Carol Vorderman Workbooks

I’m always on the lookout for books which will help H at school. While her literacy and numeracy skills are way above her age, I wanted to make sure we had books on hand for her to practice when she felt like it. We were offered the chance to review some Carol Vorderman Workbooks from DK, so I put H to the test.

carol vorderman workbooks

Carol Vorderman Workbooks from DK cover literacy and numeracy. We were sent three books to try from the range, ’10 Minutes a Day Spelling Fun’, ’10 Minutes a Day Maths’ and ‘Made Easy Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar’.

Carol Vorderman workbook English Made Easy - in progress

I’ve decided to break down what each of the Carol Vorderman Workbooks has inside. English Made Easy aims to boost skills by taking the timed challenges and is written and compiled by experts – award-winning editor Linda Ruggieri and Consultant, Claire White. There are over 60 pages of puzzles to work through, and each ten minute section is across two pages.

Carol Vorderman in progress Maths Made Easy

Maths Made Easy helps develop strong maths habits – its Consultant is primary school head teacher Sean McArdle who has written maths textbooks and workbooks. Again, it’s two pages per ten minute challenge and covers a wide range of numeracy puzzles with over 60 pages.

Carol Vorderman Workbook timer

The two ’10 Minutes’ books come with a timer attached to the cover. You can pause the timer if you need to, and at ten minutes it beeps to let you know your time is up.

Carol Vorderman Workbook - Spelling punctuation and grammar made easy

Spelling, Punctuation & Grammar Made Easy comes without a timer – and of the three books H preferred this one. Each challenge is still across two pages, but you get a gold star to stick when they’re completed, which possibly says more about the way she responds to this kind of work! It is fully linked to the new National Curriculum, and helps support classroom learning. I found H works through this one the quickest of the three Carol Vorderman Workbooks.

I found the puzzles were the kinds of things she has been getting for Home Learning each week, so it was familiar territory – plus her punctuation, spelling and grammar is pretty good anyway.

Carol Vorderman Workbook - Maths Made Easy

The Carol Vorderman workbooks from DK are a great reinforcement for subjects learnt at school, and support KS1 (and KS2 for the older titles) and are designed to help your child practice schoolwork in a fun way.

Personally, I think all three Carol Vorderman Workbooks are good additions to her learning – and it was interesting to see how seriously she took the timed books, yet how relaxed she was about the other. To find out more about 10 Minutes A Day Spelling Fun and 10 Minutes A Day Vocabulary and further education titles by Carol Vorderman, visit You can follow DK Books on Twitter at @dkbooks

We were sent the three Carol Vorderman Workbooks for the purpose of review, all opinions are our own.

The Amazing Human Body Detectives by Maggi Li

The Amazing Human Body Detectives is a new book by Maggi Li, the Art Director of the fabulous Okido magazine. We reviewed some of Maggie’s books before, as well as being Okido subscribers, so were delighted to be sent a copy to review.

The Amazing Human Body Detectives by Maggi Li

The Amazing Human Body Detectives is the latest Maggi Li book from Pavilion, and is targeted at children aged 5-8, encouraging them to learn more about the human body.

In H’s case, this has become essential bedtime reading, and she’s telling me facts she has picked up from the book, which says to me she’s enjoying learning from – which is half the battle.

The Amazing Human Body Detectives by Maggi Li

I know that as H is going into Year 2, they’ll be doing a lot more learning about the body, and labelling parts – this book couldn’t have come at a better time. Like Maggie Li’s last book, there is a detachable part on the cover which helps enhance the book, with additional facts. This time it’s a magnifying glass, and you’re able to remove it from the cover (keep the sticky tape to fasten it back, it doesn’t tear the cover). Each page is dedicated to an area of the body, and is packed full of facts.

The Amazing Human Body Detectives by Maggi Li Magnifying glass

My particular favourite was the section on bogies. I made H sit and read it, and then asked her lots of questions about what bogies consist of. Once I knew she was listening properly, I asked whether she’ll still be picking her nose… not any more, apparently!

H really enjoyed getting the magnifying glass out and reading the facts. I love the illustrations – we’ve been subscribers to Okido for nearly two years now, and I love their clear, simple illustrations – these books follow the same pattern, and have the same feel. Your child is going to learn by reading this book, and it’s fun (which is what learning should be about). We love it!

The Amazing Human Body Detectives by Maggi Li is available now, and has a RRP of £9.99.

We were sent The Amazing Human Body Detectives by Maggi Li for the purpose of review, all opinions are our own.


Collins Big Cat Reading Lions Books

Recently we were sent a selection of Collins Big Cat Reading Lions books. I requested Stage 5, which is aimed at 7-8 year olds. This is the independent reading at home level, which H has been for a long time. She’s also a free reader at school, and I know this is a suitable reading level for her.

Collins Big Cat readers Stage 5

The biggest issue for me was making sure the books aren’t too grown up – she is still only five. Luckily our school has a mixture of books, from Rigby Star, Oxford Reading Tree and Collins Big Cat – so we were already familiar with the range, and they were ones I preferred of the three, especially for facts. As it is, the books are absolutely perfect for H, and she read them all in an evening – and answered questions about them all when asked too.

I like that it includes Great Expectations. I can’t help wishing some of the books I had to read when I was older had been put into simpler forms then to read the fuller versions later on may have helped my understanding a little better – so was really encouraged to see this included, as I know it will help H.

We’ve done a video review. Sorry about the shade covering half of her face!


Collins Picture AtlasWe were also sent the Collins Picture Atlas, which is lovely, bright and colourful and breaks down each continent onto several pages, with facts and pictures. With H being half Australian learning about the world is something she’s really interested in. Oh, and she hasn’t really seen millions of kangaroo’s (maybe hundreds?) here’s our video review!

The Collins Big Cat Level 5 books are targeted at Year 4 (age 7-8) and are a six book set, with three fiction books and three factual ones. There is more information on their website over here.  They have a rrp of £24.00

The Collins Picture Atlas (affiliate link) is available to buy now – and hopefully you can see a few of the pages on our video, and how lovely and colourful it is.  It currently retails at Amazon for £8.99.

In summary, I found both books to be ideal for H. She might only be five, but has the reading ability for the Big Cat books. The Atlas is definitely right for her age range, and had plenty on it which she enjoyed learning about. I highly recommend both!

We were sent all the books for the purpose of review. All opinions are our own.

Wildlife Jack – I Want to Fly by Ed Kellie

Wildlife Jack – I Want to Fly comes from The National Trust via Pavilion Books and is based on the Wildlife Jack tv series.

Wildlife Jack - I Want to Fly

Wildlife Jack – I Want to Fly has been described by Chris Packham as “a great introduction to nature” – and when you’re young anything which makes it interesting has to be a good thing. So what’s the story about?

Jack is an ordinary boy who lives in the city but he loves birds and animals and learning more about their world. His Grandad is an explorer and gives Jack a very special book, full of pictures from his adventures. As they read it together, Jack’s bedroom transforms around him and his own wildlife adventure begins.

Jack uses his special ability to talk to birds and discovers their extraordinary world. He learns about their ability to fly and wishes for wings of his own.

Wildlife Jack - I Want to Fly inside

H says “he tries to fly, and in the book we get to learn about all the different types of birds, and what they look like. I like the pictures of them, as it helps me learn what they look like when I see them in real life” – I think this may be the case for me as well! There are also interesting bird facts on the front and back covers which H has enjoyed learning about.

The illustrations are the same as the show – photos of birds alongside the cartoons of Wildlife Jack.

Wildlife Jack is a new series on the Disney Channel, is narrated by Chris Packham, and is aimed at 2-6 year olds. The series uses film footage of birds with Wildlife Jack being a cartoon and is a great entry-level into the world of nature. You can understand why Chris Packham is involved.

Wildlife Jack – I Want to Fly book has lots of facts in it about birds – handy as H loves to learn. The story itself is a simple one, not too many words so ideal for very young readers, but enough information that even more experienced readers will learn at the same time. We love it!

The National Trust publish this book via Pavilion Books, with a rrp of £6.99 and is available to buy now (affiliate link).

We were sent the book for the purpose of review, all opinions are our own. 

T-Rex Terror – A Dino Supersaurus Story!

As part of our Parragon Book Buddies we get sent a new book every month – I started out having cookery books which were fab, but found that there’s one true bookworm in our house – H. She gets through 200 page paperback books in a couple of days, and loves to read. I was excited when Parragon offered us ‘T-Rex Terror – The Supersaurus Legend Begins’ from their Dino Supersaurus range, as H has recently had dinosaurs as a topic at school and it’s something she enjoys to read about.

T-Rex Terror book cover

T-Rex Terror – The Supersaurus Legend is set out like a comic strip which makes it really appealing and fun to read – and in case you didn’t know, a Supersaurus is a cross between a dinosaur and a superhero. The book has already become one of H’s favourites.

New Dino City is a dinotropolis in dino-danger! The tyrant tyrannosaur T-Rex and his army of ninja raptors are trying to take over the city – and there’s only one thing which can stop them – The Supersaurs!

H reading T-Rex Terror

I really like that the front of the book lists the Supersaurs (and the Sinistaurs) so if you’re new to the series like we are, you get an idea of the main characters. One of H’s best friends loves the Dino Supersaurus series (and dressed as one for World Book Day) – so I know some book swapping will happen soon.

The story itself is fun, H enjoyed it  and at £5.99 it’s reasonably priced too.  You can buy T-Rex Terror from all good bookstores and Amazon too.

Introducing Glitterbelle!

Glitterbelle is a princess, and she has a set of books that Parragon have just made available. We’ve been sent two of them, and H took to them immediately.

glitterbelle books

Glitterbelle is a sparkly glittery princess, and H loved the books straight away – while Glitterbelle isn’t too girly and has some attitude, she does a lot of normal stuff. We were sent ‘Glitterbelle Me and You’ which for a five year old is possibly the best thing ever – it’s a diary with fields that need to be filled in. For H there are all kinds of things, wishes, dreams, what you want to be when you grow up, secrets, best friends, loves, favourites and more. Every night when we get in from school she sneaks into a corner with a pencil and fills in things in her Glitterbelle book – which is top secret! We’ve been told we may be allowed to see what she’s written, but it’s a diary and I’m being very good and respecting her privacy.

glitterbelle diary

In turn, she’s been writing things down in each section. Okay, I had to have a little peep just to make sure she had, but also to see exactly what is asked in there. She loves that it’s ‘her’ little book of secrets where she can write what she wants, and I love how it’s adding to her creative side.

The other book we received was Glitterbelle Dazzling Dress Up, which is lots of stickers you can decorate and dress up Glitterbelle and her friends with – again, perfect for H when she wants to get creative. There are also 30 nail stickers included which are saved for half term.

Glitterbelle sticker book

Parragon has a Glitterbelle mini-site, as well as a free e-book you can download when you enter a code from the main story books. While I’m not a fan of girly princess things, this sits nicely in between – normal things that appeal to young girls without being too princessy.

The Glitterbelle books are targeted at 5-8 year olds. The mini site can be found here.

We received both copies for the purpose of review. All opinions are our own. 

On The Table in 30 Minutes – Baking

I’m very short on time daily. Since going back to work five days a week I’m missing my day off to get things done – one of those being baking. On The Table in 30 Minutes – Baking is a new book I’ve been sent as part of the Parragon Book Buddies group I’m in – which suits me perfectly due to the aforementioned lack of time!

On the Table in 30 minutes - baking

On The Table in 30 Minutes – Baking has sixty super speedy recipes. H and I looked through the book with plenty of ‘oooh’ and ‘aaaah’ and ‘mmmm!’ kind of noises until we agreed on what we’d like to bake. I changed my mind when I bought blueberries earlier today – our recipe of choice was to make blueberry scones.

I’d never thought about making them before – and we eat a lot of blueberries too and have enjoyed making scones in the past. I know they’re quite easy to make, so thought it’d be a good place to start. You need –
250g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
85g butter (chilled)
70g golden caster sugar
115g blueberries
1 egg
100ml buttermilk
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp demerara sugar

Grease a baking tray. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the butter and get the mixture to a breadcrumb like-consistency. Stir in the caster sugar and blueberries. Beat the egg and buttermilk and add that. Roll mixture into a ball (mine was pretty wet so I added more flour). Knead gently and shape into an 18cm round. Cut into eight slices and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes.


baking at home

H enjoyed making these as it involved mess and she got to wear a pinny. I didn’t get to take photos as they involved mess. I like On The Table in 30 Minutes – Baking because it tells me what to do and breaks it up into small sections so I don’t get distracted.

Blueberry Scones

So how long did it take? I would say a little over 30 minutes – but mainly due to having H read the ingredients out to me, and help me count them on our scales. Once everything was measured it was pretty quick from there. I can see On The Table in 30 Minutes – Baking being a book we’ll get a lot of use from – for the speed of the recipes and the variety in there. The recipes are broken into sections – Quick Cookies, Speedy Small Bakes, Fast Family Cakes and Bars, Presto Pastries and Desserts, plus lots of useful information at the back of the book, and plenty of delicious looking photos which inspire you to give it a try.

We’ve actually tried a few more recipes since I wrote this – all with great success!

I received my copy of On The Table in 30 Minutes – Baking for the purpose of review – all opinions are my own.

The Camping Cookbook

The Camping Cookbook is the latest book we’ve received from Parragon’s Love Food range.

The Camping Cookbook

The Camping Cookbook has over 70 recipes which are designed to be cooked when you go camping.

That’s our first stumbling block – with my back camping has been something we haven’t considered at all. Actually, next year I fully intend to do a festival – maybe Camp Bestival if I can get my act together (there was no way we could do it this year). My previous camping experiences have been the Reading Festival, so I’m no stranger to doing it – I just haven’t with a child.

Which is where this book comes in handy – Spicy Fried Eggs? It doesn’t look too tricky, though you need the right ingredients – whereas Campfire Quesadillas are fabulously simple and straightforward. If you want to get a bit more adventurous, how about Parsnip & Potato Rosti? Oh, and don’t rule out desserts either – Crunchy Ginger Apples have already caught my eye.

The Camping Cookbook - Campfire Quesadillas

All the recipes I’ve looked at involve a frying pan and gas stove – camping essentials which you’ll have anyway – they don’t take long and they’re that bit more adventurous than plain old fried egg with beans on toast. I have never made S’Mores, but looking at the Banana and Dark Chocolate S’mores recipe, I think even I could do it… that’s the beauty of this book – the recipes are nice and easy to try.

Would I use these for a festival? The more basic recipes, definitely. Would I use these if I was camping somewhere on a proper campsite? Definitely.

I love the shape of the book -plus it is packed with tons of ideas for breakfasts, mains, sides and desserts which is going to inspire me most of all. There is also guidance on meal planning, as well as camping advice such as essential equipment and where to pitch your tent. I know this is a book I’ll be turning to next year anyway!

The Camping Cookbook is available now!

We were sent The Camping Cookbook for the purpose of review as part of the Parragon Book Buddies group – all opinions are our own.

The Hueys in None the Number by Oliver Jeffers

Two things – we LOVE Oliver Jeffers books, and we LOVE The Hueys series too. H likes them as her grandad in Australia is nicknamed Huey, so while the story is nothing to do with him, it’s a memory, an association. The newest book The Hueys in None the Number is a slight change to the usual story.

The Hueys in None the Number

The Hueys in None the Number is a Counting Adventure by Oliver Jeffers, the third in the Hueys series from Harper-Collins Kids.

‘the thing about the Hueys was that they loved numbers: 0, 1, 2, 3…. Wait! Is ‘none’ a number?’
Which is the basis for this story. See, we are all taught the numbers starting from 1, but when it comes to ‘none’, what exactly is it? It’s a counting conundrum, that’s what!

In true Oliver Jeffers fashion, The Hueys in None the Number is something you work out for yourself – and at the end of the book there’s a little bit on what ‘none’ actually is. In the meantime, throughout the book there’s plenty of examples of what numbers are – ‘but when you take them all away…. you get NONE.’ There is less story for this one, but it provokes a lot of thinking which I think is a good thing now H is reading fluently at school.

The Hueys in None the Number

H enjoys reading this one – another she’ll happily take away and read in her head. I asked if I could read it to her, and she said she’d prefer if I read it in my head! Fair enough. I’ve caught her a few times reading it, and have now asked the question ‘is ‘none’ a number?’

She says no. I think we’ll be reading the book together again, and the discussion will probably continue into the night! It’s a good discussion point – especially as she’s doing a lot more thinking with numeracy as she heads into Year 1.

The Hueys in None the Number is available now from all good booksellers.

We were sent our copy for the purpose of review – all opinions are our own and honest. The link is an affiliate one.

Little Miss Hug

Little Miss Hug is the latest book in the popular series of books from Roger Hargreaves and launches today, May 8th 2014!

Little Miss Hug

Little Miss Hug is the 35th book in the Little Miss series, coming from the Hargreaves family. Adam Hargreaves continues to keep the series going, and this is the latest addition. I grew up with the Mr Men books, and I love that H enjoys reading them too.

The story is a nice simple one. Little Miss Hug likes giving perfect hugs out to her friends. No hug is too difficult, especially when you’ve a wide variety of friends – she can hug them all. One friend isn’t the easiest person to hug, however, so you’re left to read how Little Miss Hug tackles it… I won’t spoil it!

Reading Little Miss Hug

It’s a pleasant story with a nice message. For H as a competent reader it’s perfect for her reading skills – she read the book without any struggles, and there are no tricky words.

Adam Hargreaves said: “I grew up with the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters and I love creating new characters that children will love and identify with, just like I did when I was a boy.”

He continues: “I really enjoyed creating Little Miss Hug; she brings an important and fun character trait with her to the family of Mr Men and Little Miss and I think she’s going to fit right in.”

For the first time ever, to coincide with the launch of a Mr. Men and Little Miss character, an AR app for Little Miss Hug will be available for free download from Android and IOS from the 8th May. The app will interact with both the Little Miss Hug book cover, as well as pages in the Mr Men and Little Miss magazine. It will see Little Miss Hug brought to life in 3D form and the app will also allow users to take pictures of themselves hugging Little Miss Hug. The app will also feature a fun video story and  interactive game.

The book is available now from Egmont Books, and costs just £2.99.

We were sent a copy of the book for the purpose of review, all opinins are our own. The link is an affiliate one.