Guest Book Review: Little Bird Lost by Steve and Kate Larkinson

bird

Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1492762822
ISBN-13: 978-1492762829
Age group: 3-5

Five stars

Little Bird Lost by Steve and Kate Larkinson is the story of four little birds (baby swallows), discovered by Steve in the eaves of a bakery in south-west France. One of the little birds seems to have disappeared. Is he safe? Has he fallen out the nest? Can he be rescued? Do his parents know where he is? This delightful story in photographs (by Steve) and rhyming couplets (by Kate) will absolutely enchant readers aged 3-5, but actually, adults will also just love this little tale from the world of nature. What I especially enjoyed about this book is the beautiful photographs. I love children’s illustrations but the unique angle of actual images really struck me. Not only are they absolutely first-class and clear, but it is the perfect way to teach young readers about the real world of birds. Children are generally interested in animals and wildlife, and parents and relatives could use this delightful book as a springboard to other books involving wildlife. This is a great book for bedtime reading, and I would also encourage children’s libraries to include a copy. Children will enjoy the images as well as the captivating story. What a lovely start to getting your child interested in reading! As an added bonus, there is a charming little cartoon book video on YouTube to really round off an enchanting reading experience.

 

Purchase at http://www.amazon.com/Little-Bird-Lost-Steve-Larkinson/dp/1492762822

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.

Guest Book Review: The Shadow of the Pyramid by Wendy Leighton-Porter

porterPublisher: Mauve Square Publishing (February 4, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1909411043
ISBN-13: 978-1909411043
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Ages 8+
Fantasy/Adventure/Action

Five Stars

Jemima, Joe, their talking Tonkinese cat Max, and their best friend Charlie are off on their adventures again, searching for Jemima and Joe’s parents (somehow trapped in the past) and this time they are headed for ancient Egypt. Using their magical book, the poem containing clues, and Jemima’s necklace with the key, the kids and Max are transported back in time, arriving in the middle of an assassination plot to murder the young king Tutankhamun. Alas, Max has a morbid fear of mummies, having glimpsed a ghastly sight of one on Joe’s XBox game and he’s not too keen on this part of their adventure. They meet Ankharet, the gorgeous cat belonging to Tut’s young wife, Ankhesenamun. Max is totally smitten, but unfortunately Ankharet (who is jealous of Max’s instant popularity) doesn’t feel quite the same way about him. As the adventure unfolds, the kids and the cats, along with Tut’s wife try to stop several attempts on the young king’s life. Max even manages to foil two attempts, displaying a kind of unintentional bravery. The king is entranced with Max and names him “Max, beloved of Amun.” What an honour! Alas, despite their best efforts, once again the kids and Max are unable to change the course of history and cannot prevent the young king’s fate, a mystery which remains to this day. The end of the book is absolutely delightful and kids will just love the twist in this tale.

Max’s fear of mummies and the like afford some absolutely hilarious moments, especially since all his apparent heroics and saving the day are by accident. Author Wendy Leighton-Porter has woven a marvellous mixture of suspense, adventure, history, geography, and culture into an intriguing tale. Using real historical figures, she captures the feel and flavour of ancient times, and puts forward some quite viable theories for exactly what might have happened to Tutankhamun. As in previous books, the kids and Max are totally immersed in history, and this tale will definitely draw eager young readers to join them in the adventure. There are some interesting facts at the end of the book which will no doubt stimulate young time travellers to go and do a bit more research. Learning history the fun way is becoming the mark of this captivating series.

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.

Guest Book Review: My Clever Night-Night Shoes by Karen Mara Moss

shoes

File Size: 4996 KB
Publisher: Toffee Bee Books (February 28, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
ASIN: B00IQCH29G

Scary statistics bring home the fact that a child is born with clubfoot (talipes) every three minutes. The great news is that Dr Ignaçio Ponseti’s method for clubfoot treatment is over 95% successful. A crucial part of treatment is wearing a brace to hold the foot in the corrected position. Bracing is the best protection against relapse. Most children sleep in the brace until at least age four. But how do you get a child to wear the brace without them protesting or putting up a fight? My Clever Night-Night Shoes is a bedtime story for children who sleep with a brace to help keep their feet straight. The book is written by Karen Mara Moss, mom to a strong-willed child who had to be gently persuaded to wear his brace. Artist Lori Bentley wore orthopaedic boots every day as a toddler to correct a problem with her feet. Between them, these two creative people have put together an enchanting book that will convince any reluctant brace wearer to put on that brace to get their feet ready for an exciting future.

This delightful book is a mixture of illustrations and poetry to encourage children needing to wear a night brace on their feet. From being a fireman to being a ballet dancer, from running a race to climbing a mountain, from wearing high heels to skating on ice, this delightful book takes young readers through the many options that will be open to them IF they wear their ‘clever night-night shoes.’ The rhythms and rhymes of the poetry are catchy and just perfect for a read-aloud session at bedtime. The water colour illustrations are delightful, and there is so much detail in each picture that parents and children will enjoy poring over them to discover all those extra little bits that add to the tale. I did notice several intrepid penguins managed to get themselves into quite a few illustrations.

A portion of proceeds from the sale of this book goes to STEPS Charity, a regional clubfoot champion endorsing the Ponseti method. STEPS was established in Southern Africa in 2005. The book also offers an end-note of more resources for parents.

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.

Guest Book Review: Princess Madeline and the Dragon by Kirstin Pulioff

madeline

Book Review: Princess Madeline and the Dragon by Kirstin Pulioff
Series: Princess Madeline Series
Paperback: 118 pages
Publisher: Caliburn Books (December 10, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1623750709
ISBN-13: 978-1623750701
Genre: Fantasy/magic/adventure
Ages: 10+

Five Stars

All is well in the Kingdom of Soron; at least, that’s what everyone thinks. The village has been rebuilt since Prince Paulsen’s disastrous attack the previous autumn, and preparations are underway for the Spring Faire – a very important occasion. Princess Madeline is also preparing for her upcoming wedding to Daniel, and the prospect of establishing a new home in the North. The wizards, now welcomed back after their timely assistance during the previous troubles, have a new role to play. Madeline has been having strange dreams, and the Elder Wizard, in fact her Uncle Elias, is trying to teach her to harness her magical powers, inherited from her mother. Then things turn horribly upside-down, as we have been warned via the prologue, where Lord Hawthorne (hunting for dragons’ eggs) stumbles upon a rare clutch of these magical eggs. Amazingly, a green dragon appears and begins to ravage the kingdom. The fiery attack ends with King Theodore being badly burned to the point where he insists on Madeline’s marriage to Daniel right away; and he appoints Madeline’s twin brother Braden as King of Soron. The dragon is fast becoming a huge and dangerous problem. Will Madeline and Braden be able to decipher the clues left by their mother that spoke of the Age of Dragons? And why is the dragon suddenly attacking the kingdom?

Kirstin Pulioff has cleverly sown the clues to the final book in the first and second books, where seemingly innocuous items hold the key to solving the mystery of the green dragon. Braden, somewhat neglected in books one and two, comes into his own and pulls the readers’ focus as he takes charge of the kingdom, and finds the path of love not as smooth as he had hoped. Madeline has really grown up here, and her thoughts on resolving the kingdom’s dilemma differ greatly from her brother’s. Her way is based on love, reason, reconciliation, and truth. The wizard Elias also has a lot to teach both the characters and young readers and his words of wisdom are beautifully woven into this rich fantasy tapestry. Again the author’s gift for description stands her in good stead as the dragon, in all its flaming fury, is brought vividly to life in the pages of this magical fairy tale. Princess Madeline and the Dragon is well worth the wait as there is something for everyone: romance, love, enchantment, magicality, wizards, action, adventure, and of course … here be dragons!

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.

Guest Book Review: The Battle for Princess Madeleine by Kirstin Pulioff

princess

Book Review: The Battle for Princess Madeline
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 21, 2013)
ISBN-13: 978-1482790085
Genre: Fantasy/magic/adventure
Age: 12+
Five Stars

In book two of the Princess Madeline series we’re back in the Kingdom of Soron, in the midst of the Fall Festival. Apart from the fun and activity of this festive event, there is a special significance: Princess Madeline’s betrothal to her Champion Knight Daniel, who saved her during her previous escapade. Princess Madeline is starting to grow up as well, and apart from making her tutor’s life a misery with her questions, is taking a great interest in the kinds of things necessary for running a kingdom and being responsible for people. It seems that nothing will spoil this idyllic time, except the reappearance of the sly Prince Paulsen, making outrageous demands on King Theodore. Paulsen demands Madeline’s hand in marriage and when the king reminds the prince that although he rid the country of brigands, he did not actually save the princess himself, this leads to terrible events. War ensues, and at the same time Madeline must decide how she can help save the kingdom. The banished wizards risk the wrath of the king by appearing, with messages, clues, and advice. While Theodore and Daniel face Paulsen’s ravaging troops, Madeline makes her own decisions.

Kudos to author Kirstin Pulioff for introducing more entrancing back story regarding magical choices that Madeline and her twin brother made without knowing it. Fragments of their mother’s story come through, adding to the wizards’ role in this book, and indeed in the prehistory of Soron. I loved the element of magic and mystery that the wizards bring, with suggestions of building onto forthcoming events, when the Age of Dragons looms over Soron. Madeline develops a sense of maturity about life, and her relationship with Daniel. She also uses her wits and embarks upon a daring plan, so courage is part of her nature. The battle scenes and the grim results of Paulsen’s invasion are brought to life by the author’s gift for description. In fact, description is part of what makes the series so appealing. One can hear the clash of swords, the shouts of the soldiers or (on a more peaceful note) almost rub shoulders with Madeline as she gazes at a beautiful view. There is much to entice young readers in this tale of the Princess: action, adventure, a charming romance, magic, and of course, the promise of dragons to come. I am looking forward to book three.

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.