Good morning! Today I’m continuing my exploration of middle grade fiction on SWB by sharing some quick reviews of three short stories! Two of these featured as part of the McDonalds Happy Readers scheme which I managed to pick up for free via Amazon and the third was a World Book Day book earlier this year.
My goddaughter absolutely adores Amelia Fang, I’ve bought her a couple of the books in the series, and her teacher even mentioned her love of the stories in her latest school report so when I saw this appear in the free bestsellers section on Amazon I had to have it!
The book consists of two short stories and a couple of activities. I thought the book served well as an introduction to the world of Amelia Fang.
The first short story – Amelia Fang and the Wishing Well Of Well Wishes featured Amelia, her friends and the King venturing into the Kingdom of the Light searching for the Queen. I have to say I loved the snarky wishing well but I felt the story didn’t really have an ending… It was a nice enough short though and probably a good sign that I wanted more. Although looking at the blurbs for the main books in the series it looks as though it is either a section from Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords, or a prequel to it, which would explain it!
The second short – Amelia Fang at Catacomb Academy, saw Amelia taking part in a cooking lesson with a brand new teacher, it was another amusing short. I especially enjoyed the illustrations that accompanied this one and I was definitely getting Gildroy Lockhart vibes from the teacher! Again I think this is linked to one of the main books in the series so I’m going to have to read them!
The activities featured are a step by step guide to create your own spooky bookmarks which I think I’ll definitely be trying out with my goddaughter, and a quiz to see which character you’re most like, I got Amelia!
Based on these shorts I would definitely say that the Amelia Fang series is aimed at the lower end of the MG range, they look a lot of fun, and the illustrations are brilliant. I’ll be picking up my own copies or stealing the goddaughter’s to give them a read!
Oh my gosh – words cannot truly explain quite how much I fell in love with this book! When the phoenix doesn’t rise as expected Smudge is the only Unmapper to not be caught by the curse that follows and she sets out on an adventure to save Crackledawn and restore her people!
Everdark is the very first book by Abi I’ve had the pleasure of reading and although it’s only a short story I am amazed at just how much action and adventure she manages to fit into just over 100 pages!
Firstly I love the whole premise behind the lands in the story, the idea that the Unmapped Kingdoms send their magic to the Faraway and that is what give us our weather!
And then we have the characters! How I fell in love with Smudge, I adored the fact that our hero doesn’t fit the heroic stereotype, she’s not a straight A student, who also happens to be incredible at everything else. She doesn’t excel at school because her mind is on other things, and she’s a little clumsy but she’s brave, and courageous and kind. I hope she gives hope to a lot of readers that you don’t have to be top of the class, or the best at sports, or at anything to still be special and capable of amazing things! Then we come to Bartholomew – this slightly snarky monkey I feel may just be my spirit animal. To me he felt very British, stiff upper lip, a slightly snarky personality and a big fan of tea! He was also capable of opening up, and being incredibly supportive when he knew Smudge needed it! I also really enjoyed discovering Nefarious Flood – what a fantastic name! and Crumpet one of the Lofty Husks who all seemed wonderful!
I believe Everdark is a prequel to The Unmapped Chronicles which starts in full with Rumblestar which has recently been released. I really hope this isn’t the last I’ve seen of Smudge, Bartholomew and her other friends!
5 Stars – I absolutely loved it
Buy it from – Amazon UK // Waterstones
Katie and Kevin Tsang
I know a few big fans of the Sam Wu Is Not Afraid series, including the fabulous S from Books With The Boy on Charlotte, Somewhere. So when this appeared alongside the Amelia Fang book I knew it was the perfect opportunity to discover him!
Sam Wu Is Not Afraid Of Anything features an introduction introduction to Sam Wu, 4 short stories, some interesting facts and some jokes. Just as with the Amelia Fang book this forms a fantastic introduction to the character and his friends. Two of the short stories share titles with two of the main books in the series, but I’m not sure if they are extracts from the main books, or alternative stories with the same theme but they were wonderful either way.
I thought Sam’s character was brilliant and I especially love the idea of Butterbutt, the ninja cat! Zoe and Bernard seem like wonderful friends.
The illustrations throughout were brilliant and added so much to the stories! I’m looking forward to picking up these books. My goddaughter’s younger brother is probably still slightly too wee for them currently but I think he’ll find them hilarious in a year or two!
Connect with Kevin- Twitter