2.45 and Paperback $10.50

The story begins in Grunwald Forest where the Niblings live. Niblings are dexterous little creatures who love to cook. They are not, however, very popular with the others of the forest.  In fact, they are continuously picked on and pushed around. The forest is also inhabited by Orcs and Goblins and Neebles, to name but a few, and each and every one has had a go at the Niblings. The Niblings are tired of this and decide to seek help from the Goofus, the giant who lives in the castle.  Where Niblings are very nimble-fingered, Goofus is downright clumsy. They sensibly decide they each have something to offer the other.  They could help Goofus around the castle with the everyday tasks he fails at so often, and so miserably, and he in turn could protect them from the mean bullies. The challenge is to get through to the castle before anyone has them for supper. There are many tests along the way, but Niblings, it seems, are very clever and resourceful, and the large mean bullies are not.

This is a sweet little adventure story with appealing illustrations.  It is well written, original and funny. There are some great names for some of the creatures and the descriptions are wonderful. It shows how teamwork can overcome the bullies and how using your brain is often better than fighting. This is a great little book for readers aged 5 to perhaps 9 or 10 years old.  Great book! 4 stars for Nimpentoad!

Gnit Wit Gnipper and the Ferocious Fire Ants by T J Lantz
Published on Amazon Kindle 99c

This is a story about a gnome called Gnipper who longs for a ‘real’ hat to gain kudos in the community and shake off the added name of Gnit Wit.  The community is very science orientated and to gain her hat, and lose her added name, she, like all the others, must invent something which will enhance the lives of all gnomes. Gnipper’s invention (still in its experimental stages) is to be a growth potion, largely so she can reach the cookie jar, but also because she feels it will be useful to others of the same stature.  But, needless to say, the experiment backfires when she tests it on her pet ant, which does indeed grow – out of all proportion, in fact – and becomes very hostile. And if that is not enough, she is expecting lots of little ants in the very near future, hence an impending disaster is born. But can Gnipper undo what she has done!
This is a fun and imaginative read and I can see it keeping children engaged with its quirky characters, amusing dialogue and original plot. I also thought it was well-crafted and reasonably exiting.  Younger children may need a bit of help with some of the vocabulary though, but that is not a bad thing as long as there is a parent or older sibling there to help out. I would see this book appealing to ages 6 and upwards. I give Gnit Wit Gnipper and the Ferocious Ants 4 stars.

All reviews can be found on Amazon and, where possible, Goodreads.

Children’s Book of the Week: Thomas and the Lily Pond by Jane Whiteoak


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I am thrilled to introduce this week’s Children’s Book of the Week, Thomas and the Lily Pond by Jane Whiteoak. With enchanting animal characters, charming illustrations and a fast pace this enjoyable little book shows children how friendship ultimately will triumph over bullying tactics. Please read my review below.

Thomas and the Lily Pond - Book cover: Children's Book Review on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

About the Book                                                   Thomas and the Lily Pond is a book about bullying for children ages 4-6 yrs. old. A group of animals are living very contentedly in a forest until the arrival of a large outspoken frog, named Bruno. He attempts to manipulate the group through flattery and ultimately directs his insults at a docile, hardworking Turtle named Thomas. The group follow the directive of the bullying frog due to peer pressure, ultimately getting involved in a food heist at night! Bruno’s ultimate goal is to take over the lily pond completely for himself; he is almost successful! Chaos erupts when a huge storm arrives and most of them end up fighting for their lives in the water. Thomas does not hesitate to try and save them.                                                                                                                                About the Author                                                                                                         Jane Whiteoak has worked in media and communications for over thirty years. After her son had completed University, she changed careers, went back to school and became a Montessori teacher. She has always had a great respect and love for children and had started writing books for children, in health related areas, for a Company when she first started working, years ago. Thomas and the Lily Pond is Jane’s first e-book. Martin the Christmas Mouse, will be on Amazon KDP within the next few weeks. It is her second e-book. The illustrator for Jane’s books was a former amateur and pro-boxer. Interestingly, Ray Henderson was also a professional graphic artist and did work in advertising. His father was a professional artist from Kent, England. Jane and Ray collaborate on books together; he has a unique style with  animated animal characters.

My Review of Thomas and the Lily Pond
Thomas the turtle has a life that verges on perfection.  Idyllic home, lots of good things to eat and wonderful friends. Until, that is, the arrival of Bruno; an over-sized, overbearing and overtly Machiavellian frog.
Bruno arrives unannounced at Thomas’ lily pond one day, and with much blandishment and no small amount of  intimidation, manages to draft all the other animals onto his team, with each soon vying for his attention. But sadly, he turns on Thomas, whose friends, eager to stay in Bruno’s good books, and slightly overwhelmed by him, side with Bruno against Thomas and drive him away from the pond he loves so much. Bruno’s motivation is two-fold. He not only wants the pond for himself but he also wants the little animals to do his sneaky bidding. Thomas, he declares, is too ‘pokey’ to be bothered with.
I am pleased to say, Bruno does get his comeuppance and there is a happy ending.
Aside of the well-written narrative, another notable thing about Thomas and the Lily Pond are the illustrations by artist Ray Henderson. Original, colourful and bold, they complement the story beautifully – and there are plenty of them. There are some lovely descriptions by the author of the various animals too, making it easy for children to learn about different species.
At a time when we hear so much about bullying, Jane Whiteoak’s delightful book would be a most appropriate addition to any child’s bookshelf.  But it is not only about bullying – the story is also about friendship and how doing the right thing usually wins through in the end. It is a great little book to read aloud to small children, and I can just see them all cheering in Thomas’ corner. Nobody likes a bully!
Whilst the book is perfectly suited to the age group it is aimed at, I also feel children up to ten or more will enjoy it too.
I highly recommend this book and hope to be able read more of this author’s work soon.

Buy on Amazon    Flurries of Words    Author Page-Amazon    Under The Whiteoak Tree

Thomas and the Lily Pond - sample image- Children's Book Review on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

GO away Thomas, let our new friend live here on his own.

Thomas and the Lily Pond - sample image - Children's Book Review on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

They stuffed themselves so much that they could hardly move…

Thomas and the Lily Pond - sample image - Children's Book Review on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

Everyone returned to the peaceful life they had once known, deep inside the forest.

Children’s Book of the Week: The Adventures of the Frog Prince by J.R. Barker


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My choice for this week’s Children’s Book of the Week is the fun read, The Adventures of the Frog Prince by J.R. Barker. This is a quick and witty read which I would deem suitable for 8/9 year olds and upwards. My review is posted below.

The Adventures of the Frog Prince Book cover - Children's Book Review on Mungai and the Goa ConstrictorAbout the Book 
The Prince had problems; he was stranded in a moat and was trying to come to terms with being small, green and surprisingly springy.
He must try to find out who wants him out of the way and why, whilst avoid being eaten by things that are bigger than him.                                                 Will he ever be human again?

About the Author

Jo Barker has been writing short stories for many years as a hobby and has now finally published. At the moment she is writing children’s tales but there are plans for other books. Read more…

My Review of The Adventures of the Frog Prince

The Adventures of the Frog Prince is a story about an arrogant, irresponsible and selfish young prince who wakes one day to find himself outside his own castle, inside his own moat, and no longer inside his own body. As the title suggests, the Prince has become a frog. Unable to comprehend why this should have happened to him, though he does have a few ideas, he sets out to find those responsible for this unwelcome transformation. Realising there are quite a few royal subjects he has offended, he starts to make a mental list of names. He surmises one of these people must be a witch. But how many witches are there? And where are they hiding? And how will he be able to tell if they really are witches or not? Finding the culprit may prove even more difficult as the castle is full of guests from all across the kingdom who have tuned up with their daughters to hear who the Prince will choose to be his bride. But then, amongst these guests, he unexpectedly finds the most unlikely supporter to help him in his quest.

This is a funny and fast-moving tale written in a style which I thoroughly enjoyed.  The characters are well-developed, likeable and, in some cases, quite comical.  I particularly liked the spider with the lisp. The scenes are nicely descriptive and it is easy to visualise the backdrop. Though the ending isn’t too much of a surprise, it is good.

My only real disappointment was the lack of illustrations. This does not make the story any less of an entertaining read, but I do feel some illustrations would enhance the experience for younger readers.  As an adult, I would happily read more books from this author.

Get Your Copy on Amazon          Visit Jo’s Website