Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Anisha, Accidental Detective by Serena Patel (Illustrated by Kate McCann)

Link to Usbourne site

Published: 2020, Usbourne

👍👍👍👍👍

What I needed this weekend, as no doubt we all did, was a dazzling ray-of-sunshine book that would pierce the dark cloud of gloom gathering in the outside world.
What better book to choose than Serena Patel's debut YMG novel, Anisha, Accidental Detective - a mystery story filled with family chaos and funny, vibrant characters.
With a family wedding in full flow, quiet, scientific Anisha hopes that things will soon return to normal. But when she discovers that the groom has been kidnapped she has no choice but to solve the case before her Aunt finds out.
With the clock ticking and a whole list of suspicious suspects, Anisha enlists the help of her best friend, Milo. Milo may be more interested in saving lobsters than finding Uncle Tony but he's not about to let his friend down. Can the pair of them save the big day?
Serena has hit on a winning plot by combining a good old mystery with very relatable family dynamics. Okay, so not many grooms get kidnapped the day before the wedding but being part of a big, soon to be blended family has its issues. Serena deals with these beautifully, whilst keeping the mystery and intrigue the main priority.
The story moves at a fast pace but is kept light-hearted through delightful characters (Granny Jas, Aunty Bindi and Mustaf), firm friendship (Anisha and Milo) and the rather out-of-place pet (Larry the lobster). I loved how the main characters moved around the local town; from the house to the garden to the school and the theme park. This stopped any part of it from feeling static or from losing momentum and also kept me guessing. The illustrations by Kate McCann were completely charming (I particularly loved the wedding scene) and the mathematical equations were unique and great fun.
Ultimately though, I think the way Serena unpicks the tricky relationships in this book makes the tale shine. The tone is warm and caring and reminds us that individual hearts can be full of complex and varied emotions that need to be understood rather than condemned. The feistiness and joy of Granny Jas mixes humorously with the dramatics of Aunty Bindi and offsets the calmness of Anisha. Milo's love of animals is endearing and Mustaf is a wonderful gentle giant.
Overall, this is a nifty little mystery full of fantastic characters and rich in culture. It was absorbing and delightful to read and I can't believe I have to wait six months for a sequel!

Anisha, Accidental Detective: School's Cancelled is out in the summer.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

First day on the job...

It's the first day on the job and in about thirty minutes the children will be waking up to me and the four walls. After a weekend of my phone pinging endlessly with very well-meaning teachers sending links and lesson plans (times three) for homeschooling, I'm already feeling slightly overwhelmed and on edge as the seriousness of the situation rapidly increases.

However, out of all of this muddle a few things for the kids have stayed with me which I thought I'd share below:

Today, for a bit of light relief I thought I'd kickstart some oral storytelling videos. This won't be for everyone but is something kids can have a bit of fun joining in with before maybe creating their own ideas. It's been a few years since I have done this to an audience so bear with me.

What is oral storytelling?

Oral storytelling is performing a story using actions and memory aids (storyboards, puppets, props, masks etc) rather than a text. It uses repetitive, patterned and key storytelling language with actions to keep the tale simple and fun.

Why promote oral storytelling?
Oral storytelling became a BIG thing about a decade ago when I was teaching for the following reasons:
  • Many children, especially in deprived areas, were not starting school with sufficiently developed language skills.
  • Many did not know key nursery rhymes or traditional tales. 
  • If they do not have the language skills to tell a story then how can they be expected to write one. 
  • Oral storytelling increases vocabulary, develops knowledge and structure of story and makes them familiar with key storytelling language. It is performed in a group and so is inclusive and unthreatening with no pressure to perform on an individual level.
  • It is BRILLIANT for many children with special needs, especially those who love books but can't read the text. It is repetitive, rhythmic and memorable. 
  • As well as being fantastic for small children, it can be used effectively for older children too. 
I believe the initiation was started by a brilliant man, Pi Corbett, who I was lucky enough to have train me:
Let's get started...
Okay, so the first thing we need to do is learn some key actions for key words. You can follow mine below or make up your own. There will be other actions added to the story but this will be story dependant. Again, you can make up your own or use Makaton signs.

Keywords and actions

And when you are ready...
Let's try a story! Today's story is THE ENORMOUS TURNIP, a traditional tale which I have adapted for oral storytelling.

The Enormous Turnip

Memory aids
When following a story led by someone else it is far easier to join in the story than if you are telling or leading it yourself. However, it is still helpful to have memory aids to remember what is coming next. Until you really know the story like the back of your hand then you will need prompts in place to remind you of the story order. Plus props and storyboards are fun to draw and fun to make.

(Video on way.)

If you enjoyed having a go at this, feel free to tune in for more over the coming weeks. Plus send us your thoughts and videos of yourself practising or making up your own. We'd love to post some on the blog. ;)

Activities to spin off 'The Enormous Turnip'
  •  Measuring - all the characters in the story decrease in height. Get out and about and compare the height of different objects. Taller than.. shorter than... How many lego cubes/stones/shells tall is a cup, a doll, an action man? If you have a ruler get measuring. 
  • Play around with the story. Change the characters but keep the height order. Change the vegetable eg The Colossal Carrot or change the setting and set it in space! Draw your own storyboard.
  • Write some speech bubbles/act out to show how the characters react when they are asked to help. Think about changing moods and emotions. For example, if the cat is in a happy mood he might be happy to help but if he's a lazy, grumpy cat he may say something like "Turnips, yuck! I'd rather eat mice!"
  • Challenge the adjectives in the story. The son is strong and muscly but can we make the daughter strong and muscly instead?  Let's smash those stereotypes!!!
  • Planting vegetable seeds including turnips. What conditions do they need to grow?
  •  Costing vegetables/seeds using online supermarkets and money.
  •  Can you name all the vegetables in your fridge?
  • Explore recipes that have turnip as an ingredient - turnip soup anyone?
  • Make character masks or stick puppets to help act out the story.






Sunday, 22 March 2020

Audrey Orr and the Robot Rage by Jenny Moore

Link to Amazon

Published: 2020 by Maverick

👍👍👍👍

If you've had time to read Jenny Moore's brilliant Agent Starling: Operation Baked Beans (link to review) , then you'll know that this author's writing is full of high-paced, hilarious and quirky ideas. If it was a book that got you gripped then Jenny's new release Audrey Orr and the Robot Rage is another perfect example of a story with a high-concept, original plot.
Audrey Orr is devastated when her parents win a cruise to Norway during term-time. With her headteacher, Mr. Stickler, threatening to expel her if she takes time off then she has no choice but to stay home with her knitting obsessed but loveable Grandad.
But when Grandad spots a mysterious advert in the local paper, it seems like Audrey's need to be in two places at once could be solved by a fabulously cool robot twin...that is, if she can keep Awesome's random robot rage under control.
Setting sail across the sea on a luxurious cruise ship is thrilling enough but when your dream holiday is being thwarted by a robot with a laser eye and a sinister plan, the journey becomes an intense game of cat and mouse (or girl versus robot). Moore builds tension with a villain who oozes menace yet punctures the text with humour to keep things from getting too frightening. I loved the character of Grandad and the touching relationship he shares with Audrey. Mr. and Mrs. Orr were relatable as embarrassing parents yet written with a warmth that championed the unity of family.
Amid kidnaps and clock-ticking dashes across Norwegian landscapes, be prepared for funny moments involving fungal foot infections and balls of wool. There is some toilet and 'cat-sick' humour which will be a matter of personal taste but made me slightly queasy. However, Audrey is a likeable, sweet-souled protagonist who has you rooting for her from the outset - especially with her Orz Um adventures.
The theme of technology runs alongside family and raises the important question of whether advanced inventions are actually the way forward. Personally, I liked the character of Awesome (or Awful) so much that I hoped to see more of her in the middle section of the story, wrecking havoc. I felt there were very relatable parallels between Audrey’s relationship with Awesome and a child adjusting to a new sibling -  vying for the most attention and wanting to be the most loveable. The ending was dramatic but satisfying and I can easily visualise a sequel.
For those wanting to cruise through an adventure full of drama and humour combined, this is a tale well worth a read. I can't wait to see what the author will think up next...

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Story-led activities: Let's go!

So today I thought I'd start with some links to recommended reading lists and author activities but please remember that reading is hugely subjective so let your kids gravitate to whatever takes their fancy. As long as it is age appropriate ANY reading is good! 


Caryl Hart, picture book author has put together a list of author events which will be happening online. Find out more at https://www.carylhart.com/special-projects/author-events.

Search #FreeBookResources to access a HUGE variety of live & recorded storytelling, printables & activities for your little ones. 

Mr. Wolf's Pancakes by Jan Fearnley

Spoiler: This one has a shock ending!!!!

Activities linked to story:

The obvious one here is making pancakes. There are lots of different pancake recipes so they could compare a few different ones and design their own toppings.

What other foods would lure the other character's in? Can they change the story?

What ingredients are needed. Weigh them out. Can they cost these using an online supermarket? Can you double or halve the mixture?

Identifying coins, counting coins, sorting coins (life skills.)

Who are these other characters? What stories do they come from? Do you recognise them?

Pushing it further this could lead to looking at the food chain. What do wolves actually eat? Carnivore or herbivore? What do other animals eat?

What country are wolves native to? Where do they live? How do they live?



Alien's Love Underpants by Clare Freedman


I used to use this one in Year 1. We designed and made our own pants using felt and hung them across the room on a washing line. Adapting this you could do this with paper and pens, tissue paper or sew a pair of real pants for you or a toy!!! (This is way beyond my capabilities.)

Design your own alien or your own planet! From drawing them or using potatoes, fruit, vegetables or good old papier mache! Look at the planets in the solar system (Caryl Hart's Meet the Planets is a new picture book release and great for this)
and compare colours, sizes and facts about them.

Do aliens really exist? Research alien sightings and explore the possibilities.

Materials: Which fabrics would and would not make good pants. Why? What does that fabric feel like?

Help with the laundry (life skill alert) - wash some pants! How does the washing machine work?

Look at the rhyming words and make a rhyming chain. Who flounders first?

Other picture books in this genre: The Queen's Knickers by Nicolas Allen
                                                      Pants by Giles Andreae
                                                      My Underpants Rule by Rod Power
                                                      Others in the 'Alien love underpants series'.


The Scarecrow's Wedding
Link to Goodreads

I personally love this story but it came 'under fire' because the bad scarecrow smokes a pipe in the story. Therefore, we were warned to be careful about using it because of controversy but it portrays smoking as bad and I think it's really sweet.

Make a scarecrow challenge. I remember doing this as a team effort with my cousins once and we LOVED it! There was a scarecrow competition and we turned him into a punk rocker. Safe to say we didn't win.

Treasure hunt: Heligan Gardens did some lovely Easter activities one year around this story. There was a hunt for all the items on the wedding list. You could have a treasure hunt around the house and garden to see if you can find things on the list or you could collect these first and use them to plan a treasure hunt complete with treasure map!

Go to the beach and hunt for shells. Make daisy chains or some 'natural' jewellery. Physical objects like stones and shells are great for practising counting and sums.

Go for a lovely rural walk.

For those into dolls, plan a wedding for them. Write invitations or a menu and act it out. Look at photos and recall memories of family weddings.

Can we be as floppy and flexible as a scarecrow? Let's do some stretches.

Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis

Link to Goodreads

A lovely one for getting outside. Somehow I only became aware of this book recently but it has a really strong eco message and is great for exploring habitats.

Make some bog babies from clay or potatoes and go on a bog baby hunt. If you don't have the outdoor space for this maybe you could head to the local woods and arrange for someone to pre-hide them.

Flipping this on it's head, could you find the ideal place for your bog baby to live? Or make a bog baby 'small world'.
Small world play is great. It's basically making a world in minature for toy dinosaurs, pirates, lego-men or whatever and using it to play imaginatively. You could use sand, stones or garden cuttings to make a beach or jungle or go all out and make a dinosaur island by junk-modelling a volcano (Bi-carb, vinegar and food colouring makes a great but messy erupting volcano) . Small worlds are great for encouraging their own storytelling. I've found that if you make it for them they don't value it as much as if they make it themselves.

Habitats: Looking at the different habitats for different animals and how their bodies are adapted to fit that setting or climate. Could they design their own animal for the desert? Or ice-caps? How would you make sure these animals could survive?

The Eco-crisis: some animals are losing their homes. Research what is happening around the world and the possible solutions. Focus on positives. Some animals are coming back from the brink: e.g tigers in India. One of the upsides of this difficult time is that pollution levels are dropping. Nasa have released pictures of the pollution cloud above China before and after the virus hit.

Estate agents: Write a description of an animal's home. Can everyone guess which animal lives there?

If you have access to a local pond then go pond-dipping and explore the wildlife without encroaching. You could adapt this to woodland walks, rock pooling or bug-hunting. Get messy and make mud or sand sculptures of the animals you see.

Make a bug hotel for your garden. What other ways can we help and encourage wildlife to visit us and be safe?


These are just some very limited ideas to provide ideas for story-led activities. Half the fun is thinking of your own. I always encourage children to ask questions. Thinking of and asking questions is brilliant for the brain and I never have the answers for them. The fun is finding out.


Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Schools out! What do we do? - Stories to help with Homeschooling

After finding out about school closures tonight, my middle daughter, 6, got very excited. Knowing that I was a primary school teacher up until last July, she was happy to think that I would be reviving this role in order to teach them next week (and however many weeks that follow).

         "Mum, what will we call you? Will you line us up every morning to do the register?"

Little does she know that I have very little intention of sitting them down and formally 'teaching' them much at all. Times are stressful enough already and although workbooks and 'lessons' may work well for some, in our house it is extremely likely to end in frustrated tears (mine) by the end of the first day! Yes, we need to keep busy and yes, we'll need structure but it will be a hands on, outdoor-as-much-as-possible approach from me with emphasis on life skills.

The truth is that, even with my teaching background, I often feel stressed and anxious having the children at home for long periods of time on my own and openly admit that I am nervous about the coming weeks.  However, tonight I started to put my teaching head back on and thought best about how to get the kids (and myself) on board with what we're all faced with. So, I asked the three of them to decide on a family project that they wanted to spend next week exploring. It could literally have been anything and it was...

                                                                        FRUIT!

Fantastically random but I can work with this. It's amazing how much learning can come out of fruit. So we started thought-showering ideas with them taking the lead as much as possible.

But if you're struggling for ideas, why not think about starting with a story that matches their interests. Stories, especially picture books, are brilliant for kicking off learning activities whatever age your kids are. They provide a starting point and a context for getting stuck in. They give a structure, a reference point plus they spark the imagination.
So what stories are there about fruit that we can use:




I'm sure there are others too.

So, using the text as a starting point here are some of the activities we thought of that span across the primary curriculum:
  •  Complete an A-Z of different fruits. How quickly can you fill the whole alphabet?
  •  Think of rhyming words for different fruits (including nonsense words). Make silly rhymes and sentences. 
  •  Taste different fruits, describe the taste, smell, feel etc and point score them. Make a graph of family favourites. 
  •  Design a fruit salad or smoothie. Why is this healthy?
  • Where does dried fruit come from? Weigh out ingredients for a fruit cake or fruit bread and bake, following instructions. 
  • Look at fruit seeds under a magnifying glass. Plant some fruit seeds and see what happens.
  • Get online and find the price of different fruits in a supermarket. Can you make that amount using coins? Add the cost of some fruits together. Set up a fruit shop. What fruits could you buy for a pound?
  • Sketch fruits, fruit printing, make fruity characters, stuff and sew some felt fruits and make a fruit market. 
  • Make marzipan fruits. 
  • Where does each fruit come from? Find the country on a map. How far does it travel to get here? When is it in season? What meals can we cook with seasonal fruit? How does fairtrade work? Fairtrade.org offer brilliant videos and activity ideas on this. https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/
  • Play 'What's in the box?' with different fruits. Which fruit is it?
And that's just a few ideas. From there the kids can design a timetable and hopefully off we go. And that's before we've really dipped into the story.

So over the coming days and weeks, as well as the usual book reviews, I aim to post some books and accompanying story activities that I have used in teaching as well as thinking up some new ones. Lots of authors are currently designing activities to go with their own books so I can also post links to these. Sharing books, buying online second hand (if libraries are closed) are all good ways of getting hold of stories or use your current household favourites and plan your own ideas. Cbeebies read stories aloud and Twinkl https://www.twinkl.co.uk/ is another good resource site if you have access to a printer. 

As well as this I also hope to post some 'oral storytelling' videos of traditional tales that I have adapted for learning and performing without a text. These are great for developing spoken language, prompting improvisation, making props and drawing storyboards.

For any budding chefs out there I highly recommend Nadiya Hussain's 'Bake Me a Story' books. These contain short stories which come with an accompanying recipe. Make the recipe first and then share the story or vice versa.



Lastly, for those who feel like they need reinforcements when talking to younger ones about hygiene or the worries they have about this, I can recommend the following:
Catch that Cough by Bonnie Bridgman - a fun, fictional story about not letting your cough escape.
Robosnot by Amy Sparkes - silly, fun and a little bit gross. This robot needs to use a tissue.
Ruby's Worry by Tom Percival - I've not read this myself but comes highly recommended.
The Huge Bag of Worries by Virginia Ironside - a story about the weight of carrying your worries round with you and trying to set them free.
What to do when you worry to much: A kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety - this is a brilliant and practical book which likens worries to tomato plants. Give them attention and they grow! Keep busy and focus on doing what you love whilst giving everyone opportunities to talk about their feelings.


Most of all, stay safe and well, try and protect your mental health, let the kids lead by enthusiasm and ask for help if you need it (I know I will be needing it on a regular basis.) 

Brightstorm and Darkwhispers by Vashti Hardy



                                                  

Published: Scholastic, 2018

👍👍👍👍👍

If ever there was a time to get lost in a book, then this is probably it. So how about forgetting the worries of the outside world for a day or two and sailing off on a billowing sky-ship for a storm of an adventure.
Vashti Hardy weaves a mind-blowing, fantastical journey across 'The Wide'- a parallel world of perilous seas and undiscovered continents which takes you as far south as South Polaris and as far east as anyone has ever travelled.
Arthur and Maudie Brightstorm, twins who have been stripped of everything they love, escape the clutches of slavery and set off on a daring sky-ship voyage with explorer Harriet Culpepper. Their mission is to find out the truth about their father's disappearance, to discover whether he is dead or alive and if the damning claims made against him by the intimidating Eudora Vane are true. 
In Darkwhispers, Maudie and Arthur, along with the crew of the Aurora, embark on a new quest to uncover what has happened to missing explorer, Ermitage Wrigglesworth. But their journey east unearths secrets shrouded in shadow and a place they could never have imagined. Will they be able to keep themselves and their surprising discovery safe from the greedy, manipulative clutches of Eudora? And will they ever be able to return home?

Link to Goodreads: Darkwhispers

Published: Scholastic, 2020

👍👍👍👍👍

        Vashti Hardy offers an enthralling escape with these novels. The world she has created feels real and vivid, her main characters are driven by a powerful and heart-wrenching purpose (making them both relatable and inspirational) and the plot is an exploratory delight of twists and turns. Unlike other recent books I have read, I didn't find this so much a fast-paced, edge of your seat rollercoaster ride but rather what I imagine a sky-ship ride to be in itself: breath-taking, full of wonder and truly unique. Just the mention of 'Thought Wolves' and 'Water Bears' and a city built on the edge of a waterfall makes my spine tingle.

          Brightstorm was the first book I have listened to in audio format for many years. As I drove the several hours from my destination to home in the dark, I became completely enraptured by the story. The intoxicating nature of 'The Wide' draws you in and rocks you like a lullaby with sharp punctures of shocking reveal. The crew feels like family and was it was a joy to return to them in the sequel.

           Darkwhispers offers the discovery of a new land and a really interesting, refreshing and positive take on the theme of ecology, archaeology and how humans and nature could potentially unify as one. Instead of preaching to us, Hardy shows us an insight into an alternative reality where nature is respected, revered yet enhanced to accommodate the needs of the population. Through Eudora Vane, Hardy also clearly highlights the flaws of humanity and how the future of a nation and continent relies on the attitudes and insight of the people. It gave me hope for what the future of our planet could hold - in the right hands of course!

           So, if you want to lose yourself in an awe-inspiring, hope-filling adventure with fantastically plucky characters who emcompass ambition, aspiration and determination, I highly recommend giving these books a place on your shelves. You won't regret it!

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Meet the Planets by Caryl Hart and Bethan Woollvin

Link to Goodreads

Published by: Bloomsbury, 2020

👍👍👍👍

Narrative non-fiction picture books are becoming increasingly popular on the bookshop shelves and who better to write this rhyming meet and greet with the planets than rhythmic picture book master, Caryl Hart.
Calling all space fans! Let's climb into a rocket and whoosh off to see what's a-waiting in the vast darkness of our solar system. The planets are colourful, unique, extremely friendly and looking forward to receiving visitors.
As we zip further away from the sun, note the change in temperature, size and materials. From gas to rock to rings, each stop offers something different, fun and entertaining. And when we're done exploring let's whizz back home to bed!
Told in delightful story format this is a perfect, informative introduction to the planets. The dazzling illustrations by Bethan Woollvin brings the space journey to life and gives each planet endearing personality. It's a fun, fact-filled voyage that makes the mystery of the universe feel both real yet familiar, bringing it within the reach of little minds and making it memorable. No doubt after reading this, children will be chanting the verses, imitating the artwork and building on the learning.
As a teacher, I would highly recommend using this text within the classroom as a starting point for topic work, language and art. And as a parent, curl up and enjoy this joyful exploration with your little ones.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray



Link to Goodreads

Published: Feb 2020 Puffin

Illustrated by Manuel Sumberac

👍👍👍👍

Any winner of the Bath Children's Novel Award is going to turn my head. The calibre of writers that are shortlisted for this award is staggering year upon year and so to win it must feel like the ultimate achievement.
Therefore, when I heard Struan Murray's novel, winner of the 2017 award, was being published I pre-ordered it months in advance.
Murray's debut novel certainly didn't disappoint.The set-up grabbed me from the start; an independent female inventor living in the only city left in the world (after The Drowning) saves a mysterious boy who has just emerged from the belly of a beached whale...
yes, there was no question that I wanted to read on!
When Seth is accused of being the new vessel of the enemy, he is sentenced to death. Ellie, knowing the accusations are false is desperate to save him- but she can't do it alone. Suddenly, the clock is ticking and the city is becoming as dark and as dangerous as the sea. Submerged in a deadly game, Ellie must learn from the past to save the future.
This novel sweeps you off your feet and carries you away on a tide that is gripping, thrilling and gothically dark. It is a challenging and intense read, with the main rays of light being the little orphans and the strength of friendship throughout. The plot is highly unique with a mid-way twist that will leave your heart thumping in your chest. The narrative is broken up with diary extracts which add depth and increase tension and the voice of Finn is deliciously enjoyable.
I found it took a little time to warm to the characters of Ellie and Anna and the ending felt left-open, making it not completely satisfying. However, for anyone who fancies immersing themselves in a murky, gritty fantastical world which will throw you around more ferociously than the waves in a stormy sea then this is the book for you.  It is a novel which will leave you gasping for air and will stay in your memory long after reading.
Not for the faint-hearted! I can't wait to hear what is coming next from this talented debut author.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Boot: The Rusty Rescue by Shane Hegarty and Ben Mantle

Link to Goodreads

Published: 2020, Hachette Childrens

👍👍👍👍

Boot is back with his robot heart of gold.

Okay, so he may not actually have a heart, but this 'funtime' robot sure acts like he does. I couldn't wait to meet Boot and his friends again after his adventures in Book One and this sequel felt like putting on my comfiest pair of slippers.
After finally finding a home where he belongs, contented Boot and his adorable friends are on a mission to find mishmash robot, Gerry, a new nose. Their search leads them to the sinister Testing Lab where they discover Rusty - a disintegrating robot who possesses the same awareness as they do.
Boot is instantly determined to save Rusty from Robot Heaven, but introducing him to the real world is fraught with challenges. Frustrated, Boot tries to get to the root of Rusty's problems. But when the ailing robot claims to have a broken heart, Boot is unsure whether there is any way to save him.
Character definitely leads this heart-warming and engaging series. Boot and his eclectic robot friends are truly delightful and reading the story felt like hanging out with old friends. The plot offered more of a light-hearted amble than the first in the series. That doesn't mean to say that there weren't moments of high-paced action and danger because there certainly was (intermingled with charming humour). The Testing Lab was creepy and the final race through the city was hair-raisingly exciting. However, the middle section of the book made time for some fun along the way with bouncy inflatables, a nail-biting ride to the skies and a birthday party.
Unlike book one, humans didn't feature heavily in this story at all. There was no sign of scrapyard baddie, Flint and Beth's role was minimal. However, I didn't feel this impacted negatively on the story and actually enjoyed the main focus being on the robots, although I was sad to not meet Tag again. Boot is in a much happier place in this story, meaning his sole motivation is his compassion for others - and that's why we love him!
The illustrations by Ben Mantle are enchanting and the short length makes this a manageable read for younger readers. In my opinion this sequel will secure Boot and his friends as firm family favourites and I can't wait for more riotous, robot adventures.

UPCOMING RELEASE: Kidnap on the Californian Comet by M.G.Leonard and Sam Sedgman, illustrated by Elisa Paganelli

Link to pre-order; Waterstones signed edition Link to pre-order; Foyles Published by Pan Macmillan, 3rd September 2020 👍👍👍👍👍 TOOT TOOT!...