The Adventures of Precious Penny by Dina Marie Filippini

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Hellllllo readers, hope you’re well and have had a wonderfully bookish week. I have a children’s book to review for you today and it’s been a little while since I’ve reviewed this type of book but I’m super excited. Without further waffling onto le review.

 Dina Marie Filippini lives in New York and has three children. She has participated in the Gotham Writers’ Workshop in New York City, and this is her first children’s book. Having picked up her fair share of misplaced coins, one day she stopped to consider where a particular penny had come from—and her children’s story The Adventures of Precious Penny was born. Now, when she spots a penny on the ground she often wonders about its backstory.


I’ve mentioned this before and will probably mention it again, children’s books are so important in creating future readers, learners and creaters; it all starts here. I’ve read a lot of children’s book and I think this is a really interesting concept; we follow the life of Precious Penny as she makes her way from the safe haven of the bank into the sticky pockets of young children into dark and cold puddles, with a little bit of sandpit adventure on the way. As she travels through the various different situations Polly reminisces about the pennies and other coins she has met and the adventures she has had; jumping in puddles, running, skipping and singing in the car.

In terms of writing I think it’s the perfect text style for readers aged 6/7+ but could be easily used by parents to read to younger children. Although there is a larger amount of text than normally seen in children’s books it’s not unrealistic in terms of engaging a child. There’s just enough but not too much. The images are beautifully created and styled. They have bright colours, and they are a mix of realism in the drawing of the coins but the illustrations of the children are fantasy and cartoon it’s beautiful to look at and I can imagine this becoming a child’s favourite book to pick out of the shelf and had read to them.

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The story doesn’t tell a moral as such but I think it would teach children to think about the little things. To remember that there is a story about everything, that we should treasure the small things; I had never thought of the adventures the coins we use everyday go through but here it has been woven into an interesting and telling tale. It also tells of friendship, of keeping strong through difficult and lonely times and things will get better. You may think this is too much for a children’s book but it’s done subtly, and in a sweet understandable way.

Overall this is a beautiful book, one that has not only an original storyline but is beautifully produced. I think the ideas are good, I would have liked more of a moral woven in but it is a sweet story. Definitely worth a buy for a lovely bedtime story.

Linnnnnks

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Time Stops for No Mouse by Michael Hoeye

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Helllllllo readers, another review today from the recesses of my reading life because, me and reading have seriously fallen out. I just can’t get the reading buzz back but it doesn’t feel like a reading slump, more of a reading bust-up. I’m not sure even reading the Chocolate Run, my go to, will help this time.  I just need to clear the air with reading, get into a really, (really) good book  and clear this all up. However, it has allowed me to review a number of books I’ve read but never quite got round to typing up which is always nice. Today a delightful children’s book which was pretty darn lovely.

Hermux Tantamoq is an average mouse who works in his watch shop by day and spends his evenings at home with Terfle, his pet ladybug. But all that changes when Linka Perflinger, daredevil aviatrix, steps into his shop, drops off her watch for repair, and walks out with Hermux’s heart. When a shady-looking rat tries to claim Linka’s watch, Hermux knows that something must be terribly wrong, and embarks on a dramatic quest to find her . . .

As the blurb suggests the book follows Hermux Tatamoq who just happens to be a watchmaking mouse. In his day to day life, he has a little pet ladybird called Terfle, he wears flannel shirts and he has numerous printed images of different cheese from around the world. He has a crush however, on the darling Ms.Linka Perflinger who just so happens to visit his watch shop needing an emergency repair on her watch. From that moment, Hermux’s life will change forever. As Ms Perflinger seemingly disappears our worried friend will go on a hair raising mission to find his missing lady. The journey paved with killers, thieves, snakes, dramatic rescues and a casual Fountain of Youth will be a terrifying mission for the mouse but a brilliant tale to tell.

Now for the fun bit; there’s something just delightful about this tale, a story following a mouse with a pet ladybird; it’s pretty special. The writing is solid with just the right amount of description. Sometimes with fantasy books there’s too much and for children especially, this can bog the story down. Here it is flitted in to help aid the imagination of the child but not so much smother it, if that makes sense? The characters are well described with a lightness of touch and the author works hard to distinguish the villains and the characters we love (mainly Hermux and Ms Linka.) I really liked how Hermux’s humble nature was turned into an inquisitive detective and the mild nature of him made this story doubly sweet.

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I thought the story was clever and the introduction good vs evil makes for a strong plotline to develop the tale and the characters as a whole. I thought the journal from the Jungle of Teulabonari (what a great name) was a brilliant insertion allowing for the introduction of new characters like the army of lab rats and the cosmetics monarch. It sounds a little confusing but it comes together really well. The story twists and turns and I thought the odd names of the characters and places would really help to intrigue younger readers.

In terms of negatives there are some passages of description that are really long. For me a reader who likes description I loved it but for younger readers it could get tiresome and the long and fiddly names could also be a difficulty. This could also cause problems when reading aloud but it’s a small-ish point.

This book for a young reader has everything; suspence, excitement, good vs evil, and some really exciting and well developed characters. A fun book an exciting tale and one to get younger readers really into their reading. Spot on.

Linkkkkks

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Naughty Norman by Leora Lazarus

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Afternoon readers, today I have another children’s book for you to be reviewed. I have recently really found a love for reviewing children’s books because they are so important for kick-starting that love of reading that will then span into the future. I cannot thank my parents enough for investing so much time taking me to the library, dragging me away from the library and reading to me every night. I know, having a friend who now works in the education system that many children don’t get the same privilege. I’m not sure where I would be if I wasn’t reading and didn’t have this adoration of literature that is impossible to quash. A children’s book needs to ignite that passion of reading, so let’s see if this one hits the mark.

Naughty Norman is a beloved character in Teacher Lee’s preschool classroom. He has helped educate thousands of children and he never fails to make circle time fun. Now Naughty Norman can teach counting skills and time concepts to pre-schoolers and early readers in your home

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So the blurb gives next to nothing away which isn’t an issue although it does give you an idea of what’s to come. The basic premise of the book is that Naughty Norman is hiding. Not in the most intelligent places as you discover later on but for now, yes, he is hiding. Norman thinks that he can hide for one whole day and that everyone will miss him. The book counts the minutes as Norman goes through a range of possibilities as the time clicks on, missing breakfast, maybe the house will be sold? Maybe everyone will forget about him? Will Norman be found? It’s something your little ones will find out at the end of the book.

So, what did I think? I actually really enjoyed this book. As my mother will lovingly recall, telling the time was a terribly difficult skill to learn for me. Reading I seemed to pick up with no problem at all, missing phonics and just reading. However, the time, that was a toughie for this little blogger. I thought the illustrations were really lovely. They have the feel that they’ve been drawn by a child and although I’m sure they’re not because they’re a little too brilliant I think they match the tone of the book wonderfully. Although the story doesn’t tell a particular moral or tell a complex story the idea of the minutes counting up and different thoughts appearing in the mind of our main character the book feels as though it has substance as a tale.

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I did also really like the plot of the book. I am sure many of us as children can remember running away to hide, thinking we’ve been away hours to find only a couple of minutes have past. I think this would make a great read-aloud book for both parents and children. My only criticism is based on the age of the book and the illustrations I think the text could have been a little longer. Although the images are quite big it felt as though there was a larger capacity to teach more to the children reading it because it felt like it was a little easy in terms of the length of the text actually in the book. However I think the words used were the perfect age range and that they sat well together.

Overall this is a sweet book with some really nice ideas and one I think readers would really enjoy. I thought the plot line was a lovely thought and the writing style was brilliant for children. With a little more text I thought this could have been more educational however a book I would definitely read to a little one.

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A Part of You by Elizabeth Davis

Hellllllllllllo readers and happy Thursday to you. The weekend is in view I promise and although it’s the morning, it’s a cheery day and I have a book review for you so, not to bad? I can see you grimacing. Let me make you a cup of peppermint tea and grab us some biscuits eh, and we’ll discuss a new children’s book which I wouldn’t mind sharing.

A Part of You, is a story of a young girl named Madison. When she finds herself without anyone to play with she takes to the outdoors. Madison discovers that not only is she not alone but she finds a value in herself that she did not realize she had before.

Children’s books can be a little difficult to review at the best of times. There are so many different elements to pull together that make such an impact on the book in comparison with adult novels. In a novel for the older reader, strong character profiles and relationships can outweigh a tedious plot or a riveting back story can save truly un-likeable characters but in children’s book not so easy. Once you throw in target audience, readability and the images used to make the book flow it makes it a little more difficult and today’s is an interesting one to judge.

The author has told me that the book didn’t quite come out as planned and that self-publishing using The Children’s Book Creator on Amazon has changed the way the final product comes out and I think that is really true of this book. It lacks a little professional feel and feels a little rushed. I know it’s a Thursday morning but for me a children’s book should have the ability to appeal to me as a reader. I know this may come across a little strange but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t at least intrigue me to read to the end. The pictures are a little strange and distorted due a very heavy edit however they do have painterly feel that I think if displayed in the correct way with the correct size of page they do have the possibility of working as a finished product. I think if they were a lot bigger on the page it would make for a really really stunning product.

I must admit it’s difficult to tell with this book because by having the book in PDF form it’s difficult to see how it all comes together. However I think the reading age of the little girl we see on the pages and the text that is used to tell the story just about matches and if it is a little young I think some of the words and phrases would stretch a younger reader. The story is what I would call a little syrupy, but it does tell a story and it does try to put a message across at the end. I liked that all the pages matched and the images showed a real little girl and I think it’s a great start. However I do think that it is a little rushed; just because it’s a children’s book doesn’t mean it can be pushed out without care because with a children’s book you’re trying to make new readers and inspire the next generation to get stuck into books. I think with better spacing in terms of the images and bigger images to really pull the reader in this could be a much better looking book and although we’d all like to think that children’s books are about the writing it’s really a visual experience for a child.

I think this book has potential, but it needs to go back to the drawing board and think what the child is getting from this. If it’s the moral and the wording push that, if it’s the visual images then push that, don’t attempt to half do both. I think for me, it’s an unfinished product but with some tweaks and a look back as to why the book was written in the first place this could be a great little book.

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Quiet Boy : Tom Kavanagh

Good Afternoon wonderful readers! I speak about the fact that I review all genres of book quite regularly here on mylittlebookblog, and so far, in a year and a half blogging I am yet to turn someone away in their request for a review. Before I started blogging I stuck to reading only genres that I enjoyed as we all do, but I wanted to read more diverse genres and mylittlebookblog has opened a door in that sense. I also love that I get to review children’s books because my childhood was filled with reading and any books that can give a child the love of reading that I gained from the adventures I read about need to be shared. I actually approached the author Tom Kavanagh on Twitter, which is something I’m using more and more as a communication tool with authors and offered a review. So thank you to Tom for taking up my offer because I rather enjoyed this lovely little book.

I actually think that children’s books are really difficult to write because there needs to be a balance between interesting language, a story, and something that’s going to keep the reader entertained. Books can be a little over-whelming and as a child I remember books that just didn’t hook me or didn’t teach me anything. This cannot be said for this book. The story follows Quiet Boy (nick-named QB) who is a little different. A shy and sensitive character, his worried parents send him away to a camp for children that need a little help finding their feet in the world. Filled with anxiety and worry QB meets up with his Grandfather and the two decide that whilst he is away QB will recount his adventure in letters to his dear Grandfather. Once at the camp QB meets two very special characters, Rose and Tim and the three of them create their own three musketeer like friendship. The story follows the trials and tribulations of the three characters and the difficulties they face in interacting with different people and taking part in different team-building tasks. The story, told in letters to his Grandfather follows this lovely character as he finds his feet, and his voice in a very special coming of age story.

One of the things I liked most about the book were the character profiles; QB is sensitive and nervous, but from the start you feel for him because he has such a strong moral core. The writing style really plays on the concern and unease that QB is feeling in this new situation and the author handles it with great care. Rose or fidget girl as she is nicknamed, is a self-assured but is also a character that frets. Her assured personality mixed with her need to fidget created a very well-balanced character which also helps to bring out QB’s character. Tim (aerial boy because he likes planes) is the least developed out of the three in terms of character building, but his sense of humour added another contrast helping to create distinction between the two males characters because they are quite similar.

The story also pushes a very ethical message throughout the book that wasn’t overplayed or made too obvious but just kept weaving through. It is also looked at what can happen when you stray from doing the right thing but in such a way that didn’t affect the characters too negatively. Also by adding in an nasty character, found in the form of the bully Rory it lead to some interesting choices for the characters that helped to keep the moral theme continuing throughout. I also loved the idea that they were each their own superhero struggling to find their way and think that this book could really help any readers that are struggling a little with finding their path in life. The ending is always very lovely and warming (although a little upsetting) and rounds of the book really nicely which is always a good thing.

I did have a few comments on the book, firstly it did become a little repetitive and I think it’s because of the form of the letters, that do really work but at times I did feel that it needed something more. It wasn’t that I tired of the book I just thought that it might not hold the reader’s attention as much as it could. I also think some of the events could have been played up more to create more suspense such QB’s difficulty with the group tasks and Rose’s difficulties when playing her part as Blousey in the performance. I think a little more colour in the events would have helped to create more drama and suspense and would have countered the repetitive nature of the letters. Linking to this I think because of the use of the letters, the book lacked description to draw the reader in and I think a little more would have helped to enhance the events happening in the book but I understand that this isn’t always possible.

As a whole this is a lovely coming of age story that has a real message throughout and could really help readers that are potentially struggling through growing up. I think it did get a little repetitive however the strong character profiles and the use of contrasting events helps to counter this and make the story more exciting. A really lovely story and one I would definitely recommend!

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