Dixie O’Day – The Great Diamond Robbery by Shirley Hughes & Clara Vulliamy

This is the second of the Dixie O’Day books that I have read with Pippa at bedtime (see earlier review of ‘In the Fast Lane’). Dixie O’Day: In the Fast Lane by Shirley Hughes and Clara Vulliamy 

Once again it is an early chapter book for developing readers with lots of illustrations on every page. The characters of Dixie and Percy are very appealing depicted and Pippa loved looking at the little details in the pictures as we read.

In this story, our hero Dixie, accompanied by his sidekick Percy, take a little holiday to the seaside, where instead of relaxing, become heroes and also investigate a robbery in their hotel.

It is an appealing story which evolves at a good pace. We usually read one or two chapters at each bedtime and we were both keen to read each night to find out what adventures Dixie and Percy would have.

Pippa said she liked it when they helped the man (when they became heroes) and how they found the treasure. She liked the characters again and the book is a really good length to retain her interest.

Once again, we would definitely recommend this Dixie O’Day story.

Shifty McGifty & Slippery Sam: Up, Up and Away by Tracey Corderoy & Steven Lenton

Pippa and I really enjoyed the first Shifty and Sam book and I spotted the second chapter book on the ‘New Books’ shelf in the library just before we finished the first one, so immediately picked it up! 

Once again the book follows the adventures of the baking, mystery solving duo of dogs – Shifty and Sam. This particular book contains 3 stories – the title story plus two others. Once again each story is split in to 4 chapters and we read at least 2 per night. The fabulous illustrations by Steven Lenton are again in 3 colours (greeny/blue as the main colour this time rather than orange in the previous book) and really add detail to the story – Pippa found some of the images very funny! 

Pippa said she liked this book just as much as the first one and that her favourite story was the first one – Up, up and away as she liked the race in it and the fact Red Rocket (the ‘baddy’) couldn’t get them (spoiler!) as they flew away. She really likes all the gadgets the bakemobile has and was telling Henry about them the next day. 

We borrowed both of these books from the library and they have been bedtime reading hits with Pippa. Both are now on her Amazon wish list and as well as us reading them again to her, I can see that as she progresses with her reading skills, I am sure she will thoroughly enjoy reading them again for herself. 

A few days ago, just before starting to write this this review, I was able to give Pippa some very exciting news – Steven Lenton posted a picture on Twitter of a book cover: Shifty McGifty & Slippery Sam, Jingle Bells!  Out this winter! 

Guess what Pippa has already asked to be put on her Christmas list…

The Jolly Rogers and The Ghostly Galleon by Jonny Duddle

Henry loves pirates so this was a great choice for a bedtime story for him! 

The story features Matilda whose best friend Jim is a pirate and together they need to retrieve some stolen booty and defeat the crew of the Black Rat. It is a great pirate adventure with lots of classic piratey references! The characters are lots of fun and the events keep you wanting to read each night. 

The chapters are a good length to read one or two per night and there are lots of illustrations to complement the story. 

This early chapter book is based on the characters from the picture book ‘The Pirates Next Door’. We have not read the picture book but it made no difference to our enjoyment of this story. There are a couple of other early chapter books available featuring Matilda and Jim and their further adventures. 

Henry really liked the characters and was keen to keep reading each night so definitely a winner with him. We will be reading the other Jolly Roger books I’m sure! 

Mud Puddle Farm stories by Michael Morpurgo

Michael Morpurgo has written many amazing stories for older children, many of them featuring animals. This however, is a collection of short stories for younger children and was recommended by a teacher friend for us to read with Pippa at bedtime. 

The book contains 6 stories featuring Farmer Raffety and the animals of Mud Puddle Farm. There are lots of illustrations throughout by Shoo Rayner and these are often very comical and likeable and add to the story. 

The stories are told in part in speech by the characters which lends itself greatly to reading different voices adding to the fun! Pippa thought lots of the characters were funny and especially liked Pintsize the piglet. 

Each story is split between 5 and 9 chapters of varying lengths so it is not always easy to say just one a day!  We often went by the number of pages we had read and a story took us a couple of bedtime reading sessions to read. 

Overall, these stories were lots of fun and enjoyed by us both and great for bedtime reading. 

Shifty McGifty & Slippery Sam – The Spooky School by Tracey Corderoy & Steven Lenton

After reading and enjoying Tracey Corderoy’s Hubble Bubble books, I spotted this on the shelf in the library so picked it up to read with Pippa. 

The book is about 2 dogs – Shifty and Sam who, as well as being bakers, solve mysteries and crimes with the help of inventive baking gadgets from their ‘Bakemobile’. 

There are 3 different stories in the book, each split in to 4 chapters. It is easy to read either 2 chapters for a short bedtime reading session or a whole story in one night. There are fabulous detailed 3 colour illustrations on every page which are ideal in an early chapter book. 

This was a lot of fun to share with Pippa, the characters are lovable and the events caused us lots of laughs with Pippa oohing and predicting what the ‘baddy’ might get up to. 

When I asked Pippa what she had enjoyed, she said she liked it when they caught the robbers because they used cakes and it was a happy ending. She likes both characters because they are funny. 

After finishing this story I looked up other Shifty books and found out that, like the Hubble Bubble series, the first few are picture books and set the scene in which Shifty and Sam stop being burglars as they are better at baking cakes! 

When discussing the story with Henry and daddy, we remembered that one of the children had, earlier in the school year, brought home the first book from the school library! 

The Spooky School is the first of the Shifty and Sam early chapter style books, with currently only one other available – Shifty McGifty & Slippery Sam – Up, Up and Away. 

Guess what we found in the library and started tonight! 

Review to follow soon…

Hubble Bubble series by Tracey Corderoy

Pippa originally introduced us to the world of Granny Trouble (or Granny Bubble as she calls her!) when she chose to spend her World Book Day voucher on ‘Hubble Bubble, Messy Monkey Business. This was pretty much initially based on the fact it has monkeys on the front cover and Pippa loves monkeys! We did read the blurb to her and she liked the idea of a Granny who gets up to mischief! 

This book (and the entire series) is about a girl called Pandora whose Granny is (whisper it) a witch. Together they have lots of fun when Granny’s spells don’t always go to plan! Granny Trouble’s magic is often used to ‘help’ in situations with funny consequences for Pandora and her friends. 

After Messy Monkey Business we managed to find two more at the town library – Wacky Winter Wonderland and Super Spooky Fright Night. All 3 were beginner chapter books with lovely 3 colour illustrations on each page. There were 2 or 3 stories in each book, split into usually 4 shorter chapters. Pippa and I found 2 chapters was a good length for bedtime although occasionally we read a whole story. 

Pippa really enjoyed these books, she sustained her concentration well and liked that there were lots of pictures too. The stories are amusing and the characters likeable. Pippa really liked it that Granny made magical things happen, especially if they went a bit wrong! 

Our bedtime story today was another of the Hubble Bubble series – this time ‘Spells a Popping, Granny’s shopping’. I hadn’t read the details properly when ordering this one (Pippa just chose the picture of the one she would like) so was quite surprised to see it is a picture book.

This made no difference to Pippa, the characters were the same and Granny caused all sorts of mischief in the supermarket so she was really happy. The fact monkeys featured was a bonus! It was a rhyming book and easy to read in one sitting. I actually liked the fact it was a slightly different style to the previous 3 we had read. An added bonus was that due to it being a picture book, Pippa was really enthusiastic about being able to have a go at reading it herself tomorrow. 

After reading it, I did a bit of research on others in the series and it seems as though this is one of the earlier books which was a picture book format and there are a couple of other picture books too. With those and the other chapter books yet to read, we still have a lot more Granny Trouble to look forward to at bedtime! 

Dixie O’Day: In the Fast Lane by Shirley Hughes and Clara Vulliamy 

We have read and enjoyed many of Shirley Hughes’ picture books so when we spotted this book in the library we were very keen to have a read! 

It is an early chapter book targeted for developing readers with lots of illustrations on every page. This makes it a perfect bedtime book for Pippa who can struggle to keep her concentration to listen to large blocks of text. 

The story features our hero Dixie and his sidekick Percy. They are extremely likeable characters and in this book they feature in a wacky races style car race complete with a ‘Penelope Pitstop’ type baddie to add to the mischief. 

The chapters are a good length to read one or two per bedtime and each often has a cliffhanger which kept us both keen to read on. 

A great fun read, we shall be looking out for more Dixie O’Day adventures.