children’s book reviews – JAN/feb 2021

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As you know, me and the boys love to read and we have got through a few already this year so wanted to share our thoughts on them with you. To start – an absolutely amazing book which we all HIGHLY recommend! For reference, Leo is 12 and Riley is 9 and I am 34 (I mean 21)!

The Perfect Parent Project*

by Stewart Foster

The Blurb

From the award-winning author of THE BUBBLE BOY comes a heart-warming and unforgettable story? that follows one boy’s search for the perfect family, with surprising and unexpected results. 

‘Friendship, laughter, suspense and more!’ – Ross Welford, author of TIME TRAVELLING WITH A HAMSTER and THE 1000-YEAR-OLD BOY

1. A mega mansion like the ones footballers live in
2. A garage wall with a basketball hoop
3. No gerbils
4. Holidays to Disneyland

All Sam wants is a family of his own, a home instead of a ‘house’ and parents he knows will still be there when he wakes up. Because Sam has been in and out of foster care his whole life and he can’t imagine ever feeling like he truly belongs.

Then his best friend Leah suggests that rather than wait for a family to come to him, he should go out and find one. So begins The Perfect Parent Project … But Sam may just discover that family has a funny way of finding you.

What We Thought

We read this book over quite a few nights and WOW! Not only did the boys love it, but I loved it too.

Sam is a fabulous main character who you really wish the very best for. I loved that a foster child is the main character and the boys learnt about how this can feel for a person who is often moved from house to house and has little knowledge of his birth parents. They were both really invested in him finding happiness and it led to some really insightful conversations with them.

I must admit, the last couple of chapters had me welling up. It really is a super book which we all LOVED and highly recommend to all.

Where To Buy

Amazon – available on Kindle, in paperback and Audiobook format

The Day the Screens Went Blank*

by Danny Wallace

The Blurb

A hilarious middle-grade road-trip adventure from bestselling author, comedian, and presenter Danny Wallace, with illustrations throughout from Gemma Correll. Perfect for fans of Liz Pichon and David Baddiel!

Imagine if all the technology in the world just . . . STOPPED.

When ten-year-old Stella wakes up to discover a world full of BLANK screens, her family, town, and in fact the whole world seems to have been thrown into chaos. And what about poor Grandma who is stranded at the other end of the country?

Cue a rollicking madcap road trip, full of driving disasters and family fallouts, as they set off on a rescue mission. And along the way Stella and her family discover that being away from screens might not be the Worst Thing Ever, and even though they might not be able to rely on technology anymore, they can rely on each other instead.

What We Thought

The boys have read some of the Hamish series by Danny Wallace before and enjoyed them and they enjoyed this one too – although they were horrified by the thought of this really happening!

The book took us four nights to read and there were plenty of laugh out loud moments, as well as some touching ones. They enjoyed the modern cultural references as well as the poo humour!

I don’t think anything will come close to The Perfect Parent Project for us for a while, but this was a great read and we would recommend to all of a similar age. (Riley is 9, Leo is 12).

Where To Buy

Amazon – available ro pre-order on Kindle, in paperback or Audiobook format (released 18th Match 2021)

Monster Max and the Bobble Hat of Forgetting*

by Robin Bennett

The Blurb

Max is an unusual 9 year old: he can turn himself into a huge, bin- eating monster by BURPING. Being a monster is brilliant, unless he sneezes (which turns him back) and he finds himself far from home in just his pants. 

Max decides to be more responsible and ‘protect and do good stuff’, starting with catching a local vandal. But his nemesis, Peregrine, is convinced Max is the vandal, and invents his POOP (Portable Operating Omni Prison) machine to trap him. If Peregrine can prove the truth, Max and his mother could be put in a zoo … or worse.

Max will have to use his wits as well as his strength to catch the real culprit, before Peregrine can catch him…

What We Thought

We read this after we had finished Llama Out Loud which the boys loved and we definitely didn’t enjoy it as much as that.

I think this was more suited to Riley’s age group but his favourite part of the book was how Max changed back from a monster. It seems like there may be more coming in this series but the boys didn’t seem overly keen to keep an eye out for it. Not for us although we did finish it.

Where To Buy

Amazon – available to pre-order on Kindle and in paperback (released 18th Feb 2021)

Llama Out Loud!*

by Annabelle Sami; Allen Fatimaharan

The Blurb

Sidesplitting middle grade comedy, with serious heart (and one very funny llama). The first in a hilarious new series, perfect for fans of Lightning Girl, Little Badman and Charlie Changes into a Chicken

Yasmin Shah is a ten-year-old girl who is part of a big, noisy family and doesn’t ever speak. Levi is a rude, sassy toy llama, who talks A LOT and has come to wreak havoc in Yasmin’s life.

Yasmin tries everything she can to escape Levi, but she can’t help being dragged along on his crazy antics – and every day brings a new surprise, whether that’s an erupting bin, a flying tuna fish, or a hat made from knickers. Life is never boring with Levi around – and could it be that he has a secret plan to help Yasmin find her voice?

What We Thought

We read his over a few nights as our bedtime story and both boys really enjoyed it. They said it was funny and they loved the characters, including Yasmin, Levi and Ezra. We all laughed out loud in places and were never disappointed.

The book is full of really good, positive messages for kids – that is is ok to be yourself being a stand out one for me. The boys were really p[leased to hear at the end of the story that there may be more adventures with Levi on the horizon – we will be definitely looking out for those for sure!

Where To Buy

Amazon – available on Kindle and in paperback

The Case of the Disappearing Pets (Mina Mistry Investigates, book 2)*

by Angie Lake

The Blurb

Disappearing hamsters? Vanishing toads? Missing snails? This needs investigating.

This looks like a case for Mina Mistry…

An explosion at the local pet shop shows Mina that this pet palaver can’t be a coincidence. But why is someone stealing all the animals? What do they want them for?

About the Mina Mistry Investigates series:
Introducing Mina Mistry, witty schoolgirl detective and soon-to-be Private Investigator.

Mina Mistry Investigates is a fun detective series packed with comic-style illustrations and mystery-solving throughout.

Great for reluctant readers aged 7+ and fans of Planet Omar and Dork Diaries.

What We Thought

Another one that didn’t totally grab us. I wonder if the boys were maybe a little too old to enjoy it fully and younger children who are just getting into chapter books might like it more.

The premise of the book sounded good but the conclusion of the storyline was a little far fetched and random. Talking about animal rights was a good addition and I think this could have been made a bit more of. Again, not for us but I think perhaps younger readers may enjoy it more than we did.

Where To Buy

Amazon – available to pre-order on Kindle and in paperback (released on 25th Feb 2021)

The Boy Who Moved Christmas*

by Eric Walters, Nicole Wellwood

The Blurb

It’s October, but in seven-year-old Evan’s town, every house is decorated for Christmas and a giant holiday parade is about to begin. The bump in Evan’s head means he might not make it to December, so all his friends, family, neighbours, and thousands of strangers have moved Christmas just for him.

Evan is delighted to see the trees, the lights, and even snow, but he’s a little worried that the parade might not be complete. How will Santa know he needs to visit so early? Will it even feel like Christmas without Santa there?

Based on the true story of Evan Leversage and featuring an afterword by his mother, Nicole Wellwood, The Boy who Moved Christmas is a loving tribute from the duo behind Always With You, and a touching reminder of the power of the Christmas spirit—no matter what time of year.

What We Thought

Oh gosh, what a beautiful story of what Christmas and community is really about. The main story doesn’t go into too much detail about Evan’s illness or why they are having Christmas early, which is great because you can explain it to your child in an age appropriate way, however you see suitable. There are lovely illustrations throughout.

I read the note from Evan’s mum at the end of the book and it reduced me to tears. As a mum, losing a child is your very worst fear, and reading her words about her family made me so very grateful for life and to have two happy, healthy boys. What their community did for this little boy and his family was amazing and I am sure it helped them so very much on such a difficult time.

Where To Get It

Amazon – available in Paperback

I hope you enjoyed our reviews on what we have read so far this year. A couple of big recommendations and a couple of misses but you may think differently. Have you read any of these books? Let us know what you think of them in the comments below, or tell us which one you like the look of most! Happy reading everyone,

6 Comments on “children’s book reviews – JAN/feb 2021

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