Kindle and mug of tea sitting in the sun
Children, Reading, Review

February 2021 Reading

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!

Large boy

How to Capture an Invisible Cat by Paul Tobin

Delphine is just a normal girl, she befriends a lonely boy called Nate who has no friends as he’s a genius. Every Friday 13th he does three bad things and one was to create an invisible cat and put molecules on six people. The children need to use a molecule scanner to find out the formula and put it on the giant invisible cat without it catching them. Guess what mum, the formula was actually peanut butter and they had to spread it on the cat while it was sleeping!

Large boy says it was good and my favourite bit was when they tried to get the molecule off the toad because one of the people had passed it onto their pet goldfish who got into a stream and passed it on to the toad.

The Grunts All at Sea by Philip Ardagh

Mr Grunt as a job to deliver a person of great importance (POGI) in a barrel to a island. But mysterious Max and Martha and Rodders Lasenby try to stop them and it turns out that the POGI was actually one of their friends trying to attract attention so that the real one could get to the island safely.

Large boy says “it was good”, succinct as ever.

George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy Hawking

George makes friends with Annie and Eric, they discover a key that opens the universe to him. George has to use his knowledge about science stuff to help save Eric from inside a black hole.

While he was reading it, large boy said there was a lot of science in it, but he enjoyed it.

Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

One of the school mums recommended an app called CloudLibrary and large boy was so excited to get it and find that this book was available. He purloined my old phone, we installed the app and then he disappeared for chunks of the day to find out what would happen.

He says it was REALLY good but instead of reviewing it for me, he’s got his head stuck in The 117 Storey Treehouse.

Other things

  • Mr Majeika and the Ghost Train by Humphrey Carpenter
  • The 117 Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules but Jeff Kinney (re-read but he didn’t realise til half way through)


My Father My Enemy by J. P. Reedman

A rather lightweight read for me to kick off the month. I think I’d seen a review or an author post somewhere or an offer and downloaded this onto my Kindle ages ago. Its a winding story of an illegitimate daughter of Henry I, the main characters are well drawn but many of those on the edges of the story seem unfinished. There are moments in the story that seem without purpose as the main threads evolve. If you’re wanting an easy read to get lost in, this book certainly fulfils that objective. Its not a patch on Philippa Gregory for female centric historical fiction though.

The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery

Large boy’s very insistent recommendation after he read it in January. It took me a few chapters to warm up, its aimed at children after all so I had to adjust a bit. That said, large boy (and indeed my parents who bought it for him) sure can pick them!

I loved the richness and colour of this story, its full of wonderful characterisations and the reflection of action and emotion in the physical world (there’s a word for that and I ought to know it, I did A level English Literature but I’ve forgotten) really adds to the power of the writing. I can certainly see why large boy enjoyed it so much.

The additional depth was the afterward, the author explained so much of the background of the second world war and how hard life was for children in particular at that time. The end of the story made me teary but the commentary on the kindertransport really hit home as well.

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

I’ll be honest, I started this towards the end of the month and I’m only about a third of the way through. So far it’s amazing, my eyes are opened on every page as I realise the tiny ways that our everyday lives are biased towards white men’s experiences. From clearing snow in the Nordic countries, to planning new housing in South America, and gathering data in itself.

I’m sure its not a surprise to you, either that I’m reading this or that I’m absorbed by it – I’ve written about inclusion, gender equality impact for boys and for girls, as well as my inspirational LeanIn leader where I work. Having read Hello World by Hannah Fry last August, this is a natural next step – rather than algorithm bias, data bias – doubtless leading to biased algorithms too.

Small boy

Small boy is 5 and a half. He’s in year 1 and he’s been learning to read with the marvellous Read Write Inc phonics scheme. Its brilliant and he’s made huge progress since we began home learning back in March 2020.

In December, he read his RWI and other school books plus a couple from the library. Then, at Christmas, large boy realised he hadn’t got his brother a present and went to fetch some books he’d grown out of… and now small boy gets a proper book review of his own. Its slow going and he needs help with non-phonetic words that he hasn’t learned yet (sure, cancel, circle, automatically, build, though, enough….etc) but he’s so proud of himself reading proper “grown up” books.

13 Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

He started reading this in mid-January and he’s still going strong, laughing as he goes at the silliness of the story. He determination and perseverance are wonderful to watch. Hopefully, he’ll finish it in early March and we’ll be back to some more varied school books soon.

Love from Smell xx

18 thoughts on “February 2021 Reading”

  1. It’s wonderful that you’re encouraging your boys to write reviews. We’re doing that with our Year 5 & 6s as part of explanation text module. I personally think that it’s a great habit to get into as secondary school education is all about reviewing and assessing your own work as well as your peers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Large Boy’s succinct reviews: “It was good”. Spot on πŸ‘

    Some interesting ones here. The Invisible Women book is one I’ve come across recently and would like to read. Sounds like an eye-opening one, though I imagine it being pretty infuriating too. Enjoy the rest of it! x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A great selection of books, thanks for sharing what you’ve been reading! I absolutely loved Invisible women – such a mind-blowing read x

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.