Friday, 31 July 2015

Friday Reads: If You Like Diary Of A Wimpy Kid

Most kids love a good series of books. It's great to see them get stuck into something that will keep them entertained for a long time. Sometimes though they can get a bit stuck, they don't know what to read next. One of the most popular kids series at the moment is Diary Of A Wimpy Kid. Perfect for kids from ages 7-12, this book has captured the minds of millions. But with so many other books out there I've compiled a list of suggestions for things they can read next.

Tom Gates - Liz Pichon
Set out in a similar style to Wimpy Kid with doodles and drawings, Tom Gates is based around Tom and his hate of everything homework based and trying to impress that girl that sits next to him at school. An award winning series that sits perfectly next to Wimpy Kid with it's comic book style.

Gangsta Granny - David Walliams
Walliams has done an amazing range of kids books. Gangsta Granny is my highlight though. Ben doesn't know how great his granny really is. I mean beyond the boring cabbage and scrabble she's planning to steal the queen's crown! This has the great humour you would find in Wimpy Kid with a bit more of a challenging read.

Series Of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snicket
A bit of a darker series compared to Wimpy Kid but the series that follows the Baudelaire orphans and their strange uncle is definitely a great addition. A series full of fun and mystery, it's one that kids will love. And with a Netflix series in the works it needs to be read!

Dork Diaries - Rachel Renee Russell
Think Wimpy Kid but with a girl as a lead character and Dork Diaries is what you come up with. This hilarious series follows Nikki who is, let's face it, a dork. All she wants to do at her new school is get by and reinvent herself.

Goth Girl - Chris Riddell
Ada Goth is an only child, a bit of a lonely one at that. When some visitors come to stay they must make sure that the indoor gamekeeper doesn't cause the havoc he is planning. A beautifully illustrated book that is great for the older end of the Wimpy Kid fans.

Fortunately The Milk - Neil Gaiman
Gaiman is a bit of a literary god in our house and this book is no different. Telling the adventure of a dad on his journey to get some milk, this book takes loads of unexpected twists and turns! With a hilarious story and great illustrations, this book is one that kids and grown ups will love to read together!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Meet the Penguins at Bournemouth Oceanarium

As many regular readers know, we are always visiting our local Oceanarium. Having been season pass holders for years we thought it would be an amazing time to pop down and see the new penguins that have just arrived!

We popped down with our friends over at PooleMamma to have a snoop and let the kids enjoy themselves whilst (hopefully) learning something about penguins.

Having just opened this week, the penguin enclosure is a welcome addition to the Oceanarium. Boasting a split platform view it means that you can see them up close on land level, or pop downstairs to watch them below water level. This is great as you can see them swimming and diving away. 

Upstairs also has a great new terrace bar which would be great in summer to have a picnic. Downstairs they also have a small climbing area, something which I think is the perfect addition as the parents can enjoy a coffee (and see the penguins) whilst the kids let off some steam. They also had jellyfish downstairs which is Max's personal highlight. He's got a thing about jellyfish at the moment!

One highlight of our trip was the moment that one of the giant turtles took a fancy to Max. We assume his jumper must have caught his attention as he swam right up behind him and started interacting with us and Max. It was so amazing to see them that close. His marine biologist uncle would be proud!

As always we had an amazing time at the Oceanarium. It's somewhere we go almost every week. Can't wait to see what our next adventure there has in store for us. 

Friday, 24 July 2015

Friday Reads: Spooky YA Reads

Most YA books seem to be either coming of age love stories, road trips or dystopian Hunger Games style books. There's nothing wrong with that, I mean I love a good love story as much as the next person. But in an industry where some of the best publishing is coming from, some amazing books can get lost in the shelves. I'm not a massive Sci-Fi and fantasy reader, but I absolutely love some of the spooky and almost supernatural books that are hitting the YA shelves at the moment. Most of them still focus around the coming of age aspect but have a spooky element woven through.

The Accident Season - Moira Fowley-Doyle
The same time every year marks accident season for Cara and her family. Broken bones, scratches and bruises. You name it, they get it. No one can tell why it happens or what causes the accident season to have such terrible effects on their family. But Cara want's to find out what is cursing their family for all these years.
This is a wonderful Irish coming of age tale with a great supernatural twist. One that I will be recommending at work for a very long time!

Shades Of London Series - Maureen Johnson
This is a ghost hunting book with a twist. It's based around an American girl called Rory who has just landed at a boarding school in London. Not long after she arrives, Jack the Ripper style killings start happening. They are so accurate it almost feels like it's him back from the dead. But they can't pinpoint who the culprit is as there is never any evidence.
I don't want to spoil the twists of this book but just know that this is on the third book of the series now and I'm absolutely loving it.

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
We all know that old photos give us the creeps and spooky stories can keep us awake at night. Well how about mixing the two together? That's exactly what this book does. After a family tragedy, Jacob travels to a remote island off the coast of Wales where Miss Peregrine's home stands. Despite the fact it's empty, he get's the strangest feeling that he isn't alone as he uncovers the mysteries surrounding the home.
This is being made into a film with Tim Burton at the helm so you know it's going to be creepy and wonderful!

The Dead House - Dawn Kurtagich
25 years ago there was an accident at Elmbridge High School which resulted in the death of three students. But one student, Carly Johnson went missing and her body was never recovered. No one knew what happened to her in that fire, well that is until a diary was uncovered. The diary tells of Carly and Kaitlyn Johnson and the strange and dark events that lead up to the fire. Except Kaitlyn never existed in the first place.
This book doesn't actually come out for a few weeks yet but it's definitely one to add to the list.

The Haunting Of Sunshine Girl - Paige McKenzie
Based on a popular YouTube channel, this book centres on Sunshine. She has just moved to a new house, but whenever she is asleep she is constantly hearing the sounds of a little girl saying "Night Night" over and over. As things start to turn from bad to worse she must act fast before things get way too real.
The first of a trilogy, this will leave you trembling - especially after reading the bathroom scene!

Other notable books:
Frozen Charlotte - Alex Bell
Under My Skin - James Dawson
The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
Demon Road - Derek Landy
Thirteen Days Of Midnight - Leo Hunt