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

How to Keep a Pet Squirrel by Axel Scheffler

Hi readers, something a little more childish today but also pretty brilliant. What  I love most about book blogging is that I get the chance to read so many books from so many different genres and I know that someone out there will gain something from me posting my thoughts on it. I’ve felt a little bogged down in reviews the last few days so it’s a little bit of a sigh of relief to relax and get a book a little simpler reviewed for you today.

images

‘Such an animal is difficult to tame and always likely, when suddenly alarmed, to give our finger a nasty nip with its teeth.’ While dipping into The Children’s Encyclopaedia of 1910, Axel Scheffler came across a small but indispensible guide to procuring and caring for your pet squirrel. Intrigued by the unlikely notion of a child attempting to keep so wild an animal, Axel created a series of delightful, beautifully finished illustrations to accompany the text.

axel-scheffler002

I immediately adored this book, not  only are the illustrations utterly wonderful but they are intelligent, charming, clever and a little silly. Although this book is really aimed at adults I think because it is a little tongue-in-cheek a younger Lizzy would have absolutely loved this little book. At the back of the book you see that the inspiration was taken from a children’s encyclopedia written around the early twentieth century when it was perfectly acceptable to keep red squirrels as pets, not the case now I must add. Having said that I think this book would be loved by both audiences because despite it’s slightly mocking nature there is certainly nothing unsuitable for a younger reader.

100995_副本

The language is simple to read, and the writing moves quickly and I liked that it isn’t patronising which some children’s books can be at times. Having a headteacher of a primary school for a parent means I’ve read a fair few and they can be tedious. I liked the way that each page conveys something one must do to care for a pet squirrel, complete with Axel Scheffler’s idea on how this might look – with a couple of little twists too. Despite being a very short book it manages to get a lot in and be a really enjoyable read. The illustrations are beautiful as to be expected from the illustrator of the much adored The Gruffalo.

100997_副本

If you need any more persuasion Axel and the publishers, Faber & Faber, are donating money from each copy to red squirrel conservation in the UK which is a lovely added touch. I think this book is perfect as a stocking filler, or as a birthday present for a little one, or treat yourself. It’s a lovely tale and one I’m glad to have read.

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!

finalbookva

The Bone Cradle: C.E.Trueman

I like to mix it up now and again for mylittlebookblog, as keeping to the same genres, same age range, and generally the same books becomes dull. So, today I have a light and gentle book that is set for young adults. It is a short and sprightly book that my wonderful mum gave to me a couple of years back. At the time I promised to read it, and dutifully ignored it and put it back on the shelf where it has sat for at least four years (maybe more!) Terrible I know, however I fancied something short and sweet to get my teeth into (it’s not very long!) as I was struggling with another book I was reading! So here it is, hope you enjoy!

Ten-year-old Matt Walker has a secret, a pretty gruesome one…Still grieving for his father and rejecting his new stepfather, Matt desperately tried to get his life in gear with the usual kid’s stuff – football, internet, hanging out with friends. But when Matt and his friends accidentally stumble across a hidden house with an unusual occupant, Matt is determined to investigate and finds himself drawn into a mysterious adventure that will change him forever. The Bone Cradle follows the life of the young and naïve Matt who when his father passes away finds himself in the difficult situation of a stepfather that he isn’t to keen on. Too pass the time and to get away from the awkward living situation Matt goes on an adventure with two friends. Finding an old brick tunnel they sidestep through till they find a door; to their surprise a face appears, but it is no face they have ever seen before. Frightened and confused the children run down the tunnel vowing to never return again. However Matt’s curiosity gets the better of him and after an encounter with the man, who in fact is afflicted with an abnormality shows Matt the loneliness that he suffers and teaches him humility and sensitivity. The story shows Matt learning that all people are different and this is not something to shy away from but to embrace. However, Matt discovers that there isn’t just one person living in the house in the tunnel and he must make the decision whether to tell the world to leave his new friend in peace!

For a young reader this book is perfect; it has mystery, a little terror, and the message that doing the right thing can still cause consequences that can change you forever. In terms of length it is perfect for younger reader as the plot keeps pace meaning the story does not become to lengthy or dull which can be difficult. As adult readers we are used to waiting for the action or the need for anticipation in which to pull us into the story and into the characters. But, this isn’t always the case for the target audience of this book and therefore it needs to keep pace to keep being entertaining. However, do not pass up the chance to read this book, it is sensitive, touching and could teach us all a little about the not judging people on the first meeting. The Bone Cradle however is the ideal book for a child or a person that has not yet grasped the magic of reading; it will teach a message and may just change their want to read in the future!

Image