A Ghost, A Mouse and an Alien Attack. It’s all in a day’s work.

I have always loved reading for as long as I can remember – being curled up in a sunny spot with a shiny new world to explore or an old and well thumbed favourite is one of my preferred ways to relax.

As a child I had all of the Famous Fives and the Secret Sevens, a good mix of Greek legends and Arthurian adventures and random stories. Escaping into a world where heroes waved swords or kids lived alone on an island developed my imagination and my own sense of right and wrong.

Unsurprisingly then, I’m really keen to have my own children learn to enjoy reading. The shelves in their rooms are overflowing with all sorts of stories from classics to new authors. Botboy is still too small to read for himself of course, but Sackgirl  is improving daily. Often after they are put to bed at night the light sneaks back on and she reads her brother stories.

So, when those lovely people at Macmillan children’s books asked if we would like some of their latest offerings to read, I was thrilled. New and free – some of best kinds of books!

Wake Up Do, Lydia Lou!

The first book we received was ‘Wake Up Do, Lydia Lou!’ by Julia Donaldson and Karen George. Julia Donaldson is one of my favourite children’s authors – I love rhyming books as bedtime stories. They flow easily and help the kids settle as they are usually easy reading and easy to understand, plus I get to put on lots of funny voices!

So, I was a little disappointed as this story didn’t rhyme. In fact it was not as catchy or fun to read – for me. Botboy seemed to really enjoy it and often asks for ‘the ghost story’. Sackgirl likes to read it for him too, mimicking the various sound effects for the cat, cow, owl and others. Since she aimed at kids, I guess Ms Donaldson hit her target audience nicely. I still prefer ‘Room on the Broom’ myself.

Wake Up Do, Lydia Lou! by Julia Donaldson

Wake Up Do, Lydia Lou! by Julia Donaldson

Little Mouse’s Big Book of Beasts

Emily Gravett previously won the Kate Greenaway Medal for the year’s best illustrated children’s book, so I had high expectations from Little Mouse’s Big Book of Beasts. I was not disappointed – first impressions are that the pictures are great, starting with a punk lion.

Botboy likes the interactive pages, swatting the wasps with the newspaper and lifting the flaps. The only problem with that is that he is a little rough when handling nice paper pages.  Sackgirl’s synopsis – She liked the book because it told her what was scary about each animal and then Mouse used the scary parts to turn himself into a monster to scare away all the beasts.

Emily Gravett's Little Mouse's Big Book of Beasts

Emily Gravett’s Little Mouse’s Big Book of Beasts

Oliver Fibbs Attack of the Alien Brain

Oliver Fibbs, by Steve Hartley, is about an ordinary boy in a family of brilliant parents and siblings. He never has anything interesting to talk about at school, so he gets creative with the truth at Show and Tell.

I handed this book to Sackgirl and left her to it. A little while later I went back to find her still reading away. A good sign if ever there was one.

Although it is aimed at her age range – 7 – she did ask for help with some of the words, which is another good sign, as I like her books to challenge her while also keeping her interested enough to keep wanting to read on, rather than just giving up.

Sackgirl’s verdict – She likes the book and she wants to read the next one.

My verdict – I enjoyed reading Oliver Fibbs too and already have the next one for us both to start.

Oliver Fibbs Attack of the Alien Brain - Steve Hartley

Oliver Fibbs Attack of the Alien Brain – Steve Hartley


I did not receive any financial payment for these reviews, just the books themselves. All opinions given are my own (with the help of my Test Team)


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