What should I read next?🤔 A blog full of simple, straight-forward Book Reviews and Recommended Reads for fellow teachers who love reading and books as much as I do and may like some reading inspiration!
Synopsis: An astonishing and funny novel about a girl who – by disappearing- will write herself into your heart for ever… Twelve-year-old Ethel only meant to cure her spots, not turn herself invisible. It’s terrifying at first – and exciting – but the effect fails to wear off and Ethel is thrown into a heart-stopping adventure as she struggles to conceal her invisibility while uncovering the biggest secret of all: who she really is.
“Is that me? Am I a living ghost? … Can I live my life, my wholelife, like this?”
Ethel – What not to do if you turn Invisible
My review: Another wonderful, enticing tale from Ross Welford with his usual slight strange magical twist! The characters are relatable as always. I absolutely love Boydy, Ethel’s unlikely friend who’s mouth can run away with him. However, despite Ethel misjudging his loud behaviour initially, he helps her get out of many sticky situations and supports her in many ways she will never forget. Ethel is a relatable 12-year-old who hates her spots and will do anything to get rid of them. Including taking a free sunbed and trying a strange remedy from China from the internet. And the results? Well they turn her invisible. Her story will make you realise that it is most certainly not all that it’s cracked up to be! Boydy and Ethel get up to mischief and it is enjoyable to read, whilst Ethel discovers more about her mysterious past which I will not spoil! I think The 1,000-year-old boy is still my favourite out of the 4 I have read, but I was still desperate to find out how these events unfolded and couldn’t wait to finish – the sign of another wonderful book! Great to discuss themes of friendship, growing up and the importance of being yourself with UKS2. Enjoy!
Synopsis: 1944, and London is under attack. The umbrella shop that young mouse Pip Hanway has called home all her life is destroyed by a bomb, forcing her to begin a perilous quest to find a new home. But the only way to get there is by joining Noah’s Ark, a secret gang of animals fighting with the resistance in France, operating beneath the feet of human soldiers. Danger is everywhere and as the enemy closes in, Pip must risk everything to save her new friends.
“Never underestimate luck, guts and guile…When the worst happens you must use every last drop of them to survive.”
Madame Fourcade – The Umbrella Mouse
My Review: I really enjoyed reading Pip’s adventure! She is courageous, filled with hope and is brave, especially for a young ‘mouse kitten’ as she is constantly reminded! Set in 1944, poor Pip’s home (her antique umbrella and the shop that it is in) and her beautiful family is destroyed at the beginning by a terrible bomb. Feeling alone with nobody to turn to, she soon meets love-able Dickin – a rescue dog who helps Pip start her adventure. I don’t know how her little heart could stand so much danger! She meets a new animal on every turn of her journey trying to get to Italy, where she knows her family originated from there – in an umbrella museum! The dangers of the war soon become apparent and Pip meets Hans, a rat from Germany who has had his fair share of suffering and together they find a secret animal group, Noah’s Ark, who are fighting to help stop the War. I won’t give away what happens but it will pull at your heart strings and make you urge Pip to find her courage again and again. Anna Fargher tells the tale so beautifully and really brings the characters to life with gorgeous illustrations from Sam Usher to add to your imagination. I am looking forward to reading the sequel!
Synopsis: When a little lie leads to a whole heap of trouble… Cole is the odd one out at school: the other kids have the latest gadgets and trainers while his family struggles to make ends meet. Until the day one of his paintings is talent-spotted and sells for thousands of pounds at a posh London gallery. Suddenly, Cole is the toast of an international art world, starring on live TV, rich beyond his wildest dreams, hailed as a boy genius! Being famous is FANTASTIC… but Cole has a guilty secret that if exposed will bring everything crashing down around him… A story of fame and fortune, making mistakes and learning to be true to yourself.
‘All of it matters. The easy, straight track, the climb up the hill, the scary descent; it’s all just a part of your journey’
Dad – The Boy Who Fooled the World
My Review: I literally read this in a day! The little white lies that Cole tells unfolds more and more, creating a sudden web of lies that he finds himself tangled in. He is so desperate to help his parents who are struggling financially, that he forgets himself and morality along the way. Lisa Thompson writes about the real-life situations in this story so delicately, encouraging the reader to empathise so much with Cole’s normal family and reminding us that money is most certainly not everything. Cole’s friend, Mason, reminds us that money doesn’t always make you happy and Cole’s little sister, Mabel, also reminds us that young children can’t keep a secret! A great story that I would recommend to anyone! It would be fab to discuss the themes of truth, lies, family and money with a KS2 class.
Synopsis: Roz is not your average robot. She is a wild robot. She has made her home on a remote, rocky island and adopted a baby gosling called Brightbill. But Roz has been taken away from her home, to a city far away – where she must work like a normal robot. All Roz wants is to find her way back to the island – but escape is not easy…
‘Maybe I am defective…But if so, what a beautiful glitch! I have my own thoughts and feelings.’
Roz – The Wild Robot Escapes
My Review: What a beautifully written sequel, just as touching and heart-warming as the first book! I loved reading more about Roz the robot and her quest to find her son, Brightbill, once again. Peter Brown has introduced new characters with a careful craft, so the reader feels for them just as much as the characters from the previous tale. The illustrations are also so beautiful and effective once again. Following from the last book, Roz is given a new home after being captured from the Island that she called home. She finds herself on a farm, with Mr Shareef and his two young children. Roz becomes very fond of the children and all the animals on the farm. But she knows her heart truly doesn’t belong there. Will she ever find Brightbill and her wild island again? If you loved the first story, you will love this touching adventure and tale of survival just as much!
Synopsis: Has the mighty Gargantis returned? A ferocious storm is raging in Eerie-on-Sea. An ancient artefact filled with a wondrous light has washed up on the beach. And a mysterious hooded stranger has just checked into the Grand Nautilus Hotel. Herbie and Violet know that these events are connected – and that they must act fast to save the town. But their investigation may just lead them to the cold, dark bottom of the sea…
‘A book is like a mirror… We always see ourselves inside’
Erwin – Gargantis
My review: Another wonderful, exciting, magical adventure with Herbie and Violet! Make sure you read Malamander first to appreciate and understand the characters and their history. Gargantis revolves around another one of Eerie-On-Sea’s legendary magical creatures. The eccentric Mrs Fossil finds a strange bottle washed up at sea. But there are many residents of Eerie-On-Sea that claim the wonders of this bottle and who is better to find its rightful owner? But Herbert Lemon of course! A mysterious hooded resident of the hotel is also acting very creepy and I love how, just like in Malamander, the adventure has many twists and turns but in result strengthens the friendship between Herbie and Violet, also unfolding many other secrets of the quirky town of Eerie-On-Sea!
Synopsis: When eleven-year-old Georgie befriends an eccentric scientist, she becomes the test subject for a thrilling new experiment: a virtual-reality 3D version of the future. But then a deadly disease threatens the life of every dog in the country and Georgie’s beloved dog, Mr Mash, gets sick. And that’s only the start of her troubles. Soon, Georgie and Mr Mash must embark on a desperate quest: to save every dog on earth, and maybe even all of humanity… without actually leaving the room.
“So that’s it. We’re trusting her, for now. And mad scientists have to be mad for a reason. Right?”
Georgie – The Dog who saved the World
My Review: I must have read 3/4 of this book in one sitting. I was desperate to find out what happens! I do not want to give too much away, but the events and the setting strangely resonate with the current global situation which I found very eerie!
The adventure that Georgie, and her quirky, hilarious friend, Ramzy, get thrown into when they meet the strange Dr. Pretorius, is much bigger than they anticipated. I absolutely loved the character of Ramzy, he really made the story for me! As a dog lover myself I was eager for Georgie to save the dogs from the deadly disease and really empathised with her love for Mr. Mash! There are so many themes of friendships, family, courage, the importance of the truth or lies in this story. I personally preferred 1,000 year old boy and Time Travelling with a Hamster, perhaps because I felt a better connection with those characters I am not sure. There is so much mystery around Dr. Pretorius! Definitely worth a read! Younger children will definitely enjoy it – especially with the virtual reality aspect of the story!
I have had such a wonderful time reading so many different, fabulous stories and getting to know so many magical, exciting new characters. These books should be shared with KS2 children without a doubt! Here is a list below of all my Book Reviews so far – click on them to see the blog post!
Synopsis: Back when rabbits were small, twitchy, terrified things, warrens were little more than a collection of holes and tunnels. Now… there are entire villages and cities built under the earth, completely out of sight. Podkin is the son of Lopkin, cheiftain of the Munbury warren. He wasn’t a hero back then: he hadn’t slain any giant rabbits, or formed any robber bands…Oh, and he still had both his ears. He was also perhaps the laziest, most spoilt son of a chieftain in the whole Five Realms! But when his warren is attacked by the Gorm – the most terrifying threat to rabbitkind – Podkin has to step up and so a leader is born…
“Besides. They aren’t really gone. They’ll always be with us… They can’t take our memories away, can they?”
Paz – Podkin One-Ear
My review: what a beautifully told story! I love the narration – how the Bard, the old storyteller, is telling the story of the Legend of Podkin to some small inquisitive rabbits! It reminded me just what it is like when a teacher tells a story to children. The tale is of Podkin, a spoilt Cheiftain’s son, who is expected to be the leader of his Warren one day. His older sister Paz does not think he deserves this privilege when all he does is snooze all day and doesn’t want to learn how to be a leader. But everything changes one day when the terrible Gorm come and take over their Warren and the poor scared rabbits, with their baby brother Pook, have to run for their lives and find their way. Are any of their family members still alive? How does Podkin lose his ear? You will have to read this magical tale to find out! It is a wonderful adventure and I love the relationship between the siblings which is so relatable. I really enjoyed reading Podkin’s adventure and his journey to understanding his own courage and strength. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the Five Realms series! You can buy it by clicking here.
If you loved reading Podkin’s adventure, then you will also love:
Synopsis: It doesn’t matter what I try. There’s no cure for being me. Jamie Lee wants to be normal. But his ADHD makes him feel like his brain is full of butterflies. Elin Watts wants to be perfect. If she can be, surely her Dad will come home. When Jamie and Elin’s families join, chaos and order collide. But perhaps they have something in common. Maybe there’s no such thing as normal, or perfect. Maybe being yourself is more than enough.
“It’s lonely being so bad all the time.”
Jamie – The Boy with the Butterfly Mind
My Review: Wow. I started this one day and finished it the next. What a beautiful tale told from the view of two children, Elin and Jamie, who are both so angry at how their lives have panned out and how their families are broken. Their lives are intertwined when Jamie moves in with his Dad, who is Elin’s Mom’s boyfriend. Jamie’s ADHD causes him to quickly lose his temper and concentration and Victoria Williamson narrates his thoughts wonderfully. Without giving the story away, the tale is full of emotional ups and downs and the reader’s heart goes out to Jamie, but also to Elin, as you read two sides of Jamie’s battle with his ADHD. It breaks my heart to think of what it must be like for all those children who are struggling with their emotions internally. A stunning, thought provoking and heart warming story and it would be brilliant to teach children about empathy, bullying and how unique we all are. I know I say this often, but this really is a must read for everyone! ✨
Synopsis: I suppose if you’d asked me before, I’d have said a time machine might look something like a submarine? Or perhaps a space rocket. Instead, I’m looking at a laptop and a tin tub from a garden centre. This is my dad’s time machine. And it’s about to change the world. Well, mine, at any rate. Al Chaudhury has a chance to save his dad’s life – but to do it he must travel back to 1984… This astonishing and original novel will make you laugh, cry and wonder – and wish you could turn back time, to start reading it all over again.
“Don’t dream of a different life Al, love the one you’ve got”
Grandpa Byron – Ross Welford
My Review: Oh my gosh. This story = 🤯 🤯. Completely unpredictable. I was so gutted to not have a full day to completely just throw myself in to the story and finish it in one sitting. The way the characters and relationships are described are just beautiful. The tale is of 12 year-old Al, who is left with a letter on his birthday from his Dad who had passed away years ago. Little does he know the power and knowledge that his Dad held before he died. He is given an impossible task – to try to stop his Dad from dying by time-travelling back to 1984. Will he risk everything and fulfil his Dad’s wishes? What would you do if you had the power to change the past? This adventure is full of emotions and the last few chapters just had my emotions on edge. If you loved Ross Welford’s other novels, you will love this one too. The way the plot is woven with the past and the present is fantastic and it will definitely leave you wondering about the phrase that I always personally live by – everything happens for a reason. I hope you enjoy!