Give a book a go!


`Welcome to our Give a book a go corner. Each month a member of staff will recommend a book they have ‘recently’ read and write a little synopsis / review of it to give you an idea what it was about! Feel free to come back each month to see who has posted a review and what they had to say! If it sounds like a book you might like - why don't you "give it a go" yourself!

JANUARY's Recommendation - Who Will Sing My Puff-A-Bye by Charlotte Hudson & Mary McQuillan

                                                                                                                                                       review written by Mrs P Connor                             

When asked by Miss Dougan to comment on a book that I had enjoyed reading she suggested that it could be a child’s book if I wished … immediately I thought of this book which I read to my two boys when they were starting nursery.  They loved it!


They had both been accustomed to having me or their grandparents at home to look after them and the idea of starting nursery and having strangers care for them instead, was worrying.


This story tells of a mummy dragon starting work in a volcano as a ‘firelighter’ and so she will no longer be at home to look after her two little boy dragons ‘Crossfire’ and ‘Puffing Billy.’  Instead, they are going to have a new child minder.  Crossfire (the eldest of the two boys) is not happy and very concerned about who would cook him ‘lava pancakes,’ play ‘I fry’ and sing his ‘puff-a-bye’ when he was going to sleep. 


Mummy dragon introduces Crossfire to his new child minder ‘Smokescreen’ who does things totally differently to her … at the end of Crossfire’s first day with Smokescreen he asks mummy “please don’t go to work tomorrow.”  As each day goes by however, Smokescreen introduces new kinds of food, games and activities which Crossfire and Puffing Billy love, including ‘fireballs’ for breakfast, the game ‘Down with St George’ and firework displays with ‘dragon wheels’ and ‘snout fizzers’!


The book ends with the idea that at bedtime, when mummy is putting Crossfire to bed and singing his ‘puff-a-bye,’ he has so much to talk about that he forgets to ask her not to go to work the next day.


The graphics in this book are amusing, endearing, and incredibly detailed – they simply perfect what is a reassuring story for any child adjusting to nursery or a new child minder.

DECEMBER's Recommendation - Green Glass Beads by Jaqueline Wilson

                                                                                                                                                       review written by Ms J Attwood                             

The secrets of a baby brother

The aching hurt of sensing mother

Sister in a whale? It must be fiction!

And what about Uncle’s unfortunate affliction?


You can sit low amongst trees beneath a lemon moon.

You can watch your little brother burst a pink balloon.

Wearing purple shoes for school, you rebel, what a joy!

Are you looking for love? Then there’s the Janitor’s boy.


Goblins in the market selling their wares

Little ducks saying their watery prayers.

Why shouldn’t Frog be an opera singer?

When Anita runs, then there’s none to beat her.


There’s a rooty-tooty grandad, who was once a rocker

It’s hard to believe there are poets playing soccer!

There’s a rather tidy granny so cool she’s cold

There’s a mesmerising mermaid, hair in ringlets of gold.


A gorgeous collection of poems and verse

Present for your best friend? You could do a lot worse

This collection for girls will last a lifetime

Memories to treasure, held in each rhyme.


Poems for hope, for laughter, for tears

Poems to chase away frowns, hurt and fears.

Keep by your bedside to read, learn and say

A classic to treasure and pass on someday.

NOVEMBER's Recommendation - A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

                                                                                                                                                       review written by Ms L St John                              

I was so glad Miss Dougan asked me to write a review of one of my favourite books as it gave me a good reason to re-read ‘A Prayer for Owen Meany.’  I last read this book about 15 years ago and although I remembered how much I loved the book, I’d forgotten how exceptional, moving, funny - and what a unique and sometimes challenging read it is.


John Wheelwright, now a middle-aged teacher, is the narrator of the book and was Owen’s closest childhood friend.  The book flips from the adult John’s disgust about President Regan’s administration then back to his memories of growing up in the 1950s and 1960s alongside his best friend, Owen Meany.  Their friendship was so strong that it persevered despite the fact that Owen killed John’s mother with an errant baseball. 


Owen Meany was a tiny boy with an odd, distinctively high-pitched ‘shouting’ voice that never changed even as he became a young adult.   For this reason, and because of his resolute opinions, he became known as ‘THE VOICE.’  He was so small that when their teacher was out of the room his classmates used to lift him above their heads and pass him around just to get him to speak; so they could hear his voice.  They were careful not to hurt him and to return loose change or baseball cards that fell from his pockets. 


Whilst Owen is tiny, he has a huge personality and 100% belief that God has put him on earth to do something important and that everything happens for a reason. 


The book has twists and turns and goes from horrific stories about the Vietnam War to hilarious stories from the boys’ childhoods involving a school nativity play, an armadillo, and how Owen ‘engineered’ a situation that got their school Principal stuck in a VW Beetle as it was removed from the school stage! 


Throughout the book, it becomes clear that Owen’s life is a miracle – his visions gave him foreknowledge of his own death – a death which, in the end, offers an almost undeniable evidence of God's existence and proof that he had indeed been put on earth to do something extremely important.

OCTOBER's Recommendation - Oceans Apart by Karen Kingsbury

                                                                                                                                                       review written by Mrs Law                                

I first read this book when I was a teenager and have read it many times since as it is just one of those books you never get tired of reading.  It is a very easy read, for not only teenagers but also adults as well.  Once you start this book, you will immediately be sucked in and you will want to find out what happens next! It is a riveting story of secret sin and the healing power of forgiveness.


The book is about an airline pilot, Connor Evans, and his wife, who appear to be the perfect couple living what looks like the perfect life, until the day that a plane goes down in the Pacific Ocean.  One of the casualties, Kiahna Siefert, who is a flight attendant that Connor knew well…too well! Kiahna’s will is read and is very clear: before her seven year old son, Max, can be turned over to the state, he must spend the summer with the father he’s never met, the father who doesn’t know he exists: Connor Evans! Will the presence of one lonely child and the truth he represents destroy Connor’s family? Or is it possible that healing and hope might come in the shape of a seven year old boy?


This is a must read at least once in your life!  It is guaranteed to touch your very heart strings!

OCTOBER's Recommendation - I am Malala by Malala Yousafazi

                                                                                                                                                       review written by Mrs Colville                                

Not my usual genre of fictional escapism, but my mum and sister had both read this book and then passed it on to me.


This story of the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban is written autobiographically and what I really enjoyed was feeling that I got to know the real heroine herself, Malala.


Her story paints real pictures of Pakistan and, being someone who enjoys travel, and especially the Far East, I particularly liked being introduced to the culture of women in Pakistan and the beliefs surrounding their faith.


The majority of the book deals with her life before being shot on her school bus on the way home from school.  The final quarter contains her memories of that fateful day and her life since.

Having a  knowledge of the political situation in Pakistan is not essential prio r to reading the book.  It is written with such clarity and conviction that it is educational and eye-opening, and so much more memorable and illuminating than my usual read.


Ladies and gents, put it on your bucket list!

SEPTEMBER's Recommendation - The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stass

                                                                                                           review written by Mrs McGrugan                             

I was asked by our Head of English to write a book review suitable for our pupils.  As my 12 year old daughter Ellie is an avid reader I thought she would be better placed to describe a novel – here is her choice…..


‘The Forsaken' is an amazing fast-paced novel written by Lisa M. Stass. The main character, Alenna, is a normal sixteen year old living an ordinary existence.  Unfortunately when she does not pass an important test her world turns upside down because she gets sent away to the terrible island Alpha - as it says in the book,  ‘What if you were sent away for a crime that you not only didn't commit, but one that hasn't even happened yet? You become one of The Forsaken.’


There Alenna meets lots of different characters who she hopes will help her to survive and also find a way off the cruel island.


This is a book that’s hard to put down and is filled with adventure, intrigue and romance in the unlikeliest of circumstances. 


If you like novels of suspense such as ‘Divergent’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ then you will definitely like The Forsaken.  This book is part of a trilogy and I am really looking forward to reading the next two instalments: ‘The Uprising’ and ‘The Defiant.’

This amazing book is suitable for both male and female teenagers/adults and I thoroughly recommend it as an exciting and captivating read from start to finish!’

AUGUST's Recommendation - Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

                                                                                                           review written by Dr Brown                               

I enjoy reading to relax - the best books are those that transport you somewhere else maybe somewhere you have never been before. Hoot takes us on an adventure to Florida in the United States of America.


The main character in this book is Roy. Roy is in a new school. He is trying to fit in with his new surroundings. In the middle of being bullied by another pupil, Dana, on the school bus he notices a strange boy running with no shoes and he wants to know more, that is how the adventure starts. Life soon becomes very interesting and he gets mixed up in all sorts of mischief. Along the way he makes some new friends and discovers what life in Florida is really like.


In the book Hiaasen also deals with issues like greed, growing up, parents, friendship, bullies and even furry owls.


If you like the sound of this, look out for Hiaasen’s books the simple covers are easy to spot.





  • To read the reviews from the Book Corner for 2014 - 2015 click here or on the image to the left.