The Big Ol’ Bike by Rachael Clarke #TheBigOlBike @raclarkewrites @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #childrensfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Big Ol’ Bike by Rachel Clarke. My thanks to Emma at damppebbles for my e-copy of this wonderful childrens book. I really enjoyed reading this one.

Big things are happening in Little Springs…

Everything about Oliver is small, from his footprint to his glasses-and a trio of bullies never let him forget it. When Oliver receives his grandfather’s old bike for his birthday, he rides tall for the first time. But the meanest bully in school doesn’t like that at all. Oliver quickly finds himself challenged to a race. Now, he’ll have to be bigger than he ever imagined in order to prove heroes come in small packages too.

The Big Ol’ Bike is a contemporary slice of life for ages 7-10. It’s filled with characters who could live down the street from you, or have a locker beside yours at school. Come hang out with Oliver, Austin, and Sue, as they experience excitement, setbacks, and adventure together. Themes of bullying, family, friendship, confidence, and community are all explored.

Longer than average for this age range, The Big Ol’ Bike is meant to be transitional between chapter books and middle grade novels. It’s an equally perfect choice for eager readers who fly through the pages, and kids who enjoy taking it chapter by chapter.

WARNING: Reading this book may cause an immediate and urgent need to ride your bike. Do not be alarmed-the feeling will pass soon enough. But don’t let it. 😉

Purchase from Amazon – UK CAN US

My Review…

What a wonderful story about The Bog Ol’ Bike was, as I read it I was reminded of my old Raleigh Chopper. I loved that bike and was gutted when I was then given a Raleigh Shopper! I was due to go to secondary school then and needed a bike suitable for carrying my school books. Yes a sensible decision, but still…

Back to the book, this is a gorgeous story that the author and illustrator has presented. It is about young Oliver and his bike. His old bike was too small for him and he is given his grandfathers old bike. Not a modern machine but one that Oliver loves.

This old bike however gives the school bullies something to tease poor Oliver about. It makes him doubt himself and also the reason behind the present.

The author has tackled bullying in this story as well as having a belief in yourself. it has been done in such a way as to encourage the reader to discuss problems they may be having. More importantly, I do think this book is a deal to sit and chat about. It would be great to pause the reading and start a discussion about “what would you do if it was you?”

This is such a lovely story and one that I do think is ideal for the age group of 7-10 that it is aimed at. It does have some very helpful advice that is part of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this and I would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

Rachael Clarke is a former police officer turned stay-at-home mom living in Portage la Prairie, MB. She rides the twisty rollercoaster of life alongside her sport-obsessed husband, adorably mischievous boys, and two quirky dogs. Rachael likes to stay busy, constantly juggling writing projects from children’s books to novels. Besides writing and illustrating, she enjoys photography, the outdoors, acting, and sipping steaming cups of coffee. Oh, and cake—can’t forget cake.

Rachael also writes multi-genre short fiction under the pen name R.A. Clarke. Her work has been featured in various publications, and has won both Writer’s Weekly and Writer’s Games.

Author Links – Twitter Facebook Website Goodreads Instagram YouTube

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#BookReview : Magnus and the Jewelled Book of the Universe : pub @matadorbooks : @NetGalley : #ChristmasBooksforChildren

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“Magnus and the Jewelled Book of the Universe” by S.L.Browne is available now in eBook and in paperback.  Published by Matador / Troubador Publishing

This is a children’s book recommended for ages 7-9 years.  A science fiction and fantasy read.  This is a book I read for as part of my idea for the books children would like for Christmas.

Synopsis:

In S. L. Browne’s debut children’s book, a small boy called Magnus is whisked away from a dying overheated Earth by his mentor Marlo, only to discover that he belongs to a tribe of aliens known as the Guardians of the Universe living in a different dimension. Marlo, a very ancient and disgruntled wizard, has failed to stop the evil Murdamond from destroying Earth through his unquenchable desire for shiny and beautiful things.

When Magnus arrives on his home planet, he finds that humans have not yet evolved and that dinosaurs still exist. Marlo tells Magnus that he fears that Murdamond will try to move to this new, healthy planet to steal all of its treasures now that he has ruined the old Earth. Upon their arrival in the Deruweld village, they discover that Murdamond has already arrived and he is holding Magnus’ parents hostage in the dungeon of his brand new castle.

Magnus realises he has been tasked with a dangerous and urgent problem to solve. He has to save his home planet, rescue his parents and save the Universe from the ghastly Murdamond and his henchmen. He must use all his wisdom and powers, along with his dinosaur friends and the strange Jewelled Book of the Universe that decides life would be more interesting if it transformed into a girl, in order to defeat Murdamond before it is too late.

Magnus and the Jewelled Book of the Universe is the first book in a fantasy trilogy that takes inspiration from Roald Dahl and Dick King Smith. The book contains dinosaurs, space travel and time travel in a humorous and magical story that will appeal to young readers aged 7-9 years. S. L. Browne’s debut book also contains an important message about climate change.

My Thoughts:

This is an interesting book with some diverse themes running through it.  Magnus is shown how he can travel to alternate universes, though tornado’s with ancient monolith as a portal and the magic book being the key.  On arrival at this other world, he is told to expect a simpler lifestyle where greed and money do not exist, but dinosaurs do!  While here he discovers more about himself and his other abilities.

This is a mish-mash of things, a mix of The Wizard of Oz and a twist of Roald Dahl.  The book looks at the way humans treat the earth, exploring the effects of money, power and greed.  But even in this other world setting there are traces of these and they are getting stronger.  It does sound as if it would be quite heavy reading when the topics include climate change, extinction of animals and power struggles, but it has been done in a basic way, not to simple though. I felt it was a good book to introduce these themes and wrap them around a suitable story.

As I read this, I kept thinking back to the books I read as a child.  Would I like this one ? Yes, actually I think I would have enjoyed it.  My one criticism is that this story did finish a little too abruptly, I didn’t feel that it was finished properly. I am aware of it being part of a series and in my copy, there was a preview of the next book, but it was just a little sudden.

I think this book would appeal to readers of the indicated 7-9 year age range.  An interesting story with a very important message, but done in a very accessible and not over the top sort of way.

I would like to express my thanks to NetGalley and Matador for my copy of this eARC.  I requested it and my views expressed here are my own and are unbiased.

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