Webb Review – The Crows IN The Chimney Pot By The Bax Family

Written by Stacy Bax and illustrated by Eldon and Elodie Bax aged 5 and 6 years old. This book is full of beautiful paintings of birds that can be found in the garden. It is informative and descriptive with a spread for each bird that the crows meet. The crows are the main characters and they are so charming, the get happier and more delighted to see each bird as the story goes on, a great use of synonyms for ‘nice’. It is a great story that will help children learn more about the wildlife around them.

The illustrations are definitely charming and wholesome. They really bring the story to life and make you want to see more birds around. Living by the sea we mainly see seagulls but perhaps we need to keep our eyes open a little more to spot some others. My personal favourite is the robin but Harry really liked the starling.

I think that the story would really appeal to children who love animals just like Harry does. It is really bright and colourful and has a lot of information without feeling like a lesson. It is also inspirational to children who love art to see a child being published in a real book. The love and attention that has gone into this by the Bax family is evident and I think that it will show a lot of aspiring illustrators that if they put the effort in, they could have books of their own too.

This is not the first of Stacy’s books that I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing and I sincerely hope that it won’t be the last because I would love to see how these young artists develop.

You can get your own copy, available now from Shookbop.

5 Webs out of 5.

Harrison gave this book 5 webs out of 5 and I have to agree with him. I would really have liked to see some photographs of the birds perhaps at the back of the book too so that we could see them ‘in real life’ however it did give us a chance to have a look on the internet and see lots of photos of these beautiful birds.

Huge thank you to the publisher Stour Valley Publishing for sending this book for our review, all of the opinions are our own.

Thank you for reading,

Samantha and Harrison.

Webb Review – The Bee Like Me by James Gibson

Written and illustrated by James Gibson, The Bee Like Me is the story of Molly who loves to be outside and enjoys living a wild existence until she realises that her actions are having a negative impact on the wildlife around her, specifically one special little bee. Molly learns all she can to help the little bee get better.

The story is inspirational, Molly has a problem and she takes very assertive steps to solve it. Researching and working hard to find out what she needs to do to make up for her destructive behaviour. Molly goes on a real soul searching adventure in this delightful story but don’t worry it isn’t preachy or condescending at all. The narrative is cheerful and has a great rhythm.

All of the illustrations in the book are charming on the surface, the cover is particularly engaging. Dig a little deeper, take a look at what s going on in the backgrounds and the illustrations are actually pretty hilarious, the tiny details and added storylines are not to be missed and really elevate the book to a new level. The additional children’s drawingesque images in the blank spaces fill the entire book with colour and fun. James Gibson is a fantastic illustrator, it is great to read his story too.

The Bee Like Me is an amazing book with so many positives to tell you about, this might be one of the best books that Harrison and I have read in a while. I am not sure that putting any kind of glue on a bee is a great idea but honestly in the context of this story it fits and is perfect.

The inclusion of the main characters unique characteristics comes later in the story and I do not want to give it away in this review but I think that Molly is a real role model and perhaps her incredible abilities should be bought to the attention of the readers beforehand since this book could really be beneficial if it were in the hands of the right audience. My apologies if that is completely cryptic but buy yourself a copy of the book and you will understand, I would recommend you have it in your collection anyway!

The Bee Like Me is Available now from Shookbop.

We awarded 5 out of 5 webs.

Harrison gives The Bee Like Me 5 out of 5 webs because the story was enjoyable, the pictures were brilliant and Harrison thinks that the more bee books the better!

Thank you so much for reading,

Samantha and Harrison x

Webb Review – Six Year Old Sidney The Skateboarding Boy

Six Year Old Sidney The Skateboarding Boy is written and illustrated by Dan Bryant, the story of a six year old who loves nothing more than skateboarding and who practices really hard so that he can compete in a skateboarding competition. He is determined to compete even when his old skateboard is feeling more tired than it ought to for a competition.

Sidney is only six but full of passion.

The book is bright and colourful with the bold blue of the cover working as a background for the text. The illustrations are fantastic, they remind me of an old show on Nickelodeon called Doug and just like those, the illustrations are full of life and energy. I just adore how Sidney sticks his little tongue out while he is concentrating, possibly because both Harrison and I do that too.

The story is really empowering and teaches that if you keep showing up and putting in the effort then people will take notice, you may not get exactly what you were hoping for but you might get exactly what you need and that might just be even better than you hoped. Harry was really intrigued by the idea of a six year old being so great at a sport like skateboarding, it is very impressive.

Harry really likes Sidney.

I had thought at first that you needed to know some skate terminology and other than a few bits I picked up from Mr Webb playing skate games on the playstation many moons ago, I have no idea what some of them meant. So I was very glad to find the glossary in the back of the book that explained some of the terms to us. Despite being 10 and owning two skateboards, I am sad to say that Harrison is not a skater and much prefers to keep his feet firmly on the ground. The glossary of terms was very useful and Harry has been inspired to give his skateboard another go soon.

The story is great and the illustrations are charming, perhaps we will get an update when Sidney skates in his next competition.

Harrison awarded 5 out of 5 webs.

Six Year Old Sydney The Skateboarding Boy is available now from Shookbop.

This book was sent for review by the publisher Stour Valley Publishing and the opinions are all our own.

Thank you so much for reading our review,

Samantha and Harrison.

Webb Review – Professor Von Schmell and his Fart Powered Bike by Leon Howlett and James Gibson

Written by Leon Howlett, Professor Von Schmell and his Fart Powered Bike is as random as they come. It is a little bit of mayhem wrapped up in a glorious story about inventors and a race. If you don’t like your children to read books about farting, burping or other bodily functions then at least it is right there on the cover for you to see and keep away from. It isn’t hiding anything or pretending it is some great moral story, it is however blatant fun in the form of a picture book.

Harry is 10 years old and he finds farts and burps hilarious, why wouldn’t he? life is far too serious as it is, especially at the moment, so seeing him giggle and chuckle as we read this book was brilliant. He is also a massive fan if inventors and crazy inventions (he adores Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs) so this book definitely fell into the hands of its target market and we thank Stour Valley Publishing for sending it to us for review.

If I had to pick at anything, (As seems to be the thing that I complain about most in childrens books) it would be the lack of punctuation. It really makes it a lot more difficult to read out loud, maybe this is just me? But the right punctuation or even the wrong punctuation but in the right place really does help the rhythm of a book keep going, especially when it is a rhyming book. This book is not great with punctuation and has very little on some pages. When it has a second edition which I think it will, this would be a massive improvement.

The illustrations by James Gibson are fantastic, our favourite being the parrot in his dressing gown which really is worth buying this book for. James has a way of creating humour within the story and also in the background with so many different details that keep you lingering on each page more than you otherwise would. I am a big fan of James Gibson’s work and think that the book is worth getting to enjoy the artwork as much as the story.

Available now from Shookbop.

5 out of 5 webs awarded.

Harrison awarded 5 webs out of 5, ignoring the lack of punctuation due to the amount that the book made him laugh and laugh. We are sure to read this one again and look forward to reading more from both Leon Howlett and James Gibson.

Thank you for reading,

Samantha and Harrison.

Webb review – The Boogie Woogie Monster by Shyam Gharial and Dan Mynard

Harrison and I really loved the style of this book, the illustrations are vivid and full of texture. There are lots of hidden details to look out for in the backgrounds of each page too which meant that we spent longer chatting about the extra details as well as the story itself. The Boogie Woogie Monster is a story that teaches the value of not making rushed judgements based on appearance. The story flows really well and there were no slow points and the story made sense from start to finish, it was clear, concise, fun and heart warming.

The Boogie Woogie monster is lonely but he keeps trying to make a connection with Moe, the main character in the story, and keeps protecting him even after he has been shunned by the boy. The monster is very self aware and knows that the boy is scared. I think that makes him a lot more loveable despite the claws and teeth.

Harrison really enjoyed the inclusion of some of his favourite characters, Santa and the tooth fairy which are hilariously laced into the story with some great consequences. I particularly liked one spread that shows a group of monsters because most children have the occasional monster lurking under the bed, even some adults too.

This book is fun and is colourful, it is a great story and will be one that we will read more than once. It might be helpful for children who are struggling with sleeping in the dark although it might have the opposite effect since the art work is so fantastic. I would recommend this story to anyone who loves a little uniqueness with a great story to go with it.

Available now at Shookbop.

5 out of 5 webs

Harrison gave The Boogie Woogie Monster 5 out of 5 webs. He really liked the idea of a monster being more than he first seems.

We were sent this copy from the publisher and the review is our own.

Thank you for reading,

Samantha and Harrison.

Webb Review – Stick It Brit And The ABC Picnic Surprise By Jenny Neal

The second book in the Stick It Brit series by Jenny Neal won’t disappoint fans of the original. It is a fully illustrated children’s book that will delight even if you are not familiar with the first book in the series.

Stick It Brit returns!

This alphabet book focuses on food with Brit and baby Amy putting on a picnic for their toys. Once again Brit is covering everything with sticky notes and causing a little chaos at the same time. Young children will not realise that this book is helping them read, it isn’t at all preachy or stagnant, it is a real story all the way through.

Once again Jenny Neal has created a bright and colourful book with really wonderful backgrounds that have so much energy. The illustrations are simple and playful, they really capture the relationship between the sisters.

Harrison enjoyed Stick It Brit and the ABC Picnic Surprise.

Harry thought that baby Amy pouring the drink over her own head was hilarious and Brit’s reaction was perfect for a big sister. I have a soft spot for the teddy Captain Spy and hope he makes more appearances in further Stick It Brit titles.

Captain Spy.

The Q part of the alphabet is Quavers which I thought was a little risky, any brands in a book can age them but then again I think Quavers will likely be around for many years to come (I hope so at least, they are delicious!). I will warn you though, if you plan to read this book, do not do it at bed time like we did, we had no choice but to get top and have snacks and a glass of milk! This book will make you hungry! It is good that the majority of the foods are healthy snacks and mostly vegetarian but some vegans may not like the inclusion of eggs if reading to vegan children (we love veggie ham and sausages so we didn’t mind that!) Honestly though you would have to be pretty strict to let that stop you from enjoying the story.

Harrison awarded 5 out of 5 webs!

We both really enjoyed the second instalment of Stick It Brit and hope that it won’t be the last.

Stick It Brit and the ABC Picnic Surprise by Jenny Neal is available now from Shookbop.

This book was kindly sent to us for review by the publisher Stour Valley Publishing and it completely our own views.

Thank you so much for reading,

Samantha and Harrison.

Webb Review – Vix The Lockdown Fox by Marion Veal and Kathryn Coyle

When Marion Veal reached out to me and asked if Harrison and I would review her latest book I could not of said yes faster. I had seen the cover of the book in the Shookbop online shop and admired the stunning artwork on the cover. Harry is a big fan of foxes and had previously enjoyed Small Tom’s Big Adventure by Marian Pierce so I thought that he would jump at the chance to review Vix as much as me. He was just as delighted as me when it arrived. This review is of course all our own opinion, we hope you enjoy it.

Vix The Lockdown Fox

Vix The Lockdown Fox is the true story of trust, kindness and friendship. Inspired by heartwarming events that occurred during Lockdown when Marion, the author of this story was gardening and appreciating all of the flora and fauna that surrounded her.

A truly beautiful picture book, illustrated by Kathryn Coyle in stunning watercolours, at times it feels more like an art book than a picture book because every single picture is stunning and you want to spend time really looking at each and every page. With really vibrant colours the images are colourful but with a softness, Kathryn is an expert at painting fluffy characters. The cover is just a sneak peek at the beauty inside.

The story follows the relationship between fox and human as they learn to trust each other, it is a really charming story made even better by the fact that it really happened. It is an inspirational tale because throughout the story Marion feeds and helps Vix without ever trying to domesticate her or turn her into a pet. It was evident throughout that Vix was a wild animal and Marion treated her as such, with respect. As a parent I think it is important that children see that they can help animals without owning them and that wild animals might look fluffy but they aren’t cuddly cartoon characters that should be petted and cuddled.

Harrison truly loved this story.

Harrison absolutely loved this book although he kept worrying that something awful was about to happen to Vix or one of the other characters and he was relieved at the end that nothing bad happens to any of the characters (I was relieved too). His favourite part was when Vix was a cheeky fox sitting in an empty paddling pool. Vix has a cheeky little grin.

Being vegetarian we didn’t really enjoy the descriptions of ‘chompy-chicken’ however that started a conversation about animals and food chains and the fact that foxes can’t pop to the local supermarket for a meat substitute. Any chance for an open discussion with children is good in my opinion and Harrison is always happy to have a good discussion about topics he believes in (Chickens are one of his favourite animals!).

Harrison has a cheeky grin like Vix.

Lockdown was hard on a lot of people in a lot of different ways, this book shows how loneliness was a major factor for people living alone at that time and how being surrounded with nature really helped to alleviate that, especially making bonds with the animals that visit the garden. We sadly don’t have a garden but through lockdown we were delighted to see a family of ducks pass by each day and that little bit of nature made us all smile. It is lovely to hear happy stories of lockdown, something positive coming out of all of the negativity.

This book is really delightful, the story is inspirational and the artwork is fantastic. It has everything you would like for a bedtime story, heartwarming and wholesome. I recommend it to anyone with children who like animals. I do not think that you would be dissatisfied with this book at all and it is one that we will read again and later pass on to younger family members.

5 out of 5 webs.

We award Vix The Lockdown Fox 5 out of 5 webs. We both truly enjoyed it.

Buy your copy now from Shookbop.

Thank you so much for reading our review,

Samantha and Harrison x

Webb Review – Small Tom’s Big Adventure by Marian Pierce and Mark Lockwood

Small Tom’s Big Adventure was written by fox enthusiast Marian Pierce and is a wonderful story of one fox named Small Tom who helps a couple of lost cubs try to find their way home. With the help of a fox lady who is never shown but who helps keep the local dens fed and warm, Small Tom goes on his big adventure.

Small Tom is great in the fact that he knows when he can help but also knows when to ask for help too. Their is a whole community of foxes and they all come together to help each other stay safe, warm and dry. It is genuinely a heartwarming tale that made for a fantastic bedtime story.

The story is a little wordier than most picture books but is not too long at all, if you have a child who wants the same book read over and over again in one night then it might be one you want to start a little earlier in the night but it certainly won’t be one you would mind reading more than once.

The illustrations are beautiful, all of the foxes are so fluffy especially the baby ones who were Harrisons favourites. There could have been a way to make each one a little more identifiable as once the fox community comes together it can be hard to keep track of which fox is which. The foxes may also benefit from just the slightest highlight in the eyes to make them appear just a little more approachable but that may just be personal opinion.

The book also highlights the importance of The Fox Project which helps foxes in the UK who may be displaced, hungry or injured. It is a very worthwhile charity which links nicely to Small Tom’s Big Adventure. Find out more now http://www.foxproject.org.uk

You can purchase this beautiful book, available now from Shookbop.

Awarded 5 webs out of 5

Harrison awarded Small Tom’s Big Adventure 5 webs out of 5, his favourite part was the sleeping foxes in their dens and the thought of humans being able to help foxes in their neighbourhoods.

We were delighted to receive this book for review from the publisher Stour Valley Publishing and all of the opinions are our own.

Thank you for reading,

Samantha and Harrison x

Webb Review – Bertie Bird And The Chilly Little Snowman By Stacy Bax and Anita King

We absolutely love Christmas books and Bertie Bird and the Chilly Little Snowman is no exception. With beautiful bright illustration by Anita King and the lovely story by Stacy Bax this really is a great book for the holiday season and one that you would enjoy cosying up to read on a cold night.

Poor snowman keeps loosing his nose, luckily he has someone who is watching over him and trying to solve his problems. It is nice that the snowman has a friend because Bertie Bird is a cheeky little robin who both Harrison and I agree, needs to learn to ask before he takes things. It really is sad for the snowman.

The illustrations are enchanting and they make us want snowy days and snowball fights, to make our own snowmen and then snuggle up with hot chocolates. If you are making a story book advent calendar then this should definitely be included, alternatively it would make a great addition to a Christmas Eve box too. It has all the charm of a warm and cosy Christmas story and is laid out beautifully.

Get your copy before Christmas, available now from Shookbop.

We really enjoyed the playful nature of Santa in the book and think you will too. Who decided that a carrot was the correct nose for a snowman anyway? You will have to read the book to see the humorous alternatives.

4 Out of 5 webs.

After a very lengthy discussion Harrison decided that this story deserved 4 out of 5 webs, he really wanted to give it 5 but felt that Bertie Bird took what he needed for a good reason but could of explained himself beforehand so that Snowman didn’t get so sad. I love that this book began a discussion about stealing for the sake of good and about being honest with your intentions. I feel like Harry learnt from the story at the same time as enjoying it.

We gladly received this book for review from the publisher Stour Valley Publishing and the view are all our own.

Thank you for reading,

Samantha and Harrison x