In over eighty books Gus Gordon has demonstrated time and again his talent at producing the type of quality books we love to share with our young readers.
This beautiful picture book is heart-warming and endearing as two little characters, both lonely and longing for real friendship, discover each other through the whimsical method of sending messages in a bottle.
Alice lives with her grandmother, who is the best creme brulee maker in the world, and while she loves her dearly is often lonely and wishes she had someone of her own age to play with and for a friend. Her message in a bottle washes up and is found by Francois, who lives with his father in an isolated lighthouse, also lonely and longing for companionship.
Their unusual friendship develops with the exchange of the bottled notes but when Alice’s grandmother dies, her heart feels too full to continue with the letters. When her new guardian comes across the message bottle, she encourages Alice to renew contact with Francois and the previously sea-borne friendship becomes a real one.
This is just a lovely and gentle look at friendship, loneliness and the pain of saying goodbye to someone well-loved and special which young readers will love.
I predict that like so many of Gus’ books this will be recognised as being an award-nominee, if not winner in the next short-list. In the meantime, I highly recommend it for young readers from around six years upwards.
So my read last night was the new hilarious instalment in Tom Weekly’s adventures and it didn’t disappoint. Fortunately alone in my bedroom there’s no one to witness my snorts of laughter!
Where to start? Well I just loved Nanna Nancy’s stealthy attempted sabotage of the fruit cake competition and the skilful way in which she makes Tom her patsy for the crime. Then of course there’s the traumatic guinea pig hostage situation where the very image of Tanya ending up in a rubbish bin filled me with absolute joy – and of course Gus the guinea pig surviving triumphantly.
Skroop’s massive detention siege and the ultimate revenge of having bully Brent getting his come-uppance is pretty sweet as is getting the better of the world’s angriest ice-cream man. Tom’s smelly bottom issue and baby-sitting Jack’s horrid little brother Barney are both as funny as but without doubt, the pièce de résistance is the Killer Possums, for which I have been waiting with great anticipation.
My visual of a posse of possums in a conga line and Tom covered head to toe in possums made me laugh aloud and was indeed worth the wait.
As usual, interspersed with the chapters, is much useful Tom Weekly advice such as reasons to get your parents off social media and household hacks along with ‘Would you rather……’.
Again, Tristan has given us a prime motivator to get kids reading – and enjoying it – this is bound to be another sure-fire winner with the kids from around Year 3 upwards.