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Reviews Written by
I. Horswell (Bristol, England)
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Wonder
Wonder
by R.J. Palacio
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story about accepting others the way they are, 9 Feb 2012
This review is from: Wonder (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very clever story that will probably be read on different levels by adults and children.

Auggie is a 10 year old boy with severe facial deformities. Having been home schooled, it is now time for him to start Middle School (US). It starts with his experience of joining school and being marked out as "different" - people recoil as he walks by. As the story develops, the story is taken up by his sister, friends and a prejudiced classmate all bringing in different viewpoints and experiences. Despite the subject matter, it is a light, humourous book suitable for ages 8 up. The text is easy to read, with few long words and, unlike some US books, it is easily understood by us Brits. The twist at the end is subtle and restores your faith in humanity. Have a tissue ready!

I've just read this book to my 8 year old and he was totally engrossed in it. We had some really interesting discussions about how people might look different on the outside but how we are all the same inside (his words, not mine). Thought provoking and a story that leaves a lasting impression.


Times Tables
Times Tables
by Mark Meadows
Edition: Audio CD

4.0 out of 5 stars Useful for younger primary children, 31 Jan 2012
This review is from: Times Tables (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This was the first times table CD I'd listened to and I had high expectations from the other reviews posted here. To be honest, when I first listened to it, I got bored quite quickly. It is not designed to keep grown ups interested!

I tried it out on the children (aged 6 & 8) in the car on the way to school and they enjoyed it and were quickly singing along to the songs and shouting out the answers to the quiz.

Will it work? Time will tell but at this price, its another easy way of helping them to learn their tables and in short bursts, bearable for grown ups.


Justin's Jokes
Justin's Jokes
by Justin Fletcher
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for younger readers, 17 Jan 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Justin's Jokes (Paperback)
My 5 & 7 year old thought these jokes were great - they are perfect for kids just beginning to read alone and the jokes are easily understood for this age group.

We also love Horrid Henry's Joke Books but I usually find myself having to explain the jokes to my 7 year old, which kind of defeats the object.


Doowell Activity Charts Horrid Henry Magnetic Reward Chart (Large)
Doowell Activity Charts Horrid Henry Magnetic Reward Chart (Large)

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great idea but of limited use to older children, 5 Jan 2012
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My boys are big fans of Horrid Henry so I was keen to replace my hand written reward charts. This is a well made chart with lots of great ideas of things to do to get a reward but only 5 can be used on a chart at any one time. The tasks include keeping my room tidy, being nice to my brother/sister, doing my homework etc. You can also write your own with the pen supplied.

I would have preferred 10 options, which would give my boys a greater chance of succeeding in some if not all areas. I think this smaller reward chart is more suitable for 3-6 year olds - perhaps there could be a bigger one for older primary children?


Half a Wife: The Working Family's Guide to Getting a Life Back
Half a Wife: The Working Family's Guide to Getting a Life Back
by Gaby Hinsliff
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.11

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, thought-provoking and intelligent, 5 Jan 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is the one of the best books I've read in a long time and I admit that I am only half way through as I am "savouring" it. It is well-researched, intelligently written and unbiased, presenting lots of facts and case studies to illustrate potential solutions.

Whether you are a parent returning to work after a break or one who wants to get back to work asap after having a baby, there will be something in here for you. The book covers current trends in work including Dads as homemakers and Grandparents helping out. It suggests that people are reaching their career peak earlier, in their thirties, at the same time as starting families. This leads to an inevitable squeeze, not least on their marriage and finances, as they try to meet everyone's needs. (Contrast this with a generation ago when most people had children in their twenties and reached their career peak in their forties - small wonder that grandparents find it hard to understand why modern parents are so stretched.) Part-time workers are often not taken as seriously and returners to work find themselves doing menial tasks, which make little use of their skill set. Full-time workers barely get to see their families. What is the solution?

It suggests that in the future working lives may look quite different (a 4 day week?), with a need for change at the highest levels to make it work for everyone. There are times in careers where you need to "take stock" and other times when you have the energy and time to advance rapidly. What suits one family or extended family, may not suit another, so the suggestion is to tailor your own working patterns to get the balance you need.


BetterYou DLux 3000 - Daily 3000iu Vitamin D Oral Spray - 15ml
BetterYou DLux 3000 - Daily 3000iu Vitamin D Oral Spray - 15ml
Price: 5.95

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Minty perk up, 7 Dec 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you don't get out in the sunshine enough in winter and are feeling a bit blue, extra vitamin D can help. The spray is peppermint and you just use one dose under the tongue daily.

I have used mine in conjunction with a SAD lamp so I cannot comment on its effectiveness in isolation, but its is part of a range of strategies that I use to keep me bouncy and in good health in winter.


Lumie Arabica SAD Light Box - Therapy Lamp
Lumie Arabica SAD Light Box - Therapy Lamp
Price: 103.78

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great - just 30 mins a day, 7 Dec 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I find this light very effective. Ideally you'd sit in front of it for 30 minutes a day at a distance of 50cm so that the light hits your eyes. If you are slower/less energetic in the dull winter mornings, it will perk you up, although it can take several days to "kick in". My kids find it quite amusing and like to sit near it too (although they are further away and not directly in front of it).

There are lots of SAD lamps around to suit different lifestyles. This is not a portable lamp but because of the strength of the light it emits, you only needs to sit in front of it for 30 minutes. It works well for reading but I found it too bright for PC work (the study lamp is better for that). Other smaller lamps are available but you need to sit in front of them for longer.


Chairs - Stacking Game
Chairs - Stacking Game
Price: 7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Kept the kids entertained!, 4 Dec 2011
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Chairs - Stacking Game (Toy)
We went to a friends house expecting the children to play up. The husband was playing this game. Our 2 bouncy boys joined in and were quiet for nearly 2 hours. Guess what they'll be getting for Xmas?!!!

Apparently its great for adults too although we have yet to try it out ourselves.


Animal Stencil Cards
Animal Stencil Cards
by Maria Pearson
Edition: Cards
Price: 5.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Robust and easy to use, 21 Nov 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Animal Stencil Cards (Cards)
My boys loved these - at age 2 & 4 and are still using them several years later. The more complicated stencils may need adult help initially but then the kids can colour them in.


Spices
Spices
by Sophie Grigson
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully presented, ideal gift, 7 Nov 2011
This review is from: Spices (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I loved the look of this book - the pictures are beautiful, the information on each spice is interesting and I was looking forward to trying the recipes.

Reading through the recipes in more depth, they reminded me of the sort of interesting food I would've enjoyed cooking pre-kids. There are a few recipes in here that the whole family would enjoy (mostly desserts, plus a yummy looking lamb kofte) but on the whole I think there will need to be a fair bit of editing down to get younger children eating these recipes.

Most recipes include easily sourced ingredients but I doubt I'd find pomegranate molasses in my local supermarket(!)

It would make an amazing coffee table book or a Christmas gift for an adventurous cook (without young children).


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