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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The Little Match Girl Strikes Back

Emma Carroll, Lauren Child. Simon & Schuster. (208p) ISBN 9781398512818

The Little Match Girl Strikes Back

The Little Match Girl Strikes Back

I’d been saving this for my holiday and the train journey to and from Hull, well it lasted the train journey to Hull…

Another brilliant book from Emma Carroll and Lauren Child, looking forward to seeing the finished illustrations as the copy I had was a bound proof and they were all greyscale, but still stunningly beautiful.

This takes the story of the little match girl and gives her agency, rather than letting her die she is allowed to live and change things for the better along with others in similar circumstances.

Very apt at the moment when more and more workers are seeing that collective action is the only way to make a lasting and real change in the world.

There are tones of Christmas Carol, especially the idea of three revelatory scenes that change the protagonist and the outcome of the story.

Well written at a cracking pace (I finished it on a single train journey) the illustrations and word play add a strength to the book that words alone wouldn’t convey.

I’m always happy to get an Emma Carroll or Lauren Child book to read and this is just wonderful having the two together


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Indie Bookshops) 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.

Witch for a Week

Kaye Umansky. Simon and Schuster. (192p) ISBN 9781471160905

Witch for a Week

Witch for a Week

Elsie is chosen to look after Magenta’s Witch Tower for a week whilst Magenta goes to see her sister. Elsie doesn’t realise why in the beginning but sees it as a good opportunity to get away from the domestic chaos of her house where her younger brothers tend to chew on anything, including to her dismay, books.

Witch for a Week has a lovely cast of supporting characters we follow Elsie through her discovery of why she was chosen to look after Magenta’s tower.

There are plenty laughs and comedic exchanges throughout the book, with some really silly bits, but everything sorts itself out in the end.

This was a wonderful evenings read and would be an exciting book to read to lots of younger children, with plenty of exclamations and different voices.

Absolutely love the illustrations from Ashley King.

I’m really looking forward to the continuation of the series and finding out how the characters get on and develop.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) 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.

Storm Hound

Claire Fayers. Pan Macmillan. (256p) ISBN 9781509895045

Storm Hound

Storm Hound

Storm of Odin, youngest hound in the Wild Hunt, finds himself in a spot of trouble after falling to earth. He is no longer a gigantic, ravening force of nature tearing the very fabric of the sky apart, he is now a cute puppy with floppy ears and a flappy tail!

The tail weaves Welsh mythology into the modern day, old sorcerors, shape-shifting boys, and a trio of dark, but oh so stupid, wizards looking to steal the power of Storm to power their own magic and ambitions.

A wonderful adventure, that was so funny I was snorting in public (strange looks in Nero), the sections of misunderstanding between Storm and the human world are hilarious and so well written you would think Claire had first hand experience.

I loved this so much I actually had to read it a second time to make sure it was a 5-star book that I will be recommending to everyone and their granny.

I received a copy of Storm Hound from NetGalley for an honest review.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) 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.