Saturday, 23 January 2016

Good Masters, Sweet Ladies, Voices From a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz

When I first read about this book I thought hmmm, very worthy but will we read it? And then I hummed and hawed a bit, read the Amazon reviews and finally pressed add to cart. Or maybe buy now? Anyways, unlike a lot of recent online purchases, I didn't immediately reseal it in its packaging with a returns form when it arrived. I thought WOW, what a GREAT book.
Good Masters, Sweet Ladies was written by a teacher, for her class of children aged around twelve. Maybe a little older, (I get a bit mixed up with American grades and middle schools etc but they were of an age where learning a short speech was doable). And that is what this book is, a book of dramatic speeches for older kids/young adults - as part of a learning module on medieval times.
Like all the best books, it starts with a map. This is the Manor, where all the characters live. 

And next comes their voices.

I'm just showing details but you can see the font size and the lovely little illustrations. (Characters represented in the book are both male and female, rich and poor - I've just looked at my pictures and realise they don't make this obvious.)

There's a few pages for each person and it is a FANTASTIC read-aloud. So different and interesting and full of great detail that you just know young readers will love. Its obvious it was written by someone who was not afraid of intensive research and had spent a lot of time listening to young people.

A must for any classroom, and every home.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Winter specials - Professor Astrocat, All About Theatre, Twelve Kinds of Ice

Professor Astrocat's Frontiers of Space was a Santa present for my ten year old. Its not only extremely cool looking and pinterest worthy, he loves it. Definitely worth the €16.50, its packed full of easy to read info. I can see us digging into this for a few years to come. For ages seven or eight to adult.
Equally lovely looking, All About Theatre was a library order. For anyone interested in drama, its pretty fantastic. Yes it has lots of mentions of Benedict Cumberbatch, but also, loads about stuff other than acting. So interesting and amazing value. Its only €16.88! Warning though, it will definitely have you checking flights to London and tickets to the National Theatre.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller!

A small and stunning hardback - poetry and art and perfect for this time of year. Twelve Kinds of Ice is exactly what it says - a description of all the stages of ice in a (I think) New England winter. I've just noticed its also available in paperback too. Its one of those books that my might seem a bit young for a ten or twelve year old, but it isn't. Its a keeper and should, if possible, be read aloud. With wonderful, wonderful illustrations.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Bird Bingo, Thin Ice by Mikael Engstrom and The Revolution Papers

 This is Bingo, with beauty. Instead of numbers, you get illustrations of birds, with labels. So you learn their names, if you want to, or just look at the loveliness. Bottom line, no one has yet objected to a game. We have the Bird version, but there's also Bug and Dog Bingo.

 I had to root my fourteen year old out of his bedroom yesterday to mind his little brother while I raced out to Tesco Metro. One of them watched Peppa Pig, one of them read this - Thin Ice.

And in Tesco, I picked up The Revolution Papers. Fascinating, but tiny, tiny print. Worth the squinting though.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

My kids found not a few books under the tree this year. And so far, this one has been read the most.
Nimona is a graphic novel. Its set in the future, but is medival-ish too. Its got magic, technology, shape-shifting and villains with a soft side. My ten and twelve year old's really, really enjoyed it. And will definitely read it again. That's the thing about graphic novels - kids do finish them far too quickly, considering the price, but the good ones are reread countless times. For ages nine and up.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Make Me a Cake! - a really very bearable small kids game

Just a wild guess, but I'm assuming this game - Make me a Cake! is marketed for girls. Which means I can't really risk giving it as a birthday present for a five year old boy. Even though it is PERFECT for five year old boys. I know, as I have been playing it on repeat with my own one.
Just flick the spinner (this game is very solid. It's going to last. Nothing irritates me more than a flimsy spinner.) and take what it tells you. A big tier, some icing, a topper - it doesn't matter, they all look great. And make your cake.
Once its finished, measure the cake and collect some rosettes. After about fifteen minutes, you have a winner. And honestly, its one of those rare games where kids enjoy the playing enough so winning doesn't really matter. For ages three to six or seven.