Not a bus book!

On the day that Meghan Markle’s “The bench” is all over the media for being a pure vanity project, entirely devoid of plot, and barely in English (seriously, Puffin should be embarrassed to have published it), I’m thrilled to have a beautifully written picture book for you.

I’ve reviewed several of Sue Wickstead’s bus-themed books over the past few years. They’re all beautiful gentle stories, with a simple, appropriate message, and with lovely traditional illustrations. So when I saw she’s branched out and published a non-bus themed book, I was intrigued.

Firstly, I was pleased to see that Barty Barton, the bear who was loved too much has the same illustrator (I wish they were credited on the cover). The picture of Barty reminds me so much of my own tatty teddy, who is definitely “loved too much” but still sits on my shelf (with his best friends).

It’s a heartwarming plot line that brought a lump to my throat. Perfect for reassuring any youngster before their favourite toy goes for its annual bath!

And in case you were missing the buses, I spotted one sneak into the illustrations.

Giveaway

Giveaway to Win a  Lego bear and some teddy bear colouring sheets (UK) plus a few more goodies.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494424/

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Author bio

Sue Wickstead is a teacher and an author and writes children’s picture books with a bus theme. She has also written a photographic history book about the real bus, which is where her story writing began.

Sue once worked with a playbus charity based in Crawley. This led her to write the photographic history book about the project. The ‘Bewbush Playbus’ book was published in 2012.

Sue then began to write a fictional tale about the bus. ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, his number plate JJK261 gave him his name and has now been followed by more picture books (ten to date) which all indeed have a bus connection as well as links to her teaching journey.

Gloria is the most recent bus book and is based on the summer play-schemes which operated during the school holidays providing a safe place to play and to meet other children. (published 2020)

‘Barty Barton; the bear that was loved too much’ was also published in 2020. Barty was written for both her son and grandson.

Some of Sue’s books have been entered and shortlisted in ‘The Wishing Shelf Book Awards’, her book ‘A Spooky Tale’ was a silver medal winner in 2019. It is a story written with her class in school and is aimed at the younger reader.

Have you got your ‘lucky pants’ on?

I’m not a football fan – in fact I have been to only 1 match in my life (if you’re curious, it was Partick Thistle in Scotland with a ex-boyfriend, and I can’t even remember who they were playing!) – however I do love sporty books. I’m currently working my way through my collection of vintage pony books.

Anyway, since featuring a fantastic non-fiction book about Lily Parr called Trailblazer, and a fiction book about women’s Camogie and Gaelic football, Izzy’s Magical Football adventure I have been on the look out for a new football book for a while, so when I spotted ‘Danny Mann, super fan‘ I was keen to have a look.

book tour banner
Tour banner

It’s a straightforward read – perfect for the chapter book reader/ reluctant reader, and absolutely chock full of football. Whilst simple in concept, I love how it addresses our little pre-match rituals. For example, I fully admit to having a pair of lucky riding socks which I HAVE to wear when I go to a dressage competition. Of course, I’m perfectly aware they are just socks, but I can’t help it!

Lucky socks?
Lucky socks?

I digress. Back to the book …

Blurb

Danny Mann, super fan book cover
Danny Mann book cover

Danny loves Chadmouth Town Football Club more than anything, but a run of defeats and terrible luck has left them bottom of the table and looking certain to be relegated with time running out.

But then, Danny and his best friend Nelson stumble across a bizarre pre-match ritual that seems to turn their luck around, and his beloved team starts winning again. Is it too little too late though, and can he keep doing everything right before each match, even when he starts finding more and more obstacles in his way and despite the relentless teasing from his classmates? It’s going to come down to the wire.

Does Danny have what it takes to save Chadmouth’s season?

Author bio

Ian Slater author
Ian Slatter author

Ian published his debut novel, Eco Worrier, in 2020 – a middle grade adventure story with plenty of twists and turns and lots of laughs.

He has also written two non-fiction books for adults – Premier League Legends – the top 10 greatest Premier League players of all time and Incredible Moments in Sport.

Ian wrote for satirical website newsbiscuit.com for ten years, as well as writing for comedy sketch shows on ITV and BBC Radio.

Book box birthday party!

It’s flown past but the book subscription box business I run, The Book Dragon Club, is one. If you haven’t already seen the boxes then clearly my social media presence needs some attention, so here is a little teaser.

At the start of the pandemic I turned my after-school book clubs into a range of carefully curated book boxes and themed activity packs. The monthly boxes save parents’ time and effort in ensuring their child has access to a high quality, diverse library, and are specifically designed to encourage cross-curricular learning. Plus our regular book club meetings (online) are a great way to encourage a love of reading.

The book boxes are designed to inspire a lifelong love of reading with an emphasis on diversity by both genre and author. Each box includes an exclusive themed activity pack designed by experts to encourage cross-curricular, immersive, learning. Our boxes are suitable for all abilities, from reluctant readers to bookworms, although of course we call them book dragons. 

If you aren’t a member already, I’d love to see you there.

You can find out more about the book boxes at www.bookdragon.club

PS – prices will be going up in the summer for new members, so join now to lock in the current bargain!

Ten books about Ramadan every child should read.

Most of you know that I run a book box club (www.bookdragon.club). The club is committed to diversity and I wanted to share this article on books about Ramadan that every child should read.

We’re very keen to expand to this list, so if you have any other recommendations, particularly for older readers, please let us know!

When the Karate Kid gets real

This isn’t an obvious choice for my blog, but bear with – it will make sense in a minute. If you were wondering, I have never even tried a martial art myself and my personal knowledge is almost entirely limited to the Karate Kid movies, however one of my flatmates at Uni was a black belt in Aikido and his daily practices outside our place probably deterred any potential burglars, as well as impressing the rest of us with his commitment and dedication. Then I didn’t give it a second thought until my son started both judo and karate and I, like many other mums, found myself spending hours sitting outside the dojo.

As a mum of an enthusiastic seven-year-old, martial arts were pitched to me as self-defence, strength, and co-ordination training rather than combative, and offered in both our local community hall as well as at an after school club, so pretty much all his friends participated in one form or another, many did both. So from the title to the opening lines of this book I was a little surprised to see the emphasis on fighting, although in the context of the “mean streets” it makes sense. In fact, this sets the scene for a gritty, hard-hitting recount of a fascinating life bringing in class, race, and society generally. It’s by no means a light read, or an easy read, but I’m passing it to my now teenaged son to see what he thinks (NB: given the content, this book is not recommended for younger readers). In the meantime, I’m going to finish by saying I fully expect this to be turned into a movie or, more probably, a docufilm.

Blurb

Novelist and former karate champion Ralph Robb recounts his experiences at one of Europe’s toughest dojos and provides an insight into the philosophy and training methods of a club which produced national, European and world titleholders. In a hard-hitting story, Ralph tells of the fights on and off the mat; his experiences as one of a very few black residents in an area in which racist members of the National Front were very active; and the tragic descent into mental illness and premature death of the training partner who was also his best friend.

About the author

Author Ralph Robb

Ralph Robb was born and raised in the industrial town of Wolverhampton, England and now lives in Ontario Canada with his wife, cat and dog. A proud father of four, Robb works as an engineering technician and loves rugby, martial arts and a good book. His world is balanced by quality TV, global events, great outdoors and of course his grand-daughter.