Kate on the Case: The Headline Hoax

Hannah Peck. Templar Publishing. (192p) ISBN: 9781800781658

Kate on the Case: The Headline Hoax

Kate on the Case: The Headline Hoax

This is the third instalment of a wonderful chapter book series from Hannah Peck featuring our two favourite intrepid reporters, Kate and Rupert.

This time sees them investigating the mysterious goings on at The Lookout Post, where her ONE TRUE IDOL, Catherine Rodriguez grabs all her scoops.

The newspaper is being sabotaged and the owner ask Kate to come in and find out what is happening and who is doing it.

As usual we follow Kate and Rupert (ably ignored by Dad once more who is learning about welding somewhere in the bowels of the building) through lots of twists and turns whilst following some red herrings and bananas.

Fun and full of wonderful illustrations Hannah brings us another beautifully written and drawn story where she examines friendship, jealousy, and understanding, great for everyone to read but firmly aimed at younger readers.

I received this from NetGalley for an honest review.


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Bertie and the Alien Chicken

Jenny Pearson, Aleksei Bitskoff. Barrington Stoke. (120p) ISBN 9781800901810

Bertie and the Alien Chicken

Bertie and the Alien Chicken

I asked for this from NetGalley as I’ve always loved Barrington Stoke and what they stand for when I worked in special needs education. Now that I’m a bookseller I love knowing that I can direct children and parents to these books which are tailored for their needs.

This is great but what is even better is that the stories are always brilliant as well.

Bertie and the Alien Chicken is no different here, we find Bertie being sent away to his Uncle’s farm for the summer holiday as his mum is going to America to work.

Bertie really want’s nothing to do with this as he believes it is going to be smelly and boring.

He couldn’t have been more wrong, OK not about the smelly bit but definitely about the boring bit.

After a gentle bit of ribbing by his Uncle things start to go very strange when he meets Nugget the talking alien chicken who is on a mission and enlists Bertie to help. At least it is only the fate of the planet that’s at stake nothing too important.

A fun little adventure ensues with a lot of silliness, but at it’s core it is a lovely little book that looks at exploring those more intangible things that are so important like feelings and how it’s so crucial to acknowledge them.

This story was superbly supported by the funny illustrations of Aleksei Bitskoff, lots of detail and humour really added to the whole experience.

It feels like there could be a sequel in the works which is great and I’d love to see more adventures with Bertie and Nugget.

I received this through NetGalley for an honest review.


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Saving Neverland

Abi Elphinstone. Puffin Books. (320p) ISBN 9780241473320

Saving Neverland

Saving Neverland

It’s always a treat to read a book by Abi Elphinstone and doubly so when it involves Peter Pan.

We meet Martha and Scruff in a family that is coping with mum elsewhere and dad working hard to ‘provide’. Martha is also trying really hard to grow up and be responsible after the ‘Terrible Day’

Into this explodes Peter Pan who needs their help to save Neverland from Captain Hook’s curse that has turned the beautiful island into a cold and frosty place with all it’s magic leached away waiting for the return of Hook and his pirate marauders.

At the start Scruff is abducted and Martha has to rediscover belief in adventure to save her brother, though throughout Scruff shows his own development.

A wonderful adventure taking us on a tour of this wintery Neverland and finding conflict with tigers, sharks, and bears but Oh my! these are so different from your usual types.

Bringing new magic to the original story, with a new cast of Lost Kids, but still the good old Peter, Abi creates something new in a well loved world with a great story about family, friends, and responsibility and how we need to grow, not just up but around to be fully developed.

Oh and watch out for Armageddon!

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Midwinter Burning

Tanya Landman. Walker Books. (256p) ISBN 9781406397185

Midwinter Burning

Midwinter Burning

I loved Tanya’s previous books, especially Horse Boy, so was really pleased to get a chance to read her new one.

In Midwinter Burning we start off in prehistory and the scene is set for a midwinter offering, this sets up the rest of the book, especially the idea of outsiders.

We then go to London on the eve of the Second World War and Operation Pied Piper, a voluntary evacuation of children three days before the declaration of war with Germany. Here we meet Alfie, another outsider with a life of rejection and bullying behind him.

His group is evacuated to a village where the stones from the first scene are and here Alfie starts to find what he could feel is a home with Auntie Bell and the animals of the farm he is staying at.

He even eventually makes a friend called Snidge, but his friend is a mystery with a different language and different clothing, Alfie doesn’t want to mention him to others just in case the paranoia of an upcoming war affects this friendship.

Tanya weaves a fascinating tale of two worlds and how they interact, how friendship can overcome adversity, and how even the littlest of us can succeed.

I loved how Alfie and Snidge learned about each others worlds, and how they could inhabit each others worlds was so well done, especially toward the end of the story which is so exciting and tense.

I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.