I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a children’s book on the blog before – despite having a house full of them! However, this is a special one. Not only did it win ITV Lorraine’s Top Tales 2016, but it was also written by the cousin of a friend of mine, Katie Smith.
Katie’s had a bit of a tough time recently, as you can read here, so when Lorraine Kelly announced Katie was the winner I had a proper weep with vicarious pride (whilst sat in the hairdressers!!)
Anyway – back to the book. Here’s the Amazon blurb:
“Lottie and her class are given an end of term project competition called Big and Small. The problem is, class show-off Penelope Pembleton-Puce always wins.
But this time, Lottie and Gramps come up with a brilliant idea: to grow a giant pumpkin!
With the help of grandad’s old vegetable growing tricks, they set about trying to break world records for the biggest vegetable ever. But this pumpkin is fussy, demanding and has a mind of its own, and with Penelope willing to do literally anything to win AGAIN, does Lottie really stand a chance?
A beautiful, heart-warming story about friendship, family, and growing confidence … as well as a large vegetable!”
I would suggest this is aimed at about 8-10 year olds – and my 6 year old is giving it a good go – but I decided to read it myself first! So whilst the eldest was having her brace fitted at the orthodontist – I settled down to read about Lottie.
Lottie is immediately a likeable little girl, who doesn’t have the easiest of home lives, with a Mum who is more interested in her phone and chocolate than her daughter. The story is about how she and her Grandad try and grow a huge pumpkin to beat the spoilt Penelope Pembleton-Puce who usually wins all of the school competitions. It’s very cleverly written – and some of the jokes about wind and farting would probably go over the head of a small child – but I loved it. I was especially proud of page 126 where Finlay Church and his collection of teddy bears featured (and Katie’s cousin has revealed there are other snippets of real life woven in to the book which is just wonderful). The illustrations and diagrams also really add to the book – and even the chapter and page numbers are drawn in a funky way.
I won’t give too much away – but all turns out well in the end – phew!
It is a lovely, feel good children’s book, and I would definitely recommend it as a stocking filler this Christmas.
I look forward to reading this again with my littlest two, and also look forward to more books from Katie in the future.