Tuesday, 23 January 2018

National Trust: Up and Down, A Walk in the Countryside by Rosalind Beardshaw (Children's, Picture book, Board book,

 September 2017, Nosy Crow, 28 pages, Board Book, Hardback, Review copy

Summary from Nosy Crow 
The fourth in a series of concept books created for the National Trust, this board book takes very young readers on a winter walk through the countryside, going up and down, left and right, from cold to warm and light to dark. With beautiful illustrations from Ros Beardshaw, this elegant little book is a great way of bringing children closer to nature.

Nayu's thoughts 
I saw the cover of this book and instantly wanted to review it - I love the style of illustration, the children are even cuter inside when the hood is shown from a different angle she is extra adorable! Every single page made me feel warm and fuzzy with the sheer joy the children have exploring the world around them. I love how each page has just one word, with the opposite word on the other page, because the illustrations speak volumes for the concept. 

Whoever reads the book to another reader can easily elaborate more on the story to make it more fun, asking questions about what the children do as they play happily in what could be one single day. As a National Trust book I think it does a brilliant job of enticing readers to check out the countryside, while teaching them how they should be behave outside: there's a short poem which I think may be anonymous, but one I saw and remembered as a child along the lines of 

'Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, verb nothing but time.'

 I don't remember the exact words, indicated with the italic word, but it's a good motto to go by. Flowers, even wild ones, shouldn't be picked because whole ecosystems rely on them. Pictures don't harm nature (obviously stay safe while you take them), all litter should be taken home so it can't harm anything, and whatever that word is time is all that should pass/be done on your visit. Through using so few words this book echoes that sentiment.

Suggested read 
A book which is full of more words and facts but equally as fun for older readers is from a series that I highly recommend: A Kiwi Year and A Canadian Year by Tania McCarney and Tina Snerling (Children's, Non-fiction, 10E/10E)

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Beware the Mighty Bitey by Heather Pindar and Susan Batori (Children's, Picture book, 10E/10E)

 November 2017, Maverick Books, 32 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Summary from Maverick Books 
Deep in the jungle, in the still waters of the Nippy Pool, listening, lurking, waiting, live the Mighty Bitey Piranhas! Mouse, Goat and Bear play some music for them but the Mighty Bitey have other, more scrumptious things on their mind!

Nayu's thoughts
I accepted this book for review without seeing the cover - the synopsis on it's own had me smiling away and intrigued! I find piranhas cute just as I do crocodiles, they tend to be used in picture books with humour so my imagination was running wild. The story is awesome! 

The piranhas are as hilarious as I'd hoped, their expressions and thoughts as they tempt animals to go on their falling apart bridge was clear to see and funny, with lots of great words and different fonts used to bring the story even more to life than it already is. Their hungry nature is depicted perfectly, with a surprise end that I didn't see coming, which is always a pleasant surprise in picture books. I'm not sure how much the Mighty Bities would want their tale publicised, but I certainly want everyone to read it! 

You can see more of Susan's artwork on her website - she has a cat which is always a plus in my view!
Suggested read
The other Maverick title I got alongside this book is the fun Bonkers About Beetroot by Cath Jones and Chris Jevons (Children's, Picture book, 10E/10E)

Friday, 19 January 2018

National Trust: The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes Unicorns and Rainbows by Rebecca Jones (Activity book, Non-Fiction, 10E/10E)

September 2017, Nosy Crow, 74 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Summary from Nosy Crow
Get creative with this super-cute colouring book, the newest title in the bestselling Colouring Cards and Envelopes series. The twenty-four gorgeous designs include magical unicorns, adorable kittens, charming rainbows and more, and are perfect for all ages to decorate and send to family and friends. Pick up your pencils and experiment with your colour palette or try different materials to make each card truly unique! With enough blank space inside for a message, envelopes to customise and cute stickers to seal your card, each book is the complete creative package!

Nayu's thoughts
I tend to say yes to any colouring book that is pink and cute, and as you can see this book meets all the criteria! While it says it's for 2 years and up, I didn't put Children as a keyword for this review because it is for all ages, and some of the colouring is quite intricate. Taking time to colour in a cute card is really relaxing, and while I haven't yet created an envelope, I can show you what I did: 
The very back says 'hand made by' with cute clouds but I hid it because I'd written my name on, and despite my DS stylus covering it up it was easier just not to include in.
It is really easy to take out each card without tearing the other cards from the page, something which can be an issue for these type of books. The cards are sturdy, can probably be coloured in with any material you like (including glitter glue! I don't have any but I think it would add pizzazz to an already great activity book), I happened to use a mix of coloured pencils and felt tip pens because of the effects I wanted to achieve, both apply and dry fully on the card.
Unfinished but super pretty inside! Considering I almost always add stickers and little drawings to my cards, this is perfect for me.
The highly detailed designs make it a project you can easily dip in and out of if you want (I had to as I can't do much colouring at a time due to weak hands), and it's something that can be shared with family and friends (with perhaps friendly rivalry about whose card is prettiest - the answer is all of them!). I love the range of designs using animals and objects that I like, which isn't always in the shop when I need a card for my friends. At the front of the book there are clear, easy to follow instructions on how to tackle each card which is a nice touch, something not always in an activity book. And a few cute stickers at the back.  What colour will you use for your unicorn?

You can see more of Rebecca's work on her website, and find out more about the National Trust on it's website

Suggested read 
Another fun unicorn activity book I've had fun with recently that makes items to put into a mobile or simply decroate your home  is Press Out and Decorate Unicorns by Kate McLelland (Non-fiction, Activity book, 10E/10E)

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Nayu's News #239 Life is a bit chaotic

Felt like you'd all appreciate an upbeat creative picture!
Lately I've mostly been gaming (especially on Pokemon!!!! Got my first pokemon eggs, have started an orchard, got 1 gym badge and progressing towards the next in Pokemon Y) rather than reading due to my body hating the weather. I'd hoped to have set up a few blog posts this week for the following days, but that didn't happen as my body is on strike. I'm having my mega strong meds again tonight, so will be in Lala land until late next week. I promise to have posts up after that! 
Love Bulbasaur, Pikachu, Charmander and Squirtle! Got the 1st two in my Pokemon games!
I'm not telling!
A secret project I've mentioned previously is still happening, I still can't reveal anything until it's ready (hopefully mid February), but it is taking up my time and energy at the moment. I'll let you know when it is ready! 
Keep smiling!

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Weather in 30 Seconds by Dr Jen Green, Tom Woolley (Non-fiction, Children's, 9/10E)

October 2015, Ivy Press, 96 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Summary from Ivy Press
 This book takes readers on a whirlwind tour of our planets weather and climate. 30 key topics explore and explain the how and why of our global weather and its effects, from atmospheric influences, the seasons, and climate zones to extreme events, forecasting, and global warming. Each topic is presented in a neat 30-second soundbite, supported by a 3-second flash summary and a full-page colourful artwork. Fun active missions support the topics and encourage kids to find out more.

Nayu's thoughts 
I love learning about weather because it's a fascinating subject as seen in this book which is a little unique. I love how it presents facts in both 30 seconds and 3 seconds to readers, although actual times will vary on the reading speed. The main point is the facts are concise and can explain the gist of various weather types and issues. On one page is the bulk of the text, laid out the same with a 3 second summary and 30 second paragraphs, followed by illustrations adding extra facts. This made it easier to read because I knew what the layout would be for every page. The experiments to understand a lot of the weather issues sounded exciting! I haven't tried any yet.

I'm positive that I never learnt what a biome is at school, making this an invaluable reference for readers of all ages. The one thing which for me made the book just less than perfect is the fact that the contrasting colours used for illustrations were quite dark and dull-a low contrast makes it harder to read if you have even mild visual difficulties (I do), which reduced my enjoyment a little because I had to spend a bit more time on the illustrations than the black on white text pages. Apart from that this is a fantastic resource for anyone seeking knowedge about the world we live in. I'll leave you with images from the book about my favourite weather topic: clouds and snow! 

Please excuse the picture quality - I like the different types of clouds!
Who doesn't like a pretty snowflake?

Suggested read 

Friday, 5 January 2018

Over on Nayu's Crochet Dreams #38

Holo from Spice and Wolf anime is full of mischief - there is a catch to the post link!
Head over to Nayu's Crochet Dreams to find out what I'm busy with over the next couple of days! (Generic link because I can't yet get a link for a post that's not out until the future)

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Poop by A J Cosmo (Children's, 9 years +, 8/10E)

September 2016, Thought Bubble Publishing, 122 pages, Ebook, Review copy 

Book summary
Cosmo. Liam Anderson-Jones is a fourth-grader who's a transferee to a new school. Elmwood is not in as good a neighborhood as his last school, but his mom is insistent that their relocation is just a temporary thing. Liam is not so sure about that. What he is sure about is that food and he just doesn't get along -- and in the worst, most embarrassing ways. His stomach gives him no warning when it's about to erupt, and he's destroyed untold bathrooms. On his first day at Elmwood, his stomach went crazy while he was introducing himself to Mr. Almond's class. He tried to hold it off as long as possible but soon ended up dashing madly to the nearest bathroom. Liam didn't realize until he heard a girl's devastatingly loud shriek that it was the girls' bathroom, and her exclamation about the pungency of his bowel movements made for laughs throughout the school. One girl in class, Madeleine, seemed to be befriending him, though he didn't really understand why, and Mr. Almond also appeared to be somewhat approachable. But life for Liam is anything but easy, and he just can't figure out the why of it.

Nayu's thoughts
A few of you may have accidentally seen an empty post with this title on 31st December - I'd hoped to have written the review by then, the post was a space filler until the review was written. So here it is! I'm quite sure you're curious about the story - the story partially didn't get full marks is because I think with a different title even more people would be inclined to read it: I admit before I knew the synopsis if it hadn't been a review request I probably wouldn't have glanced at it because of the title. Also there was a part at the end involving his family which was a bit too idealistic and removed me a little from being caught up in the story.
That thought aside this was a brilliant read, exploring just how bathroom issues can impact someone, especially if they are at school. Almost everyone has an incident once in their life relating to needing the loo, making this a book for everyone. I felt sorry for Liam because he got teased for his issues, but thankfully he was able to make a friend who wasn't Poop who still wanted to get to know him and from time to time stood up for him. Stress does funny things to people, and can play havoc with our bodies, as Liam discovers. 

Liam has a few major issues in his life, aside from an unidentifiable health issue, and Poop appears during the journey to finding out the truth and learning how to cope with life (on top of starting a new school with an embarrassing incident). Poop is an unwanted character, but one Liam really needs in his life despite not wanting Poop around. There were moments where I wished Liam could be a bit braver, and I cheered for him at the end when he discovered his true friend. I liked how much Liam's mother worked hard to find the cause of the issue, not stopping until it got resolved, even though that journey was far from pleasant for the both of them.

Find out more on A J's website.

Suggested read
If you like books where characters deal with some big life issues then check out the Young Adult read Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella (Young Adult, 10/10E, short 'n' sweet review)