Puzzle Heroes- Ancient Rome

About this book: 

Dive into the world of Ancient Rome and help save Granny from an angry Roman leader by completing the puzzles in the book. Puzzle Heroes is an interactive series of very fun, visually-led books containing an adventure or challenge on every page. There are plenty of search-and-find elements in the style of Where’s Wally?, combined with topics of educational value, where fun facts help with the challenges. This gives plenty of opportunity to use the book as an extra learning tool – but ultimately the quests are fantastic fun, engrossing readers to the extent that they won’t realise they are learning.

Author: Anna Nilsen

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group

My Review:

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using this book to find out about Ancient Rome. I saw it in my local library and was looking for something fun, engaging and informative- this definitely fits the bill!

The book follows Leah, Zak and their Grandparents who just happen to be time and space travellers!! That’s pretty handy as i happen to need to know what Rome was like during the Roman Empire- they can help.

Initially you follow a story where Granny goes missing and it’s this event that leads to the puzzle solving.

I found the puzzles a lot of fun, although some are challenging that’s what keeps the game and interest alive! In amongst the puzzles are titbits of information about Romans and the Roman Empire- all of which is very interesting and useful.

I think Anna Nilsen has been very successful in creating a book to engage reluctant readers and learners into actually finding lots of important information out while also having lots of fun!

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Why am i Home Educated and what is it like?

As most of you will know i started my Home Education journey in February 2016. This decision was the result of long discussions with my parents, grandparents and after talking to members of the Home Educating community.

Our initial reason for opting to keep my education at home was because i had an impacted bowel. I have always had problems with my bowels but in the last few years it has definitely gotten worse, so much so that i was starting to have attacks! This was usually in the form of a pounding, tight feeling where my bowel is- these have on occasion lasted for more than an hour and happened 5 times a day. While i was waiting to see a specialist, it just wasn’t feasible for me to attend school; i couldn’t concentrate, i was in a lot of pain, things like light and sound hurt me and i just wasn’t getting any work done.

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There were questions about whether i was allergic to wheat or milk, i had a lot of tests!

I spent time in and out of A & E- i spent the night after Christmas 2015 there and i can honestly tell you that it is 100% not fun. I was exhausted, i felt sick and obviously i was in tremendous pain.

I’d like to say that now, i have a wonderful specialist who listens to me and talks to me in a way i like- i want cold hard facts Doc, give it to me straight! I’m managing my bowel disease quite well now because i listened to the advise of my specialist and although it hasn’t gone away i do things to maintain bowel balance. Although i just can’t get rid of these bags under my eyes, apparently it’s a sign of the disease! Who knew!?

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That’s Po by the way, he welcomes you when you visit the children’s outpatient area of the hospital. He always makes me smile!

We were always told that it was obvious that my parents were hands on at home because i knew so much, i was always eager to offer answers and i presented myself well. So the leap from being educated at school to being educated at home wasn’t difficult at all!

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I wont lie, there were some other reasons why i wanted to leave ‘formal’ education, such as bullying, lack of support, being bored, wanting to take on more, even stress etc.

Now i love being Home Educated. Every day is fun and an adventure, i get to have a say in what i learn and how i learn. We follow the curriculum quite closely but if i’ve enjoyed a project- such as Pumpkins against Poverty, i have the chance to learn more and more and even a little bit more (i’m currently doing GCSE Geography- it’s amazing!)

I’ve studied subjects that you don’t spend a huge amount of time on at Primary school, such as Geography and Science. If you know me, you’ll know that i retain facts like a sponge so i love quiz shows- i like to show off the things i know! I’m studying French and Computer Coding.

I go swimming every Monday which is good for my bowel, i get to spend an entire hour in the pool and not just 10 minutes like before. It took 2 weeks before i chucked away my armbands and stopped bringing my float- i even started collecting my swimming certificates! Now i practically live in the deep end and i spend most of my time doing laps, diving down in the deep end to retrieve my Intex sinking ball and doing breathing exercises under the water. I’m a real life mermaid!

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I do core subjects like Mathematics, Literacy, History and Art but i also document my Days Out, i have Cookery and i do Gardening. I love Technology and i’m also learning the piano. I used to go to football training and aikido but they hurt my bowel- it’s not that i wont ever do them again but i need to learn how i can do them without being in pain. I currently do yoga, it’s incredibly relaxing and it helps keep me fit.

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I’m a member of the chatterbooks group at my local library which i attend with my best friend, who usually has a sleepover afterwards. We meet up with other Home Educated children to go on special trips or events and i like to meet authors at book signings so we incorporate my reviews of their books and activities into my learning experience.

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I would say that being Home Educated has helped me keep up to date with my blog and my writing but i was doing all of those things before, i’m a hard core multitasker and i’m still reading just as many books!

Being Home Educated is not cheap, we have to pay for everything ourselves- we don’t get things subsidised so we have to manage money very carefully. I’ve always been good at saving my pocket money so if i find something i really want i put money away and wait. We never say no to books, my Mum instilled that in me quite early on. I used to scour the charity shops and withdrawn books from the library (they cost 10p if you’re interested), i look out for books on gumtree and freegle. In case you hadn’t noticed- i love to read!

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Obviously now i get sent books to review or i win them so my book collection has grown a lot! Wanting to encourage children to learn to love reading is great but it’s maintaining it that’s really important.

I’ve found a lot over the years that people’s attitude to me is different because i learnt to read easily and i read all the time. I learnt to read with ease because my Mummy was practising phonics with me constantly! She was helping children learn to read in schools while she was at university and her little brother is dyslexic- he can’t read phonics- so she’s always been passionate about helping children learn to read and keeping them reading. She piled that all into me. Thank goodness!

I save my pocket money to buy books by my favourite authors, Waterstone’s is my friend- thank you for your buy one get one half price! You can’t beat independent bookstores though, those booksellers are the best.

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I love gardening, it’s so hands on and there’s nothing like watching something that you have cared for grow. I’m a keen gardener, did you know that? I grow Apples, Pears, Blueberries, Strawberries, Goji berries, Pumpkins, Tomatoes, Blackberries. Not to mention herbs and salad items! Growing is great but the rewards are in the harvesting. Mmm.

I even managed to go to the Gardener’s World/ Good Food show this year, it was so cool! I really wanted to meet Alan Titchmarsh but i didn’t see him.

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Home Education might be different and i might miss out on some things because i’m taught at home but my educational world exploded the day i started Home Ed. There are surprisingly few doors closed to me! I am entirely myself, i don’t get to dismiss the parts of learning that i don’t like or subjects that i wasn’t keen on before- instead we find new ways to learn them. It’s not about the child not being able to learn but it is all about how they are taught and i love how i am taught!

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You can’t make me go to Witch School

Want a copy of You can’t make me go to Witch School for yourself? Keep reading to find out how to enter my first ever giveaway!

About this book:

Daisy Wart, a Shakespearean actress with grand ambitions, is FURIOUS at being left at Toadspit Towers School for Witches by her grandmother. SHE IS NOT A WITCH! But Daisy soon becomes drawn into the mysteries of life at Toadspit, and finds that she even has a few magical surprises up her sleeve. . .

The adventures of Daisy the reluctant witch are perfect for fans of magical school stories.

Author: Em Lynas

Illustrator: Jamie Littler

Publisher: Nosy Crow

My Review:

Originally i thought that this book was going to be completely different to the one that was actually told because i have read other stories featuring witches and they are all…a bit… samey so i was pleasantly surprised!

Daisy was very fun to read about, she was very likeable and i understood her reluctance to attend the witch school when she genuinely felt that she was most definitely not a witch! A light and fun tale filled with excitement and the odd twist, You can’t make me go to Witch School was a joy to read. I thoroughly enjoyed the Shakespeare nods as A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of my absolute favourites and this allowed for one of my favourite lines in the book to be uttered “You must all come and see my Bottom!”

Every page is an absolute visual pleasure, the little touches of illustrations in keeping with the story were a delight! I really enjoyed them.

I picked it up and just couldn’t put it down! The last line is everything! 🙂 

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Fancy winning a copy of You can’t make me go to Witch School for yourself? Of course you do! Enter below.

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Knowledge Encyclopedia Human Body!

About this book:

The ultimate head-to-toe guide to the human body for kids. Incredible computer-generated images reveal the amazing inside story of what goes on under our skin.

All-new 3D illustrations offer a unique, strikingly realistic close-up of this fascinating, complex machine – what it looks like and how it works. Every image is supported with easy-to-understand explanations and a wealth of fascinating facts and figures.

Knowledge Encyclopedia Human Body! allows you to take a closer look at the amazing world of your own human body and is perfect for children aged 9 and up.

Publisher: DK

My Review:

A spectacularly visual feast for the eyes and the mind! What an extraordinary book and probably the best book on the human body i have ever read.

Incredibly detailed, this book is highly engaging and highly informative. Far bigger and more in depth than i could have ever imagined, i started to make my way through the book using the handy (and easy) colour coded sections- which were fantastically useful.

The layout is simply superb and many of the pages are written in easy to manage bite size chunks- great for us eager learners to digest. I love how incredibly intricate the images are and that they were not afraid to show us kids this much detail- i love hard, honest, straight forward facts and that is exactly what i got with this book.

I thought this book was one of the most comprehensive books i have had the pleasure to read, my personal highlights were probably the ones most parents would worry about their children reading- the reproductive system. Hey, we can’t become Doctors and head off into the medical profession without knowing these things and i felt this book explained things to me responsibly, honestly and factually. Another personal favourite was bodies in space- if you like Tim Peake, this section is for you!

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