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The Beginning

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Posted in Review

Review: Supertato Veggies Assemble

Today I shall be reviewing Supertato Veggies Assemble by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

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This is a story about an evil pea wreaking havoc in the supermarket late one night. He sends an army of peas out of the freezer to destroy everyone else. Can Supertato and his friends help save the day?

One thing that draws you to this book is how colourful it is. Each page is jam packed (pun intended), with lots of action and little quirks you wouldn’t normally find in a children’s story. I particularly like the baked beans tins!

As a writer, trying to write my own novel about an animated piece of ham, Supertato gives me hope that talking food as protagonists DOES work, its actually inspired me to go back to my ham story and figure it all out.

I love how the name of the story is based on a very popular cinema franchise, it works very well and it should hook in superhero fans no matter the age.

What I find fascinating are the illustrations, I enjoy how the broccoli and fish fingers are drawn, using bubbles as inspiration.

The narration, to me, is very Batman the TV series – esque, it’s all I hear in my head when reading it out loud to my children, now that I’ve told you this you will probably feel the same way. For those not familiar with the style just imagine a narrator describing a situation and then questioning the outcome, it’s effective and gets you thinking ahead to what may happen. With it being a children’s story it is light hearted and very fun to read.

Another thing I enjoy is the superhero team, one of which is a tomato. We find out something interesting about tomatoes in this book, something which children may not know so I like how it’s approached.

If you are looking for a quick book to read to your child this is definitely the book for you. It isn’t wordy at all, yet it still works out well as the illustrations tell the story just as effectively as the narrative.

Comments from my son

“I like the fish fingers looking at the evil pea”

If you like this book try Supertato Run, Veggies Run! By Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

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DID YOU LIKE THIS REVIEW?

As any reviewer will tell you, do your homework, and the results will pay off, so homework is what I did. If you feel I’ve missed something, please let me know. I’ve got notes upon notes of what to put in and leave out. Likewise, if it’s too long or too short do let me know. I’m refining this skill little by little every day.

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Posted in Review, writing

Review: The Bean Machine

The next review is The Bean Machine by Adam Bestwick.

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Image result for adam bestwick the bean machine

My Rating: 6 out of 10

My Son’s Rating: 10 out of 10

It’s about a bean obsessed boy, who loves to eat beans all day every day. A problem arises when he eats so much that even mum and dad don’t know what to do with all the empty tins. Can Jack find a way to deal with the tin crisis?

I enjoy rhyming stories and this ticks all the boxes with rhythm, pattern and readability, it’s easy to read, though at first, it does seem very wordy, it soon picks up pace. The text goes well with the imagery and I feel Adam achieved his goal of telling a story and also teaching his readers some good life skills.

I would say it’s aimed at around 7 year old’s, but younger children would benefit from this story too.

What children will love about this is that the story goes in depth about what he eats beans with, some combinations that children would love and adults would squirm at.

The illustrations are engaging, fun and they work very well. Adam uses both drawn images and real-life images with winning effects.

There isn’t much character development, but the story isn’t about that, it’s about the outside world ideas and inspirations.

I can’t fault the story but there is a lot of emphasis on all the food combinations, I wonder if just putting in a few suggestions would have created the same effect?

This book is aimed at all beans addicts and those who love to see something good come from something so bad.

Comments from my son:
“I liked the end page the best”

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DID YOU LIKE THIS REVIEW?

As any reviewer will tell you, do your homework, and the results will pay off, so homework is what I did. If you feel I’ve missed something, please let me know. I’ve got notes upon notes of what to put in and leave out. Likewise, if it’s too long or too short do let me know. I’m refining this skill little by little every day.

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Posted in personal, writing

Writing Fertility

So, now I have daughters I am gifting them something that I hope they will find very useful and one of the best books they will ever read. It’s a fertility book written by myself, the aim is simple – to learn their own bodies, be confident about their cycles and then ultimately be comfortable enough to seek help from the GP if something isn’t right.

So far I’ve written the introduction, which includes my own experiences and advice but I am wondering whether to go down the self publishing route and make my work available to more young girls. What do you think?

I needed help, serious help in my teens, and never got it, I don’t want my girls to go down that same path hence why I call this book their best ever gift. What are your thoughts?

Posted in personal, progress, thoughts

Blog Update

Hello everyone! I haven’t posted in a long time, a lot of little things have unfortunately been high priority, most importantly the birth of my twin daughters.

I don’t like leaving things unfinished and I don’t like that I left a short story incomplete, I need to get back into the swing of things. I hope in the upcoming weeks to get this blog nice and readable, enjoyable and back to business, as it were.

Thanks for reading!

Posted in Stories, writing

Short Story: The Chair and the Tortoise

Jemma was a curious little tortoise. She often looked at the clouds, high in the sky, and wondered what it would be like to fly on them. In the winter she wondered what it would be like to sleep in an igloo and in the summer, she wondered how much ice cream it would take to make an ice cream house. Questions and ideas flooded her mind all day, every day, she just wanted to know how the world worked. Being a tortoise limited her physically sometimes, but it never hindered her ever growing, enormous imagination.

Being a tortoise means you only really see the world from the floor, not like a giraffe where they get to see treetops and other tall giraffes. Even elephants get a much better view of the Serengeti than most of the animals there; they get to watch sunsets for hours on end. Tortoises see mostly feet, swishing tails and other tortoises. Jemma wanted something more than this. She wanted to see the tops of the tallest things, and so she had a good long think about how to do just that.

While she was plodding along through some grass, she came across an abandoned chair. It had been tipped upside down, so the feet were up in the air, Jemma laughed to herself “I look like that first thing in the morning”. She realised that chairs and tortoises have a lot in common – both have four legs and they have strong backs, though she wondered what it must be like to be a chair. Sat there all day, waiting to be sat on, getting pushed in and out of tables, “it mustn’t be fun” she concluded, and it was here that she realised she felt sorry for this poor chair.

Just then, Dean, the Snake slithered along, he saw Jemma and spoke: “want me to turn it over?” Jemma nodded excitedly “Oh yes please if you don’t mind” Dean didn’t mind at all, and by slithering up the back and entwining himself around the legs, he gave it a hard tug, and it flipped the right way up. “There you go” he finished, pleased with himself. Jemma stood and stared at the chair for a few minutes and then looked at Dean, saying “I want to climb it!”

 

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Will Jemma be able to climb it? how will she go about it? What will she see and will she be happy with what she finds?

Thank you for reading, if you have any suggestions or criticism please let me know.

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You can find more of my work here.

Posted in Review

Review: The Rise and Fall of Claude the Magnificent

I’m trying to do more than just one review a week, I have hundreds of books so I need to get them all reviewed, wouldn’t you agree?

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“If horses can wear shoes, why can’t cats wear hats!” – My favourite part of the entire book

The Rise and Fall of Claude the Magnificent by Chris Capstick and illustrated by Monika Filipina is today’s review.

Image result for the rise and fall of claude the magnificent

My Rating: 10 out of 10

My Son’s Rating:

I love the idea that a cat has a strong desire to show off his artistic talents. After listening to his mum, he sets off to Paris to make a name for himself, which he thinks will be easy.  A lot of characters he bumps into tries to knock his confidence which then does happen. Is it all over for Claude?

There is a lot of text within this book, so I’d say the reading age range is probably 6+ though as a huge cat fan I’ve read this book to my 2 and 4-year-old many a time and they love each read.

The illustrations are beautiful, very pastel like with a lot of attention to detail on every page, Monika has done a fantastic job of setting the theme with the right colours, she has easily achieved her goal. Each hat Claude makes is over the top and very flamboyant, but that is what the people wanted.

As the story progresses, Claude manages to find a niche and becomes quite successful at hat making, hence the front cover image, though it comes with downsides and without spoiling it, there’s a nice little nod to Paris’ famous landmark.  His ego grows and what started out as a formidable character, you soon see his nasty streak.

I do like stories like this, where the character goes through a change.  In children’s picture books, sometimes, there aren’t any developments or changes within the character but I find my children understand the character a bit more if they were once bad but then good, or if they were good and they turn nasty, they comprehend the necessary change the character has to go through.

The story tackles, upbringings and greed very well and Chris has done an excellent job of dealing with these themes within.  It is a book I definitely recommend and enjoy.  My favourite part of the book has to be the double page spread of the giant hat because it shows off Claude’s amazing talent and gives off a very foreboding and impending doom about it.

 

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DID YOU LIKE THIS REVIEW?

As any reviewer will tell you, do your homework, and the results will pay off, so homework is what I did. If you feel I’ve missed something, please let me know. I’ve got notes upon notes of what to put in and leave out. Likewise, if it’s too long or too short do let me know. I’m refining this skill little by little every day.

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Posted in Stories, writing

Short Story: Finn the Frog and his Missing Star Part 2

The next instalment of Finn the Frog and his Missing Star

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He didn’t have a proper home like the way the birds have their nests, he usually just camped wherever his adventures lead him. He always knew where he was as he had explored the jungle a thousand times over and knew it inside out.

“I need to find my friends”, and he hopped through the woods and found Penelope Parrot, who was looking for food on the ground.

“I’ve lost my star flag, please can you help me find it?” he begged.

“Of course I will,” Penelope said “Where did you have it last?” she asked.

Finn pointed to the soil where he had been sleeping. “Erm, a flag is very light so maybe a gust of wind blew it into the trees, let me go and check, I’ll come and find you afterwards” and she opened her wings and headed towards the treetops, Finn shouted “Thanks for the help, I’m going to find Harriet Hippo”, and off he bounced towards the river.

The river was full of mud and rocks, but the one thing Finn knew was that most of the rocks were actually hippos hiding in the water, not very well either.

Finn hopped along quickly and arrived at the water hole where he saw Harriett hippo, she was sleeping, but that’s what she liked to do the most.

“Have you seen my flag, I can’t find it anywhere?” He shouted quite loudly, waking up the enormous hippo.

Waking abruptly, Harriet’s eyes bolted open and it took her a minute to realise who was talking to her “Sorry I haven’t seen it here, let me go and check the water hole, you never know it may have just blown over here and landed on the water”, and she sunk back into the water and searched for the flag. Finn wondered if Harriett would take another nap during her search and so he didn’t wait around for the results.

Only a few seconds passed, and Finn could hear the sound of monkeys through the trees, so waving Harriett Hippo goodbye, he bounced off towards the sound of the monkeys.
When he got there he saw the monkey family running around playing superhero chase, a game very close to regular chase, but everyone is a superhero. He saw Marian Monkey running behind a tree, Marvin Monkey was already halfway up a tree, but then he saw an unfamiliar face joining in with the play. He was a small monkey, and Finn heard Marian shout out “I give up Mel, where can your brothers and sisters be?” – Mel must be the youngest and newest member of the family, thought Finn. He was about to go and say hello when Mel turned around, and Finn saw his cape. It wasn’t his cape though; it was Finn’s flag, wrapped around his shoulders.

Penelope Parrot came back and while fluttering her wings in the air; she said “Finn, you’ve beaten me to it, Mel has your cape, I couldn’t find you at the watering hole, and I couldn’t wake up Harriett.

Finn was cross; he didn’t like that someone had his flag, his only treasured possession. He was about to storm in when Penelope stopped him.

“No Finn. Look at Mel, he’s only a baby and he looks so happy with it on. Maybe you should let him keep it?” she suggested. But Finn felt lost without his flag.

He was about to get even madder when one of Mel’s sisters came running through the trees towards them “Hello, don’t tell mum you’ve seen me, I want Mel to find me instead, he’s been feeling sad lately because he lost his favourite teddy in the jungle, I’d do anything to make him happy” and just like that Finn no longer felt cross or angry. He knew just what to do. He hopped straight through the opening and bounded over to Mel, who was looking around warily for his siblings.

When Mel saw Finn, he suddenly turned away in embarrassment, but Finn went over and gave him a reassuring pat on the back. Marian came over to see what the fuss was about.

“Hello Finn, is there anything we can help you with?” she asked pleasantly. Finn knew why Mel went shy, he knew Mel was going through a bad time lately, and he found happiness with his flag.

He couldn’t be cross with him at all. Just as Finn opened his mouth to speak Mel broke down in tears, took off the cape and gave it back. “Sorry I took the cape off you Mr Frog, please don’t be mad” he finished shyly. Finn took one look at Penelope, and the brave frog did a courageous thing.

“It’s OK; you need it more than me, I’m an adventurer at heart and exploring is what I like to do best. I will go and find myself a new treasure and I’ll try my hardest to find your teddy too. My name is Finn, and you have a sister hiding just beyond the trees near the river” Mel was so happy to hear this and he gave Finn a hug.

In the end, if being a brave frog means helping others before yourself then that is what you should do. Being angry is normal but when you see how happy someone else is when they’ve also had a problem you shouldn’t take their happiness away. This act of kindness is what truly made Finn a star.

 

THE END

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I hope you enjoyed this read, you can find more short stories, prose and scripts here.

I do appreciate any feedback so feel free to pass anything back, all suggestions, ideas, and improvements will be taken on board.

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