Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Beast Quest

Beast Quest
Adam Blade

Recommended age: as from 6 years old.

This series of books is a sure winner for adventurous readers. If you are on a quest for action packed stories, huge monsters, evil sorcerers and heroes, then search no more.

Rodrigo V.P. (7 years old)"I am reading the Beast Quest collection, it´s so cool! In the first book, Ferno, a boy called Tom fights against mysterious monsters to protect the Kingdom of Avantia. In order to do so, he needs to get some magic powers from the monsters. My favourite part is when he confronted a man-horse, what a fight! I am interested in these books because they are very interesting and I feel curious to read on. They are a bit scary but you won´t get nightmares. And you get a card for a collection with each book. I encourage all children to read them!!"

Pablo L.C. (11 years old): "This is a great series of books, action packed, and with magic and different characters in each story, like Silver, a wolf who is more of a puppy... As you read into the serie you´ll find that the books are more scary, and more evil and good guys join in, for example an even more evil sorcerer and a mysterious warrior woman".

Jaime L.C. (11 years old)"This series of mythic adventures is very cool. The main characters are two friends, Elena and Tom. I would recommend them to young readers who are into fights with weapons such as swords and bows and arrows".

These books are quite short, they have a large print and some illustrations, all of which makes the reading very easy. But they also come with a warning: they are addictive!! Luckly there are more than 60 titles in the collection...would that be enough for the winter?

Daniel L.C. (11 years old): "I read the whole series of Beast Quest when I was younger. In fact, it was my favourite series, and the best part is that there is always a new title waiting for you, so you can read them until you get exhausted!"

An idea for the younger readers

Even if you already read by yourself, it is sometimes fun to start a book with your mum, or dad, or older sibling. That will also give you the chance discuss the story, which makes it much more interesting. They could start off the book by reading the first chapters, or even, you could take turns to read aloud. With their help you will finish the book in the blink of an eye!

Related activities.

Click here to join the  Beast Quest club, you´ll find all the information about the books and games!

Did you know...?

Adam Blade, the very young author of Beast Quest was born in Kent, as was Miss McHaggis. This county is South of London and its countyside is so beautiful that it is known as "The garden of England".

Thanks to our new team member:

Rodrigo V.P. who is 7 years old and lives in Madrid with his younger brother. His hobbies are skiing and reading fantasy books.

Check out our Facebook page, La biblioteca de Miss McHaggis

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Just so Stories

Just So Stories

Rudyard Kipling

Recommended age: as from 3 years old.

Questions, questions....Why? How? When?... Curious children ask questions, some of them are easy to answer, some of them not so much.

How did the leopard get his spots? How did the rhinocero get his skin? And what about the camel´s hump? And the elephant´s trunk? Well my dear mums and dads and O my Best Beloved children, these are the very imaginative and fabulous explanations that Kipling used to give to his own children.

Jaime L.C.: ''This is the perfect book for mini dudes, it has a few metaphorical stories in which it explains how some animals got their shapes (what do people have against darwinism these days?) The stories are quite good and imaginative though the illustrations are the best part, they are AMAZING and they portray the story really well."

The stories are written in an amusing grand style, that resembles the way old stories were told in India. Each story also includes a poem. This one is for the lazy camel:

The Camel´s hump is an ugly lump
Which well you may see at the Zoo;
But uglier yet is the hump we get
From having too little to do.

Pablo L.C.: " A very entertaining array of stories that will keep your little ones asking for more and more. The writing style is quite poetic, creative and imaginative. As my brother says, not very Darwinist, though they are enormous fun. I particularly like the story of how the whale got his throat, as it is a very ingenious, and the descriptions are stupendous, and there is a lot of effective repetition in the story, which helps you understand who the man is, and why whales can only eat small fish."

Daniel L.C.: "The story of how the leopard got his spots is a very "logical"way for the leopard to get them and it also says of how the Ethiopian got their black skin so if you are ever wondering of how they did get black skin and black spots this is the book to consult! I like this story because it really signifies how important camouflage is in the animal life as if you are an animal who dosn´t have any kind of camouflage you can count yourself dead, and if you are a preadator with no camouflage you are sure not to catch any prey!".

Then the Ethiopian put his five fingers close together (there was plenty of black left on his new skin still) and pressed them all over the Leopard, and wherever the five fingers touched they left five little back marks, all close together. You can see them on any Leopard´s skin you like, Best Beloved. (...)

"Now you are a beauty!" said the Ethiopian. (...) "You can lie out on a leafy branch and look like sunshine sifting through the leaves; and you can lie right across the centre of a path and look like nothing in particular. Think of that and purr!"

Related activities:

Rudyard Kipling is also the author of one of the classics, The Jungle Book. Disney made an excellent film based on this book which as been a favourite of all children.

Click here to browse thruough this movie´s page, you can watch a trailer and much more. We soooo recommend this film! it is just wonderful, funny and with amazing characters and very funky music!!

Did you know...?

Rhinoceros are big scary animals, aren´t they? They are normally portrayed as fierce and bad humoured giants, even in this book the rhino is a bad mannered fellow.

But I have recently found out that when they are babies they are the cutest most fragile animals you can imagine.

In fact, baby rhinos are very shy and desperately need companionship to survive. So much so that they are bound to die of sadness and stress if they feel lonely.

The best way to ensure an orphan rhino has a chance of surviving is to befriend him with a sheep or another animal. Click here and enjoy this very sweet video of a nanny sheep and her baby rhino. Appearances can be deceiving!

Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web

E.B. White

Recommended read: as from 
6 years old

Today we bring you a classic for the whole family, but especially for animal lovers. A story of friendship and struggle for survival, without battles or blood, just using intelligence, companionship and words. A book about the power of words, and the importance of knowing how to choose them and when to use them.

Pablo L.C. : "This book is very well written with extremely curious and funny characters like a sneaky rat and goofy and thick sheep. The main characters are a life loving piglet and a super smart spider who even knows Latin! A lovely book for the whole family."

This is the story of a little weak pig, condemned to die for being a runt. Wilbur will need the help of all his friends to survive. First it's Fern, the farmer's daughter, who saves his life at birth, then Charlotte the spider, whose intelligence and fantastic plans will change the sad fate of Wilbur.

Georgina S.: "This is a fabulous classic and also a great movie. I loved Wilbur the pig because it is very cute and because in his adventures at the fair and the farm he gets into trouble and has many funny friends. I also love that a pig and a spider are friends! I think any child over six years of age will like this book as much as I liked it."

Click here to see the official trailer for the film. It is excellent. You'll see how funny the farm animals are. The horse makes me laugh, such a big fellow scared at the sight of the tiny spider!

Daniel L.C.: "This book is not my favorite because I prefer battles and war, but I would recommend it for children under eight years who like farm animals."

Did you know ...?

As last week we celebrated the European Day of Music, I would like share with you one of our favorite pieces: The Carnival of the Animals, by Camille Saint-Saens. The French composer describes animals through his music. Since none of the movements (a part of this musical suite) are dedicated to the pig, poor things, I have chosen another farm animal: the chicken! If you wonder how a symphonic chicken sounds like, click here.

And following our chicken theme, we have something special for you: a Limerick, a funny and slightly crazy poem of five lines. It was written by Jamie!

There was an old chicken from Spain
who had an irregular pain.
It hurt on his head
and it wished it was dead
because of the rather odd pain.


To  our friend from school Georgina  who is 12, likes to draw, read, sew and play sports. She has a twin brother and she is from Australia.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014



Simon Scarrow

Recommended age: as from 9 years old.

This week our bloggers have very different opinions on the series of books that we are presenting, so we would be very happy to have some feedback from you.

Daniel L.C.: "I think this book has an excellent plot and lots of action and mystery (enough to keep you reading to the last page), and if you like it, there is a whole series to read!  The story is about Marcus, a boy who is captured with his mother into slavery because of his father´s debts to Demetrius, but he luckily escapes and unluckily gets turned into a gladiator! This is a good book as the more you read the more you discover about Marcus´ mysterious past".

Marcus is forced to become a gladiator, and he will have to endure a brutal training. However, he is determined to survive in order to rescue his mother and avenge the death of his father by the hand of the soldiers. But, what are the odds that he will succeed? and mainly, what is the secret in his past that he does
not even know but would mean his death if ever found out?

Jaime L.C.: ''I really liked the books, they tell a story of tragedy, fights and survival. They are ideal for the (about) 9 years old reader who is into action, Roman people, and more Roman people lopping their limbs off! Have fun! "

A journey to ancient Rome, centre of the world. You will be tangled in a plot full of intrigue and action, whilst visiting the Colosseum, getting to know Caesar´s family and inmersing yourself in the dangerous allies of the most remarkable, dangerous and overwhelming city of the ancient times.

Pablo L.C.: "The books are cliché and somewhat repetitive and a little dry. That out of the way, they are (sort of) good. I liked the first one but not the others. They tell of young Marcus, whose family is killed, and he is sold into slavery and becomes a gladiator for about one book. He then becomes the bodyguard of  Caesar´s niece. (Thumbs down all Tolkien fans.)"

There is an awesome movie about gladiators called (oh surprise!!), Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott click here to watch the official trailer. The film is for older children, so do ask your parents if it is suited for you.

Pablo L.C.: " The movie of gladiator is a famous one , rumoured to actually be a true story. It takes you from Germania to Rome and has action scenes involving tigers and archer charrioteers.
Probably the best scene is in which he says "at my signal, prepare to unleash hell" and hell is unleashed.  The Gladiator books can eat dirt,  prepare to fall under Gladiator's shadow!
(yes I am serious)

Related activities:

Check out the author´s web page, click here to keep updated of all other books by Simon Scarrow. Computer games and extracts of the books for you to browse.

Did you know...?

If you ever have the chance to travel to Rome you will enjoy seing the real Colisseum, which is truly impressive. Another favourite of all children is the food, who doesn´t like a crunchy pizza or a tasty dish of spaghetti?

I had always thought pasta was introduced in Italy from China by the renown merchant Marco Polo, but I found out whilst preparing this post that in fact it was the Arabs who introduced pasta into Sicily.

Even if we cannot credit Marco Polo for this delicious import, we must admire his courage and importance as a traveller and merchant. Have a look at this map... no airplanes, no cars, no trains...WOW!