Monday, 30 September 2013

Ninja Death Touch by Chris Bradford

What an action-packed little book this is! It follows on from the events of the first book in the series, Ninja: First Mission, and is even more exciting. No time at all is wasted in getting into the action- in fact, within the first six lines, Taka, the hero of the story, is given the Death Touch and is struggling to stay alive.
The evil Lord Oda and his army of over 1000 samurai have threatened to destroy every ninja clan in the country as revenge for having the sacred Scrolls stolen from them. One morning the army arrive unexpectedly at Taka's camp. The ninja trainees are outnumbered by at least ten to one- surely they have no chance against the might of the samurai warriors? They desperately try to defend their village from the onslaught, but can they fight such impossible odds?
I loved this book. It's only 60 pages so I read it in under half an hour. The author, Chirs Bradford, wastes no time on tedious descriptions of scenery and conversations where people sit around discussing their breakfast- every paragraph moves the action along at a fantastic pace. He clearly has a very good knowledge of the ninja way of life and I learned a lot while reading it. The book ends on a real cliffhanger and I can't wait for the next book in the series, which I'm hoping is out very soon.
The Ninja books are going to be a real hit in the classroom. Anyone who wants a quick read full of excitement, danger, twists and turns will love them. Definitely recommended.
Also, try the Young Samurai series by Chris Bradford. Much longer books, but equally as enjoyable.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Stinkbomb & Ketchup-Face and the Badness of Badgers by John Dougherty

We were very excited to be the one of the first classes in the whole country to read the new book by our Patron of Reading, John Dougherty. This is what we thought:

When Ketchup-Face was singing the song to the badgers, it made me laugh like crazy. Andrew, 8.

I liked it when Ketchup-Face kept saying that she hadn't finished her song. Jaya, 8.

I loved it when Ketchup-Face kept jumping on Stinkbomb's feet and he kept saying 'OW!'. Kayley, 9.

It was so funny and I kept laughing all they way through. Rod, 8.

I liked the part when we found out what had happened to the missing money. Kristopher, 8.

Blueberry jam! I laughed so hard my head fell off. Megan, 8.

My best bit was when they set the dustbin trap for the badgers. Gemma, 8.

I enjoyed the bit where Ketchup-Face kept singing the song about jam. Madison, 8.

It was so funny, I laughed all week. Tyler, 8.

The Blueberry Jam song is the funniest song ever. It nearly made me wet myself. Oliver, 8.

My eyes were watering because this book made me laugh so much! Jersie, 8.

It was so funny, I was in stitches. Lauren, 8.

I liked the bit when they kept putting their feet into each others mouths. Tamzin, 8.

It was so funny that we nearly cried. Elise and Mollie, 8.

I liked the bit when everyone got caught by the evil badgers. Jodie, 8.

I liked it so much! Michael, 9 (Happy Birthday Michael!)

She should have had more verses in the jam song. Emily, 8.

Please don't make me sing the jam song again! Mr Biddle, 25.

I like the bit where we find out why badgers are called badgers! Mr Arden, unknown.

We couldn't find a picture of the cover of the book, so here is a picture of a badger.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke is one of my favourite books, and one that I regularly recommend to children in my class. It's amazing to think that it was published almost exactly ten years ago. Ghost Knight is one of Cornelia's latest books and is 'a perfect English ghost story' for children.
I was slightly concerned at the beginning because the first few pages reminded me very much of quite a lot of other books I had read (a boy with an unhappy homelife is packed off to boarding school...hmmm), but luckily from the second chapter onwards I was engrossed. Jon Whitcroft, the main character in the book, is eleven and really doesn't get on with his mother's new boyfriend, known simply as The Beard. He very reluctantly agrees to go to boarding school and spends his first night there gazing miserably out of his bedroom window. In the distance he suddenly sees three very strange and terrifying ghosts on horseback. They all ride towards him, pointing and making threatening gestures. Jon panics and tries to run away but is stopped by one of the masters of the school.
The next day Jon is approached in the canteen by the mysterious Ella who seems to know not only all about the ghosts but also, more importantly, how to get rid of them. She tells Jon that has to visit the tomb of  a dead knight, Sir William Longspee, and ask for his help in destroying the evil. But what will the knight want from John in return? And what is the secret that Ella's grandmother, Zelda, is hiding?
Although this isn't a scary 'jump out of your chair with fright' book, it manages to create a wonderfully spooky atmosphere. The resourceful and brave Ella is a fantastic character who saves Jon on more than one occasion. Some of the conversations between Sir William Longspee and Jon are extremely moving, because both characters are searching for something that they need help from others to find. I also really enjoyed reading the confrontations between Sir William and the major villain in the story, the evil Lord Stourton.
It's the kind of book that really ought to be read by the light of a flickering candle when there is a huge storm blowing outside and rain lashing against the window. A very enjoyable read and definitely one for anybody who loves a ghost story.