BOOK STACK :: Keeping the kids entertained

Now that the excitement of Christmas is starting to settle (although, full disclosure, I like to keep it going for the full 12 days through to 6 Jan!) we’re starting to think about settling into school holidays. Like many people around the country – and the world I guess – we’re laying pretty low right now, and between mostly hanging about home and my partner and I being back ‘at’ work (from home) next week we are looking for things to keep our daughter entertained through the next few weeks that aren’t just screen based.

Obviously I’m throwing books at her left right and centre, and so I thought I’d share some of our favourites in case anyone else is looking for recommendations to keep the kiddos in their lives entertained too.

Junior/Middlegrade books with great illustrations

I absolutely love that there are so many great stories for junior readers that are well supported by gorgeous, fun illustrations. I feel like these make a great stepping stone for newly independent readers into the world of novels, but are also engaging enough for older reads AND make great books to read together at bedtime – I love a multitasker! The three series here have all been super popular with my about to turn 8 year old.

The Underdogs: Fake it till they Make it by Kate and Jol Temple
The Underdog Detective Agency has a proud tradition of sniffing out trouble (and sniffing each other’s butts).
Detective Barkley (a dog) and Detective Fang (a cat) are cleaning up the mean streets of Dogtown one crime at a time!
So when Puplo Picasso’s masterpieces are swapped with pawfect imitations, it’s up to The Underdogs to catch the culprit.
Can Fang and Barkley solve the case before the Top Dogs return from their ski trip? What does soup have to do with it? And will Carl finally learn how to answer the phone?

This one is actually the second book in The Underdogs series, and was kindly gifted to us by the authors. We loved it so much that we have since bought the first book, and are looking forward to book 3, which is out on Feb 2.

Worst Week Ever! Monday by Eva Amores and Matt Cosgrove
Justin Chase is having the WORST WEEK EVER!
His Mum has just married a vampire.
His Dad is driving a giant toilet on wheels.
His cat has probably been abducted by aliens.
A psychotic bully is making his first day at a new school miserable.
And right now, he’s hanging off the edge of a 10-metre-high diving tower in front of his entire class wearing nothing but rapidly disappearing crocheted swimmers!
And it’s only… MONDAY!

This is the first book in a new series by Eva Amores and Matt Cosgrove, and it absolutely cracked my daughter up – she kept running out from her room to tell me her next favourite part! I chatted with Eva and Matt in December – you can check it out here.

Evie and Pog by Tania McCartney
High in a tree house live two very best friends. One is a girl and one is a dog. And everyone knows them as Evie and Pog.
Evie is six years old. She likes knitting and jumping and books and cake.
Pog is a pug. He is two and likes to drink tea and read the newspaper.
Evie and Pog also love to have fun!

Evie and Pog is a longstanding favourite here, and I often find the books pulled out for a re-read. We have also loved listening to the audio versions. There are 3 books in the series, each one has 2 Evie and Pog adventures in it. You can see our review of Evie and Pog Take Off here.

Graphic Novels

Graphic novels and comics are always a hit here. My partner has a weekly standing order with our fabulous local comic book store, so our daughter has grown up visiting regularly and now rarely comes home without having convinced us to buy her something new! She has loved titles about traditional DC and Marvel characters, as well as ones like Babysitters’ Little Sister, Wings of Fire, Owly, Pizza & Taco, and the Raina Telgemeir books. I really think there is a such a broad range of graphic novels out there now that there is truly something for everyone. These are two of our recent favourites.

Treasure in the Lake by Jason Pamment
Grand adventures often begin where you least expect. Iris knows this because she’s read them all. But when she and her best friend, Sam, stumble upon an unusually dry riverbed on the outskirts of town, they make a discovery beyond anything Iris has read about: a hidden city, lost in time and shrouded in mystery. Storm clouds gather as secrets begin to surface. Can Iris and Sam uncover the truth in time to keep their friendship afloat, or will history repeat itself and pull them apart forever?

My daughter has been obsessed with ancient civilizations and mysteries this year, from the pyramids and ancient Egypt to the lost city of Atlantis, so this one really appealed and had her completely engaged. We also loved that it had some true stories and facts about sunken cities in it.


Lightfall by Tim Probert
Deep in the heart of the planet Irpa stands the Salty Pig’s House of Tonics & Tinctures, home of the wise Pig Wizard and his adopted granddaughter, Bea. As keepers of the Endless Flame, they live a quiet and peaceful life, crafting medicines and potions for the people of their once-prosperous world.
All that changes one day when, while walking through the woods, Bea meets Cad, a member of the Galdurians, an ancient race thought to be long-extinct. Cad believes that if anyone can help him find his missing people, it’s the Pig Wizard.
But when the two arrive home, the Pig Wizard is nowhere to be found—all that’s left is the Jar of Endless Flame and a mysterious note. Fearing for the Pig Wizard’s safety, Bea and Cad set out across Irpa to find him, while danger fights its way out of the shadows and into the light.
Will these two unexpected friends find the beloved Pig Wizard and prevent eternal darkness from blanketing their world Or has Irpa truly seen its last sunrise.

I don’t even know what to say about this except is adorable adventurous fun and we’re looking forward to the next installment coming soon!

Let me know in the comments if you pick up any of these for yourself or your littlies, or if you have any recommendations we should check out!

xo Bron

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