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

July 2021 Reading

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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.

The Boy Who Grew Dragons by Andy Shepherd

He really enjoyed this, as soon as he finished he wanted the next one in the series. We couldn’t find it so he tried book three but “it made no sense”.

He says it’s great, especially if you like How to Train Your Dragon but you have to read them in order!

Inspector Flytrap by Tom Angleberger

It was good, people who like pictures and comedy would like this because it’s quite funny. Oh and people who like goat’s and flytraps, but it was too short.

Katt vs. Dogg by James Patterson

I’m quietly hoping that he’ll get hooked on James Patterson as there are so many booked by him and I wouldn’t need to worry about keeping him supplied with books for months!

He says: very good, lots of adventures. A bit like the Bear Grylls books as they had to survive in the wild.

Little Foxes by Michael Morpurgo

This was his literacy guided reading book at school for the last half term. He’d had to come out of school just as they were choosing it for his group and he wasn’t best impressed. However, he seemed to quite enjoy it after all. He told me lots of little stories about the foxes and found his homework (usually challenging) much easier for once.

He says he hated it, awful book, too much death and he doesn’t like Michael Morpurgo because all his books have death in.

Other things

  • Borgon the Axeboy by Kjartan Poskitt
  • The Incredible Incas by Terry Deary
  • Excellent Excuses by Liz Pichon
  • Dog Man Brawl of the Wild by Dav Pilkey
  • I am so Over Being a Loser by Jim Smith
  • The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby by Dav Pilkey
  • The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers by Dav Pilkey
  • Charlie Turns into a T-Rex by Sam Copeland
  • Charlie Morphs into a Mammoth by Sam Copeland


Back to Nature by Chris Packham and Megan McCubin

This was a Christmas present for me from my brother. It’s rather an unusual format, it feels a bit like a lecture or a podcast turned into a book (maybe it is, I should find out really). As a result, there are times when its rather preachy and Chris’ passion for nature and advocacy for conservation can feel biased, verging on the extreme. He doesn’t hold back in his criticism of the links between purported conservationist organisations and big business or those with a vested interest in the status quo. I found that rather awkward and uncomfortable at times, maybe that’s the point though?

Chris wrote this book following a very successful, spontaneous social media community that built itself during lockdown in 2020. His step-daughter’s passion is just as impressive as his and her inserts about various creatures are engaging and I certainly learned lots. The chapter on rewilding is evocative and challenges our preconceptions, particularly about the reintroduction of predator species.

We found ourselves re-connecting with the outdoors and nature during that first 2020 lockdown, as many others did, so this book really spoke to me and encouraged me to think beyond my local environment and the small efforts to support wildlife that we put into our garden. I’d highly recommend it to anyone with even a spark of interest in conservation, but be warned that the preachy tone in places can be a bit overwhelming.

Small boy

Small boy is just 6. He’s just finished year 1 with amazing progress in his reading 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 Cat Who Wanted to Go Home by Jill Tomlinson

Well he started it last month, and he was making progress alongside the reading books sent home from school. However, this hasn’t sparked his imagination in the same way as other Jill Tomlinson books.

A Super Weird Mystery: Danger at Donut Diner by Jim Smith

Small boy picked this out at the library and was reading it to us after he’d had a chapter of the Ickabog each night, then on for a bit longer on his own. It was so sweet listening to him muttering to himself and sounding out the long words (sometimes very badly) by himself, giggling at the awful jokes, and then complaining that it made him feel sleepy. But ah, this is why we read at bedtime, to help us turn off and feel like going to sleep.

Love from Smell xxx

17 thoughts on “July 2021 Reading”

  1. Does that mean that ‘The Boy Who Grew Dragons by Andy Shepherd’ was the first in the series, which is why skipping to the third book made no sense?

    It doesn’t surprise me that Chris Packham’s book has taken a more nature and wildlife advocacy approach given that that’s the role he seems to have taken whenever I’ve seen him on TV. Which is fair enough, nature and wildlife need saving from the harm we as humans are doing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, he read book 1 and then tried book 3 which made no sense. Fair enough.

      I’ve taken a lot from Chris Packham’s book but there was just something about it that felt sort of over the top if you know what I mean. However, I think we need that passion to inspire us to do whatever little things we can to protect and encourage nature where we can.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that your kids love reading too! Reading is one of the easiest habits to pick up especially if you start them early! I hope August will be a good reading month for you all!

    Liked by 1 person

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