Definitely not irr-elephant to Christmas

An Elephant in the Garden ~ Michael Morpurgo

Well, hallo bookworms and elephants and other living things in the world.

IT’S ONLY 9 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS. And, if you didn’t notice, I’m feeling punny today.

You know how I said I was going to read more Michael Morpurgo? I actually don’t think I did say that, but I thought this book looked like a happy little book therefore I decided to read it. You know how they say don’t judge a book by its cover? Well that’s what I did with this book and I was proved wrong. This book is not a happy little book; it’s actually pretty depressing most of the time, but what else can you expect from a book about war and animals written by Morpurgo?

Dresden, Germany. World War II. Lizzie’s father has gone to fight the Russians and her mother becomes a zookeeper at the local zoo, where she grows especially close to one of the elephants: a young orphan named Marlene. When the bombs begin to fall on Dresden, Lizzie, her family and her new sister Marlene are forced to flee from the only home they’ve ever known and into the endless German countryside along with thousands of other refugees from across the country. But when they find a fallen enemy pilot, Peter, in their uncle’s abandoned house, their journey is packed with hundreds of new dangers and risks round every corner. They still have a long way to go but, with the Russians gaining on them and a Canadian pilot by their side, their journey is becoming even more difficult. Will this new family be able to survive the cold trip to safety before they are captured by the police? Is it really possible for an elephant to be the one who keeps them alive?

So first of all I’d just like to mention that 97.53% of this book was walking. It’s basically all they did. (In case you’re wondering, the other 2.47% was sleeping). There was literally so much walking and at times it was a little boring because there were constant descriptions of the cold weather. Nevertheless, the descriptions were very well written and I think Morpurgo is a brilliant storyteller. A few times I was genuinely petrified to turn over the page because there were plenty of surprises, sometimes terrifying, sometimes exciting and sometimes both. But then it just went back to more walking and whining about aching legs and empty stomachs and I was a bit disappointed. BUT, even if it was a bit boring, I got some pretty clear images of how much this journey would suck and I’m not surprised Lizzie complained. As I said, Morpurgo is fabulous when it comes to descriptions, and all of the characters were really sweet and I loved them all. The choir children were so cute and I love how they would just sing as they walked to lift everyone’s spirits. And even though Marlene couldn’t really talk, she was my favourite character because who doesn’t love an elephant that is basically adopted by a German family and is a total ice breaker/life saver? Marlene just being with them would interest soldiers so much that they wouldn’t ask suspicious questions about Peter and might even share their food. I think everyone should have an elephant to be honest.

Clover count: ♣♣♣♣♣♣ (6/10)

Top 5 favourite childhood books

Hey people of the Shire.

Look at me, posting on time! *rapturous applause* What was that you said? Where have my reviews gone? I don’t really know either. I think they just felt like taking a break and going on a 2 month holiday to Thailand. But they’ll be back for Christmas, never fear! For now, I am going to share some of my most beloved books from my childhood years. Ah, those were the days. The dinosaurs were so friendly – speaking of dinosaurs, I haven’t seen any in while…

  1. Rainbow Magic – these books were the very first chapter books I ever read, so they’re pretty special. I was (and still am) obsessed with fairies, so I was instantly hooked to these books. I was never stuck with nothing to read because THEY JUST KEPT COMING OUT. There must be around 300 different rainbow magic books in the world, all of them with EXACTLY THE SAME PLOT just a different fairy. But it seems like I didn’t mind too much, because I owned around 100. I’ve given all of them away of course, except around two which I kept for old time’s sake. Trust me, when I was little, these books were the HYPE.

  2. Tumtum and Nutmeg – this series isn’t as popular, but it’s definitely one close to my heart. Every night, my mum and I would read them together, and I adored them. They told the story of two little mice, who live in the house of two children, who only have an eccentric scientist father to care for them, so the mice take it upon themselves to look after the children and it’s the sweetest little story. What’s not to like about two little mice who live in a tiny little mansion behind a broom cupboard and write letters to the children upstairs?

  3. Terry Deary’s Egyptian Tales – I don’t really remember much about these books, except that they were amazing. We were learning about Egyptians at school and I think I got these books as a gift and I LOVED THEM. The stories were actually pretty gripping for kid’s books, and of course the illustrations were amazing. May I also add that Terry Deary has a really nice voice? Am I right? Anyone…?

  4. Meerkat Madness – this is also another series that I read every night, except this one I read with my dad. I remember it being about three little talking meerkat siblings who go on little adventures and find hunter camps and try not to get eaten by eagles and the such, and it was pretty funny (at least for a kid my age).

  5. Little Foxes – for Christmas one year, my mum bought me around 50 Michael Morpurgo books but, for some reason, I never really got into his books. I’ve literally only read about 5 of them, and got them around 5 years ago… But the ones I have read, I’ve loved. This was probably my favourite because it was such a sweet little story about a boy who feels a little isolated from everyone else but loves animals (from a Morpurgo book? I am shocked to my socks) and ends up running away from home with a little fox and the story is SO CUTE and sad and ah. I should reread this some time. And read all of the other Morpurgo books I have, SHEESH SIMI.

Hope you enjoyed this little post! What are some of your favourite childhood books? Do you share any of mine? Lettuce converse.

Aha, LETTUCE converse. Does anyone else miss Avatar: The Last Airbender? I literally just spent an hour watching Sokka’s funniest moments… And Zuko’s saddest, but let’s not talk about those because I will probably melt into a puddle of feels. Who’s that, drowning in The River Simi? Oh, just me.

Dennis and the Dress

The Boy in the Dress ~ David Walliams

Hey y’all!

Sorry about my lack of posting. But, here I am reviewing the children’s bestseller by David Walliams, the Boy in the Dress. I was at my friend’s house and I saw this book on the shelf. I asked if I could borrow it because a few months ago I’d seen the film and really liked it, so I thought I’d read it. Here it is…

But wait! Before you read it, are you in need of a blog makeover? Check out Allie’s blog design site! She’s just kicked it off and she would really appreciate it if you wandered over there and took a look. Thanks guys! Now on with the post!

Dennis lives in an ordinary house, in an ordinary street, in an ordinary town. But Dennis feels different. When he buys a copy of Vogue from the local shop and befriends Lisa, the prettiest and most popular girl in school, his inner self is unlocked and he shows his passion for fashion. For fun, Lisa persuades Dennis to wear a dress and pretend to be girl for a day. Dennis, for once, feels happy and free, but his secret could easily be discovered and disaster soon spreads in Dennis’ life. Can it really hurt to be yourself?

Walliams has written this book well, carefully weaving in brilliant messages of not being ashamed to be yourself. Here’s a little extract from the book:

There were lots of different types of kids at the school, but Darvish was the only one who wore a patka.

“Do you feel different Darvesh?” asked Dennis.

“In what way?”

“Well, just, you know, you’re the only boy in the school who has to wear one of those things on your head.”

“At first I did, yes. I felt a bit embarrassed ‘cos I knew I looked different to everyone… And then I suppose as people got to know me they realised I wasn’t really that different. I just wear this funny thing on my head!” He laughed.

Dennis laughed too.

“Yeah, you’re just my mate, Darvesh. I don’t really think about the thing on your head at all. In fact, I’d quite like one.”

“No, you wouldn’t. It itches like hell! But you know, it would be boring if we were all the same wouldn’t it?”

“It certainly would.” Dennis smiled.

I really liked how understanding Darvesh’s character was, and how nonjudgmental and encouraging Lisa was. Dennis’ older brother John was actually really sweet too, as was Mac and Raj and Dennis’ dad at the end… I basically loved every single character, even Mr Hawtrey who was the horrible headmaster! But I have to say that Lisa was my favourite character; she never failed to help Dennis out and she was a friend to him from the start, and to everyone else too. Normally the most popular girl in school is all snobby and selfish, but Lisa was the opposite. Best of all, she opened Dennis’ eyes. Overall, this is an adorable book with some great lessons and is perfect for kids and adults!

Simi Star rating: ***** (5 stars)

Tails of Blackberry Bottom

The Witch of Blackberry Bottom ~ Dick King-Smith

Hey y’all!

I’ve been slacking a lot with my posts lately because of exams and summer rollin’ in fast, but I’ve put aside a little time to write a mini review! Hopefully when I break up from school I can post more frequently… Anyway, on with my review on one of my favourite children’s books of all time – the Witch of Blackberry Bottom.

The mysterious Miss Slade… No one knows who she is, why she is rich as a king or how she possesses an eye patch over one eye. They think she is a witch. She pongs a little too… One day, when the Reader family move into the house up the road, the mystery begins to unfold as the two children, Patsy and Jim, discover who she really is. Life seems to brighten for Miss Slade as she makes a friendship with the Readers, but problems are blooming and her secrets are being uncovered. Can this new family save the day before it’s too late for Miss Slade?

I love this book! When I first read it I was around 7 years old. I found the book again in Year 6 and doubted that I would still like it, but I was wrong. It’s really not as extravagant as it sounds, but it’s a sweet book that every child should read. I love how the Reader family change Miss Slade and make her into a new person. It’s obviously a children’s book so there isn’t that much to say about it, but overall it’s a really cute book that little kids will love! I certainly did (and still do…).

Simi Star rating: **** (4 stars)

The world beyond the creek

Bridge to Terabithia ~ Katherine Paterson

Hi everyone!

The next book that I’m reviewing is Bridge to Terabithia, a wonderful story of friendship and imagination…

Jesse Aarons longs to be the fastest runner in the year, but he is devastated when the new girl, Leslie Burke, beats him. At first Jess dislikes her, but they soon become friends and create another world, just for them. They name the world Terabithia and the only way they can reach it is by swinging across an enchanted rope that hangs over a dried up creek. Even though they are bullied by the horrible Janice Avery and are teased by Jesse’s older sisters, they stick together through it all. It seems both of their lives have changed forever, and Terabithia is the heart of their friendship.

This book is amazing! It is a fantastic novel that is great for all ages. It is very well written and shows that friendship is one of the most powerful things in the world. I loved the character of Leslie because she was smart, funny and imaginative. Jess, too, is a great character and even though it was Leslie who created Terabithia, it would not be the land it was without him. I like how they acted as King and Queen and built their own little castle where they would talk for hours. The film is also a masterpiece and I loved every second of film and book! Bridge to Terabithia is a truly magical tale!

Simi Star rating: ***** (5 stars)

The girl without a mum

Mimi ~ John Newman

Hi everyone!

This book is also a recommendation and I would certainly recommend it to you! It was very well written and it was an interesting book. Enjoy!

Nothing is the same since Mimi’s mother died 149 days ago. Dad is burning pizzas, Conor is bashing away on the drums all night, Sally has a big secret, Sparkler hasn’t been walked in months and Mimi is being bullied at school by the snobby Sarah Sinclair. But just as this family begins to change completely and Mimi’s life starts to take a new turn in the road, the kind Mrs Lemon from the shop comes over with a video tape, spilling Sally’s secret…..

Even though this book is for younger children (8-10 yrs) I really enjoyed it and thought it was well written. Although it is a simple book, Mimi narrates it well and the story is filled with a mixture of sad and happy moments. It also has some great jokes thrown in there too! The author created some excellent characters in my mind and wrote very well as a young girl struggling without a mother. These days it is difficult to find an author that writes well as a child or teenager, but John Newman did it splendidly. I’m sure you will enjoy it!

Simi Star rating: ***** (5 stars)

Better or worse than the film?

Hello readers!

In this next blog post I’m giving you the chance to comment whether you prefer the book or the film of the first How To Train Your Dragon. Reading this blog post and watching the trailer of the film count if you haven’t seen or read the book or film, so don’t worry, because most of you probably haven’t read the book anyway.

So, let’s begin…. (buy the book here)

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third lives on the Isle of Berk, is the son of the chief, Stoick the Vast, and isn’t much of a hero… yet. Beginning the Dragon Initiation Programme, Hiccup captures a dragon who he names Toothless, because of the creature’s lack of teeth. Toothless grows stubborn and difficult to train, and Hiccup soon loses hope of passing the final test of the Dragon Initiation Programme, leading to being thrown out of the Hairy Hooligan Tribe for good. But when a dragon the size of a mountain washes up on the shores of Berk, it’s up to Hiccup to save his village….

What a fun and thrilling story, packed with jokes. How To Train Your Dragon is the first of Hiccup’s many adventures and it’s an enjoyable tale that is highly recommended for children. The book couldn’t be more different to the film, if you’ve seen it; it’s a whole new plot, just with the same characters. But I like how they are SO different because it creates two wonderful stories with the same awesome characters. This novel will go down in Viking history….

Simi Star rating: ***** (5 stars)

Please comment below if you have an opinion of the book or film. Thanks, Simi