Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Do Bugs Wear Shoes on Halloween? (Do Bugs Wear Shoes Blog Tour)

It's Halloween!!!! Time for ghosts, witches and goblins; things that go bump in the night...and what's that scritching and scratching in the corner or under the's a creepy-crawly!!! Oh, those bugs! They do give us a fright any time of the year...but especially at Halloween. But maybe, just maybe they don't deserve their spine-chilling reputation. After all, they are fascinating. I think we need to learn a little bit more about bugs, don't you? Fortunately for us, there is a brand new book, filled with facts, bright, lively illustrations and the answers to all your most pressing and silliest bug questions!
Do Bugs Wear Shoes? by Addie Broussard and Anthony Puttee is available now for all the budding entomologists out there. It even tells you what an entomologist actually does! And what a 'bug' actually is...very important before you go accusing a creature of being one. bugs wear shoes? What is that stinky smell...pppeeewww! Do bugs have to go to school, as well? What do they study there? Why does that moth look like an owl? Are there bugs that look like other animals, too? Can bugs dance? Which bug is heavier than your pet hamster? Do bugs live or go everywhere...Antarctica? Outer space? Do they have feelings? And when will the robot bugs take over???!!!  Well, you just have to read this book and find out. It's fascinating, fun and filled with everything you need to know. The brief text in the book is written so that even the newest reader will be able to read it by themselves, or, if you are sharing while on a bug hunt, it gives you just the quick fact burst you need. On every page, you'll find clear and colourful photographs alongside so zany drawings that allow you to contrast and compare bugs easily. It's a book that's designed to thrill, to entertain and to fascinate everyone. In terms of bug and insect information, it's the full-package, even giving the reader additional resources and other books, if you just can't get enough. And there is so much to learn about bugs!
So tonight, when something is crawling up the wall, buzzing by or spinning a spooky web, don't be afraid! You can just check in the book to find out what its' story is. you go....oh wait! I had some bugs that glow in the dark around here somewhere...they'll come in handy for you.....
(ppssstt...if you go to the Two Umbrellas website, there's a Creepy Cool Halloween Art Pack to download..brilliant fun!)

 DO BUGS WEAR SHOES? and other silly questions
authors: Addie Broussard and Anthony Puttee
Two Umbrellas Media 
ISBN: 9781949137095 (paperback)
9781949137088 (e-book) 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Season of the Witch

Here we are...the 25th of October. We all know what that means. In just a few days numerous little ghosts, ghouls and monsters will be knocking on the door demanding 'Trick or Treat'. And the witches! Oh the glorious witches! (I saw a few walking past earlier in a school Halloween Parade.)
In the book world, witches are always popular. We love a good witch story...something spooky that hints of magic and mischief and sometimes, sheer terror. Particularly this year (and the previous as well) witches and books about hauntings have come to the fore. So, for this special time of year, LB Koala and I thought we'd share a few of my very favourite witchy/ghosty books (MG and YA) for you all to enjoy while the nights are darkening and autumn is casting its' magical spell on us all.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (out in 2017) is a wonderfully magical story about a young girl, abandoned in the woods and raised by a kindly, elderly witch. Her guardian feeds her on starlight. One night she is fed on moonlight by mistake, accidentlt filling an ordinary girl with extraordinary magic.
The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone (2015) is bold, frightening and adventurous. When Moll wakes one night in the forest, its' the same nightmare again. The sound of drums and rattles; a ghostly, skeletal face. The Dreamsnatcher is coming to seal her fate.
Begone the Raggedy Witches (The Wild Magic Trilogy) by Celine Kiernan; on the night Auntie dies, the Raggedy Witches come for Mups' mam and they will stop at nothing to get her. When they kidnap her father, Mam and Mup cross the border into the Witches Borough to rescue him. But Mam changes on this side of the border and Mup is afraid that nothing will ever be the same again. (The best witch book!)
The House With Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson; Based loosely on Eastern European fairytales; Marinka dreams of a normal life in a normal town, in a normal house that does not suddenly run off on its' chicken legs to unfamiliar locations. But Marinkas' grandmother is Baba Yaga, who guides spirits from this world to the next and the house goes wherever she is most needed. Marinka longs to break away from her grandmothers' life...but the house has other ideas.
The Wild Folk by Sylvia V Linsteadt; Comfrey, a girl from the wild country with a driving curiosity about the Wild Folk and Tin, an orphaned city boy with a passion for invention are both visited by young hares one night. The hares were sent to them by the Greentwins and their task is to guide the two children on a mission to save the Wild Folk and their beautiful island kingdom of Farallone. Much magic, adventure and danger...beautiful.
Seaglass by Eloise Williams; in the Welsh countryside, in a ruined cottage rumoured to be the site of a witches house, it turns out there is no witch, but a young, restless ghost seeking justice for herself and her mother. And Larks' family is at the heart of it all. A chilling contemporary ghost story about friendship, family and learning to deal with emotions. Extraordinary tale!
How To Hang A Witch by Adriana Mather; Sam's father is in hospital, her step-mother and she have just returned to the old family house in Salem, Massachusetts only to find that the trials of high school are just like the old Witch Hunts...especially if you are part of the original descendants and an old family curse is rearing its head. (YA)
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert; dark, chilling fairytales invade our contemporary world where 17 year-old Alice must travel to the Hinterland to rescue her mother and free them both from the curse of bad luck that follows them everywhere they go. But Alice finds she may just get trapped in her own story. (definitely YA) SSoooo good it's delicious! But it is the stuff of nightmares.
The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton; Nor Blackburn is descendant from a long line of witches on Anathema Island, each having had their own power; their own speciality. Nor wants to live an ordinary, unremarkable life. But when her estranged, dangerous mother makes a reappearance, that may just be impossible. Gripping, magical and totally absorbing. (YA)

Happy Witch Reading!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Fallen Star Stories Books of the Month: October 2018

I do apologise. I have been quite remiss in posting Octobers' Childrens Books of the Month. So much has been going on. The books are being released at a fast and furious pace now. (I won't mention the 'C' word...but you all know why.) It's hard to keep up!
But here they are now! A little something for everyone. You can find reviews and recommendations for each one of these on the various pages and posts.
Just a recap on the selections:
Mr. Tiger, Betsy and the Blue Moon by Sally Gardner, illustrations by Nick Maland; Zephyr (Head of Zeus) publishers
My Secret Dragon by Debbie Thomas; Little Island publisher
Seaglass by Eloise Williams; Firefly Press publisher
Dragon Post written and illustrated by Emma Yarlett; Walker Books publisher
The Pooka Party written and illustrated by Shona Shirley MacDonald; O'Brien Press publisher
Each one of these truly captured my heart and imagination and I know you will love them!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

International Day of the Girl

Since 2012,11 October has been designated the International Day of the Girl by the United Nations. This day seeks to address and highlight the needs and challenges faced by girls in the world today, while promoting empowerment and a fulfillment of their human rights.
This year, the theme of International Girls' Day is "With Her: A Skilled Girlforce" and promotes the idea that girls really can do anything and make sure they are just as prepared to enter a world of work that is being transformed by innovation. But not only do girls need to be provided with exceptional education and training to hold their own and excel as they enter the workforce. They need to be provided with examples and role models. And from my view...with fabulous books that challenge the imagination, bring joy and that sense of 'boldness.'
I will remind all of you out there about CBIs' "Bold Girls" incentive; a promotion of books highlighting girls and young women who take the lead in their own stories. To put these books forward and celebrate girls who are strong, smart, innovative and basically brilliant in every way, they have published a brilliant "Bold Girls Guide", filled with recommendations of books, both fiction and nonfiction, for girls of all ages. You can find the Bold Girls Guide in bookshops or through Childrens Books Ireland.
I also want to share just a few of the books I would like to recommend (and my personal favourites, I have to admit) to read, enjoy and revel in...books that show just how much girls can do.
PIPPI LONGSTOCKING by Astrid Lindgren:
Pippi has to be the original 'Bold Girl' and a girl of true confidence and competence; a girl who isn't afraid to get it wrong...she'll just try again and make it all work out. Pippi lives life on her own  (well...with her monkey), keeping things together while awaiting the return of her father, a south-seas seafaring swashbuckler. She's a rebel and a role model and as capable as they come!
Astrid is loud, boisterous and spends her days speeding downhill on her sledge and skis. The town knows there's never a dull moment with her around, though I think they'd rather like one.You could think of this book as a combination of Pippi, Heidi and Anne of Green Gables with a unique twist all its' own. Astrid is feisty, irrepressible, resourceful and clever.
Yes, read the whole series. Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up a detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls; but they struggle (at first) to find a real mystery. But after the discovery of the Science Mistress' seems everywhere they go, murder turns up. And they are so clever, so sharp...a bit on the imaginative side, which ultimately leads the down the right path. Talk about resourceful! I love a good mystery...don't you. (psst...there's a brand new one just out; Death In The Spotlight.)
BRIGHT SPARKS by Owen O'Doherty
This is an amazing collection of women throughout history that are responsible for many, many inventions, innovations and discoveries...and so many ingenious solutions to everyday problems that we often take for granted. All true stories throughout history!
BLAZING A TRAIL: Irish Women Who Changed the World by Sarah Webb
A brilliant collection of facts and stories about incredible, brave and ingenious Irish women who made their mark across the globe. Adventurers, aviators, rebels, teachers...28 outstanding Irish women to inspire and fascinate!

Both of the last two books are bound to get the message through loud and clear:


Friday, October 5, 2018

Who Loves Dragon Post! We Do! - Day 5 Dragon Post Blog Tour

Dear Friends,
Alas, we come to the end of this wonderful blog tour celebrating the release of Dragon Post by Emma Yarlett, published by Walker Books. Dragon Post is out in the wild and available at all good book shops everywhere. So don't forget to pick your copy up! It really is brilliant!
And the letters to imaginary friends from the talented and creative children at St Nicholas School (Waterside) have all been sent! Hopefully, they hear from their friends soon. And perhaps you have been inspired to write to your own imaginary friends, find out what they've been up to and let them know how things are going for you.
I hope you have enjoyed them all. along with the beautiful artwork displayed on these pages and on their letters.
Thank you for joining us.
Best dragon regards....
p.s.  Here are the last couple of letters, and one from me!


@WalkerBooksUK    @BIGPictureBooks

Thursday, October 4, 2018

We Love Dragon Post - Day 4 Dragon Post Blog Tour

Dear Friends,
I am astounded by the variety of letters the young students of St Nicholas School (Waterside) are sending off; the imagination and attention to detail, the types of imaginary friends they address and the joy in their work!
Their response is engaging and simply delightful. It has allowed them not only to hone their letter-writing skills, but to simply and freely explore certain concepts like care and concerns for the needs of others, asking questions (a very difficult thing to do!) and actually explore the possibilities of others' lives, developing empathy and simply having fun!
Here are a few more letters for you to enjoy!
Best Dragon Regards,

@WalkerBooksUK   @BIGPictureBooks

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

It's Time For...Dragon Post! - Day 3: Dragon Post Blog Tour

Dear Friends,
The importance of picture books such as Dragon Post by Emma Yarlett  cannot be underestimated.
Far from a simple, yet captivating tale story with bright, colourful pictures; though it IS those things, certainly; a book like this sparks the imagination and fires a desire for creative play and learning. It opens the doors of curiosity and allows a young reader to step through.
In Dragon Post, we are invited into the world of a child who has to use problem-solving skills, ask for help, develop discretion, the meaning of friendship and responsibility. This is accomplished by creating a safe environment in which we can all explore these things. As the child gets older, they carry these behaviours and skills with them, along with a sense of wonder, joy and observation.
Besides, who doesn't like to read other peoples' post? You can do that here...and not get in trouble.
Here are some more letters from the kids at St Nicholas School (Waterside). I think you'll agree they show great creativity.
Best Dragon Regards,
@WalkerBooksUK  @BIGPictureBooks

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

We've Got More Dragon Post! Day 2- Dragon Post Blog Tour

Dear Friends,
LB and I are back with more Dragon Post from the kids at St Nicholas School (Waterside). LB has been sorting and I have been reading and there is so much to talk about in these letters.We are having a wonderful time looking at them over and over, and I hope you will, as well.
Isn't this a fantastic way to celebrate the release of Dragon Post by Emma Yarlett (published by Walker Books)? Who doesn't like to read other peoples letters?!
Some of the letters are just 'catch-up' letters...the what are you doing, how have you been, I hope you are having a good time in (wherever the friends are.) Some of them are letters letting their friends know what the children have been up to. Some of the letters give advice. And one letter in particular stood out...a letter from one young man who hadn't had an imaginary friend before...this is really great!
My favourite bit; "It is nice in the real world. Hope to see you soon."
Here's a few more letters, including one from Matei. Matei wrote to an actual friend, giving him some input on how to care for a newly acquired Satyr.
Enjoy them! They are all exceptional!
Warmest Dragon Regards,
LB and I


@WalkerBooksUK  @BIGPictureBooks

Monday, October 1, 2018

We've Got Dragon Post! (Dragon Post Blog Tour from Walker Books)

Dear Friends,
LB and I are very excited to be part of this blog tour celebrating the release of Dragon Post by Emma Yarlett, published by Walker Books.
The idea is to post letters to our imaginary friends. Personally, I don't like to think of them as imaginary friends. I think of them as "friends that are very real, but it just so happens that other people may not be able to see them." (And PLEASE do not refer to LB as an imaginary friend. He gets very prickly if you do...and as you may not know, there is nothing worse than a prickly koala!)
We wanted to do something different...something special to celebrate this wonderful new picture book. So we teamed up with these guys... meet the 3rd and 4th class kids from St Nicholas School (Waterside) here in Galway. Aren't they great! They grabbed their paper and pens and imaginations and have written a marvellous collection of letters to friends near and far, imaginary and real asking questions, talking about life and giving advice on the care of some most unusual friends. And LB offered to post them. As you can see, there are a LOT of letters. Everyday this week, a few from the class will appear here on Fallen Star Stories...hopefully (in fact I'm sure) their imaginary friends will receive their letters soon.
And I know you'll love reading them!
@WalkerBooksUK @BigPictureBooks