Webb Review – What A Clever Cat! by Gabriella Heyburn

What A Clever Cat by Gabriella Heyburn.

Written and illustrated by Gabriella Heyburn, What A Clever Cat is a full colour picture book about a very clever cat indeed. The story follows three cats and their owners to the winter fair with some very funny conclusions.

Harrison and I enjoyed seeing the cats in their homes being pampered, the different homes have been illustrated beautifully, my favourite is the canal barge, what a lovely home for a cat.

A beautiful home for a cat.

The story is very sweet with lots of lovely big illustrations of the cats, if you have a child who is a cat lover then this book is a very easy sell, they will definitely enjoy it! The illustrations are clear and tell the story really well and the font is very bold and simple making it ideal for early readers but I can easily imagine adults enjoying the cheeky and mischievous antics of the cat too.

Harrison enjoying the story.

Harrison loves all books with animals as a main focus and he thought that the ending was brilliant. Initially he was unsure about choosing this book because the cover is quite dull and he thought it might be a sad story but once he had a little flick through and saw that it was actually really colourful he got comfy and sat down for a read. The cover really gives nothing away, it may have been better to have a brighter and more eye catching cover that matched the feel of the interior but then perhaps the surprise wouldn’t of been as humorous?

Sausages??

We also found it hilarious that one of the cats loves sausages, having never had a cat of our own (We are very much bunny people!) we had no idea that cats would enjoy sausages and for some reason that visual is just really funny to us.

What A Clever Cat is Gabriella Heyburns first picture book and we really hope that she will continue to make them. Gabriella captured the characteristics of the cats beautifully, they have a lot of personality. The story telling is great and I can see it getting better and better with more books.

If you know a little cat lover you can’t go wrong with this story book. It has been a difficult one to review because I really do not want to give the ending away and spoil it for you. It is a really charming story.

4 out of 5 Webs

Harrison has awarded this book a 4 webs out of 5, the only part he wasn’t sure about though was the cover, a lesson that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover because he enjoyed the story inside and it wasn’t sad at all.

You can get yourself a copy of What A Clever Cat now from Shookbop. This is an author and illustrator that I think will continue to put out beautiful stories so get yourself her first book now.

Thank you so much for reading our review.

Samantha and Harrison x

Please note – this book was sent to us for review, it is not a paid review and all opinions are our own.

Webb Review – The Birds At The Bottom Of The Garden by Carl A Mynott

The Birds At The Bottom Of The Garden is written and illustrated by Carl A Mynott of British Wildlife Tales. Fully illustrated in colour with rhyming text, this little book is a brilliant introduction to some of the varied and beautiful birds that you can find in a British garden. It encourages you to take the time to really look at them and observe what they are up to, are they collecting for their nests or waiting to catch the worms? There is a whole avian world going on around and above us and this book really gives you the inspiration to take more time to notice it.

From Grey Collared Doves to the bright blues of the Great Tit, The Birds At The Bottom Of The Garden does a great job of introducing them all. The rhyming verse keeps it fun although the lack of punctuation made it difficult for me and Harrison to read at times and is something that the author may want to look into for the second edition (of which I hope there is one).

The front cover invites you into the garden and each page tells of a different bird, followed nicely by some helpful hints to attract the birds to your garden and a helpful checklist so that children can check off the birds when they do spot them.

Harrison and The Birds At The Bottom Of The Garden.

This book was published in 2014 and I know that Carl A Mynott has published more since which we are eager to read too and will hopefully be reviewing in the not too distant future. 

Harrison learning about the wood-pigeon.

Harry enjoyed the pictures in this story, we do not have a garden and the surrounding area is full of seagulls so all of the other birds tend to keep clear however we do go to Dartmoor as often as we can and we are hoping to spot some of the birds that are in the book next time we go. Harry has recently taken an interest in photography and is hoping to get photos of the birds too. This book is definitely inspiring and makes you want to get out and about in nature. 

3.5 Webs out of 5

Harrison has awarded this book 3.5 webs out of 5 because he struggled to read the rhyming verse without punctuation but when I read it to him he really enjoyed it and he really liked the addition of the extra little creatures hidden in the backgrounds (the worm was his favourite).

The Birds At The Bottom Of The Garden is available now from Shookbop. Along with more titles from Carl A Mynott and British Wildlife Tales. But beware they will make you want to venture outdoors and go exploring! 

Thank you so much for reading our review,

Samantha and Harrison. 

Harrisons ‘would most like to see’ is the woodpecker.

NOTE – This book was sent to us for review, this is not a paid review.

We Are The Planets by Isla Grace Green – Webb Review

We were very lucky to be sent a whole bunch of books to review from ShookBop and Harry chose the first one to review, he flew straight to We Are The Planets by Isla Grace Green. It has a wonderfully bright and eye catching.

Harry enjoyed We Are The Planets.

Written by space fan, Isla Grace Green, this book is nonfiction and give you facts about each of the eight planets in our solar system.

Yes, it does leave out Pluto but we can’t be mad about that just because we want it to be a planet still. We get to look at the other eight in order with some very cute illustrations of the planets. The book is set out in a really clear and concise way. It has just enough information on each planet to teach you some facts and leave you wanting to discover even more. Harry and I think it would be great to have a book on each planet.

The colours throughout the book really draw you in and make the text exciting so if you have children who are reluctant to spend time with nonfiction books, this one would be a really great introduction to more information based books.

We found our planet!

The text is clear and concise and the font is fun and accessible for young readers. We really enjoyed the layout of this book, you could pick it up and just look at your favourite planet over and over if you wanted to.

Including a page about the sun might have been a good inclusion but I appreciate books that leave you wanting more and giving you the chance to ask your own questions. After reading this book Harry wondered if the Sun was also completely gas, so we did our own research, asking questions that we wouldn’t have asked if we hadn’t read this book.

We Are The Planets

All that being said you may be amazed (we were) to hear that Isla Grace Green wrote this book when she was just 6 years old! How amazing is that? We are very impressed and hope that it is just the beginning of a brilliant astro/author career.

Awarded 5 Webbs!

Harry has awarded this book 5 webbs! He really enjoyed it, as did I. We recommend it to anyone with a fascination with Space, anyone who has no idea about the planets or anyone who is looking for an entry level nonfiction book.

But We Are The Planets now from ShookBop.

Thank you for reading our review,

Samantha and Harrison x

Sass Feels Lonely – Writing for small children is harder than it seems!

I am so happy to announce that pre-orders for my brand new book Sass Feels Lonely are live on Shookbop! The book will be published on June 21st and I cannot wait.

Sass Feels Lonely is the first book that I have ever written for smaller children, aimed at under 5s (although I do hope that it will have wider appeal). Sass has a very simple narrative with very bright bold colours and a main character that I think you will fall in love with.

Sass is a very fluffy Bigfoot/Sasquatch that lives alone in the woods. He has always been alone but he manages to keep himself busy. Sometimes even the most creative people get lonely and Sass is no exception. The story shows how he tries to make friends and overcomes his loneliness.

Keeping the word count down was a huge challenge.

It was a real challenge for me as a writer to keep the story simple. The first three or four drafts were considerably longer and more detailed but I knew that I wanted Sass to appeal to a much younger audience. To research, I read a lot of books for smaller children and realised that I needed to let the illustrations do their work of telling the story and trust that they can convey what is happening visually. After around seven drafts I managed to get the text shorter and now it simply amplifies the illustrations as opposed to describing them.

I really thought that writing a shorter story would be easier, it seems simple and the masters that create stories from minimal words really do make it seem that way but in my experience the fewer words you use the harder it seems to be to create something that is unique and full of heart, which is always one of my biggest aims when writing a children’s book. I fully underestimated the time it would take to complete and the amount of drafts that it would take. Even now, when it has gone off to print, a small part of me wishes I could keep editing the text to make it even more perfect but you have to realise when it is time to stop or the book would never be ready for publication.

If you decide to give it a go yourself then I really recommend reading lots and lots of books that are aimed at a similar audience so that you can get a good idea of the structure and word count. That is always a good idea for any book you are attempting though but especially if you are unfamiliar with the structure you are aiming for. Figure out exactly what it is that you need to add to your text and everything else can be whittled down to just the bare text that is needed to push your story forward.

Sass was developed with a lot of the images first (I knew the character well before I began writing), followed by the first few drafts of text. The remaining illustrations were created to fit with the first drafts and then the text was edited into the story that it is now, simple and with a minimal word count.

One day I would love to attempt wordless picture book but I don’t think I am quite confident enough for that yet.

Sass was created primarily on the iPad with procreate.

I am delighted that Sass has a wonderful publisher, Stour Valley Publishing. They have handled my previous title Glub and I am so happy with the outcome. I have every faith that Sass Feels Lonely is in great hands.

I have had some stickers created with Sass and some keyring too, it is so much fun to see him on real products and as soon as I have the book in my hand I will be posting all over my social media.

I don’t have any plans for the launch day yet but I know I will be doing some form of bundle giveaway to celebrate. If you have any suggestions for ways to celebrate please let me know!

Sass keyrings.

Thank you so much for reading about my adventure into writing for smaller children. I am really excited to see what you all think of the new book. I hope you will love Sass as much as I do and I hope that your little ones will too! Preorder your copy now!

Samantha Webb.