books

Spotlight On: Secret Santa Claus Club – Jeff Janke

Secret Santa Claus Club is a book about a little girl looking back at each Christmas and remembering the magic of the holiday. Toward the end of the book, she starts to doubt Santa Claus, but she isn’t ready to learn the truth just yet. The next year she’s ready to know, and her parents invite her to be part of the Secret Santa Claus Club. She learns that even though Santa Claus isn’t a real person, the magic of Christmas still exists through giving and creating magic. She realizes that her parents were Santa Claus the whole time, and how much work they did to make her holiday special. The very end of the book has rules of the Club, which include keeping the secret and helping spread the magic to believers. 

Jeff Janke is a single dad who considers himself more of a problem solver than an author. When his daughter started questioning Santa, he wrote a book to help guide her from a world of believing in Santa to a community of truly becoming Santa. When his daughter wanted to invite other friends into the club (after they learned the secret), and after lots of encouragement from friends and family who have faced the same dilemma, he decided to publish Secret Santa Claus Club to help other parents and children too!

Visit Jeff at his website Instagram

Buy a copy for Christmas – Amazon US

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Inglestone Manor – S S Saywack

It’s 1944 and the war, it seems will never end. 

When Lizzy, her brother and sister, are evacuated to the village of Inglestone, they find their new home strange. 

Under the shadow of the ruined Inglestone Manor, they meet Dorothy Inglestone, the last of her line, and the ever-watchful Mr and Mrs Gains. When they are told of a treasure hidden in a ruin manor, they can’t resist trying to find it. 

In their hunt, they come across a strange boy roaming the ruins. 

Not only is he wanted by the police, but he is also wanted by the Gains. Can the Allens keep a secret and not betray the boy? Before long, their loyalties will be tested. Buy Links

Originally from Guyana, a country in South America, S S Saywack came to London with his family in 1962. Educated in North London, he studied information graphics at a London college and then worked as a graphic designer for many years. He later changed careers and became a teacher at a sixth-form college in East London. Taking early retirement, he turned to a third career, being an author.  

With a love for reading and history in general, he wrote his first novel that became the Mary Finch Series (four books for older children set in the fictional world of Sherlock Holmes and an additional chapter book to make five in total) and that was swiftly followed by Inglestone Manor. 

His current writing scurries between children’s fiction and adult detective fiction.

To find out more about S S Saywack, you can visit his website, or find him on Facebook.

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My thoughts: this was a great wartime kids book, all about trust, friendship and kindness, with a mystery at its heart. While hunting through Inglestone Manor for a treasure supposedly hidden there, the children meet another boy hiding in the grounds.

Keeping his secret and protecting him is important to their friendship. But with police circling and a war on, should they be hiding a wanted person?

For all I don’t enjoy wartime set books, that’s just an excuse for this clever book to get all the characters in one place, and the adventure plot is a lot of fun to read. I’d be passing this on to any young readers I know who like mystery, adventure and stories about friendship.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: The Girl, The Ghost and the Lost Name – Reece Carter

If my hair looks like bright green seaweed, it’s because that’s exactly what it is. My eyes, a pair of abalone shells, polished blue by sand. Teeth, two rows of pebbles. And my skin is made of wax.

Corpse never asked to be a kid ghost. She doesn’t remember anything from her life – all she knows is her home on the rock-that-doesn’t-exist, her friend Simon the spider, and the vile Witches whose magic she steals.

So, when she discovers that there’s a powerful treasure which could give her all the answers to what she’s lost – her memories, her family, her name – Corpse sets off to find it. On her journey across the stormy sea, she must battle magic, sea monsters and a cruel figure from her past. But the Witches want the treasure too. And they’ll do anything to get it first.

A deliciously dark adventure, packed with chills, fizzing with magic and introducing a truly unforgettable heroine.

Reece Carter is a high-profile Australian nutritionist who has written two non-fiction books for adults, appeared on many of Australian’s major television networks, and written for magazines like GQ. He grew up in rural Western Australia and now lives in Sydney. He has always wanted to write for children and The Girl, the Ghost and the Lost Name is his first novel, perfect for fans of Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman.

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My thoughts: this was a sweet, if somewhat sad, story of a ghost with no memory, a spider chum and three monstrous Witches who are chasing the same treasure – an item that could give Corpse the answers to their past. As Corpse and Simon the spider set off a dangerous adventure, you hope they’ll be OK and get some answers. But there’s always those awful Witches on their tail.

There’s a bit of magic in the story, it’s charming and Corpse is a resourceful protagonist, gently narrating their afterlife, their determination not to fade away and to find out who they were in life.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: The Intra-Earth Chronicles Book One: The Two Sisters – Kara Jacobson

In the year 2444, two noble sisters, Sasha (15) and Adrianne (11), have survived a nuclear fallout, only to be torn apart.

The ground splits open and Adrianne is thrown from her horse, plummeting into the ravine. Spurned on by the hope that Adrianne lives, Sasha embarks on a journey through the desert to face the ravine that claimed her only sister. Meanwhile, deep within the earth, Adrianne is running for her life. She took something that did not belong to her.

In The Intra-Earth Chronicles; Book I: The Two Sisters by Kara Jacobson we experience a fast-paced fantasy adventure woven within the earth, and the unshakeable bond between two sisters.

Publisher: Atmosphere Press Available on Amazon

Kara Jacobson resides in the beautiful, rolling hills of Red Wing, MN with her husband and young son, Logan. She and her husband both work at the local hospital, where they first met. Born with an insatiable appetite for science fiction, Kara has always been intrigued with the notion of entire civilizations existing within the earth. She was a New Media Film Festival (2021) nominee for The Intra-Earth Chronicles, Book I: The Two Sisters.

Kara Jacobson

Giveaway: 5 signed copies of The Intra-Earth Chronicles; Book I: The Two Sisters to give away, and two $25 Visa Gift Cards!

My thoughts: this is a fun adventure for 8-12 year old readers, featuring two sisters fighting against the odds to find one another in a post-apocalyptic future.

Adrienne has fallen into a world beneath the Earth’s crust and is held prisoner, things are very different where she’s ended up and she struggles to escape their hold.

Her sister Sasha is racing towards her, confronted with dangers at every turn but determined to save the only person she has left. Sparky and brave, these sisters share a strong bond. Both will learn a lot about themselves in their adventures.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Dread Wood – Jennifer Killick

Turn the lights on. Lock the door. Things are about to get SERIOUSLY SCARY!

The brand new must-read middle-grade novel from the author of super-spooky Crater Lake. Perfect for 9+ fans of R.L.Stine’s Goosebumps

It’s basically the worst school detention ever. When classmates (but not mate-mates) Hallie, Angelo, Gustav and Naira are forced to come to school on a SATURDAY, they think things can’t get much worse. But they’re wrong. Things are about to get seriously scary.

What has dragged their teacher underground? Why do the creepy caretakers keeping humming the tune to Itsy Bitsy Spider? And what horrors lurk in the shadows, getting stronger and meaner every minute…? Cut off from help and in danger each time they touch the ground, the gang’s only hope is to work together. But it’s no coincidence that they’re all there on detention. Someone has been watching and plotting and is out for revenge…

Amazon Goodreads 

Jennifer Killick is the author of Crater Lake, the Alex Sparrow series, and middle-grade sci-fi adventure Mo, Lottie and the Junkers. She regularly visits schools and festivals, and her books have three times been selected for The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge. She lives in Uxbridge, in a house full of children, animals and Lego. When she isn’t busy mothering or step-mothering (which isn’t often) she loves to read, write and run, as fast as she can.

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My thoughts: The Breakfast Club is one of my favourite films, with its group of misfits thrown together for a Saturday detention – something my school thankfully didn’t have. But Dread Wood school does, and this might be the worst detention ever because there’s something lurking in the grounds of the school and it’s hungry.

I should also state I am massively arachnophobic and reading this book freaked me out – a lot. If spiders aren’t your jam, don’t read this just before bed.

Angelo, Hallie, Gus and Naira are thrown together but they combine their individual smarts and talents as a group to fight back against those who want to hurt them and save the day, if not the school, but who hasn’t wanted to blow up at least one part of their school?

The first in a new series featuring this intrepid gang – The Loser Club – as Gus dubs them, it’s funny, smart and a bit creepy. There’s also bonus points for positive disability rep and diversity – no one is negative about the differences between them, which is great to see. And the gang do learn their lesson – they didn’t need to be menaced by monsters and crazed scientists to learn it either. Which bodes well for the rest of the series. Can’t wait.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: My Brother is a Werewolf – Ray A. Price, illustrated by Sam Aston

mybrotherisawerewolf-copy

Welcome to the mini tour for the first book in a new series called My Brother is a Werewolf by Ray A. Price and illustrated by Sam Aston. Read on for more details!

Cover

My Brother is a Werewolf

Publication Date: December 21st, 2021

Genre: Children’s Books

Brie wanted a puppy. But what she got was a younger brother. Accidentally turning her 5 year old brother into a werewolf is the biggest mistake of her life. But she will do anything to fix him because cleaning up werewolf poop is as bad as you think it is.

My Brother is a Werewolf is a fully colored picture book geared towards children ages 5 and up. This is the first book in an ongoing series with characters from this universe. My Brother is a Werewolf is the starting point for the series. This and the following books all take place in a connected universe full of magic and monsters. Brie is the perfect protagonist to usher in our new universe. The reader gets to explore her dynamic world and learn along with her.

Available on Amazon

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About the Author

Ray A. Price is the author of My Brother is a Werewolf. He is an author for children’s books, short stories, and comics. Ray started his interest with children’s stories when he used to read to his daughters’ elementary classes as a guest parent speaker. After many visits to her classes and dozens of cookies donated in each visit, his little girl gave him the idea to write his own children’s book. With that in mind, Ray sat down and began writing with his heart to create a story dedicated to her. Build with Bricks was Ray’s first self published children’s story in 2020.

Ray has many other achievements that he is very proud of. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master degree in fraud and forensic. He is a full time fraud investigator. During his studies, he did plenty of playwriting. Ray found his passion for writing when he wrote short stories in middle school.

When Ray is not thinking of new ideas for his next story, he likes to be family oriented. Ray likes to travel and sample new restaurants with his family. He loves playing video games and discovering new television shows. When the weather is nice, he loves taking his English Bulldog on walks. Ray listens to various podcasts daily and loves reading comics.

You can find Ray on Twitter @RaymondAPrice

About the Illustrator

Sam Aston is the illustrator for My Brother is a Werewolf. Sam is a tattoo artist based in the UK. She has been a licensed tattoo artist for the past 3 years in which her main focus has been creating full color pop culture tattoos as well as blackwork and watercolor pieces. When Sam is not tattooing, one of her main hobbies is playing video games which inspires her designs and merchandise. Otherwise you’ll find her watching horror movies!

Her artwork can vary from cute, colorful and cartoony to black and gray realism, so she tries to switch it up sometimes! This has allowed her to be versatile when working with others to create commissioned pieces such as digital artwork, t-shirt designs, and more recently book illustrations.

You can find Sam’s tattoos and designs over on her Instagram and at BigCartel

mybrotherisawerewolf-copy

Mini Tour Schedule

February 14th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

February 15th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

Books + Coffee = Happiness (Spotlight) https://bookscoffeehappiness.com/

February 16th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

February 17th

I Smell Sheep (Spotlight) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

February 18th

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

Mini Tour Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours

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Blog Tour: The Beast & the Bethany 2 – Revenge of the Beast – Jack Meggitt-Phillips, illustrated by Isabelle Follath

Lemony Snicket meets Roald Dahl in this riotously funny, deliciously macabre, and highly illustrated sequel to The Beast and the Bethany in which Bethany and Ebenezer try to turn over a new leaf, only to have someone—or something—thwart them at every turn.

Once upon a very badly behaved time, 511-year-old Ebenezer kept a beast in his attic. He would feed the beast all manner of objects and creatures and in return the beast would vomit him up expensive presents. But then the Bethany arrived.

Now notorious prankster Bethany, along with her new feathery friend Claudette, is determined that she and Ebenezer are going to de-beast their lives and Do Good. But Bethany finds that being a former prankster makes it hard to get taken on for voluntary work. And Ebenezer secretly misses the beast’s vomity gifts. And neither of them are all that sure what “good people” do anyway.

Then there’s Claudette, who’s not been feeling herself recently. Has she eaten something that has disagreed with her?

Amazon Goodreads

Jack Meggitt-Phillips is an author, scriptwriter, and playwright whose work has been performed at The Roundhouse and featured on Radio 4. He is scriptwriter and presenter of The History of Advertising podcast. In his mind, Jack is an enormously talented ballroom dancer, however his enthusiasm far surpasses his actual talent. Jack lives in north London where he spends most of his time drinking peculiar teas and reading P.G. Wodehouse novels.

My thoughts: book one was very funny so I had high hopes for this beastly second outing, and it paid off. After Claudette ate the Beast, Ebenezer and Bethany are trying to Do Good. It’s not exactly going well, and Claudette is decidedly off colour too.

With the Patrick Extravaganza at risk, and things going from bad to worse – it can only mean one thing – the Beast is back!

This book made me laugh, it’s very silly and there’s going to be more crazy Beast related nonsense in a third book. I know I’m not the intended audience but books don’t come with an age limit, so if you don’t have a younger person to get this for, get it for yourself.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Finn & Fred’s Arctic Adventure – Jocelyn Porter, illustrated by Leo Brown

“My bus takes off with a sonic boom, straight through the wall and out of my room…”
Finn and Fred Octopus are off on a magical adventure to the Arctic. They meet a kindly seal, a hungry polar bear and an angry walrus. The whales sing to Finn, and Finn arrives home with an important message to share…

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Publisher

Jocelyn’s writing career began when she was asked to write a story for a preschool
magazine. That story was the first of many. Jocelyn became the writer/editor of several preschool magazines and continued in that role for 15 years. Writing one new story every month, plus rhymes
and activities was a tough gig, but very exhilarating. Time is the big difference between writing for a magazine and writing a book. You see your work on the supermarket shelves within a few weeks of completion. A book takes longer – a lot longer. Jocelyn has to be patient now – not something she’s good at. Before becoming a writer, Jocelyn worked in higher education as International Students
Officer. It was a rewarding and interesting job even though she was on call 24/7. Jocelyn also trained as a counsellor and volunteered at drop-in centres. She never knew who would arrive for counselling
and had to be prepared for anything. This work gave her insight into some of the darker corners of life. Motor sport was one of Jocelyn’s early loves, she had the spine-tingling thrill of taking part in a
24-hour national rally as navigator – those were the days when rallies were held on public roads!
Jocelyn worked as an au pair in Paris in her teens. Having visited the city on a school trip, she fell in love with it, and always wanted to return. Jocelyn’s first book published by Full Media is The King
Who Didn’t Like Snow, illustrated by Michael S Kane. Finn and Fred’s Arctic Adventure is her second book under Full Media and is illustrated by Leo Brown.
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My thoughts: this is a lovely colourful adventure story with a serious message about caring for the planet. Finn and his cuddly octopus pal Fred go on a magical trip to meet the animals of the Arctic. As well as making new friends they learn about the melting polar ice and the fact that there’s less food available for their new pals. Finn heads home and the next day at school talks to all his classmates about how to do more for the environment.

As well as being a lovely book for young readers, this also raises money for the Cornish Seal Sanctuary – 100% if bought direct from the sanctuary and 10% when purchased anywhere else.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: The Renegade Spy Project – Terri Selting David

Wren is impulsive, curious, and always in trouble. Can her flaws become her greatest asset?

Wren Sterling has a problem. She knows she’s super smart and a good friend, but no matter how hard she tries, she can’t shake her reputation as a troublemaker. It feels like the only people who believe in her are her three best friends in the Renegade Girls Tinkering Club. She’d hoped middle school would be different, but when her inability to control her temper causes an accident, even her beloved STEM Club is no longer a safe haven.

She has to find a way to fix it. When her idea to start a business inventing and selling spy gadgets succeeds, it looks like she’s finally done something right! But then the Club is accused of a crime. Can they use their own gadgets, and a little bit of trouble to solve the mystery? If they can find the real culprit, Wren may just discover she has a bright future after all. If they can’t, she could lose her best friends forever.

“It’s The Babysitter’s Club meets MacGyver!”

Build your own SPY GADGETS! Instructions included in this charming story about friendship, middle school, and the Engineering Design Process for kids ages 8-12.

Add to Goodreads Available on Amazon

Excerpt
Technically it was Wren’s Greenhouse, hidden behind her family's small home in the middle of San Francisco, but all the Renegades felt at home there. In the Greenhouse, they didn't have to worry about other people's rules and opinions. Or try to be boring or be like everyone else. The Greenhouse was their safe space. They could just be themselves. Wren's parents let them use it as their workshop and clubhouse as long as her little sister, Trixie, could be part of the club.
When they'd formed the Renegade Girls Tinkering Club, the Greenhouse had been abandoned and filled with broken pots and spiderwebs. It was small and dirty, but had everything they needed. A door hidden like a secret behind an overgrown wisteria vine. A back wall with shelves from floor to ceiling, and excellent light from a front wall made entirely of glass. A small but sturdy potting table sat against the windows. It was pleasant and warm, with one electrical outlet and a small work sink. They loved it from the first time they saw it.
Amber, Kammie, Ivy, Wren, and even Trixie had worked tirelessly last summer, cleaning and gathering assorted leftovers, recyclables, and a mishmash of bins to put them in. They categorized and labelled, collected cardboard by cutting down shipping boxes, and saved empty toilet paper rolls from the trash. They snuck random scissors from kitchen drawers, ribbons, buttons, anything that looked useful or had an interesting shape. Amber had borrowed a folding card table from her garage, and Kammie brought in some stools her parents were getting rid of. Wren found an old glue gun, and they had even managed to find an unused sewing machine. The first purchase with their club dues had been copies of the side gate key, so everyone could head directly into the backyard when they came over.
Amber rocketed through that side gate, clutching a cardboard box protectively to her chest with her delicate arms. Beneath a spring green sundress her feet, in their pristine white flats, skipped quickly and skillfully over the ground. The September afternoon sun lit up her auburn hair like a fiery halo.

In 1996, Terri left Colorado, where she grew up, and headed even more West until she couldn’t get any West-er. Landing in San Francisco, her career spanned more than a decade in 3D character animation for video games, films, television shows, and even a comic book (but mostly video games.) Her work encompassed character animation, art direction, and story development before she had children and, imagining a better world for them, co-founded the Renegade Girls Tinkering Club with her friend Vicky in 2015. Since then she’s created over a dozen curricula and assisted in creating half a dozen more, encompassing more than 230 individual projects.

She lives in San Francisco with 2 rowdy children and a fabulous, brilliant husband who brings her tea every night.

Spiderdust Studios – Girls Who Make Stuff

International Giveaway: The Renegade Girls Tinkering Club Trilogy (Digital)

My thoughts: I wish the Renegade Girls Tinkering Club had been around when I was a kid, I liked all the science-y stuff they did, building cool gadgets and learning about circuits and things. My dad’s an engineer and I got quite into that side of science at school.

The book is a lot of fun and there are illustrated guides to building your own cool spy gadgets, and templates to download on the website. There’s also a mystery to solve and one very smart little sister too.

I felt sorry for Wren, it can be really hard when your brain works differently from other people and I didn’t like maths lessons either. But she has great friends and I’m glad she and Amber patched things up, those years just before your teens can be tough and good friends are worth hanging onto as you get older.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: My First Animal Moves – Darryl Edwards

Nathan loves to play, but he loves his video games more.

Can a trip to Animal Moves land convince him there’s more fun outdoors? Best-selling author and speaker Darryl Edwards has created this fun adventure inspired by his passion for encouraging kids to move in an ever-increasing sedentary environment.

MY FIRST ANIMAL MOVES

Discover the joys of animal moves with your little cubs in this first book of movement. Join Nathan and his cute, but sometimes lazy, dog as they crawl, jump and balance their way through the animal kingdom re-enacting moves designed to emphasise fun. It’s all in this exercise for kids book that focuses on family fun boredom busters.

HELPING KIDS MOVE AND GETTING KIDS OFF SCREENS THROUGH FUN ANIMAL PLAY

✓ Do you want to make physical activity for kids fun?

✓ Are you looking for ways to help your children develop strength, coordination and balance?

✓ Do your children love learning about animals?

✓ Are you worried about too much TV and screen time?

✓ Do you want to teach young children about the importance of physical activity?

✓ Would you like easy and fun fitness games to include in your day?

My First Animal Moves is your answer. Play along together, keeping everyone healthier and happier, promoting physical, mental and emotional well-being. You’ll all release more mood-enhancing hormones as a result, which help you feel good every day.

It’s written by professional movement coach and award-winning author Darryl Edwards who is best known for his groundbreaking TED Talk “Why working out isn’t working out“, viewed over a million times worldwide. My First Animal Moves distils the ideas in his bestselling Animal Moves book and Animal Moves Fitness Decks into a colourful picture book for children.

Available on Amazon

Darryl Edwards is a former investment banking technologist turned movement coach and author. He is the founder of the Primal Play Method and a physical activity, health and play researcher.

The Primal Play Method fuses evolutionary biology with the science of physical activity and play psychology.

Darryl wants to inspire humans regardless of age, ability or disability to transform their health by making physical activity fun and engaging.

His work has featured on documentaries, TV, radio, podcasts and international press.

Darryl is author of the best-selling book “Animal Moves” and has released a range of fun fitness cards for adults, juniors, infants, office workers and fitness professionals called the Animal Moves Decks.

He regularly presents as a keynote speaker at events worldwide. His April 2019 TED talk “Why working out isn’t working out”—has now been viewed over a-million times.

Darryl resides in London, England and publishes about playful living at PrimalPlay.com.

Primal Play | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

My thoughts: this is a cute, fun book, which encourages young readers (or the listeners to a grown up) to get up and have a go along with Nathan in trying out animal moves. My little goddaughter will love this, especially if her Daddy (one of our best friends) joins in too. A great way to build storytime into an activity too. Movement is really important and this becomes a lot of fun. It’s a great way to get kids moving and trying new things, it even made us adults laugh, it’s hard to resist having a go!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.