I requested and received copies of these free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. All views and opinions are my own.
A trio of treats for younger readers – reviewing some of the early chapter books I’ve read recently.
Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue by Paula Harrison, illustrated by Jenny Løvlie
Paula Harrison is already a firm favourite with young, early chapter book readers and this first venture into the highly illustrated versions is likely to be just as popular as her Secret Rescuers and Rescue Princess series are.
This new series retains the animal theme, this time with cats. Kitty is a young superhero, following in her mum’s footsteps, with cat-like super powers – agility, speed, night vision.
In her first adventure, we see Kitty discover her super powers, meet her feline friends and overcome her fears to save the day.
With simply written text and lots of gorgeous high contrast, orange, black and white illustrations this will be an appealing book for those just starting to build their confidence with more independent reading.
Between a group of cats with very different personalities, family life and superhero escapades there’s a good mix of interests covered which will appeal to this age group – familiar enough to feel safe but exciting enough to add a bit of adventure.
Purr-fect (see what I did there?!) for fans of Isadora Moon, I can see this series really taking off.
Kevin’s Great Escape by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre
I was a huge fan of the first Kevin book so I was super excited to receive a copy of book two, which I loved just as much!
Here we rejoin biscuit-loving roly-poly-flying-pony Kevin, best friend Max and his sister Daisy as Daisy’s favourite pop star Misty Twiglet (what a name!) moves into the area with her manager on the lookout for exotic pets for her mansion’s garden.
Of course, a flying pony would make an excellent addition to the collection but all is not as it seems and Kevin soon finds himself kidnapped!
There’s plenty of humour, as you’d expect, and a host of well-executed and exaggerated characters that stop just short of becoming caricatures – from cruel and cold-hearted music mogul Baz to hired heavyweight Lumphammer, to Misty Twiglet herself, the pop sensation (who “dresses like a posh cobweb” – I love this!) to goth teen superfan Daisy! Not to mention all the other creatures imprisoned alongside Kevin…
…and BEYONCE AND NEVILLE ARE BACK and playing their daring parts in Kevin’s rescue!
This is loads of fun, with fun poked at the characters lovingly, and relationships between Max and Kevin, as well as between Max and Daisy, drawn with warmth.
There’s a great balance found between the hectic, hare-brained hustle and bustle of adventure and the feel good family factor.
Just as good as book one, this is another brilliantly daft, fast-paced adventure that’s guaranteed to have you giggling.
Jasper and Scruff by Nicola Colton
Jasper is cultured, well read and fed, and enjoys the finer things in life, which is why he’s hoping to be invited to join illustrious and exclusive members club The Sophisticats by impressing them at dinner. After all, it’s important to have the right friends too.
Everything is ready for a perfect evening, until Scruff makes an appearance while Jasper’s out shopping for supplies.
In a take on the classic theme, Scruff is everythibg Jasper’s not – a dig fir a start, and a hairy, slobbery, all-over-the-place mess of one at that. He’s also enthusiastic, friendly and persistent.
He takes a shine to Jasper and despite Jasper’s best efforts to dissuade him (cue funny games of fetch and hide and seek) turns up at Jasper’s just in time to cause chaos at the Sophisticats dinner party.
At first Jasper panics, but as his guests become increasingly rude, he starts to realise just what makes a good friend and who the right friend for him might be.
It’s a sweet message that’s balanced by mishaps and mess making for a fun and lively text and even livelier illustrations that will both engage and encourage newly independent readers.
This first book sets the scene brilliantly for countless adventures from this unlikely and very funny duo, and I look forward to seeing what madcap mishaps they get involved in next!