Category Archives: Animals

Fluffy Hugs by Richard Dodd

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fluffyFluffy Hugs by Richard Dodd, e-book, 60 pages, published by Smashwords in 2015.

Fluffy is a baby emperor penguin, born in captivity within a zoo. Fluffy is a little different to the other penguins in the enclosure, as he can understand what the humans are saying. He discovers he has other magical abilities too, which he can put to good use helping animals and people.

Fluffy Hugs is a short and simple story; a bit of magical fun with one of the cutest animals in the world, a fluffy, grey penguin chick. Who could resist such a sweet little fellow? I would definitely hug him! Being able to use his hugs to help is an unique talent, but I really liked his ability to travel about the world just by thinking about it.

Fluffy Hugs did not take long to read. My seven year old could probably knock it over pretty quickly too, and I think she would enjoy it a lot. Magical animals are in at our house! There were a handful of simple line drawings within the book which I liked. I think the story could have been enhanced by more illustrations, due to its short nature.

Fluffy Hugs would be suitable for lower primary school students and reluctant older readers. It is the first book in a series chronicling Fluffy’s adventures. The next book in the series, Minty Visits, is also available now.

 

*I received this book from the author as a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

6th Grade Revengers: Cat Crimes and Wannabes by Steven Whibley

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catcrimes6th Grade Revengers: Cat Crimes and Wannabes by Steven Whibley, e-book, 88 pages, published in 2015.

Jared and his best friend Marcus style themselves as The Revengers; a team that takes care of problems in their community. Their first task is to rid the Oak Street neighbourhood of a crazy and evil cat that is ruling the street with his claws and teeth. They also have to do something about Gunner, Jared’s sister’s boyfriend and wannabe pop star. He just hangs about Jared’s house pretending to write music and loafing off Ronie (Jared’s sister). The boys are going to have to be creative to solve these problems, and prove themselves as a team that gets things done.

An easy and quick read, Cat Crimes and Wannabes was entertaining and amusing. There were occasional black and white illustrations among the text, and the chapters were fairly short, good for reluctant readers.

The first chapter was a very clever way to begin the story, introducing Jared and his family. I enjoyed reading about Jared and Marcus and their new business. I especially liked their efforts to banish the evil cat. That was one scary cat! So vicious and aggressive, it was more like a small tiger than a house cat. Jared and Marcus really underestimated how difficult removing such a cat would be, but their efforts were funny.  While Gunner wasn’t dangerous like the cat, he was still an annoying presence who I disliked greatly. The boys’ plan to remove Gunner from their lives was ingenious, and much nicer than things I thought of to do to him!

This is the first book in a series following The Revengers. I had a moment of disappointment when the story finished, as I was expecting it to be longer based on the page count. Instead there was a preview for the next book in the series at the end , and now I want to read that one too!

Cat Crimes and Wannabes is most suitable for middle and upper primary school children into lower high school.

 

*I received this book from the author as a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

The Very Brave Bear by Nick Bland

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18162731The Very Brave Bear by Nick Bland, paperback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2013.

Bear is picking berries when he is startled by Boris Buffalo, who emerges from the slimy waters of the bog. Bear claims he wasn’t scared, and that he can do the bravest things that Boris can do. They challenge each other to various activities trying to out-brave the other. Could there be anything that scares these two brave  beasts?

The Very Brave Bear is another book in The Very Cranky Bear collection from wonderful author and illustrator, Nick Bland. My pre-schoolers love this series, and they are very fond of Bear.

We love this book! It has been read many times in our family; The Very Brave Bear is funny with lovely lyrical language and detailed illustrations. It keeps my kids engaged and wanting to read more. I’m impressed when Bear and Boris try to wear a beard of bees, but my kids like it best when they are tumbling down the steep hill and getting poked with porcupine quills. We all like the ending to the story.

The Very Brave Bear is suitable for toddlers, preschoolers and lower primary school children. It is a perfect book for sharing a giggle with your child.

This Hungry Dragon by Heath McKenzie

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hungrydragonThis Hungry Dragon by Heath McKenzie, hardback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2016.

A very hungry dragon goes on an eating spree. Bear, fox, bull, is there anything he won’t eat?

This Hungry Dragon is an hilarious book with a message about eating right. The dragon grows and grows with every meal, eating well past the time when he is actually full, leaving him feeling rather sick.

All of my kids love This Hungry Dragon, especially my three year olds. They will ‘read’ it to themselves over and over, in between asking me to read it to them. The story is funny with great read aloud rhyming language and lovely illustrations. The dragon is pretty cute, but my favourite picture is inside the dragon’s tummy. We all love to spot different items that the dragon has eaten! I also like the unchangeable expression on the beefy bull.

This Hungry Dragon is most suitable for toddlers, preschoolers and lower primary school children. Heath McKenzie is a well loved author in our house; we like I Wanna Be a Pretty Princess and What Does Santa do When it’s not Christmas. We are looking forward to more books from this terrific author soon.

New Reviewers – Basil and Coco (and L)

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My ten year old daughter loves to read. She often supplies me with her opinions on books and suggests books for me to read. Over the last year or so, she has also become more interested in reviewing books. Rather than write her reviews up on the blog, we are trying video reviews. She’s a little shy though, so her reviews will be expressed through Coco Cat and Basil Bear.

We had a lot of fun making these videos! L is keen to make more, and is already working on her next review.

Have a look at our first two videos on YouTube, Introducing Basil and Coco and Basil and Coco Review Mudpuddle Farm.

More videos to come!

Pig the Elf by Aaron Blabey

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pigelfPig the Elf by Aaron Blabey, hardback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2016.

It’s Christmas time, and the greediest dog of all, Pig, has made a very long list of all the things he wants from Santa. He loves Christmas for all the presents that Santa will deliver, but in true Pig fashion, things don’t go the way he desires.

We have loved all of the Pig the Pug books so far, so we were excited to see what Pig would get up to at Christmas. Pig is very greedy, so it wasn’t surprising that his Christmas list was incredibly long. You can read parts of the list within the back cover of the book. I laughed reading some of the things he asked for, such as a beard, and a trained shark. Oh Pig, just what would you do with those?

Pig the Elf is a great book to share with young children during the holiday period. The story is humorous, and the language rhymes, which is fun to read aloud. The illustrations are cute and quite festive. I particularly liked Pig in his red suit; though he looks rather crazy when he is informing Trevor that he will be waiting up for Santa. Of course, there is also a message in there about being grateful instead of greedy, I’m not sure Pig will really embrace it though.

We all enjoyed Pig the Elf, and I’m sure it will be a favourite for many Christmases to come. It is most suitable for toddlers and primary school children, as well as the young at heart!

Dalmatian in a Digger by Rebecca Elliott

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dalmatiandiggerDalmatian in a Digger by Rebecca Elliott, picture e-book, 34 pages, to be published by Capstone Young Readers in February 2017.

A little dalmatian wakes up to some loud noises coming from outside. What could be making that noise?

My three year old boys loved this book. It has big machinery and animals, two of their favourite things. In their view the only thing that could have made it better was if it had dinosaurs as well! They loved the onomatopoeia that went with each vehicle. I liked the way this text was formed.

The story is simple and best read aloud for the vehicle noises. We read it as a digital edition, but I think it would have been nicer to have the physical book, as we could have seen the two-page spread as it was meant to be. The illustrations in Dalmatian in a Digger are super cute, especially the little dalmatian. The pictures are bright and clear, and we enjoyed finding the little mouse on each page. My boys liked the digger, but I was partial to the Bear in a Bulldozer.

Dalmatian in a Digger is most suitable for toddlers and preschoolers.

 

*I obtained this book as a digital copy through Netgalley. I did not receive any other remuneration, and this is an honest review composed entirely of my own opinions.

The Day the Aunts Disappeared by Russell Hughes and KayeC Jones

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gregs-thumbnail-2The Day the Aunts Disappeared by Russell Hughes and KayeC Jones, picture e-book, published in 2016.

Greg the Anteater doesn’t like being bitten by the ants he wants to eat, but he is so very hungry. He decides to find some food in town, but gets a bit muddled between ants and aunts.

So this story had me giggling from the start. Poor Greg, covered in bug bites! The whole premise of the story is pretty silly, but it’s funny. Though ‘ant’ and ‘aunt’ sound similar, they have very different meanings; using the wrong word for the context really can have some unexpected consequences.

The illustrations are bright and simple alongside clear, bold type. This is good for early independent readers. I really like the pictures. My favourite page is when Greg slurps his first aunt up!

I would have preferred if Greg had been introduced to some foods that weren’t “fast food” or “junk” when he was giving up eating aunts. He gets very fat from his new diet!

The Day the Aunts Disappeared is suitable for pre-schoolers and lower primary school children.

 

*I received this book from the author as a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

Bigfoot Trails: Pacific Northwest by S.A. Jeffers

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bigfootBigfoot Trails: Pacific Northwest by S.A. Jeffers and illustrated by Catherine Straus, picture e-book, 24 pages, published by Jeffers Publishing in 2016.

Come on a journey through the Pacific Northwest to see if you can spot evidence of Bigfoot. Look for his footprints, nest or broken trees; you might even spy Bigfoot himself!

I had a lot of fun looking for Bigfoot on each page. The illustrations are very detailed, and evidence of Bigfoot is well hidden, so it was quite satisfying when I was able to spot him! It’s really difficult to decide which scene is my favourite, as they are all great, but I think I like the gold-panning river scene best. I really liked the way the trees on every page were depicted.

The story is told through simple rhyme, and contains facts about the myth of Bigfoot. The language is basic, suitable for younger children, and the text is quite clear, despite the busyness of each page. Some of the story is spent reminding the reader to keep an eye open for the ever elusive Bigfoot.

I read this as an e-book. Unfortunately, in this format each page didn’t align with it’s pair, as it would when the paperback version is opened to any given page. Ergo, I would have preferred to read the physical book, but it was really only a minor inconvenience, and I still enjoyed it very much.

Bigfoot Trails: Pacific Northwest is suitable for children and adults, though I think primary school students would enjoy it the most. It is good to share with children, helping them to spot evidence of Bigfoot, and talking about the legend. We also spoke about other things we could see in each scene, such as explaining gold-panning.

 

*I received this book from the author as a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

On Your Marks, Get Set, Go! by Julia Lassa

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goOn Your Marks, Get Set, Go! by Julia Lassa and illustrated by Merve Terzi, picture e-book, 30 pages, published by Bower Maze in 2016.

On a sunny day three friends decide to have a race. One is a little girl, Ladi, another is a lizard, Liz, and the third friend is a chameleon, Cam. Each place that they choose to race gives an unfair advantage to one of them, so how can they race fairly?

This is a simple picture book, yet also a lovely one. The text is large and easy to read. The story is fun and easily understood by younger children. It also sets the stage for a discussion about equity. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous. Every page is so bright and enticing, with wonderful use of colour. I particularly like Cam’s facial expressions.

On Your Marks, Get Set, Go! is ideal for younger children from toddlers through to lower primary school.

 

*I received this book from the author as a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.