Sunday 19 August 2018

New Release Matador Children's Books About Animals (Review)

Mainstream books can be great, but they can also simply be popular because they have a lot of money for advertising. It's easy to miss real gems amongst the mountains of titles available, and so whenever I have chance I like to review books from smaller publishers and self-published books. Here are 3 shorter books for children from Matador Press.

My boys and I snuggled up and looked at them, because even at 8 and 9, sometimes it's nice to read a book together...

Sid the Madeiran Wall Lizard by Heather Heath Gorton (0-7)

Sid the Madeiran Wall Lizard is the first children’s story from Heather Heath Gorton. She hopes to not only give younger children a fun story to read, but also teach them about wildlife, friendships and moral values, and there's a bit of problem-solving in there too.

Sid has hot feet and needs to cool them down, but he doesn't know how to. He is given advice by a friendly little mouse, and now he can join the other lizards and animals playing on the sand.

This book offers an insight into the modern semi-urban world of a Madeiran Wall Lizard. Ms Heath Gorton has done her own illustrations and they are very colourful and friendly, plus there is a mouse hidden in every illustration! A nice touch which my boys enjoyed. This isn't an animal I've heard of before, so this book also taught me something.

Sid The Madeiran Wall Lizard turned out to be a little young for my boys, although my 9 year old declared it "a good story". Ideal to read together with children aged around 0-7.

Sid the Madeiran Wall Lizard is written and illustrated by Heather Heath Gorton and published by Matador. Glossy paperback, 20 pages, rrp £6.99. Available now from all good book shops, including Matador online.

Badger And Crab To The Rescue by Catherine Trimby (Age 7-9)

We are familiar with Badger and Crab as we reviewed their first book a little while ago. They live near the seaside, where their very different habitats come together and the unlikely friendship flourishes. In this book Winter has seen the animals and seashore creatures hide or hibernate, and as it is coming to an end, Badger decides to go and visit his friend.

Badger and Crab find a seal pup who is trapped by plastic discarded by humans, and they must race to save her before the tide drowns her. There are no punches pulled and Ms Trimby's story is real and true. The stranded seal is in danger, prey for the crabs hunting on the beach. It's actually quite scary as the 4 legged animals race against tide and crab to rescue the seal pup.

Badger And Crab To The Rescue is well written and the story is interesting and exciting. There are aspects of this book I find a bit harsh and maybe more mature than you'd expect. I can't help thinking it's rough that the lovely Mrs Badger and the twins never get taken any nice food, and the fact that we have a bunch of anthropomorphised creatures who happily eat other animals and crustaceans is a bit disturbing. It's true though. It has a stark realism most children's books don't have.

Badger And Crab To The Rescue is written by Catherine Trimby and illustrated by Carol Davies, and published by Matador. Paperback, 54 pages, rrp £7.99. Available now from all good book shops, including Matador online.

Hector's Wheels by Victoria Haddon (age 7+)

Hector's Wheels is subtitled 'The Adventures Of A Remarkable Beagle' and it's really a biography, not a fiction book. Hector is a real dog who is indeed remarkable and a local celebrity, being born with a disabled front leg. He is given a chance at life by the author and her family, who decide to adopt him rather than see him put down. They take him home where he is looked after not only by the human family, but by their other dog Reggie.

The way Hector's Wheels is written is very much a blog or diary style, and we have several short stories here including his arrival, his early life, getting his wheels and a couple of other adventures. The writing is easy enough for children to understand, but it also mature enough that it's a good read for an adult who likes true life animal stories and adventures, especially about dogs.

Hector's Wheels is written by Victoria Haddon and illustrated by Sophia Fletcher, published by Matador. Paperback, 72 pages, rrp £7.99. Available now from all good book shops, including Matador online.

You can also buy Matador Young Fiction online from Amazon, including kindle editions.

We were sent our books for review. The Amazon link is an affiliate link, which means I earn a few pence if you buy through my link, but you don't pay any more!

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