The Secrets Tree – The Hounds Of Penhallow Hall

The Secrets Tree is the fourth book from The Hounds of Penhallow Hall series. Written by Holly Webb, illustrated by Jason Cockcroft & published by Stripes/ Little Tiger, this mysterious series is aimed at 8-10-year-olds. Eva was kindly sent a copy to review. You can buy paperback copies from Amazon for £5.99.

The Secrets Tree

The Secrets Tree

The Secrets Tree series is perfect for dog-lovers and anyone who desires some mystery and magic! Set in the atmospheric Cornish coastal setting, rich in history an legend…

Polly & rex are in search of a new ghost dog whilst celebrations are in full swing at the stately home. They come across a dog’s head carved in a door down the old stable block. They also wake a terrier called patch, only for him to run away. Polly & rex find him hiding in a hollow tree and find themselves on the trail of an even greater mystery. Inside the tree is a coded message! Can Polly & Rex unravel the mystery of the dog’s young master and his brother?

Eva’s Thoughts

Eva enjoyed reading The Secrets Tree but found it a rather quick read as she has become quite a bookworm! She really loved the story being based around dogs. As Eva has moved on to books such as the Harry Potter series recently, she likes a little more mystery. She thinks children who love mysteries will really enjoy the  Secrets Tree and it will encourage them to love reading mystery series like The Hounds of Penhallow Hall. Having read several books by Holly Webb now, Eva thinks she is a fantastic author and loves discovering some of the 100+ books HollWebb has written.

If you have a mystery-loving reader who also loves dogs then this book is definitely perfect. They will be sure to love the Hounds of Penahllow Hall series. 

Have you heard of the Hounds of Penhallow Hall series before?

Night Shade – Star Friends Series – Book Review

Star Friends: Night Shade is the latest book in the Star Friends Series which Eva was sent to review. Written by Linda Chapman & published by Stripes, this book is aimed at children aged 7-9 years. You can buy a paperback copy for £5.99. 

Night Shade - Star Friends Series

Star Friends Series

In this magical series, Maia and her friends meet the Star Animals! When they do, a whole world of magical adventure unfolds right before their very eyes! This fantastic series features four best friends for readers to identify with. Join Maia and her friends as they fae realistic friendship issues with their adorable animal familiars. An engrossing world of magic and fantasy for young, inspired, animal-loving readers!

The Star friends series is ideal for fans of My Secret Unicorn, The Rescue Princesses and Rainbow Magic readers looking for a more challenging adventure! 

Night Shade

Star Friends: Night Shade is the fifth book in the Star Friends series by the best-selling author Linda Chapman. Beautifully Illustrated by Lucy Flemming, this magical story is a fantastic read. 

Ever since Maia and her friends stopped Auntie Mabel from using dark magic to cause trouble in their small seaside village of Westcombe, life has been peaceful for the girls and their Star Animals. The latest threat shows the peace was only temporary though! All the adults have started behaving rather oddly. The girls will have to use all their Star Magic skills against these forces of dark magic! Can they defeat the dark magic?

Eva’s Thoughts

I love the Star Friends series! It is so cool and they have really cute animal friends. My favourite part was reading whether or not Maia and her friends could defeat the shades! It’s an action-packed, thrilling read and I can’t wait until the sixth book! Magical stories like this are really fun to read.

Love books like this? Check out our other Book Reviews to discover more fab titles!

Invasion Of The Giant Nits – Pet Defenders Series

Eva read the Pet Defenders Series new book – Invasion of the giant nits this week. Written by Gareth P. Jones and illustrated by Steve May this book is available in paperback for £5.99. Published by Stripes, this series is great for children aged 6-8.

Pet Defenders Series

Pet Defenders Series

The Invasion of The Giant Nits is part of Pet Defenders, a hilarious and fast-paced series. Pet Defenders reveals what our pets get up to when we aren’t there: Saving the world! We might think our pets are sleeping soundly when we are out but instead they are defending the planet from aliens. Centre on the unusual, yet highly successful partnership between a cat and dog. Two unlikely allies who must work together for the god of man and pet-kind alike!

Invasion Of The Giant Nits

Invasion Of The Giant Nits

Biskit and Mitzy are confronted by a large alien spider in their latest adventure! The alien spider plans to destroy the planet and she has an army of nits which she can enlarge with a blast from her own invention, the Relativisor! She can also shrink things using her Relativisor, such as Mitzy! Mitzy ends up the size of a louse, clinging to Biskit’s head! Can the Pet Defenders stop the nits ripping Earth apart? 

Eva’s Thoughts

This series follows Mitzy & Bizkit’s adventure to stop Anna scratch, a large alien spider from destroying the planet! Anna Scratch used to work for the SUPA Agents but she turned bad. My favourite part of this book is when Mitzy is shrunk by Anna Scratch and is in Bizkit’s ear! I really enjoyed reading this book and can’t wait to discover more of the Pet Defenders series, it’s really fun!

Looking for more book recommendations? Head over to our Book Reviews page and check out other books we’ve enjoyed!

Shine: Chloe Centre Stage – Book Review

Eva read SHINE: Chloe Centre Stage this week, thanks to Stripes who kindly sent her a copy to review. Written by Holly Webb and illustrated by Monique Done, this is the first book in the series. Shine introduces children to stage and friendship dramas, perfect for 6-8-year-olds. Available on Amazon for £5.99.

Shine: Chloe Centre Stage

Shine: Chloe Centre Stage

Chloe loves to dance and passes the audition for the Shine school for performing arts! Shine is a full-time stage school many children dream of getting in to, yet it’s only the first challenge for Chloe! She’ll be taking classes in dance and drama every day. Surrounded by people as passionate as she is, it’s much harder to stand out at Shine compared to her old school where the talented and extroverted Chloe was the star.

Whilst the other girls in Chloe’s year at Shine school seem nice, she finds it trickier to make friends than she expected. Chloe starts mucking around in class and finds herself the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons. After a prank she pulls goes wrong there are rumours she may be expelled! Chloe has to try and turn things around before it’s too late!

Eva really enjoyed reading Chloe Centre Stage and is really keen to read more of the series. Immediately hooked she read the entire book in one sitting! 

Eva’s Thoughts

I really enjoyed this book and hope to read more of the series and find out more about Chloe at Shine stage school. A performing arts school sounds really cool, everyone wants to go to Shine.

Chloe starts playing pranks and people start to like her. It all goes wrong when Chloe does a prank by accident! This part was really entertaining and made me laugh. I can’t wait to read the next book and see what she gets up to next.

Do you have a performing arts fan who would love a series like this too? 

New Series! – Our Favourite Books This Week

We decided to start a new series of Our favourite books this week back up for summer! The girls are always discovering new books at the library as well as books we are sent to review and those we discover in shops.

New Series! Our Favourite Books This Week

New Series!

Things got a little busy over the last year so we haven’t had much time to cover our favourite books each week. Everything has finally calmed down and we have plenty of time for a new series again. We love to discuss and share our thoughts on the books we find again! We decided it was the perfect time to start a new series of ‘Our Favourite Books This Week’.

 

Eva’s Favourite Books This Week

With the library holding the summer reading challenge it has inspired Eva to look for a new series after reading all of the Harry Potter books. We came across the Araminta Spook series which Eva was instantly drawn to. She is very much like me and enjoys anything with magic, vampires, ghouls etc.

Araminta Spook Book Series

Eva picked up 3 books she had spotted from the Araminta Spook series to try. When we got home she quickly read them all, one after the other! She managed 2 in one night and the 3rd the next morning. Eva’s favourite book from this series was Skeleton Island because they find jewels and trick Nosey Nora!

You might also be interested in St Grizzle’s School for Girls, Gremlins and Pesky Guests

Eva was also sent a few books to review from Little Tiger this month and she has already read St Grizzles School For Girls, Gremlins And Pesky Guests which you can read a full review here. Eva absolutely loves the St Grizzles Series and eagerly awaits the next book!

Izzy’s Favourite Books This Week

Izzy’s favourite book this week is Let’s Dance by Ann Bryant and Jakki Moore. Izzy finds it funny that Dolly’s dancing makes Harry excited which annoys Meg, his owner. Eventually, Dolly convinces Meg that dancing is fun and she joins in!

Let's Dance

 

Our Favourite Books This Week

Cock-a-doodle-poo! is by far our favourite book this week. Eva has taken to reading the story exactly how Steve Smallman read it on stage! This has Izzy in hysterics every single time and it even has adults giggling away. I honestly never thought I’d find a book that talks about poo the whole way through so amusing but it is written fantastically.

Cock-a-doodle-poo! by Steve Smallman

Octopants is our second favourite book this week, it’s another funny book about an octopus hunting pants! Have you ever seen octopants in shops before? This book is so colourful and well illustrated as well as fun to read which the girls have been reading together repeatedly!


Octopants written by Suzy Senior & Illustrated by Claire Powell

What are your children’s favourite books this week? Have you read any of these?

 

St Grizzle’s School For Girls, Gremlins And Pesky Guests

St Grizzle’s School For Girls, Gremlins And Pesky Guests was kindly sent to Eva to read and review. This is the fourth book in the series, written by Karen McCombie, illustrated by Becka Moor & published by Stripes, an imprint of the Little Tiger Group. This hilarious series follows Dani and her entertaining adventures at St Grizzle’s.

 

St Grizzle’s School For Girls, Gremlins And Pesky Guests


You might also be interested in St Grizzle’s School for Girls, Gremlins and Pesky Guests

A flood closes the village school so Dani’s fun & quirky headteacher Lulu invites the staff and pupils to join them at St Grizzle’s school. Dani & her friends can’t believe it, they bump into sneery Spencer and his annoying friends in the village enough as it is! Now, they will have to share lessons with them too, what could be worse?


Inside page of You might also be interested in St Grizzle’s School for Girls, Gremlins and Pesky Guests

It doesn’t take long for pupils to clash, there are constant pranks and even the teachers aren’t getting on! To top it all, St Grizzle’s school show rehearsals are underway and it’s turning into a disaster!

Eva’s Thoughts

The story is about Dani and her friends having to share St Grizzle’s School For Girls with the  Twittering primary school children. The Twittering primary school children try to make the school more sensible. My favourite part is when they were at Twittering primary school for their school fair. It is a really funny book with lots of silly pranks!

Twittering primary school fair

St Grizzle’s School For Girls, Gremlins And Pesky Guests is available on Amazon for £5.99. You can also find it in Waterstones and WHSmith.

If you haven’t read any of the St Grizzles series before you can read our previous reviews here:

St Grizzle’s School For Girls, Goats And Random boys – Book Review, St Grizzles School For Girls, Ghosts And Runaway Grannies, and St Grizzle’s School For Girls, Geeks And Tag-Along Zombies.

We love this series and think it’s a great book for children aged 7-9 years like Eva, who really enjoys quirky, funny story lines.

Do you know someone who would love to read this too?

Little Tiger Party At Kidzania London

We attended the Little Tiger Party at Kidzania London on Saturday and it was fantastic! Having attended Little Tigers Birthday party last year we were really excited to be invited this year too. The girls love Little Tiger books & they couldn’t wait to find out about new books & meet the authors and illustrators. Surprisingly Izzy remembered last year’s Little Tiger Party, the books & activities we took part in. When I told her we had been invited she was so excited!

Little Tiger Party at Kidzania

 

Little Tiger Party

The Little Tiger Party (#TigerPBParty) was held at Kidzania in London where they recently teamed up to create a Little Tiger Library. The library is within Kidzania, giving children a chance to discovers new authors and role play as a librarian too. We arrived a little after 9.30am and greeted by a lovely breakfast buffet. We soon moved into the Kidzania Theatre where several authors & illustrators were ready to tell us about their books.

Kidzania globe

Blue Monster Wants It All

Blue Monster Wants It All! By Jeanne Willis

First up was Jeanne Willis who Izzy mistook for the queen! Jeanne read her book ‘Blue Monster wants it all’ a fantastic story that leaves children with a positive message. Blue monster isn’t happy with anything and thinks he needs a new everything. Even as a baby he wanted everything new from a new pram to a new cuddly toy. I got so absorbed into the storyline that I accidentally forgot to get a picture of Jeanne Willis reading to us, oops!

Blue monster throws away anything old and demands a new replacement. He even get’s rid of all his old toys, family and even the sun! All in search of something newer, shinier & better only to find you can’t buy new friends and family. When Blue monster realises this he quickly repairs his old broken plane and flies back home to his old family! It’s so easy to get caught up with having to have everything new, especially for children these days. I love that there is a story like to help remind children of what is actually important! Such a lovely way to start the Little Tiger Party.

Octopants

Suzie Senior & Claire Powell talking about their new book - Octopants!

We then learnt the origin of the second book, Octopants written by Suzy Senior & illustrated by Claire Powell. Poor Octopus has no underpants and can’t find any, no matter how hard he tries! Luckily he eventually comes across a solution! This is a fun, colourful book for kids and both girls really enjoyed both the book & the presentation.

Octopants written by Suzy Senior & Illustrated by Claire Powell

We learnt the Octopants song which was pretty funny! We helped to come up with some new pant ideas for the octopus, from chicken pants & dinosaur pants to unicorn pants. There were several amusing suggestions leaving Claire to figure out how to turn the idea into pants.

Look Out! It’s A Dragon!

Look out, it's a dragon! By Jonny Lambert
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Next up, Jonny Lambert author of ‘Only Lonely Panda’ came on to the stage. He told us about Saffy the dragon in his new book ‘Look out! It’s a dragon!’ and how he created her. Jonny uses a process called scratch & tickle where he adds paint to his image and scrapes & dabs it with various items until he is happy with it. When he created Saffy he then tore a piece of card to create her belly & finishing the process. This gives Saffy a lovely texture & depth throughout the book.

Jonny Lambert explaining the 'Scratch & tickle' process.

Jonny also showed us how to make a 3D cardboard dragon, this led to Izzy having a slight hissy fit. Izzy thought the dragon story was written because of her Cardboard box dragon. Of course, this meant she wanted to be a helper on stage! She was quite upset at not being chosen but she was very pleased to catch up later on with Jonny. She found him in the Little Tiger library helping children colour & cut out their own dragon & they sat drawing for a while!

Jonny Lambery & Izzy colouring & drawing together.

Saffy isn’t like the other dragons & wants to find a lovely new home. She comes across one and tries to make friends. Everyone is scared of Saffy though as dragons have quite a reputation though & they tell her to go away. When the other dragons come along and ruin their lovely home, Saffy rescues everyone and takes them to a lovely new home.

Cock-A-Doodle-Poo!

Cock-a-doodle-poo! book - Little Tiger Books

The last book, Cock-A-Doodle-Poo was read out by author Steve Smallman who had all of us giggling! Who knew there was so much poo on a farmyard or just how funny a book about poo can actually be!? Rooster is causing a lot of mess & havoc on the farmyard, especially for farmer Jill, but apparently, poo can even be life-saving!

Cock-a-doodle-poo! being read by author Steve Smallman at the #TigerPBParty

Kidzania London

After the party, we were kindly gifted tickets to explore Kidzania London, a huge indoor roleplay place for kids. There are so many jobs for children to try out, they earn Kidzo’s for each job.

Emergency Ambulance - Kidzania

Children can spend their well-earnt Kidzos on activities such as abseiling or riding around in various emergency vehicles or spend them in the final gift shop before leaving. You can even save your Kizos for your next trip and save up for something special!

Renault Formula E

Eva changing a Renault Formula E tyre- Kidzania

Eva was happy to go off and try out a few jobs starting with changing a Renault Formula E wheel. Unfortunately I’m not too sure what else she learnt in the Renault garage, I did ask a member of staff and explained I was there as a blogger and hoped to write about it before we went in but as Izzy discovered at the same time I couldn’t go in with her, I didn’t get a chance to find anything out.

Surgery

Eva performing surgery - Kidzania

Eva really enjoyed performing surgery too & overall she really enjoyed Kidzania, other than the music being a little too loud for her liking. We will look into seeing if they hold quieter days so she can try out a few more activities. I think if we had known how big Kidzania was we would have organised a friend to pick us up so we could do a full day and try everything!

Water Aid science laboratory - Kidzania

Parents aren’t allowed in the activities & the doors are closed which is great for children’s independence but unfortunately, Izzy was put off immediately. She was eventually persuaded by the open water aid centre where she learnt about using clean water and how to make bubbles which she loved! Izzy is really interested in germs & washing her hands regularly so it’s not surprising she enjoyed this activity.

Lovabella Baby Centre

Izzy caring for Lovabella dolls in the baby centre - Kidzania

Thankfully we lost her again when she spotted the Lovabella baby centre! This was the only activity she was happy to do alone. She really enjoyed herself and was happy to go in alone which was a huge relief!

Lovabella Baby Centre - Kidzania

Izzy also considered surgery but seeing the dummy & apron she had to wear put her off, seeing Eva perform the surgery even more so. By next year I’m sure she will love it though and happuly go into each activity alone. I can see us investing in annual passes as a gift for the girls in the future. I imagine once they are used to the venue I will be able to happily sneak off to the parents garden and leave them to it!

Saffy the dragon signed by Jonny Lambet to Eva & Izzy

Overall we had a fantastic day at the Little Tiger Party and can’t thank Little Tiger & Kidzania enough for having us. To really top the day we came home with a signed copy of each book & one of Jonny’s Saffy artworks he used on stage to explain scratch & tickle, which we absolutely love! I love that the girls both told everyone to sign Izzy/Isobella as Issobella, it became a little joke, Izzy Issobella! An amusing memory for the girls to look back on. Little Tiger parties are the best, we really enjoy these events and hope to get invited to the next one too!

St Grizzle’s School For Girls, Geeks And Tag-Along Zombies

Eva’s been reading St Grizzle’s School For Girls, Geeks And Tag-Along Zombies. Written by Karen McCombie and Illustrated by Becka Moor, this is the 3rd book in the St Grizzle’s Series. Available in paperback for £5.99 this fab book is published by Stripes, an imprint of Little Tiger.

St Grizzle's school for girls, geeks and tag-along zombies

St Grizzle’s School For Girls, Geeks And Tag-Along Zombies

We join Dani back at St Grizzle’s School for a third time as she discovers mixing her new and old life isn’t as easy as she thought. A shy new student suddenly disappears at St Grizzle’s, making life harder for Dani. Along with her friends, Dani has to unravel a truth about this shy tag-along zombie! As always with St Grizzle’s it sounds like a wacky story just from the title.

Previous Books

Having read St Grizzles School For Girls, Goat and Random Boys & St Grizzle’s School For Girls, Ghosts and runaway Grannies, Eva though this sounded fantastic. As a fan of boarding school series such as Malory Towers as a child myself, I can totally see the appeal.

Karen McCombie has written yet another fantastically funny storyline for Dani and her friends and had Eva absorbed from the first page. With its humour and references to YouTube Bloggers, zombies and chaos it kept her entertained until the very last page.

St Grizzle's School

Eva managed to read St Grizzle’s School For Girls, Geeks and Tag-Along Zombies in one day. She sat there giggling her head off turning page after page. I love seeing Eva unable to put a book down, truly engrossed the storyline and characters. We will definitely be waiting impatiently for the next book in the series. I am sure Izzy will eventually come to love the St Grizzle’s series too.

Has your child read any of the St Grizzle’s School series yet? Do you think it may be a series they could enjoy?

 

Fang-Tastic Friends – Vlad The Worlds Worst Vampire

Eva received Fang-Tastic Friends, the second in the Vlad The World’s Worst Vampire series this week. Written by Anna Wilson, Illustrated by Kathryn Durst and published by Little Tiger, Fang-Tastic Friends is a great sequel which Eva loved. This hilarious and charmingly illustrated paperback for kids is just £5.99.

Fang-Tastic Friends - Vlad The World's Worst Vampire

Fang-Tastic Friends

Vlad is back on another Fang-tastic journey full of hysterical yet relatable moments giving a comical twist to common issues children face. Vlad’s main focus is making friends and fitting in at human school. Vlad’s parents take a trip to Transylvania, leaving him with Grandpa Gory giving Vlad a chance to sneak off to human school. There’s a catch though, whilst Vlad stays with Grandpa Gory he has to complete, and master a list of vampire challenges to impress his parents with or there’ll be trouble!

Engrossed

Eva couldn’t wait to sink her teeth into this Fang-tastic sequel and join Vlad and his Fang-Tastic Friends. In fact, she was so excited she ended up reading the book in one sitting, sneakily staying awake until gone 9 pm! Having really enjoyed Vlad The Worlds Worst Vampire, which she regularly re-reads I wasn’t too surprised Eva had become so engrossed in the story. I was very much the same at her age.

Worried

Vlad is worried he won’t make any Fang-Tastic friends at human school but he soon makes friends with Minxie. Minxie quickly finds out Vlad is a vampire but she keeps his secret. Continuing to practice his vampire challenges, Vlad feels stressed that he can’t get the hang of mind-control.

 Mind-Control

Vlad feels like he can’t master mind-control, even trying to call Flit his pet bat, doesn’t work. That is, until Boz a school bully keeps bothering Vlad & Minxie. Wishing the class tadpoles would leap out of their tank and on to Boz the bullies head seems to work at least! Eva found this hilarious! She found it even funnier when Vlad pictures Boz tripping, flying into the bike shed & Boz being covered in spiders, works too. Vlad is worried though as his mind-control only seems to work on Boz!!

Fang-Tastic Friends Back Cover

What Happens Next

Eva says she can’t wait to see what happens next and is totally hooked on this series. She hopes it isn’t too long until Fang-tastic Friends is followed by a third book in the series. Fang-Tastic Friends is fantastic, even I got a bit engrossed flicking through the book. This is definitely a series full of humour and issues children and young vampires face. We can’t wait to read more about Vlad and his Fang-tastic Friends.

Do you love the sound of Fang-tastic Friends too? Have you read the first book yet?

 

 

 

Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack Join Gymnastics – Book Review

We received Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack Join Gymnastics (RRP £8.99) to review. Written by Gemma Coles, this colourful children’s book is inspired by relatable real life class experiences. Izzy loves showing off her ‘yoga’ so I knew she would love this book, Eva also has an interest in gymnastics. We sat down together to find out more about Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack when they joined gymnastics for the first time.

Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack Join Gymnastics

Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack Join Gymnastics

The illustrations by Anthony Charles are simple but effective and the girls found them really fun to look at as we read the story. Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack are superstar gymnastics but the book takes us back to their very first lesson. As most children are when starting a new class, Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack were very nervous.

Feeling Nervous

The other children quickly show their excitement at having new classmates and introduce themselves to Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack. As each child showed off their gymnastic skills Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack still Felt nervous. They soon joined in though with lots of encouragement from coach Gemma Gym. In no time at all they were having so much fun they both forgot to be nervous.

Having Fun

Bendy Wendy and Jumping Jack soon realise they have special talents of their own just like the rest of their new classmates. They become superstar gymnastics and love going to their gymnastic class each week and learning new skills.

Joining In

The girls really loved this story with its fun illustrations and cool gymnastics throughout. There are so many positive messages throughout the book and I love how encouraging it is for children. Whilst it is about gymnastics the same worries apply to all new situation for children and adults alike.

 

Head Over Heels About Gymnastics

Head over heels about gymnastics also offer a tutorial DVD or App and a book containing everything you need to know about developing a range of essential gymnastics skills. Head over to their website to find out more!