How the grinch stole Christmas – Dr Seuss — December 4, 2018

How the grinch stole Christmas – Dr Seuss

Synopsis – The Grinch hates Christmas, and this year he has had enough. He’s decided that he’s going to out a stop to Christmas. How will the residents of whoville respond?

My thoughts – I enjoyed this book, however, it was quite different from the film, which was a little disappointing, but not completely unexpected. The language used was fairly simple, making it a great accessible Christmas read. I really like the illustrations in the book, they are so simple and the splash of red on each illustration adds emphasis to certain aspects of the illustrations. The illustrations were really engaging and helped to tell the story.

Classroom ideas – You could do a range of Christmas activities such as making cards or decorations. You could discuss what is really important and what Christmas is all about. You could look at the character of the grinch and ask the children why he might hate Christmas – you could talk about loneliness.

That’s not my hat – John Klassen — November 6, 2018

That’s not my hat – John Klassen

Amazon synopsis – From the creator of the bestselling I Want My Hat Back and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole comes the story of a tiny fish who proudly wears a blue hat. It fits him perfectly. Problem is, trouble could be following close behind… So it’s a good thing that the enormous fish he took it from won’t wake up. And even if he does, it’s not as though he’ll ever know what happened, right? With so many emotions conveyed in just the glint of an eye, visual humour swims to the fore in this thrillingly original, perfectly-paced cautionary tale.

My thoughts- I enjoyed this book. There was very few words, which meant that the illustrations did most of the ‘talking’. The book was quite short meaning it is accessible for a larger group of children. The language used is quite basic which means that it is accessible for a large group of pupils.

Classroom ideas – you could look at ethics, the book mentions stealing which you could have a debate about and consider if it is ever morally right to steal. You could also do drama from the different characters point of view. You never find out how the big fish got his hat back, so the children could write a couple of pages for the book to show what happened.

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2 | Book Review — October 24, 2018

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2 | Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis – Good might stories for rebel girls 2 is a children’s book packed with 100 bedtime stories about the life of 100 extraordinary women from the past and the present, Ilustrated by 60 female artists from all over the world. This book inspires girls with the stories of great women.

My thoughts – It’s amazing to see how many incredible women there are out there making the world better one step at a time. They are going above and beyond to make the world better for other women.

Whilst it’s interesting to read this, the information is very quick fire and doesn’t give much detail about the women and their achievements. It’s a very basic overview of them. Which is perfect for young children, but makes this book less engaging for older children.

I love the illustrations and the quotes each women has after there information, it helps keep young readers engaged, and it gives more of an insight into the women they are reading about.

Classroom ideas – I think this book would be good to show girls how powerful women can be and show them that they can be anything they want to be. It may also have some use to support a unit on stereotypes. It could be useful to share at the start of a topic about one of these women as a short introduction into the woman. It could also be used as an example of how you may want their work to be presented as you could do a similar style entry for someone you are focusing a unit of work on, such as Queen Victoria.

Florence & Leon – Simon Boulerice — May 29, 2018

Florence & Leon – Simon Boulerice

Goodreads synopsis – Florence and Leon have never met. Florence is a swimming instructor. She has a small problem with her lungs: it’s as if she’s breathing through a straw. Leon is an insurance salesman. He has a small problem with his eyes: it’s as if he’s seeing the world through a straw. One day Florence and Leon bump into each other, literally, and this mishap turns their lives upside down. Over slushy drinks with proper straws, Florence and Leon find out how their differences make them alike.

My thoughts – I love the illustrations in this book, they give a really calm feel to the book, and suit the story perfectly. It’s a really short faced paced, child-friendly romance book. I’d love to read the book with the French and English version together, it would be perfect for the classroom. It’s a very uncommon story for a picture book, as most focus on friendships and children rather than adults.

Classroom uses – I can’t really see many uses for this book in the classroom, other than to promote reading for pleasure. You could discuss disabilities, especially breathing and sight difficulties as they are mentioned in the book.

Ada Lovelace — April 19, 2018

Ada Lovelace

*Netgalley Synopsis – ‘Discover the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.

Meet Ada Lovelace, the British mathematician and daughter of poet Lord Byron. From her early love of logic, to her plans for the world’s first computer program, learn about Ada’s life in this mini biography for readers as young as four years. This inspiring story of her life features a facts and photos section at the back.’

Image result for ada lovelace book

My thoughts – I liked the idea of the book, and I have seen other books in the series and I was interested to see what the book would be like. I think the book was a little too short for my liking. There wasn’t much information on the page, I’d of liked a bit more information about Ada Lovelace. I liked the illustrations, some parts were quite child-like and I think that will really appeal to younger readers.

Classroom ideas –You could use this as a hook for a computing session about coding, as it links quite nicely. You could also link it to history, as it is about the invention of coding and discusses calculators.

Charlie and the chocolate factory – Roald Dahl — April 8, 2018

Charlie and the chocolate factory – Roald Dahl

Synopsis- Charlie really wants to win a golden ticket in one of Wonka’s bars of chocolate, will he win one and get to take a tour of Wonka’s chocolate factory?

My thoughts- I really enjoyed this book and it brought back lots of childhood memories. The illustrations broke up the book and may make it less intimidating for some children to read. The book has really good descriptions and help you to imagine how Dahl imagined up the chocolate factory and the different characters.

Classroom ideas – There are lots of ideas for this book that can be done with a class. One idea is to look at similes with children (‘as shrivelled as prunes’19) children could find the similes in the book and then come up with their own similes for characters in the book.
Children could write a newspaper article about the golden tickets or write a diary entry as Charlie when he wins his golden ticket.
Children could invent their own chocolate bar and create an advert to advertise their creation.
You could group children and get them to act out different scenes from the book, which would help them to understand the characters better. Another activity you could do to help children to understand the characters better is to do a role on the wall activity about the different characters in the book. You could have a different character on each table and children could have 5 minutes on each table to add as much information to the sheet as they can.
The children could design how they think the factory would look or write their own description about the factory after watching a clip from the film.

Oh the places you’ll go! – Dr Seuss — March 13, 2018

Oh the places you’ll go! – Dr Seuss


Synopsis – A book of hopes and dreams. Where will life take you?

My thoughts – I really liked the illustrations in this book, they range from bright, to pastel and even black and white, each page having matching illustrations that you can take lots from and really help to bring the story alive. The book uses lots of rhyming, meaning that it has a really nice flow and rhythm when you are reading it. The book uses some slang, but overall uses standard English which makes it accessible for all ages.

Classroom ideas – You could discuss what the pupils want to be in the future and what their dreams and aspirations are. You could enhance this by inviting in guests to discuss their hopes and dreams and how they achieved them, you could ask parents to come in and discuss their work. You could do some drama with pupils acting out their favourite pages from the book, or you could split the children into groups and have them act out a few scenes and perform it during an assembly.

You could look at the theme from the book of resilience, and that even thought life is a rollercoaster, what happens is mostly up to us. You could also discuss mistakes, and that making mistakes is how we learn best.

Aliens/pirates/dinosaurs love underpants – Claire Freedman — March 8, 2018

Aliens/pirates/dinosaurs love underpants – Claire Freedman


Synopsis – These books give children ideas about why their underpants go missing, each with a different main characters.

My thoughts – I enjoyed reading these quick books. The illustrations are bright and colourful and will help children to follow the story. The plot is really easy to follow and the book uses fairly simple language which makes the books accessible for children.

Classroom ideas – The children could research the groups int he books e..g pirates or dinosaurs and create a class mind map or something similar. Each book lends itself to its own activities, for example, in the pirates book, the children could create a treasure map. The children could role play different scenes from the book to help them to understand the book better. There’s lots of rhymes in the book – you could use this book to support children in developing their knowledge of rhyming words. You could set up small world areas for each of the books to allow the children to explore the settings in the book.

All the wonderful things you’ll be – Emily Martin — February 25, 2018

All the wonderful things you’ll be – Emily Martin


Synopsis – A short story of a parent wondering what their child will be when they grow up.

My thoughts – This was a really short book with pastel illustrations. They are all light, and calm illustrations of a parents imagination. There isn’t really much of a plot to the story, but it is a really cute story and something i can imagine all parents can relate to. I liked the writing style, and how it all fit together really well, and the language used is quite simple, making it accessible for all ability groups.

Classroom ideas – You could use this to ask children what they want to be when they grow up. You could also ask parents what they want their child to be when they grow up. You could invite guests in relating to jobs pupils might want to do when they grow up, which may inspire pupils and encourage them to find out more about their potential future jobs. You could set up role play and small world areas for pupils to explore different jobs in a risk-free environment.

Rosie the tarantula – Katie McNamara — February 21, 2018

Rosie the tarantula – Katie McNamara


Synopsis – Rosie is being kept at the Chicago Field Museum, and she’s decided she wants to explore the museum.

My thoughts – The illustrations are very unique, they are quite pale and soft colours used. They are quite interesting illustrations, but they aren’t my taste, although I know many will love them. I found the plot a little boring, I wasn’t gripped, wanting to find out what would happen next. It felt a little like i was reading it for the sake of finishing it.

Classroom ideas – This could be used to introduce a topic about animals, especially spiders/tarantulas. You could do a range of activities relating to the animals mentioned within the book. You could look at the illustrations, and try to recreate some of them, or the pupils could create their own images in the style of those from the book. They could also write a caption or short section of the book to go with the illustration.