Tag Archives: Laurence King

Card Game Review: Super Happy Families

Generations of children have grown up playing the card game Happy Families. It’s a real family classic, it’s easy to learn and play; very easily transported and fun too. This week we were sent a new version to play – Super Happy Families, but what did we think about it?

Super Happy Families is based on the traditional Happy Families card game, aimed squarely at families (who don’t need to be super to play). There are 44 cards in the pack, eight families to collect and four cards in each family group. Whoever gets the most groups first wins.

Card Game Review: Super Happy Families

To play, deal five cards to each player and put the rest of the cards face down in a pile the middle. As ever, the youngest player starts by asking another player if they have a member of a family they are holding in their deck. If they have a card or cards from that family, they hand them over and the player asks again until you ask and you draw a blank. When this happens it’s the next player takes their turn requesting cards. When a player has a full family they must put the 4 cards face down on the table in front of themselves. The player who collects the most sets is the winner!

Super Happy Families is illustrated by Kirsti Davidson, an illustrator and surface pattern designer based in Brighton. The illustrations bring this classic game right up to date. My son, a big superhero fan loved them. He thought they were “awesome” and he really loved that they were so out of this world.

Super Happy Families is a simple game, but simple is often the best. It’s packaged in a sturdy box which is just the right size to slip into a pocket or a bag. It’s a great game. If you love Happy Families, but want to mix things up a bit, Super Happy Families is well worth a try.

Super Happy Families is available from good toy shops and online and costs £9.99. For more information, visit the Laurence King website.

Disclosure: We were sent Super Happy Families for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Children’s Book Review: The Element in the Room

The Element in the Room by Mike Barfield is a fully illustrated and fun guide to the chemical elements and is jam-packed with mind-blowing facts!

Children's Book Review: The Element in the Room

For reasons I still don’t quite fully understand, I never really did much chemistry at school. I was able to swap my GCSE options so I did drama instead of science. I don’t feel that choice has hindered me, but when it comes to helping with homework, I find myself sneaking off to the loo to google things a bit more than is proper. The Element in the Room is just the kind of book we need. It is as advertised – packed full of facts.

The Element in the Room is aimed at 7-11 year olds and is written in such a way that even scientifically dense me can understand. It even has a helpful glossary at the back, just in case I get extra stuck. For my science mad 8 year old, this is a great book all about the Periodic Table of Elements.

Children's Book Review: The Element in the Room

It’s got colourful illustrations by Lauren Humphrey, slightly larger than bite-size facts and even a few experiments to try. There are even some comic style pages featuring scientific sleuth Sherlock Ohms as he investigates the elements.

This funny and fascinating book is written by Mike Barfield, a comic writer; so it’s as funny as it is factual. It’s a real treat to find a book on the Periodic Table which is so accessible and fun to read. If you’ve got an aspiring scientist, The Element in the Room is a great book to buy them. It might even help me learn something about science!

The Element in the Room by Mike Barfield costs £14.99. It’s published by Laurence King and it is available from a wide range of bookshops including Amazon.

For details of more children’s books published by Laurence King, visit their website.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of The Element in the Room for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Children’s Book Review: The Ultimate Spell-Caster

The Ultimate Spell-Caster by Mike Barfield is a fun and funny flip-book full of over 60 million spell-casting combinations. It’s just the kind of book which would inspire young wizards and witches!

Children's Book Review: The Ultimate Spell-Caster

Magic spells aren’t just for Halloween! As the daughter of a wizard (ok, a magician) I feel I’m well qualified to review this book AND test out some of the spells in it.

The instructions on the back of the book read “all you have to do is wave your wand and flip the pages”. Once you flip the pages you can create an almost limitless combination of spells. There is no magic wand supplied with the book, so you will need to use your own wand. I use a wand I found in a magic forest, which I then wrapped in wool, because no one wants to use a cold wand.

The book itself is great fun and even had me snorting with laughter as we flipped the pages to create new spells. Has somebody wronged you? Flip the pages and find a spell that’ll teach them a lesson. It might not work, but picturing your nemesis as a self-exploding wasp polisher will make you feel a bit better.

Children's Book Review: The Ultimate Spell-Caster

If you’re looking for a spell book which actually works, this is probably not the right book for you. If you’re looking for a spell book which will make you laugh, then this IS the right book for you. It’s just the thing for an aspiring witch or wizard and would be a nice little stocking filler for a Harry Potter fan with a sense of humour. This mudblood gives The Ultimate Spell-Caster the thumbs up, or wands up, whichever.

The Ultimate Spell-Caster by Mike Barfield costs £10.99. It’s published by Laurence King and it is available from a wide range of bookshops including Amazon.

For details of more children’s books published by Laurence King, visit their website.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of The Ultimate Spell-Caster for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: I Saw It First! Jungle – A Family Spotting Game

This week we’ve been playing a new game – I Saw It First! Jungle – A Family Spotting Game. It’s a puzzle game for people who love spotting animals, like a ginormous Dobble but a bit harder and just as much fun!

Review: I Saw It First! Jungle - A Family Spotting Game

In I Saw It First! Jungle there are 300 jungle animals all over the double-sided board. Each of the pieces is printed on both sides, so no two games are the same because you can put the board together in many different ways.

The board is covered with all kinds of creatures, some are familiar, like the leopard or the hippopotamus, others less so, like the eyelash viper or the giraffe weevil.

Review: I Saw It First! Jungle - A Family Spotting Game

The game comes with a box to assemble and 300 hexagonal counters each with an animal on one side and the name of the animal on the other. To play you take a counter from the box and show it to the other players. When they say “go” everyone must look for that animal on the board. The first one to spot it shouts “I saw it first” and keeps the counter. You can play for as long as you like. The person with the most counters at the end of the game is the winner. It’s simple but brilliant.

Like I said, the games go on as long as you want. It’s really fun to try to spot the creatures on the board. There’s a good variety of different animals and lots to talk about. Ben knew a lot about some of the animals, birds and insects already and happily chatted about where some of them lived and what they ate as we searched the board for them.

Review: I Saw It First! Jungle - A Family Spotting Game

I Saw It First! Jungle comes in and eye-catching triangular box and features illustrations by Caroline Selmes. It’s easy to understand but addictive to play, and great fun for adults and children alike.

I Saw It First! Jungle costs £19.99 and it is available from high street shops, direct from Laurence King and online retailers such as Amazon.

Note: We were sent I Saw It First! Jungle for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Book Review: A Year in Nature by Hazel Maskell

The changing of the seasons is something we all look forward to and dread in equal measure. I’m not wildly mad about winter, but I can’t resist a nice crisp autumn day. The seasons are something we talk about a lot with our son and I imagine we are not alone in that. On walks to school and to the park we chat about the changes in the trees, the wildlife we see and the signs of the changing seasons.

We were sent a copy of A Year in Nature by Hazel Maskell. It’s a carousel book of the seasons, I didn’t really know what that meant until I opened it up. It’s a kind of pop up book where you open it up so the front and back cover are touching each other (you can tie the covers together with the attached ribbon), and you stand the book up and it shows the four seasons in glorious pop up detail.

Book Review: A Year in Nature by Hazel Maskell

Written by Helen Maskell and illustrated by Eleanor Taylor, A Year in Nature is a truly beautiful introduction to the seasons; follow a family of foxes through the year, watching the cubs grow and thrive as the seasons change around them.

Each page is heaving with detail, with counting and spotting activities and bite-size facts “caterpillars hatch from butterfly eggs. Each makes a hard case, or chrysalis. Inside it turns into a butterfly.” A Year in Nature allows you to explore the woodland scenes, discovering animals, trees, plants and flowers as you go.

This would make a very special gift for a child, or maybe as a really great talking point for a group of children, perhaps at school. It’s the kind of book you can dip in and out of as the year goes by. Take time to examine each page, to see the changing colours and how the wildlife evolves. It’s a really beautiful book. So beautiful that it’s an actual work of art.

Book Review: A Year in Nature by Hazel Maskell

A Year in Nature by Hazel Maskell is a very special book, rich in detail and a real visual feast for children. It’s suitable for ages 6+ and is more robust than you may think. My 7 year old absolutely adores reading this book and doing the counting and spotting activities in it. It’s a real keepsake and would make a wonderful Christmas present for any nature loving child.

A Year in Nature by Hazel Maskell costs £16.99. It’s published by Laurence King and it is available from a wide range of bookshops including Amazon.

For details of more children’s books published by Laurence King, visit their website.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of A Year in Nature for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Children’s Books: Midnight Monsters by Helen Friel

Everyone loves a spooky story don’t they? This week we’ve been taking a look at Midnight Monsters by Helen Friel and getting really spooked out. Midnight Monsters is an amazing book. It’s a pop-up shadow search book and it’s perfect for reading after dark.

To enjoy this book, turn the lights off, get your torch out and shine it through the pop-up scenes in the book to learn more about the monsters who lurk in the shadows.

Children's Books: Midnight Monsters by Helen Friel

In Midnight Monsters, you travel through a series of pop-up scenes; the wild woods; creepy caves; mysterious mountains; a misty lagoon and a haunted castle. Each page has five creepy creatures to spot. This is best done in a dark room; put the book on a table or flat surface and shine a torch or the light from a mobile phone through. This will cast a shadow on the wall behind, revealing the spooky scene.

Each of the five creatures has a description to help you understand more about them. All of the creatures are rooted in folklore. We spotted a Yeti, a Griffin, a Cyclops and a vampire, in among all the other characters. I can’t help but feel that Midnight Monsters would be the best thing to bring out at a children’s Halloween party. Shine a light through and tell creepy stories about the characters in this book, it’s got such great bedtime ghost story potential.

Children's Books: Midnight Monsters by Helen Friel

It’s written and designed by Helen Friel, a freelance paper engineer and illustrator who has also written Midnight Creatures: A Pop-Up Shadow Search, Midnight Monsters is the follow-up to that book.

Midnight Monsters is not actually scary enough to lose sleep over. It’s a great novelty of a book, beautifully designed and almost too good to share with the kids. It takes shadow art up to the next level. It’s superb.

Children's Books: Midnight Monsters by Helen Friel

If you’re looking for something a bit different to read, explore and enjoy with the kids this autumn, Midnight Monsters by Helen Friel is almost certainly that book.

Midnight Monsters by Helen Friel costs £16.99. It’s published by Laurence King and it is available from a wide range of bookshops including Amazon.

For details of more children’s books published by Laurence King, visit their website.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of Midnight Monsters for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.