Friday, 14 June 2019

Frogs, Fairies and Dodos 3 Children's Book Reviews Age 4-8 (sent by Matador)

Matador are the children's division of Troubador Press and they regularly send us books to take a look at. I usually cover books for older children, but these are 3 shorter fiction books which are especially suitable for beginner readers in Early Years and Key Stage 1 infants, aged around 4-8.

Frogs, Fairies and Dodo's 3 Children's Book covers

Derek The Flying Dodo


Derek The Flying Dodo by Vanee Apoolingum children's book cover

Derek really wants to be able to fly, but he's little and has to learn, and as a rule Dodos can't fly. He is given advice and support by his family, and makes a wish when he sees a shooting star. After a few false starts, he flies. Once he's practised his skills enough, he is allowed by his parents to set off and learn about his island.

Derek The Flying Dodo standing on a hill overlooking his island home

During his adventure Derek finds a friend in a young boy who has also never left his home area. Together they explore and meet a few of the other inhabitants of the island. Some are friendly, and some not quite so much.

Derek The Flying Dodo by Vanee Apoolingum illustration showing flying Dodo leaving

This is really a story about not giving up. When Derek perseveres, he finds a whole new world opens up for him and he even makes a few friends. He was never expected to be able to fly, but it didn't stop him trying.

Derek The Flying Dodo back page blurb

The language and style of writing, along with the really nice illustrations, make this book ideal for reading together with beginner readers. It's a positive book and children will relate to Derek and his new friend Aaron, the little boy he meets.

Derek The Flying Dodo is written by Vanee Apoolingum and illustrated by Daniel McCloskey. 32 pages with colour illustrations on every page, paperback, rrp £7.99.

Frogbit And The Big Gloop


Frogbit And The Big Gloop by Emma Jane Dunne Childrens book cover

This is the first book in the Tales Of Mossycup Wood series. Pogglewitt are tiny folk who live in nests in trees in the wood and spend their days being as happy as possible. They sing and dance and party every evening in celebration of how good their lives are.

Frogbit And The Big Gloop by Emma Jane Dunne inside page example text

Frogbit is a Pogglewitt and one day he decides to take his boat out to catch some fish for supper. His boat is stuck among lots of tadpoles and in efforts to push away from shore he accidentally falls into the water, where he's nearly eaten by a big fish.


Luckily this is a children's tale and has a happy ending, including fish for supper. The peril is very mild and the big fish comes to no permanent harm either - although dinner doesn't survive the story.

The illustrations are very charming and sweet, and perfect for the story. The muted natural shades drop you right into the woodland at the edge of a pond, and there are tiny ladybirds, spiders and beetles for your child to look for on most pages.


A good picture book for reading together, with a calm storyline and a nice pace for quiet storytime.

Frogbit And The Big Gloop is written and illustrated by Emma Jane Dunne. 24 pages with colour illustrations on every page, large scale paperback, rrp £7.99.

Princess Arebeena And The Crystal Fairies


Princess Arebeena And The Crystal Fairies by Fiona Boyd book cover

The first book in the Crystal Fairies series and aimed at a very slightly older audience than the other two books. Princess Arebeena is also a little longer book, which also focuses on keeping going, even when the going gets tough.

The princess and her sister brush their hair in a bedroom seated at a mirror

This is a pretty traditional fairytale which children, especially girls, have loved for as long as they've existed. Princess Arebeena is celebrating her birthday and her parents organise a treasure hunt for her. It's not your average treasure hunt, they encounter some characters we don't find in Manchester, but Treenesta is a magical place.

The Crystal Fairies in a line with Princess Arebeena

Dragons, fairies, friendship and a little mild peril make this an adventure tale that will be just dangerous enough for youngsters to catch their breath, but a Princess always gets what she wants in the end.

Princess Arebeena Treetopia map

The illustrations are really very good, and give Princess Arebeena's world a dolls house type quality. It was only afterwards I realised I'd imagined the entire story in miniature. Suited for youngsters to read with someone else or alone once they become more confident, and a good size for a newer reader.

Princess Arebeena And The Crystal Fairies is written and illustrated by Fiona Boyd. 36 pages with colour illustrations throughout, paperback, rrp £6.99.

Matador Books work with self-publishing authors to bring us stories and writers who we might never discover otherwise...Here are some handy affiliate links to each of the 3 books on Amazon with latest price.



We were sent all of our books for review. *Amazon links are affiliate, which earns me a few pence if you buy through my link, but never costs you a penny more. It helps keep children's book reviews on the blog. 

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