Shrunk! by Fleur Hitchcock and the Story Adventure Project


Shrunk! by Fleur Hitchcock. Published by Hot Key Books, 2012. Paperback, 176 pages.

I have been waiting for what feels like ages for this book to arrive. Shrunk! is Fleur Hitchcock’s first children’s book and was published in 2012 by a new UK publisher “Hot Key Books”.  I read about this book and thought it sounded perfect for some of my reluctant boy readers, it’s not too long and would make a great read aloud.

This wonderful story has something for everyone to identify with; a quirky, likable main character …with an annoying little sister, he is also the new kid in town and struggling to make friends; an embarassing granny and worse…embarrassing parents; a little bit of magic and science fiction thrown in (disappearing planets, shooting stars, meteorites, rumoured alien abductions and the possible end of the world); a horrid bully (who Tom shrinks down to size – literally and figuratively and renders harmless for a while); funny animals and lots and lots of humor. If you like British humor (e.g. David Walliams or Andy Stanton, even Roald Dahl) then you will really enjoy this story. I loved it! It will be on our new book display early in term 1.

From the publisher:

“After Tom moves in with his grandmother next to the Bywater-by-Sea Model Village, he makes a wish on a shooting star and gets the curious ability to shrink things. The first thing he shrinks is Jupiter, then some sheep and a boat.But without Jupiter in place, the Earth is slowly being drawn towards the Sun. With the angry (and miniaturised) school bully yelling from his pocket, Tom has to return Jupiter and save Earth — all while trying to make friends in his new home.”
Here is Fleur Hitchcock reading an extract from her book, which will give you an idea of how funny this is read aloud.

What is Story Adventure all about? From the Story Adventure website (here):

Have you ever wanted YOUR SAY in how a book gets written?
Fleur Hitchcock has to write a new book for her Evil Editor and she needs your help.

Step 1. Read the free chapters.

Step 2. Tell Fleur what should happen next. (Sign up required.)

Step 3. Get YOUR ideas and writing into the book!

Step 4. Come back next Monday to read the next chapter.

Exciting new series for Percy Jackson fans


Just thought I would share the announcement about a very exciting new series, that should appeal to Rick Riordan & Michelle Paver fans, hungry for more ancient adventure. The first book in this new series “The Colossus rises” will be published by HarperCollins Children’s in February. The stories are based on the seven ancient wonders of the world. Peter Lerangis is an author who has written titles in the popular ‘The 39 Clues’ series (The Sword Thief and The Viper’s Nest) and one book in The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers series (The Dead of Night).

From Goodreads on “the Colossus – book 1”:

The day after twelve-year-old Jack McKinley is told he only has months to live, he awakens on a mysterious island, where a secret organization promises to save his life-with one condition. With his three friends, Jack must lead a mission to retrieve seven lost magical orbs, which can save their lives only when combined together. The challenge: The orbs have been missing for thousands of years, somewhere in the ruins of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. With no one else to turn to and no escape in sight, the four kids have no choice but to undertake the quest. First stop: The Colossus of Rhodes.

View the exciting book trailer:

Website and free ebook download:

The website for the series is full of extra content, videos and an interactive map of the seven wonders. Explore it hereread about the first book and explore the link to download a free PDF or EPUB prequel novella “The select” here.

“From the lost journals of the Seven Wonders saga comes the story of Burt Wenders—one of the first of the chosen kids to be marked as “The Select.” In this thrilling prequel to Book 1, delve into the mystery and the magic of Seven Wonders, the brand-new adventure series from Peter Lerangis, the bestselling author of several books in the 39 Clues series.

It’s the year 1894, and thirteen-year-old Burt and his father are on an archaeological expedition gone wrong. After a tumultuous voyage, Burt, his father, and the remaining crew find themselves stranded on what seems to be a deserted island. That is, seems to be deserted until Burt starts hearing music that no one else can hear . . . and blacking out with no explanation. Maybe there is something to Burt’s father’s expedition after all? All but tortured by his surroundings, Burt ventures to find out. He can only hope to survive.”

High praise from Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series “A high-octane mix of modern adventure and ancient secrets, The Colossus Rises is Lerangis’s most gripping work yet. Young readers will love this story. I can’t wait to see what’s next in the Seven Wonders series!” 

What do I think about this book?: 

If you love the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series, then this will appeal to you. I will review the book fully once it is published and will definitely be ordering this for our library!



When magic traps you…who can break the spell?


Fire spell by Laura Amy Schlitz, and published by Bloomsbury in 2012. (Note: Published under the title: Splendors and glooms by Candlewick Press in the USA). The cover of the Fire spell edition is quite striking, but it is the Splendors and glooms cover which reflects the mood of the story most accurately, in my opinion.

From the publisher (Candlewick Press)

The master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini, is so expert at manipulating his
stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, is spellbound by Grisini’s act and invites him to entertain at her birthday party. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with caravan, puppets, and his two orphaned assistants.

Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are dazzled by the Wintermute home. Clara seems to have everything they lack — adoring parents, warmth, and plenty to eat. In fact, Clara’s life is shadowed by grief, guilt, and secrets.
When Clara vanishes that night, suspicion of kidnapping falls upon the puppeteer and, by association, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall. As they seek to puzzle out Clara’s whereabouts, Lizzie and Parse uncover Grisini’s criminal past and wake up to his evil intentions. Fleeing London, they find themselves caught in a trap set by Grisini’s ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it’s too late.

Continue reading When magic traps you…who can break the spell?

Books of beginning series – brilliant for fantasy fans!


The Emerald atlas (2011)

The Fire chronicle (2012)

Book 3 (as yet un-named…) (2014) I can’t wait to read the conclusion!

All written by John Stephens and Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers.

The Emerald Atlas was described by the publisher as Narnia meets Philip Pullman’s His dark materials trilogy…this sets the bar very high for readers, however it did not disappoint and I have enthusiastically been recommending these books to my year 5 and 6 readers who enjoyed Harry Potter, the Narnia Chronicles and Percy Jackson.


The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma’s extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world. These three siblings have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage. Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.

Until now. ..Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey through time to dangerous and secret corners of the world…a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem.  And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.

Book trailer:

Continue reading Books of beginning series – brilliant for fantasy fans!

Hungry for more Harry Potter?


Looking for more adventures at Hogwarts? Then look no further than the fan fiction trilogy created by G. Norman Lippert. Based upon the characters and worlds of J. K. Rowling, this trilogy tells the story of Harry Potter’s son James, and his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the first installment “James Potter and the Hall of Elder’s Crossing“. This first book is followed by two others, “James Potter and the curse of the gatekeeper” and the final book “James Potter and the vault of destinies“. All are available as free ebooks (epub format for adobe reader/ibooks/ereaders and mobi format to be read on Kindle devices) on the website link here:

Continue reading Hungry for more Harry Potter?

Hello world!

Welcome to my blog where I hope to share the excitement I feel for the wonderful children’s books I work with each day. “100 great books before lunch” refers to the joke I share with my colleagues….I always have a list of titles I would love to buy for my students that is far in excess of my budget…”I could buy 100 great books before lunch” is something I feel, if not say, on a daily basis. There are so many great books being written and published for children of all ages these days, that there isn’t any excuse for them not to be reading at every opportunity!

Happy reading 🙂


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