Monday, 19 March 2018

Review: Dino Wars – Rise of the Raptors by Dan Metcalf and Aaron Blecha

You now a book is good when: as soon as it arrives, before you get to read it is disappears, stolen by a child to read.

You know a book is REALLY GOOD when: every time you find said to book and put it aside to read and review it, it goes missing, stolen by the child to re-read and re-read again!

This is exactly what happened with Dan Metcalf and Aaron Blecha’s new book Dino Wars, Ride of the Raptors. Hence the delay in posting of the review! No apologies though, I fully blame the author and illustrator of creating such a good book!

So what makes it so good? Well Dino Wars, is a funny, exciting adventure with a fantastic concept at its heart. Set in the future, mankind have brought back genetically enhanced intelligent dinosaurs and weapons. The Dinosaurs have rebelled and won the Dino War, and last remaining humans, have walled themselves into a city living in harmony with peace loving herbivorous.

All is well until Adam Caine and his friends, in their haste to outrun a huge brontosaurus they’ve annoyed stumble upon an old Dino Wars bunker, and accidentally set of a weapon that will kill every dinosaur in the world. The group must venture beyond the safety of the wall and collect four crystals from Dinosaur strongholds, to disarm the weapon and save the dinosaurs from extinction.

Dino wars is fast paced and funny with a great cast of characters from Adam who’s brave and brash, his sister Chloe who is intelligent and cautious, Dax a tech loving inventor Iguanodon, and the stealthy mischievous six year old twins. Plus an array of eccentric dinosaur helpers they pick up along the way.

The book has twists and turns, action and humour for children and jokes specifically for adults like the fabulous nod to G R Martin’s Iron Throne being a particular highlight!

Dan’s story is further enhanced by Aaron’s fun and energetic illustrations. Dino Wars is a great read for younger readers.

And as I can tell you, you know a book is good when – your child steals it, reads and re-reads it and then asks for the rest of the series!

Friday, 16 March 2018

My Colourful Chameleon - Leonie Roberts – Mike Bryne – Story Sacks

To conclude our ‘My Colourful Chameleon’ features we bring you some Story Sack ideas inspired by the book. Before we begin here is a quick reminder of what is included in a story sack…

  •  A good quality fiction book, (picture book or novel
  • ·A non-fiction book related to the story and themes in the chosen picture book 
  • Toys, (ideally a soft toy for younger children) 
  •  A game or activity also related to the theme of the chosen fiction book 
  • Optional worksheet based on the story and themes off the story sack 

My Colourful Chameleon Story Sack for Younger Readers

So for younger readers we have paired My Colourful Chameleon, with the non-fiction picture and fact book ‘Let’s Learn about Chameleons', as it is simply designed with lots of photographs to assist with learning.

As you have read above toys, and especially soft toys are a must for younger children, so we have included a MyDoll Rag Doll and a TY Chameleon. For the game/ activity element we have included a robust and vibrant ‘The Learning Journey’ reptile themed wooden jigsaw puzzle.

My Colourful Chameleon Story Sack for Older Readers

For older children we have paired My Colourful Chameleon with Chris Mattison’s Lizards of the World, which is a much more advanced factual read, which can be dipped in and out of. 

For toys, I recommend the Schleich ‘Chameleon In Reeds’ figure.

For the GameAbacus Spiele toys, Coloretto a colour matching Chameleon card game if fun, and relates to the themes in the book beautifully. In addition for extra educational element you can always include a DVD of David Attenborough’s Life in Cold Blood.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

My Colourful Chameleon by Leonie Roberts and Mike Byrne - 3D review - Author Interview

Today we are continuing our 3D review of My Colourful Chameleon, with an interview with author Leonie Roberts.

What was your favourite children’s book as a child?

Ooo this is a tricky one. I can remember enjoying Jill Murphy's "Five Minutes Peace". I think this was my Mum's favourite to read.

What is your favourite children’s book as an adult?

At the moment my favourite is Roald Dahl's "The Twits" because I have recently re-read it and have been reminded of how fabulous it is.

What do you think makes children’s books so inspirational?

They are a child's first introduction to books. The unique way that the pictures and words work together can ignite childrens' imaginations and really bring familiar and fantastical worlds to life.

Why did you start writing for children?

Me being a Primary School Teacher probably had a large impact on why I started writing for children instead of adults. Initially I wrote poetry about children for adults but then the ideas for stories for children began to pop into my head. It has definitely helped me to get into the mindset of a child by spending so much time with them. There is never a day working with young children were you don't come home with a funny story about what they have said or done. Children are amazing!

When writing the book, do you think about the illustrations will interact with the text?

Yes, most authors to consider how the illustrations will interact with the text and I could certainly picture what would be going on each page. I didn't give any illustration notes though so Mike Byrne had completely free reign and I am delighted with his interpretation of the text.

Do you love chameleons?

Sadly I haven't met one in real life but it is definitely on my to do list for this year. I think a trip to the zoo is called for!

LeoLeonie Roberts (1984) was born in Plymouth and raised in South Liverpool. Although as a child she did not enjoy reading herself, Leonie has always been mesmerised by listening to wonderful stories. She grew up with the tales of Roald Dahl, The Pongwiffy series by Kaye Umansky and classics such as "Stig of the dump" by Clive King.

Around the age of seventeen, Leonie’s love of reading began and she went on to study English Literature and Language at university. Since then, Leonie has trained as a Primary school teacher and has spent three wonderful years living and teaching in Italy. It was there in 2013 that she began writing for children.

Leonie is now back living in Liverpool with her new writing companion, Chester the dog. She has written a number of picture book stories and can be often found in local libraries sitting on small chairs, making her way through a giant pile of picture books (whilst trying to blend in)

Monday, 12 March 2018

3D Review - My Colourful Chameleon – Leonie Roberts and Mike Byrne – Review – Picture Book

My Colourful Chameleon is a fun bright exciting story about one cleaver little girl and her misunderstood pet.

The trouble is her pet chameleon keeps changing colour and blending in with its setting, causing mayhem ay home, school and in the car. Mum thinks the chameleon is trouble – or poorly, but her daughter is adamant that her pet is cleaver and is changing colour to camouflage its self to keep its self safe.

The story is written In rhyme with a laugh on every page, combined with beautiful illustrations by Mike Byrne, and the plumb in the pudding is (or course) that the little girl is right!

My Colourful Chameleon is further enhanced with educational prompts and craft ideas at the end, it is a lovely introduction for younger children to Chameleon’s ability to change in a fun way!

Come back later this week for more My Colourful Chameleon posts, including author interview and a story sack! 

My Colourful Chameleon - Child Review by Oscar

I LOVED this book. It is so funny, and now i want a chameleon as a pet too!

Thank you for stopping by and reading this review, please pop back later in the week when we post a Author Interview with My Colourful Chameleon's Creator Leonie Roberts, and a post with ideas on how to construct  a story sack inspired by the book!