Welcome to this week’s children’s book reviews. I hope you enjoy my choice of books and the reviews of them.
Book of the Week: Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Published on Amazon: Hardcover $12.40 Paperback $6.99 Audio $13.26 Board book $6.99
I couldn’t resist buying Room on the Broom having already read another book by the same creators, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler – namely The Gruffalo, and I had high expectations. I was not disappointed. Nor was the smallest member of the family (aged almost 2) for whom it was intended. This book is simply adorable.
My Review of Room on the Broom
A kind old witch with a purry cat loses her hat, her bow and her wand to the wind. As they both go in search of these items, various different animals find them first – a dog with brown spots, a very green bird and an extremely fastidious frog – all of whom want to know if there is room on the broom for an animal like them. The amiable, though far from stereotypical, witch smiles and makes room for them one by one, until the broom bends beneath their weight. Things begin to look bleak as the broom falls to the ground. At this point the animals are given the chance to be heroes. As a reward for their actions, the witch ‘magics up’ a spectacular new broom to accommodate all their individual needs.
The illustrations are superb. The expressions on the animal’s faces are priceless and the first-rate rhyming prose was such a pleasure to read aloud. It is a really fun book about friendship and team work, and, although this is a story about a witch, I don’t think it needs to be limited to Halloween only – it is more of an anytime-of-the-year book. I can highly recommend this for children aged 2 to 8. Without doubt, a five star treasure to keep for years to come!
Fing – A Modern Fairy Tale by Papa G
Published on Amazon: Kindle $1.24 Paperback $3.99
This is a terrific story about six-year old Ulrich Von Strudel, a determined little boy born without knees. And, as if that were not enough, he has just been told his parents have been eaten by pygmies and his very mean great-aunt, Mrs Lipstick, is on her way to collect him from boarding school and look after him. When the evil Mrs Lipstick takes Ulrich home, she banishes him to the distant and inhospitable attic. Mrs Lipstick not only dislikes little boys, she is also totally aware that if anything happens to Ulrich, she will inherit the entire Von Strudel family estate. All she has to do is find a way to “accident” Ulrich and all will be hers. But, unbeknown to the evil great-aunt, Ulrich finds a sock-loving, one-eyed monster in the closet, who soon becomes his only friend, and who encourages him to heed his mother’s advice – “If you stay positive, things will always get better.”
This is a book which can be read in one sitting or, since it is chaptered, can be read as a bedtime story a bit at a time. Either way, it is filled with humour, touched with sadness and a little bit scary in parts. Children will love it! The writing is excellent and the black and white drawings are extremely good. Recommended age 6 years plus. I give Fing 5 stars!
I’ll Follow the Moon by Stephanie Lisa Tara
Published on Amazon: Kindle $3.09 Paperback $12.95
The illustrations first drew me to this book – they are delightful! Although, with the exception of the line which is repeated on every page, I did find the rhyming a little hard to read since it didn’t entirely flow. I have read some of the reviews which argue the point that this tale is far from factual in terms of the beginning of life as a turtle. Although I have to agree with this, it is worth bearing in mind that this will probably be read to very small children who won’t be too worried about the minor details. It is just a charming story about a baby turtle hatching and vowing to find its mummy, which I am sure both parents and children (possibly 2 – 6) will find very appealing. This book deserves a solid 4 stars.
The Adventures of Loafy Lion and Friends by Richard Bullivant
Available on Amazon : Kindle $1.24
Loafy Lion is so named because of his supposed idleness, and the fact that “He never went out to hunt… ever!” This eventually prompts the pride to lose respect for him and ask him to leave. This he does with heavy heart and wanders off into the distance. Then Loafy sees a friend in trouble. In fact, he is not lazy at all, just a bit deaf with perfect eyesight – all a bit topsy-turvy for a lion. As it also happens, Loafy is not into eating other animals, most of them are his friends. And when friends are in trouble – you just have to get up and do something about it.
This is the best short story I have read for a long time. The characters are comical and it would have been great to see some images of them. The story itself is well-written and very funny, though a little too short for a book. More than one adventure in the same book would have done more for me. Nevertheless, Loafy Lion is really enjoyable, and teaches children a bit about animals on the Continent (not country as the author would have us believe) of Africa. There are also a couple of lessons in there too. I was a bit disappointed at the lack of illustrations, which I thought would work very well here. But, all in all, this is a great read and well deserving of 4 good stars. It would be suited to 5 years and upwards.
All reviews can be found on Amazon and, where possible, Goodreads.