Mrs. Vyle: a Child Eating Teacher and Roddy the Magic Cat

As promised, this week I review two recently published children’s books…

The Amazing Adventures of Roddy the Magic Cat by Sarah Bates, illustrated by Helen Braid. 

This is the first in a series of seven books by Sarah Bates, which take the reader on a journey to all seven of the world’s continents.


The story begins with mystery, magic and intrigue… a loveable cat called Roddy who longs for adventure and to see the world, and an ancient tree that is able to grant his wish. Roddy is transported to Nepal where he embarks on a journey to the foot of Mount Everest.

Along the way he makes a friend in the form of a loyal local dog called Hobo who teaches Roddy and the reader interesting facts about Nepal, its culture, religion and life in the Himalayan mountains. This is an educational tale that gently encourages a sense of curiosity about the diversity of life beyond our own shores.

Roddy the Magical Cat is beautifully illustrated, realistically capturing the colour and warmth of life in the Nepalese villages whilst portraying the beauty of the mountains.

A delightful children’s story and one that I am certain my children will come back to again and again. It also stirs my own love of adventure and it gives me itchy feet!

Mrs Vyle: Children must be eaten and not heard!! by James Hallsworth, illustrated by Helen Braid.  


Described as a truly horrid tale and that it certainly is. But what a treat! A witty yet gruesome story about a monster disguised as a teacher who EATS CHILDREN! The arrival of this book was timed perfectly as our 5 year old is currently obsessed with all things Matilda, and in particular the ‘horrid teacher’ Mrs. Trunchbull… She loved this story and returned to study the pictures very carefully for a long time after.

With heroic dinner ladies, a snooty little ‘know-it-all’ and plenty of trumping, burping and goo this is an absolute must read for your own little monsters. A well paced story with horrid and happy surprises thrown in, there isn’t a moment for a child’s interest to be lost.

Again, the illustrations are super – bold and colourful, hilarious and silly – they perfectly capture the chaos created by a monster in the classroom and the adventures that ensue.

A highly recommended read!

You can buy either of these books via Amazon:

Thank you again for reading!

Polly x


Britain’s Next Bestseller.

2014 has made me a huge advocate of Britain’s Next Bestseller. Not only for my very obvious personal reasons but because BNBS is a publisher with a difference – empowering the reader, empowering the author, fulfilling dreams, unearthing a generation of talented new authors and their literary delights, supporting those less privileged than us. Yes that’s right – did you know that BNBS donates 1% of every successful book project to charitable activities? Hope for Children in the UK benefits, so does The Hope Acadmey for Girls in Sierra Leone. The supportive hand of BNBS is far reaching:

I set out on my exciting journey with BNBS at the beginning of this year. At the same time a number of other authors were embarking on the same journey – children’s writers; non-fiction works of self help and personal development were included; so were thrillers, fantasy and horror, all aiming to achieve a pre-order target and secure the elusive publishing deal.

Last week my publishing contract became very real when my friends, family, colleagues, contacts – my wonderful supporters – began to receive their pre-ordered copies. You shared your thoughts by email, Facebook, Twitter, text – and the pictures came thick and fast. I even got my first Amazon review – 5 stars too! – and more followed! Today my book is on the shelf in Waterstones, Hemel Hempstead. WOW. It has been an amazing week. I wish I could bottle that feeling forever. I can’t, but I will never forget it. (I also wish I could’ve made the celebratory box of chocolates from my dear husband last a bit longer too but unfortunately I couldn’t do that either….)


The yummy chocolates weren’t all that I was in receipt of last week. Like those excitedly clutching their copies of WSML fresh off the press, I was also excitedly clutching two new children’s publications by fellow BNBS authors:

Mrs Vyle: Children Should be Eaten and not Heard! by James Hallsworth (A truly horrid tale!)


The Amazing Adventures of Roddy the Magic Cat (Mount Everest, Nepal) by Sarah Bates

AmazingAdventuresRoddyMagicCatThese books are very special to me because of the journey they have been on to reach publication. But as well: Mrs Vyle takes me back to my teaching days on so many levels, hilarious memories, revolting memories, teachers with a ‘difference’. Roddy visits one of my most favourite places on earth, and reading of his adventure through the Everest region of Nepal to the world’s highest mountain amongst Buddhist communities, the gentle Nepalese, clean air and prayer flags, stirred so much nostalgia in me. They are fantastic works, delightful offerings for our curious, imaginative children.

If you would like to know more about these wonderful books, I am going to review them in more detail in my next blog post. I may even attempt to get my daughter in on the book-reviewing act again… In the meantime, they are available to order on Amazon:

And so is Worm, Slug, Maggot and Leech:

Thank you again for reading.

Polly x

Better late than never…

Our Summer Reading Challenge may not have gone entirely to plan. I suspect I was a bit ambitious, not in hoping – or even expecting – our daughter to read 6 books throughout the holidays but for us both to sit and review each book and then blog about it. The reading, sharing, chatting was the easy bit. Getting it down in writing was another! Finding a time when we were both in the right frame of mind to make a recording of a book ‘review’ with a 5 year old was a feat in itself, let alone finding a slot between elephant painting, baking chocolate cakes, meeting the Gruffalo, Frozen performances and general summer holiday survival… IMG_5059

















We made several trips to the library too – regularly to find it closed (mental note to self: one of these days I will remember to check the random opening times of the library before leaving the house) and still haven’t collected all of our Mystical Maze stickers. Although I’m quite relieved about that after discovering the lingering pong of some of the scratch and sniff stickers! All is not lost though. We managed our second book review three weeks ago and I am finally posting it here now – on the first day of term! Hurrah! Next year we’ll definitely be taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge again. Although next time I won’t promise to report on our progress!

We chose: ‘Don’t wake the Bear, Hare!’ By Steve Smallman

The woodland animals are busily preparing for their spring party without waking the big brown bear who is snoozing in a hollow tree nearby. There are several close calls – precariously stacked towers of teacups and saucers teeter by, plates of sandwiches piled high lurch toward the picnic blanket, whilst jellies and cakes wobble their way to the party. But it is when little Hare excitedly fills his balloon a little too full and with a loud: POP! the bear wakes up…..!!! Thankfully they soon learn he is a big, friendly bear who is also a bit of a party animal! This is a warm tale for children and toddlers, written in gentle rhyme with beautiful illustrations. We thoroughly enjoy it again and again. Elodee’s thoughts on it are as follows…

I enjoyed it, the party was my favourite bit, because there were lots of balloons. There was food too and they were all happy at the party. They were getting the food ready and dancing and having fun. Bear was at the party. They woke him up and he wanted to join in. They were all scared of him at the beginning because they didn’t want to wake him up in case he got angry. I liked the rhyming story: bear and hare rhyme. I liked the pictures – the ants were being acrobats. It’s not my favourite story but I do like it because it’s funny and nice.

Thank you for reading!

Polly x

You can find out more about the Summer Reading Challenge at:

My own children’s story book is available to pre-order at: