This is not a sponsored review. I didn't receive anything for writing it. Any links are not sponsored either. I won't be compensated if you click on them.
I’ve decided to do a monthly round up for everything we’ve read each month. Himself focuses on science articles and forums and news, so he’s not getting a section – books only!
North Child by Edith Pattou
A child, Rose, meets a polar bear who used to be a man but trolls enchanted him. One day the troll queen comes and unenchants him and brainwashes him to marry her but Rose had a plan.
Large boy says it was extremely good. His favourite character was the dog Rose trained to persuade someone to give her a loom in exchange for chanterelle mushrooms. His favourite bit was where Rose stayed in the safe castle on a mountain or maybe when she went on a Viking longship with Thor. He finished it just as term started and aced his first reading quiz of the school year.
The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket
Large boy devoured this in the first 2 days back at school. The Beaudelaire children are sent to live with a herpetologist (Monty, a snake scientist), but Count Olaf (the bad guy) pretends to be his assistant and kills Monty.
It was very good according to large boy. His favourite character is the incredibly deadly viper which isn’t even deadly at all, it wouldn’t hurt a fly. The best bit was when they first entered the reptile room.
The Worst Witch – The Wishing by Jill Murphy
I was so pleased when he brought this home during the first week of school. I loved these books as a child, and its refreshing that he’s completely open minded about a female protagonist. He zoomed through it and told me all about the characters, then sought out the TV series on Netflix and forced small boy to watch it.
Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
Magnus is the mortal son of Norse god Frey, he’s gone to Valhalla, escaped Valhalla and tied Fenris Wolf up in a previous book. In this book he has to tie Loki back up using his floating talking sword and healing powers.
Large boy wrote the review above having snatched my phone away because I wasn’t explaining it properly, so I think we can say he enjoyed it to the extent that he feels some ownership of the story.
I Am Nit a Loser by Jim Smith
Barry Loser wants to enter a competition for an advert for nit killing stuff. When he finds he can’t rollerskate his friends find someone else. Then he realises he’s just not a bug killer. He organised a big protest with old ladies and one of them pushed a pram full of sausage dogs into his ex-friend who then got fleas. He read it really fast so must have enjoyed it.
The 65-Storey Tree House by Andy Griffiths
Andy and Terry go time travelling and cause loads of trouble. Large boy says it was “good good good”. Succinct as ever!
Never and Forever by Cressida Cowell
The publication day arrived after a very long wait for large boy. I’d sneakily pre-ordered this as a signed copy because I knew how much he was looking forward to it. The look of delight on his face when he opened the package after school was just brilliant. He read 150 pages the first night and finished it (half an hour after lights out) the second evening. Suffice to say, he loved it!
What he loved just as much was the personal message from the author:
Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan
Annabeth is missing and the goddess Artemis is chains. With the Ophitasorus on loose, Percy is on a quest to save them.
Large boy enjoyed this one, he’s spouting all sorts of facts about gods and so on again.
Just Annoying by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
He was laughing so loud when he started this that we could hear him from his bedroom while we were downstairs in the sitting room. Not the heavy, intellectual fodder of Cressida Cowell or deeply complex mythology of Rick Riordan but we all need a good giggly book from time to time.
Read but not reviewed…
…because I’m nagging him too much:
- The Curse of the Drowned Pearl by Robin Stevens
- Various abridged Shakespeares, including: Hamlet, Richard III, Henry V, MacBeth
- Abridged Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
- Most of Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
The Guest Cat by Takashi Haraide
At the end of last month I read a blog post by The Book’s Whiskers about 6 must-read cult classics whose titles confound cats. I don’t know what stood out to me from her review that made me want to read this, but I went straight over to Amazon and bought the Kindle edition.
I found this quite entrancing, its very different from what I usually read and definitely feels more like classical literature. I never really felt like I knew where the story was going, which also felt unfamiliar as my usual detective novels always end with the cops catching the bad guys, even after many twists and turns.
I had the impression that the translation was a little awkward in places. About two thirds of the way through, near the beginning of a chapter there’s a phrase “how must we see through coloured glasses”. Usually the expression is “rose-tinted glasses”. There were just these odd turns of phrase here and there, I wasn’t sure if it was the translation or whether they were expressed equally quirkily in the original, deliberately so.
At the end the narrator explained that the novel, if its really a novel, was composed of many enchained essays and journal articles. Maybe a bit like a bunch of blog posts reorganised and glued together, and suddenly the whole thing made more sense. It had felt sort of disjointed the whole way through and that must be why.
The Guilty Ones by Joy Ellis
After a hiatus with some quirky fiction and non-fiction before that, I’m feeling rather tired with a cold and the kids back at school. So I’ve gone back to a genre and author that I love and I know will reliably entertain me.
This next foray for Jackman and Evans is another thrilling one. There’s suspense and intrigue aplenty, with hints of romance for the established characters going on in the background. The inimitable Rory is back as the pathologist and familiar places in the action. Just what I needed.
Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine
I loved this book as a teenager, its non-fiction but with Adams’ brilliant, self-deprecated sense of humour pasted all over it to make me laugh out loud – even on the tenth read! I primarily picked this back off my bookcase because I think large boy would like it – I suspect he might struggle still with some of the concepts. It reminded me how long the plight of endangered species has been going on – the book is almost 30 years old – and where’s the progress? Its shameful that many of the species described remain at huge risk of extinction.
Small boy has just turned 5. He’s just started year 1 and he’s learning to read with the marvellous Read Write Inc phonics scheme. Its brilliant and he’s made huge progress since we began home learning. This month he’s read:
- In The Night (RWI pink)
- Pat the Vet (Oxford/RWI, set 1)
- The Big Egg (Oxford, stage 2)
- Red Ken (RWI purple)
- Can you see me (Oxford/RWI)
- Stitch the Witch (RWI green)
- A Bed for Kit (Oxford/RWI)
- Leggy (Oxford/RWI)
- Ken’s Cap (RWI purple) – hurrah! school have got him on the same level he was reading over the summer
- The Witch’s Kitchen (Oxford/RWI)
- A Big Egg (Oxford/RWI)