A Word With Author J.L. Smith - blog post image

A Word With Author J.L. Smith

Today we welcome children's author Jenny Smith. Jenny's super successful novels include Diary of a Parent Trainer, (already reviewed on The Bookshelf), My Big Fat Teen Crisis and the fab Abominator series.Jenny has kindly agreed to answer questions submitted from my Instagram and Twitter followers.  

Poppy's Tale - blog post image

Poppy's Tale

Poppy dreams it would be fun to have a tail! But which kind will she choose? She tries our many different animal tail, then invents her own and finds lots of amusing and original ways to use it. 

Jungle Jam - blog post image

Jungle Jam

Jungle Jam in Brazil - Gina the Giraffe loves being part of the Jungle Jam band but she is nervous about leaving her home and trying new things. Follow Gina on her courageous journey and learn about the fabulous music and culture of Brazil. 

The Fox In the Box - blog post image

The Fox In the Box

My Thoughts

I was lucky enough to be sent a review copy of The Fox in the Box and when it arrived in the post, my twelve year old daughter immediately took it and read it, punctuated but oohs and aahs and ‘Freya would LOVE this!” and “oh, it’s so sweet”. A promising start.

For myself I can report The Fox in the Box is delightful. Lee Holland’s illustrations are gentle and traditional but with a charming modern twist. The animals put me in mind of my all time favourite Sylvanian Family creatures, so I was immediately won over.

The story itself is told in verse and is good to read out loud. It would also be great one for early readers. There are a few long words that the very young may struggle with, but the illustrations will help them to tell the story and hold their attention beautifully.

I am not overly fond of children’s stories with messages but this one - about over development and how it affects wildlife - fits well in the narrative and is one children will relate to, and witness, in their every day lives.

Congratulations to the author Amanda Gee and the illustrator Lee Holland on a charming book.

The Story

When Lydia finds a lost a baby fox outside her back door, they set off together to look for his family. But on the way, they discover a terrible disaster is about to overtake their village. Can they stop it … and will the cub find what he’s longing for?


The Phantom Lollipop Man! - blog post image

The Phantom Lollipop Man!

Review to follow (busy week!) but, as you can see, I adored this hence its position as the March Book of the Month!  



Igniting Writing is a creative writing club hosted at Wokingham Library and completely free to attend. The club provides a fun, relaxed atmosphere where 11-18 year-olds can develop their storytelling and writing skills. Writing can be a bit of a solitary activity, so this provides a great opportunity for teens to come together and write as a group, share their imaginative story ideas with others and build friendships with other young aspiring writers. Sessions are held on Saturday mornings, 10:30am to 12noon, and focus on a different aspect of writing every week, from creating characters and settings to exploring genres like sci-fi, fantasy and beyond. Roughly once a month Igniting Writing also hosts 'guest speaker' sessions, where local authors, poets, journalists and other people experienced in the world of writing come and share their knowledge and advice – it's a chance to get the inside scoop from the pros!