Monday, 17 December 2012

The Mum Shop by Ceci Jenkinson

Welcome to Books FC where a panel of experts review some of the best children's books. The panel, in case you've forgotten, is:
Mad Scientist: Expert in everything
Party Rocker: Expert in being rude
Striker: Expert in football and being a hooligan
Flower Power: Expert in training

The experts have been writing their Christmas wish lists. See if you can guess who wrote which wish:
1. Einstein's brain
2. A wand that actually works
3. A ban on all polite words
4. England winning the next football World Cup

Poor old Mum's going to have a hard time going shopping for that lot. But don't worry. The experts have a plan B. If they don't get what they want for Christmas, they're going to take their Mum back to the Mum Shop and swap her for a new one. Now where did they get an idea like that from?

The next book to face the panel of experts is The Mum Shop by Ceci Jenkinson. Oli, our hero, is not pleased with his Mum. She doesn't order enough pizza and she won't let him watch Real Blood Bath Murders. So, Oli takes her to the Mum Shop and swaps her for a new mum, Sid. All starts well. Sid also loves pizza and orders one straight away. Unfortunately neither Sid, nor Oli, have any money to pay for the pizza and that's only the start of their problems...


Mad Scientist: Not another scientist bad guy! The villain in this book, Gertrude Swithin, used to be a science teacher. It's a conspiracy!

Party Rocker: And no rude words in the entire book either. Definitely a conspiracy.

Mad Scientist: Let's form a secret society to fight the conspiracy. The revolution statement of our society will be:
1. All heroes and heroines must be scientists.
2. All villains must be TV presenters or pop stars.

Party Rocker: What!? You're on your own bud.

Striker: Well, I just want to give this book 5 stars.

Party Rocker: Actually me too. It was sick! It gets 5 stars just 'cause one of the mums turned up in a tank.

Striker: And it gets 5 stars for the matcher machine, which I wanted to play with, and 5 stars for the revolution statement, which I wanted to rip up. I also really liked it because I really liked Oli; he was funny, and silly, and brave and cool and reminded me of me!

Flower Power (starting to cry): I don't want to swap Mum...

So, The Mum Shop scored 5 stars from those so called experts who actually bothered to vote. It seems anyone can be an expert these days...

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The Windvale Sprites by Mackenzie Crook

It's not often the panel of experts review books that are classics, or even 'instant classics'. Actually, it's not often the panel of experts review books. (Sorry!) They are too busy squabbling. But The Windvale Sprites by Mackenzie Crook is special. So special, the panel of experts have decided to hold a ceasefire just so they can review the book properly.

The story starts when the very ordinary Asa Brown discovers something very extraordinary floating in his duckpond. Something with olive brown skin, dark wispy hair, pointed ears and two long antennae. Asa has no idea what the creature might be but he wants to know, and very soon he has discovered his first clue.

Mad Scientist: Why do scientists always get a bad press? Why is Asa the hero? Why not Benjamin Tooth the alchemist? Just once, I'd like to read a book where a scientist doesn't make a mistake and cause a plague, or breed a herd of man eating dinosaurs, or blow the world up. Just once, I'd like the scientist to be the hero and save the day. Just the other day, for example, I was on a beach and spotted a venomous snake. But because I was a scientist, I was able to identify the snake and alert everyone. Just think, if I hadn't been there...

Party Rocker: ...everybody might have been able to surf and sunbathe in peace, instead of being asked to evacuate the beach.

Mad Scientist: It was an emergency. I was saving their lives.

Party Rocker: And this is a book review, and you are off the point.

Mad Scientist: Alright then, I give this book 4 stars. The plot was exciting and well planned, the characters were convincing, the descriptions apt and deft, and the ending a real shock. In fact it deserves 5 stars. In fact, let's decide that Asa grew up and become a scientist. Now the book has a positive message and is fighting against stereotypes. So I'm going to give it 10 stars.

Party Rocker: Sorry, I've just remembered it had a fairy on the front cover and I refuse to review any book with a fairy on the front.

Striker: It's a sprite, not a fairy.

Party Rocker: Whatever.

Striker: Well, I didn't like the look of the cover either. I thought it was a fairy at first and I thought it looked like it had lots of long words inside and no pictures. So I was planning on striking the book out of the hand of anyone who tried to read it to me, or give it to me. But then, when I heard the story, I changed my mind. This is my favourite book ever (since the last one that was my favourite). I loved everything about it and I want to give it a sky full of stars because it was so brilliant.

Flower Power: Well I want to give it 5 stars because...

Striker: You can't. I've used up all the stars. There aren't any left.

Flower Power: That's not fair. I'm telling. Mummmmmm!

So The Windvale Sprites scores a cosmic multitude of stars and the ceasefire is officially over.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Billy Bonkers - It Wasn't Me! by Giles Andreae

 Books FC is different.
At BFC books are reviewed by a panel of so called experts. The panel of experts, in case you've forgotten, includes:
Mad Scientist - specialises in books for the 12 plus age range
His brain is like the universe, expanding at an ever faster rate. He likes facts and information, the gorier the better. He dislikes his co-panel.
Party Rocker - specialises in books for the 10 plus age range
Also known as Big Bang, not because he is in any way scientific, just because he's noisy. Also sometimes known as NikNak; no one knows why. Also known to be extremely annoying, particularly to his co-panel.
Striker - specialises in books for the 7 plus age range
He loves sport, football, competitions and winning. He dislikes losing. Also carries a public health warning: do not stand too close. This is because every now and again (normally when he has just lost) he hits whoever is closest (normally Party Rocker).
Flower Power - specialises in books for the 5 plus age range
She loves anything liquid, solid, sticky, sparkly, fluffy, gloopy, messy, shiny, slimy or sweet. She dislikes reviewing books (too bad).

The latest book to dare face the panel is Billy Bonkers - It Wasn't Me! by Giles Andreae. Billy Bonkers is a typical comic reading, computer gaming, action snacking boy hero. The interesting twist in this tale is that the Secret Prankster wreaking havoc around town is not Billy Bonkers. So who is the Secret Prankster? Billy Bonkers is determined to find out.

Mad Scientist: Billy Bonkers? Billy Boring more like. This book was not worthy of my mega-watt, super charged brain power. I give it 2 stars, cause a few years ago I, um, probably would have liked it.

Party Rocker: I liked it, (which is more than I can say about Mad Scientist.) I liked it so much I even took notes, (cold porridge bomb traps!) I liked it so much I have changed my name. (You can now call me Secret Prankster.) 5 Stars! Best of all, it was an easy read, allowing my mega-watt super charged brain some time off.

Striker: Well, I liked it too. I give it 4 stars. I liked the fact that Billy became a sort of secret detective. I liked the bit where Billy went on a roller coaster. I liked the bit about custard pies. (Yum!) I liked it so much I would have actually bothered to read it, except I didn't have to because I got my slave to do that for me. Her name is Mum.

Party Rocker: Actually she's my slave.

Striker: Actually she's only pretending to be your slave. She really only belongs to me.

Party Rocker: Interesting idea. Completely wrong, but interesting. But I can't stay to chat. I've got some porridge to cook.

Striker: I love porridge. (Yum!)

Party Rocker: Don't worry, I'm making it for you.

Flower Power: Can I say something?

Striker: No.

So, Billy Bonkers scores a yummy 4 stars and Flower Power has a little sulk because she didn't get to vote and she wants some porridge too.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Mr Gum in 'The Hound of Lamonic Bibber' by Andy Stanton

The experts at Booksfc have been very, incredibly, unbelievably, jaw droppingly, mind bogglingly busy... watching TV. It takes a lot of effort, dedication and hard work watching the Olympics, 12 hours a day, for 2 weeks solid. But the good news is all that effort has been rewarded. The batteries in the remote control have finally gone flat. That must deserve a medal. One of those shiny gold ones, I think.

It needed to be a very special book to make the experts at Booksfc forget about the Olympics. Not many books were brave enough to take the challenge. But I managed to find a contender. Mr Gum in 'The Hound of Lamonic Bibber' was brave enough and definitely crazy enough.
Mr Gum in 'The Hound of Lamonic Bibber' - Bumper Book!

The Mr Gum books, for those of you who have been visiting Mars, follow the adventures of Mr Gum, a vile villain, who lives in the slightly picturesque, and very bonkers town of Lamonic Bibber. In Mr Gum in 'The Hound of Lamonic Bibber', a ferocious hound is terrorising the good folk of Lamonic Bibber, and it's up to Polly, the heroine, and the only sane voice in the whole book, to find out the truth about the mysterious hound.

Mad Scientist: 5 stars! There was a real plot in this book, with a real mystery, and real clues. What I particularly liked was that the ridiculously funny jokes served as camouflage for the clues. Clever! Like me!

Party Rocker: Also 5 stars! What I particularly liked was the extra story about how Mr Gum and Billy William the third became friends, and the very best bit was when they were talking to Ned Needles, the travelling pillow salesman, and his horse, Handsome, and Billy William 'was pulling Handsome's tail to see if it would make him lay an egg or do a fart or something'. Rude! Like me!

Mad Scientist: 5x5 stars! If there was a Olympic medal for funniness, Andy Stanton would win it. He's hilarious. Mr Gum in 'The Hound of Lamonic Bibber' is hilarious. All the Mr Gum books are hilarious. I should know. I've read them all, reread them all, reviewed them all, and rewired them too. Clever, eh? Bet you didn't even know it was possible to rewire a book. Hey! (jumping round to face Party Rocker) What are you doing?

Party Rocker: (pulling Mad Scientists trousers down) Trying to see if I can make you lay an egg or do a fart or something.

Mad Scientist: (chasing after Party Rocker) Why you little borkler...

Party Rocker: (running away) Did you know you look like a lemon meringue?

Striker: I liked it too. But I'm only going to give it 4 stars because I was a bit worried the hound was going to eat Polly, or Friday, or me. Hey! (jumping round to face Party Rocker) What are you doing?

Party Rocker: (pulling striker's trousers down) Trying to see if I can make you look very silly.

Striker: (chasing after Party Rocker and brandishing his fists) Now I'm going to have to hit you.

Flower Power: Why doesn't anyone ever ask me what I think?

Mad Scientist: Alright then, we will. What did you think of 'The Hound of Lamonic Bibber?

Flower Power: I loved it. 5 stars.

Mad Scientist: Did you actually read it?

Flower Power: No.

Time to end this book review while the experts still have a scrap of dignity left. Mr Gum in the Hound of Lamonic Bibber scores a face smashing, whiskers shabbering, Jonathon Ripples Rippling 5 stars. Way to go, Gum!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Genie in Training by Ciaran Murtagh

Every now and again a book comes along which reminds you strongly of another book! That's OK. It's called borrowing ideas. Everyone does it. The experts at Booksfc do it all the time. Especially during spelling tests.
This time the book that happened to come along was Genie in Training by Ciaran Murtagh. It's about a boy who meets a genie, the boy accidentally wishes to become a genie, and then is whisked off to Genie School to become a genie.
 Genie in Training
Mad Scientist: First of all I want to give this book 3 stars. Just like Harry Potter, Jamie is sent to a magical school where he has two firm friends, and one determined enemy. Just like Harry Potter, there is a benign, wise and powerful headmaster. Just like Harry Potter, Jamie learns to fly, but using a flying carpet not a broomstick. And just like Harry Potter, there are a variety of lessons, and a magic mirror. There was one big difference. Harry Potter is the best series of books I have ever read. This book is good, but not in the same league as Harry Potter. Secondly, and more importantly, I have been falsely accused. I have never cheated in a spelling test in my life! I don't need to. I have a photographic memory. I only need to look at something once to remember it forever.
Party Rocker: Then you'd better not go near a mirror or you'll have nightmares for the rest of your life!
Mad Scientist: (beginning to get annoyed) Again, I have been falsely accused. I have conducted a scientific experiment to check whether I am good looking or not, and the results came back...affirmative. Everyone surveyed said they liked my appearance.
Party Rocker: Aaaahh!
Striker: What's wrong?
Party Rocker: Mad Scientist just looked at me.
Mad Scientist (beginning to get seriously annoyed): I'll do more that just look at you, you little...
Party Rocker (running away): Aaaahh!
Striker: Well I thought it was really good. I really liked the bowl of never ending ice cream. I really liked all the genies who where nice to Jamie and I really didn't like the nasty genie, Dabir, who I wanted to strike. At first I was a little worried when Jamie got stuck in the Genie's World, Lampville-upon-Cloud, but then I stopped being worried and just enjoyed the story. I give it 5 stars.
Party Rocker (running past again): 4 stars.
Flower Power: Are we playing chase? Can I play?
Mad Scientist (still chasing Party Rocker): No. We're doing a book review.
Flower Power (now chasing Mad Scientist): I'm not stupid. I know you're lying.
Mad Scientist (slowing down): Aaaahh! Falsely accused again!
Flower Power (catching Mad Scientist) Got you!

So, Genie in Training scores a magical 4 stars. It might have scored more, if it had been better, and it might have scored less, if it had been worse. Can't say fairer than that, can you?

Someone (somewhere in the distance): Aaaahh!

Monday, 16 July 2012

The Trophy Trap by Emma Laybourn

The panel of experts are revolting! They want to know why adults have all the money and children have none. And why is school free, when chocolate costs money? There's something very wrong going on with the world. Maybe even a conspiracy. So, in protest at the unfairness of life, the panel of experts have decided to review a free book, The Trophy Trap by Emma Laybourn. If only all books were free...

 Cover for 'The Trophy Trap' 
Mad Scientist: Unlike some of the other rubbish I have been forced to review, that was totally unsuitable for someone of my intellectual ability, I actually enjoyed this ebook. I give it 3 stars. In particular I liked:
-that it was an actual story
-that it had realistic characters
-that it was short( J K Rowling is allowed to write novels of 500 pages plus, no one else is)
-that it gave me good ideas for experiments, such as pouring plaster of paris into football boots (ha ha striker)
Striker: (striking Mad Scientist) Or pouring plaster of paris into your test tubes.
Party Rocker: Or pouring plaster of paris onto your testi...
Mad Scientist: (interrupting) Why you little...
(Party Rocker runs off, chased by Mad Scientist.)
Striker: At first I liked it because it had a trophy on the front cover. I like trophies. Then I liked it because it was about a brother and sister who were always arguing and fighting. I like arguing and fighting. Then I liked it because there was a little bit about football. I love football. And finally I liked it because there was a bit of a surprise at the end. I like surprises. So I give it 3 stars. But not because Mad Scientist did. I would never do that.
Party Rocker: (running past)...or pouring plaster of paris into your sandwiches...
Mad Scientist: (also running past)...or putting your annoying sibling into a box... whoops, wrong book, wrong book review! Never mind, I'm gonna give it a go anyway.
Flower Power: When are we going to review Sleeping Beauty?
Striker: Never.
Flower Power: Then I'm going to sleep. Wake me up when my prince gets here.
So, Trophy Trap scores a respectable 3 stars! It might have scored even more if Party Rocker had managed to stop insulting the other experts and actually vote.
Party Rocker:(running past)  4 Stars. Party on!!!
So, Trophy Trap scores a champion 3 1/2 stars. It might have scored even more if Flower Power had managed to actually vote.
Flower Power: Snore.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Billionaire Boy by David Walliams

It's time for the panel of experts to do something useful (for once in their lives). The latest contestant in this tense competition where books are pitted against other books, and experts against other experts, is the hilarious Billionaire Boy by David Walliams. Joe Spud, the hero, is overweight and over rich. He has everything money can buy, except a friend. He decides to quit his posh expensive school and try his luck making friends at the local comprehensive school, where he pretends to be a 'normal' boy.

 Billionaire Boy

Mad Scientist: I give it 3 stars because it was good right up to the point when I stopped reading it. Then it stopped being good because I had stopped reading it.
Party Rocker: And it started being hilariously good, because I was reading it and I'm better than you.
Mad Scientist: That is the most ridiculous thing you have ever said. I bet you can't think of one thing you're better at than me!
Party Rocker: I'm better at annoying you.
Mad Scientist: That is the most sensible thing you have ever said.
Party Rocker: And swearing. You lingpoopy, dangly spangly, ploomfizzy huppletrut.
Mad Scientist: If you say another word...
Party Rocket: Puttock knunter, humbimer, and poob!
Mad Scientist: (running after Party Rocker) Why you little... 
Party Rocker: (running away from Mad Scientist) Blunkering smunghead...
Striker: Those are all swear words that David Walliams teaches us in Billionaire Boy. He kindly makes a list of all the swear words he knows so he can share them. I liked that. I also liked the list of ridiculously posh subjects Joe studied at his ridiculously posh school, the list of all the things Joe and his Dad did with £50 notes, and the list of names teachers should never have, such as Mya Bumreeks. But even better than all the lists, I liked imagining what it would be like to have a billion pounds and to have my very own football club.
So I give it 5 stars.
Flower Power: Me too! 5 stars.
Striker: You can't just give it 5 stars because I did. You need a reason.
Flower Power: I have a reason.
Striker: What reason?
Flower Power: I give it 5 stars because I like stars. Especially shiny, sparkly ones.
Party Rocker: (from the distance) Me too. 5 twuttering stars! This book was pumpuming hool!

This review is an all round success story. Billionaire Boy scores a smunty 5 stars. Mad Scientist keeps fit. So does Party Rocker. Flower Power learns some new words and Striker gets some ideas for his Christmas wish list. Everyone's happy!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Superburger by S. Alini

The panel of experts at BooksFC are getting restless! It could be because it never, ever stops raining, it could be because they're getting hungry, or it could be because they're just desperate for another book to review! So I think it's time to throw a juicy book to the panel, and this time it's Superburger, a rather tasty ebook by San Alini.

Superburger follows the slings and arrows of the outrageous fortunes of Isaac, who wants to eat the Superburger, his friend Tommy, who also wants to eat the Superburger, Isaac's sister, who wants to be President, and the Superburger, which tastes out of this world!

Mad Scientist:
A real book to review at last! With humour, convincing characters, and a sudden plot twist. Pinch me someone, I think I'm dreaming.
Party Rocker:
Mad Scientist:
Oww! What did you do that for?
Party Rocker:
You said pinch me.
Mad Scientist:
Yeah, pinch, not punch me in the arm.
Party Rocker:
Mad Scientist:
Oww! What did you do that for?
Party Rocker (edging away):
You said punch me in the arm.
Mad Scientist (chasing after him):
Why you little...
I thought this book was yummy. It was so good I wanted to read it every night until we finished it. It was so good I also wanted to eat it. It was so good I even tried to eat it. That didn't work. It just made Mad Scientist's kindle slimy, and that just made Mad Scientist mad. I give it 5 stars.
Party Rocker (running past, chased by Mad Scientist):
I thought it was...
Flower Power:
Are going to McDonalds?
Party Rocker (still running past, still chased by Mad Scientist):
...a fun story with a dark edge and even a hidden moral...
Flower Power:
Are we nearly there yet?
No. Because we're not going anywhere.
Flower Power:
Party Rocker (still running past, still chased by Mad Scientist):
...also five stars...

So Superburger by San Alini scores a finger licking 5 stars!