Posts Tagged ‘Animals’

Foxcraft: The Taken

Inbali Iserses
Isla and her brother are two young foxes living just outside the lands of the furless — humans. The life of a fox is filled with dangers, but Isla has begun to learn mysterious skills meant to help her survive.
Then the unthinkable happens. Returning to her den, Isla finds it set ablaze and surrounded by strange foxes, and her family is nowhere in sight. Forced to flee, she escapes into the cold, gray world of the furless.
Now Isla must navigate this bewildering and deadly terrain, all while being hunted by a ruthless enemy. In order to survive, she will need to master the ancient arts of her kind — magical gifts of cunning known only to foxes. She must unravel the secrets of fox craft.

What were your initial thoughts on the book?
When I started to read the first three chapters I was really enjoying the book until the one horrible accident that changed the entire story and as I read on I started to feel less absorbed in to the story however, I still want to carry on reading through the series to see what happens next.

Who was your favourite character and why?
My favourite character is Isla because she is a very fierce and brave fox who cares for her family. Isla is very playful and great at imitating birds. Every day is a new adventure for Isla as she travels through different places for one special adventure…

Would you recommend this book?
I personally didn’t like this book like I liked others but I would recommend it to girls and boys who like fox books and are interested in adventures from age 9 up.

Summarise the book in one sentence.
A heart-breaking adventure to search for the one thing she loves…

Jimena Gutierrez-Reviriego (10)

Publisher: Scholastic press
Publication Date: September 2015
Format: Paperback
Pages: 257
Genre: Animal, Fantasy
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Jimena
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None
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Author Interview: Sylvia Bishop

We are delighted to host an interview with debut author Syliva Bishop as she talks about Erica’s Elephant
erica's elephantWhen Erica Perkins wakes up on the morning of her tenth birthday, the last thing she expects is to find a very confused elephant sitting on her doorstep. So begins an unlikely friendship. But can a small girl and a rather large elephant learn to live together in a tiny terraced house? And when the dastardly owner of the local zoo plots to steal the elephant, will Erica be able to outsmart him?

Erica’s Elephant is such an adorable and charming story, how did the idea for the story come to you?

Thank you! The initial idea came from a friend texting me to say thanks for something-or-other, and promising to send an ‘elephant festooned with tea’. The idea of an elephant turning up on my narrow residential road made me laugh, and that was that. Some later ideas came from facts I later read about elephants, like their amazing long-distance communication. For the most part though, it was a matter of curating ideas I’ve accumulated over Life In General. For example, I’ve always been obsessed with ants, and Miss Pritchett’s ant collection wasn’t so much a new idea as a well-worn dream.

When writing, do you have any particular habits that you do? (i.e. sitting in the dark, listening to music, etc)

Ideally, I will work sit and Think in my favourite armchair first thing in the morning, with tea and porridge, and write my first pages for the day; then turn on the anglepoise lamp on my desk last thing in the evening, and write some more there. But the rest of my life has a bad habit of getting in the way. I wrote a lot of Erica on the bus between Oxford and London: it’s hard to cultivate any habits that are bus-friendly.

Before you wrote the book, did you do a lot of research into Elephants?

I did it as I went along, really, as I was only ever a chapter or two ahead of myself in terms of figuring out the plot. Researching elephants gave me some crucial breakthroughs. It showed me how to get the Elephant into trouble, and how to get him back out again.

Are Elephants your favourite animal? And if they’re not, what is?

Actually, my favourite animal has always been the Noble Rhinoceros. But books and documents about rhinos by themselves are hard to come by: they are always the support act to elephants. So as a child I ended up learning about elephants, whether or not I wanted to!

What advice would you give to a child who wants a pet Elephant?

When I wanted a rhino, I adopted one that was being looked after in a sanctuary. They sent me a video (mostly featuring elephants), a soft toy, a certificate and regular letters. That was really great.

Or maybe you could attach the nozzle of your hoover to a cat.

(Don’t do that).

When it comes to writing, do you plan your books in advance or just pen to paper and see where it takes you?

With Erica, I was generally sketching out plans a chapter or two ahead of my writing. In general I like to know what the ‘problem’ will be, and find out as I go how it will escalate and resolve.

If you had to describe your book in a tweet (140 characters) how would you do it?
Girl gets elephant, or he gets her.

Do you have any plans for another book?

My second book will be coming out with Scholastic in 2017 (hurray!). I have a couple more ideas simmering along – I find it helpful to have more than one, so that one can brew a bit for a while I’m writing some of the other.
Information about the Book

SYLVIA PHOTOSylvia Bishop is 23 years old and has recently graduated from Oxford. She is one half of the brilliant improvised comedy duo Peablossom Cabaret ( ERICA’S ELEPHANT is her first book, and she intends it to be the first of many quirky stories for young readers.You can learn more about Sylvia and her work by visiting her website (here), her Instagram account (here), or on Twitter

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Mayfly Day

Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross ( illustrator)
mayfly dayMayfly might have only one day to live, but she enjoys every moment, observing all the life around her, and rejoicing in her own. As she soars over the sky at dawn she bathes in the golden light, and she dances to the music of the universe.

This is my favourite book. It is a story of a life of a Mayfly.

I love this book because it describes a perfect day which is actually her whole life.

The story is simple but when I read it I feel excited, sad and relaxed at different times.

The pictures are very delicate and colourful; some of them look like photos.

The story is written like a poem and even without the pictures I imagine a beautiful world.

Verdict: I have read this book loads of times and will always love it!

Reviewed by Teagan age 5 and ¾

Publisher: Anderson Press
Publication Date: June 2006
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book, Animals
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Teagan
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book
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Tom’s Sausage Lion

Michael Morpurgo

tom's sausuageNo one believes Tom when he says he has seen a lion strolling through the orchard with a string of sausages dangling from its mouth. No one, that is, except Clare, the cleverest girl in Tom’s class. Why does Clare believe him? Because she knows something about Tom’s story that no one else does.

What would you do if you saw a lion and no one believed you?

Tom’s Sausage Lion is a really great story with a really great story line .One day Tom sees a lion carrying a string of sausages. Various things happen and all the loose ends are being tied up in Toms mind but no one believes him except the school geek Claire. She has seen the lion as well and together Tom and Claire will do everything they can to take a picture of the mountain lion.

This book had me so gripped I have started a bit of an obsession for Michael Morpurgo. I would recommend this book to anybody who is aged between 8 and 11. But I do have to say this is a very good book.

Verdict: I really like this book . And everybody should have a copy.
Reviewed by Izzy (10)

Publisher: Yearling
Publication Date: August 1999
Format: Paperback
Pages: 80
Genre: Animals
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Izzy (10)
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British book
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The Power Of Sloth

Lucy Cooke
the power of slothThe Power of Sloth is Lucy Cooke’s celebration of the sloth: the cutest, cuddliest, slowest creature on this planet. In the book she brings together some truly adorable pictures of baby sloths, literally by the bucketful. These delightful, funny pictures are accompanied by a simple text which tells you all about sloths and why we should protect them. We also discover all about the work of the Avarios sloth sanctuary, which, along with the ZSL EDGE programme to protect the pygmy sloth, receives some of the proceeds from this book.

I love sloths! This amazing book is jam-packed with cute pictures and amazing facts. This is the first book I’ve dreaded coming to the end of. Which was even more sad because it is only a short book.

Beautifully written with amazing photography, this has quickly become a firm favourite of mine, Just to pick up and dip into.
Follow all the latest gossip in Slothville , like when twins Sebastian and Viola get some very snazzy sloth onesies and find out which cuddly toy Mateo finally decides will be his bestie.

I met Lucy Cooke when I went to the Hay Festival . She even signed my book!

Lucy Cooke is a photographer, zoologist and presenter for the BBC.(And she loves sloths!)

Reviewed by Izzy (10)

Publisher: Franklin Watts
Publication Date: November 2014
Format: Hardback
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Izzy (10)
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book
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Hog In The Fog

Julia Copus and Eunyoung Seo(illustrator)

hog in the fogThe tale of a hog in the fog.
This is the story of Candy Stripe Lil
and Harry the Hog who lived over the hill.
…and a foggy March day, roundabout three,
when Lil had invited Harry for tea.
Lil is expecting Harry the Hog for tea, but there’s a swirling fog outside and Harry is nowhere to be seen.
Lil sets off to find her friend. Luckily she meets Deer, Sheep and Crow along the way, who all join in the hunt to find the hog in the fog.

My four year old and I absolutely love this rhyming tale of friendship and identity.
Instead of reading about why we love Hog in the Fog, you can try the story out for yourself.
The team at Faber and Faber have teamed up with, Strictly star, Russell Grant to create this fantastic unabridged video.

Posted by Caroline

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: March 2014
Format: Hardback
Pages: 32
Genre: Animals, Friendship
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Petr Horacek

elephantA young boy spends his day playing games with his imaginary friend, Elephant. Real or not, when Grandma and Grandpa are busy, Elephant proves to be the perfect playmate! Illustrated with Petr Horacek’s distinctive and beautiful collage style.

We enjoyed this book, in particular trying to guess whether or not the elephant was real or imagined, the children vacillated back and forth over this for a while!

The story is about a boy who has no one to play with so he plays with his elephant. Unfortunately they get into a few scrapes, and the boy always tells everyone it wasn’t his fault, it was his elephant that did it. The adult involved never seems to believe the boy that it was the elephant’s fault. The boy is sad and spends some time alone, but when his elephant comes to see him there is an unexpected and lovely moment when the boy says sorry to the elephant for telling tales about him. The boy and the elephant go into the boy’s bedroom and have wonderful adventures until the boy wakes up the next morning and wonders how he got to bed. His Grandpa comes in and tells him, his elephant put him there.

It’s so clever and so simple. The imaginary and the real are often blurred for children and they related to this really well. The whole concept is carried off with finesse by Petr. The pictures of the elephant accidently making a mess compliment it all beautifully.

A stunning book for children.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: February 2010
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own copy (Booktrust)
Challenge: None
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Claude On The Slopes/At The Circus

Alex T Smith
claude-slopesClaude on the Slopes
In this latest adventure, on a winter’s day, Claude goes from throwing snowballs and making snowmen to causing an all-out avalanche!

Claude-CircusClaude at the Circus
A walk in the park leads to a walk on a tightrope when Claude joins a circus, throws custard pies, and becomes the star of the show!

Publisher: Hodder Children’s
Publication Date: Oct 2013/Jan 2012
Format: Hardback/PB
Pages: 96/96
Genre: Humour, Animals
Age: Early reader
Reviewer: Ava (6)
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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The Elephants Tale

Lauren St John
the elephants taleWhen Martine and her grandmother discover that they might lose their game reserve, Sawubona, because of a clause in her grandfather’s will, Martine and her best friend, Ben, decide to take matters into their own hands. After Martine hears a prophecy that tells her: “The elephants will lead you to the truth,” Martine and Ben stow away in an airplane, get stuck in the desert, and help a group of elephants escape from a horrible prison. Along the way, Martine learns the truth about Sawubona, as well as the dramatic truth about her gift with animals and where it will take her in her life …

I loved this book, it has given me so much inspiration for my English work. It has inspired me in literacy to one day be as good as Lauren St John. She has really put her outstanding skills to great use to create such an imaginative series.

Martine and Ben hear their home ‘Sawubona’, the game reserve, was going to be taken over by the local baddie Reuben James after Martine’s grandfather Henry Thomas was tricked into signing away their home. They get tangled up in an adventure which leads to them breaking the law, making a new friend and enjoying a luxury hotel in the moon valley whilst figuring out how such a beautiful place could cause so much harm.

Can Martine and Ben save Sawubona before Christmas Eve?

Lauren St John has an amazing way with words and at times I nearly fell off my school chair with anxiety it was SO tense.

Verdict: This book is for kids aged 9+ and I love it.
By the way, I have already started another book in the series of 4. It’s called Dolphin Song and I’m really enjoying that as well even though I’m only up to page 4!

Reviewed by Izzy (9)

Publisher: Orion
Publication Date: 2009
Format: Paperback
Pages: 235
Genre: Animals, Adventure
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Izzy (9)
Source: Borrowed
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Otter Chaos!

Michael Broad

otter chaosThe otterly bonkers Brown family are HUGELY excited, as today’s the day they move to their new home. But when they get there they find the beastly Black family have got there first!
This riverbank ain’t big enough for the both of them, so there’s only one thing for it: war. Well, not REAL war. Otters are more into playing than fighting, so instead they decide to hold a giant sports day – and may the best otters win! Whether that’s the Browns or the Blacks, only time will tell, but one thing’s for sure, it’s bound to be OTTER CHAOS!

I love this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But I love animals anyway so reading a story about them is great!

This book is amazing. When the Brown family, a family of Otter’s decide their house is getting too small for them, Papa Brown, Mama Brown, Grandma Maple, Grandpa Brown, Cocoa, Beanie, Woody, Chestnut and Nutmeg (The twins), decide to move to a bigger, better house only to find another otter family (their arch enemies) were already living there. The only way to settle the dispute over who lives there was an ‘Otterly’ chaotic sports day!

I don’t want to give it away but an act of surprising kindness by Woody cost the Brown’s the victory.
This is a surprising book with a twist at the end. I really like Jim Field’s illustrations too. I’m looking forward to the next book Otter Chaos – Dam Busters.

Verdict: I love this book and think this book is for boys and girls aged 7 to 12 .

Reviewed by Izzy (9)

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Publication Date: January 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 192
Genre: Children’s, Humour, animals
Age: Early Reader
Reviewer: Izzy
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British Book
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