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

June 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

His reviews are getting briefer and briefer. Sorry about that.

Toto the Ninja Cat and the Great Snake Escape by Dermot O’Leary

It was OK, not the best of all the books I’ve read. I liked all the funny stuff that Toto and Silver got up to.

The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton

It told you the story of the magic faraway tree which was quite useful. I liked that it had lots of magic in and the descriptions. I’ve already read lots of others in the series.

Over Sea Under Stone by Susan Cooper

Grandma bought this for large boy, just because. She had read it to year 5 classes when she taught and she thought he might like it. Sadly, it didn’t spark his interest. He plodded through it and enthusiastically kept me up to date with the story, but he said it was all too much talking and not enough things happening. Oh well, at least he gave it a chance. I might try it next as I’ve never read it.

He says he didn’t like it much because it was too old fashioned and not enough fun stuff happened.

Iguana Boy by James Bishop

Good but very very weird. I like books with super powers in so I quite liked that. I’d recommend it to all 6 to 9 year olds.

Icarus was Ridiculous by Pamela Butchart

Good funny versions of ancient Greek myths, four stories in one book. I just liked that it was funny and that it was Greek mythology because I like that.

Other things

  • Murderous Maths by Kjartan Poskitt
  • 20 Football Stories by Alex Bellos
  • Measly Middle Ages by Terry Deary
  • The Invisible Boy by Sally Gardner
  • Agent Weasel and the Fiendish Fox Gang by Nick East
  • The Worst Class in the World by Joanna Nadin


Make Do and Mend a Broken Heart by Katey Lovell

After last month’s rather academic and deeply serious content matter, I decided I wanted some light relief. Well, this story provided a light-hearted change of tone, it was quite touching, giving me a lump in my throat at times.

Leanne is a young widow beset with all sorts of troubles; both practical and emotional. The challenges of moving to a small town are beautifully illustrated but I found the ease with which she made friends and was drawn into the community rather unbelievable. A few twists and turns lead to an inevitably happy ending, it felt like a movie waiting to be made.

That said, I didn’t much want to put it down and sincerely connected with the characters. It definitely provided the change of pace and tone that I was hoping for.

Eleven by Mark Watson

It turns out I’d read this before. It was quite far down the list of things on my Kindle when I was trying what to pick to read next but I didn’t remember the cover, so I dove in. I realised after only a couple of chapters that I’d read it before and I rarely re-read books other than the classics. However, I couldn’t remember the details and it was making me smile already so I stuck in there. It was worth it, this is a meandering story about a radio DJ escaping a past life and how little actions or inactions can have a huge impact on other people’s lives. I enjoyed the deep detail and little caricatures, each side character is neatly drawn and we know instinctively who they are. I’d definitely recommend giving this a try if you’re after something not too heavy, but not fluff either.

Down Among the Dead by Damien Boyd

I’ve been reading the Nick Dixon series for ages. I do love a detective series with running characters and a colourful pathologist (why are the most morbid characters always quirky anyway?) This time there’s a bit of archaeology for added quality – I’m a Time Team fan by the way, large boy called it Tony and Phil when he was very young because I watched it back to back whenever possible. I’ll not give away too much of the plot, but as usual there are several threads running together and Nick is annoying his superiors with his strong moral compass and refusal to abide by apparently non-sensical rules.

Small boy

Small boy is just 6. He’s in year 1 and he’s been learning to read with the marvellous Read Write Inc phonics scheme. It’s 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. It was slow going and he needs help with non-phonetic words that he hasn’t learned yet (cancel, circle, automatically, build, though….etc but the list is getting shorter) but he’s so proud of himself reading proper “grown up” books. He’s back at school so getting RWI books again but I think we’ll just review the chapter books here.

The Otter Who Wanted to Know by Jill Tomlinson

He really enjoyed this I think, the characters certainly captured his imagination as he spent time on his birthday trip to a wildlife park telling us which of their otters were Pat, Bobby and Gaffer.

The Book of Lost Spells by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris

He nabbed this from his brother’s bedroom floor (that’s where large boy keeps his books, the bookcase being for other mysterious purposes apparently) and loved the pictures. With due reason as they are very beautiful. What surprised me though was that he also read the poems, with some help on unusual words. His favourites were the fox and the silver birch.

The Cat Who Wanted to Go Home

Well he’s started it anyway, making progress alongside the reading books sent home from school.

Everything in sight

Bugger. He’s started reading absolutely everything he sees. From “what’s the British Heart Foundation?” to the entire menu before being ready to order dinner. Doesn’t count as a book, but nevertheless worth the honourable mention.

19 thoughts on “June 2021 Reading”

  1. Loved how you wrapped up all your reads in one post! Also about the book that you forgot about but apparently read before—that happens to me too haha. Sometimes I read a book and feel like I’ve read it before. I go to check on Goodreads and find that I’ve marked it read years back haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love reading the updates of what you and the boys have read x I loved The Enchanted Wood when I was younger – definitely a firm favourite! I actually have it on one of my bookshelves from when I was younger x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoyed this post. I love how you give the perspective from the boys in the form of their own review. I actually enjoy their interesting yet to the point thoughts. It is so refreshing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh those would be dated, I hadn’t thought of that – I guess they were in our time too but now – it would be almost incomprehensible. Mobile phones in the hands of the Famous Five – it’s a thought!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think it’s more the language and stereotypes that put him off. It’s all much more formal and, honestly, I’m happy for him to avoid books where the girls make tea and the boys make fire. We tried Swallows and Amazons and the first few chapters really put me off trying to persuade him to stick with it, even in the knowledge that the Amazons are tough girls. It’s all a bit out of touch with the way we look at gender these days.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I hadn’t thought of any of that – I was thinking of my own childhood reading and how much I loved the books but yes, even since then, things have changed so much that they would be very dated compared to modern ways of thinking and behaving. Thankfully.

        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.