The wonderful World of Simon Abbott is a new series by Ticktock books; a witty series for readers aged 5 – 7 giving informative guides to their favourite topics. They are beautifully illustrated in a way that captures children’s imaginations AND their attention as they are packed with funny facts.

Pirates Ahoy!

pirates ahoy

This was the first book we read as the girls are studying Pirates in Term 6 and we were really captivated. It’s not a story but each page is filled with quirky drawings and fun facts on how they dress, the flags they use, a peek inside a captain’s quarters. You even find out what they loved to eat and how they spent their free time – cleaning the ship and playing/dancing to music.

This is one of those books that children will pick up and flick through when the fancy takes them. It’s an excellent resource to have in your library for the facts contained, for example

DID YOU KNOW? Some pirates were actually top sailors allowed by a king or queen to go and rob their enemies. They were known as ‘privateers’!

Definitely a book that appeals to both boys and girls, my two loved pouring over the facts written all over the page and there was so much laughter at the funny ones.

We have a ‘Dress up as Pirates Day’ on Friday and this book has sure helped us get some ideas – all home made for us just like true pirates

‘A- ha me hearties’

The Land of the Dinosaurs

land of dinosaurs

I really love this one, it has me grinning all the way through, did you know T. rex’s teeth were as big as bananas? That’s one very clever way of getting the children to remember and imagine just how big Dinosaurs were.

Again this is a book to refer back to time and time again without ever getting bored. I love the way Simon Abbott has drawn the dinosaurs and given them speech bubbles, it makes the dinosaurs so much easier to understand and warm to.

land of dinosaurs simon abbott

If I’m honest the girls haven’t had anything to do with dinosaurs in their life whereas my son LOVED them as a preschooler. I am sure they will study dinos next year so this book will be an fabulous reference book for them to refer to and a fun one too!

DID YOU KNOW? The smallest dino would have fit in the palm of your hand, while the most gigantic dino was taller than a six story building!

simon abbott

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of each book mentioned for the purpose of this review and yep, Id thoroughly recommend them.

 

LeapReader

LeapFrog has introduced a LeapReader Book Club on Facebook and we were delighted to be asked to review a book for the month of June. Our LeapReader Interactive Book to review is Dora the Explorer – Tale of the Unicorn King.

It’s part of the Early Reading Series that includes long and short vowels, sight words and word families. On opening the book you find a panel of options with very simple and colourful symbols on which to place your LeapReader, this gives the book many possibilities.

LeapReader symbols

Read the Page uses the colour purple for identification. By touching this symbol the LeapReader will read the page to you

Read the Story uses the colour yellow and a play symbol for identification. By touching this symbol LeapReader will read the whole story and give a musical note as a sign to turn page but you have to be quick, I think it’s best for a parent to help out.

The games included throughout the story are simple but clever, For example, Can you see a rainbow? Touch the rainbow with your LeapReader. Dora then says in Spanish, ‘Che lindo! – it’s beautiful’. I was surprised to hear her speak Spanish but it’s translated straight after and adds another dimension to this book. Each green symbol has more than one game to play on each page.

Sound it/Say it identified as yellow allows you to touch a word and hear that word sounded out in phonics example ‘sss — eee’ = see. Followed by a muscial note or two to let you know it’s ready to sound the next one

Repeat button 

Stop button. 

The LeapReader works by recognising words on the page and can say them when the child gets stuck if reading alone or it can read the story as an audiobook whilst the child follows the words. 

It really is simple and the twins picked it up very quickly and immediately started arguing as to whose turn it was to hold the LeapReader!

Dora the Explorer – Tale of the Unicorn King

 

Tale of the Unicorn King is perfect for children who love fairy tales and myths like mine do. It includes a mix of beautiful and wonderful things to keep turning the pages like rainbows and rabbits, like enchanted forests and a map to follow.

dora the explorer

The story is simple, the animals of the Enchanted Forest want Unicornio to be their king but Unicornio is full of self doubt; a king must be kind, smart, brave and strong and he’s not so sure he has those qualities so Dora helps him out.

At the back of the book there’s a page of information on short vowels, long vowels, word families and sight words. It’s really informative and helps parents understand teaching methods too.

The LeapFrog LeapReader is an educational system that uses a talking pen together with a vast range of books that encourage children to read and write. There are writing sheets for the child to trace with the pen gradually getting the hang of forming the letters and writing them. The LeapReader teaches reading comprehension, vocabulary and listening skills too. It’s aimed at children aged 4 – 8.

The pen needs to be connected to a computer via a USB cable which opens up LeapFrog Connect where you can access your account and add or subtract apps to each device you own. On buying a new book, you have to touch one of the symbols in the book and then connect to the pc in order to download the content. The USB is also used to recharge the pen.

Our verdict: 4/5 – one point less as I think the Read the Story needs to allow a bit more time for turning the page, little hands (who like to do everything) are slower than an adults.

LeapReader Dora book 

We are very proud to announce that we’ve been chosen to be part of the LeapFrog Blogger Panel. The twins LOVE their LeapPad Ultras and they go everywhere with us. I love their LeapPad Ultras as we can chop and change the uploaded apps to keep them constantly amused, revisiting ‘old’ games and discovering new apps at the same time. One of my favourite LeapPad moments is listening to them with their earphones on singing along to pop songs. Like this early photo shows.

Disclosure: We received a copy of Dora the Explorer Tale of the Unicorn King for the purpose of this review

LeapFrog Blogger Panel

interactive books hallmark

I can’t tell you how amazed I am at the level of reading the girls, this year they have come on in leaps and bounds, we read the school reading books most evenings and then we also read a story together before lights out. It’s a moment we all treasure and one that sooner or later I’ll have to give up as they get to grips with reading on their own for joy, for the pure pleasure of reading.

I love reading and it was always going to be a passion I passed on to the twins, I remember when they were still 6 months old and rolling on the floor, I’d lay in between them and open a picture board book, pointing out the words and pictures to them, I could already see their interest.

They have always had books around them and learnt really early on to respect them, very few got torn and none were drawn on which is pretty amazing.

We have our favourites, The Gruffalo for one and The Twelve Dancing Princesses another but we rotate our books reading a different one every day, in my opinion a bit of repetition works well too as they start to remember the stories and this in turn helps with their own reading.

I am 100% sure that making reading such a huge part of our daily routine from such a young age has helped significantly with their learning to read so well.

Presented with books in Reception year they took to them immediately and enjoyed the process, they leapt through the reading stages and today they are on Gold Level reading books that are interesting and include ‘tricky’ words. I am so proud of them!

ORT reading levels

We have recently been sent a couple of Hallmark’s latest interactive Storybooks All Aboard and A Day at Fairy Grandmother’s to review and I knew the minute I saw the girls eyes light up as they turned them on they were going to love them.

All Aboard - Hallmark

The books are beautifully illustrated and the reading is simple to follow.

By pressing the on button at the start of the book, the book starts talking to you with music and sounds that are appropriate to the book you are reading, All Aboard for example starts with a train horn blowing and the friendly conductor Connor saying ‘I’m ready to read with you.’

As you read the font changes colour, one font for your bits and a different colour font is when the book picks up what you’re saying and joins in with extra speech or noises to reflect that part of the story. It’s important to read this part as clearly as possible. There were a couple of times we needed to repeat the phrase to encourage the book to join in and on one occasion we skipped ahead as the book didn’t recognise its cue.

a day at fairy grandmother's

The twins loved it, they were marvelled at the book reading with them, you should have seen the smiles and looks of wonder on their faces.

I think these books have a great story line, the children love the fact the book ‘talks’ to them and joins in with the story so they are fantastic for encouraging reading and showing it can be lots of fun RRP: £14.99

inheritance - sharon moalem‘It’s in his genes’

Do cancer/diabetes/Hip dysplasia run in families?

These common phrases would make you think that our genetic make up is fixed at conception and we’re stuck with it right? Well Dr Sharon Moalem has discovered differently and his new book opens up so much hope in so many areas of our life that the results are very, very exiting. His new book Inheritance explains exactly how.

The book transforms how we understand ourselves and our families by revealing that everything we thought we knew about genetics is wrong.

  • Your genes are not fixed
  • the traits you inherit aren’t unalterable
  • the way you behave can affect how these genes are passed down to your children

In a nutshell everything you do and experience in this life is recorded in your genes, the bullying at school, the cigarettes smoked as a teenager, the food you eat and the seemingly inconsequential matters, all recorded in your genes.

In fact our bodies are in a constant state of transformation and regeneration and our current experiences add to those changes, we have the power to change our own genetic destiny.

I often wonder what I have passed on to my children and what I have been passed down from my own parents. It’s true we live longer now, we eat better diets, live healthier lives and the majority of us are all for happier, healthier longer lives.

So imagine if we could alter the genes and correct asthma, eczema, hayfever and even cancer.

Maybe this book scratches the surface of a whole new area of medicine that will change our lives and help us learn how to live better lives, as Angelina Jolie shows us we can now be previvors rather than survivors.

For more information read this article in the Guardian.

Sharon Moalen is an award winning physician, scientist and bestselling author. He is an expert in the fields of rare diseases, neurogenetics, and biotechnology. His work has brought together evolution, genetics, biology, and medicine to explain how the human body works and in Inheritance he shows that the human genome is far more fluid that you’ve ever imagined. By studying in depth patients suffering from rare genetic conditions he can now tell us all about our own health and well being.

INHERITANCE will prepare us with what we need to be aware of. As we enter more fully into this brave new world, our relationships will be tested, and our lives will change. And as we’re about to see, so will our bodies.

Book out on 10th April

‘Wanted by no one, hunted by everyone’ really captured my interest and from those words i just couldn’t wait to start reading it!

Half Bad cover

Half Bad is the story of Nathan, a boy who grows up in a world where witches are real, and he is one. In a race against time before he turns 17. In a world where he is hunted, Nathan runs away in a bid to find his father to discover the truth about his life.

Join Nathan in his whirlwind of a journey in the amazing new novel Half Bad.

I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t put it down, it was such a page turner! I literally didn’t do anything but read the book last weekend! It was easy to get into and I loved seeing how the story would evolve. I enjoyed exploring a whole new world, that was right on my door step! I could easily interact with the characters and found myself completely invested into this book. The characters are so relatable and I loved seeing how the story would turn out, with such great twists along the way. A great fast-paced adventure that will leave you wanting more.
This book would be great for any teen who loves a good page turner and fantasy book. Any Harry Potter fan would also love it.

I just can’t WAIT to read the next book, I am on tenterhooks waiting for it!