Category > Children books

Journey to the River Sea

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Journey to the River Sea Eva Ibbotson, book reviewThis book by the Austrian born British author was published in 2001 and was since reissued with a foreword by Michael Mopurgo. ‘River Sea’ is the name the Indians who live in Brazil give to the broad Amazon and the book tells the story of the orphan Maia who sets out with her governess to find shelter with relatives who live in Brazil. Maia is very hopeful that they will be nice but, like many of Ibbotson’s adopted families, they turn out to be sadistic and in it only for the money. They also hate the rain forest and stay indoors with a tin of Flit, swatting any kind of insect life that comes their way.


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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,  J. K. Rowling, book reviewHarry is in his third year at Hogwarts School of witchcraft and wizardry. As a new professor of defense of dark arts comes to the school everything becomes mysterious as his lessons get cancelled once a month and a criminal called Sirius Black escapes from the Azkaban jail and starts looking for Harry.

One night, while Harry was having tea with professor Lupin, the defense of dark arts teacher Snape walked in and glared mysteriously at Harry and gave Lupin and enormous jug full of some potion. (Snape was the potion teacher.)


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French Club Book 1

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French Club Book 1: Book 1 (French / English), book reviewA couple of months ago I was asked to tutor a five-and-a-half-year-old girl in French, as one set of her grandparents lived in France but her parents spoke very little French. Having taught French to pre-school children for more thirteen years, I had a picture book, flash cards and various other materials, but I decided it would be a good idea to have a workbook to go through. I found French Club Book 1 on Amazon and was pleased to see that it had an accompanying CD.

The book is recommended for children aged seven to eight but I haven’t found it beyond the capabilities of my pupil, who hasn’t quite reached her sixth birthday.


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Manfred the Baddie

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 Manfred the Baddie by John Fardell, book reviewManfred is a horrible man who, along with his henchmen, kidnaps the most skilful inventors. He threatens to feed them to his piranha fish if they don’t follow his orders. He forces them to build machines that allow him to rob aeroplanes, raid art galleries and carry out acts of piracy. When his henchman make mistakes, however trivial, he enjoys humiliating them.

One night, however, Manfred goes down with a dreadful cold. He feels awful and goes to bed, expecting someone to bring him some soup or come and read him a story, but nobody does come.


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Magic Finger

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Magic Finger, Roald Dahl, book reviewThe main characters are the girl, Phillip Gregg, William Gregg, Mr and Mrs Gregg and the magic finger. What happens is that when the girl gets angry she points her finger at anyone that is making her angry or humiliating her and puff something bad happens. For example her teacher Miss Winter asked her to spell cat and she said “that’s easy K-A-T” and her teacher got all angry and she pointed the MAGIC FINGER at her teacher and amazingly she grew whiskers and sprouted a tail.

I would recommend this book to other people aged 4-7


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The Lost Thing

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Lost Thing, Shaun Tan, book reviewA boy is busy working on his bottle-top collection at the beach when he notices the lost thing. Nobody else is taking any notice of it, but the boy feels he can’t ignore it. He plays with it for some time and then tries to find out if anyone knows anything about it. Nobody does, so he takes it to his friend Pete who simply feels that the thing is lost. The boy thinks he must take it home with him. His parents, when they finally notice the thing, tell the boy to take it back as it looks dirty and might be diseased.

The boy hides the lost thing in the shed but knows he can’t keep it forever.


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Dairy of a Wimpy Kid – Cabin Fever

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid Cabin Fever, Jeff Kinney, book reviewThe main characters are Greg, Rodrick, Manny, Mum, Dad and Rowley. The winter holidays start. But it didn’t go well. When a blizzard hits Greg and his family have to stay inside the house for a long time without much food. This book is about the things that happen in the house during the blizzard.

I like best the bit where Greg and his best friend, Rowley, make a newspaper.


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The Dirty Great Dinosaur

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The Dirty Great Dinosaur,  Martin Waddell, Illustrated by Leonie Lord, book reviewHal, a very small boy, is playing with his dog in the garden when a roaring dinosaur suddenly confronts him. When the dinosaur announces that he is going to eat Hal, the little boy answers politely that it’s not fair to eat small children. The dinosaur threatens to eat Hal’s parents and then his dog, but each time Hal stands up to him and protests. A chase round the garden ensues, and it ends with Billy the dog and Hal tying the dinosaur up with the washing line.

The dinosaur eventually has to give in, and Hal demands an apology from him. The creature also has to clear up the dreadful mess that he has caused in the garden.

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Charlie and Lola: We Honestly Can Look After Your Dog

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We Honestly Can Look After Your Dog (Charlie and Lola), Lauren Child, book reviewCharlie and Lola go to the park one day with their friends Marv and Lotta. Marv brings his dog, Sizzles. Lola is dying to have a dog so she asks Marv if she and Lotta can look after Sizzles. Both girls try to impress Marv by telling him that they know everything about dogs. Marv shows them that Sizzles knows how to sit when told to. Charlie sees some friends playing football and tells Marv that Sizzles will be safe with the girls while they go and join in the game. Marv gives Lola and Lotta some rules to follow, the most important of which is not to let Sizzles off the lead.


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The Incredible Book Eating Boy

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The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers, book reviewHenry is a little boy who loves books. He doesn’t read them, however; he eats them. He eats all kinds of books, but red ones are his favourite. The more books he eats, the cleverer he becomes. He wants to become the cleverest person in the world, so he eats three or four books at a time. Eventually, of course, Henry starts to feel ill. What’s more, he has been eating books so quickly that the things he has been learning get mixed up.

All sorts of experts tell Henry that he must give up eating books.


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The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales

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The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith, book reviewIt is probably obvious from the title that The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales is a collection of alternative versions of traditional fairy tales. Author Jon Scieszka offers “Cinderumpelstiltskin”, “The Tortoise and the Hair”, “The Princess and the Bowling Ball” and “Jack’s Bean Problem” to name but a few. “The Stinky Cheese Man” of the title is an alternative to “The Gingerbread Man”, but the cheese man smells so dreadful that nobody wants to chase him.

The title page has the words “Title Page” set in huge letters, and on the next page the dedication is printed upside-down. The reader is clearly in for an off-beat ride.

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Harquin

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Harquin by John Burningham, book reviewHarquin is a young fox who lives with his family at the top of the hill. Nobody knows they are there, and Harquin’s parents want to keep it that way. They tell their children never to go down to the valley for fear that someone will see them and follow them back.

Unfortunately, Harquin is bored and makes trips down to the valley at night when his family are asleep. He discovers a way across the dangerous marshes and is able to catch chickens and rabbits. Harquin’s father senses that one of the children has disobeyed him, and he reminds them that their uncle was caught by the huntsmen.


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