Monday 18 February 2013

Book reviews: Tiny Twisted Tales by Calvin Innes

Pale HenryPale Henry by Calvin Innes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was sent these Tiny Twisted Tales to review with my 9 year old. Her initial reaction was that they were boy books based on their covers. However once she actually opened them and read them she loved them!

This story is about a boy too scared to go outside so he hides away in the loft. Because of this he is "haggard and thin, and as white as a sheet". The story is written in rhyme and it looks like it has been written on an old fashioned typewriter so it's uneven and has quirky type on the second o in words.

The illustrations are simple black and white cartoons which set off the words nicely. If you've seen Calvin's work before then you'll recognise his style with big eyes and exaggerated features.

The story shows how staying inside makes you unhealthy but by facing his fears and going outside Henry becomes fitter and healthier. However he does still want to stay in sometimes and that's OK too.

Twisted Tales are aimed at reluctant readers which doesn't apply to my daughter. There is enough text on each page to tell the story without being off-putting. I quite enjoyed reading it myself!

JennyJenny by Calvin Innes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can see why my 9 year old daughter enjoyed reading this scary Twisted Tale, she can relate to the heroine Jenny: "She doesn't wear dresses, or have long flowing curls". Instead she is an 8 year old werewolf hunter!

With its short snappy rhymes and quirky illustrations this is a quick read for an accomplished reader or an undaunting book for more reluctant ones. It's the longest in the Twisted Tales series but the 79 pages don't include that many words.

A slightly scary but not really frightening book it's great for tween readers who want an exciting read but not one that will give them nightmares. The werewolf looks pretty menacing in the illustrations but he gets his comeuppance at the hands of the heroine.

Lots of children imagine that they can hunt and defeat evil creatures and Jenny makes a good heroine. My daughter enjoyed reading the story out loud to her 6 year old brother. He seemed to be an avid listener so must have enjoyed it too.

The trademark ink spots and typeface are once again in this book alongside the monochrome illustrations. I'm sure this will be on our bookshelf for some time to come.

Stuart The Bug Eating ManStuart The Bug Eating Man by Calvin Innes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story is not for the squeamish so it's perfect for primary aged children! Listening to my daughter reading to my son had my stomach churning as Stuart chomps his way through a range of insects. Reading it myself and seeing the illustrations made it worse!

Much to the disgust of his wife Harriet the eponymous Stuart just can't resist eating bugs and drinking slug juice... Each little verse in the story is accompanied by an appropriate cartoon with plenty of creepy crawlies.

Stuart turns his unusual habit into a job by coming a pest controller! The book shows how to make something gross into a money making venture. I just hope my children don't try to follow suit...

I am sure this will appeal to most young readers or even some older ones. Think I will leave the bugs to the children though..

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