Top books to read for tween girls this summer

Taking the books on holiday!

I love the fact that the twins are passionate about reading and I am so proud that they are so good at it! They are currently on Ruby level which is an excellent place to be and reading helps with their spelling, English lessons and comprehension. It also helps with all of the other subjects too, the comprehension, the writing and the revision when the time comes.

After a disastrous Year 4 (4 changes of teacher in 1 year!) we shall be pleased to see the back of it but I do feel it is more important than ever to keep the girls ticking over during the summer and reading is the perfect way to keep them amused and up to date. Bonus for me that it won’t be a hardship, maths, well maths will require the patience of a saint this summer…

There are so many fantastic books out there that when Harper Collins asked if we’d like to review some titles for them I jumped at the chance. The good news is, the books were all so good (sent just before last half term) that I’m going to have to go out and buy some more. Fortunately, many of the titles below were the first book in a series, so I know exactly what to buy them!

The girls are working their way through them,  here’s what they had to say…

Geek Girl – Holly Smale

Top books to read for tween girls this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the first book that Alice chose out of the six we were sent to review and she couldn’t put it down. Bessie is reading it at the moment.

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a geek.” 

Harriet knows a lot of things, all sorts of things but she doesn’t know why nobody seems to like her at school. This is one of children’s greatest fears: not being liked by their school friends. It can cause great upset and reading about another child’s take on the situation helps in understanding how they can get on more.

Harriet goes into modelling, which of course isn’t going to be everyone’s way out of the problem. In fact, it doesn’t help Harriet much either as the reader will find out. So it’s up to Harriet to look for another alternative and that’s where the can’t-put-the-book-down syndrome kicks in.

Alice says: I really loved this book and want to read the others now.

Blink and you die – Ruby Redfort

Top books to read for tween girls this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruby Redfort: undercover agent, code-cracker and thirteen-year-old genius – you can count on her when the ice starts to crack.

All good things come to an end… Ruby Redfort is running scared, a whole bunch of people want her dead and worst of all one of them is on her team. But just who is this agent of doom?

You can run, Ruby, but you can’t hide…

Alice says: I couldn’t get into this book so I have put it to one side to try later on.

Scarlet and Ivy, The Lights Under The Lake – Sophie Cleverly

Top books to read for tween girls this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scarlet and Ivy’s school trip takes a turn for the worse as another mystery begins to unfold…

The fourth book in the SCARLET AND IVY series is perfect for fans of MURDER MOST UNLADYLIKE.

It’s summer and as a special treat after the horrors of last term Mrs Knight announces a school trip to Shady Pines Hotel on the shores of Lake Seren. Scarlet and Ivy are thrilled to get away from Rookwood for a break!

But the old hotel and the waters of the lake reservoir are covering up dark secrets. And when mysterious things start happening to hotel guests it seems that a malicious new threat is haunting the girls.

Locals say that at night you can hear the ringing of the church bells and see lights under the lake, that troubled souls buried in the flooded graveyard no longer rest…

Bessie’s first pick. she says: I really  loved this book and want to collect the others now too.

Top books to read for tween girls this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Fran the Fabulous Fairy turns up in Tiga Whicabim’s shed to tell her she’s a witch, Tiga doesn’t believe her. Or at least not until Fran points out that TIGA WHICABIM is actually an anagram of I AM A BIG WITCH and magics her away down the drainpipes to compete in Witch Wars – the competition to crown the next Top Witch of Ritzy City.

Filled with silly spells, delectable dresses, ridiculous riddles and a serious shoe problem, Witch Wars is a witch story like no other. Although if you enjoyed The Worst Witch, you’ll love this too!

Bessie says: This was really funny and I really enjoyed it.

Radio Boy – Christian O’Connell

Top books to read for tween girls this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alice read this book and loved it, see what she has to say …

From leading breakfast radio star Christian O’Connell comes a brilliant and laugh-out-loud story of an ordinary boy with an extraordinary secret radio show. (Broadcast from his shed.)

Meet Spike, aka Radio Boy: a new Adrian Mole on the radio for the internet generation.

Spike’s your average awkward 11 year old, funny and cheeky and with a mum to reckon with. When he becomes the first presenter ever to be sacked from hospital radio, he decides to carry on from a makeshift studio in the garden shed, with the help of his best friends Artie and Holly, disguising his voice and going by the moniker Radio Boy.

Week by week, word gets around and soon Spike is a star… if only people knew it was actually him. When Spike begins to believe his own hype, and goes too far with his mocking of the school headmaster, a hunt is launched for the mysterious Radio Boy.

Can Spike remain anonymous? Will he get to marry the girl of his dreams, Katherine Hamilton? Will he become famous and popular? The answer to most of these questions is no…

Alice says: Such a good book, it made me laugh a lot and I couldn’t put it down.

Goodly and Grave in a bad case of kidnap – Justine Windsor

Top books to read for tween girls this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An archly funny, classic mystery adventure with a magic twist!

Lucy Goodly is the new boot girl at Grave Hall, working for the cold, aloof Lord Grave. The other staff – Vonk the Butler, Mrs Crawley the cook and Violet the scullery maid – all seem friendly but Lucy soon notices that strange things are afoot in her new home – and not just Mrs Crawley’s experimental anchovy omelettes. There are moving statues, magical books and Lord Grave has a secret. Meanwhile, all over the country, children are vanishing. Could the mystery of the missing children be linked to the strange goings-on? Lucy is determined to find out…

Nobody has read this one yet but judging by the standards of the others sent through, we think this is going to be a really good read.

Skulduggery Pleasant – Derek Landy

Top books to read for tween girls this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the great Skulduggery Pleasant: wise-cracking detective, powerful magician, master of dirty tricks and burglary (in the name of the greater good, of course).

Oh yeah. And dead.

Then there’s his sidekick, Stephanie. She’s… well, she’s a twelve-year-old girl. With a pair like this on the case, evil had better watch out…

“So you won’t keep anything from me again?”
He put his hand to his chest. “Cross my heart and hope to die.”
“Okay then. Though you don’t actually have a heart,” she said.
“I know.”
“And technically, you’ve already died.”
“I know that too.”
“Just so we’re clear.”

Stephanie’s uncle Gordon is a writer of horror fiction. But when he dies and leaves her his estate, Stephanie learns that while he may have written horror, it certainly wasn’t fiction.

Pursued by evil forces intent on recovering a mysterious key, Stephanie finds help from an unusual source – the wisecracking skeleton of a dead wizard.

When all hell breaks loose, it’s lucky for Skulduggery that he’s already dead. Though he’s about to discover that being a skeleton doesn’t stop you from being tortured, if the torturer is determined enough. And if there’s anything Skulduggery hates, it’s torture… Will evil win the day? Will Stephanie and Skulduggery stop bickering long enough to stop it? One thing’s for sure: evil won’t know what’s hit it.

Nobody has read this one yet but judging by the standards of the others sent through, we think this is going to be a really good read.

A lovely selection of great books that will keep tweens hanging on for more, why not invest in a couple or see if your local library has them?

Disclosure: Harper Collins sent us through these books to read for the purpose of this post, we would really recommend them to you

Little Miss Sunshine Mr men

‘Dad, what does a tickle look like?’

Dad, sat at his desk and drew a round, orange figure with long, bendy arms and planted a big smile on the face, Mr Tickle was born. That was back in the 1970’s when the first six Mr Men books were published.

I was five then and I can still remember our family collection of the Mr Men books. I read them all and so did my brothers, we couldn’t get enough of these simple but fabulous books each of which carried a clear message referring to personal traits and characters that go into making us who we are.

How Mr Bump made us laugh. Who doesn’t remember the phrase – For instance?

I enjoyed these books so much that I bought them a second time around for Thomas and Megan to enjoy on my trips back to the UK. They helped enormously with teaching them English as they were so easy to read. And when the twins came along I started up the collection again and read them of an evening before they fell asleep, a smile on their lips at the light hearted story we had shared, sometimes a question would be sparked which created a great conversation based on the characters.

Now it is time to create my 4th collection for the grandkids, Evan and Sophie who are the perfect age to enjoy them.

I still find it uncanny how Roger Hargreaves has captured these common traits so well in each of his characters, how each story is just right and how the illustrations work so well. In fact there is nothing to change or criticise with this world of little people.

If you were a Mr Man or a Little Miss which one would you be? I think I’m a Little Miss Sunshine, a smiler, a happy go lucky peace maker.

mr men products

The Mr Men are celebrating 45 years this year and you will find lots of wonderful merchandise in the shops. We were sent through a lovely box and as I opened the package my 8 year old twins shied away, we are too old for that mummy! They declared.

‘Not a problem,’ I replied, ‘The Mr Men are one of my favourite characters, I’ll have it!’ I pulled out a beautiful yellow Little Miss Sunshine pillow, ‘This will look perfect on my bed!’ I said. I continued pulling out cups, smaller cuddly toys, magazines, lunch bags and all sorts of wonderful goodies, oohing and aahing over them all, delighted at becoming the owner to so many wonderful Mr Men products as the twins looked at each other quizzically.

If you, like me, are a huge fan of the Mr Men and you are in London during the last week of August then pop down to the South Bank and feast your eyes on a showcase of rare and unusual memorabilia that will take you down memory lane. Mr Men will be putting on a “mini museum” where all plinths are at child height for kids to enjoy. It will be held in the OXO tower on London’s South Bank over the August bank holiday. 

Also keep an eye out for the Virtual Archive that is being built for fans to show off their collections online, the rarest 45th items will be rewarded with a limited edition Mr Men poster

little miss hug

Inside my Mr Men Box of Delights I also found some new Little Miss books that I have missed, like Little Miss Hug (adorable), Little Miss Somersault (funny), Little Miss Brainy (clever), Little Miss Curious (intriguing) they are all wonderful and remind me just how much I love this collection.

As I walked up to bed that night and visited the twins room to tuck them in and plant a kiss on their foreheads, who did I find on the bed? Little Miss Sunshine of course! They are taking it in turns to have her and it looks like I’m going to miss out again!

gold stars dinosaurs

If you remember a while back we reviewed the Gold Stars Factivity book on the Human Body and also the fun holiday workbooks? Well now we are taking a look at the Dinosaur book and after the recent Dino Tales success I thought we’d give it a whirl.

I’m really pleased; Bessie got hold of it first and started to flick through, intrigued she picked up a pen and started to fill in the questions and boxes inviting her to put her own mark on them.

She has read the paragraphs and answered true or false, she has followed the mazes from the Dino to his dinner, she’s looked for hidden Dinos in the forest to count how many she can find. I have to say Alice hasn’t had much of a look in so luckily I passed her the Gold Stars Amazing Body book which hadn’t been looked at in some time and she sat down quite happily with it.

I am very impressed with these books as they are fun, I can see how much the girls enjoy them by the amount of time they spend on them.

I love the fact that even after all the games and puzzles have been played this doesn’t need to be thrown out as it is a marvellous reference book packed with information. It can be looked over again and again.

Verdict:

I would say if you have a young dinosaur fan in the house they would love it, for younger children you may have to help read but my Year 2 girls have really enjoyed it.

 

Guinness World Record 60

Over half term the girls and I went to London to take part in the Guinness World Records 60th Anniversary.  I can remember Guinness World Records right back to my childhood.

Do you wanna be a record breaker yeah? *Mari bursts into song*

Record Breakers

Roy Castle was a regular in our front room as we watched in awe all of the most amazing records being broken the world over week in week out. My brothers and I on many occasion tried to drum up a good idea of a record breaker and many a good evening was spent brainstorming. We received copies of the annual book and thumbed through until the ends were dog eared and we could reel off various records by heart.

What would it be like attending their 60th party?

A. Maze. Ing.

First we got to meet Craig Glenday, Editor in Chief since 2004, the stories he has to tell could have kept us amused all day but instead they brought in some real live record breakers as seen in the top photo.

Paul Hunn Guinness World breaker loudest burp

 

Paul Hunn, above, is holder of the Loudest Burp in the World which he kindly demonstrated for us much to the delight of all of the children sitting and taking in every one of his registered 109.9 decibels.

Rubiks robot made out of lego

The guy in the centre is one of the two men, David Gilday and Mike Dobson, who built a robot out of LEGO Technics to solve the Rubiks cube in under 5 seconds. The robot in action above. Bessie in action below.

Bessie with rubiks cube

 

And Joe to the left is the world record holder of the most bunny hops on a bike amongst others, take a look at my video to see him in action as he hops over our host for the day.

We were split into three groups and off we went on various tasks like choosing our favourite cover for the 2015 Guinness World Records book and deciding which photo out of 6 was the most eye catching. I liked this one.

GWR me and picture

Then we got to have a go at breaking our own world records. There was the moving of jelly from one bowl to another in 60 seconds which Alice and Bessie tried.

GWR jelly record

There was the team effort of sitting on balloons and popping all ten of them in the least amount of time.

And there was the wrapping a present in the shortest amount of time.

We all had amazing fun having a go but sadly no records broken that day.

The day ended as all good anniversaries do with Bubbles and cake. But one last surprise in the street below as we headed off home was the world’s smallest caravan.

World's smallest caravanand the World’s fastest shopping trolley.

GWR world's fastest shopping trolley

60th Anniversary edition of the Guinness World Records Book

GWR 2015 book graphic

First published in 1955 this year is the 60th edition and is packed with new content and a few surprises that will keep many entertained over the next year.

Apart from new records added to the book there is an augmented reality. Download the book’s free app, hover your mobile device over a page and watch the records come to life in front of you. We watched in awe the most venomous spider in the world leap from a page and a dog walk on its front paws too. Amazing! Download the #seeit3D app

RRP £20 and worth every epic penny.

60 years of Record breaking

Interesting Guinness World Records facts

The  Most expensive bottle of wine 1955: £4.93 today £75,000

Unbreakable records since the very first edition include

  1. Tallest man (Wadlow) 8ft 11.1 inches tall)
  2. Best selling single “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby (my nana will be happy to hear this)
  3. Highest grossing movie (adjusted for inflation) Gone with the Wind USA 1939
  4. Richest person (Rockefeller) inflation adjusted – today’s equivalent of £114.39 BILLION.
  5. Largest office building – The Pentagon
  6. Largest diamond – The Cullinan weighed in at 3,106.75 carats in 1905

Records that exist today that didn’t in 1955

  1. Social media – Most tweets per second is 143,199. Most liked person on Facebook is Shakira (25.04.2014) with 90,938,442 likes
  2. Digital music
  3. Ocean rowing
  4. Moon walking/Space travel
  5. Collections – htere are now more than 400 different records on the database.
  6. Body modification – most tattoos, most body piercings and most body modifications on both male and female.

The Works

It all started when I was browsing The Works for ideas for Christmas gifts, I’ve noticed lots of people on my various timelines saying they’ve started their Christmas shopping, one or two have even finished it! I felt I ought to catch up with them. I am subscribed to The Woks newsletter as they often have some excellent bargains and if there’s one thing I like to buy my children it is books.

So I started browsing for some great ideas and I came across the perfect book for the twins, The Disney Princess Storybook collection, a book filled with princess stories. My problem is do I buy 1 or 2? Then I noticed they had the Disney Christmas Storybook collection so I decided on one of each which they can then swap. It will also remind them of their fabulous Disneyland Paris trip this summer. At only £5 each I think these hardbacks are excellent value for money.

Disney Princess Storybook

Intrigued I searched a bit further and discovered they have toys and Christmas Crafts too

So here are my top ten Christmas gifts from The Works

1. Disney Storybooks – £5

2. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid game – Don’t Scramble the Egg Game £17.99 (Looks so much fun!)

3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Leonardo construction set was £9.99 now £3.99

4. Amazing Space Rockets – was £12 buy for £5.99

5. Doctor Who special anniversary 11 doctors edition puzzle 500 pieces  – £4.99

6. Dinosaurs Love Underpants book and jigsaw – £3.00

7. Disney Frozen Art Case 52 pieces  – £4.99

8. The World of David Walliams boxset – was £34.95 buy for £19.99

9. Knit your own baubles kit – £6.99

10. The Stocking Filler section – go there and take a look.

Luckily when you have finished browsing and added a few things to your basket you’ll see they also sell Christmas wrapping paper, very nice prints and very reasonable prices, all delivered to your door, the only thing they don’t off is to wrap the stuff!

Have you found any online bargains yet?