What We Are Reading Right Now – #13

We are all about books over here this week… sorting, organising, sifting and decluttering… and finding lots of books for our school that we are raising books for in Stanford as part of our International Book Giving Day Project… so it is appropriate that we post a “What We Are Reading Right Now Post…” Our next post will be an update on the project… and I am so looking forward to showing you how we are progressing.


This weeks books are once again an eclectic collection of contemporary and recently launched books: teen reads and picture books, timeless classics and futuristic tales… Apart from my book, which was a gift from the father person and the Time Riders by Alex Scarrow, which was given to us by Penguin Books South Africa, all the books in this post were given to us by Pan MacMillan South Africa.

Let’s begin with the Mother Person: A Week in the Kitchen, by Karen Dudley and published by Jacana Media, is pure local loveliness… You know those cookbooks that you want to read the story and dip into a few recipes… but it is more about the back story and the life and times of a local foodie and a restaurant packed with passion and the regulars and not so regulars stopping by to feast!!! The food looks scrumptious from start to finish… salads to die for… love sandwiches… this is just the most fabulous book, I really enjoyed all of it!!! Beautiful people, beautiful food, beautiful photography, and I am going to have to visit!!! I don’t want hint at anything, but Father Person… that could be a date!!!

And now for the Hoods:


Hood #1: The Phenomenals by F.E. Higgins Well this one is a little weird!!! But my word lover enjoyed it… because it is packed with lovely words, here’s a sentence from chapter 2: “He was not a stranger to precarity, but his current position was more precarious than most.” Let’s set the scene… a Victorian like world, filled with gadgets, mechanical machines and weird industrial inventions… overshadowed by superstition and ghostly beings. The protagonist is a pick-pocket with incredible skill… he is forced to leave one town for another because he is about to be discovered. In his new town he uncovers a plot to remove members of the leading family, they knew too much about the mayor’s wicked plans to use the ghostly beings for his own cause… Interesting book, lots of twists and turns, lots of lovely words, the plot is a little dark and it is quite a tricky read. So this one is for older readers. We were given this book by Pan MacMillan South Africa, to review.


Hood #2: If you haven’t been reading The Time Rider Series by Alex Scarrow… then now would be a really good time to get started… my boys have been grabbing them from the library whenever they spot one and were thrilled to receive book #7 in the series, Time Riders the Pirate Kings, to review. The series is a about the time-traveling adventures of a select few teenagers that should have died at various ages in history… but they have all been given a second chance and they work for a secret time-traveling agency. This book is set in Victorian London at the time of the Great Fire and the heroes escape the fire in a boat only to find that it is a pirate boat… horrors!!! Horrors indeed!!! These books are quick reads… I didn’t say short!!! The chapters are short and you find yourself flying through them, turning the pages to get onto the next one, in an effort to see where the story leads you… We were given this book by Penguin Books South Africa, to review.


Hood #3: BlueFish by Pat Schmatz is the story of a thirteen year old boy, who is reaching bottom. He is in a new town and a new home, they had to leave the last one suddenly. He lives with his alcoholic grand-father, his dog dies and he has to cope with all the problems of starting in a new school… and he can’t read. He is angry, feels stupid and is just not coping. He is failing hopelessly when a teacher notices his plight and starts to help him and teaches him to read and get his assignments in. Meanwhile, Velveeta appears to be a bubbly and outgoing gal, befriends him, and she has a whole lot of problems of her own… Together they form a firm friendship, and with humour and persistence they survive despite their obstacles. This book addresses lots of issues that teens face today, especially the well hidden issue of illiteracy. This book will provide lots of topics to talk about with your teen, lots of issues to dig into. A good read for older kids. We were given this book by Pan MacMillan South Africa, to review.


Hood #4: Oliver Fibbs Attack of the Alien Brain. This is a great read for a nine year old beginner reader… The story of Oliver Tibbs, who is really a rather ordinary lover of a comic hero, Agent Q. Oliver thinks of himself as dull and boring… and he is surrounded by brilliant parents and ultra-brilliant siblings, really supremely brilliant!!! And his absolute worst event of the week “Show and Tell” or as he calls it “Pain and Torture Time…” quickly becomes his nemesis lesson, where everyone else has done something incredible or achieved something awesome. One week he decides to stretch the truth somewhat and before you know it, you discover that Oliver is indeed quite brilliant too and you are reading the story of the underdog turns champion. Oliver is a story teller of note!!! This book is very easy to read, especially to the person who doesn’t enjoy long chapters… the chapters are quick and easy with lots of cartoons and little bite-size reads enticingly scattered throughout the pages. We were given this book by Pan MacMillan South Africa, to review.


Hood #5: GRRR! Dino’s, Dragons, & other Beastie Poems by James Carter and Graham Denton… Oh fun!!! Fun, fun, fun… I would never have thought to give a poetry book to a just more than a beginner reader… but he loved this book. This book is packed with clever poems… shaped poems… wordy poems, wonderful poems. Don’t be put off by the word “gruesome” on the cover… this book is pure fun and will raise many laugh out loud moments, not to mention: “Listen to this…” moments!!! We were given this book by Pan MacMillan South Africa, to review.


Hood #6: A Squash and a Squeeze… is twenty years old… I couldn’t believe it but it is quite true!!! This is a special edition of the classic tale and includes some notes and sketches from the original planning for the book. The story is of course a classic, old lady grumbles that her house isn’t big enough and the wise old man suggests that she takes in various members of the farmyard, of course the crew in the cottage get more and more squashed as time goes by and when eventually they release all the animals back into the yard – then the cottage feels like a mansion… read it, if you haven’t already. It is lilting Julia Donaldson at her best and makes a fabulous bed-time read. We were given this book by Pan MacMillan South Africa, to review.


Hood #7: The Gruffalo’s Child Colouring Book for my child that desperately wants to be in school and really really wants to do workbooks!!! This one was a winner… bits of the rhyming story wander through, lots of colouring, easy puzzles, dotty pictures to fill in… lots of pictures to fill in with your own ideas… “draw the feast,” and “add some wild animals to the big bad woods.” She loved this book, what is not to love about the Gruffalo and the Gruffalo’s child!!! We were given this book by Pan MacMillan South Africa, to review.

And the se7en + 1th Books:


Hood #8: Brace yourself for Chilly Milly Moo… you are going to laugh out-loud at this one… the story of a cow who just could not make milk like all the other cows – she was just too hot!!! Milly Moo is worried sick and lives under the constant threat of “Make Milk or Leave”… she has such good intentions, but there is just no milk to be found… until an unexpected snow day, when all the other cows are absolutely freezing… Milly Moo makes ice-cream!!! This is definitely time to haul out some ziplock bags and make some ice-cream in a zip-lock. We were given this book by Pan MacMillan South Africa, to review.

These review posts usually contain a couple of GiveAways, but our kids are saving the books we normally GiveAway to give to the school library we are helping to build, for World Book Giving Day. We really want to thank: PanMacMillan South Africa and Penguin Books South Africa and the father person of course (!!!),for providing us with books to review for this post. We would like to declare that we were not paid to do these reviews, just provided with books. All the opinions are entirely our own!!!

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