Children’s Book of the Week and Other Book Reviews


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Welcome to another week of children’s book reviews.  As ever, I hope you will enjoy my choice of books and the reviews of them. Please don’t forget to scroll down the page and read them all!

Children’s Book of the Week: The Tales of Big and Little: Doom of the Three Stones by Josh Kilen
Available on Amazon: eBook $3.07 and in Paperback $7.99

I never imagined I would like a story containing Ninja Pizza crusts and cheese.  It all sounded rather, well quite frankly, cheesy to me.  But no! Josh Kilen’s masterful story-telling makes this all work really well, providing a story that is captivating, highly entertaining and extremely imaginative. Please read my review below.

Big and Little featured Children's Book of the Week on Mungai and the Goa ConstrictorMy Review

Big and Little are two dogs hooked on cheese, and anything else that lists it as an ingredient. This inordinate addiction takes them on a wild adventure to a magical world where beleaguered gnomes battle against dynamic Ninja Pizza crusts, and other edible adversaries, all led by a power-hungry and destructive cat called Shir. Shir’s ultimate aim is to take over the Worlds.

Whilst unsuccessfully trying to steal some cheese (two vicious guard dogs are in attendance), Big and Little come across a gnome. After bribing Big and Little with the promise of help to access the cheese, the gnome persuades them to help him with his own problem. Blinded by greed, they both hastily agree to do just that. Having done so, they follow the gnome down a hole into a magical tunnel and back into his world where the adventure begins. Here they encounter all manner of scary things, such as evil forests and swamp monsters and, of course, the terrifying and wicked Shir.

This book is lots of fun and quite hard to put down, especially as every episode ends with a cliff-hanger. There are no pictures, but the storyline is gripping enough to keep children interested. The characters are, to say the least, unusual, but also enjoyable. And our heroes practise the perfect ethics of: Whatever they start; they finish. When it comes to others; they apply the Golden Rule. Both excellent ideals for children!

Despite there are a few deaths in this, I don’t think it makes it sad for young children. At least some deaths should not. After all, who can lament the passing of a pizza crust? The battle scenes, however, may be a tad scary for some younger readers.

This book is part one of the series and I can’t wait to read the others. In all, this is a highly entertaining and worthwhile read. My only criticism; this book is listed as a ‘bedtime’ read.  I think it is an ‘anytime’ read.  (5 stars)

(The Tales of Big and Little would be ideally suited to ages 6 and upwards)

Other Books I Have Reviewed

Sock Full of Pennies by Danny Dean   
Available on Amazon: eBook $3.01 and in Paperback $13.91

This book is about a boy, incessantly bullied at school and perpetually and brutally abused by his father at home, who progresses from being one of the poorest boys in the community to an impossibly rich coal magnate.  All of which is achieved with hard work, persistence, kindness to others and a good deal of foresight.
Rusty Sledge, the protagonist, begins his life in a small town in West Virginia.  He is of above average intelligence, and as a result does well at school, but due to extreme poverty and his father’s treatment of him, he arrives there each day shabbily dressed, tired and often bruised. He also has unkempt red hair and spots, and is small for his age. This all leads to an unwarranted amount of bullying by Barry Buckley, the wealthy son of a local coal mine owner whose father Rusty’s father works for.  Barry is privileged, spoilt, not very bright, over-weight and has a very nasty streak in him. He is also of the impression that whatever he does, right or wrong, his father will bail him out. Sadly this is often the case. Barry bullies and torments Rusty year after year until Rusty fills his only good sock (there are no holes in it!) with the 446 pennies he has saved from his odd jobs. He then retaliates, inflicting a great deal of pain upon Barry. From here begins a story which spans three continents. It is a story about peaceful retribution, honesty in all things, determination and taking care of those who mean the most to you. But above all, it is a story of inherent goodness conquering deep-rooted evil.
This is a book which is very difficult to put down. It is clear author Danny Dean has a vast, in-depth knowledge of the coal mining industry, and has shared much of this with the reader, but not in an overly technical or long-winded way, but instead has created an interesting and enjoyable learn-as-you-go text (for those of us unfamiliar with the running of and workings of mines – personally, I gleaned quite a lot from this).
I would also like to stress this book does contain violence. It is definitely not for young children. However, the story is beautifully told, and the violence is far from gratuitous and, indeed, very pertinent to the overall narrative. Though I did notice a (very) few mistakes, it in no way spoilt my enjoyment of this book. (5 stars)
(Sock Full of Pennies would be best suited to 14 years plus)

Raindrop’s World by Carl Pettit
Available on Amazon: eBook $1.22 and in Paperback $9.99

Raindrop’s World is a collection of short interwoven stories about some of the smaller creatures that inhabit the Amazonian Rainforest – several ants, a dung beetle who lives amongst them, and a sage old tree frog. Led on by Pollen (a leafcutter ant), Little Clay (the dung beetle) goes on an adventure into another part of the rainforest to meet Raindrop (another leafcutter) at the bottom of the Giant Kapok tree.  Raindrop wants to climb to the top of the Kapok tree to find a wise and very elusive old tree frog known as the Guru. She has many questions for him and is expecting him to have all the answers. They set off up the tree together. Unfortunately, due to the lateness of the day, Pollen and Raindrop abandon Little Clay half way up the tree. They find a unique way of getting to the bottom quickly, and he is left all alone in unfamiliar surroundings. Not to be phased by this, Little Clay braves it out and continues with some adventures of his own.
This book is wonderful, and it is so good to read a book about the smaller creatures of the rainforest. Though, we do get to briefly meet a jaguar, a finch and an imaginary armadillo!
The characters are sweet and funny and there are some great little maps of the rainforest and cute illustrations of the characters.  I highly recommend this book for young readers. (4 stars)
(Raindrop’s World would be best suited to ages 5 and upwards)

My T-Rex Has a Toothache by Elwyn Tate
Available on Amazon: eBook $2.10

This is a short rhyming book about a little boy’s pet dinosaur and how he takes him to the dentist to cure his toothache. When the dentist is unable to cure him, he takes his T-Rex to school. Still no luck! So the little boy then has an idea of his own.
This is engaging and fun, and the illustrations are colourful and captivating. I do not own a Kindle Fire, so I cannot speak first hand, but I am told they work very well on it. The smallest member of my family (2 years) loved this little book and insisted on my reading it over and over again. She also took great delight in roaring with the dinosaur. (4 stars)
(My T-Rex Has a Toothache would be best suited to 2 -6 years)

***

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

Please note: Authors frequently offer their books at lower prices and often they are free.  These prices were correct at the time of publishing, but it is worth checking for price changes.

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Children’s Book of the Week and Other Book Reviews


 

Mungai and the Goa Constrictor  - A Children's Book by Amelia E Curzon - Banner

 

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.