Tag Archives: Sarah Horne

There’s a Dragon in my Backpack!

Tom Nicoll and Sarah Horne, There's a Dragon in my Backpack!

I loved Tom Nicoll’s first book about the Mini-Dragon, who came to Eric via a Chinese takeaway meal. These things happen.

This made it hard to ignore* the second story about clever little Pan, so I didn’t. Eric has this annoying neighbour who goes to a fancy private school, and Toby always wants what Eric has. In this case the dragon.

Except he doesn’t quite understand Pan isn’t a toy dragon.

Anyway, it is Show and Tell at Toby’s school, and well, you can guess. Toby wants Pan to come so he can show off. Eric says no. And then…

Well, there’d be no story and no book if what happened didn’t happen.

Eric has some good friends – Min and Jayden – and they meet a couple more unflappable children at the Show and Tell. People who understand that you help others.

This is fun! And Sarah Horne’s illustrations are just right.

*I know I’m too old for the regular interest age for this kind of book. But I don’t care. It’s got a Mini-Dragon.

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There’s a Dragon in my Dinner!

You can do a lot with a Mini-Dragon. But even if it turns up in your dinner, it’s best not to take a bite out of it.

I enjoyed Tom Nicoll’s book debut very much. There’s a Dragon in my Dinner! is probably most suited for seven or eight-year-olds, but it worked really well for me too. It’s not every day you find a nice, easy to read, book for young (dare I say it?) boys, that is truly entertaining for the adult reader as well, while being both intelligently written and fun.

Tom Nicoll and Sarah Horne, There's a Dragon in my Dinner!

The Mini-Dragon turns up in the beansprouts, when the Crisp (yeah, I know) family orders a Chinese for dinner. Young Eric finds he doesn’t like beansprouts, which may be why he didn’t order any. But he quite likes Pan, the Mini-Dragon, although not to the extent that he eats him. (His little sister tries that…)

It can be fun to have a new friend who is only the size of a spring roll, one who has a lot of conversation and is good at all sorts of things. Pan sleeps in Eric’s sock drawer (by sheer coincidence I’d thought a lot about sock drawers just before reading this book), and when he doesn’t eat mountain goats, he eats school uniform.

How to introduce your friends and family to a Mini-Dragon though? It’s hard. And the dreadful boy next door? Even worse.

But all in all, just as well Pan didn’t end up in Mexico the way his parents had planned.

(Illustrated by Sarah Horne, who obviously has some experience of beansprout dragons.)

Puppy Academy – Scout and the Sausage Thief

They know who the sausage thief is. Frank Furter. It’s just a case of catching him, and preferably before the village sausage festival in Little Barking has to be cancelled.

Gill Lewis, Scout and the Sausage Thief

Here, with Puppy Academy, Gill Lewis is back with clever doggy students who want nothing better than to be good working dogs. Scout, the German shepherd puppy, wants to be a police dog like her mum and dad.

As you will have worked out, this is not a real school where dogs are trained to be police dogs. This is more a world of dogs who talk, go to school and have jobs, while being pretty much the same as you and me. (Within reason.)

This is a nice little adventure, where poor Scout is working hard at being good, but having setbacks and needing to work even harder at putting things right. Catching Frank Furter is one thing, but who stole the Crunchie Munchies?

Itch Scritch Scratch

For us it began the night before Norway’s national day, some years ago. I’d never met nits up close before. But when I did, I did so with a vengeance. There was nothing for it though, we had to go to the 17 Mai celebrations, nits and all. (If anyone reading this remembers catching nits soon after; that wasn’t us. Definitely not.)

Eleanor Updale and Sarah Horne, Itch Scritch Scratch

I’m scratching even as I write this, just like I scratched when reading Eleanor Updale’s beautiful – or fun – poetry on nits. Itch Scritch Scratch is being reissued in a dyslexia friendly format, with adorable nit illustrations by Sarah Horne. (Did you know nits play the banjo and dance, and have cute little babies?)

Itch.

As I was saying, this is scratchy, but fun. If I’ve understood the principle behind this book correctly, it’s a picture book that can be read by dyslexic parents to their children. Because it’s not just children who are dyslexic and need books. Nor adults who might want to read for their own enjoyment. Imagine wanting to read to your child, and not being able to?

I think this would be a great book to treat your child to, whoever you are. Who doesn’t love nit poetry?

Scam on the Cam

Cambridge, Cambridge… what’s going on? More crime. Another young detective. Another college theologian. I’m beginning to feel Cambridge might not be as safe as the romantic view of this place of learning would have you believe.

Clémentine Beauvais, Scam on the Cam

Clémentine Beauvais sends her Sesame Seade out into seedy Cambridge for a third adventure, Scam on the Cam. As the title suggests, it’s water based and it’s about the famous boat race. The poor young men who row for Cambridge are dropping like flies. Who is poisoning them and why?

Or are they falling ill for some other reason? There are frogs, and a handsome young boy from one of the other schools in town. There are ze zieves. (thieves, you know) It’s enough to make Sesame shplutter.

I love the humour and the use of language (and she is French! Young, too…) and there is nothing about this rather innocent crime series and its 11-year-old detective that makes it unsuitable for old people. Quite the contrary. I hope the quality of the writing isn’t wasted on the young (like so much else).

(Illustrated by Sarah Horne.)