Sunday, March 14, 2021

Interview With a Tiger & Other Clawed Beasts Too by Andy Seed and Nick East

Interview With a Tiger & Other Clawed Beasts Too by Andy Seed and Nick East

Published November 2020 Welbek


 If you could talk to animals, what would you ask?

'What are your top tips for catching prey, Tiger?'

'How do you help yourself to honey, Honey Badger?'

'Why do you howl, Wolf?

Get familiar with 10 fierce and furry beasts as they step up to the mic and share their habits, behaviour, likes and dislikes, favourite foods, and more. Each animal has its own story to tell... and its own attitude!

In this fun and fact-filled book, bite-sized text in a question-and-answer format is paired with colourful and engaging illustrations throughout, perfect for emerging or reluctant readers, or any young animal enthusiast who enjoys a bit of humour!

Features 'interviews' with a tiger, wolf, honey badger, giant armadillo, lion, jaguar, giant anteater, snow leopard, polar bear, and three-toed sloth. Plus, ideas for how to do your bit to help endangered species and their habitats.

What a great idea this book is, and what better way to find out about an animal…interview them!

At first glance you would be forgiven for thinking that this book was just a bit of fun, and while it most definitely is fun, it also contains actual facts about each animal.

There are ten animals in the book:

  • Bengal Tiger
  • Wolf
  • Giant Anteater
  • Honey Badger
  • Jaguar
  • Polar Bear
  • Lion
  • Giant Armadillo
  • Snow Leopard
  • Three-toed Sloth

Each animal has 4 pages of interview questions, and sprinkled throughout the humorous responses, we get the facts. The Lion for example has not seen the movie The Lion King, but we do learn that lions live in family groups called prides. Or that the tiger tried spots instead of stripes, but they didn’t suit him, and stripes are much better for hiding in long grass.

This book is proof that you can have fun while learning something at the same time.

There is also a ‘How you can help’ section at the back of the book, explaining that some of the animals in the book are endangered, and here’s what we can do to keep them around.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

When the World Was Ours by Liz Kessler

When the World Was Ours by Liz Kessler

February 2021  Simon and Schuster


A powerful and heart-breaking novel about three childhood friends living during the Second World War whose fates are closely intertwined, even when their lives take very different courses. For readers of Private Peaceful, The Book Thief and Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl. 

Three friends. Two sides. One memory. Vienna. 1936. Three young friends - Leo, Elsa and Max - spend a perfect day together, unaware that around them Europe is descending into a growing darkness, and that events soon mean that they will be cruelly ripped apart from each other. With their lives taking them across Europe - to Germany, England, Prague and Poland - will they ever find their way back to each other? Will they want to? 

Inspired by a true story, WHEN THE WORLD WAS OURS is an extraordinary novel that is as powerful as it is heartbreaking, and shows how the bonds of love, family and friendship allow glimmers of hope to flourish, even in the most hopeless of times.

Wow, what a book.  I had been in a bit of a reading rut, struggling to really get into a book, but I read this one in two sittings…it would have been one sitting had I not started it at night.

Leo, Elsa and Max, three best friends living in Vienna.  They experience one of those rare ‘perfect days’ celebrating Leo’s 9th birthday…and then the world as they know it changes, and friends become enemies. Leo and Elsa are Jews and Max is not.

The book follows these three characters on their separate, very different journeys through the years from 1936 to 1945.

I won’t give too much away, but the idea for this story came from the authors own grandfather.  He is the Leo in this story, and the chance encounter he had with a visiting English couple in Vienna turned out to change the course of his life.

This book is heartbreaking, so be prepared.  It is a story of the holocaust, and all of the horrors that surround that time in our history.  Not everything is explicitly explained, such as what happens to the Jews told to go to the left at Auschwitz, or what exactly Elsa’s friend Greta has to do, to get the extra food from the Nazi officers, but it’s all there.  

We get to see both sides in this book.  What is was to be Jewish, but also what it was to be a young German boy who grew up with one wish; to be part of the Hitler Youth.  Impossible to understand in hindsight, but how much did these young men really know about what being a Nazi soldier meant, in practice?

All of the darkness and sadness aside, this is also a story about family, hope and the memories of perfect days that keep us going, when the world is falling apart.

A must read. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read a review copy of this.