Children’s Book Reviews – October 2020

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So we haven’t done a dedicated children’s book review post in a while but we have a few to share with you and I thought Blogtober was the perfect time!

The Barnabus Project

by Eric Fan

The Blurb

In a world built for Perfect Pets, Barnabus is a Failed Project, half mouse, half elephant, kept out of sight until his dreams of freedom lead him and his misfit friends on a perilous adventure. A stunning picture book from international bestsellers The Fan Brothers, joined by their brother Devin Fan.

Deep underground beneath Perfect Pets, where children can buy genetically engineered “perfect” creatures, there is a secret lab. Barnabus and his friends live in this lab, but none of them is perfect. They are all Failed Projects. Barnabus has never been outside his tiny bell jar, yet he dreams of one day seeing the world above ground that his pal Pip the cockroach has told him about: a world with green hills and trees, and buildings that reach all the way to the sky, lit with their own stars. But Barnabus may have to reach the outside world sooner than he thought, because the Green Rubber Suits are about to recycle all Failed Projects . . . and Barnabus doesn’t want to be made into a fluffier pet with bigger eyes. He just wants to be himself. So he decides it’s time for he and the others to escape. With his little trunk and a lot of cooperation and courage, Barnabus sets out to find freedom – and a place where he and his friends can finally be accepted for who they are. 

This suspenseful, poignant and magical story about following your dreams and finding where you truly belong will draw readers into a surreal, lushly detailed world in which perfection really means being true to yourself and your friends.

What We Thought

We loved this story and me and Little Lady decided we would definitely like Barnabus as our pet. She said he was very cute!

The book is perfect for bedtime with a sweet, underlying message about not being perfect being absolutely fine. It also talked about the importance of friendship and working together to help one another out.

I loved the illustrations and the story was well written, a perfect length for a little one’s story time. We loved the other character’s crazy names too!

Where To Buy

Buy from Amazon

The Tindims of Rubbish Island

by Sally Gardner

The Blurb

The tiny Tindims are like the Borrowers-on-Sea, who turn our everyday rubbish into treasure. Mother-and-daughter duo, prizewinning Sally Gardner and Lydia Corry, create a fun new world of characters and adventures in their empowering new series for 5-8 year olds inspiring conservation and inventive ways to recycle.

‘What is rubbish today is treasure tomorrow.’ Discover Rubbish Island which the Tindims have built entirely from things we have thrown away. Captain Spoons, Mug, Jug, Brew, Skittle and friends are busy recycling when Ethel B Dina is blown out to sea and the Tindims must launch a rescue operation with the help of some friendly fish and surprises along the way.

Printed in dyslexia-friendly font with pictures on every page and perfect for the reluctant reader, the Tindims show keen young ecologists how to help protect our planet for the future.

What We Thought

Me and the boys read this over a few nights and we loved it. The boys are very savvy when it comes to the environment following recent school projects, so they really liked this angle of the book.

I was really impressed with the fact the print was made to be dyslexia friendly – inclusivity in this type of way is a great idea. The book was a fun read and the boys were actually excited for bedtime so we could read more! There were illustrations throughout, which broke up the text a little and would be perfect for readers who are just getting into chapter books.

Where To Buy

Buy from Amazon

The Boy in the Jam Jar

by Joyce Dunbar

The Blurb

A powerful and personal story from Joyce Dunbar about what it’s like to experience hearing difficulties.

Dylan can’t hear as well as he used to be able to and he doesn’t want to be different from his friends – he wants to be able to hear like everyone else. As his hearing gets worse he becomes more and more isolated from his friends. Luckily his dog Pluto is there to keep him down to earth…

What We Thought

This was another one we read over a couple of nights and the boys both really enjoyed it.

I thought it might take them a while to realise what was going on, but they seemed really clued up about the fact that the main character was deaf. Due to me being disabled the boys are very knowledgeable about chronic illness and health problems and don’t see it as a big deal. They were not a fan of the bully at all and we had a good chat about why bullies might say and do the things they do.

The book was short and sweet, I do think this story could have been made more of but with the age range being recommended as 6 and above, I think this was probably just the right length and level of detail.

Where To Buy

Buy from Amazon

The Cursed Castle: An Escape Room in a Book

by L.J. Tracosas

The Blurb

Part choose your own adventure, part seek and find, part escape room, The Cursed Castle: An Escape Room in a Book features 48 pages of detailed illustration and puzzles in both art and text. Savvy sleuths will identify missing pattern pieces and break complex codes. Hidden pull tabs reveal hints when readers get stuck and confirm the answers to solved puzzles.

All the fun of an escape room, held in one hand! Travel into a medieval world and face the cursed castle. Before he disappeared, the old king left clues all over his castle, from the courtyard to the dungeons. Can you solve his puzzles to save him? Or will you become another victim of the castle’s curse? Challenge your mind with:Sudoku CiphersWord searchesLogic puzzlesMazesCode-breaking puzzlesAnd more!Solve the puzzlesbreak the codes, and detect the patterns to save the king and escape the castle!

What We Thought

I used to LOVE these books as a child and this is a fantastic example of one. Really well written with puzzles designed to stretch your mind, this was perfect for a rainy day activity.

This would make a great Christmas present or an ideal buy for the upcoming half term as something which parents can enjoy doing with their children.

Where To Buy

Buy from Amazon

Some fab reads that we have enjoyed and we hope you will too! Do you have any recommendations for children’;s books that your little ones have enjoyed recently? Do let me know in the comments below so we can all check them out!

As always thank you to NetGalley for letting us have copies of some amazing books that we review and let you know about. Also thank you to any of you using the affiliate links, it doesn’t make a lot, but when they are used the blog does earn a few pennies which is greatly appreciated. Take care and keep safe,

2 Comments on “Children’s Book Reviews – October 2020

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