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Jo Watkinson

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An insightful and motivating, life-changing read

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 14-11-19

Like Peter narrates in this highly interesting and thought provoking read, "We all have a vested interest in climate change.... By making one change in your life could save you money and make you healthier and happier!" . ...so why not read this book?! Without preaching at us to change our diets and lifestyles to become vegan, the author, Alan Twigg, instead attempts to persuade us by simply encouraging us to consider the basic facts! After listening to Joanne's advice about climate change, the main character starts to understand how destructive animal agriculture is. Surely if by accepting a plant based diet, we can become healthier and happier then I too, (and other listeners) can be converted!? After enjoying this audio book I have to admit that I am feeling more intrigued!

The author has a friendly and familiar, down to earth tone which makes this audio book less patronising and just reassuring. His occasional spoken errors remind us of his honesty and compassion. Alan Twigg is clearly passionate about delivering this life-changing and inspirational message, and if it helps us: his readers , to live longer and happier lives, whilst also reducing our carbon footprints on our previous planet, then I would encourage others to invest in this book.

After reading this I certainly don't feel bamboozled with facts, although there were many to be aware of, but it has definitely made me stop and think. Facts like 1100 gallons of water are saved due to each vegan per day, not to mention the animals lives and reduced co2.

This book has resonated with me on many levels. I too am an animal lover and have never truly felt comfortable eating meat but as Alan has pointed out in this honest novel, we are all gullible and brainwashed by policy makers and educators who hide some of these harsh facts from us. We are reminded of the links to the harmful effects of smoking and the difference between eating cattle or even dogs.

People are reluctant to change, and this book reiterates this message throughout, as it also promotes compromises with gentle suggestions such as reducing our meat consumption to trying clean meat, grown in a lab. With all this in mind, is it any wonder that the vegan population has massively increased over recent years!?

This book could be highly reassuring to anyone facing health difficulties, but also to any open minded individuals, who are perhaps ready to face a change and help to save our panet!

1 person found this helpful

A lovely happy deserved ending for a cute but pesky, mischievous mole.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-06-19

We enjoyed reading all the Maurice the Mole data’s but particularly this one due to the happy ending.

My kids and I love nature so felt quite sorry for Maurice at times throughout these short stories as we knew he was only doing what moles do! However we could understand why his behaviour could have been upsetting for Grumpy Grandad. We could empathise with both perspectives so couldn’t imagine an agreed happy ending or compromise.

We really liked this story though because Grumpy Grandad must have felt guilty for taking the pesky mile so far away, so he went in search of him. Unfortunately the poor mole has been poisoned but luckily Grumpy Grandad finds him and does the right thing by taking him to the vets.

Without spoiling the ending, it’s nice to hear that Grumpy Grandad continues to grumble as normality resumes in his garden.

A lovely, gentle read, suitable for any primary aged child or younger.

A superb sequel to Lea’s Secret Sunflower

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-06-19

Thus story can be enjoyed anywhere at anytime and develops an appreciation for the great outdoors.

After hearing the 1st book: Lea’s Secret Sunflower, and all about Lea’s competition to grow the tallest sunflower at school, showing that the best things come to those who wait. The sunflower brings her fame and happiness.

In this sequel, we were pleased to hear Lea’s excitement of planting her sunflower seeds and then gaining great happiness as they grow quickly and yet again have magic powers. The sunflowers bring happiness and this time as it talks and laughs, it drops it’s petals which make Lea’s natural surroundings come to life!

Lea meets a pixie who takes her on a Tooth Fairy adventure. My daughter particularly liked this story and could totally visualise the story without a single written word or illustration.

This could be used to develop children’s writing as they creatively decide which flowers have which powers.

It’s read well with Ann Twigg’s soothing, gentle voice. It’s perfectly paced and the plot develops well and is quite realistic and down to earth for a children’s book.

A great short story to be enjoyed anytime

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-06-19

Thus story can be enjoyed anywhere at anytime and develops an appreciation for the great outdoors.

Lea grows more and more impatient and disappointed when her sunflower doesn’t appear to be growing but this is no ordinary sunflower! It’s delay is deserved as it’s worth the wait and bring her fame and happiness.

My kids liked the fact that the sunflower smiled at her and loved its magical powers. This could be used to develop children’s writing as they creatively decide which flowers have which powers.

It’s read well with Ann Twigg’s soothing, gentle voice. It’s perfectly pace and the plot develops well and is quite realistic and down to earth for a children’s book.

An enjoyable easy listen to be enjoyed anytime

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-06-19

These short stories can be enjoyed by any primary aged children at any time of day. They are narrated well, with a soothing tone and great detail for children to be able to visualise the story.

I was slightly confused by the order of stories 3,5and 7 as the characters are the same but I think possibly story 7 would be better read before story 5 which is the final story written about Maurice the Mole’s adventures.

Stories 1&8 are linked and tell us of Leah’s disappointment as her sunflower doesn’t grow enough to win her School’s competition but yet develops quickly to bring her fame and happiness... and special powers! Then in the sequel, story 8, ch16&17, Leah’s magic sunflower takes her on adventures such as meeting the Tooth Fairy and bringing nature to life for Leah! We loved these stories, they were particularly my daughter’s favourites.

Ch4&5 (the 2nd story) remind readers to be careful what they wish for as 2 school children create a Brain swapping machine which causes chaos in the classroom. It encourages personal differences, uniqueness and creativity. This was my son’s favourite story!

He also really enjoyed the 3rd story about Grumpy Grandad and his constant grumbling whilst on holiday! It did not sound like a great holiday but made us laugh at times.

The 4th story links to others by Ann Twigg about Fred the Red caravan relocating after needing repairs and finding his new home in an allotment.

The 5th tells us how Grumpy Grandad guiltily goes in search of Maurice the Mole, saves his life with help from a vet then finally accepts his company and lets him share his garden! Happy to be able to grumble about him again!

The 6th story tells of red and green men from traffic lights who like to escape at night to find adventures of their own. This time Mick the Mailman comes to their rescue as a green man gets stuck in a mail box.

Story 7 continues Grumpy Grandad’s grumblings as his ‘Pesky’ Mole friend returns to eat his beloved tomatoes... which he happily shared with him in the 5th story (so you could swap the order when listening!?!)

The final story, no 8 shows Leah’s sunflower bringing her magic powers.

We loved these descriptive stories and will read more from Ann Twigg.

This embraces individuality and creativity.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-06-19

As a primary school teacher myself I particularly enjoyed this imaginative story and felt that it could be shared with any primary aged class to discuss individuality and uniqueness.

It emphasises that each child has their own strengths and difficulties. Imagine the chaos in a classroom when two imaginative boys, Archie and Ellis, invent a brain swapping machine!?! But surely this couldn’t possibly work!? In the narrative world it can!

Possible conversations could be had about other possible inventions and scenarios which could follow.

A fantastic story. Well read, with a soothing tone and perfect length, pace and description.

To help to restore any child’s faith in Father Christmas

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-06-19

A cute easy listen about two brothers, Adam and David who differ in their views of Father Christmas.

As the excitement and builds up of Christmas develops, the elder brother who is 10 decides he’s too old to visit Father Christmas in his grotto. His family understandably worry that he will be left without any gifts on Christmas Day.

This could help restore young children’s faith in Father Christmas.

Despite listening to this in June, my children still got excited at the descriptions of the snow and building a snowmen. Discussions arose about the magic of Father Christmas and the challenges that he has to face. Also the controversial problems caused by snow in our busy hectic lives, whilst the kids just love all that the snow offers.

My children are 7 & 9 and this felt suitable for them and younger children too.

A fun sequel to Alex’s Amazing Secret

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-06-19

You don’t necessarily have to read Alex’s Amazing Secret before reading this but it would be more enjoyable to read both in order.

In this narrative Alex excitedly returns to his Grandma’s hoping to see the little people again, however is horrified to hear that their home could be destroyed. He obviously must do something to help and warn them. This leads to another adventure which as readers we are swept along on.

We loved the detail and easy listening of this gentle but exciting short tale.

Sequel to Tom on Robot Island

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-06-19

This was our favourite narrative of Ann Twigg’s yet. We enjoyed reading the previous story, so it was nice to continue hearing about Tom’s return from holiday. Tom experiences both benefits and disadvantages to having super human powers. He is able to defend his friend but it also upsets his friend too, unintentionally. Then his power becomes too much in an ordinary school setting, especially when he begins to transforming in to a Robot.
Without spoiling the ending, it ends appropriately and my children were surprised but pleased. They loved the idea of having super strength and continued to chat about it even after the narrative had finished.

A great realistic read!

A nice easy listen series

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-06-19

This is a great series and ideally could be read in order, however it’s very descriptive and therefore we understand what has happened to Red Man prior to the story causing his legs to stop working and making him feel poorly. Because of this, Red Man’s replacement brings distress to the other Red man and green men as he is rude and behaves like a bully towards the others.
This story could lead to conversations about bullying and how readers could deal with unkindness. It could encourage children to think about the way they treat others and the language that they use. Red man’s replacement is extremely competitive and harsh to the others calling them stupid and silly and belittling them. This leads to some easy predictions as negative behaviour usually leads to negative consequences.

My daughter enjoyed this story and said that the voice was very ‘relaxing’.