Mini Reviews autumnRecently my focus has been all over the place so I’ve been reading children’s books, as they’re shorter and normally more fun to read. Here are my mini reviews of some of those NetGalley arcs.

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Tales From The Round Table: No Ordinary Boy by Tracey Mayhew

53746545From Goodreads: “All Merlin knows is the village where he mixes potions for wary customers, and dreams strange dreams that sometimes come true. Then a mysterious hooded man appears, seeking a boy with no mortal father, and Merlin is taken far away, to a crumbling tower and a ruthless king. To a place where his is not the only magic.
About The Tales from the Round Table series: This engaging collection introduces the legend of Merlin, King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table to a new generation of readers aged 7+.”

Available now from – Bookshop.org HiveWaterstonesAmazon

This story was all about how the young Merlin was taken from his village by the king’s knights and a very strange hooded man. As you can imagine he was scared and really didn’t know if the people were friends or enemies. I must confess that I don’t know that much about Merlin, except what I’ve seen in the Disney cartoon, so this book was a really lovely introduction for me. I thoroughly enjoyed this and loved reading about Merlin before he was a part of Camelot and King Arthur’s court. I loved getting to know the young Merlin through the text and fabulous illustrations and would definitely read the next book in the series. I highly recommend this for young readers looking for a intriguing story and the start of a new series.

Thanks so much to NetGalley and Sweet Cherry Publishing for my digital copy.

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Pirate Stew Written and Performed by Neil Gaiman

617YxF3iBcL._SL500_From Goodreads: “Bloomsbury presents Pirate Stew by Neil Gaiman, read by Neil Gaiman. Meet Long John McRon, ship’s cook…and the most unusual babysitter you’ve ever seen. Long John has a whole crew of wild pirates in tow, and – for two intrepid children – he’s about to transform a perfectly ordinary evening into a riotous adventure beneath a pirate moon. It’s time to make some pirate stew. Marvellously silly and gloriously entertaining, this tale of pirates, flying ships, doughnut feasts and some rather magical stew is perfect for all pirates, both young and old. With a deliciously rhyming text from master storyteller Neil Gaiman, this is the audiobook of the year! Joyful, quirky and action-packed, it makes a spectacular and magical gift.”

Available now from – Audible 

This was great fun as an audiobook with Neil Gaiman reading his own book about pirates who come to babysit. He was absolutely  brilliant at the pirate voices, even continuing into the outro of the book crediting everyone who’d been involved in the production of the audiobook. As far as I know this is sold separately to the picture book, which going by the cover looks fantastic! I think it would be amazing  if the publisher got a package together of the picture book with the audiobook. I remember we had some books and tapes when my son was a toddler (Commotion in the Ocean and Rumble in the Jungle) and we had great fun looking at the book whilst listening to the story, we can even remember some of the rhymes today!

Thanks so much to NetGalley and Bloomsbury UK audio for my digital copy via the NetGalley app.

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A Dancer’s Dream by Katherine Woodfine & Lizzy Stewart

50897155._SX318_From Goodreads: “This gorgeously designed retelling of The Nutcracker will make the perfect Christmas present for ballet fans everywhere!
In snow white covered St. Petersburg, young dancer Stana’s dreams have finally come true – she has been chosen to play the lead role in Tchaikovsky’s new ballet, The Nutcracker. But with all eyes looking at her, can Stana overcome her nerves and dance like she’s never danced before?
From the author of the bestselling The Sinclair Mysteries, Katherine Woodfine, and Waterstone’s Book Prize winner, Lizzy Stewart, this sumptuous and magical retelling of The Nutcracker will transport you on a journey far beyond the page.”

Available from – BookshopHiveWaterstonesAmazon

This is a really lovely book, telling the fictionalised story of the first performance of the Nutcracker ballet. As the synopsis above mentions it tells the story of Stana who is picked to play the lead role of Clara. As well as worrying if she’s up to take on the part she has a huge worry closer to home. I loved the way the author and illustrator wove both these fears into the story. The text is lovely and illustrations that accompany it are just gorgeous.  I love Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and always wanted to see the ballet and this book brought me closer to doing that. I think this book would be a wonderful Christmas present for any child who loves the Nutcracker or who is yet to discover it!

Thanks so much NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children’s UK for my digital copy via the NetGalley app.