I have a new trick and it works really well, you see I don’t have a lot of time to keep up with what’s good to read out there and what to avoid but lots of my friends and family are avid readers.

I was lucky enough to get given a Kindle a while back and it’s perfect for taking on train journeys if I have to go up to London and of course on holiday, I am able to load lots of books on there and read at leisure all on one device.

So what’s my trick? I write a Facebook status update – I know it’s not groundbreaking stuff but I got so many excellent tips that I thought it would be good to share them.

Top books to read summer 2014

  1. Life after Life by Kate Atkinson came out tops with most votes. I am half way through it and love it
  2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. On the Kindle and still to read
  3. The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. Brilliant read had me hooked all the way through.
  4. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.
  5. One Summer by Bill Brysone
  6. The Monk who Sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma
  7. I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  9. Eeny Meeny by M. J. Arlidge
  10. Tandem by Alex Morgan

Other suggestions included: Americanah, We Are Completely Beside Ourselves, Sisterland, Raising my rainbow, Shantaram, The Fever Tree, A Change in Altitude and The Making of Miranda.

Do you have anything to add? Please let us know

troll two three four

We loved this book.

It’s a story of trolls written by Steve Smallman and Jaime Temairik and it’s written in rhyme which makes it fun to read.

Did you know that trolls like to laze about? Did you know they pick their nose and that they like to creep up on goats and shout boo!

This book had us all giggling as we read through but the story is of one little troll in particular Boogaloo who is very sad and lonely.

Boogaloo spots something red flying by and decides to follow it, this red thing takes him on a journey that no other troll has ever made before, they try to stop him but he can’t hear them he is so fascinated with the red thing.

A very sweet story that young ones can relate too and it is beautifully illustrated too.

Disclosure: As Parragon Book Buddies we were sent a copy of Troll two…three… four… for the purpose of this post.

top ten of everything

As a child I loved anything in a Top Ten and  in fact Top Ten lists still do fascinate me. We were recently sent a book to review by Paul Terry – The Top Ten of Everything 2015.

This is a Top Ten lover’s dream book as it covers just about everything you can think of and so much more! From jaw dropping facts about everything from machines to animals and to sport and space.

There’s a Top Ten on the world’s most infamous prison breakouts. Another on deadly pirates. there’s another on epic structures including stomach churning rollercoasters and futuristic buildings. There’s even a movie section that I spotted dad dip into a few times whilst the book was laying around.

top ten of everything

But we decided to put the book to a real test. We asked George our nephew to cast his discerning eye over it and he liked it. He liked it so much that we gave the book to him as he’d only looked partly through it and there is so much information to discover in there.

I asked him the vital question before he left with the book tucked under his arm.

‘I need to know George if you give the book the thumbs up or not?’

He nodded a big yes which was good enough for me and therefore if George likes it then it has the Mari’s World thumbs up .

This mega edition is the perfect reference book for all young discovers who want to learn more about the world we live in and in fact the universe.

It’s published by Hamlyn and the RRP is £14.99.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of the book for the purpose of this review.

LeapReader Human Body

We have been sent the LeapFrog LeapReader Interactive Human Body to discover with our LeapReader and it’s been very interesting to watch the girls learn about how we’re made and what makes us work the way we do. The product is aimed at children 4 – 8 and being bang in the middle of that age range I can see why.

As the twins are getting older they ask more questions about the body and this is a really handy game to use to widen their knowledge and open them up to the new world of the human body. They can learn facts about the human body, body systems, and nutrition, and reinforce the learning through over 40 activities.

It also a little reminder to brush teeth and eat vegetables and fruit in order to grow healthy and strong ;)

Now they have learnt to read and enjoy reading, it’s important to jump on this and open up their minds to all sorts of different topics like science, geography and the solar system.

What’s in the box?

1 x Two-sided chart
1 x Game board
1 x Interactive growth chart
2 x Interactive sticker sheets

Interactive Stickers

The first item the twins zoomed in on was the stickers and when I wasn’t looking they plastered them all over our picture of the Magic Faraway Tree. Luckily I was able to peel them off and then stick them on the game boards and charts in the correct places with their help.
They have both explored with the LeapReader separately and together and have found the Interactive Human Body very interesting. I was surprised that some of the words used are the biological ones which seem a bit long-winded for children but I guess once learnt that word they won’t forget it. By playing with this game they have both at different times asked questions related to the game they were playing which is great as they are thinking it over and coming back for more information.

Interactive Human Body Game Board

LeapReader Human Game board

The double sided game board is sturdy and has a lot of information on there, we’ve had it for a few weeks now and we still haven’t covered it all PLUS there are two levels of play so once you have covered level 1 successfully you can go back and repeat using level 2 and discover even more. This is fantastic as it allows the Leap Reader to be used for a long time and the game to be revisited time and time again without getting bored.

Interactive growth chart

This is great to hang on the wall at the right height to use as a growth chart throughout the year but also invites the child to pick up their LeapReader and interact with the pictures on it. Children can be seen washing, brushing their teeth and moving about.
For example by touching the image of the boy with a ball you hear a child talk about muscles and once finished he invites you to touch the star button to hear a song. The song starts and it’s a bouncy get moving song. All the images on the growth chart do this.
LeapReader Human Body Growth chart
To recap:
  • Explore how the human body works with a two-sided interactive chart and game board.
  • Learn facts about the human body, body systems and nutrition and reinforce the learning through 40+ activities!
  • The Tag System helps children develop and strengthen critical reading skills
  • The Learn through Reading series is designed to help them apply those skills to explore topics like science, geography, writing and more.
  • Parents can connect to the online LeapFrog® Learning Path for customised learning insights and ideas to expand the learning.


I think the twins have only scratched the surface of this game so far and they enjoyed the stickers and growth chart too. I think it will become invaluable over the next two years when they start to read and learn more as they will be able to refer to it over and over and rediscover new and old information. This is a game to put away and get out at regular intervals so they are constantly discovering something new.

The Learn to Read System library features over 80 interactive books, puzzles, maps, and more. Parents can connect to the online LeapFrog Learning Path to see what their child is playing and learning. Appropriate for children aged 4 to 8 years. Works with LeapReader and Tag Reading Systems.

LeapFrog Blogger Panel

Disclosure: As part of the LeapFrog Blogger panel we are sent products to review and give our honest opinion on them.


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.