Monday 30 September 2019

"The Classic FM Family Music Box" by Tim Lihoreau and Sam Jackson (White Lion Publishing)

This is a superb idea for a book, making the enjoyment of classical music enjoyable and accessible at the same time, while teaching children some fascinating facts about iconic classical pieces and their composers.

"The Classic FM Family Music Box" by Sam Jackson and Tim Lihoreau is a fantastic interactive book featuring 8 short snippets of music from world famous composers, as well as a ton of facts and information about the music, the figures behind those amazing pieces of work, and their life and times.

It's an awesome way to introduce children to classical pieces they may know from movies, TV or games, brought to life with fabulous illustrations to underpin the collection of facts crammed between the covers of this intriguing title.

Readers will be introduced to the genius of legendary artists such as Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Elgar, Handel, Verdi, Vivaldi and Strauss, and will experience their lives, inspirations and music in a whole new way. 

The life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The book also features more opportunities to listen to pieces with innovative QR codes provided to link directly through to great renditions of music through a tablet or smartphone.

Mozart's iconic "The Magic Flute"
Sum this book up in a sentence: A superb interactive book with brilliant facts and figures, stunning illustrations and the perfect inroad into the world of classical music. 

"The Classic FM Family Music Box" by Sam Jackson and Tim Lihoreau is out now, published by White Lion Publishing (kindly supplied for review). 
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"Dave and the Tooth Fairy" by Verna Wilkins and Carl Pearce (Studio Press)

We've seen quite a lot of books on the blog that cover one of the quirkiest parts of children's formative years, but this story - reworked and reprinted from Verna Wilkins' original 1993 classic - is something of a treat, particularly when you consider just how ahead of its time it really was.

In "Dave and the Tooth Fairy" by Verna, with new artwork from super-talented Carl Pearce, young Dave has a problem that's common to quite a few kids. He has a wobbly tooth, perfectly natural, nothing to worry about.

Only there's a problem. When Dave's tooth finally does come out, it's as a result of a humungous SNEEZE!

The tooth shoots across the room never to be seen again.

The real issue is that Dave doesn't have that shiny bit of enamel to tuck under his pillow. And no tooth means no loot from the Tooth Fairy.

Will Dave's plaintive wish be heard, will the tooth fairy somehow find it within her heart to cough up even though the tooth is long gone?

Thankfully Dave's tooth fairy is super-smart - and won't let a little thing like a missing tooth phase her at all!

Carl Pearce's artwork is just so, so good in this brilliant book!

Straight off the bat, this instantly feels like the grandaddy of so many other "tooth fairy" tales that followed (and are still being written / illustrated today).

Somewhat annoyingly, in our 'switched on' diverse world, this is also still one of the few tooth fairy tales with an all-black cast.

We've campaigned long and hard for children's picture books to feature more diverse characters, and how this is so important for kids - to be able to see kids just like them doing things just like they do. Why are we still having to campaign like this 26 years on from a book that was so inspirational and ground-breaking at the time it came out?

Oh no! No tooth, no loot!!
The whole flow of the story is full of neat little nuances that again mark it a cut above so many similar titles. Dave himself is a fab character, and we really feel for him when he initially ends up losing his tooth - and his angst at perhaps missing out on the financial reward that he'd been banking on from trading in his old holey gnasher for a shiny coin.

It's stylish stuff from cover to cover, largely thanks to Verna's original tweaked story and Carl's superb new artwork. Very highly recommended.

Sum this book up in a sentence: A fab version of the tooth fairy story told in a way that was immensely ground breaking at the time it originally came out, with a brilliant central character who boosts this book's appeal high above the norm.

"Dave and the Tooth Fairy" by Verna Wilkins and Carl Pearce is out now, published by Studio Press (kindly supplied for review). 
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Friday 27 September 2019

ReadItDaddy's YA / Adult Book of the Week - Week Ending 27th September 2019: "TV Noir: Dark Drama on the Small Screen" by Allen Glover (Abrams Books)

Our YA / Adult Book of the Week is definitely strictly for grown ups, and is a fascinating deep dive into a televisual genre that has always held my attention, even from an age when I probably shouldn't have been watching that stuff!

"TV Noir: Dark Drama on the Small Screen" by Allen Glover is the meticulously researched and brilliantly detailed account of how our small screens were overtaken by writers who took their inspiration from classic detective noir authors such as Dashiel Hammet and Raymond Chandler, serving up some of the first televised dramatisations back at a time when TV was in its infancy.

As the small screen began to take its cues from the direction cinematic productions were going in, mang writers such as Rod Serling got their first taste of writing for television, producing one-off or serialised dramas as dark as a cup of black coffee. Beginning in earnest in the 1940s, pausing for the 2nd world war but reigniting in 50s America, shows began appearing worldwide that contained those essential elements of noir. Big coats, dark suits, guns, dames and quite often a nefarious murderous plot.

Allen Glover writes with enthusiasm and authority, producing something of a go-to bible for TV enthusiasts, and covering a wide range of US and international programmes such as Dragnet, 77 Sunset Strip and through to some of my favourites like The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The X-Files and Twin Peaks.

Lavishly illustrated with tons of black and white (and some colour) photos from productions, it's an absolute must for TV fans who love darker thrills.

Sum this book up in a sentence: A superb slice of televisual history dancing with the darker side of human nature.

"TV Noir" by Allen Glover is out now, published by Abrams Books (kindly supplied for review). 
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ReadItDaddy's Second Picture Book of the Week - Week Ending 27th September 2019: "Kai and the Monkey King" by Joe Todd-Stanton (Flying Eye Books / NoBrow Press)

We've seen a fair few amazing adaptations of "The Legend of Monkey: Journey to the West" and other Monkey chronicles, but none as gorgeous as "Kai and the Monkey King" by Joe Todd-Stanton.

In fact it's almost unfair to describe this as another Monkey chronicle, because it's really the tale of a mighty girl and her adventurous mother who end up with a most difficult quest - to defeat a gigantic monster that intimidates a local village every year.

Kai is restless and feels she's ready for battle, but Mum is far more sensible - and instead of heading straight to the armoury, Mum goes to the library.

Kai doesn't realise that sometimes you need to do a bit more than run into battle, a bit of research is required but she soon becomes restless - and when her mum banishes her to the other side of the library so she can concentrate, Kai discovers a mysterious tome that speaks of the captured Monkey King.

This undefeatable warrior is currently imprisoned, so Kai decides to free him and enlist his help in defeating the gigantic fiery beast.

Monkey is arrogant and full of himself, so eventually Kai realises that perhaps this rather aloof simian might not be that much help after all. Will Kai somehow have to defeat the monster alone, or will someone else leap in and save the day at the last minute?

We've not read previous adventures in Joe's amazing "Brownstone Mythical Collection" but we very much want to, now we've devoured this amazing book. Once again it's clear that Flying Eye / NoBrow not only has a knack for finding the most amazing artistic talent on the planet, but they produce some of the most gorgeous picture books - that stretch the medium to the very limit, truly lovingly produced and crafted.

Sum this book up in a sentence: Again, as with Luke Pearson's "Hilda" series, if you're looking for picture books to bat someone around the head with when they assume that PBs are "for babies", this will do nicely.

"Kai and the Monkey King" by Joe Todd-Stanton is out on 1st October 2019, published by Flying Eye Books / NoBrow Press (kindly supplied for review).

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ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book of the Week - Week Ending 27th September 2019: "Flood World" by Tom Huddleston (Nosy Crow)

Our Chapter Book of the Week feels like a glimpse into what's fast becoming our near future - a drowned planet where most of our current major cities are underwater.

I've always been drawn to dystopic stories, and "Flood World" by Tom Huddleston is one of the best middle grade dystopia novels I've read in a long time - so good in fact that even C (who usually goes for books with slightly happier / funnier settings) couldn't resist its lure either.

We both polished this one off in a couple of sittings, so let's get to the nitty gritty of what makes this such a mesmerising book.

As we've already said, this is a post-apocalyptic world where the ice caps have finally melted and the oceans have risen to cover most of the land masses on the planet.

Kara and Joe somehow scratch out a meagre existence in this drowned world, navigating the perilous waterways of a sunken city in search of food and other salvage. 

When the two plucky youngsters gain posession of a mysterious map, their world changes beyond all recognition. Suddenly Kara and Joe are targets for ruthless gangsters who rule the flooded cities, for corrupt cops who want a slice of the action for themselves, and for terrifying pirates who use their hi-tech submarines to roam the seas in search of easy pickings. 

The map holds a secret that Kara and Joe must uncover, before their entire world comes crumbling down. Can they triumph against such overwhelming odds? 

Kids who are following the current ecological crisis will wholly identify with the struggles of Kara and Joe, seemingly pitted against ruthless (but largely dim-witted) adults - yep, all very allegorical of the climate crisis that so many kids are devoting their time to protesting against.

Tom expertly draws up a drowned planet and characters that feel as brave, as vulnerable and as inspirational as young Greta Thunberg herself. There's something unsettlingly intoxicating and enticing about books that depict what could be (and the way things are going, what is very likely to be).  

Sum this book up in a sentence: Beautifully written, fantastically timely, and utterly addictive. We cannot recommend this one highly enough. 

"Flood World" by Tom Huddleston is out on 3rd October 2019, published by Nosy Crow (kindly supplied for review). 
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ReadItDaddy's First Book of the Week - Week Ending 27th September 2019: "The Wind in the Wall" by Sally Gardner and Rovina Cai (Hot Key Books)

What is the purpose of a picture book? Is it there to entertain us, educate us? Is it there to take us on a journey or perhaps hold a mirror up for our own human behaviour, for us to scrutinise and mull over?

After we'd read this the first time, both of us sat in stunned silence. "What on earth did I just read?"

You see, I'll admit something to you, dear blog reader. I have a problem with rules - a healthy disrespect for them and, let's face it, picture books are bound by rules that may be sensible, may fit a specific business model, but to me have always seemingly stifled creativity.

Imagine then a picture book that wasn't specifically written for children (though some older children will almost certainly enjoy it, and may blush and titter at some of the - er - slightly more 'grown up' moments in it). That's rule number one broken then, as we're always being told that picture books are purely for kids,  purely frivolous throwaway ideas constantly rehashed to teach us a specific set of morals (something which all book reviewers know is a load of tosh).

"The Wind in the Walls" begins in riddlesome prose as our mysterious narrator, later revealed as the former head gardener for a powerfully rich Duke, speaks of the wind and rain, and of the faint tapping bringing him back to his conscious self. Instantly you'll notice a richness of language, a text that rolls off the tongue in pleasurable waves, that doesn't sound like someone trying to dictate a story into speech recognition software. So that'll be another picture book rule broken then, we're doing well so far.

As the story continues, time rolls back to moments of glory, when the gardener's career - though tinged with tragedy - is at its height.

The Gardener shares the Duke's passion for exotic flowers - but then there's a new obsession and the Duke bids his gardener to grow pineapples in the vast hothouses on his sprawling estate.

But the climate in the northern hemisphere does not suit the tropical plants at all - so when the gardener ultimately fails in his task, he's replaced by a strange and shadowy figure - the mysterious Mr Amicus.

Amicus is quite obviously a con-man but still seems to produce the luscious fruit almost on demand.

The Duke is happy, his guests are impressed but the gardener seeks revenge - and aims to uncover Mr Amicus' secret, discovering something entirely unexpected and decidedly dark at the heart of the Pineapple House. This is not the end of the gardener's troubles, and the twist in this story is tragic, quite brutal, and wholly unexpected (and boy do we ever love it! And yes, you've guessed it, there's a third picture book rule broken at the end of the book too. Happy endings? Pah who needs 'em!)

Simply put, this is the sort of story that restores our faith that others out there don't care for 'the rules of picture book creation' either.

I beg you, urge you to get hold of this by hook or by crook and see if it affects you like it affected us (particularly if you're a grown up book reviewer who specialises in children's books).

We're completely spellbound by this one, again establishing Sally as a formidable talent, and Rovina as an artist sublime, as her illustrations are a vital part of the dark magic captured inside this truly stunning book. 

Sum this book up in a sentence: A powerful and enigmatic fable steeped in magic and mystery, thick with the scent of tropical fruit, massaged egos, tragic love and nefarious deeds. 

"The Wind in the Wall" by Sally Gardner and Rovina Cai is out now, published by Hot Key Books (kindly supplied for review). 
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Thursday 26 September 2019

The Perils of Tweendom part II - Social meeedja and the dratted phone thing - This Week's ReadItTorial

Parents know all about compromise. It becomes one of those things that comes along with becoming a parent that you're absolutely bloody awful at to begin with, but eventually start to get a handle on as the years pass by.

So now that C has entered Tweendom, kicking and screaming (a lot of screaming, usually when asked to leave the house for any reason at a weekend or to eat anything for dinner other than pizza or pasta!) along with that the dreaded Social Media peer pressure, the need for a mobile phone, and with it a whole smorgasbord of horror has descended upon ReadItDaddy Towers like a green cloud of slightly farty-smelling gas.

We had a "Parents meet and greet" session at school and I came away from it feeling like the world's most unreasonable parent. Though C has a phone, we've never let the thing anywhere near an internet connection, but listening to most parents of kids in her year it seems we're probably the only holdouts left. Worse still, most parents seem to think it's really not that big a deal. "What harm could it do letting them communicate?"

It's not that we're particular 'victorian' in attitude, it's not that we're technophobes (hell, in my day job, it's practically my business to know how 'leaky' most popular social media platforms are, and how virtually every Fortune 500 company out there is only in business because they trade in the most valuable commodity in the modern world - your details).

The minimum age restrictions on popular social media platforms. So basically, what the hell are 11 year olds doing near any of these?

But conveying that to a child isn't easy. Conveying it to their parents is even harder as they really do have an attitude along the lines of "I'll only worry about this AFTER something happens, not before" and for the most part they are not interested in the minimum age requirements for stuff like WhatsApp or SnapChat, let alone YouTube or any of the others.

Very few parents or children understand the 'wicking effect' of an online presence (this has been described in many academic studies and papers, and demonstrated in different ways on just about all the social media platforms you can name off the top of your head).

What goes online quite often stays online, despite any official attempts to ensure otherwise, and having seen the raw end of what happens when your photos or information are shared online against your consent, it's extremely difficult to ever erase anything online entirely, and ensure it's really gone for good.

At the root of this is that word at the top of this article. Compromise. We are now in a position where we're trying to work out how we can ensure C doesn't get left out of her peer group without just flatly stating "hang it all, let her online, all the other kids are there so if you can't beat 'em, join 'em". Being left out of a peer group, even one as stupid sounding as the one with all the kids in it who DO bring snack money in to school to spend on the vending machines vs the kids whose parents (OK, just us) send them into school with a healthy-ish snack that didn't cost an arm and a leg, seems to be the be all and end all for kids of a certain age. The social media thing is just another part of that, so what do you do as a parent who wants to protect their kids from something that could potentially stay with them for the rest of their school career?

One slight glimmer of hope came from a parent who has kids both in C's year and year 9. "Most of the chat on their whatsapp group is so bloody inane that kids have ended up muting each other. Does anyone really need to see "HI, LOL, POOPEMOJI" 100 times during a quiet evening?"

So are we just worrying about nothing? Or should we just tough it out, or somehow come up with a magical solution that somehow offers a compromise that doesn't suck for either side.

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"The History of Prehistory" by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom (Otter-Barry Books)

We love non-fiction books that cover unfamiliar ground, and in "The History of Prehistory" by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom, this dynamic book-creating duo travel back as far as time itself to dig into the very origins of our earth.

Starting with the way the earth formed, and the continents began to divide, through to when the first primitive lifeforms began to emerge from swampy seas, to evolve into all manner of fascinating creatures, Mick and Brita bring us further up to date with an adventure that is truly 4 billion years in the making.

With two awesome kids to guide us through on our journey, we'll learn more about the world we live in as it was way way before us hairless apes crawled down out of the trees for the first time.

Mick and Brita also effortlessly cover eco issues as well as showing some of the unique life that has existed on our planet throughout time.

This is a real treat of a book, stretching back into the distant past with a truly unique perspective on prehistory that isn't just your average Dinosaur book.

"The History of Prehistory" by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom is out now, published by Otter-Barry Books (kindly supplied for review). 
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ReaditDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup - September 2019

Ah, Autumn, our most favourite month and as the dark nights start to draw in (hooray!) we're kicking off our September Chapter Book Roundup with a story that's perfectly suited for this time of year.

In "The Night's Realm" by Nick Ward, Billy has a secret.

It's a secret he doesn't want anyone to know about, and that he's slightly ashamed of.

You see Billy is absolutely terrified of the dark. Most of the time he can manage fine, but when Billy's life takes a turn for the odd, he ends up trapped in his worst nightmare - a land where it is always dark.

What's worse is that Billy has a strong memory of where he should be - of home. The children he's also trapped with have no idea why this stranger insists none of them belong there, so it's up to Billy to be strong, face his fears and help them all escape.

Nick instantly draws you right into this book with its fascinating twilight world, expertly built and expertly populated with a cast of fascinating characters. A completely gripping read and a fabulous story about self-belief and confronting the things that scare us the most.

"The Night's Realm" by Nick Ward is out now, published by David Fickling Books. 

Our next book comes from a truly creative illustrator who is now taking his first tentative steps towards becoming a serious triple threat. An illustrator of other people's stories, and of his own, and now an amazing middle-grade author?

"Frostheart" by Jamie Littler shows just how amazingly (enviably) talented Jamie is, with a story wrought from snow and ice that wraps you up in a truly scintilatting world.

It's a voyage to a distant fantasy land where a tiny stronghold exists all on its own, cut off from the rest of human-kin by monsters that lurk beneath the Snow Sea.

Their isolated life is the norm for the people of this long-forgotten outpost, but for one little boy, Ash, all thoughts turn to his missing parents. 

Placed in the care of a mighty Yeti guardian named Tobu, Ash often sings a forbidden lullaby to remind him of his mother and father. But soon his restless nature leads to a mission he knows he must undertake - to answer the questions surrounding the disappearance of his parents, and to prove his own worth. 

As Ash begins to discover he has amazing magical powers, he's whisked aboard the Frostheart, a sleigh packed full of daring explorers who could use his help. 

But can they help him find his family and perhaps in the process find himself? 

This is rivetting stuff and Jamie is a born storyteller who conjures up the imagery of "Frostheart" seemingly with ease, not just through his amazing illustrations for this book, but also his truly brilliant writing. Watch out for this fellah, he's going to take over the durned bookworld!

"Frostheart" by Jamie Littler is out on October 5th 2019, published by Puffin Books. 

Moving from a fantasy ice-bound world to the real-life one, and the achievements of a truly amazing explorer in our next book.

"Amundsen's Way: The Race to the South Pole" by Joanna Grochowicz is a brilliantly written tale of Roald Amundsen, the Norwegian explorer who pipped Scott to be first to the South Pole. 

Amundsen's life story, and in particular the story of that incredible mission is an extraordinary tale that combines risk, intrigue and personal conflict. 

A man of striking intelligence and a single-minded thirst for world records, Amundsen's astute planning and shrewd strategy propelled him into first place. Such a man, with everything to lose, will stop at nothing to secure his goal. His story is a testament to utter brilliance and ruthlessness. 

From the author of the highly acclaimed Into the White, and full of life-threatening challenges, deception, disappointments and triumph, Amundsen's Way is an adventure story in the purest sense, and one that kids will rarely be able to believe is absolutely true from start to finish. 

"Amundsen's Way: The Race to the South Pole" by Joanna Grochowicz is out now, published by Allen and Unwin

Time for a return to a brilliant book series that really wowed us first time out, so what's happening in the second volume of  "The Train to Impossible Places" ?

In "The Great Brain Robbery" by P.G Bell, with awesome cover and internal illustrations by Flavia Sorrentino, Suzy is back and she just cannot wait to return to the Union of Impossible Places, aboard the Impossible Postal Express. 

When Suzy arrives however, she accidentally overhears a nefarious plan to completely destroy Trollville. But who is the mysterious villain cooking up such a dastardly plan, and how can one little girl possibly stop them? 

Suzy is a mighty girl indeed, but she's going to need her friends, in a breathtaking race across cloud world, through secret dark caverns and into certain danger as the clock is ticking, and Trollville stands on the brink of destruction. 

Superbly paced, utterly engrossing, and every single bit as great as the first book, "The Great Brain Robbery" by P.G. Bell and Flavia Sorrentino is out on October 5th 2019, published by Usborne Children's Books. 

Goodness gracious me, it's a fantastic month for book releases next month and thankfully you won't have long to wait for this next one, as it's utterly and completely brilliant!

"The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone" by Jaclyn Moriarty should pretty much hook you in the moment you read the title and see the cover. 

Be prepared for high fantasy in this story of a young orphan girl whose parents are killed by pirates. 

Normally this would be a pretty traumatic event in any young girl's life, but as we know from middle grade books, most kids seem pretty happy to 'get rid' of their parents in order for the story to progress, so it's not long before we see that Bronte isn't satisfied with an easy life of pony riding and cucumber sandwiches, and despite the best efforts of her Aunt Isabelle (and a rather fussy butler), Bronte wants more from life. Bronte has inherited the same spirit as her parents and her wanderlust soon gets the better of her. 

In her parents' will, Bronte is left a stark message - and a quest. She must complete a list of tasks, to visit her other ten aunts and deliver items to them - that may just prevent a colossal catastrophe.

We loved the fresh and original premise of this one, and despite Bronte's initial reluctance, she soon begins to revel in the quest - as challenging as it is - and we, the readers, absolutely love the crazy, diverse and eccentric aunties she will soon meet on her journey. 

Top-to-toe brilliant this one, and one of the fave reads of the last couple of months. "The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone" by Jaclyn Moriarty is out on 9th October 2019, published by Arthur Levine Books.

Dark and spooky goings-on next, sparked by a bit of sibling rivalry.

In "The Dead World of Lanthorne Ghules" by Gerald Killingworth (great name for a dark book author!) Edwin really thinks his little sister is a real pain in the neck. What's more, Edwin's whole life has changed with her arrival. They've moved house, moved schools and now Edwin has no friends around to moan and gripe to. Until, that is, Lanthorne - an unusual pen pal - arrives and introduces Edwin to a surreal and dark world filled with secrets and adventures.

Soon though, Edwin's alternative life begins to seep into his ordinary everyday one, eventually plunging his sister into mortal peril. Will Edwin and Lanthorne be able to rescue Edwin's sis from the evil Aunt Necra before it's too late?

With shades of the awesome movie "Labyrinth", this is a dark and delicious book filled with awesome moments of suspense as Gerald weaves a brilliant world with some truly nefarious baddies.

"The Dead World of Lanthorne Ghules" by Gerald Killingworth is out on 24th October 2019, published by Pushkin Children's Books.

Next up, a book that celebrates books - our very favourite sort!

In "The Wild Book" by Juan Villoro and Lawrence Schimel, you'll meet a young boy who is uprooted from home - and sent to live with his distinctly eccentric Uncle for the summer holidays.

Mother is exasperated, at her wits end. Juanito's home life is disrupted, but his sister Carmen believes that he's destined for more amazing adventures, and when they meet Uncle Tito those adventures kick off in a startling fashion.

Uncle Tito owns a vast library, and it's delicious to get lost amongst the books at first - but it soon becomes apparent that this is no ordinary library, Tito is no ordinary uncle, and the books come to life!

This is a stunning and original novel that will entwine book lovers, drawing them in and trapping them until they've finished every last delicious page.

"The Wild Book" by Juan Villoro with cover illustration from Lawrence Schimel is out now, published by Hope Road Publishing

Next up, what if Boadicea could be somehow spliced with Minnie the Minx? Who on earth would you end up with? Well we like to think the answer would be "Beatrix the Bold" and in her new adventure she's about to meet a very special dragon - the Riddle Town Dragon no less.

"Beatrix the Bold and the Riddle Town Dragon" by Simon Mockler and Cherie Zamazing (what a great name!) is the second adventure for our plucky young heroine. The books are a gloriously funny and anarchic series full of wizards, queens and of course plenty of mud and dung. Lovely!

Beatrix the Bold is a queen. A very bold queen. And she's also only ten years old.

But that's never stopped her from doing anything before, and it's not going to stop her now. She's already averted her own kidnapping and fought off an Evil Army.

 Now she needs to find her long-lost parents, and fend off her villainous aunt Esmerelda. She just has to cross a vast kingdom to get there and save a bunch of children from deadly peril while confronting a terrifying dragon ... Easy, right? But when you're Beatrix the Bold and you've got Oi the Boy, Dog the Dog and Wilfred the Wise by your side, you can truly do anything!

Fab, funny and full of clever little humorous touches and great characters, "Beatrix the Bold and the Riddle Town Dragon" by Simon Mockler and Cherie Zamazing is out now, published by Piccadilly Press. 

Families eh? You can't live with 'em and you can't live without them - but what happens when your family unexpectedly doubles in size overnight?

In "The Time of Green Magic" by Hilary McKay, there's a wedding afoot but when Tom and Polly marry, their kids realise their old lives are gone for good.

Max is depressed, as it means his birth dad will never be reunited with his mum. Abi hates it because she's suddenly gone from being the oldest kid to the middle sibling.

As for Louis, he's wondering what to make of it all. But when the family move into a strange ivy-covered house, it's the beginning of the real weirdness! Every time the kids are left on their own, bizarre things start to happen. Abi retreats into her beloved books, Max loses a friend and develops his first crush, and Louis' secret visitor is becoming all too real. Eventually all three are deeply immersed in a mystery that could wreck their family life before it's even got started.

Really cool and contemporary stuff this, brilliantly written as you'd expect from Hilary.

"The Time of Green Magic" by Hilary McKay is out now, published by Macmillan Children's Books.

Next up, a superb new mystery novel that piles on the atmospheric detail, with brilliant believable characters pitched against strange magic.

"Under Earth" by Ellen Renner begins with the story of Storm. She has inherited the role of Weather Witch, and must sail with the fleet into dangerous waters each time they set sail.

There are many hazards at sea. The Drowned Ones want to reclaim the living for their own. The sea itself is wild and dangerous, and Bellum Town is a hive of villainy. Storm must learn to control her magic powers and this will really put her to the test.

Can she follow in her family's footsteps and establish herself as a powerful weather witch after all?

Tightly written against a fantasy backdrop, this is stunning stuff.

"Under Earth" by Ellen Renner is out now, published by Nosy Crow. 

Switching gears entirely now, and a brilliant book series that girls C's age will truly identify with.

"The Weird Friends Fan Club" by Catherine Wilkins is the sort of brilliant dork-diaries-esque book that C absolutely raves about.

The story centres around Erin and Grace, two very different people. 

Erin has a monobrow and a slight problem with negativity - to put it mildly.

Grace is very blessed and obsessed with her girlsquad, and lives to impress everyone else. 

Bizarrely, the one thing they do have in common is a love of Charlotte Bronte and writing stories. 

When they find themselves brought together in a school literary critique group, they learn to see each other's perspectives and become unlikely friends. 

But the path of true friendship doth not run smooth for the brontebabes, I mean what do you do when other people call your favourite stories uncool?

This is bang-on brilliant contemporary stuff from Catherine, one that C read and re-read again and again over the course of the month. 

"The Weird Friends Fan Club" by Catherine Wilkins is out now, published by Nosy Crow. 

Blog fave and super-talented prolific author Paula Harrison is back, teaming up with illustrator Jenny Lovlie for a fab new heroine for middle grade readers who love crime fighting mighty girls. 

The "Kitty" series kicks off with The Moonlight Rescue and The Tiger Treasure, two brilliant new novels to introduce Kitty and her Cat Crew who love nothing better than to solve mysteries by moonlight. 

Kitty clambers across the rooftops on her deft little feet, and in "The Moonlight Rescue" she discovers that being a superhero is about more than using her special abilities

Kitty must learn to be courageous too, scaling the city clock tower to rescue a very frightened kitten.

In "The Tiger Treasure" Kitty returns once again to recover the priceless Golden Tiger treasure after it's been stolen.

These are fabulous little mysteries for younger readers, perfect to get kids interested in solo reading with excitement and danger on every page turn. 

"Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue" and "Kitty and the Tiger Treasure" by Paula Harrison and Jenny Lovlie are both out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

A hugely inspirational book next featuring a hugely inspirational young girl who is selflessly placing herself as the figurehead for a planet-wide movement for young people to do something about climate change (mostly because adults are too durned stupid to).

"We Are All Greta" by Valentina Gianella and Manuela Marazzi is a superb book that doesn't just detail Greta's activism to date, but encourages children to take their own steps as climate change activists with some simple activities and methods that really can make a difference.

Imagine if all kids that reads books could just pick up one book to inspire them to recycle more, to reconsider their use of single-use plastics, and to help clean up our beaches and our oceans.

Filled with a ton of facts about the very real statistics around global warming, and climate change, this is a book that's not designed to scare kids - but to spur them into action.

Get mum and dad involved too, and help to make the world a better and healthier place.

"We are all Greta" by Valentina Gianella and Manuela Marazzi is out now, published by Laurence King Publishing. 

Up for a bit of mystery and suspense? Of course you are, so let's dive into our final book for our September round-up, the fabulous "Hey Sherlock: A Garvie Smith Mystery" by Simon Mason.

Garvie Smith isn't your usual detective, in fact you'd probably describe him as a complete slacker. 

But when Amy Roecastle, the beautiful but unpleasantly headstrong character goes missing along with her ferocious guard dog, there's something peculiar afoot!

Amy's best friend is lying to the police, who have no clues and no leads.  Undeniable crime-solving genius Garvie may be one step ahead of the investigation. 

But nothing's ever simple where Amy is involved. And this time Garvie's about to find himself in way over his head.

Full of the sort of delicious plot twists and intrigue you'd expect from a classic detective mystery, but brought bang up to date for a teen audience, "Hey Sherlock" by Simon Mason is out now, published by David Fickling Books. 

Squeezing in one final book as it's out today, and is truly fantastic...

Being lucky enough to live in the Vale of the White Horse, a mere stone's throw away from the iconic prehistoric chalk carving, I couldn't wait to dig into "The Land of the White Horse - Visions of England" by David Miles.

A thoroughly researched examination of life in the vale from prehistoric times to the present day, and the influence of these strange and majestic hill carvings on the people who have made the Wessex Downs their home.

As well as examining the history of the strange figure and the surrounding landscape, David shows the cultural impact that hill figures have had throughout England and the rest of Europe, and the importance even today of these landmarks, and the preserved landscape they act as an amazing backdrop to.

As someone who has keenly visited and studied these figures throughout my life, this book is a very welcome modern addition to my collection of other books on the subject (most of which, sadly, are now out of print). Brilliantly written with colour and mono plates depicting The White Horse and many other hill figures, this is a fantastic chronicle of humankind's obsession with leaving a mark on the world that will exist long after they have passed.

"The Land of the White Horse - Visions of England" by David Miles is out today, published by Thames and Hudson

(all books kindly supplied for review). 

PHEW! That was a busy September. Tune in next month for even more gorgeous chapter books from our reviews bag!
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Wednesday 25 September 2019

"A Gallery of Cats" by Ruth Brown (Scallywag Books)

A whimsical journey through the art world - with some very special feline guides.

In "A Gallery of Cats" by Ruth Brown you'll meet young Tom, who visits a gallery with his grandmother.

Tom manages to slip away, discovering a secret gallery filled with very special paintings - each one seems to depict a different but very distinctive moggy, painted in the style of the grand masters themselves.

Find Jackson, who loves to make a fabulously colourful mess. Or perhaps Gustav, who loves to produce the most finely detailed and exquisite work. There's also Piet, who loves boxes - but then again don't all cats?

Ruth's playful exploration of famous works of art and famous artists is brilliantly brought to life with these fabulous cats, but what will Tom do when he reaches the end of the gallery and needs to encourage all those cats back into their paintings?

We'll leave you to discover the lovely twist at the end.

Sum this book up in a sentence: a glorious exploration of fabulous artworks with very special feline guides to help us identify each artist and their own unique styles.

"A Gallery of Cats" by Ruth Brown is out now, published by Scallywag Books (kindly supplied for review). 
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"Kites" by Simon Mole and Oamul Lu (Frances Lincoln First Editions)

Ready for something truly visually stunning, with a heartwarming story of friendship and finding a way to fit in with others?

Here's "Kites" by Simon Mole and Oamul Lu, that rare thing - a picture book that takes a message that you may be very familiar with, producing and presenting it in such an arresting and attention-grabbing way that you just get completely sucked in.

"Kites" is the story of David. He's the new kid in Fivehills, having just moved there with his family. The first thing David sees are the kites.

There are huge ones, small ones, kites shaped like soaring eagles, boxy kites shaped like snuffling pigs. Kites with lights that shine bright from above, and kites that reflect the very sky itself.

David falls completely head over heels in love with the idea of owning his own kite, but his meagre efforts and attempts to make one are scoffed at by the other kids at first. But then David remembers the wise words of his Grandpa - "Let's take a look at what we've got" - and begins to gather together materials to realise his ambition, to fly a truly stunning kite.

David meets some children from the village - and they are quick to offer advice to counter Grandpa's wisdom too. But then it takes something truly special, not just wisdom from Grandpa but a special gift - to truly make that kite soar.

There's a lovely little moral tucked into this, set against the breathtaking backdrop of dozens of amazing kites all flapping in the breeze, and David's own lesson to learn about being happy in yourself, and sometimes standing firm and showing others that you don't need the flashiest things in life to feel whole or to make things work. Sometimes you just need to look at what you've got and work with it.

Utterly beautiful.

Sum this book up in a sentence: A book that feels like a breath of fresh air, soaring on strong breezes to work its way into your heart, utterly gorgeous stuff!

"Kites" by Simon Mole and Oamul Lu is out now, published by Frances Lincoln First Editions (kindly supplied for review). 
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Tuesday 24 September 2019

"Art out of the Box - Creativity Games for Artists of All Ages" by Nicky Hoberman and Hiromi Suzuki (Laurence King Publishing)

What whacky zany ideas can you come up with when a brilliant new game challenges your artistic imagination?

Find out in "Art out of the Box" by Nicky Hoberman and Hiromi Suzuki.

This fabulously creative new game challenges you to think on your feet, and with your pencil, with 80 prompt cards to get you doodling, scribbling and storytelling.

Pick a subject card, add an artistic technique and use the two to come up with something truly brain-explodingly inspirational. Build a story world, and characters using only your imagination. It's a heck of a lot of fun, and could almost be the perfect game for us as we do love a bit of artsy stuff and certainly enjoy doodling.

There are hoards of potential combinations to build using the cards, so dig out your best pens and pencils, a ton of scrap paper and get inspired!

"Art out of the Box" by Nicky Hoberman and Hiromi Suzuki is out now, published by Laurence King publishing (kindly supplied for review). 
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"Zanzibar" by Catharina Valckx (Gecko Press)

There's a certain book format that we're completely head over heels in love with, but don't really see enough of in the UK book market.

It's a format that seems very much prevalent on the continent and in other international regions - and though a few publishers have embraced the 'picture-heavy-early-chapter-reader' style (I think I need to think of a snappier way to describe it) it really hasn't caught on. Why is that?

By the by, "Zanzibar" by Catharina Valckx is very much a book in this beloved format - the simple story of a simple crow who longs, nay YEARNS to be special.

Sure, it's a familiar theme - but when Achille LeBlab, special correspondent for a local newspaper knocks at Zanzibar's door, he's looking for someone exceptional. Could that be Zanzibar?

All evidence seems to suggest that Zanzibar is just an ordinary black-feathered crow with no special superpowers or abilities. But Zanzibar does have something - a plan, and enough self-belief to give him the get-up-and-go to prove that lizard reporter wrong.

So that night Zanzibar hatches a plan - and that plan involves a Camel! But how can a humble crow - and a newly found Camel friend do anything exceptional?

The story unfolds beautifully, accompanied by illustrations with every page turn - and despite the chapter format, the word count is still kept pretty low making this a great little story for kids who can breeze through picture books but haven't quite got to the point where they're confident enough to tackle early chapter books (with minimal illustrations).

Zanzibar's tale is full of hope and a great moral - that we are all exceptional in different ways, and sometimes the act of proving how exceptional we are is the very thing that makes people sit up and take notice.

Brilliant stuff, and we'll say again, we love this particular book format and we'd love a lot more UK debut authors to have their "longer than 500 word" stories considered for books like this (hint hint massive hint).

Sum this book up a sentence: A fantastic moral tale about our perception of what makes us amazing and exceptional versus the popular view of what it really takes.

"Zanzibar" by Catharina Valckx is out now, published by Gecko Press (kindly supplied for review).
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Monday 23 September 2019

"You Calliin' Me a Cheetah?" - An Animal Memory Card Game by Marcel George (Laurence King Publishing)

Oooh sometimes it's quite tricky to identify certain animals, and if you're fooled into thinking that Leopard is actually a Cheetah or perhaps even a Jaguar, then this fab fun family card game is for you!

"You Callin' Me A Cheetah?" by Marcel George might just help you learn about different animal species with a bit of fun card game strategy going on at the same time.

Can you tell a hare from a rabbit? It's trickier than you'd think. 

What s the difference between a llama and an alpaca? We must admit we ALWAYS get stuck on that one (but they're both so CUTE!)

Which has two humps the Bactrian camel or the dromedary? 

Marcel's animal matching game with a twist is absolutely perfect for helping kids master their animal knowledge with the simple goal of matching 25 pairs of animals that look almost the same but that tend to be confused.

Includes a fascinating booklet by a zoologist explaining the differences between the animals.

"You Callin' Me a Cheetah" by Marcel George is out today, published by Laurence King Publishing (kindly supplied for review). 
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"Monkey on the Run" by Leo Timmers (Gecko Press)

Wow, we haven't reviewed anything by Leo Timmers in a long time. In fact Leo's books were amongst the first that C truly fell in love with, back when we first started our blogging journey.

There's just something deliciously charming about "Monkey on the Run" and it begins with the sort of Richard-Scarry-Esque obsession that Leo has with all sorts of totally cool retro vehicles, inventive and amazing and almost as important as the central characters in this story themselves.

So the story begins with Papa and Little Monkey stuck in traffic. We've all been there, right? But Little Monkey is impatient, and decides it's time to swing off and get home the quick way.

Abandoning their rather fantastic Banana-shaped motorbike and sidecar, Papa Monkey and Little Monkey swing along using different vehicles as jumping-off points to finally reach Mama Monkey at home.

It's a wordless story, and that gives Leo ample opportunity to showboat his amazing artistic skills. Everything on every spread feels like it's about to leap into life, start moving of its own accord. He has a peerless eye for detail, light and design and gives everything that glorious super-shiny 1950s USA kind of glimmer about it, from the clothes that the hilarious animal characters wear, to their rides.

The sheer joy of wordless books is letting kids take over, to describe the narrative themselves as they follow Little Monkey's journey home.

A real treat this! You'd be bananas to miss it!

Sum this book up in a sentence: A gloriously artistic and stylish romp for a pair of engaging monkeys as they swing and sway their way through the traffic back home in time for tea.

"Monkey on the Run" by Leo Timmers is out now, published by Gecko Press (kindly supplied for review) 
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Friday 20 September 2019

Building our own board game with "Board Games to Create and Play" by Kevan Davis and Viviane Schwarz (Pavilion Children's Books)

By now you'll probably have seen our "Book of the Week" review of "Board Games to Create and Play" by Kevan Davis and Viviane Schwarz, just out from Pavilion Children's Books.

We take our board gaming very seriously indeed at ReadItDaddy Towers, as you'll probably know from regular visits to the blog. So we couldn't wait to start building our own game using this fabulous book.

We'd had several ideas. C wanted to do something with cute kittens in it but we couldn't think of a central theme. For ages we'd joked about doing a videogame that was based around being stuck in a supermarket on a saturday, frustrated that everyone else moves slower than us, or just sits there gossiping right in front of the aisle or section we want to grab our food from. So there was the seed of an idea and "AULDIES" (formerly known as PIDL) was born.

First we started off with a very basic rule set:

Roughly sketching the rule set (with C's awesome picture of a speeding granny!)
We used one of Kevan and Viviane's board designs, slightly adapted to feature the sort of stuff we find in our local supermarket and drew up a basic version in pencil first...

PIDL board complete with roughly sketched game pieces
Doing things quickly, we built the prototype game and couldn't wait to get on and play it.

Basically, you throw two dice - the big white one to move your grannies, and the black one to move your game character. The idea is to move around the board and pick up your shopping. But the grannies can block you, and if they land on you - or you land on them - they will send you all the way back to the Chemist to pick up their prescriptions!

At any time the player can 'bank' all their items by moving through the checkout squares, effectively finishing the game but the player with the most points for their shopping isn't necessarily the player with the most items, so there are tempting bonus items to grab, and the 'gamble' of going back into the supermarket for items you've forgotten, or just to try and out-score the other player!

So we played it - and surprisingly we laughed a lot, and it worked as a game concept!

Ooh an unbearably smug victor!

(Needless to say, C won!)

I'd probably say building the game took around an hour, the rule set about half an hour - and then the next day we went in to try and build the "Proper" coloured version of the game with player pieces, shopping and a colourful board design from C.

Drawing characters and shopping items. MAN that was hard!

C getting busy colouring in and designing the board
The final result - a game that C described as "The Best Board Game She's Ever Played!" and hours of fun for both of us. Really can't recommend this book highly enough, it's absolutely perfect! So here's the nearly finished article (we still haven't come up with a name and a logo but if any board game companies out there want to back us, we're all ears, hah!)

The final game - as busy, crazy and chaotic as a real supermarket full of old ladies!

"Board Games to Create and Play" by Kevan Davis and Viviane Schwarz is out now, published by Pavilion Children's Books (kindly supplied for review)
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ReadItDaddy's Third Picture Book of the Week - Week Ending 20th September 2019: "The Misadventures of Frederick" by Ben Manley and Emma Chichester-Clark (Two Hoots Books)

We just can't get enough of the amazing books that have arrived, Autumn is definitely our favourite time of year for book releases - and there are just so many books that deserve top honours. So with that, here's a book that pulls rather a nice little bait-and-switch on you as you begin reading.

In "The Misadventures of Frederick" by Ben Manley and Emma Chichester Clark" you'll meet the titular young boy who lives a life of quiet and protected bliss. At first you might be mistaken for thinking this is a book about over-protective parenting. But as you read, and re-read this one you pick up the delicious visual clues that tell you that Frederick is, for want of a better way of describing him, a happy go lucky klutz (see if you can spot the crutch propped against a wall, or even the big blaring clue on the cover of Fred penning a letter and spilling ink all over everything).

Frederick's mother tends to like to keep an eye on him to ensure he doesn't get into more trouble. So the poor fellah spends a lot of time mooching around in his room, making his own entertainment.

That is, until, a little girl comes along who loves to play outdoors, go on adventures, and wants a friend to join her in her games. She spies Frederick while playing, and comes up with an ingenious way to catch is attention, inviting him to come outside.

Frederick knows though that his mother would definitely NOT approve (and sure enough she very quickly puts the kybosh on Frederick's plans to escape).

Frederick is SO bored though. Why should he spend all his time indoors, leading a sheltered life when there's so much more to do outside - and a new friend to play with?

Mother maintains that it's much, much better to stay safely indoors. But Emily is a girl after our own heart - not one to take no for an answer.

Will she win the day for Frederick after all?

The book is unique in picking the story out in a series of beautifully written, brilliantly funny and evocative letters between Frederick and Emily as the story unfolds. 

Frederick's mum is a bit over-protective to say the least (ooh, almost a cameo from Plumdog there, has he changed colour?)
Ben's brilliantly atmospheric story works beautifully with Emma's gorgeously rich and detailed visuals to bring the story perfectly to life. 

All the toys in the world can't make up for being stuck in the house without a friend
Sum this book up in a sentence: An absolutely gorgeous little tale of a misadventurous little boy quite rightly protected (over-protected) by his mum, and one determined little girl who wants a new playmate, accident-prone or not!

"The Misadventures of Frederick" by Ben Manley and Emma Chichester-Clark is out now, published by Two Hoots Books (kindly supplied for review). 
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ReadItDaddy's YA / Adult Graphic Novel of the Week - Week Ending 20th September 2019: "Internet Crusader" by George Wylesol (Avery Hill Publishing)

For an entire generation of internet nerds, the internet was always something that came accompanied by the binary screech of a modem, cost an absolute fortune in phone bills, and was usually dished up against the backdrop of browser windows that looked like someone had chewed through an entire packet of dead pixels on toast, then vomited the results into a Windows 3.1 powered Pentium.

"Internet Crusader" by George Wylesol once again  proves this innovative comic creative is breathing fresh life into the graphic novel medium, digging into source material that folk my age will still be all too familiar with.

The internet, when it first started to insidiously creep into our homes, wasn't a thing of beauty fed through sleek fibre optic lines, it was a screechy animated mess. Wi-fi? hah, you're kidding right? You had to actually physically sit at the computer to use it, and you had to endure the most painful download speeds imaginable (something George nicely captures at a couple of points in this story to brilliant effect).

And of that, this is the story of BSKskator19, your typical tokin' smokin' malajusted teen looking for kicks on old bulletin boards and messaging systems.

Trying to find a 'clean' shareable screenshot from this GN isn't easy!

One minute he's convinced he's talking to an amazing smokin' hot chick online. The next minute he's drawn into a fantasy battle played out against a digital blocky backdrop, as real and actual satan reaps new followers through the new digital frontier.

But where there's satan there's also God, and he's more than just in your inbox. He knows everything about you and in BSKator19's case, he's your right hand dude in the upcoming climactic battle for humanity.

Hah, you think your desktop looks cluttered and you have too many browser tabs open now? You should've seen it back then!

As we've seen previously in George's brilliant "Ghosts, Etc." he creates believable almost documentarian accounts of the most ridiculously overblown situations. BSKator19 is the best worst kind of hero, one you instantly despise on first encountering, but realise that they have just the right amount of natural-born cynicism and effortless luck they'll need to get through the end of the world.

Superb stuff this, and I'm well aware that most millennials would pick up a copy of this and probably txt "WTFLOL" to a dozen or so of their Instagram buddies. But that's just what makes this so perfect.

Sum this graphic novel up in a sentence: A hectic fast-paced apocalyptic battle played out at 1200/75 BPM.

"Internet Crusader" by George Wylesol is out now, published by Avery Hill Publishing (kindly supplied in digital format for reviewing, of course!)
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ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book of the Week - Week Ending 20th September 2019: "Ant Clancy: Games Detective" by Ruth Morgan (Firefly Press)

You know a book has gone down well with "The Boss" if the first thing she asks, a mere chapter in, is "Are there any more books in this series?"

That was very much the case with our Chapter Book of the Week this week - the fabulous "Ant Clancy: Games Detective" by Ruth Morgan.

Fusing videogame smarts with a smidgeon of awesome adventuring and clue solving, Ant Clancy loves nothing more than diving into the amazing new virtual reality game, Ray-Chay.

Invented by an eccentric billionaire Kody Crunch, Ray-Chay is all the kids are talking about.

But it soon becomes apparent that there's more to the game than just zapping a few aliens.

In fact Kody Crunch might not be the benevolent benefactor he's building himself up to be.

Despite Ant's attraction to the game, he's determined to find out whether Kody's protests of innocence are genuine, and whether something else lurks inside the code of Ray-Chay.

C loved this from the get-go, describing it as original and fresh and with just the right level of knowledge about gaming and cool stuff that would appeal to both game-loving boys and girls.

We're both hoping Ruth is busily cooking up Book 2, as this has the makings of an awesome series.

Sum this book up in a sentence: An awesome mix of gaming, detective clue-solving and virtual reality fused together in a compelling and pacy story.

"Ant Clancy: Games Detective" by Ruth Morgan is out now, published by Firefly Press (kindly supplied for review). 
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ReadItDaddy's Second Book of the Week - Week Ending 20th September 2019: "Board Games to Create and Play" by Kevan Davis and Viviane Schwarz (Pavilion Children's Books)

Our Second Book of the Week should appeal to those of you who know your Meeple from your Exploding Kitten! Super-fab board game experts Kevan Davis and Viviane Schwarz have created the ultimate maker project book for those of us who love to shake a dice or spin a spinner in our spare time.

"Board Games to Create and Play" is the sort of book that's designed to be pulled apart, scribbled on and turned into something truly amazing (I know, it's not easy for us to wreck gorgeous books - but this one positively begs you to!)

Inside, Kevan and Viviane have given you all the information and templates you'll need to start building your own games - and a ton of superb ideas covering just about any subject you can think of basing your game on.

"Cobweb Castle" - A superb example game to get you started with ace ideas!
Game design is educational, teaching kids valuable lessons about building rule sets, structural construction of the actual game / play pieces (if you really want to go all-out to create something super!) but also about building something that's fun to play, even downright sneaky and tactical if you're so inclined.

The example games are fab fun to just play through as well, if you're not feeling creative. But once you've dived into this book you'll find the perfect entry point - not just for board gaming, but for making your own - which is durned exciting stuff in itself.

An introduction to game design and what you'll need.
It's a truly brilliant timesink - and it's definitely going to be something we'll spend a lot of time with as we're absolute board game fanatics. In fact if you want to find out how our first game design went, check out our accompanying article here!

We really can't recommend this book highly enough and can't wait to start building our next game! Thanks Kevan and Viviane, you've come up (top) trumps with this one!

Sum this book up in a sentence: A superb jumpstart kit for would-be board game designers, or just folk who love playing games from a truly amazing creative team!

"Board Games to Create and Play" by Kevan Davis and Viviane Schwarz is out on 3rd October 2019, published by Pavilion Children's Books (kindly supplied for review). 
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