Review: Stig of the Dump by Clive King

book review

Stig of the Dump by Clive Owens 4.5/5

979470.jpgBarney is a solitary eight-year-old, given to wandering off by himself. One day he tumbles over, lands in a sort of cave, and meets’ somebody with shaggy hair wearing a rabbit-skin and speaking in grunts. He names him Stig. They together raid the rubbish dump at the bottom of the pit, improve Stig’s cave dwelling, and enjoy a series of adventures.



Another re-read of one of my childhood favourites has only reaffirmed my love for this book. I can recall reading Stig of the Dump to myself for the first time at about eight years old, and then having my teacher read it during storytime just a few months later. I was still as impressed with the story as I read it to my daughter.

Why did I give it 4.5 and not 5*? Purely for the fact that my daughter didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as our last read, The Borrowers. Her attention wandered a little during the lengthier descriptions. I, on the other hand, loved the detailed descriptions and wonderful relationship dynamic between Barney and Stig. I will encourage my daughter to re-read the book for herself in a year or two.

The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review



Review: The Sheep Pig by Dick King Smith


The Sheep Pig by Dick King Smith 4/5

6tag_221217-135642When Babe arrives at Hogget Farm, Mrs. Hogget’s thoughts turn to sizzling bacon and juicy pork chops–until he reveals a surprising talent for sheepherding, that is. Before long, Babe is handling Farmer Hogget’s flock better than any sheepdog ever could. Babe is so good, in fact, that the farmer enters him into the Grand Challenge Sheepdog Trials. Will it take a miracle for Babe to win?


One of the joys of having children is re-reading your old favourites to them. My daughter’s copy of The Sheep Pig is, in fact, my copy from childhood.

Re-reading as an adult helps you see the themes and morals in the story that you may have missed as a child. The underlying theme of this book is that you can be anything you want to be and do anything you want to do if you set your mind to it. Also, manners go a long way. Babe wanted to work sheep, so he learnt , listened, and worked hard. He also treated the sheep as his equals. This is an important message for impressionable, young minds.

There are a few truthful, raw moments dotted in the otherwise joyous narrative. When Ma died, my daughter broke her heart, and straight after, Babe was seconds from being executed. I forgot how the narrative went a little dark in that moment, and although upset, my daughter wanted me to continue. Life and death are fairly common themes in children’s literature now, and The Sheep Pig handles the truth of farm life brilliantly. We are not a family of vegetarians, and reminding my daughter of this helped her see the truth in where her food actually comes from and what happens from farm to plate.

In summary, a quick re-read that touched on some important issues.

The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

Review: The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher


The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher 5/5

6tag_151217-150230.jpgThe Christmasaurus is a story about a boy named William Trundle, and a dinosaur, the Christmasaurus. It’s about how they meet one Christmas Eve and have a magical adventure. It’s about friendship and families, sleigh bells and Santa, singing elves and flying reindeer, music and magic. It’s about discovering your heart’s true desire, and learning that the impossible might just be possible.


As I type this, I have a 7 year old giving input over my shoulder. I read this novel to her every night for the past few weeks, and can honestly say that it was a huge hit. It is full of Christmas magic and wonder, and in true Tom Fletcher style, lots of dino-awesomeness.

I’m a huge fan of the main character. William Trundle is a wheelchair user, and it’s awesome that such characters are represented in children’s literature. Bullying and its effects is also highlighted.

My daughter says it is not only an amazing book, but the best book she has ever read. That’s quite the testament to Fletcher’s storytelling skills. It is a book that is meant to be read out loud, and there is a plot twist that had both of us gawping at each other.

In summary, read this book to your kids!

The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review



Review: Diary of Anna the Girl Witch by Max Candee

Diary of Anna the Girl Witch by Max Candee 4/5

6tag_100516-120113Blurb: What do you do when you discover you’re a witch… And that using your new powers destroys your soul a little each time?

Set in the Swiss countryside, this story blends ancient folklore with a coming of age tale about a young witch on the brink of womanhood. Anna Sophia has always known she was different. She didn’t know just how different until now.

On the eve of her 13th birthday — in the orphanage where she’s spent most of her childhood — Anna wonders about her past. She never knew her parents, doesn’t even know where she came from. All she has to go by is an unbelievable fairy tale her uncle used to tell: that she was found as a baby, tucked among a pack of bear cubs in the wilds of Russia.

To make matters even more complex, Anna has discovered that she can see and do things that no one else can. So far, she’s kept her powers a secret, and they remain strange and frightening even to her.

It’s only when Anna receives a letter from her mother — a mother she will never meet — that she discovers some of the truths about her past, and begins to uncover the possibilities in her future. As Anna continues to learn more about her secret abilities, she finds out that her neighbors are hiding something of their own: a plot to harm Anna and her friends.

Can Anna Sophia use her newfound supernatural powers to stop them? Can she fight back, without endangering her own soul? And maybe, just maybe, is her own secret tied up with theirs?

Through a story of otherworldly magic, Anna Sophia finds a sense of real-world belonging. With its cast of strong characters, inventive setting, and engaging storyline, this fantasy adventure is a relevant novel for middle grade children or young adults.


With thanks to Helvetic House and Netgalley for offering me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

This is the first children’s book I have reviewed on my blog, and I was pleasantly surprised with how the narrative drew me in. I had to keep in mind that the book was aimed at children/ young teens, but that being said, it was an innovative tale that I’m sure many parents would be happy to read to their children- that is if their kids don’t think storytime is uncool *hehe*.

The narrative has dark undertones and impresses morals upon the reader. Anna Sophia learns that she is a witch, and that her magic has two sides- light and dark. If she uses her magic to harm or for ‘bad’, then she loses a little bit of her soul. She has to use initiative to ensure she only uses good magic, or she may start becoming like an evil relative she has only recently learnt existed.

There are dark chapters and incredibly sinister adults, even wicked policemen, but good always triumphs over evil, and that’s an important ethic woven into the narrative. Anna Sophia’s character is typical for a thirteen year old girl, and I feel the author had her face her trials and hardship in a relatable way for children and young teens.

Squire was a funny little character- a hand that becomes animated when heated by flames. I couldn’t help but think of Thing from the Addams Family. I’m showing my age now, but I like that Thing has had a bit of an upgrade for the younger generations.

My own daughter is a little too young to appreciate this book, but I won’t hesitate to recommmend it to her when she’s older. The ending is open for a second book, and is set to be a good one.

The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties.

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review.