Spell It Yourself

Spell It Yourself! is great for kids and adults alike who have trouble spelling. Each word has all possible endings, for instance if you can't remember whether "permitted" has two "t"s or one just look up permit and there's your answer.

My son finds this book invaluable for school work. There are no definitions or meanings associated with dictionaries, just straight forward spelling. Great when you don't need a definition, you know what you want to write your're just not sure of the spelling (very empowering for him). It's amazing how his spelling has improved and how much he was willing to use it. The book even includes countries, contraction, names, countries, cardinal and ordinal numbers. An excellent reference book in a handy size.

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Dirty Dog Boogie

This collection of poems will have you and your kids giggling in no time. If you like tongue twisters or nonsense poems this book is for you.

The poems aren't only about dogs, they involve children, cats, sausages, heads, laundromats and others. Fast paced poetry, in a rhythm kids will love to move to, so don't try reading this as a bedtime, settle down story.

There are cute simple illustrations all the way through and is ideal for kids in the 4 to 10 range.

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One Snowy Night

This little story is perfect for a snowy day (or even a hot day if you want to feel a little cooler). Percy the Park-Keeper is everyone's best friend and all the animals in his park love him. He treats the animals with respect and they become his best friends.

One winter night it gets so cold he receives a knock at his door, looks and sees a very cold, unhappy squirrel. And that's just the start.

All kids can relate to a warm cuddle from someone that makes them feel safe, and what kid doesn't like small furry animals, stuffed or real? The illustrations are bright watercolours and depict a rosey cheeked always smiling park-keeper. The animals are never wholly domesticated and keep a certain amount of realism (but only just) that children like and can relate to.

I love reading these to young kids, they're great for snuggling up in bed or with a hot drink and a cookie.
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Hairy Maclary Scattercat

This whole series has got to be the best I've ever read to a small child. The series is about a small scruffy looking dog and his crazy antics with his friends and the neighbourhood cats and people.

Scattercat sees Hairy Maclary on the prowl for some fun, in dog language: let's go scare a cat. However, things don't always turn out the way you expect!

If you have dogs you'll notice immediately how close these stories are to real dog behaviour and thought patterns. All the stories are written in rhyme, with a rhythm that builds slowly to a race at the end. The names of the characters involved are funny and highly descriptive. I've always found the kids can remember them with ease (my teenagers can still remember all the characters and a lot of the stories by heart). The drawings/paintings are a beautiful description of the scenes in their own right, a child can immediately see what's about to happen, so they're involved in the reading process even if they can't read yet.

A fun easy read for bedtime or cuddle time and great for getting kids to love reading.

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The Man in the Brown Suit

After Anne Beddingfield's father dies she is left a pitiful legacy to live off. Taken to London by some friends of the family to find work, she is plunged straight into the middle of a mystery when a man dies on a subway line. Who was the strange man in the brown suit who pretended to be a doctor but obviously wasn't? What did the writing on the piece of paper that fell out of his pocket mean?
Anne sets out to discover the answers to these question, and is promptly tossed into the adventure she has always dreamed of. Traveling from London to South Africa she seems to make enemies at every turn as she pretends to know nothing.
I really didn't expect this book to be as funny or as well written as it is. The main character, Anne, is very realistic; she has flaws and petty ideas as well as brains and a good education. This book is odd in the fact that it differs from other Christie books in the way that it is written, a much spunkier style than usual. The "evil baddie" was a complete suprise and even he had his good moments! The most enjoyable part was that it was all completely believable! You actually can think of the happenings and characters as existing because they are all realistic.
I would reccomend this to people over the age of 14 who want a fast paced and comical adventure.

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Homicide in Hardcover

Brooklyn Wainwright is a "book doctor", that is she specialises in fixing old "sick" books. When she takes on a badly damaged copy of Faust after the previous "doctor" dies in a pool of blood, she is aware that the book is supposedly cursed but dismisses it as just another old wives tale made up for publicity. The curse seems to be coming true, however, when people connected with the book begin to die one by one. Brooklyn is determined to find the actual killer, after all, books cannot murder people in cold blood. When she is accused of murdering her mentor, things start happening at amazing speed. If only she could stop passing out every time she sees blood perhaps she could investigate the scene before the police remove everything as evidence!
This book I really enjoyed reading. The author has a wonderful sense of humor and every sad or upsetting part was promptly followed by comic relief. There is romance in the story but it isn't at all heavy or disturbing, which was very much appreciated! I was also pleased to discover that I didn't know who-dun-it until the correct moment, when you suddenly realise that the murderer could only be that person!
A very good read, full of suspense, but probably not suitable for anyone under 14 years of age. Let's hope Kate Carlisle writes another in the series soon!

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How to train your dragon

By Cressida Cowell

This book was incredibly funny. It is about Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the III who is a Viking in training. In this book Hiccup’s first task is to get a dragon to train.

Everything goes terribly wrong when Hiccup’s fellow trainee, Fishlegs, upsets all the dragons and Hiccup (who is the son of the Chief of the Hairy Hooligans) gets the most common of all dragons -- a garden dragon.

I found this book particularly funny because of the names of the characters Dogsbreath, Toothless, Clueless, Snotlout and Fishlegs. With its wacky plot weird ways and nutty names it is a joy to read for any one any age.

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