The Small Things by Lisa Thompson, reviewed by Abi

Abi tells us why the publisher Barrington Stoke is so important for dyslexic readers like her.

You can watch Abi’s full review over on our YouTube channel here.

Abi reviews The Small Things

About the book

Anna’s anxious when she’s picked to befriend the new girl in her class. For a start, Ellie is ill and can’t come to school herself. So Anna has to communicate with her through a new kind of robot.

But Anna is also worried that her life’s too small and boring to be of interest to her new friend. Compared to the other girls, she doesn’t have anything exciting to talk about and so when Ellie asks her a question, a little white lie pops out. Then another and another.

When Ellie finds out the truth, can their friendship survive …?

Inspired by a true story, a groundbreaking robot helps friendship blossom in this poignant and uplifting dyslexia-friendly novella from bestseller Lisa Thompson.

Harklights by Tim Tilley, reviewed by Evie

‘Harklights’, by Tim Tilley, is about an orphan named Wick and all of his
adventures. At the start of the book, Wick longs to escape from his horrible
orphanage, which is also a match factory in which he’s forced to work long
hours and eat only porridge. When Wick finds a tiny baby in an acorn cradle,
his whole world turns upside-down as he discovers the magical world of the
Hobs. Wick has to try to intertwine his old life at the orphanage with his
friends, and his new life exploring and helping the forest with the Hobs.

‘Harklights’ is a book that really pulls you in and is almost impossible to put
down. You get so wrapped up in Wick’s story and really feel anxious for him
and his friends. It has so many unexpected twists and turns that really take
you by surprise! They make the whole read even more enjoyable and
exciting, and make you want to read on and on.

The book also has a really important message about looking after our
planet’s environment and stopping deforestation. Wick has to help protect
the Hobs and their forest from the ‘monster’ that is eating it. This moral is
more critical than ever before in our real world, and it adds a really great
extra layer to the book.

Another thing I loved about ‘Harklights’ is the illustrations, also by Tim Tilley.
In a way, they’re very simple pictures, made of layers of silhouettes. But I
really liked this, because it meant I could fill in the details using my own
imagination. I felt a bit like Wick, who has to use his imagination to picture
what life is like outside of the factory.

Overall, ‘Harklights’ is an amazing book and I would definitely recommend it
for children aged 8 and up, and even adults. If you’ve read and enjoyed JK
Rowling’s ‘The Ickabog’ then you would absolutely love ‘Harklights.’ I hope
Tim Tilley writes a follow-up book soon!
5 stars!

Hi, I’m Evie and I live in Maidstone with my mum, dad and little sister, Freya. I’m 10 years old and my favourite things are reading, drawing, pandas and doughnuts! I’m the illustrator for my school book club newspaper, and I’m rarely found without a book in my hand – my absolute favourite is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I’m not sure how many books I have read in my life but my favourites are all the Harry Potters and The cursed child – I loved it !!! , The boy at the back of the class,  The star outside my window , Evie and the Animals.I’m so excited to be part of The Book Nook Review Crew and I can’t wait to get reading and reviewing! Love Evie x

About the book

“A charming fairytale adventure with an enduring ecological message.” Peter Bunzl, author of Cogheart

Wick has always lived in the dark and dreadful Harklights Match Factory and Orphanage, working tirelessly for greedy Old Ma Bogey. He only dreams of escaping, until one day a bird drops something impossible and magical at his feet – a tiny baby in an acorn cradle… As midnight chimes, Wick is visited by the Hobs, miniature protectors of the forest.

Grateful for the kindness shown to their stolen child, they offer Wick the chance of a lifetime – escape from Harklights and begin a new life with them in the wild… Winner of the Joan Aiken Future Classics Prize, Harklights is a magical story celebrating family, friendship and the natural world, filled with a message of hope for our times.

Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas, reviewed by Alex

Heir of Fire

Calaena Sardothien has travelled to Wendlyn to
locate the Immortal Queen Maeve of the fae, for her
help in defeating the King of Adarlan. In Varese, the
Prince Rowan takes her to the castle, where Queen
Maeve names her price: Calaena is to train her magic
and hone her skills, embracing her destiny as Aelin
Ashryver Galathynius, almighty queen of Terassen.
Meanwhile, Manon, leader of the Thirteen, member of
the blackbeak witch clan is offered the chance to take to
the skies once more, an offer made by none other than
the King of Adarlan.

Overall, I would give this book ★★★★☆; the main
story is well-written, plot twists have you on the edge of
your seat, and the effort put into the writing of the
characters really shows in this book. I finished this book
in around a week or two and I couldn’t put it down. It
was an effort every day to put in the bookmark. I gave
this book four stars because, while it was a superb book,
I still want to leave room for improvement.

Title: Heir of Fire
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Length: 484
Year published: 2014
Age: 13+
Book: #3
Reviewed by: Alex Kingston

Queen of Shadows

Calaena Sardothien is now Aelin Galathynius,
queen of Terassen, and is back in Rifthold hunting down
Arobynn Hamel, her former master; for he stole
something of hers. And she wants it back…

Overall, I would give this book ★★★★★; every
word was well thought out, and this made the excellent
story all the more enticing. The plot was exciting and
had me desperate for more. I thought that the book was
over far too quickly, and the whole time I felt I was
watching a film. I gave this book five stars because, I
gave all the others four stars to leave room for
improvement, but this book, I felt, deserved five stars

Title: Queen of Shadows
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Length: 648 pages
Year published: 2015
Age: 13+
Book: #4
Reviewed by: Alex Kingston

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About the book

The third instalment to the global #1 bestselling series. As the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, Celaena Sardothien is bound to serve the tyrant who slaughtered her dear friend. But she has vowed to make him pay.

The answers Celaena needs to destroy the king lie across the sea Wendlyn. And Chaol, Captain of the King’s Guard, has put his future in jeopardy to send her there. Yet as Celaena seeks her destiny in Wendlyn, a new threat is preparing to take to the skies.

Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

This third novel in the THRONE OF GLASS sequence, from global #1 bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, is packed with more heart-stopping action, devastating drama and swoonsome romance, and introduces some fierce new heroines to love and hate.

The 130-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, reviewed by Ozzy

Hi my name is Ozzy and I like reading. Some of my favourite books are The Dogman Collection, The Brownstone Family Collection and Roal Dhal books (I’m reading the BFG at the moment which is great!). I like chocolate, ice cream, dancing, playing ultimate tag and I like maths too! I love reading funny voices in stories and trying different accents, it’s fun! I have a little sister she is small and very funny😜she copies everything I do and it’s weird! I read books to her and she “reads” to me too. 

Dog Man and the Tale of Two Kitties by Dav Pilkey, reviewed by Ozzy

Hi my name is Ozzy and I like reading. Some of my favourite books are The Dogman Collection, The Brownstone Family Collection and Roal Dhal books (I’m reading the BFG at the moment which is great!). I like chocolate, ice cream, dancing, playing ultimate tag and I like maths too! I love reading funny voices in stories and trying different accents, it’s fun! I have a little sister she is small and very funny😜she copies everything I do and it’s weird! I read books to her and she “reads” to me too. 

About the book

Howl with laughter with the THIRD book in the hilarious full-colour, illustrated series, Dog Man, from the creator of Captain Underpants!

He was the best of dogs… He was the worst of dogs… It was the age of invention… It was the season of surprise… It was the eve of supa sadness… It was the dawn of hope…

Dog Man hasn’t always been a paws-itive addition to the police force. While he can muzzle miscreants, he tends to leave a slick of slobber in his wake! This time, Petey the cat’s dragged in a tiny bit of trouble — a double in the form of a super-cute kitten. Dog Man will have to work twice as hard to bust these furballs and remain top dog! Dav Pilkey’s wildly popular Dog Man series appeals to readers of all ages and explores universally positive themes, including: empathy, kindness, persistence, and the importance of being true to one’s self.

Boy in a White Room by Karl Olsberg, reviewed by Tegan

This book was definitely an interesting read. From the first line, I was hooked.

Olsberg created a character that you wanted to read more about without even knowing lots of things about him. The book explores the story of a young boy called Manuel who wakes up in a white room and doesn’t know where he is. As he investigates his life from inside the room, he discovers things that would turn his world upside down.

I would say that this book is for 14+, as it does delve quite deeply into some quite complex things. However, I very much enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys mystery or science fiction. 

Hi, my name is Tegen and I am fourteen years old. I enjoy reading book genres like fantasy, crime and adventure. Some of my favourite authors are Holly Black, Alice Oseman, Stephen King and John Green. My other interests include playing chess, horse riding and writing. My favourite quote from a book is ‘that’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt’ from the fault in our stars.’ 

About the book

A gripping YA sci-fi thriller perfect for fans of Ready Player One and The Maze Runner. A boy wakes to find himself locked in a white room. He has no memories, no idea who he is and no idea how he got there.

A computer-generated voice named Alice responds to his questions – through her, he is able to access the internet. He gradually pieces together his story – an abduction, a critical injury, snippets of his past … But how can the boy tell what’s real and what’s not? Who is he really? A gripping YA sci-fi thriller by German and Spiegel-bestselling author, Karl Olsberg.

The novel has sold 40,000 copies in Germany alone and been optioned for TV development by Netflix. Explores themes of virtual worlds, artificial intelligence, philosophy and identity.

The Last Girl by Goldy Moldavsky, reviewed by Torrin

Goldy Moldavsky has crafted an excellent novel that is deeply rooted in Stephen King, R.L.Stine and John Hughes. It’s a film buff’s dream. And it’s a great book as well.

The story follows Rachel who joins the mysterious Mary Shelley club where she and her new friends challenge each other to more and more daring pranks.

Rachel is a well rounded protagonist with none of the usual headstrong attitudes this kind of character would normally be saddled with. She suffers a deeply scarring incident at the start of the novel which not only shapes her but the story as a whole. Besides Rachel the other characters are written in such a way that they feel like real people which teen novels often struggle to achieve. These teens have motivations and goals that are fitting for someone of their age and also ones that most definitely are not. At the heart of the story is a well rounded and realistic romance which never feels forced and is believable.

The film references peppered throughout made me smile and they also achieved what Ready Player One wishes it could’ve. I adored this book and I thoroughly recommend it! It’s a novel that wears it’s influences proudly and had me totally engaged at all times. This book NEEDS to be read!

Hello, I’m Torrin. I like good books. I’m a fan of Crime, Fantasy and Sci-Fi. My favourite quote from any book is: “Doors are for people with no imagination” If it’s got too much description and emotions, I probably won’t read it. Check out my website at   

About the book

Scream meets Gossip Girl with a dash of One of Us is Lying! When it comes to horror movies, the rules are clear:- Avoid abandoned buildings, warehouses, and cabins at all times. – Stay together: don’t split up, not even just to “check something out”…. – If there’s a murderer on the loose, do NOT make out with anyone …

New girl Rachel Chavez turns to horror movies for comfort, preferring them to the bored rich kids of her fancy New York High School. But then Rachel is recruited by the Mary Shelley Club, a mysterious student club that sets up terrifying Fear Tests; elaborate pranks inspired by urban legends and horror movies. But when a sinister masked figure appears, Rachel realises that her past has caught up with her.

It’s time for the ultimate prank to play out … An atmospheric page-turner about loving scary movies, longing to belong, and uncovering the many masks people wear. 

Rainbow Grey by Laura Ellen Anderson, reviewed by Niamh

Rainbow Grey is the brand-new rainbowtastic adventure from the creator of the amazing Amelia Fang book series, the brilliant Laura Ellen Anderson!

Laura has created a whole new world called The Weatherlands, based on all of the different types of weather. The main character is 10-year-old Ray Grey who is a Weatherling with no powers, but that’s all set to change the night of the eclipse festival… the book title and Ray’s multi-coloured hair on the front cover may be a big clue!

Ray must try to save Earth from a massive storm, alongside her two friends Droplett and Snowden. And no Laura Ellen Anderson book is complete without a loveable, cute companion – this time in the form of exploding cloud cat Nim (short for Nimothy, not Nimbus!).

Rainbow Grey is an amazing adventure, with lots of twists through the story. Just like Amelia Fang, her new book series has the winning formula of the power of friendship, an adorable sidekick (Nim is the new challenger to Squashy in cuteness), and a feisty main character that never gives up. 

I love the funny bits when Nim’s body parts get all muddled up when he explodes, often at the worst times! I really like that Droplett has the rain power to puddle-port anywhere and the exploding rumblebuns from the Rising Bun Bakery made me laugh! I also enjoyed that the book had lots of little hidden references to Amelia Fang – try to spot them all!  

I think that Amelia and Ray would be great friends, and what I like so much about Laura’s books is that you feel like the characters are your friends too. 

I recommend this book to everybody! I can’t wait for the next Rainbow Grey instalment and I think there’s going to be a lot of rainbow wigs and waistcoats being bought for next World Book Day. Laura Ellen Anderson is one of the best authors and illustrators in the world (and in Nocturnia and the Weatherlands!) and everyone should have all of her books on their bookshelves. 

Rating: 5/5

Perfect for fans of: Amelia Fang by Laura Ellen Anderson; Evil Emperor Penguin by Laura Ellen Anderson; Frostheart by Jamie Littler; and The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy 

Reviewer: Niamh Wilson, aged 8

Hello! My name is Niamh and I’m aged 8. I’m an avid reader and some of my favourite authors and illustrators are Laura Ellen Anderson, Steven Butler, Steven Lenton, Sophy Henn and Sophie Anderson. I want to be an author and illustrator when I’m older and I love to write and draw in my spare time. I like to recommend books to my friends at school and believe you can never have too many books, even though I’m running out of space on my bookshelves! 

About the book

A magical new series from best-selling author and illustrator, Laura Ellen Anderson! Ten-year-old Ray Grey lives in the magical Weatherlands, high in the sky. Ray is surrounded by Weatherlings with astounding weather power at their fingertips . . . but she doesn’t have ANY magic! Then, after a trip to Earth, Ray’s life changes forever. She is transformed from Ray Grey into RAINBOW GREY! With the help of her best friends (and exploding cloud cat, Nim) now all Ray has to do is master her powers AND save the world from a mysterious, powerful enemy .

Genie and Teeny Make A Wish by Steven Lenton, reviewed by Caitlin

Amazing, excellent and super-dooper funny. I love that you get to sort of be a character in the book. And the bit where you shake the book around to try and get things to happen. 

My favourite character is Grant the genie. I love how he always gets things wrong and he is super funny.

Genie by Caitlin, aged 6

About the book

Meet Grant the genie, and his best friend – the puppy Teeny… The first in a series of magical adventures from the renowned illustrator, Steven Lenton, winner of Waterstones Picture Book of the Month and the Times Children’s Book of the Week. When Grant the Genie is cast out of Genie World, he lands on Earth with a big, fat bump! Without a lamp to call home, he has to settle for an old cracked teapot instead.

Grant is very lonely until he meets the puppy, Teeny. Then Genie and Teeny are kidnapped by the evil purple-loving Lavinia Lavender, and find themselves on-course for a rollercoaster of an adventure – when all they really want is a place to call home…

My name is Caitlin and I love dinosaurs, especially my cuddly dino “Daisy” who is a stegosaurus. I am enjoying the “Sherlock Bones” books. I like detective books like Dotty and the Violet mysteries. My favourite sport is football.

The Amazing Edie Eckhart by Rosie Jones, reviewed by Mia and Kate

Mia says:

Edie and her best friend, Oscar, are about to start secondary school. Edie is excited and thinks things will be just the same, but it turns out a lot of things will change. Edie must learn it’s good to make new friends, try new things, and become even more independent.

Edie has Cerebral Palsy. Before I read this book, I didn’t know what Cerebral Palsy was, but I do now, and Edie tells us how she’d like people to talk to her about it. I really liked the way it was written as Edie’s diary. It’s like a friend chatting to you and you learn about her feelings. Edie is also very funny.

I liked the messages about giving people a chance and getting to know them, and following your heart and not doing something just because it’s what everyone else seems to be doing.

I read lots of fantasy books and I wasn’t sure I’d like this book, but I loved it! Five stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

We agree, Mia! Edie Eckhart IS amazing. We love the positivity in this book and can’t wait to share it with everyone. Team Book Nook.

Mum Kate says:

What a great book! It’s such a good conversation starter too. I think most people could identify with someone or a situation in this book; starting secondary school and those pre teen years are a huge deal for everyone. I love the diary style which affords us access to Edie’s feelings. I’d like to see this book in every KS2 classroom.

Hello! My name is Mia, I am 8 and live in Harrogate. I like writing stories and drawing pictures. I am a Brownie and also help with Rainbows. I enjoy performing, and have dance, piano and mandarin lessons. Obviously I absolutely love reading!

About the book

A sparky middle-grade series from TV comedian Rosie Jones. Perfect for fans of Jacqueline Wilson and DORK DIARIES.

‘Fresh, funny and ultra cool’ – Jacqueline Wilson

Hello! My name is Edie Eckhart and I’m eleven years old.

I’m a little bit different. I have a disability called cerebral palsy, so I talk slowly and fall over a lot. It’s never really bothered me because I’ve never known anything else.

Edie Eckhart is Excited with a capital E to start secondary school with her best friend Oscar – the fish to her chips, the bananas to her custard. But when she and Oscar are put into different tutor groups on their first day, Edie is devastated. Who will play secret hangman with her in class? Who will she eat sausage rolls with? But while she’s plotting her reunion with Oscar, she accidentally gets cast as the lead in the school play.

As Edie discovers a passion for performance, she also finds new friendships, talents, and dreams. After all, it’s easy to shine on and off the stage when you’re Amazing with a capital A.