Posts Tagged ‘Reviewer-Izzy’

Cordelia Codd

Claire O’Brien
cordelia coddOne day, I, CORDELIA CODD, will be glamorous. I’ll take taxis everywhere, have a ridiculous-looking, floppy little dog, and Wednesdays will be manicure day.
But for now, I’m stuck with a 50% reduction in parents
two mean ex-best friends
rubbish day Wednesdays
and a mum with a broken heart.
Dad has GOT to come home and help me out…

I read this book with my Mummy and I’m glad I did. I didn’t quite get all of it, because I am in year 4 and Cordelia is in year 7 but I still enjoyed it. Half way through reading it at bed time, my big sister (Daisy) who is in year 7 started to listen in and she was hooked! She enjoyed hearing it so much that she borrowed the book and read all the chapters we had already read so she could then join in and listen to the rest of it.

Cordelia is a film loving, costume designer 12 year old who has a happy life until a bad thing happened which affected her and her mum very badly. As a result of that, she did some bad but quite funny things. I’m not going to tell you any more stuff, although it does involve a boxing glove and some paint! You’ve got to read it yourself. I think this book is aimed at kids over 9 definitely as there is one or two bad uses of language but over all I loved it!

It kept all of us listening, sometimes it made me feel sad but sometimes it made me feel grateful for what we have in our family. I really wanted to be Cordelia’s friend.

Does it have a happy ending? Read the book and find out!

Verdict : I can’t wait to read the next one, ‘Cordelia Codd, Frankly Ruby I don’t give a Damm’ (secretly my Mum can’t wait to read it either).

Reviewed by Izzy (9)

Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication Date: June 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
Genre: humour
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Izzy (9)
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Hang in There Bozo: The Ruby Redfort Emergency Survival Guide for Some Tricky Predicaments

Lauren child

bozoRuby Redfort: secret agent, detective, thirteen-year-old kid.
And now…survival expert.
It’s not always possible to skip around smelling roses, ’cos sometimes you’re too busy gripping onto the cliff edge by your fingernails. But 99 times out of 100 it’s worth hanging in there bozo: just as things can get worse so too can they get a whole lot better.
In this handy pocket-sized book, Ruby will give you the lowdown on how to survive a bunch of tricky situations. So long as you keep a cool head, buster, you can make it out of there alive…

This book is great for any girl that’s always wanted to be a spy, superhero or even just live in the wild. Lauren Child has packed this book full of survival tips and tricks. Ruby talks (in American English) about times when she’s used Spectrum (her spy agency) gadgets and normal things to help her survive; for example ‘the buckle’. If you’re stranded in the middle of the ocean, just put the breathing buckle in between your teeth and you can breathe under water. Helpful, huh? Or …how to survive in the desert and how to get out of a dull conversation with a boring person.

Find out how Ruby has faced these dangers and got out of them alive and how you can stay out of them. My mum got this on kindle for 79p on World Book Day. It was great value for money. Out of ten I would rate it ten because I’m an adventurous girl, but I still think even girly girls might like it and maybe even some boys may like it! I think it’s probably for 7 to 15 year olds.

Verdict: I love this book and I think every one should have a copy!

Reviewed by Izzy (8)

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s
Publication Date: February 2013
Format: eBook
Pages: 128
Genre: Survival
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Izzy (8)
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: British book
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I’m Dougal Trump and It’s Not my Fault

Jackie Marchant

I, DOUGAL TRUMP, AM DEAD.
Ok, I’m not actually dead, but if I’m not very careful, I soon will be.
In this first book, football-loving Dougal Trump finds himself at risk from the mysterious creature living in the garden shed. Nobody believes him but as a precaution, he sets upon writing his will – rewarding those who help him, disinheriting those who get on his bad side, and fielding constant pleas from friends and associates [Cool will, Dougie! Can I have your playstation? – George]. Meanwhile, as limbs and windows alike are broken by rogue footballs and unhinged canines, Dougal finds himself in all sorts of trouble. . .

I really love this book because it is so funny. About half way through the story we hear about Douglas’ next door neighbour’s bra being taken and this is how Jackie (the author) puts it:

“Its Mrs Witzel’s fault she really ought to know better then to lean over the fence to stroke the dog whilst she is hanging up her washing especially when she is holding a bra. The bra dangled over the fence just when the dog jumped up (long story short) unluckily the dog thought we were having a game of tug of war. After a lot of pulling and tugging we ended up by the shed (long story short again) the bra ripped in two. Later on…the dog goes to the vets to have half a bra surgically removed.

Above was only one funny thing of many, and I loved this book but it’s definately for an older reader!!!

Verdict: As you can see I have really enjoyed this and think it is the best I’ve EVER READ.

Reviewed by Izzy (9)

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Publication Date:July 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 205
Genre: Memoir
Age:Middle grade
Reviewer: Izzy
Source: Provided by author
Challenge:British book
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Cheese ‘n Ham Melts and other Strange Questions: An Interview With Lauren Child (Part 2)

Part two of Izzy and Daisy’s interview with author Lauren Child
Everyone knows that Clarice Bean is exceptionordinarily keen about the Ruby Redfort books. Now in her own starring role, this genius code-cracker and daring detective, along with her sidekick butler, Hitch, work for a secret crime-busting organization called Spectrum. Ruby gets into lots of scrapes with evil villains, like being trapped in a giant hourglass or held over a flaming volcano, but shes always ice-cool in a crisis. Just take a classic screwball comedy, add heaps of breathtaking action, and multiply it by Lauren Childs writing genius, and what have you got? Only the most exciting middle-grade series since, like, ever

Ruby Redfort is a spy thriller/mystery. Did you read a lot of mystery books as a child?
You know what, my sister read a lot of mystery books. She was a massive reader, she still is. I didn’t read a lot of mystery books but I did watch a lot of mystery things on TV. When I was younger it was Scooby Doo! and as I got older more drama things and now I read a lot of mystery as an adult. But my sister was the one who was passionate about it.

Where did you get the idea for Ruby Redfort’s gadgets?
I watched such a lot of James Bond films when I was a child and the ones that I really loved the most were the ones that were disguised as something. So I thought James Bond has disguised his as things a man might carry in his pocket and so I thought what would a school kid carry. So I thought her watch, which has got a cartoon face on it, Daisy: The toaster? Yeh the toaster, normal domestic objects in your kitchen and then things like her sneakers.
I wanted things that she could have and no one would ask any questions.

If you could choose one, which gadget would you like in real life?
I think that I would choose the rescue watch because it’s there to do lots and lots of different things and it would always be on your wrist. In each book it will do something different.

The Ruby Redfort books are a series that Clarice Bean talks about. Are we reading them at the same time as Clarice Bean?
You see that’s a very strange and weird question!
I did think about this a lot because I list all of the titles, don’t I (indicating a Clarice bean Book) and I did think why don’t I write each one that she talks about. Then I realized that I’d written extracts from that book and when I started writing Ruby Redfort, I didn’t want them to be quite so silly as they are in this book ( indicates Don’t look Now Clarice Bean). So I thought what I’m going to do? Because they are written by Patricia F Maplin and my publisher didn’t think it would be a very good idea to write Patricia F Maplin on the cover, then nobody would know they were written by me.

Clarice Bean might be reading them now, so might be if I write another Clarice Bean, it might that she will be reading Look In To My Eyes. Because Ruby Redfort is older now, she’s thirteen. In Clarice Bean she’s eleven.
So yeh, it’s a very weird thing.

How does it feel to see your characters on the TV screen?
I worked on the show the whole way through. So I would go in there two days a week and I looked at all the scripts and I would do the dialogue for the characters. So I worked very closely with the designer and I would draw things for them, so I was kind of aware of how things were going to come out but you never know until the last minute if it is really going to be lovely or not.
I was very fussy about the voices; I wanted the voices to be children’s voices and the right kind of voices. I was involved but it was still a lovely feeling to actually see it. You don’t quite know until the very last minute if it is going to be something to be proud of. I was very excited to see it.

Following on from the Charlie and Lola TV show, some books have been published that haven’t been written by you, how does it feel?
It’s strange. When we were making the show we would have big meetings about what would make a good story for the show. I was very sure that they had to be about the little things that would happen to a four year old. So they can’t be made things like going off to Disney land because they don’t do that in their normal life.
Most of the show is set in their house and often inside their bedrooms so they need to be about brushing their teeth or about having to have a bath, about very, very simple things.

Then the script writers would go and write them and I would sit there ( motions crossing out ) and go NO they cant say that, they have to say this. I did have a lot of control, but it is still strange when you see the original Charlie and Lola books, of which I have written four and all the other ones have come from the Charlie and Lola TV(program), so it is quiet odd to see my name on them.

In the Clarice Bean books Ruby Redfort is being made it to a film. Is that going to happen?
I hope that it might one day. It is a very long thing because it involves someone investing lots and lots of money, so they have to be very, very sure that it is going to work.
So I think the more books I write, the more books I sell, the more likely it is that it will happen. But at the moment we all hope it will

A question from one of our followers on Facebook: What is your favorite sandwich?
Oh well that can change minute to minute but at the moment I’m quite the fan of the ham and cheese melt.

Izzy’s Thoughts
Meeting Lauren Child? It felt AMAZING
She was very smiley, friendly and happy. She always answered the questions in quite a lot of detail. It was great fun and I loved it. It’s not every day you get to interview Lauren Child and I still think about it A LOT!

Daisy’s Thoughts
After queuing for a long time the wait was finally over. Armed with our Clarice Bean and Ruby Redfort books we went forward. and got to meet Lauren Child herself!!! she was very friendly and chatty. She told us everything about her books and we interviewed her for ages. We found out lots about her books that we didn’t know. Definitely worth the wait ! !
It was a memorable day, hopefully the first of many author interviews for me…..

A massive thanks is owed to Lauren, her publicity team at Harper Collins Children’s Books and the fantastic events team at Waterstone’s Guilford. To learn even more about Lauren and her work visit her website here!

Interview by Izzy(8) and Daisy(11)

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Noisy Neighbours and Snipping with Scissors: An Interview With Lauren Child (Part 1)

Thanks to those lovely book sellers at Waterstone’s Guildford, Daisy(11) and Izzy (8)recently got the opportunity to interview, awesome author, Lauren Child.

It’s not easy to concentrate at school when mysterious things are happening all around you. In fact, Clarice Bean is starting to feel just like her favorite heroine: Ruby Redfort, schoolgirl detective. Clarice and her utterly best friend, Betty Moody, are planning to ace their book project about Ruby and win the class prize, until Betty disappears into thin air, and horrible teacher Mrs. Wilberton teams Clarice up with the naughtiest boy in school. Will her new partner ruin everything? Will Betty ever come back? And what on earth happened to the silver trophy everyone’s hoping to win? Lauren Child brings her trademark wacky wit and eccentric visual energy to a full-length, fastpaced Clarice Bean episode that will charm even the most capricious reader

Where do you get the inspiration for your books?
In Clarice Bean the picture book there is a boy who shouts a lot and he is the neighbor of Clarice Bean and he was my neighbor while I was writing the book. So he was someone who was actually outside of my window.

So from everywhere really and some things just pop in to my head and I don’t know where they come from.

Where did you get the inspiration to use different fonts and textiles?
I’ve just always been very keen on textiles and I don’t know why but when I was a child I used to love going to peoples houses and looking at how they decorated, what colours they used and everything. So I have always been interested in that.

And fonts, well I think that they are just beautiful things. The fact that they have all been designed differently for different things. Whether it’s advertising or a book, they all have different uses and I think that they are very nice to use in illustration to bring out the character of your character. Clarice Bean’s font is very different from her brothers font, Milo’s font. Because he is younger it is much more babyish. It show’s you immediately the differences between them.

Which of your characters is the most fun to write?
I Like writing about all of them. You have to feel strongly about your characters. I have loved writing about Charlie and Lola, I still do so I probably am going to do more.But Clarice Bean is my favorite, because I can write as her. I can write about the things that meant a lot to me when I was a child. It’s also fun to write about Ruby Redfort as well because it is a completely different thing, imagining yourself as someone completely different.

How long does it take to write a Lauren Child book?
It depends on the book and often I’m doing lots and lots of different things at the same time so that can make things take longer. This Ruby Redford, the first one (indicates Look In To My Eyes), took about two years but I was doing other things and I had to set the scene- Who were her friends?What was her family like?-I had to do everything from scratch, this (indicates Take Your Last Breath) only took a year to write because I knew all of those things already.

Clarice Bean (indicates books), these took a long time to write but that was because I was working on a television show which took up a lot of time so I (pauses) I think that there is a two year gap between each Clarice Bean. I was working on them the whole time with lots of stopping and starting.

When I do a picture book it’s usually six months.

What do you use to draw your illustrations?
I use pencil, just a normal pencil. But what I often do is enlarge things then. So I scan things. I cut things out. I do lots of cutting and pasting. And I, I did that really because. Um (pauses) You see lots of illustrators who are really amazing at knowing exactly where they want things to go.There is an illustrator called Chris Riddell and I remember watching him draw and he seems to know exactly how the picture is going to be just from his head. I know Quentin Blake, I’ve seen him draw and he plots things first so he knows what the picture is going to look like and then he draws it. I just do it as I’m going along which means I often make mistakes, and I don’t quite know how its going to be so I draw every single thing separately and then snip it out with my scissors, and then arrange it on the bit of paper.

Was it intentional for Clarice Bean to age with her readers?
I wasn’t really expecting to do that when I started. I mean, she starts off in the picture books about seven years old and I chose that age because I remember thinking that it was a really lovely age to be and I quite enjoyed being seven.

Then when I started doing the novels I though that it would be quiet nice for her to talk about things that were more complicated as you got older and things are perhaps less one way or the other. You start to realise that (pauses), like in Spells Trouble, I don’t know if you have read that Clarice Bean (Daisy indicates her copy of the book on the table) Oh! *laughs* sorry, I do know you’ve read this! So in that one she starts to realise that it is not always clear what the wrong thing and the right thing is **spoiler for book excluded from transcript** The black and white starts to go, and you realise that you have to go with your gut feeling. So it seemed right that she should get older.

There is something a bit sad in Don’t Look Now, because she is dealing with people leaving you and that feeling that things change. As you get older things really change. I hope that it feels happier at the end. Just because things change it doesn’t mean that things can’t change for the better.

It wasn’t intentional, but it just seemed right because I wanted to write about things that effect people more your age (indicating Daisy 11) as well as your age (indicating Izzy 8).

You have written lots of stories for young children through to teenagers. Why didn’t you stick to just one age range?
Because it is really fun trying something different and I like doing each thing as much as the other. I’ve done some Charlie and Lola board books which were really fun because it’s like a challenge to make the shortest, simplest book that someone is going to enjoy, and do the pictures and that’s a lovely thing to do. But I also love writing stuff that is complicated like this (points to Clarice Bean) and thinking about writing for young teenagers.
There are lots of different sides to reading and I like to try new things. There are many more things that I would like to do.

Who is your favourite author?
My favourite author of children’s books? Any one?
Anyone
Oh that’s very hard. I think (pauses) Well my favorite illustrator is Quentin Blake and in the end I have always loved him the most. Although I love many, many illustrators. He’s probably my most favourite.

My favorite children’s author (pauses) they were around when I was a child and you can still get their books now, actually I’ve got one here (pulls book out of bag) because I was talking about this book the other day. The Eighteenth Emergency by Betsy Byars, and she’s a wonderful, wonderful writer, so I still love her books. I think they are amazing.

And grown up books, well again there are so many people, but there’s an author called Rose Tremain, she’s written a lot of books but my favourite one of hers is called Restoration. Although it’s set in history around the reign of king Charles II, a long long time ago, you see lots of things in common with your own life.

Come back next week to read the part two of Daisy and Izzy’s interview with Lauren child. In the mean time you can discover more about Lauren and her work by clicking here to visit her website and learn about Guildford Waterstone’s upcoming book events by visiting their events page here.

Interview by Daisy (11) and Izzy (8)

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Dolly’s Diary

Clare Bromley and Holly Blackman (illustrator)

Picnics , kite flying and seaside adventures with Dolly and her new family
Are you exited dolly? beep,beep says Dolly. And so the fun begins…

I love Dolly’s Diary simply because: The illustrations are so beautiful and perfect for a early reader or to be read to a small person. I definitely thought this was for a younger child, though I still enjoyed it,.

By the first page I could tell this had a interesting story line but later on in the book I realised it’s a bit too young for me. Any how , Dolly manages to find her new family a nice place in a field for a lovely picnic. Later on we hear about Molly’s big ice cream and the ‘Dotto’ train. Then its bedtime, Night, Night Dolly.

On the inside cover is a Diary with the days of the week listed. This is interesting because it has spaces for you to write your own diary and it’s a great use of an inside cover with bunting and flowers on it.

Mummy read this to her toddler group they loved it!!!!! I would definitely recommend it for 2- 5 year olds particularly ones who like cars or camper vans.

Verdict: It’s a lovely book.

Reviewed by Izzy(8)

Publisher: Eastbourne Cottages
Publication Date: July 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 25
Genre: Picture book
Age: Early reader, Picture book
Reviewer: Izzy (8)
Source: Received from publisher
Challenge: Debut Author
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Tim the Tiny Horse at Large

Harry Hill
In this new book of adventures, Tim has to deal with some big things such as: Birth, love, life and death! Tim faces up to fame, to his best friend Fly getting married and the responsibility of looking after his pet Greenfly…George

Tim the tiny horse at large is such a cool book. I really like how it is laid out and how some pages are full colour, which makes them really eye catching. It uses a mixture of real photo’s plus Harry’s extraordinary illustrations. It is great fun for people who like a good laugh. But is DEFINATELY for the older reader, even though it is laid out simply and easily and looks very childish, in Chapter 5 which is called Mr and Mrs Fly get a new addition we hear about Mrs Fly’s pregnancy only a day and a half after getting married!

Chapters 7 and 10 are my favourites because I really like the story about George the Greenfly and Chapter 10 should make you feel sad (won’t tell you why because it will give it away) but you can’t help but giggle.

Even though this is the second book about Tiny Tim, I’m really hoping on my next trip to the library, that I can find the first one in the series, as this book was so good (I’m actually hoping it’s a trilogy)

Verdict:This book is slightly crazy and a bit nonsense, but is still one of the best books I’ve read. I thought it looked it a bit babyish at first, but after having a sneak preview of the pictures in the library I changed my mind and decided to borrow it and I’m UTTERLY glad I did.

Publisher: Faber and Faber Ltd
Publication Date: October 2009
Format: Paperback
Pages: 176
Genre: Humour
Age: Middle Grade book review
Reviewer: Izzy (9)
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British Book
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Because Of Winn Dixie


Kate Dicamillo

Because of Winn-Dixie, a big, ugly, happy dog, 10-year-old Opal learns 10 things about her long-gone mother from her preacher father. Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal makes new friends among the somewhat unusual residents of her new hometown, Naomi, Florida. Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal begins to find her place in the world and let go of some of the sadness left by her mother’s abandonment seven years earlier.
With her newly adopted, goofy pooch at her side, Opal explores her bittersweet world and learns to listen to other people’s lives. This warm and winning book hosts an unforgettable cast of characters, including a librarian who fought off a bear with a copy of War and Peace, an ex-con pet-store clerk who plays sweet music to his animal charges, and the neighborhood “witch,” a nearly blind woman who sees with her heart.

Because of Winn Dixie is mainly about a homeless dog who smiles his heart out.
Winn Dixie is found in a groceries store called Winn Dixie, in Florida. When opal finds out he’s in with a chance of going to the pound, she steps in…

But this is no ordinary dog , Winn Dixie some how manages to help the lonely opal find some friends. By the end of the story the Bald Headed Babies, The preacher, the librarian and others are all drawn together because of Winn Dixie.

But one stormy night something happens which could change Opals life forever and Winn Dixie’s secret is revealed…

I have read this book a thousand times and have had it read to me two thousand times by my Mummy.

Verdict:I love it so much that I even got her to take me to the Winn Dixie store on our holiday to Florida and have my photo taken outside it!
Reviewed by Izzy (9)

Publisher:Walker
Publication Date: August 2005
Format: Paperback
Pages: 192
Genre: Animals
Age: Early Readers
Reviewer: Izzy
Source: Own copy
Challenge: None
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Welcome to Daisy and Izzy!

We are absolutely delighted to introduce you to our two new Junior reviewers Daisy and Izzy. We are really looking forward to their contributions to Big Book Little Book and can’t wait to read their children’s book reviews.
Daisy is 11 and is in her last year at primary school. She likes all types of music, especially jazz, she also plays the piano. Daisy owns a guinea pig called Patrick and she loves reading. Her parents are more likely to find her with her nose in a book rather than doing something vital like getting dressed in the morning. She loves the ‘How to Train your Dragon’ series by Cressida Cowell and likes other authors such as: Eva Ibottson, Kate Di Camillo, Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Bond.

Izzy is 8 years old and almost 9. No one will ever see her in a dress and she is exactly the opposite to a girly girl. She hardly EVER wears what her mum tells her to wear. Izzy would mostly be found outside (without any shoes on) or playing with her guinea pig Teddy Fluffins. She likes a good kick about or generally just being outside. Even though she is the outdoors type she still has time for reading good books and playing the piano and violin.

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