A Medal for Leroy by Michael Morpurgo

Michael never knew his father, Roy, who was a fighter pilot and killed in the war. His mother couldn’t talk about him for a long time after his death, as they had only been married for six months. Roy was adopted by Michael’s twin aunties, Pish and Snowdrop (their nicknames), who have long lived in Folkestone by the sea with their dog Jasper. When Michael goes to visit them, he scatters snowdrops into the sea in memory of his father. On Michael and his mother’s last visit to Folkestone, they learn that Auntie Snowdrop’s health is deteriorating. Michaels mother asks Snowdrop to show Michael his father’s medals, and Snowdrop promises them to Michael, as well as whispering some cryptic words to him that don’t seem to make any sense.

Two weeks late, Snowdrop dies, and Pish promises to send Micael the package that Auntie Snowdrop left for him, but it doesn’t arrive until five years later, when Pish is weak and dying in a nursing home. When the parcel arrives, Michael finally understands the cryptic words that Auntie Snowdrop whispered to him all that time ago, and learns the story of prejudice, racism and heroics that surrounds his family history.

This story was based on the true story of Walter Tull, who was the first black combat officer in the British Army. I thought that instead of being a racy, exciting story, it was more thoughtful and really made me think about everything that I read. Initially it seemed a little dull, but when I got into the story it turned out to be a brilliant and exciting book. As I got to the end and found that it was based on a true story, I was completely stunned by just how far people could be pushed by racism. I liked this book a lot and I think it really opened a new door for me.

Click here to buy A Medal for Leroy on Amazon

A Medal for Leroy
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The Slither Sisters by Charles Gilman

This is the second book in the Lovecraft Middle School series and this time the fight against Tillinghast just got even harder. It’s back to school  and Robert is having some weird dreams about Tillinghast’s monsters. Professor Gargoyle has gone, but Robert and Glenn have a new thing to worry about when they find out that Sarah Price, one of the twins who disappeared and then mysteriously returned, is running for class president. Against her is Howard Mergler, a nice boy but  invisible against Sarah’s cupcakes and brownies. Sarah and Sylvia disappear every day at lunch, and when Katrina, Robert and Glenn follow them, they find a gate. They go through it, but are caught at Tillinghast mansion by the twins. They are a hairs breadth away from being used by the monsters like Professor Gargoyle, when Ms Lavinia rescues them. The twins aren’t just running for fun, though. They have bad intentions, and if they win, all the students at Lovecraft would be put in deadly danger. Robert runs for class president, and with some help from his friends, it seems he stands a chance. But Sarah and Sylvia are not going to play nice, and suddenly, Robert is in more danger than ever before…

This was a brilliant book and I read it in one night. Charles Gilman is a amazing writer but I wish he’d write more in each book as I never want to stop!

I LOVE the lenticular cover on this one even more than the last one, and this book has more adventure packed in than the last. Some people say that sequels are never as good, but in this case, they are definitely wrong!

Professor Gargoyle by Charles Gilman

 

 

When 11 year old Robert Arthur starts at Lovecraft Middle School, he thinks it is amazing. It is completely new, with brilliant facilities like wireless internet and digital “smart-boards”. The library is even better, with hundreds of shelves of new books. But when Robert finds himself in an attic full of old, dusty, moth-eaten books, he starts to think that maybe Lovecraft Middle School isn’t the utopia it appears to be at first sight. After he has Science with ProfessorGarfield Goyle, who seems to be obsessed with rats, and finds a two headed rat in his bag, things start to go really weird, with tentacled monsters coming out of lockers, children going missing, and girls seeming to have travelled through time. When Professor Goyle captures his two headed rat, now named Pip and Squeak, Robert sneaks into Professor Goyle’s office to get them back, and in doing so, finds out the horrible truth about Professor Goyle. C

an Robert and his friends save Lovecraft Middle School, and themselves, before it’s too late?

A book supplier sent this book to me, and I think it was really kind of them. I loved the story, and I can’t wait for the next one to come out! I think it was really exciting and I was completely gripped from the start. I think the author has a good style, and I liked the cliffhanger at the end. You can’t see it on the internet, but it has a really cool lenticular cover  and all my friends got a bit scared of it! One negative point was that I think the excitement sort of suddenly started, instead of starting bit by bit. This is probably a personal preference, and some people may disagree. One thing I want to know is how Charles Gilman manages to get such a lot of adventure into such a small object!

Ratburger by David Walliams

This is the latest book by David Walliams and I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch by HarperCollins. Here is what I think of the book:

Zoe is just an ordinary girl with dreams of running an animal circus. She lives with her dad, who works in an ice-cream factory and is always bringing back delicious (and disgusting) ice cream flavours for Zoe to try, until he meets Sheila, an extremely fat lady who decides to become Zoe’s stepmother, just so she can use Zoe’s dad’s money to buy her prawn cocktail crisps so she can keep stuffing herself. Zoe’s dad loses his job at the factory and has to live off benefit money from the government, which is such a small amount that the house is always full of rats. One day, Zoe finds a baby rat in the corner of her room and decides to keep it. The next morning, Zoe decides that the rat wouldn’t be safe at home, so she takes it to school and names it Armitage. All is well until Armitage manages to climb out of Zoe’s pocket and onto her head! Zoe is suspended and as she leaves, she has to go past the greasy burger man Burt, who wears black strap-on sunglasses and false teeth. He serves the most disgusting burgers, as well as the most disgusting ketchup, in the entire universe. I could go on, but that would ruin the plot for you.

I really enjoyed this book and I thought it was very funny as well as being quite moving. I loved the part about smuggling animals into school, and the part about the performing creatures. One thing I think would have made the book better would be to include one or two more of those illustrated lists I so enjoyed. I think that this is an amazing book and you can order it by clicking the link below.

P.S if you want more about the launch there is a bit about it under news and events (at the top) or click this link.

Click here to buy your copy of Ratburger

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

Three sisters, each completely different from the others. Pauline longs to act, Petrova is obsessed with motor cars and aeroplanes, and Posy loves to dance.

When Great-Uncle-Matthew (Gum for short) leaves home with only a note that says he has left enough money for five years in the bank, his great-niece Sylvia doesn’t know what to do. She sends Gum’s three adopted daughters to school for a while, and everything is fine. Then, when Sylvia finds the money Gum left is running out, she has to take the children away from school and take in boarders. Sylvia teaches the children, but she doesn’t teach very well and when two doctors ( who have degrees in literature and arithmetic) move in as boarders, they offer to teach the children for free. Also, a former ballerina moves in as a boarder, and tells Sylvia that the dancing school she teaches at will take the children for free, as long as when the girls have their licences, they give 10% of their earnings to the school. Sylvia immediately agrees.

When Pauline is old enough to get her first licence, she is tried for the part of Alice in “Alice in Wonderland”. She gets the part and is incredibly pleased.

After Pauline has acted in several plays, she is put in a movie. When she goes to the premiere of the film, there are lots of people jostling in a line, waiting to get Pauline’s autograph.She signs until her hand aches, then Nana (the children’s nurse) finds a policeman who takes them home.

As you can see this book is all about three sisters who are obsessed with dance and acting (and motor cars!). I won’t tell you any more of the plot, but you get the idea. It is one of a number by the same author e.g.Tennis shoes, White Boots (about skating) and so on.

I really enjoyed this book, but I must admit it got a little bit tiresome towards the end. I felt that it slightly turned out a bit too perfectly, but if you like books with lovely endings, this is the one for you. (Maybe the language was a bit dated, or I could just be being stupid, but does anyone know what paliasses are? Please comment and tell me if you know and someone hasn’t already!) It was written in 1936, so it’s quite an old story, therefore I couldn’t quite get to grips with how much shillings and pounds were worth (as in, if a pound was loads of money or a modest amount).

The edition I read was a full colour, beautifully published book made by the Folio Society, and was given to me, very generously, as a gift. I would just like to say thank you  to the Folio Society for the lovely book and if I had judged that book by its cover, and given it a rating, it would have 10/10!

 

 

Four Children and It by Jacqueline Wilson

This is Jacqueline Wilson’s latest book to date and it’s the first book she has written that has a fantasy creature in it. There are four children: Rosalind, the eldest, Robbie, Rosalind’s younger brother, Smash, Robbie and Rosalind’s stepsister, and Maudie, the youngest and everyone’s favourite. The children are dragged off one day to Oxshott Woods for a picnic, and whilst playing in the sandpit they discover the mysterious, and rather grumpy, Psammead (samm-y-ad), a magical creature that looks a bit like a monkey with eyes on stalks and long brown fur. When they discover it can grant wishes, Robbie wishes he can climb trees amazingly. The Psammead puffs itself up until he’s the size of a beach ball, stays puffed up for a few seconds, then deflates like balloon with a hole in it. Robbie tries climbing a tree and shins up like a monkey in a second. Everyone is amazed and Robbie and Rosalind’s dad signs him up for a lesson with a gymnastics trainer, but when they get there everything goes pear-shaped because the wishes only last until sunset. The next day, Smash wishes that they could all be rich and famous. Everything goes well until the sun goes down …

I really enjoyed this book and I think it’s Jacqueline Wilson’s best yet. I liked the fact that it was a modern take on E. Nesbit’s classic story, Five Children and It, and that the Psammead was always saying how nice and polite children from the 20th century were, compared to the children from the 21st century.

       

Ruby Redfort:Look Into My Eyes by Lauren Child

This book started off in the Clarice Bean books. It is the story of a girl named Ruby Redfort, who lives with her rich parents in Twinford, America. She leads an ordinary life as a typical schoolgirl until one day, when her parents arrive back from a vacation in Switzerland, the family’s housekeeper disappears, the Redfort home is burgled leaving absolutely nothing but the house itself and the telephones, Ruby’s life is turned topsy turvy. As well as all that, a rather shady-looking butler turns up, calling himself Hitch. Then Ruby starts getting some extremely weird phone calls, in which the person simply hangs up. After about twenty of those phone calls, Ruby gets really fed up and yells down the phone at the weird caller. The person replies in an odd sort of riddle which ends up being a set of clues. Ruby follows them and ends up in a spy headquarters, where she “accidentally” steals some gadgets. She is enrolled as a spy, but she is only meant to have a desk job. So when she finally figures out what something means, instead of telling another agent trained in the field, she decides to go herself. This decision turns out to be a VERY big mistake…

I really, REALLY enjoyed this book (but I would say that wouldn’t I, because Lauren is my Godmother!).

 

You can order it here by clicking this link Ruby Redfort (1) – Look into my eyes