Little Jakey’s House by Richard Edgley and illustrated by Kalpart, paperback picture book, 28 pages, published by Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co. in 2014.
Little Jakey’s House is the first book in the Little Jakey series, which follows a small black panther called Jacob. In this book Jakey has started out on an adventure and is looking for a home of his own. He looks in bushes and trees until he finds just the right place for him, with protection from the rain and wind, and a place for a cosy bed.
This is a simple and engaging story with beautiful full-page illustrations. There is a lot of detail in the illustrations; they really capture what is happening in the tale. Little Jakey is very cute! Quite a lovable character actually, and perfect for kids.
The layout of Little Jakey’s House was good for my kindergartner, as there was plain black text on one page, while the opposite page was filled with an illustration. She found this made the book very easy to read because it was so clear. It was also at a good level for her to read herself, just a few words she wasn’t sure of. She really enjoyed reading about Jakey finding his house, and is keen for more Little Jakey stories.
I also sat down and read this to my toddlers. Throughout the story they kept pointing to Jakey and saying “meow”! They seemed to enjoy it quite a lot, but got a bit fidgety towards the end. I think it was maybe a little long for them at the moment. T1 still asked me to read it to him again later though.
Most suitable for preschoolers and lower primary school students, Little Jakey’s House is a promising start to a new series. Myself and my kids are looking forward to the next title, Little Jakey Goes Swimming, which is coming out soon.
*I received this book from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.
Upside Down in the Jungle by Helen Phillips, paperback novel, 333 pages, first published under the title Here Where the Sunbeams are Green by Delacorte Press in 2012, this edition published by The Chicken House in 2013.
Mad and Roo have a famous ornithologist for a father, Dr Wade, also known as The Bird Guy. He travels to find rare and important birds regularly, but when he is asked to track and catalogue rare birds in the jungle by an exclusive resort at the base of a volcano, he doesn’t return. His family begin to worry, and then they receive the Very Strange and Incredibly Creepy Letter that appears to be nonsense, but Roo is convinced it’s a coded message. Their mother, Sylvia, thinks that they are being watched, and a colleague of The Bird Guy has started hanging around the family constantly. The whole situation is very odd, and eventually the family flies to the jungle to find Dr Wade, where things only become stranger. With the help of Kyle, the grandson of the owners of the lodge where the family are staying, Mad and Roo are determined to uncover the truth about their father and just what he is doing in the jungle and why he hasn’t come home yet.
Adventure, mystery, first romance and an incredibly rare bird, believed to be extinct in the jungles of South America, are found in this exciting novel for middle to upper primary and lower high school students. Told from the perspective of Mad, a twelve-almost-thirteen year old, who finds herself unwillingly unravelling the mystery of her father’s reluctance to return from the jungle or to communicate with his family, spurred on by her younger sister Roo. They team up with the charming, yet cheeky, Kyle, who is supposed to be teaching them Spanish, but is much more concerned with locating the rare volcano bird that he knows to exist, though it had previously been reported to be extinct. This novel was fast paced and intriguing, with beautiful imagery. I enjoyed reading it, and had difficultly putting it down. I became involved in the fortunes of the characters, and hoped that they would find the bird and solve the mystery. It was very well written, the characters were well developed, and it was easy to conjure their images in my mind. A fantastic book. I look forward to reading more by Helen Phillips in the future.