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. 

Chase those witches!

The Beatles song “Paperback writer’ is stuck on a loop in my head, although with a slight tweak to the lyrics.

So I wanna be a picture book writer
Picture book writer

I blame the new picture book, Chase Those Witches, by Elizabeth Dale! It’s just such great fun, so interactive, and fabulously illustrated. I absolutely love it. I’m definitely going to use it in some of my after school clubs.

Now bizarrely, I got sent this book to review a few days after I’d bought the new Tom Fletcher picture book, ‘There’s a witch in your book‘. It seemed such a coincidence to have two witch-themed interactive picture books on my desk at the same time, so I was very curious as to the differences.

Actually, they are both absolutely brilliant, and surprisingly different.

In a nutshell, Tom Fletcher has bright, bold graphic illustrations, easy actions, and a simple plot so is ideal for the youngest picture book reader.

On the other hand, Elizabeth Dale’s rollicking, globe trotting adventure has more detailed illustrations and slightly more complex actions, including a very funny “Whatever you do, don’t …” which of course I did, and every other reader will too! I laughed out loud at falling for that one. Anyway, as a result, it’s ideal for the older picture book reader.

Definitely no need to wait for Halloween to enjoy these witchy treats, although I can see both books being best-sellers when the spooky season arrives! Have fun 🙂

Blurb for Chase those Witches

When Bernie, a boy’s pet frog, is stolen by a coven of wicked witches, the reader has to help rescue Bernie by turning, shaking and blowing on the book as the boy ventures through ice caves and aboard pirate ships on his mission. A fun and interactive picture book adventure!

Author Biography

Elizabeth Dale worked as a writer of fiction for magazines before becoming a full-time author of children’s books. Her work has won multiple awards, including in the picture book category in the 2019 Northern Lights Book Awards. She was also a runner-up in the 2015 Dundee Picture Book Award.

Illustrator Biography

Sian Roberts graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Illustration from the Arts University in Bournemouth in 2018. She works as a freelance illustrator of children’s books.