Book Reviews

We have been very busy lately editing children’s picture books and chapter books. One of the joys of being an editor, is getting to see lots of incredible stories and also sharing them with my children. There is no better feeling than seeing my own children enjoying the books I have worked on and know how hard the authors and illustrators have worked.

When I had a rare day off this week, I filled it with wonderful books (I know, I know, I can’t get enough!). My two-year-old daughter June and I were lucky enough to read lots of books together from self-published authors and illustrators who I have worked with.

The Perfect Potion

Written by Cheryl Davies and illustrated by Jenny Yevheniia Lisovaya

When I received the first draft of this story I thought how wonderful it was. Cheryl Davies, author of The Fairy who Sings, has a very unique voice. She writes in a way which takes children on a journey and lets them into the lives of characters who are trying to be something they’re not. The stories enable children to feel for the character, to really care and to learn with them. The take-away message is always a positive one which helps to inspire children to find the ‘Magic Within’ themselves.

This story, tells the story of two witch sisters. Luna, absolutely adores her older sister Astrid. She watches her creating incredible potions and being very successful. Desperate to be like her sister and to get her attention, Luna tries creating potions herself. She dreams of impressing her and reminding Astrid of the fun they used to have together… will she be able to create the Perfect Potion?

When you look at the cover, you can tell straight away that this is going to be a colourful read! The illustrations are bright, they make this story feel very magical and special. The story is written in rhyme, the potions Luna tries are amusing… so even though this story has an important message – to be yourself, that perfect people aren’t actually perfect and they need to try very hard – it has a lovely light-hearted feel to it.

I read this with my son who is 9 to help him understand that you don’t need to try to impress people and just being yourself is what matters. He couldn’t believe that the boys in his class who are better at football than him have to put in a lot of hours and dedication to it. This story has helped him to see that.

When reading it with my two-year-old she loved looking at the pictures and recognising the emotion on the characters’ faces, she seemed to really empathise with them and said ‘oh no, sad!’ when she saw little Luna wiping away a tear.

I love reading this with my children and feel very proud to have worked on it. I’m looking forward to seeing what other special stories Cheryl will create next.

Available here

Spike

Written by sisters Sarah and Carmen and illustrated by Zuzana Svobodova.

I have worked with this illustrator before on various editing projects and I always adore her work – whether it’s a story she has written, a blog she’s created or a book she has illustrated, it’s always a joy. When I received this book to read with my daughter, I couldn’t wait to share it with her.

I was drawn to this book because the cover stands out and also because I love penguins – who doesn’t? As a teen, I used to collect everything penguin-related and, whilst my friends’ walls were covered in Spice Girl posters, my walls were plastered with penguins!

I showed this to my little girl who wanted to read it right away and was eager to see what pictures were inside. Well… inside is a delight – a beautiful story, incredible illustrations and a very important, but subtly-told, message.

Spike is a very cute, very fluffy baby penguin. He was born different – with colourful hair. Whilst everyone else thinks his hair is incredible, Spike doesn’t like that it makes him stand out. He tries various different ways to ‘blend in’, but it’s not as easy as he thinks. As Spike’s story concludes, there’s an important message for the reader to take away with them.

This is such a sweet story. I love the gentle humour in this book. The illustrations bring out the emotion too – we get to see Spike looking hopeful, fed up, miserable… it really tugs on the heartstrings!

At the end is a quiz which is a great added-extra too.

I think this book is perfect for the age group. It has everything a young child needs; an engaging story, emotion, subtle humour, a positive message and beautiful illustrations which bring the story to life. But, best of all it has a very cute, lovable baby penguin as the main character! I’m really looking forward to sharing more books from these authors again.

You can buy it here.

The Rainbow Blots
Written by Carlie Wright, illustrated by Victoria Mikki

I was editor for this story and was on board from the very beginning when it was in draft stage right through to the proofreading stage at the end. When I began editing it, my little girl was a tiny baby. I kept thinking how much she would enjoy the story once she was older… now she is two and this book has just been published, I couldn’t wait to share it with her.

The Rainbow Blots is a very different way of helping children to learn the colours of the rainbow. We are introduced to Mummy Rainbow and her seven baby Blots. These Blots are all representative of each colour of the rainbow and we are taken on an adventure as we see the various items that the Blots interact with. Indigo Blot loves indigo jeans! Red Blot loves red cherries…

When reading this, my little girl was not only learning her colours, but also learning new words – fire engine, whale, sunflowers…

The book also goes back through the colours at the end, prompting the reader to remember what they were.

The illustrations for this story are so colourful that it’s impossible not to be drawn towards this book. My little girl loves it, since we received it a few weeks ago, this has been her favourite go-to book before bed each evening. When we read it this afternoon she tried sounding out some words and attempting her colours. It’s brilliant how it’s really helping her to read.

It is an incredible feeling to have worked on a book from its infancy and then seeing my daughter devouring it every evening!

Find out more about Carlie and her Rainbow Blots here

Rambee Boo’s Lake Vacation

Written by Reena Korde Pagnoni and illustrated by Frances Rose Espanol.

Do you like dogs with character? Do you like fun, engaging stories? Then the Rambee Boo books are just for you! When Reena first contacted me to ask me to be onboard as her editor for her book series, I was instantly excited because I could see so much potential within this cheeky dog. Sometimes when you read a manuscript, it talks to you, you just know that it will be loved… and now, well, seeing my daughter choose Rambee from her bookshelf regularly, I can see that feeling was right.

Rambee Boo is a dog who has adventures with a little boy called Rock and his favourite sock who he takes everywhere with him. In Rambee Boo’s Lake Vacation, the family go on holiday to the lake. Rambee is excited and gets involved in everything they do – fishing, hiking, toasting marshmallows… but as each day passes, he keeps leaving Sock behind! Will he remember to pack him when it’s time to leave??

What is fantastic about Rambee books is that they have a similar structure so children know what to expect from them – there will be a theme (like the holiday in this book, preparing for Christmas in another…) and then a countdown with each spread leading to the event – the end of the holiday, Christmas Day etc and each day brings an adventure where they are on a mission.

The story is written in a bouncy rhyme which my children love. We laugh together at the silly things that Rambee does and we enjoy finding out what will happen next. The illustrations are great and have little details which we like to look at – spotting where Sock has been left, finding a bone in the suitcase. I really like that the text to this story is on a white background and doesn’t have any of the illustrations behind it so that it is easy to read and very clear.

I highly recommend this story, it’s engaging, fun and well-structured with clever rhyme and great humour.

Available here

2 thoughts on “Book Reviews”

  1. Hello!

    I’m a new author looking for an editor. My book is an early chapter book for grades 2-5. It’s 5000 words. It’s a comical story about a little boy overcoming test anxiety.

    Like

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