Saturday 4 June 2016

Erica's Elephant blog tour, review and guest post


When Erica Perkins wakes up on the morning of her tenth birthday, the last thing she expects is to find a very confused elephant sitting on her doorstep. So begins an unlikely friendship. But can a small girl and a rather large elephant learn to live together in a tiny terraced house? And when the dastardly owner of the local zoo plots to steal the elephant, will Erica be able to outsmart him?

Information about the Book

Title: Erica’s Elephant

Author: Sylvia Bishop

Release Date: 2nd June 2016

Age Range: 6-8 year olds

Genre: MG Magical Realism

Publisher: Scholastic

Format: Hardback

Goodreads Link:

Author Information

Sylvia Bishop is 23 years old and has recently graduated from Oxford. She is one half of the brilliant improvised comedy duo Peablossom Cabaret ( ERICA’S ELEPHANT is her first book, and she intends it to be the first of many quirky stories for young readers.

Erica's ElephantErica's Elephant by Sylvia Bishop
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I was contacted in regarding reading and reviewing Erica's Elephant I jumped at the chance, after reading the blurb I knew this would be something my class would love and I would also enjoy reading to them. I wasn't wrong.

This is about a 10 year old girl called Erica, who one morning wakes up to find an elephant on her doorstep. Erica decides to take the elephant in and look after it, she has been living on her own since her Uncle went travelling around the world and left her some money. It's not long until Erica realises that keeping an elephant is going to be costly and she only has around £30 left and there is no sign her Uncle will be returning. Through a little thought Erica comes up with the perfect solution to make them some money and keep the elephant with her. That is until someone decides they want the elephant for themselves and seems they will stop at nothing until they get it.

The book has the perfect amount of challenging vocabulary in it for the children who it is aimed at could read independently. As a teacher sharing it with a class it provided some great discussion, the children really loved this book, whenever we had a spare 10 minutes the asked if we could continue reading Erica's Elephant. The illustrations are lovely too and the chapters are relatively short, which is brilliant for beginning readers.

I thought this was a great debut novel for children and the reaction from the children I read it to was a picture, they all really enjoyed it, it left them talking about it for days after. I would be keen to read other books to the children by Sylvia Bishop and I hope there are more to come.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Guest Post:

Bookish Inspirations

It is difficult to know where to start listing the books that have inspired me. They have all tangled up into one big world-of-books jungle in my head, and when I go exploring it, I lose track of which bits came from where. But with apologies to the hundreds of omissions, here are a few that stand out as being especially relevant to the stories I like to write:

(1) Diana Wynne Jones: Literally everything she ever wrote. This inspired me to read voraciously as a child – the kind of reading where you stay in bed all morning and consume the whole book in one go, or read it in the car even though you’re feeling really sick, or read it on school trips even though your friends get miffed. That kind of reading. I think she fills a really important cross-over territory, where books still need to be manageably short, but exciting.

(2) Frances Hodgson-Burnett - A Little Princess: I would put the Secret Garden here too, but I didn’t read it until adult life, so I think it was less formative. Frances Hodgson Burnett’s books suggest that the world is best understood as hopeful and earnest and in need of kindness, which gives her story-telling this sort-of glowing warmth. I would above all love to write things that capture that spirit.

(3) My dad’s stories. Is this cheating? They aren’t written down. But they were wonderfully witty, and taught me early on that story-telling is something we all do, and not just the sacred preserve of mysterious Authors.

(4) E B White - Charlotte’s Webb: I remember gobbling that up in one day in a caravan one summer. It’s the first book I remember reading that challenged me with an ambivalent ending, and suggested that the world wasn’t just divided into happy and sad.

(5) A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh: the most perfect and wonderful humour ever, ever, ever. I don’t have a favourite bit, but I was recently admiring this passage, so I’ll end by quoting at length. Because why not end with Winnie-the-Pooh, if you can?

They had come to a stream which twisted and tumbled between high rocky banks, and Christopher Robin saw at once how dangerous it was.

"It's just the place," he explained, "for an Ambush."

"What sort of bush?" whispered Pooh to Piglet. "A gorse-bush?"

"My dear Pooh," said Owl in his superior way, "don't you know what an Ambush is?"

"Owl," said Piglet, looking round at him severely, "Pooh's whisper was a perfectly private whisper, and there was no need----"

"An Ambush," said Owl, "is a sort of Surprise."

"So is a gorse-bush sometimes," said Pooh.

"An Ambush, as I was about to explain to Pooh," said Piglet, "is a sort of Surprise."

"If people jump out at you suddenly, that's an Ambush," said Owl.

"It's an Ambush, Pooh, when people jump at you suddenly," explained Piglet.

Pooh, who now knew what an Ambush was, said that a gorse-bush had sprung at him suddenly one day when he fell off a tree, and he had taken six days to get all the prickles out of himself.

"We are not talking about gorse-bushes," said Owl a little crossly.

"I am," said Pooh.

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