One Springy Day

by Nick Butterworth, paperback £6.99 for 1-6 years-olds (reviewed by Anthony)

We are huge Nick Butterworth fans in our house and this newest addition to the Percy the Park Keeper series does not disappoint. Join Percy and all his animal friends such as Fox, Mole and Badger in this fun Spring story when a game of hide and seek causes a little more trouble than it is perhaps worth for poor Fox! Both my 6-year-old and 2-year-old loved the story and adore the wonderful illustrations that Nick Butterworth is so famous for. The large fold out page towards the end of the book causes great excitement and allows us to discuss the story and characters in more detail.

The Worst Witch series

by Jill Murphy, paperback £6.99 for 5–8-year-olds (reviewed by Anthony)

My 6-year-old son seemed horrified when we started reading the first book in The Worst Witch series and he realised it was a girl’s school, but he was soon gripped with the mayhem that Mildred Hubble causes at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches and we read through the book together at record speed! This wonderful series is a ‘first step’ into the magical world of witches and wizards and a much simpler, age-appropriate Harry Potter style series for 5–8-year-olds. The short chapters make it a perfect bedtime story book and help keep younger readers engaged in the story.

The Last Bear

by Hannah Gold, hardback £12.99 for 7–12-year-olds (reviewed by Octavia)

This book should definitely be enjoyed with a hot chocolate. Another incredible debut children’s novel. The Last Bear truly portrays the devastation of climate change- some of our most beloved animals will soon be no more. This book tells the story of a very brave girl and a lonely lost polar bear. Their friendship and the obstacles they face make for an emotional and everlasting adventure story. This is a must-read for all young eco warriors, animal lovers and their parents too. I loved it!

Circus Maximus Race to the Death

by Annelise Gray, hardback £12.99 for 9–13-year-olds (reviewed by Octavia)

I raced through the proof of this amazing debut by Annelise Gray in lockdown. I’ve always loved horse stories and books with historical context, so this was perfect to me. It has some serious girl power and is both compelling and gripping. It is one of the best new books out for 9–13-year-olds. It has the added bonus of being a beautiful looking hardback to treasure.

We’ve also had some fab reviews written by Amelie, who has kindly been doing some additional reviews for us.

Pop by Mitch Johnson, paperback £6.99 for 7-12 year-olds

Fiction, but about real-life events like climate change, global warming and the great pacific garbage patch which is where lots of plastic fills the sea and shore.
Main Characters: Queenie de la cruze, a girl who loves drinking Mac-tonic and Mac-tonic the biggest company in the world.
My favourite character is Queenie as she is selfless, brave looks out for others and is always doing the right thing. This story begins when Queenie and her mother and brother move from Kansas to North Nitch when they get there. It is horrible and the beach is full of plastic empty bottles of Queenie’s favourite drink mac-tonic . Two people come past her house and were picking up rubbish got her thinking. Then she finds out her favourite drink is no longer a thing as the people who know the secret are dead. She tries picking up bottles she picks up the Mac-tonic recipe without knowing. Then the Mac-tonic corporation comes round and wants the recipe. Queenie burns it and runs away. She gets put in a room called area 51 but escapes and after that she has an interesting but exciting adventure…  She finds out a lot of interesting things on her adventure like; the two rival companies Delixir and Mac-tonic work together, the boy who was in the room with her and went on the adventure was the head of Mac-tonic son.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Age rating:7+ as it’s a gripping book that I could not put down and as it was funny it also taught me a lot about climate change.
My favourite part was when Queenie won the court case.

Jamie Mcflair VS the Boyband Generator
by Luke Franks
, paperback £6.99 for 8-12 year-olds

Set in a town called Crudwell.

Main characters: a very rich uncle with a very dangerous machine and a young girl with her friends who save everyone. The girls name is Jamie Mcflair and her mad uncle is Glen Jones, but in the book he is known as Barry Bigtime as in show business people choose more exiting names.

This story begins in Barry Bigtime’s Chateau when he is told his business (his tv show and his boy bands) were not doing well so he wants to make a new great boyband.  He invites a YouTube superband and just by coincidence, Jamie’s favourite band – BNA, to his TV show.  On his show, he throws a pair of pants that have been dipped in chocolate milk that makes the band a laughingstock. After he invites all the best boybands to a party and gets out the boyband generator …. when this is used everything goes crazy.

My favourite character is Jamie as she is very brave and is always trying to help others.

Rating: 5/5
Age rating: 7-14 years because it is funny chapter book that most ages would enjoy.
This book made me feel lots of emotions, mostly giggly but sometimes it got quite tense and left the reader wanting to find out more….

What could have been better is at the end there could have been epilogue. My favourite part was when at the end everything was ok.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, paperback £9.99 for young adults and above (reviewed by Amelia)

This stunningly written book is definitely one of the best things that I have read during the most recent lockdown. It is set in a peculiar coffee shop in a forgotten alley of Tokyo, and is a place where customers can explore the question “what would you do if you could travel back in time?”. Finding out is simple, as all you have to do is return before the coffee gets cold…
The story follows four visitors, with motivations ranging from seeing a daughter that they were never able to meet, to confronting the man who left her. This is a beautiful book that you will be unable to put down, and by the end you feel as if the characters are some of your oldest friends.

Women Don’t Owe You Pretty

by Florence Given, hardback £12.99 for young adults and above (reviewed by Emily)

This book changed my life completely, I don’t think I have ever read such an inspiring and compelling book. Written by Florence Given and illustrated by her you can already tell Given is such a talented woman. The way she talks about topics that society deems as too sensitive or taboo is truly amazing, from queer identity to being your own true love – you’ll fall in love with this book instantly.

One of the first topics Given talks about is “refuse to find comfort in other women’s flaws” to me this is such an important topic as it really opens my eyes that I did this to often and how many of my friends I see doing it. As women our life is already challenging and to make it easier, we should all be sticking together to fight social norms and the patriarchal view of us.

Another huge topic Given mentions is “women do not exist for the male gaze”, This chapter blew my mind. As much a I’d like to say I don’t care what men think I always find myself wondering, life has become a constant battle for attention on social media especially who has the best clothes and does my body fit the standards random fashion company’s put on a pedestal to tell women to change, and that we aren’t good enough if we don’t have a size 0 waist. My confidence skyrocketed when I read this book. You need to read this book – everyone needs to read this book. Men, women, they’s and them’s all need to read it so we can rethink how we view ourselves and others.

Before the Ruins

by Victoria Gosling, hardback £12.99, for adults (reviewed by Remony)

Set between central London and the ruins of a Manor House, a lifelong scavenger hunt slowly comes to its end. Andy revisits her tragic past and the unanswered questions that have plagued her mind ever since ‘that’ summer. Andy’s wistful perspective draws you in almost immediately.
Atmospheric and beautifully written by local author Victoria Gosling, this book is quickly gaining a reputation as a poetic prose must read.