Book reviews - fiction 5 to 11 (page 16)

The most recent reviews are at the top of the page, so these are generally the most recently published books.

Jasper and Scruff by Nicola Colton

On the surface, they couldn't be more unalike - a scruffy dog and a svelte cat. But what really matters is having friends - despite having everything he could want (a swish apartment, a bow tie for every occasion and lots of books), Jasper is lonely and desperate to be accepted by ‘The Sophisticats’, a society for exceptional felines. They've accepted Jasper’s dinner invitation, so he makes great plans... but it seems someone else wants to be friends and cheeky little pup Scruff causes mayhem. Maybe, though, there are better friends to be made... It's a hilarious story of friendship and what really matters, packed with laugh-aloud humour. The colour illustrations are a sheer delight too, and this adorable story is perfect for new readers moving on from picture books. I love it and it's great to know it is just the start of a series.

Mystery of the Theatre Ghost (The Secret Seven) by Pamela Butchart

What a treat - a brand-new Secret Seven mystery that captures all the spirit of the originals and are set in the same world and time as the original stories by Enid Blyton. The Secret Seven are thrilled to have been chosen as extras in a play, but when the play opens, things start to go badly wrong. The cast and crew insist that a theatre ghost must be causing trouble but the Secret Seven aren't deceived... they know there's something going on. As ever, the children work through the problem together, determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. The story is brought to life by Tony Ross's brilliant illustrations throughout. As a child, I thought there were never enough Secret Seven stories, so todays. children who feel that way will love these new stories, which are well written, pacy and fun to read.

Teachers on Pluto by Lou Treleaven

To me, Maverick Publishing has become synonymous with great stories - they are always excellent and Lou Treleaven's Pluto series is brilliant in both story and presentation. Mrs Hall is temporarily in charge of Pluto and is running it just like school - hardly surprising as she is Jon's teacher. Her new laws mean doing spelling tests and Iron Age projects, so Jon and Straxi must take matters into their own hands .... especially when there's a giant, mutant snarlger on the loose! The stories appeal to both boys and girls and the format based on various forms of letter-writing has great appeal. It is also inspiring to encourage children to write letters and would therefore make a super class reader. A truly original story and such fun to read - letter-writing has its place!

Arlo, Miss Pythia and the Forbidden Box​ by Alice Hemming

4X are now 5P and they have a new and rather unusual teacher, Miss Pythia. Her teaching methods and special box on her desk are definitely not normal. When 5P are picked to take part in A Play in a Day, they decide Pandora's box would be the perfect play to perform. Arlo is elected as director but gets a bit carried away and doesn't notice that the cardboard replica of Pandora's box has been swapped... now will they find out what is in Miss Pythia's one? Lively illustrations by Mike Garton are a great complement to this quirky and enjoyable story.

Grandma Dangerous and the Dog of Destiny: Book 1 by Kita Mitchell

Children who like light-hearted fun adventures will love this series. Ollie's dad is missing - but anarchic and wacky Grandma Dangerous is on the case. All she needs are a hot-air balloon, thirty packets of biscuits and a dog with magical powers. But as they sail through the skies on their way to Australia, Ollie realises they're not just on a rescue mission... Grandma's on the run! The plot gathers pace as the story progresses and gets sillier and sillier... in the best possible way. Great fun, and a lively read for 7 - 10 year olds who want something out-of-the -ordinary.

The Great Rocket Robbery by Frank Cottrell-Boyce

This is one of the World Book Day books for 2019. Laika and her fellow street dogs are being trained up for the greatest adventure in history – a trip to the moon! But Laika can't wait to see the stars – so she hatches a plan with her friends to get her there all on her own... Carnegie Medal-winning author Frank Cottrell-Boyce and illustrator Steven Lenton work together to bring children a super book which will encourage them to seek out more by this super combo.

Millions: the Not-so-great Train Robbery by Frank Cottrell-Boyce

What a dilemma! In the countdown to Britian joining the Euro, brothers Damian and Anthony find themselves caught up in a train robbery - with masses of cash in their hands! How can they spend it before it becomes worthless? Should they buy loads of pizzas or end world poverty? And whatever, can they keep out of the clutches of the robbers? It has all the makings of a hilarious story and that's just what we get. There's a moral message too, and the contrasting characters of the boys leap off the page at you, they are so well portrayed. An unusual and gripping story with plenty of pace. Macmillan have reissued Frank Cottrell-Boyce's award-winning collection of hilarious fiction, all with out-of-this-world covers by the acclaimed illustrator Steven Lenton.

Framed: the Perfect Crime That's a Work of Art by Frank Cottrell-Boyce

This perceptive story is based on the fact that the contents of the National Gallery were stored in the Welsh slate mines during World War II. Dylan lives in the tiny Welsh town of Manod and his parents run the local; his life is so dull that he keeps track of everyone coming in and out of Manod. But what is going on, when a convoy of vehicles goes to the disused mine? This is a funny and touching exploration of how art – its beauty and its value – touches the life of one boy and his big family in a very small town. It's superbly written with a light touch yet a serious undertone, and the family relationships are strongly portrayed. With their colourful new covers, these books make up a lovely collection for children - and a good on-going gift idea.

Cosmic: One Giant Leap for Boy-kind by Frank Cottrell-Boyce

Another well-plotted and addictive read, which really gives children something to get their teeth into. Liam is super-sized, which generally is a drawback but it does have advantages - he's the only eleven-year-old to ever ride the G-force-defying Cosmic rollercoaster or to be offered the chance to drive a Porsche. And he makes a giant leap for boy-kind by competing with a group of adults for the chance to go into space. Is Liam the best boy for the job? Sometimes being big isn't all about being a grown-up. There's plenty of comedy but also a thought-provoking look at what it's like to take responsibility. A great read. "Frank Cottrell-Boyce is a successful British screenwriter whose film credits include Welcome to Sarajevo, Hilary and Jackie and 24 Hour Party People. Millions, his debut children's novel, won the 2004 Carnegie Medal and was shortlisted for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award. His second novel, Framed, was shortlisted for the 2005 Whitbread Children's Fiction Award and has also been shortlisted for the 2005 Carnegie Medal. His third novel, Cosmic, was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. Frank has also written a sensational sequel to the much-loved Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the heartwarming Runaway Robot."

Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell-Boyce

This zany and laugh-aloud story has a real heart to it, with family and friendship at its core. Meet the Blythes, a warm-hearted family who sometimes foster children... and one of them is Prez, a silent though seemingly content boy. Then along comes Sputnik, an apparent alien claiming to be Prez' relative... and the rest of the family seem to think he's a dog. Sputnik is intriguing and cleverly personified. Chaos reigns with wonderful hilarity as household items come to life and Prez is going to have to use his voice to explain himself. Gradually, Prez gets to know his family in this touching story. These are meaty books, with plenty to really absorb young readers, and to make them think. They are not hard to read but immensely satisfying, meaning they appeal across KS2 and into KS3, with compelling storylines and great characters. These new editions include bonus material and discussion questions from Frank Cottrell Boyce, which are excellent for classroom use, and feature fantastic new cover artwork from Steven Lenton.

 

THE ASTOUNDING BROCCOLI BOY BY FRANK COTTRELL-BOYCE

Rory Rooney thinks he is prepared for anything until the unexpected happens on a school trip. It's not easy being green, as Rory Rooney finds out when he suddenly turns green. He's not the only one - there are two more green children in his hospital ward. Perhaps it's not something they ate...perhaps it's not a mysterious virus...perhaps they are actually superheroes. There's only one way to find out...so each night, they sneak out of the hospital and try out their superpowers on the streets of London - with hilarious consequences. Zany and humorous, this quirky book will appeal to readers of all ages; it would make a brilliant classroom read, guaranteed to send children home happy at the end of the day.

Rainforest Hide and Seek (Muddle the Magic Puppy)​ by Hayley Daze

This is just the sort of series that is perfect for young readers setting out to enjoy books on their own; they get engaged with the series and that encourages them to read more. This is the fourth story about cute puppy Muddle whose magical powers are triggered by jumping into a puddle. His friends Ruby and Harry are only too happy to share in his adventures and this time they are in the rainforest, where someone is causing trouble and things are going missing. Can they find out why? The illustrations are charming (they make me want to get my crayons out and colour them in!) and enhance the story. It's an easy read, with plenty of fun and friendship and enough excitement to captivate readers.

Cuddle the Magic Kitten Book 4: School of Spells by Hayley Daze

Cuddles is the star of another collectable series for young readers who naturally appeals to the same market as Muddle - give her a cuddle and the magic begins. Olivia and Graces find themselves in an enchanted school for fairies, unicorns, pixies and more in this enchanting story. The littlest unicorn at the school is lonely and it's up to Cuddle and the girls to help him to make new friends. It's an important topic for children and they will enjoy the friendship theme. The lively illustrations are a key element of the book and are really important for children at this stage of their reading journey as they make the transition from picture books and still look for visual clues to support their reading.

JoJo and Bow Bow: Candy Kisses by Jojo Siwa

Jojo Siwa is a social media phenomenon and she holds that there is no holiday like Valentine's Day - sweets and hearts are among her favourite things. This year, she plans a sleepover for BowBow and all her friends. With a new dance workshop as well, there's plenty to look forward to. But there's trouble ahead with three difficult gilrs - the Queen Bs. Can it all be sorted to give a sweet Valentine's Day?

Mummy Fairy and Me: Unicorn Wishes by Sophie Kinsella

Much-loved author Sophie Kinsella has turned her attention to the children's fiction market with this appealing series about Ella and her family. Ella has a big secret - her mummy is a fairy! But Mummy Fairy's magic doesn't always go according to plan and then it's up to Ella to help... With flying cars, enchanted ballet shoes and a unicorn in the kitchen, there's plenty of fun to be had, with lively illustrations by Marti Kissi to set it all off. Girls will love the sparkly cover which perfectly reflects the magic of the story. Perfect for girls of 5+ who are starting to enjoy reading stories on their own - and good to share too. The light-hearted story has a loving family at its heart, as well as friendship and helping others.

The Golden Horsemen of Baghdad (Flashbacks)​ by Saviour Pirotta

Set in Baghdad in the Islamic Golden Age circa AD 900, the book gives a good background to the National Curriculum studies. This exciting and atmospheric adventure is the story of Jabir, who hopes to save his family from being made homeless by finding work himself in Baghdad. Starving, he resorts to stealing and is imprisoned. When his talent for carving wooden models is spotted, he is released on the orders of the grand caliph Harun al Rashid himself. His commission is to carve but someone is determined to go to any lengths to stop this. Can Jabir and his friend Yasmina finish the horsemen or will Jabir be sent back to prison? Flashbacks is an excellent series to support and encourage children's interest in history; fiction with an authentic background is really good to give children a sense of period and to bring history to life.

Sami’s Silver Lining (The Lost and Found Book Two) by Cathy Cassidy

In this very topical and relevant book, Sami has been forced to flee his home in Syria to seek safety in England. It's hard for Sami to put the past behind him, and he clings to memories of the past as he attempts to begin a new life. School is a real struggle as the other children don't understand him. It starts to get better with his new friends in the Lost and Found band. There's also a romance with the girl of his dreams. The book is told in the first person, which gives the book a strong impact and personal flavour. It's a highly-charged emotional story which highlights the refugee crisis and the way it impacts on individual lives. It's touchingly told and true-to-life in its approach, giving young readers a deeper understanding of how it feels to be a refugee.

She Wolf by Dan Smith

A dramatic story with a vividly depicted setting - Northumbria in the year 866. Vikings are strong, and Yvla, who has been washed ashore on a frozen English beach, epitomises that. But it's hard - when her mother dies at the hand of a three-fingered man, and the wolves of the forest circle closer, Ylva will need more than the memory of her mother's stories to stay alive. Can she shape her own legend? Will it end in revenge - or is there another way? I love the maps which preface the book - they allow the reader to really envisage the story and they will resonate especially with readers from the localities named. Chicken House's description of the book is Vikings - Vengeance - Wolves; an enticing mix which will have readers hooked as they enjoy this pacy novel, full of excitement and suspense. It gives a superb picture of the period and will be perfect to read when studying the Vikings, to immerse children in their world.

Where Dani Goes, Happy Follows (My Happy Life)​ by Rose Lagercrantz

Dani has a dilemma. Her best friend lives in another city and the adults can't keep their promises about when she'll see her. So it's all down to Dani to find a solution. Dani's father is away and Dani is staying with her grandparents. When she is invited to Ella's party, she thinks of the world's best gift for the world's best friend - herself! So when Grandma asks "Would you dare to go on your own?", Dani agrees and boldly sets out on a journey all by herself. I love Eva Eriksson's evocative illustrations which capture Dani to perfection. The story is gently told and excellently characterised, capturing the world of childhood and the wonders of growing up, with loyalty, friendship and bravery at its heart.

Emily Lime - Librarian Detective: The Book Case by Dave Shelton

St Rita's is an apparently posh girls' boarding school - but things are not what they seem, as Daphne is soon to discover. Daphne's an avid reader and is delighted to be quickly offered the chance to interview for Librarian's assistant's assistant immediately upon arrival. But where is the librarian? It seems she doesn't really exist, but the librarian's assistant, Emily Lime, really does need an assistant - so help her solve crimes. Mystery and intrigue are about to strike St Rita's and Emily Lime is going to need all the help she can get... It's a wonderful blend of traditional school story (think Malory Towers) with undertones of St Trinians and a good dose of classic detective fiction. It's a story that engages the reader, keeping you guessing as it twists and turns marvellously and all the time providing a good element of humour. A great read with excellent characters - and an emphasis on books, which I love!

Two Sides (Colour Fiction) by Polly Ho-Yen

This is a story that reaflects a common problem with friendships, and so will resonate with many readers. Lula and Lenka have been best friends forever, despite being total opposites. But one terrible day, it all goes wrong, despite good intentions. What started as a day like any other ends with Lula and Lenka ignoring each other. Neither is prepared to listen or forgive... will they ever sort things out? The story is cleverly told from both girls' perspectives and the reader really feels a part of the story; a really well written story with much to teach us. It's delightfully illustrated by Binny Talib. This new venture from Stripes Publishing really fills a gap in the market. The books are designed to bridge the gap between picture books and chapter books. There are colour illustrations on every page, and the text is pitched at just the right level for children who are ready to start reading alone. I would like to see the books divided into chapters, though, as I think this would help young readers' transition without losing the purpose of the series.

Little Rabbit's Big Surprise (Colour Fiction) by Swapna Haddow

This is a lovely story about helping others and being useful and valued, whether young or old. When Little Rabbit is bored, and everyone else busy, her grandfather, Big Rabbit, takes her out with him and she soon learns that there is plenty that can be done to help others. Mole, Granny Hedgehog, Dormouse and Squirrel all need help, which is willingly given. This is a heartwarming story, beautifully illustrated by Alison Friend. The books are beautifully produced - they are hardbacks with a lovely traditional presentation that sets them apart from other books; the shiny coloured paper makes them a joy to read and enhances the feel of picture books rather than chapter books, to fit with the purpose of the series. Perfect to instill a love for books.

Grandma Dangerous and the Egg of Glory: Book 2 by Kita Mitchell

Right from the start, this book had me engaged with its fascinating characters - Ollie who is just a normal boy and prim and proper Thomas. Add Grandma Dangerous, who is certainly not your ordinary grandma, into the mix and a great read is guaranteed. Nothing deters her, so when a priceless artefact is stolen in Russia, Grandma Dangerous sets out to find it. She meets with some very unexpected obstacles along the way - poisoned caviar, a prison break or a spot of contemporary dance. Will Ollie and Grandma recover the treasure before the Politsiya and Mum find out what's going on? Great characters, wonderfully described, and a fun fast-paced narrative make this a great read that children will love

The Great Animal Escapade by Jane Kerr

For readers who like their books to be Thrilling - Animal - Adventure (in the words of publisher Chicken House), this will be ideal. Add to that, historical (the book is set in 1872), and already you have a flavour of the book. One-time pickpocket and street urchin, Danny now works at Belle Vue Zoo. He trains the famous elephant Maharajah as well as helping look aftet the other animals. But his new life is threatened with a series of events - his arch-enemy, Frank Scatcherd escapes from prison; Danny is suspected of stealing animals; and a mystery man turns up, claiming to be Danny's father. Can Danny untangle the mystery of the animal escapade - and find out where he really belongs - in order to clear his name? There is a huge amount going on in this story, but it's all skilfully interwoven to bring us an exciting adventure that is a real page turner - and has readers rooting for Danny.

Hunt with Newton: What are the Secrets of the Universe? (The Curious Science Quest) by Julia Golding

This is an exceptionally good series, with its clever interweaving of real historical events with a close look at whether science or faith answers every question as well as a good storyline. There is plenty of factual information through the book, which supports KS2 science excellently and there are also hands-on science experiments. Harriet the tortoise and Milton the cat are off on another time-travelling adventure, exploring the links between science and religious beliefs. Harriet and Milton are investigating the beginning of the modern scientific age as they join experiments with Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke, and meet Isaac Newton. It's a fun and fact-filled quest with informative illustrations by Brett Hudson. The series conveys lots of information and, importantly, encourages children to think.

A Witch Come True by James Nicol

This, the last in the Apprentice Witch trilogy, brings everything to a satisfying conclusion - but, if you are new to the series, please start with The Apprentice Witch. TheNow the war is over and Srianwyn has discovered the secret of the glyphs, she hoped her troubles were over, but that was not to be. There's her everyday work as Lull's witch which is made problematic by bad winter. And then Arianwyn's grandmother is abducted by the traitor on the Council, and she faces her greatest challenge yet. This Spellbinding - Charming - Adventure is excellently written with a heroine you can't but love and admire. The author takes on the mantle of well-loved authors such as Diana Wynne Jones and Jill Murphy with great success.

Barry Loser's Book of Keel Stuff by Jim Smith

Jim Smith has hit on a winning format with his Barry Loser books. In case you're wondering, keel means cool and Barry and friends are, of course, the coolest ever. The Book of Keel Stuff sees the Ultimate Book of Keelness released as a paperback with brand new content. This engrossing book with its lively format includes jokes, animal mash-ups and a 'Which Loser are you?' quiz.; short stories ‘Bunky is a Loser’ and ‘My Dad is a Loser’, as well as editions of the Daily Poo, a Q&A with Jim from his fans and pages of brand-new superkeel drawing guides and activities. It includes 'I am Not a Loser'. Wow! So much for fans to enjoy and the great thing about books like this is the way they generate enthusiasm for reading, even in reluctant readers. Hilarious and perfect for existing fans and to generate new ones.

Charlie Changes Into a Chicken by Sam Copeland

When you're a born worrier, it's hard to be optimistic but Charlie McGuffin tries his best. But there are problems everywhere, the worst of which is that he's started turning into animals! Some superpowers can be highly desirable - others less so. Will he get sent away for Science to deal with? Will his parents crack under the extra stress? With the help of his three best friends, Charlie needs to find a way of dealing with his crazy new power - quickly. A clever and hilarious story with a hero you'll love. There's a serious side, that of coping with stress, and this is capably handled and will touch children affected by this ever-growing issue. This is the first in a new series - I'm already looking forward to the next one.

Sam Wu is NOT Afraid of the Dark! by Katie and Kevin Tsang

There are a few things Sam Wu is afraid of, as we have learnt earlier in the series - ghosts and sharks. But he's definitely NOT afraid of the dark... or is he? As we also know, Sam is the bravest scaredy-cat in the world! So when Sam goes camping in the woods with his friends and cousin Stanley, his bravery will be put to the test. Wonderfully illustrated by Nathan Reed (with excellent use made of contrasting night-time images to make the book appealing), this is ideal for children who can read alone and also great to encourage reluctant readers, who will find their efforts amply repaid. It's fun, it's funny and the characters are great.

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The four reviews immediately below are for books sent to us by Books2Door who tell us: "Here at Books2Door, we want to encourage a love of reading in all children. That's why we have been offering exceptional books at affordable prices since 2004. We select books that we know your children will fall in love with, from treasured classics to the latest must-have series. With our extensive range of authors and genres, there is something for every child, from reluctant readers to eager bookworms. Our service doesn’t stop there: our friendly team are on hand to ensure that your shopping experience with us is enjoyable and hassle-free. You can be sure that your books will arrive on time and in great condition." They have a great range of books at exceptional prices, and their service is excellent. Orders over £30 are eligible for free delivery, and there is an option for next-day delivery (otherwise 3 - 5 days).

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 David Walliams 5 Books Collection Pack Set

The five books in the set are: The Boy in the Dress, Ratburger, Mr Stink, Billionaire Boy and Gangsta Granny - they are the first five novels by David Walliams and will be enjoyed by children of 7+. David Walliams started his children's book writing career with The Boy in the Dress, a touching story that addresses issues of stereotyping with sensitivity and humour. Chloe befriends Mr Stink in this story about a definitely smelly tramp, and keeps him hidden in her garden shed. Rich with humour and with some memorable characters. Joe, aka Billionnaire Boy, is really, really rich and seems to have everything a 12 year old boy could possibly want. But, despite his wealth, he doesn't have a true friend. A telling story with a deep message about the things that really matter. Gangsta Granny is no ordinary granny - revel in her adventures which include swimming in the Thames and trying to steal the Crown Jewels. A heartwarming, humorous but also sad story. Ratburger introduces us to Zoe and her amazingly lazy stepmother, as well as school bully Tina Trotts. A convoluted story full of Walliams' trademark humour. This is a super collection from an author who really understands what children will enjoy - there's lots of humour but also a strong understanding of, and empathy with, human nature. Top-class illustrators make the books even more special - The Boy in the Dress and Mr Stink are illustrated by Quentin Blake, the the other three by Tony Ross. Being a box set means this is ideal as a gift. Order your box here. Price £17.99 January 2019.

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The Shakespeare Stories 16 Book Collection retold by Andrew Matthews

Of course these can't take the place of reading the original plays, but this collection is perfect to introduce young children to the works of our greatest playwright.  All the stories have been appropriately abridged for children, using modern English. This will help to develop and nurture their linterest in our literary heritage and give a basic grasp of the storyline of each play which will inform future reading; understanding of any of the plays read will be helped by reading these succinct stories. The language used has been carefully selected to be easily understood by KS1 children, but it still keeps a high level of interest and appeal. The way the stories have been so engagingly told will really spark an interest and they stimulate vocabulary too. The plays in this well-balanced collection are: 'The Taming of the Shrew', 'The Merchant of Venice', 'King Lear', 'Julius Caesar', 'Much Ado About Nothing', 'As You Like It', 'Richard III', 'Othello', 'Antony and Cleopatra', 'Twelfth Night', 'Romeo and Juliet', 'Henry V', 'Macbeth', 'The Tempest', 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and 'Hamlet'.  I'd recommend starting off with the comedies, moving on to the history plays and then reading the tragedies, to ensure an appropriate level of interest. They are excellent to read aloud and share, but also perfectly accessible for children reading alone. Superbly illustrated to bring the characters to life by the wonderful Tony Ross. Having these as a boxed set makes them really special. Buy the collection here. Price £11.90 January 2019 - fantastic value.
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Captain Underpants 10 book set by Dav Pilkey

This entertaining series is all about two boys, George Beard and Harold Hutchins, and Captain Underpants, a superhero from one of the boys' homemade comic books. Captain Underpants accidentally became real when George and Harold hypnotizse their ill-tempered principal, Mr. Krupp.  Captain Underpants' amazing wedgie-power means Earth is saved - over and over again. Evil villains like Professor Poopypants and the Wicked Wedgie Woman have met their match! They are engaging stories about a couple of lively boys and an unlikely hero, with black and white illustrations to capture the attention. The books are:  Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers; Captain Underpants and the terrifying re-turn of tippy tinkletrousers; The  Adventures of Captain Underpants; Captain Underpants and the attack of the talking toilets; Captain Underpants and the invasion of the incredibly naughty cafeteria ladies from  outer space; Captain Underpants and the perilous plot of professor poopypant; Captain Underpants and the wrath of the wicked wedgie woman; Captain Underpants and the big, bad battle of the bionic booger boy Parts 1 and 2;  and Captain Underpants and the preposterous plight of the purple potty people. You only have to glance at the wonderful titles to know that here is a writer who understands what sort of humour appeals to children. A whole set of books like this is an excellent way to encoureage reading and a love for books. Buy the dust cover set here. Price £15.99, January 2019.

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The World of David Walliams Book of Stuff

Fans of best-selling author David Walliams will get to know his books even better in this fascinating Book of Stuff. Children will appreciate learning more about the characters and the settings of the hugely popular books as they enjoy a whole range of fun activities; I find that enjoyment of books is almost always increased with some background knowledge. They can design their own Walliams book cover, learn how to draw like Tony Ross (who has illustrated some of the books) and read about the background to the stories. This is the perfect book for Walliams fans (and there are plenty of them!) aged 7+, and it makes a great gift; perfect for travel too. Order your copy here. Price £4.99 January 2019.

Against All Gods (Who Let the Gods Out?) by Maz Evans

Epic - Hilarious - Finale is how Chicken House describe the fourth and last book in the bestselling Who Let the Gods Out? series. As you'd expect from the final book in the series, things get darker and more dramatic than ever. Things are looking worse than ever for Elliot as he must get the final Chaos Stone - Fire. So much is at stake, not only on a personal level but the very future of mankind. Despite the way it sounds, this is a hilarious book, starring an eclectic mix of misfit gods, a lost constellation and a mortal boy. It's one of those series where you really need to start at the beginning of this emotional series though, so to get the full impact I'd recommend you go back to the start (Who Let the Gods Out?) to get the most from this adventure.

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