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Mr. J. Gray (Northumberland, UK)
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The Hobbit (pocket version)
The Hobbit (pocket version)
by J. R. R. Tolkien
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 6.99

15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Text is too small, 27 Jun 2012
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There's a flaw in the Amazon review system, as the reviews for this product have been applied to all versions and publications of The Hobbit. We all know that it's a great book, and that the writing easily deserves five stars, but it's not reflective of the way that the publishers have tried to squeeze all those valuable words into a tiny version that renders the text utterly unreadable, at least to a 10-year old.
So the one star is firmly against the editor and publisher who thought that this would be a clever idea. It is not reflective of the quality of writing by JRR Tolkein, which is superb.
Buy a proper version of this excellent book, and Amazon, sort out your system.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 2, 2013 9:25 PM BST


Roulette Set, 16 Inch
Roulette Set, 16 Inch
Offered by ClubKing Ltd
Price: 29.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine as a toy, 27 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Roulette Set, 16 Inch (Misc.)
I bought this just to muck around at home, and help the children with their maths. Luckily it wasn't for much more, as the product is quite tinny, but does the job. Nothing broken half an hour in.
One major flaw is that the black/red allocation of the numbers on the wheel don't match the allocation of colours on the mat, so you have to decide at the start of the game which format you're going to follow ... unless I've missed something and there's supposed to be a mismatch.
I'm also baffled as to why the two packs of playing cards were included in a roulette game, but there's no harm in having spares.
Just about okay for the price.


Folding Crate Trolley Ref V72020
Folding Crate Trolley Ref V72020
Offered by Ideal Office Supplies Ltd
Price: 18.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but flimsy, 7 Mar 2012
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This trolley crate has saved me a fortune in chiropractor fees, as I used to spend a lot of time lugging boxes of lever arch files around the country. I can now wheel them around, and have a hand free.
It fits five lever arch files very snugly, and then a box of another five will sit on top of it with reasonable stability.
I looked for something with bigger wheels, and ideally pneumatic tyres, but had no luck. As a consequence, this is a bore to get up any stairs and it really feels the bumps on the pavement. It gets there, but uncomfortably, and I often find myself having to pick the whole crate up, which brings the chiropractor fees back into the equation.
The fact that it folds up and comes with a cover to keep the rain off was another bonus.
However, I could see from the picture before buying it, and confirmed when I saw it arrive, that it's a pretty meagre construction. I have done a fair few miles with it over a little more than four months. The wheel arches snapped off within weeks, and yesterday the front panel snapped in half when a door closed on the crate without a great deal of force at all.
It's now on its last legs, and I shall probably try another one.
Therefore its good but flimsy, but I acknowledge that it's getting a lot of use with me and putting up with a lot of work.


Kitchen Craft Bar Craft Lever-Arm Power Arc Corkscrew
Kitchen Craft Bar Craft Lever-Arm Power Arc Corkscrew
Offered by Heritage Gifts
Price: 14.43

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkably robust, 15 Jan 2012
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This is a well-designed corkscrew at a very reasonable price. I was surprised to find in the past that the more expensive varieties of screwpull didn't last as long as their price suggested they should. I tried this to see whether there was anything better around. It has lasted well for a few months so far despite a hefty workload, even coping well with plastic corks.


BRIO 33463 T-Switch
BRIO 33463 T-Switch
Offered by gosling toys
Price: 4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for the job, 30 Aug 2010
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: BRIO 33463 T-Switch (Toy)
Brio charges at least twice as much for its standard gauge track than its awful imitators. There may be a few good reasons why, and I'm pleased that my purchase of this product is a consequence of one of its imitators trying to cash in on what it does best. We have a lot of wooden train track, several junctions, and a single sawmill with one branch line. Put together, it was intensely frustrating not to be able to join everything up because of the odd number of junctions. This T-switch was the only way to give us an even number - all the other junctions come with a twin.

Having said that, my three-year old son simply insists on making two dead ends now, rather than joining up the two to make a complete track.


More Tales from the Greek Legends: Bellerophon and The Chimera, Orpheus and Eurydice, Narcissus and Echo and Other Tales (Junior Classics)
More Tales from the Greek Legends: Bellerophon and The Chimera, Orpheus and Eurydice, Narcissus and Echo and Other Tales (Junior Classics)
by Benjamin Soames
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 7.69

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, 30 Aug 2010
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Both sets of these Greek Legends recounts are superb for long car journeys. They are eloquently read, with just the right amount of dramatic music for effect, and carefully explain the context and background of the characters. My elder two children aged eight and six are hooked. They initially named our three chickens Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, but later re-named them Hera, Amphy, and Persephone once it was pointed out that they were hens.

This second CD had quite a mountain to climb, after the first addressed the real classics of Heracles and Perseus. But it was at least as gripping and informative, and had an important and unifying theme of "Don't get cocky with ye gods!".

I thoroughly recommend both audio CDs.


Famous People in History: v. 1 (Junior Classics)
Famous People in History: v. 1 (Junior Classics)

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strongly recommended, 14 Aug 2010
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Having tried out a number of audio books for my family to listen to while we endure long car journeys (but resist the temptation to strap DVD players to back of the front seats) I have settled on anything produced by Junior Classics. The Greek myths were excellent, and also warranted five stars, but this Audio CD about nine famous people in Western history is so far the best of the lot.
There is a wealth of information in these concise and well-told mini-biographies that I wished that I had known for years, and I'm delighted that my children might be able to recall even some of them as a superb grounding in general knowledge and history. The biographies are far from mere history lessons. There is a well chosen selection from the last 500 years. The chapters on Shakespeare, Nelson and Mozart are particularly compelling.


The Last Weekend
The Last Weekend
by Blake Morrison
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 11.07

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 14 Aug 2010
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This review is from: The Last Weekend (Hardcover)
This is a gripping and thoroughly enjoyable read for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it is very well written, which to me is 50 per cent of the criteria for a good book. Plot, character development, the scenario, and a compelling storyline are all very important, but together make up the other 50 per cent.
This book has everything of the above, in buckets.
Secondly, the story itself is gripping, as the reader watches the five characters head towards oblivion in respect of career, life and health, relationships, parenting, and hopes for children. It is a book to make those approaching their mid-forties sit back and reach for a glass of perspective. In a sense it is disappointing that the book turns out principally to relate to the desperate self-delusion of only one of the characters.
My only reservation about the book is that it is a little too formulaic. The setting of a weekend in a country house with four friends reunited after a long time reminds me of the predictable recipe for fallout and betrayal in that flop-against-the-odds Peter's Friends. The characters are carefully set up to lead to fallout and betrayal. This reservation came to the fore when I read that Mr Morrison is a lecturer in creative writing.
Nevertheless, I strongly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good, straightforward and engaging read.


Children's Audio Classics: The Three Musketeers
Children's Audio Classics: The Three Musketeers
by Arcadia Entertainment
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 4.79

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rotten production, 7 Mar 2010
The production of this recital is astonishingly bad. The actors must have been passers-by dragged off the street outside the studio immediately prior to the recording, and it's not surprising that they didn't have their names put on the cover.
Despite all this, my 6-year old loves the story - but is the only one of my three children who regularly requests it in the car. It's unbearable for an adult to have to listen to, save to marvel at the way that any actor let his false laughter and ridiculous accents be published.


Dark Fire (The Shardlake Series)
Dark Fire (The Shardlake Series)
by C. J. Sansom
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.65

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding historical imagery, 14 Feb 2007
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There are three elements to this excellent book.

The title story is a vaguely credible political thriller about Cromwell's last days attempting to cling on to power.

The intrigue running in parallel with this is the investigation of a child's murder with a fascinating picture of the values that were held in the sixteenth century in relation to criminal law.

The background throughout is the stage itself - mid-Tudor London, with a focus on the Inns of Court, but a marvellous view of the commercial, residential, social and institutional elements of London at the time, with all the smells, contexts, sights and horrors that Sansom vividly portrays.

I rate each of these elements highly. The background is first rate - double-starred. As a barrister I was fascinated by the proceedings at both the civil and criminal courts in Westminster and London. The crime itself was not difficult to work out, but that's by the by in the context of how the authorities view it. The political background is great although the concept of "Dark Fire" itself was a bit daft. Without giving too much away, it seems inconceivable that the French or Spanish at the time hadn't already got it.

The history and the setting is six stars. Therefore an overall five.


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