Tuesday 31 July 2018

"100 Screen-Free Ways to Beat Boredom" by Kris Hirschmann and Elisa Paganelli (QED)

Out today and here to save your sanity! If you, like us, are having a tough time of finding things to do that don't chew through your budget in record time, you NEED this book!
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"Really Remarkable Reptiles" by Jake Williams (Pavilion Children's Books)

Given the chance, C would probably fill our house with snakes and lizards...
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Enjoy a summer of artistic inspiration with brilliant new titles from Happy Museum and Catherine De Duve (Happy Museum Publishing)

Catherine De Duve is an absolutely incredible inspiration to young would-be art fans who love discovering more about classic artists and amazing works of art...
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"Sounds of Nature: World of Birds" by Robert Frank Hunter (Wide Eyed Editions)

We've often tweeted about books but we've not often had books tweet back at us. But this one does...
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Monday 30 July 2018

Nearly a century of mischief, mayhem and fun - Happy 80th Birthday to The Beano, the generation-spanning comic.

I think just about everyone reading this blog will have, at one point or another, owned an issue or perhaps an annual from The Beano Comic.

It seems incredible to think that the comic is coming up for its 80th Birthday, with the first issue arriving on newsagent shelves on 30th July 1938.

It's 2018 and the comic is still going strong, with a whole new generation of artists and authors bringing to life the Beano's enviable collection of miscreants, weirdos and downright cool characters.

Front and centre is Dennis the Menace, with his faithful hound Gnasher - and Dennis shows you some of his insider tricks to being a complete menace in the upcoming "Beano Book of Mischief, Mayhem and Fun" coming soon from Studio Press.

The book is chock full of brilliant makes and projects that'll definitely help you spend your summer getting up to no good (well, in a fairly lighthearted way!)

Construct all manner of amazing contraptions from pencil catapults, to pea shooters, play crazy tricks on hapless adults and don your black and red stripy jersey for japes and hijinks along with a ton of other Beano faves.

Danny shows you how to build a cool code so you and your friends can communicate in secrecy. No adults allowed!
It's a fantastic activity book and even though we've seen some of the ideas in other 'make' books, these are presented in a cool Beano-esque way.

Remember kids, safety first. Never aim any of these at animals or humans!
"The Beano Book of Mischief, Mayhem and Fun" is available from Studio Press.

The building fun doesn't stop there either, there's also a couple of corkingly brilliant project books from Studio Press.

Beano Builds Go Kart. Build your own mean machine!
"Beano Builds Go Kart" will help you realise your soapbox derby dreams with a mean machine of your own creation. (I actually remember getting into trouble as a kid for removing the wheels from my little sister's pram to build a go kart. Well, I thought she'd finished with it as she was walking at the time - how was I supposed to know they wanted to sell it :)

Karts not your thing? Well surely Dens are...

Forget playing Fortnite. Get out there and build your own fantastic den!
"Beano Builds: Secret Den" will help you create a secret lair all of your own. Love that these books are also produced in partnership with Save the Children. Bonus points for being cool AND being uber-helpful to a fantastic charity. AWESOME!

Sticking with the 80th birthday celebrations you may also want to grab the latest edition of The Beano Annual too!

The Beano Annual 2018. 80 years of keeping kids blissfully quiet for hours!
Oh and this was the first one I was bought! Yes, showing my age, I know!

Ah Biffo the Bear and Lord Snooty!
Celebrate a summer of awesome comic fun with The Beano! You know it makes sense!

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Two fantastic Infographic titles celebrate two amazing titans of pop and rock - "Biographic: Bowie" and "Biographic: Hendrix" by Liz Flavell (Ammonite Press)

I've often wondered whether poor C gets a rough deal, inheriting some of her music taste from her parents...
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"Errol's Garden" by Gillian Hibbs (Child's Play)

Here's a book that took me right back to my childhood, and also made both of us think how lucky we are to have green spaces around us nowadays...
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Friday 27 July 2018

ReadItDaddy's Second Book of the Week - Week Ending 27th July 2018: "Each Peach Pear Plum" by Janet and Allan Ahlberg (Picture Puffin)

Our Second Book of the Week this week corrects a huge oversight on our part. I can't believe we've never reviewed this book on the blog...!
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ReadItDaddy's First Book of the Week - Week Ending 27th July 2018: "The Princess and the Pit Stop" by Tom Angleberger and Dan Santat (Abrams and Chronicle)

Our first Book of the Week this week definitely isn't one for prim and proper princesses who love gadding around in taffeta ball gowns...
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Thursday 26 July 2018

ReaditDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup: July 2018

Hello and welcome to July's awesome book-packed Chapter Book Roundup. Strap yourselves in as we've got a massive stack of books to recommend to you. Hopefully the weather is still sunny where you are, but never mind if you're rain-bound and in a bit of a grump, there's plenty of variety here for everyone so let's kick off with something rather dark and spooky.

"Bone's Gift" by Angie Simbert follows the recent trend for spooky and dark middle grade adventures with the tale of 12 year old Bone.

Bone has an exceptional supernatural gift. She can sense the stories in everyday objects.

When she receives a note that says her mother's Gift killed her, Bone seeks to unravel the mysteries of her mother's death, the schisms in her family, and the Gifts themselves.

It's a tightly woven mystery that plays its cards pretty close to its chest from the outset, before twisting deliciously in on itself to deliver a breathtaking finale. We are hoping that this is just the first book in a series from Angie, it's really fantastic and original stuff with an exquisite coat of darkness about it.

"Bone's Gift" by Angie Simbert is out now, published by Highlights Publishing. 

Next we're catching up with Kristina Springer's effortlessly cool heroine, expert middle school matchmaker and yoga guru extraordinaire.

Yep, it's time for more fun with "Cici Reno: #MiddleSchoolMatchmaker".

Middle school is a test, but Cici has ALL the answers.

She's the go-to girl for advice: cool, funny and enlightened (thanks to her mums yoga classes). 

So when her pretty BFF is too shy to speak to the boy she has a crush on, Cici goes online and does the talking for her. 

Then Cici starts to fall for him herself! For the first time ever, she doesnt have a clue.

With a rather nifty twist on the classic "Cyrano De Bergerac" this is middle grade awesomeness for girls like C who already adore series like "Dork Diaries" or "Diary of a Wimpy Kid". 

"Cici Reno: #MiddleSchoolMatchmaker" by Kristina Springer is out now, published by Sterling Publishing. 

Next, something sizzlingly original yet with a core message and voice that middle graders will readily be able to identify with.

"Bone Talk" by Candy Gourlay has to have one of the most original settings we've seen in a middle grade novel.

Set in the Phillipine jungle at the end of the 19th Century, it's the story of Samkad - a boy who lives in a tribe deep in the jungle, a tribe that has never encountered anyone from outside before. 

Samkad is about to embark on the rites of passage in his tribe in order to become a man, and while he's desperate to grow up, he's worried that this will take him away from his best friend, Little Luki. 

However, Samkad's world is about to change utterly. 

A strange man with white skin arrives in his village, and Samkad discovers the brother he never knew he had. A brother who tells him of people called `Americans'. Americans who are bringing war, and burning, to Samuel's home. 

Written in Candy's effortless and gritty style and weaving an amazing story of an indigenous population struggling to maintain a way of life that they have enjoyed for thousands of years against the onslaught from 'civilisation', this is absolutely gripping stuff. 

"Bone Talk" by Candy Gourlay is out on the 2nd August 2018, published by David Fickling Books. 

More scintillating fantasy now with a tale tinged with darkness and mystery.

"The Price of Magic" by Gavin Neale introduces Abby and her brother Chris who moved house four summers ago, discovered that magic exists, met a pair of witches that lived down the road and carried out a heroic rescue of their mother from the Land of Fairy.

But despite the discovery of their own magical talents, the memories of those events are beginning to fade. And even Abby, who gave up her magic to save her mother and carries the scars of a ghost sabre tooth tiger, is forgetting that eventful summer.

Then, while Chris is away and Abby is helping the witches during the Easter holidays, the Queen of the Land of Fairy comes back into Abby's life, looking for help. But can she be trusted?

Even though the witches try to protect her, Abby gets drawn into events with frightening consequences. She must face the results of what happened to her in the Land of Fairy, rescue her neighbour, and stop a magical war.

That's a lot of pressure for an eleven-year-old girl, even with a warrior's soul, but magic always has a price and a warrior's work is seldom done.

As readers begin to unlock her eventual fate, this is truly Abby's story - a fantasy novel that doesn't dumb things down for kids with inquisitive minds and perhaps even a smidge of a belief in magic themselves. Awesome stuff.

"The Price of Magic" by Gavin Neale is out now, published by Matador. 

More from a series we've absolutely loved to bits on the blog with the third book in Jennifer Bell's fabulous "The Uncommoners" series, with awesome covers by Karl James Mountford.

"The Frozen Telescope" picks up the adventures of Ivy, Valian and Seb right after "The Smoking Hourglass". Ivy, Seb and Valian think they've vanquished their enemies, and those of Lundinor, forever.

It turns out their adventure was only just beginning . . .

Ivy and Seb can't wait to join Valian for their first ever overseas uncommon adventure - they're meeting in Nubrook, the completely astonishing and totally-different-to-Ludinor trading market hidden underneath New York.

But there's no time to enjoy looking round all the incredible sights - they're on a mission to find Valian's long-lost sister, Rosie.

But it seems they're not the only ones looking for her.

Once again the Dirge rear their terrifying heads, and it appears they're after not only Rosie, but another enormously powerful Great Uncommon Good object. But what do they want it for? And can Ivy, Seb and Valianstop them from finding it?

Another rip-roaring adventure with a frenetic pace and a ton of originality.

"The Uncommoners: The Frozen Telescope" by Jennifer Bell and Karl James Mountford is out now, published by Corgi Children's Books. 

Something for older readers now as Tom and Giovanna Fletcher combine their amazing writing talents for a book for YA readers.

"Eve of Man" begins an eventual trilogy featuring teenager Eve.

Eve is like any other teenage girl. Except that the fate of the entire world lies on her shoulders.

She's the first girl born in fifty years.

She's the answer to their prayers.

She's the final hope.

Which means she has one function alone . . .

At sixteen, Eve must face her destiny and make a choice.

She will choose a man, one out of three carefully selected suitors.

But what about Bram? The man she truly loves?

The future of the planet hangs on Eve making the right choice but it's a lot to lump onto someone's shoulders. Will Eve choose love or the future of the human race?

It's a breathtaking dystopian debut for this writing team who have both enjoyed massive success in their own separate publishing careers. Tautly written and page-turningly tense, you'll be crying out for the sequel by the end.

"Eve of Man" by Tom and Giovanna Fletcher is out now, published by Michael Joseph Books. 

More for older readers now with a breathtaking new novel from Karen McManus.

In "One of us is Lying" five distinctly different students are sent to detention.

Shockingly only four leave alive.

Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule and is considered to be a goody two-shoes.

Sports star Cooper only knows what he's doing in the baseball diamond. Short on brains and guile, how can Cooper concoct a conspiracy so complex?

Bad boy Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime. The black sheep of the family, and a prime suspect in the death - but is his guilt as cut and dried as it seems?

Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life. Secrets and lies have always bubbled away in her background so why would anyone trust her word now?

And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won't ever talk about any of them again. Each has a motive for Simon's death - 24 hours before his big reveal of their deepest darkest secrets online.

Four suspects, mixed messages, alibis and stories that don't stack up. But who's the culprit?

This is an utterly gripping YA read from an author who can weave a complex and immersive tale with seemingly consummate ease.

"One of Us is Lying" by Karen M. McManus is out now, published by Penguin Books. 

Eerily along similar lines to our last book, here's "The Smoke Thieves" by Sally Green. This time it's a YA fantasy read with a well-tuned and gorgeously written story of a Princess, a Soldier, A Hunter, a Traitor and a Thief.

These five teenagers may hold the fate of the world in their hands, as their five nations engage in a gigantic conflict.

In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father, while her true love, Ambrose, faces the executioner's block.

In Calidor, downtrodden servant March seeks revenge on the prince who betrayed his people. 

In Pitoria, feckless Edyon steals cheap baubles for cheaper thrills as he drifts from town to town.

And in the barren northern territories, thirteen-year-old Tash is running for her life as she plays bait for the gruff demon hunter Gravell.

As alliances shift and shatter, and old certainties are overturned, our five heroes find their past lives transformed and their futures inextricably linked by the unpredictable tides of magic and war.

Who will rise and who will fall? And who will claim the ultimate prize?

Like a slicker and more teen-engaging version of "Game of Thrones" this is YA fantasy at its best with peerless worldbuilding and utterly believable characters. 

"The Smoke Thieves" by Sally Green is out now, published by Penguin Books. 

More you say? MORE?! OH GO ON THEN!

The first part of a new book series is out now (with the next book following in September. You lucky people!) Let's delve into the seedy shadowy world of "The Curse of the Speckled Monster: Graverobbers and Gallows" by John Townsend.

Cephas Catchpole is a young orphan in 19th century England, apprenticed as a chimney sweep to a cruel master. 

When he is mistaken for dead after an accidental fall and buried alive, he is rescued from his fate by two unwitting bodysnatchers. 

Against his will, Cephas finds himself drawn into the shady criminal underworld and begins to uncover a murderous conspiracy involving medical malpractice, Cephas' own mysterious parentage and the dreaded speckled monster itself smallpox. 

This is a gripping and atmospheric Dickensian tale in two volumes for young readers, filled with suspense, humour and more twists than a hangman's noose. It's got a really cool dark smog-fuelled vibe to it that will please fans of all things Victorian (including us, of course!)

"Graverobbers and Gallows" by John Townsend is out now, published by Salariya with "The Twist of the Hangman" set to follow in September. Don't miss it!

An absolutely belting sequel now from a mistress of action and adventure. 

"Stunt Double: Jungle Curse" by Tamsin Cooke is the follow-up to her first frenetically paced "Stunt Double" novel. 

Following the adventures of young Finn, a fearless stunt double, the action moves firmly into the steamy jungles of Thailand as work begins on the new Rio Dinoni blockbuster movie.

Finn thinks he has a dream job, but most of the cast and crew are haunted by the rumours that the current movie is cursed - and as things start to go wrong for Finn he begins to believe the rumours himself. 

Scraping through by the skin of his teeth in several near misses, Finn decides it's time to investigate what's truly at the heart of the mishaps as secrets and lies threaten to bring filming to an abrupt - or fatal - end. 

As superbly paced as the original, once again Tamsin writes up a storm with a cinematic masterpiece that's good for girls or boys who love adventure stories. 

"Stunt Double: Jungle Curse" by Tamsin Cooke is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

Next up, a fab reprint with an all-new and up to date cover for an amazing mythical tale from Julia Golding. 

"Secret of the Sirens" is book 1 in the "Companions" series from Julia, reprinted by OUP. 
Connie's story begins when she's sent to live with her aunt. She knows it's going to be one more place where she doesn't fit in. But soon she realises how wrong she is. The seaside town is full of adults and children who have strange links to creatures. It's the heart of the secret Society for the Protection of Mythical Creatures, a group of people sworn to ensure that mythical beasts are kept safe.

Normally the creatures and their chosen humans work in harmony. But something abnormal is happening here. 

The Sirens, who for generations have kept their deadly song to themselves, are once again luring humans to their deaths. It doesn't take long for Connie to realise that the victims are oil workers. The Sirens are fed-up with their seas being polluted, but should the Society protect the Sirens or the oil industry? 

Connie doesn't think she has a role to play, until it becomes clear that she's a Universal - the first person in over a century who can communicate with every type of beast on earth and in the air. Her power is immense. It corrupted the previous Universal . . . and now he's back. And he'll use any means he can - from violence to the terrifying Storm Giants - to turn Connie to the dark side.

It's an eco tale with a thumping heart and a dazzling mix of magic, adventure and mythical creatures so it's definitely right up our alley. 

"Secrets of the Sirens (Companions Book 1)" by Julia Golding is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

This next one's something really special so pay attention at the back there!

"The Cradle of All Worlds" by Jeremy Lachlan is the sort of sweeping and mesmeric fantasy adventure novel we just can't get enough of.

Dubbed as "Stranger Things meets Pullman's Northern Lights" (which is more than enough to garner our interest), this is book one in what we hope will be a huge series for Egmont.

Fourteen years ago, Jane Doe and her father arrived on the steps of the Manor – the entrance to a dangerous labyrinth connecting the island of Bluehaven to many other worlds. 

This dangerous portal is the only safe haven for Jane and her father, as the world is rocked by mysterious earthquakes 

When the strongest quake yet strikes and Jane's father disappears back into the Manor, she embarks on a perilous adventure to find him and save her world before the tremors grow far worse. 

Jeremy's many fantasy influences are tightly woven into a breathtaking story that establishes an amazing bookworld to explore along with the fantastic character of Jane, a mighty girl who will discover her own strengths and weaknesses as the novel unfolds. 

Utterly sublime and unmissable stuff. 

"The Cradle of Worlds" by Jeremy Lachlan is out on 9th August 2018, published by Egmont UK. 

Next, it looks like another one of our favourite comedians is establishing himself as something of a children's book legend. Not content with playing a nefarious Imperial Officer in "The Last Jedi", Adrian Edmondson (who shall forever be Vim Fuego to me) leaps from the success of his awesome "Tilly and the Time Machine" to "Junkyard Jack and the Horse that Talked" - Again with fab illustrations from Danny Noble.

Jack is a very small and bendy boy. So small and bendy, that he can hide inside his own school bag! A useful skill when you get picked on a lot. 

Other than bending and hiding, his favourite thing to do is to go to Old Mr Mudge's junkyard and ride the horses, Lightning and Boadicea.

It's definitely better than going home to his drippy Aunt Violet, smelly Uncle Ted and evil cousin Kelly.

But when he (accidentally) runs away, he finds himself on an adventure to free his mum from prison- with the help of a lot of talking animals!

Filled with excitement, fun and far too much horse poo it's a hilarious and perfect summer read.

"Junkyard Jack and the Horse that Talked" by Adrian Edmondson and Danny Noble is out now, published by Puffin Books. 

Time for a fantasy tale that takes its cues from classic fairy tales. 

"Spinning Silver" by Naomi Novik tells the story of Miryem, the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders. Miryem's father is too kind-hearted to collect his debts so they face poverty, until Miryem hardens her own heart and takes up his work in their village. 

Her success creates rumours she can turn silver into gold, which attract the fairy king of winter himself. He sets her an impossible challenge – and if she fails, she’ll die. Yet if she triumphs, it may mean a fate worse than death. And in her desperate efforts to succeed, Miryem unwittingly spins a web which draws in the unhappy daughter of a lord.

The girl is called Irina and her father schemes to wed her to the tsar and he will pay any price to achieve this goal. 

However, the dashing tsar is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of mortals and winter alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and Irina embark on a quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power and love.

A tempestuous and exquisitely crafted novel once again thoroughly establishing Naomi as a supreme talent to watch. "Spinning Silver" by Naomi Novik is out now, published by Macmillan Children's Books. 

One last one before we go, from a classic author whose timeless stories are still hugely popular with everyone today (including us). 

"Summertime Stories" by Enid Blyton is another stunning collection of her shorter tales, perfect for dipping into over the long summer holidays with 30 tales of adventure and excitement.

From picnics in the sunshine to daring outdoor adventures, celebrate the fun and magic of summertime with these fun-filled short stories.

Ideal for newly confident readers, these entertaining tales are the perfect length for reading aloud at bedtime or in the classroom.

Enid Blyton remains one of Britain's favourite children's authors and her bumper short story collections are perfect for introducing her to the latest generation of readers.

"Summertime Stories" by Enid Blyton is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books. 

Goodness me! Where does the time go when we dip into our book bag? Tune in again in August when we'll be gearing up for a new school year with another selection of awesome chapter books to keep you busy in between homework. Have a fantastic summer!
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"The Holidays" by Blexbolex (Gecko Press)

We've long been champions of wordless picture books on the blog, and their power in turning around reluctant readers can't be denied...
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Wednesday 25 July 2018

"Roald Dahl's Opposites" by Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake (Puffin)

It's never too soon to wean your little ones onto the genius books of Roald Dahl (and of course Quentin Blake)...
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Tuesday 24 July 2018

Lazy summer reading is now even easier with a Book Monster to lend a hand (or a couple of teeth!)

Cute Kitty! A fantastic idea for summer book worms!
Thanks to the lovely folk at Clareville Communications and www.thinkinggifts.com we've given a new cuddly reading aid a loving home (and believe me, C went absolutely CRAZY for this thing the moment she saw it). 

She often sprawls out on the floor reading, or props her book up awkwardly on her knees in bed - and that's not always easy in the hot weather. 

Thankfully Thinking Gifts have come to the rescue with Kiki Kitty, a Cuddly Reading Companion that fits most of her books absolutely perfectly (and also works for iPads and tablets too, if your kids love a bit of screentime). 

These cuddly creatures are part of the Thinking Gifts range (RRP £24.99 each), a collection of cute animals including Puppy Pete, Kiki Kitty and Owliver.

Book Monster and Cuddly Readers are light-weight, fully machine washable and manufactured with children’s safety in mind – they’re sure to make an eye-catching and fun addition to any family home.

They're also great for reading outside, as you can see!

What could be better than finding a shady nook to read a cool book in, with your Cuddly Reading Companion Kiki?

 Kiki Kitty was extremely well made, really nicely stitched. I think the only slight criticism we'd make is that the teeth (to hold the book) could've done with being a bit toothier (longer) to hold paperbacks. It does still work surprisingly well though (look ma, no hands! YAY!)

Sturdy book steady!
We were most impressed by this and we're now faced with a bit of a challenge - how does C pack this for Guide Camp later on in the year?

Thinking Gift stockists include WH Smith, independent bookshop (including Stanfords in London and Bristol) and independent giftshops across the UK as well as online at www.thinkinggifts.com.

The popular book holders from Thinking Gifts were created when one of the team’s young sons was often trying to prop his book and tablet in difficult positions, so the idea of the Book Monster was born. As you can see, it's become a huge hit with C and we will definitely be having a browse on the Thinking Gifts online store to see what other goodies they do. 

If pink's not your thing, how about a froggy companion instead?

Hop on over to www.thinkinggifts.com - free UK delivery for orders over £15

(Kiki Kitty kindly supplied for review purposes). 
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"Billy and the Beast" by Nadia Shireen (Jonathan Cape PB)

Cor, it feels like it's been AGES since we had a really great monster book...
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Monday 23 July 2018

"Steve, Terror of the Seas" by Megan Brewis (OUP / Oxford Children's Books)

Here's a funny book with such a hilarious payoff that we just couldn't resist its charms...
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Sizzling Summer Reads - The perfect antidote to long boring school holidays? A glorious selection of fabulous BOOKS of course!

Oh believe me, we really do feel for you parents, guardians, grandparents and carers who are now faced with a long hot summer of keeping your youngsters entertained. We've always found that during the quiet moments when C packs her bags for visiting her grandparents we always end up packing a book or two into her bag, as nothing passes the time than digging into a fantastic book or two.

So here's ten summery sunny smashers we'll definitely be reading this summer holiday.

Kicking off with a perfect upper-middle-grade / early YA  graphic novel that perfectly sums up the summer break.

"All Summer Long" by Hope Larson beautifully captures the bittersweet experience of spending summer without your besties, as we catch up with thirteen-year-old Bina whose usually meticulously planned "Fun List" of summer activities ends up blown out of the water thanks to her best friend.

Bina and Austin usually do everything together, but he's off to soccer camp for a month, and he's been acting kind of weird lately anyway (boys, tchoh!)

So it's up to Bina to see how much fun she can have on her own.

At first it's a lot of guitar playing, boredom, terrible English accents and bad TV, but things look up when she finds an unlikely companion in Austin's older sister, who enjoys music just as much as Bina.

But then Austin comes home from camp, and he's acting even weirder than when he left. How Bina and Austin rise above their growing pains and reestablish their friendship and respect for their differences makes for a touching and funny coming-of-age story.

"All Summer Long" by Hope Larson is out now, published by FirstSecond. 

From the sublime to the sublimely surreal and the awesome Shaun Tan's masterpiece "Rules of Summer".

Capturing the spirit of imagination and play, this is a glorious and weird exploration of the relationship between two siblings as they come up with a list of rules that touch on the adventures they have in a strange landscape filled with wonderful creatures - and danger!

It's impossible not to get completely wrapped up in Tan's bookworlds, as he inventively comes up with an amazing array of incidents and circumstances for his two boy characters to immerse themselves in.

Like all Shaun's books, it's a work of art in its own right and even if your little ones might be too young for the text, they'll absolutely love the art in this.

"The Rules of Summer" by Shaun Tan is out now, published by Hodder.

Summer wouldn't be summer without activity books, and there's nothing better than spending a few hours getting sticky with stickers.

Usborne's awesome "Sticker Dolly Dressing" range is just perfect and this holiday-themed edition is a bright and colourful book full of reusable sticker scenes.

Invent the perfect holiday outfit and scenario with a ton of brilliantly illustrated stickers and accessories for your characters as they spend long hot days lazing in the sun or splashing in the sea.

We've always loved these books as they're just so gorgeously produced and there's a huge range of them for both boys and girls.

"Sticker Dolly Dressing: Holiday" is out now, published by Usborne Publishing. 

More holiday picture book fun now, with something many many parents will identify with just before they've loaded up the car on their way to the family holiday this year...

"Fergus Barnaby Goes on Holiday" by David Barrow is a gloriously illustrated tale of a little bear who can't quite find all the things he needs to pack into his little suitcase as his family get ready for some summer fun.

All the things he needs to take with him - like his bucket and spade, his kite and his swimming goggles, are all out on loan to the various creatures he shares house space with.

Poor Fergus is exhausted before he's even started, as he has to dash up to the first, second and third floors to retrieve his holiday goodies.

He's not the only one with problems though, even when he's ready and packed - Dad is still a bit forgetful and he's forgotten possibly the most important thing of all (we'll leave you to find out just what - or rather who - that is!)

This is classic picture-book loveliness from David, with glorious illustrations, a fun theme and of course a funny twist too. It's a big lovely cuddly huge book for sprawling out on the floor with, and it's definitely been one of our favourite holiday-themed books.

"Fergus Barnaby Goes on Holiday" by David Barrow is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books. 

Next, probably one of the most important 'holiday' books we've had the pleasure of reviewing on this humble blog.

"Tilly's At Home Holiday" by Gillian Hibbs is something that unexpectedly really spoke to us, and me in particular as a kid who didn't have many family holidays. In this book Tilly and her mum plan a vacation with a difference, they stay at home and spend time together doing a multitude of fun things.

For kids in a similar position, this book is utterly essential - not everyone gets to jet off to a fantastic sunny location over the summer but that doesn't mean that spending time with someone special can't make a holiday just as awesome.

"Tilly's At Home Holiday" by Gillian Hibbs is out now, published by Child's Play. 

We can't possibly miss out awesome chapter book reads from our summer reading list this year, so let's dig into five truly awesome and distinctly different summer reads.

"Bone Talk" by Candy Gourlay is out on the 2nd August, just in time to become your new favourite YA obsession from this enormously talented author.

It's a totally immersive and truly original summer read, beginning with a young would-be warrior about to embark on a rights-of-passage like no other.

Samkad dreams of becoming a mighty headhunter like his father, carrying his own weapons and etching tattoos across his chest to proclaim his greatness as a warrior.

His best friend is a girl his age, Little Luki wants to become a mighty warrior too ... except in their culture, girls don't grow up to become warriors. 

The two friends have no idea about the world outside their isolated mountain village until a boy from the Lowlands turns up ... a boy who can speak many tongues and who tells stories about the world outside that seem ridiculous and unbelievable especially the part about invaders called 'Americans' who are coming to take over the village.

A thought-provoking, heart wrenching and absolutely essential book to get thoroughly wrapped in over the summer hols. 

"Bone Talk" by Candy Gourlay is out on 2nd August, published by David Fickling Children's Books. 

More bang-up-to-the-minute stuff now from a blog favourite author who is leading the charge for a new startup publisher who is promising to shake things up in kidlit. We're already sitting up and taking notice of what Knights Of publishing are shouting about, and "Knights and Bikes" by Gabrielle Kent and Rex Crowle certainly seems to echo the promises made by this intriguing publisher. 

Welcome to the sleepy island of Penfurzy, where nothing exciting ever really happens. OR DOES IT?

Adventure awaits Demelza and her new best friend in the whole world, Nessa, as they explore the island and uncover the mysteries of the Penfurzy Knights. 

With a honking pet goose sidekick, quirky islanders and a legendary treasure to find, it's up to Nessa and Demelza to ride their bikes, solve the puzzles before them, and face down danger with frisbees, water-balloons, feathers .... and a toilet plunger. It's a rip-roaring summer read that's full of the sort of awesome diversity and glorious adventuring we love to see in books. 

"Knights and Bikes" by Gabrielle Kent is out on 2nd August, published by Knights Of. 

Another corkingly good read for the summer comes from Pippa Goodhart in the form of "The Great Sea Dragon Discovery" - new out from Catnip Books. 

Set during the 19th century as the world began to fall under the spell and magic of many scientific discoveries you'll find yourself pulled back to Cambridge in 1860.

Meet Bill. Bill is a boy whose head is full of questions and his constant curiosity always seems to get him into trouble. Especially when one of his experiments causes his father to lose his job. 

Bill gets a bit of money for his family selling interesting fossils he has found in his locale but they're barely scraping by and Bill soon finds himself drawn into a mystery that perhaps could solve all the family's financial problems once and for all. The only problem is that Bill's discovery puts forward such a controversial theory that it could completely change the world for good. 

Set against the amazing backdrop of fossil discoveries and the challenges to evolution, this is a rivetting read for kids (and adults) who love a bit of science mixed in with their fiction. 

Utterly believable and gorgeously written. "The Great Sea Dragon Discovery" by Pippa Goodhart is out now, published by Catnip Books. 

More historical awesomeness now with a fantasy twist for those of you who love complex and glorious worldbuilding, and utterly mesmeric characters. 

"The Book of Boy" by Catherine Gilbert Murdock is a truly epic and engrossing fantasy tale that kicks off with a brilliant map and features awesome black-and-white art by Ian Schoenherr throughout.

Boy has always been relegated to the outskirts of his small village. With a large hump on his back, a mysterious past, and a tendency to talk to animals, he is often mocked by others in his town - perhaps even feared - until the arrival of a shadowy pilgrim named Secondus.

Impressed with Boy's climbing and jumping abilities, Secondus engages Boy as his servant, pulling him into an action-packed and suspensful expedition across Europe to gather the seven precious relics of Saint Peter.

Boy quickly realizes this journey is not an innocent one. They are stealing the relics and accumulating dangerous enemies in the process. But Boy is determined to see this pilgrimage through until the end--for what if St. Peter can make Boy's hump go away? 

Riveting and fresh, this is amazing stuff. 

"The Book of Boy" by Catherine Gilbert Murdock is out now, published by Greenwillow Books. 

Aw, just enough space for one more...and this one will certainly make you chortle with glee!

Elys Dolan's "Wizarding for Beginners" might not feature a certain boy wizard with a weird scar on his forehead but it's absolutely perfect for emerging / solo readers who are just making their first moves away from picture books. 

Meet two of the oddest characters you'll ever meet. Dave and Albrecht!

Best friends always with a nose for adventure, Dave and Albrecht must go undercover to solve a mystery. They must disguise themselves as wizards to enter the notoriously secretive Wizarding Guild, in order to free their friends and stop the most evil wizard of them all - Terrence - who is the sort of baddie we just love to bits!

Luckily for Dave and Albrecht they have the perfect book to help them on their quest, the amazing, the brilliant, Wizarding for Beginners! What could possibly go wrong (apart from 'everything'?)

Brilliantly funny stuff from Elys. "Wizarding for Beginners" is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's books. 

Enjoy your fantastic summer reading adventure, stay cool and keeeeep reading!

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Friday 20 July 2018

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book of the Week - Week Ending 20th July 2018: "The Boy Who Grew Dragons" by Andy Shepherd and Sara Ogilvie (Piccadilly Press)

Our Chapter Book of the Week this week combines a ton of our favourite themes into an utterly essential summer read...
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ReadItDaddy's Second Book of the Week - Week Ending 20th July 2018: "A Bubble" by Genevieve Castree, Phil Elverum and Anders Nilsen (Drawn and Quarterly)

Our second Picture Book of the Week delivered such a whump to our hearts that we just can't stop thinking about it...
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