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Book review: Pyrate’s Boy

Pyrate’s Boy

Author: E. B. Colin

Price: £5.99

Publisher: Kelpies

ISBN: 9781782500131


KRB rating: 7/10

Recommended age: 8-11

Reviewer: Krissie


Silas Orr is a pyrate’s boy. Leaving his Scottish town at a young age to seek his fortune in Jamaica, he is unexpectedly called back, shipwrecked and rescued by a crew of pirates whose skipper, Black Johnnie, offers him a position on his boat. And all goes swimmingly until the day he spots a boy floating in the water, tethered to a chain and an interesting-looking lead box.

Thus begins this swashbuckling adventure, which owes much to Treasure Island and many others, but still offers a story of interesting characters, darkest villains and a rattling good pace that keeps the surprises coming thick and fast. Silas is an endearing young hero, who never forgets the sister he left behind or those that have helped him on his way, while Black Johnnie is as good a role model as a pirate could be.

The story stretches from Scotland, to Jamaica, and back again via the east coast of America and a treacherous journey across the Atlantic – and treachery is the name of the game, keeping the reader constantly guessing whether characters are what they seem. But E. B. Colin’s book follows the classic mould, and everyone gets their just desserts. Pyrate’s Boy may not be breaking any new ground, but its plot, pace and characters make this story live and brings new impetus to an old genre.


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Book review: Into That Forest

Into That Forest

Author: Louis Nowra

Price: £6.99

Publisher: Egmont

ISBN: 978-1405267175


KRB rating: 7/10

Recommended age: 12+

Reviewer: Aimee Paige


 “The more I looked in its eyes, the more I seen kindness , and I knew it were saying to us, come , I’ll take you home…” 


This is the story of two friends, Hannah and Becky, who end up lost in a forest and are taken in by two tigers who look after them. Soon they begin to act, eat and communicate like the tigers, and forget all about their old lives.  But then after four years they are found, and they couldn’t be more angry and upset. They now face the hardest challenge yet: becoming human again. 


I enjoyed reading this book as it’s like nothing I have read before. I think others who enjoy books about, nature, survival, friendship and trust or are just looking for something new to read will also like it. However, I also think some people may be a bit annoyed at some parts of the novel as it is told by Hannah, whose speech is not great as she had to  learn to speak again, although I think this did add a more of an atmosphere to the book as it makes it more believable.Ii wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone under 12 as they may become slightly scared or disturbed as throughout the book  the little girls believe they are animals and act like tigers ( it is described in quite a lot of detail) so this may become frightening for them. This book also tells you to never give up hope, never stop loving one another and never lose faith . 


Overall I enjoyed this book and believe others will too! 🙂 So go and join two girls, two tigers and go Into That Forest…



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Book review: Osbert the Avenger

Osbert the Avenger

Author: Christopher William Hill

Price: £5.99

Publisher: Orchard Books

ISBN: 9781408314555


KRB rating: 9 ½/10

Recommended age: 9-12

Reviewer: Krissie


Thank goodness for writers like Christopher William Hill. Just when you think you can’t read one more book about fairies or falling in love, along comes a story that is so beautifully sinister, so deliciously malevolent and so chock-full of squirmingly evil baddies that you can’t move without falling over another one.


Osbert Brinkhoff has the misfortune to be born into the exceptionally peculiar town of Schwartzgarten and to be unusually bright, both facts that lead him to apply to The Institute, a super-selective school about which tales are whispered of the extreme brutality of the teachers. But when you consider that Oscar’s Nanny has an unusual hobby of seeing off her lovers before they can do the same to her, and that Oscar himself has a particular affinity with butchers, you know that this is going to be anything but a run-of-the-mill school story. This is a tale of music, of fabulous eating (I was starving when I had finished reading it), of skulduggery, but mostly of murder, where nobody is blameless and everyone has something to hide. Even the best characters  – especially the best characters – have ‘something of the night’ about them.


Dark, twisted, laugh-out-loud funny and endlessly inventive, Hill’s tale is a breath of fresh air and hugely recommended – I devoured it in a single day. Just one complaint: why do the publishers feel it necessary to compare Hill to Roald Dahl and Lemony Snicket on the covers? A very odd practice and totally unnecessary: Hill has the talent to stand on his own. I, for one, can’t wait for the next Schwartzgarten book.


By the same author: The Woebegone Twins (out October 2013)


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Book review: Fortunately… the Milk

Just for a change, and as Bloomsbury asked so nicely, here’s a link to my video review of Neil Gaiman’s new children’s book, Fortunately… the Milk.

Right click to open link!


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Fortunately… the film

Today sees the launch of Neil Gaiman’s amazing new book for children, Fortunately… the Milk. And to mark the occasion, Bloomsbury have commissioned a number of short films reviewing the book. To see kidsreadbooks‘ contribution, follow @kidsbloomsbury on Twitter, where it will be launched at 2pm today, or come back to kidsreadbooks later today. Enjoy!

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Andy Robb competition winner!

I know, I know, it’s been a long while since I posted this competition, so apologies for keeping you waiting while I took a summer break. So, better late than never, the winner of Andy Robb’s new book, Geekhood: Mission Improbable is…….

Justin Hall!

Justin, the book will be in the post to you today, I hope you enjoy it.

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Geekhood Competition!!!!!

I have been very lucky this week to interview the lovely Andy Robb, author of the two Geekhood books, and he has kindly signed one copy of Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind to give away!

If you would like to win, simply answer this question:

Which spooky film did Andy appear in (in his other life as an actor) with Daniel Radcliffe?

HINT: If you don’t know, visit Andy’s blog at

Answers to me at no later than Friday 26th July.

Coming up on the blog next week (in two parts – he had lots to say!) – my interview with Andy Robb! And if you thought Archie in Geekhood has some embarrassing teenage moments, you are going to love reading this…

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Coming next week…

…a face-to-face interview with Andy Robb, author of the two Geekhood books! Do you have any questions you would like to ask him? Let me know, and I’ll see what I can do.

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Book review: The Victory Dogs

The Victory Dogs

Author: Megan Rix

Publisher: Puffin Books

Price: £5.99

ISBN: 9780141342733


KRB rating: 8/10

Recommended age: 9-12

Reviewer: Krissie


My daughter’s Year 4 Evacuation Day prompted me to read The Victory Dogs, the second book from Megan Rix on the heroism of animals during the Second World War. As already proven with The Great Escape, Rix can tell a good story, and is most proficient in teaching children about the war without ever being preachy.

The Victory Dogs focuses on two puppies born in the London Underground during the Blitz, whose life story comes to stand for both the quiet heroism of search-and-rescue dogs at the time, and the daily loss of life on every level. When the first bombs hit London, Misty runs away looking for a place to give birth to her pups, and ends up in a disused area of the London underground where she befriends a one-eared cat. But Misty is injured, and her pups need protection.

In the meantime, Misty’s owner Amy, while searching for her dog, joins a group of people who are training their pets to help with search-and-rescue missions, for both animals and people, a tribute to the War Dog School that operated during both wars, and to the animals that were awarded Dickin medals for bravery.

However, the real strength of the story for me lies in the portrayal of Daniel, a soldier demobbed suffering from shell-shock, who managed to fall through the system until he finds Howl, just another waif and stray who, nonetheless, shows him the way back.

A beautiful, though very moving and occasionally harrowing, story.


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Annabel Pitcher has won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2013 with her second novel, Ketchup Clouds.

Pitcher was also nominated for last year’s award for her debut book, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece.

Ketchup Clouds is the story of a teenage girl who reveals a terrible secret through a series of letters written to a murderer on death row.

Pitcher was the winner of the teenage category in addition to her overall prize, with RJ Palacio’s Wonder named winner of the 5-12s category, and Rebecca Cobb winning the picture book category for her story Lunchtime.

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