Here is my round up of the four books chosen to read for Book Talk this May, The girl with the sharks teeth, The day I was erased, Toto the ninja cat and the great snake escape and A pinch of magic.
The Girl With Sharks Teeth
The book has a stunning cover designed by Sandra Dieckmann and features eye catching blue metallic for the ocean aspects of the Illustrations which reminded me of the mesmerising glare of the sea and I also love that the back cover features plant and fish life too.
This book features a two page authors note at the start explaining the inspiration for this book, and as I read the story I would recall what Cerrie Burnell had said within it and smiled at the relevance and deeper understanding I feel I gained from having read this.
The story of The Girl with the Sharks Teeth is fast paced and adventurous, following main character Minnow on a voyage of self discovery whilst trying to rescue her missing mother. She makes friends with a boy called Raife and this friendship encourages both a male and female audience.
The story is mostly located on or in the ocean and the vivid portrayal of this area of nature captivates your imagination and leaves you thrilled to be immersed in a world of light fin, mermaid, sea-souls and gatekeepers. The inclusion of enemies and unfriendly creatures (both human and sea based) helps to create an element of danger and has you anticipative to the very end. I throughly enjoyed reading The Girl with the Sharks Teeth and look forward to sharing this title with others too.
The Day I Was Erased
When we meet main character Maxwell it quickly becomes clear that he is a young school boy that takes everyone and everything for granted, showing no regard for others. There are ongoing issues at home with his parents seemingly on the brink of separation, constantly arguing and showing little interest in either Maxwell or his older sister.
It would be easy to excuse Maxwells outbursts and unruly behaviour on this turmoil at home but it felt equally frustrating that he had not tried seeking the help and support that would benefit him and his behaviour especially given that Maxwell was a big reason for his parents arguing. It is clear that he isn’t remorseful at any point for the hurt, upset and chaos he causes on a near daily basis.
The characters are easily relatable to in The Day I was Erased taking the reader on an emotional journey, flicking between sympathy and frustration dependant on who the plot involved and whether there was implications on others.
When Maxwell wishes he never existed (after he comes to realise everyone hates him) this makes for an interesting twist and when it becomes clear that his wish has worked and he is no longer anyone relevant to all those that actually do matter to him and everything in relation to his entire life as he knew is undone – friends, family, achievements he realises he needs to make amends for how he has behaved.
Reading of his predicament I was actually glad he had a much needed chance to step back and re-evaluate what is important to him with the anticipation that he could still make amends if he got the opportunity, sympathising with Maxwell whilst he lived his very own Quantum Leap moment.
Not only do you feel quickly immersed into the life of Maxwell and his family as you read, young readers will also find it easy to relate to the chapters within school, the references to television programmes, social media and the dynamics of home life, along with so much more.
With the conclusion to Maxwells adventures there is a genuine believe that he gets what he deserves, and what is certain is that this is a great addition to our school and home libraries fulfilling the need we all have in wanting to ensure we surround this generation of young readers with quality texts to read and enjoy and Lisa Thompson once again provides a title that does just that.
Toto The Ninja Cat and The Great Snake Escape
The ideal title to introduce young readers to chapter books, Toto the Ninja Cat is based on Dermot O’Leary’s pet cats and even features the back story of how he came to own them within it too.
Toto is a female cat that has next to no sight, is sister to the books other star Silver and has been trained up to be a ninja! Together with her brother they live a lovely life in London, keeping to themselves, sleeping and eating their days away until they happen upon Catface, a fellow animal scavenging through their houses refuse bin.
What follows is an adventure around London that sees Toto and Silver take in the sights, even visiting the Prime Minister’s cat in Downing Street and then upon discovering Catface isn’t quite what he makes out he is they set of together on a mission to save the animals of London from an escaped Snake.
Toto has impressive moves as a ninja cat earning herself quite the reputation as the story builds and Silver being the opposite in personalities brings some brilliant humour to the duo. They are a winning combination for young readers to get familiar with as additional books become available for this series with Toto and the Incredible Cheese Heist also available now and Toto and the Superstar Catastrophe is out this September.
Fans of animals and adventure will love this brilliant story that along with the stunning illustrations created by Nick East really come alive in your imagination, immersing you in a funny and upbeat story.
A Pinch of Magic
A lengthier read, this is the adventures of three sisters who upon finding out they are cursed set about trying to break it. Flashbacks to times where anything unexplainable was considered magical and accusations of witchcraft were rife the story develops our understanding of how the curse began and how three every day items that hide magical abilities within have passed down generations to the three main characters of this book – Fliss, Charlie and Betty.
The three girls are extremely close sisters, always looking out for one another and willing to do anything to help keep each other safe. This becomes necessary when in a bid to break the curse that ensures they are unable to leave the islands they live amongst they endanger one another multiple times over.
The story portrays loyalty and bravery in people brilliantly, not just in the sisters but also in other unexpected characters. Equally there is betrayal and deceit, and the balance of good and bad within the book makes you persistent in uncovering the full story and seeking out the truth.
This is a great read for those that enjoy magic and mystery within a book, adventure and uncertainty too. Through the stories atmospheric feel you cannot help getting goosebumps along the way and will be captivated by a centuries old curse, magical items and a determination by three sisters like no other.