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Reviews Written by
K. J. Noyes "Katy Noyes" (Derbyshire, UK)

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Webster's Bedtime
Webster's Bedtime
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Webster learns about shutting off his devices at bedtime, 27 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Webster's Bedtime (Kindle Edition)
Second book about Webster the spider and how he needs to rake control of technology. This time it's a reminder ( to adults as well!) that children need to turn off their " technology toys " before going to bed.

Webster gets a surprise at bedtime when his devices tell him they need to recharge through the night too, somhe goes round turning them all off. They then all need his help as one snores, one talks in its sleep... And by now Webster is tired himself.

I liked the idea of telling a child that devices need their own time to 'sleep' and recharge, a great way of putting it that small children can relate to. For me though, it would have been nice to see Webster enjoying his own bedtime with his mum - a book after teeth cleaning maybe as a good example, so screens aren't the last thing he sees. Would also have liked some counting, as in the first book, thpugh it probably wouldn't have fit into the story. That's my thought though.

My son was thrilled to see Webster again and enjoyed the story, and we will definitely use the 'recharging' idea next time he won't turn something off.

Good for 3-7 year olds, both books are appropriate for Internet Safety themes at school.

With thanks to the author for the review copy.

Winnie's Flying Carpet (Winnie the Witch)
Winnie's Flying Carpet (Winnie the Witch)
by Valerie Thomas
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars The carpet is a character in itself - excellent adventure for our favourite magic duo, 27 Feb. 2015
This follows on directly from Happy Birthday Winnie (though it also stands alone), with Winnie and Wilbur trying out her birthday present. - a flying carpet!

It's a pretty cheeky carpet though, and poor Wilbur gets taken for the ride of his life! Can Winnie save her cat from the naughty carpet?

Lots of chances to laugh, lots to look at in Paul's scenes, and a few good "abracadabra!!" shouting moments.

Another winner.

Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Funny story about sharing, 27 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Mine! (Kindle Edition)
There are some excellent books out there about sharing. And this is a simple variation on the theme, like Simon Rickerty's Monkey Nut.

Fox and Horse find a fascinating new object. They both want it but while they are arguing over it, we see Duck sneaking up and taking it before they manage to agree to share.

The reader enjoys knowing more than the characters and the end is also funny as we again know more than Fox and Horse about their new object.

The colour scheme is unusual but vivid - yellow sky, red horse etc. Very funky.

We both loved this. Simple and effective tale about sharing that raises a few smiles. Good for preschoolers and would also work in a KS1 classroom.

I Am Henry Finch
I Am Henry Finch
by Alexis Deacon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.38

4.0 out of 5 stars Fingerprint finch illustrations in a tale of self-discovery, 27 Feb. 2015
This review is from: I Am Henry Finch (Hardcover)
A great idea for drawings - using a fingerprint to make a body. Loved it. The story itself though tries to be a little too clever for young children. Though it is original.

It's all about one of the flock becoming self aware and developing a conscious mind. My son seemed bemused at this bitz but loved the section when Henry is eaten by a monster and manages to escape by controlling his thoughts.

It's a bit deep and clever for preschoolers, and hard to narrate some pages that are full of thought bubbles. I did like the idea, but this is one that should be filed on 'picture books for older children' shelves. And good for KS2 classes.

by Allan Ahlberg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.74

4.0 out of 5 stars This is a great read. For the right reader, 27 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Goldilocks (Hardcover)
This is a great read. For the right reader. It's not for the youngest as it's long, it plays with convention in different (confusing) ways, and some of the language is hard to access (which is fan for adults by the way).

It's the Goldilocks story. Or stories. As the tale is retold again and again, where its now 33 bears, now from the point of the furniture, from future alien bears... I loved it. My son mostly did. He's four. He loved the story where characters from other fairy tales came in, he thought this was brilliant. He was a little flummoxed by the alien language though so I had to change it back tonregulsr words, which was hard - he's just a little young for it I think.

I thought it was hugely inventive and loved Jessica's drawings - very much in the family style. The pop ups are good though there could be more of them.

Our copy was missing the mini book in the middle (it was a library copy) so I can't comment on that.

This is one I'd recommend for teachers of 5-7 year olds. Excellent for Fairy Tale topics, and to help with playing with words and stories.

The H. A. Rey Treasury of Stories (Dover Children's Classics)
The H. A. Rey Treasury of Stories (Dover Children's Classics)
by H. A. Rey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and well-illustrated wordless stories that sometimes play over a child's head - adults will enjoy, 27 Feb. 2015
Four wordless illustrated tales from the author of Curious George. I was intrigued.

The tales vary in quality and enjoyment for me, though each is clever. I think my son would need to be older to appreciate them, he's four and these are a little complex for him. The style of illustration is familiar if you know Curious George: bright, bold colours in cartoon-style humorous drawings.

Each tale is clever enough for an adult to enjoy. The first, Tit for Tat, was my own favourite. A boy laughs at a tortoise upside down and struggling and is taught a lesson by being shown situations with humans in positions of servitude to animals or powerless - pulling carriages full of horses, stuck in mouse traps, singing in cages.

Elizabite, Adventures of a Carnivorous Plant concerns an 'Audrey II-like' plant whose appetite for unusual food grows as she does. Very funny as her bite does prove useful...

The third story I didn't really like, or think it fitted the Kindle format well, the pages didn't seem to fit my screens (tried on iPhone and Hudl) very well. It didn't make a lot of sense to me. Billy's Picture is about a group of animals trying to draw a picture and not really agreeing on what it should look like.

And Zebrology shows a Just So Story-like episode of white and black horses coming together to make zebras. Almost an example of (slightly skewed) evolution.

Interesting selection. Very brief book, takes only minutes to resd, so I would buy when the price is right.

Review of a NetGalley advance copy.

All That Glitters (Geek Girl, Book 4) (Geek Girl Series)
All That Glitters (Geek Girl, Book 4) (Geek Girl Series)
Price: £6.17

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Geek shall inherit the Sixth Form..., 26 Feb. 2015
And it's back on track... I wasn't keen on the third, but Harriet in her fourth incarnation has won me back.

She's broken up with Nick and there are no calls from her modelling agent. Now back home in England, Harriet is about to start Sixth Form and, she hopes, a whole new life of serious study with like-minded people. As you'd expect, her bubble may be about to burst.

I loved the mostly-school setting of this episode. Modelling take a back seat for us to focus on the coming-of-age story of Harriet. The dreaded Alexa is back with a vengeance, and with no Nat (best friend) at school to help with the bullying, Harriet must find a new way of coping. Can she make friends her own way?

We finally get to see the results of all her previous modeling as well and the effect it might have on a teenager and their life. Consequences at last, and its not all 'happy ever after'.

I felt quite impressed with Smale that she doesn't coat over every aspect with a sparkling wand and make it all better - relationships don't always reignite, bullies may stay bullies, even likeable people can be foolish. Harriet is adorable though frustratingly naive, and this time I felt very kindly towards her as she learns some important lessons about the world and about herself.

I'm also a little bit in love with stepmother Annabel, the coolest and most level-headed parent outside of Juno. Her dad remains an overgrown child, but loveable, but Annabel is a rock and their relationship is key to the success of these stories, I think. Love them.

A big step up from book 3, glad the modeling is taking a back seat for now. Some interesting clues' about some mysterious events may sometimes be guessable but actually there were a few surprises and I did feel moved by the end. And I'm 34.

Read them in order and if you have, please do read this one. Harriet's reign as Queen of Geek is revived.

Review of a NetGalley advance copy.

The Alex Crow
The Alex Crow
Price: £4.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another mind-bending, intelligent and darkly hilarious book from Smith, 26 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The Alex Crow (Kindle Edition)
I would still say to those considering this read 'Grasshopper Jungle' first, (though both are standalone stories) which still rates as one of my favourite YA reads of all time. But this is very close behind it in terms of intelligence, humour and inventiveness. Andrew Smith just doesn't seem to think like other people, structure like other people, or invent characters like other people.

Like Grasshopper Jungle, we have disparate time streams that seem completely unrelated, that are in fact, closely linked by the end of the story. Like Grasshopper Jungle, you will also need a sense of humour about 'rude bits', this time it's not so much sex itself as a... solo act that is referenced constantly. If you're easily offended, don't read Andrew Smith.

The main plot strand follows Ariel in two segments of his life. Right now, he's living with his adoptive parents and brother in West Virginia, where the two of them (very reluctantly) have been shipped for the summer to a detox camp for techno-junkies (neither of them fall into this category). Most of the story takes place here. We also see why Ariel has been adopted. On his 14th birthday, he becomes a refugee as the sole survivor of an attack on his village, where he manages to escape by hiding inside a refrigerator for several days before being discovered. This section of the book does get quite upsetting, but Smith tells it very well, with Ariel's voice telling his history to his new and unwilling brother.

I wasn't sure at the start if I was going to like this effort from Smith. I felt confused at the change in narrative, as we are also sent back to an Arctic expedition gone wrong a hundred years ago through the diary of one of the men stuck in the ice. But I was soon won round. The boys at camp are hilarious, the wordplay, their misadventures, it's very very funny.

And the storyline that seems completely unrelated about yet another character, called enigmatically The Melting Man. Well, he is connected to it all, and is possibly the craziest character in a book I've ever come across. Channelling the voice of Josef Stalin telling him to kill everyone, his face literally melting off from the chemicals he's toting around, taking orders from his SatNav. Batty but brilliant.

And of course, there's a suicidal (reincarnated) crow that is also instrumental in tying together all the plot threads. In some ways it's as much a pleasure discovering connections between the strands as it is to read the book, but it really is another witty YA read that adults will love too. Surreal in a Douglas Adams-esque way, blackly humorous in a Catch 22-way.

My favourite segments were those at camp, with the tech-addicts and Ariel. But the whole thing is a delight to read. Occasionally brutal (some sexual violence may be best avoided by younger teenagers) but it's clever, hilarious and mind-bending.

Review of a Netgalley advance copy.

The Farm Beneath the Water
The Farm Beneath the Water
by Helen Peters
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent continuation of a farm/theatre set series, 24 Feb. 2015
4.5 stars

It will help to read The Secret Hen House Theatre first - this follows on and refers back to characters and instances regularly.

If you've read Peters' first, you'll already know Hannah and her friends. Hannah lives on a farm with her dad, rather repellent sister Martha, younger siblings The Beans (Jo and Sam) and wants to be an actress/director in the theatre. In this adventure, most of the action takes place at school, where auditions for Romeo and Juliet do not go as Hannah plans, and where she needs to drum up support for her home as it is threatened with flooding by a water company determined to use the centuries-old farming land for a reservoir.

As before, the theatre element is well done, with lots of scenes focusing on rehearsals and the process of preparing a play for the stage. The loathsome Miranda gets an even bigger role this time, and she's just awful. Wonderfully so. Jack (who disgraced himself in the previous books) gets a chance to redeem himself - will he rise to it?

There's an environmental angle now, as the family desperately search for evidence that their farm should be protected, and there are lots of interesting facts about bats, trees and British wildlife that Peters' has included that highlight the importance of this fast-declining resource

But it manages to refrain from preaching. I was with Hannah every step of the way as she searches for a way to defeat Big Water (here called Aqua).

Hannah's family are as eccentric as ever (though I'd really like to see a nicer side to Martha), with a pet sheep and duck, and a pair of scamps who create a magazine about beans. Lottie is still a loyal best friend who backs up Hannah. Other school friends aren't really differentiated aside from Jack and Miranda, but this is a great read.

I wanted to race through to see Aqua vanquished, to see the House Play competition. I really empathise with and like Hannah. She's a great heroine that I would have admired and idolised at the age of ten.

A wonderful continuation of the Roberts' family saga, for 9-13 year olds.

Delilah Dusticle: A Magical Fantasy Series for Children Ages 8-12 (The Delilah Dusticle Adventures): Volume 1
Delilah Dusticle: A Magical Fantasy Series for Children Ages 8-12 (The Delilah Dusticle Adventures): Volume 1
by A J York
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual but warm story about friendship... and dust!, 24 Feb. 2015
I wasn't sure when I started - dusting as a superpower? It felt like it was going to be a quaint period piece, but as soon as the plot kicked in, I could see where it was heading and it became a charming story of friendship

Delilah can dust. Get rid of all dust. Anywhere. She harbours a secret crush in her employer's (adult) son, but when he brings home a fiancée... her ability to abolish dust vanishes along with her hopes and she loses her job. Several sad years later, a potential new friend starts to bring Delilah back to life, and possibly to dusting.

A quirky idea, but very sweet and a good lesson at the heart of the story. I couldn't see the setting in my mind though, the occasional illustrations felt Victorian but there is talk of hoovers - when is it set?

This would suit a confident reader of 8-11.

My thanks to the author who provided a copy for review purposes.

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