Tag Archives: talking animals

Secrets of Bearhaven by K.E. Rocha

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Secrets of Bearhaven by K.E. Rocha, hardback novel, 244 pages, published by Scholastic Press in 2016.

Spencer has learnt a lot about bears in his eleven years, after all, both his parents work in bear advocacy, so he has been brought up on bear facts and stories. However, nothing could prepare him for the huge secret they have been keeping.

My ten year-old read Secrets of Bearhaven before I did. Afterwards, she told me it was the best book that she had read this year! Considering how many books she rips through every week, this was quite high praise, so I read it straight away. And I agree with her, this book is excellent. It is a very fast-paced novel full of action and excitement. There is intrigue, crafty villains, and amazing technological advancements. I was hooked from the first few pages, and now both my daughter and I want more!

The world of Bearhaven is beautifully constructed down to the smallest detail. The homes, the shops, roadways and fields; it is all described so carefully that the place comes alive. And the residents of Bearhaven are all very individual with varying physical characteristics and personalities. It would be amazing to walk among them and explore their beautiful home. Rocha has created a better world for these bears, completely hidden within our own world, and it is amazing.

All of the characters are well developed and complex. Spencer is a brave and determined boy who shows strength under pressure. He is clever, innovative and very likeable. He makes an excellent lead character. But it is Kate that I loved the most. The adorably curious and mischievous baby bear that befriends Spencer from their first moments together. She was quirky and fun and made me laugh. Uncle Mark is pretty cool too! I like the way he treats Spencer and the relationship that they have.

Most suitable for upper primary and lower high school students, Secrets of Bearhaven will not disappoint. And it is only the start of Spencer’s adventures; the story continues in Mission to Moon Farm, followed by Hidden Rock Rescue and the latest release, Battle for Bearhaven. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series soon.

 

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

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The Hippity Dippity Witch by Lorraine O’Byrne

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hippitydippitycoverThe Hippity Dippity Witch: Trouble in Willow Grove by Lorraine O’Byrne, e-book, 138 pages, published by Updrift in 2015.

To avoid a spelling test Jenny ditches school and goes to visit Willow Grove, a wood where her animal friends live. Since her last visit to Willow Grove, a young witch called Marigold has been wreaking havoc with her poor spell work. Marigold is the niece of Willow Grove’s resident witch, Griselda, who will not be impressed by Marigold’s interactions in the wood.

This was a quick and entertaining read. It contained short chapters, which are great for younger kids, and some black and white illustrations scattered through the book. I enjoyed reading about Marigold’s mishaps, which often made me laugh. I think this would be an excellent book to share with my kindergartner.

I enjoyed reading The Hippity Dippity Witch; it was well written, and the plot flowed nicely. The story finished with hints towards a sequel, so hopefully there will be more books to come. I was surprised by the twist for Jenny towards the end of the story, but thought that it fit nicely.

The characters were interesting. Marigold was a bratty, dislikeable girl with a temper, though her mistakes were rather funny! I liked her rhyming spells, it’s just a shame that they never quite worked. Jenny on the other hand was a caring, polite and gentle child who talks to animals. I liked Griselda too, she was a talented witch, who was also strong and kind.The little woodland creatures were funny, especially after their encounters with Marigold!

The Hippity Dippity Witch is a wonderful story for lower to middle primary school students. I hope there will be more stories about Jenny, Griselda and Marigold soon!

 

*I received this book as a digital copy 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.