McSorely’s Evil Tea by Helen Ryan

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Hello readers another book review today for you to get your teeth into. I love reading books that are for a younger age group because they often have such an enjoyable silly nature to them. Don’t get me wrong give me a complex crime thriller or a riveting historical fiction any day but children’s book are brilliant at giving me a little respite and I adored this one. Get ready for one hell of a positive review. If you haven’t seen I have put all my reviews on Amazon now (fingers crossed I haven’t missed any) so for anyone that was waiting for one, I’ve finally bitten the bullet and done that. I pinky-swear to put them up as they get reviewed on mylittlebookblog going forwards frommmmm now! For now onto the review, and you might want to make a pot of tea for this one.

Sky Swift lives happily in a cosy home with her mother. She enjoys the simpler things in life like drinking tea, munching biscuits, oh and sniffing everything. One day evil pays a visit.

Her world has changed forever. Stalked by an evil tea bag and chased by an evil tea company that will stop at nothing to get her.

They want her for their wicked plan.

Sky is in trouble. She needs help.

But who can she turn to?

So this review starts with a slight confession, up until a couple of months ago I despised tea, and to a point I still do. Now, I know this basically means that I should be stripped of my British title but I just can’t stand the stuff. I do however often enjoy a peppermint tea (which although not the same is I guess a little better? Maybe, maybe not.) Either way this book revolves almost entirely around tea. As you can see from the quite short blurb it follows the lovely Sky who loves a good cup of tea. One day whilst munching a few too many biscuits, an odd man from McSorely’s tea turns up on the doorstep.

With terrible smelling breath and a penchant for licking his moustache, he scratches Sky’s mum leaving her in a terrible state, and kidnaps Sky. She escapes and is rescued by Rex who takes her to his secret hideaway. All whilst this is happening Sky is chased by an evil tea-bag: keeping up okay? After dodging the flesh eating gorillas, she meets the rest of the gang; Alice and Joe. Here she learns that each of them has a special skill to do with tea, explaining Sky’s need to sniff everything. They go on a rip-rolling adventure to work out how to disarm the evil tea bags and save River (Sky’s mum) who is currently in a coma. As they start digging they learn that there is more to the plans of the evil tea company. Can they stop the evil Tea Lady and the tea master? Can they save River?

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I think I’ve got that all in; there’s a lot to this book and I know as a younger reader I would have adored this not that I didn’t at the ripe old age of twenty-one. I thought the plot was wonderfully devised, just enough silly bits and bobs but a real understanding of how to construct a story whilst keeping it fun and exciting. I thought Sky was wonderfully written; she’s a little quiet and timid but as the story continues she develops a much more gutsy attitude. Rex is a little stuck-up and acts a lot older than his years but his sweet nature and his pain for the loss of his family is written brilliantly. Favourite character hands down: Terminate, the friendly gorilla who can’t stop kissing people. I know that would definitely have kept me in fits of giggles.

I thought the plot moved with pace and dexterity. There’s a lot to fit in and there is a switching of time zones (throughout the book we get little snippets as to how and why all of this started.) The writing has just enough description to help paint a picture of the landscape without getting bogged down. I think however what I liked best was the little details that the author has so cleverly woven in; the tea-bags being able to talk, the tree house (their secret-hideaway,) the way the tea Master turns Mister Snickering’s face inside out to punish him and the way they both talk, oh and the fact that Mister Snickering’s car drives itself so that he can go for a nap on the way; that sounds, well, brilliant. I don’t want to spoil this because it all works together so well, but trust me it’s just enough silly to be entertaining but not to ludicrous. Although we are talking about evil talking tea-bags.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it’s witty, silly, but well thought-through and brilliantly written. Thumbs-up.

Links

Amazon

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.

Links

Amazon