Sarah Hindmarsh is another author I discovered via one of my Fb author groups, as well as knowing her from the world of blogging and by reputation among the Indie Author community. This is the first book of Sarah’s I’ve read and reviewed, mainly due to it being a children’s book, and my reading of such books is dependent on the presence of my young grandson. I might add that he also plays a large part in the eventual review, again depending very much on his reactions and how much he enjoyed it.
Having now read “The Mouse Who Howled at the Moon,” it comes as no surprise to me that this was shortlisted for the SpaSpa Independent Book Awards 2014. Her short stories have also started to achieve recognition with the first of her successful pieces being published in the Loughborough University Press literary journal The Purple Breakfast Review in July 2015. Further publications are imminent.
As well as being an author, Sarah Hindmarsh is also a blogger and book reviewer herself, details of which can be found below.
Further links to Sarah’s writing can be found at:
Sarah’s blog: www.creatingwithkohla.com
The Mouse Who Howled At The Moon
By Sarah Hindmarsh
(Available from Amazon in both eBook & paperback format)
This is a charming and delightful short story for young children, filled with lots of wonderful sounding animal characters – Harvey the grasshopper mouse, Felix the Owl, and a wise old squirrel. The language is simple and appropriate to the younger reader, and easily improvised if needs be if being read by a parent or grandparent.
As well as engaging entertainment value, the author has also managed to weave into the story several educational and social themes but without detracting from the enjoyment value. Being a short story it’s difficult to say too much without giving too much away. What I can say is that it centres on being different and the problems that can bring, while at the same time showing the reader there’s nothing wrong with being different, and that we all have something special about us. I would imagine many a young child will secretly find some reassurance in the underlying morality of this tale, subtly dealing as it does with issues such as bullying, feeling different from your friends, being brave even when you’re just a little bit scared, and caring for your friends, but again, always in a gentle and nice way. Another thing I enjoyed about this book is that it inevitably arouses the curiosity of the young reader or listener, prompting questions about the animal characters, questions which I’m happy to say are answered and elaborated on at the end of the book – although this is a story, a lot of it is based on real animal behaviour so even I at my advanced grandad time of life learnt something new when I read this with my five year old grandson.
My grandson’s verdict – he loved all the different animals and what they got up to, and was full of smiles and grins at the beautifully drawn illustrations that accompany the story.
Further titles by Sarah Hindmarsh: click on thumbnails for Amazon links
I first discovered this author and her books when she joined my indieauthorreview exchange Fb group. Charity Tober has been writing and creating stories for as long as she can remember. She published her first children’s picture book Roly-Poly Monster in 2013 and followed up with Roly-Poly Monster Goes to the Zoo in 2014.
She collaborated on both books with her husband and illustrator Andrew Tober. She based the personality of Roly-Poly Monster after her young son and how he views the world with a sense of wonder and excitement, seeing the fun in every situation. Charity Tober, along with her husband and son, currently resides in Lake Mary, Florida.
Check out the Roly-Poly Monster website at http://www.rolypolymonster.com
“Like” the Roly-Poly Monster Facebook page to get the latest updates: http://www.facebook.com/rolypolymonster
Roly Poly Monster, by Charity Tober
(Available from Amazon in both print and eBook formats)
A charming little book for young children. I read this with my 4 year old grandson, and a fun time was had by all. The dialogue and vocabulary is deliberately kept simple for the younger end of the children’s market but the nature of the writing makes it easy for the reader to improvise and expand on depending on the level of development and vocabulary of the child they’re reading to. Much of the story is interspaced with some some clever and fun rhyming. This isn’t a demanding story or one that will overstretch the younger child’s attention span, but one that will still no doubt thoroughly entertain – a delightful account of a fun day out at the park that any young child will immediately relate to, an absolutely perfect bedtime story for any toddler or young child. The illustrations are also very good, and again, perfectly catered to the younger child. With this is in mind, this is one of those occasions when if reading to a youngster on some sort of electronic device, I’d recommend a tablet of some sort as opposed to a regular Kindle in order to best appreciate the colourful and vibrant illustrations. This is a story that can be read and re-read many times should the reader should the reader want to improvise and add their own input each time. A truly delightful children’s book!
Roly Poly Monster Goes To The Zoo, by Charity Tober
(Available from Amazon in both print and eBook formats)
Just like the author’s previous book, Roly Poly Monster, this is another charming little book for young children, and one that again enthralled my 4 year old grandson. Again, nice simple and appropriate dialogue for a young child. The fun style of writing and rhyming particularly amused my grandson:
“Something fun to do… Going to the zoo…”
Once again the reader is treated to another fun day out that any youngster will immediately relate to, this time a fun trip to the zoo to see all the exciting animals. This is a story that will ignite a child’s imagination with its bright and vibrant illustrations, talk of ice cream and picnics and having fun, not to mention Roly Poly Monster, the fun and friendly monster star of the story. Another great addition to what I hope will be an ongoing series of such books.
This particular review is quite a departure from my usual ones in that it’s of a children’s book.
I chose this particular book for a number of reasons: one, because the author had mentioned on his blog that he would appreciate some reviews of it, but also because I happen to have a four year old grandson who, as the years pass, will be reading progressively more demanding books, and since it’s part of my job to read to him at the moment (it’s in the ‘granddad’ job description title), I’d like to think when he starts choosing and reading his own books, I’ll at least be able to recommend something I think he’ll like, and come the time if he’s anything like me or his dad were, this will definitely be such a book…
Ian Probert is a successful author and journalist, and blogs at: http://ianprobertbooks.wordpress.com/
Johnny Nothing, by Ian Probert (available in both eBook and print formats from Amazon)
Johnny nothing is a book that I think any child (boys mainly) in the nine to thirteen age bracket will really enjoy. It pokes lots of fun at grown ups and all the things we take seriously and think are important, and addresses all the topics that parents might squirm in embarrassment at, but which will have children in fits of giggles and laughter.
It’s basically about a young boy from a very poor background with rotten parents,’ who unexpectedly inherits a million pounds, but as in all good stories there’s a catch; if he can return a year later with even as much as one penny more than the million pounds then he inherits ten times that amount. Needless to say, his less than ideal parents prefer the idea of an immediate spending spree, and Johnny being only twelve, is initially powerless to stop them until… and that’s where the story really picks up.
Written in a very conversational style, the reader almost feels like they’re being ‘read to,’ almost to the point that the young reader will almost forget that they’re the one doing the actual job of reading. The characterisation is nothing less than superb; in a way that only a child of a certain age can do (and the author), every character is hugely exaggerated to the point of comic absurdity. There’s lots of potty humour and playground language that young boys will revel in, and a couple of occasions when the author conspires with the reader in a little naughtiness by writing bleep bleep bleep, something that boys will find very funny, thinking that they’re reading something rude (without actually doing so), and a reference to a competition form in which the reader is asked to write swear words to send to the Prime Minister in order to win a prize. There’s also an amusing running theme telling kids not smoke, not to drink, and finally, not to… rob banks, but all done in a way that’s more likely to make them take notice than any number of serious lectures.
The author also very cleverly explains about sub-plots being like little stories inside bigger ones. What was also very clever about the way this book was written, allowing for the fact the attention spans of younger readers will vary quite a lot, there are lots of obvious but very clever word plays that kids will be both distracted and amused by before returning to the main story, as well as some amusing satire such as when a shop assistant has to call Mumbai just to get permission for Johnny to charge his phone, but has to agree to be put a mailing list, and lastly, some great analogies that readers at the upper end of the target age group are likely to pick up on:
“…like journalists who pursue celebrities on their way to the top…
…like celebrities who pursue journalists on their way to the bottom…”
Although a children’s book, the author does touch on some adult themes, i.e. death, abusive parents, greed, gluttony, and a host of other adult vices, but does so in a way that children will accept without being bothered by; there are definite echoes of Roald Dahl here, but not in a way that tries to emulate him. My only rather minor concern would be for readers outside the UK, where some of the topical references are a bit UK specific and might get slightly lost, but other than that, this really is a first class exceedingly funny book that boys, and I suspect some girls too, will absolutely love from beginning to end, stretching and amusing the imagination in a way that will leave them wanting to read more…
Further Links to some of Ian Probert’s published works: