Books and Me

Summer Reading Challenge Review

My little one has finally completed the Summer Reading Challenge. All six books have been read and reviewed before the holidays are even out. It required a lot of bedtime reading, but we got there.

Review of the overall experience: We loved it. We are already advocates of the library, and as parents we understand the importance of reading to our daughter for her educational, emotional, and developmental growth. This challenge just upped the ante for us. We spent a little longer on bedtime reading than usual to ensure we completed all six books, and it was great fun.

Sophie usually picks the shorter, picture books for bedtime (the read in five minute books), but after taking part in the challenge, she has asked for a longer story book to complete each week. I’m not sure who is more excited at this prospect- me or her. I have so many recommendations for her, not to mention all my childhood books to pass on. I think it is safe to say that we have a little bookworm on our hands, and I’m a little bit chuffed… okay, I’m a lot chuffed.

She has given me reviews for each book, and please bear in mind that she is only four years old. However, she has impressed me with her comments. I have also included my own ‘Mummy review’ to give a parent’s perspective.

To kick off the challenge each child received a f0rtune teller to make and use. All questions and answers related to the theme of this year’s challenge- record breakers.


1. Hello Kitty: The Magazine Mix-Up by HarperCollins Books (author not stated)

Sophie: I liked the part where Hello Kitty’s Mummy knocked the water over the magazine they made. Hello Kitty’s friends stayed to help her. Hello Kitty has kind friends.

Mummy: This book had clear moral objectives- work hard and you can achieve what you want to achieve, and always help your friends. I’m glad that Sophie picked up on this. It is a sweet story, and definitely aimed at girls. Sophie was enthralled as we read, and could relay to us what had happened. I would give this book 2 stars. The story and morals were sweet, but the concept was unoriginal.

2. Hello Kitty: The Beach Holiday by HarperCollins Books (author not stated)

Sophie: Timmy was naughty and played tricks on the girls. Then, he got stuck up a cliff, and should have listened to his Daddy. I liked this book more than the magazine book.

Mummy: The idea behind the narrative was to express the need to listen to your parents and to be yourself when trying to make friends. The story was slightly better than the Magazine Mix-Up book, but I would give it the same rating of 2 stars.

After reading two books, each child was given a wall poster- (the stickers received throughout the challenge can be added to the poster ). They also received a set of stickers, one of which is a scratch and sniff.

3. Petal’s Story: A Battersy Dogs and Cats Home Story (author not stated)

Sophie: Gemma got Petal from the dog’s home, and looked after her by herself. Gemma got lost at the funfair and Petal found her family again. I love this book. I want a dog.

Mummy: This story goes into brief details about what happens when you take on a rescue dog, and how much work goes into looking after a dog, without taking away the fun of having one. I give this book 3 stars. And no, we’re not getting a dog!

4. The Railway Rabbits: Wisher and the Runaway Piglet by Georgie Adams

Sophie: Wisher got lost looking for a piglet who was scared and ran away from the farm. She used her friends tunnels to get back… I didn’t like this book very much.

Mummy: Sophie was not as engaged with this book. Sometimes she couldn’t recall the narrative, but whether that was due to the narrative itself or boredom, I’m not sure. Either way, that is not a promising sign for a children’s book. To be honest I find it hard to recall the story. Wisher seemed to get away with a lot of disobedience because she is a ‘special’ rabbit. A mediocre, boring book, hence why I awarded it 1.5 stars.

After reading four books, each child received a key ring and stickers for the wall poster:

My Hamster is a Detective by Dave Lowe

Sophie: It was very funny. I liked Stinky the hamster. He’s a grumpy hamster, and made me laugh. The next door neighbour stole their kitten, but Stinky found out.

Mummy: This book was brilliantly written, and original. There was humour in places, and Sophie was literally rolling with laughter. We would definitely recommend this book. 5 stars for this book.

Whizz Bang Winnie by Laura Owen and Korky Paul

Sophie: Winnie is a silly witch and her cat is called Wilbur. He doesn’t talk, but he is funny. Winnie eats disgusting food, and makes silly spells. She says abracadabra.

Mummy: This book was made up of short stories all about Winnie the witch and Wilbur her cat. The stories are funny, and enjoyable for kids and adults. We finished this book in three nights. It was easy to read two stories a night, and kept Sophie’s attention. I’d give this book 4.5 stars.

The last reward for completing all six books was a wrist band and the final stickers for the wall chart:

We have been informed that one of the librarians will be going to Sophie’s school to award her a medal and certificate in assembly. It’s a lovely touch, and encourages the children in front of their peers, but I’m not sure all libraries are doing this with their local schools.

We shall definitely be partaking in the Summer Reading Challenge next year, and advise all parents of primary school children to do the same.


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