Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by Rebecca

Book Review: Jake’s Concert Horror

Jake’s Concert Horror by Ken Spillman and illustrated Chris Nixon. Published by Fremantle Press ISBN 9781921888755.

A review copy of this book was sent to us by the publisher.

Jake's Concert Horror (cover)

When Mrs Paul announces that the class will be putting on a musical play, Jake imagines himself in all sorts of cool roles—a pirate, a monkey, a robot with a silver-painted box over his head.

But when he hears what the play will be, he’s not impressed.

 

Yuk, Jake thought. Why couldn’t she choose something about pirates?

 

But it’s even worse when he finds out what his part is in the play. As the date of the performance gets closer he gets more and more worried.

This is another book in the Jake series—and, as usual, you’ll find Chris Nixon’s fun illustrations on every page. These books are great for kids who are just starting to read chapter books. If you’re already a fan, you’ll love this next book in the series (but you don’t have to read the other books in the series before reading this one. It’s great on its own.)

Everyone worries about something. Jake’s Concert Horror is a book about overcoming your fears.

© May 2012 “Review of Jake’s Concert Horror by Ken Spillman & Chris Nixon” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)

Look here for a review of an earlier Jake book, Jake’s Great Game.

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by Rebecca

Book review: Jake’s Great Game

Jake’s Great Game by Ken Spillman, ill. Chris Nixon, Fremantle Press, ISBN 9781921888502

A review copy of this book was sent to us by the publisher.

Jake's Great Game (cover)We are already fans of the Jake books, so we were excited to see the next book in the series, Jake’s Great Game.

Jake decides he wants to start playing soccer and his dad takes him to buy some boots—Jake likes the silver ones, and he’s sure he’ll be a soccer star. Then he finds soccer is not as easy as he thought it would be. Dribbling the ball is tricky … and everyone else seems to have the hang of it. The team has a game coming up. How can Jake be a soccer star if he can’t even dribble the ball?

Jake’s Great Game is a fun story for kids who are starting to read books with chapters. Chris Nixon’s black-and-white illustrations are on every page. You don’t have to have read the other Jake books to enjoy this one but if you have read the others, you’ll probably want to read this one, too—especially if you like books about sport.

A fun read!

Find out more about the Jake series on the dedicated website. Check out our January 2011 interview with the author and another with the illustrator. And check out what the illustrator used to read after ‘lights out’ when he was growing up!

© October 2011 “Review of Jake’s Great Game by Ken Spillman, ill. Chris Nixon”, reviewed by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)
Posted in teachers' resources

Meet Ken Spillman – author of the Jake books

 

"Jake's Gigantic List""Ken Spillman"

Our visitor today is Ken Spillman, author of many books, including Jake’s Gigantic List and Jake’s Monster Mess. The third book in the series Jake’s Balloon Blast will be out in March 2011.

What made you become a writer?

Quite simply, a love of stories.  That developed early and by the age of 8 I was a keen writer, even during school holidays.  When I was 15, my English teacher told me to keep writing.  He forgot to tell me to stop writing, so I’m still going.  It’s all his fault.

Was it easy to get your first book published?

It was, actually, but before that I’d published a lot of short stories and poems, while having quite a few rejections as well.

What was your favourite book as a child?

I had many, including adventure stories like Robin Hood and Tom Sawyer.  But an enduring favourite was – and IS – The Little Prince.  That always gets me thinking – I can revisit it every year and learn something new!

Where do you get your ideas/inspiration?

It’s very difficult not to get ideas – so the trick is to give some time to the ideas you do have.  For me, watching and listening leads to imagining, and that’s where story begins.  After that, it’s all about work.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?"Jake's Balloon Blast"

I like to read!  But I also love sports and enjoy swimming or kicking a ball around.  Travelling is also great, and recently I’ve enjoyed talking to big groups of Jake fans in Asian countries.

Are you working on a book at the moment?

I’ve always got a few books on the go.  Chris Nixon is illustrating the fourth Jake book – with a sporting theme – and I’ve written two more.  I’m also working on a picture book for Scholastic and a new series for release by Puffin India later this year.

When you are writing the Jake books, do you work closely with Chris Nixon, or do you finish the text and then leave him to do the illustrations?

I finish the story first, but since the first Jake book I’ve been able to imagine what Chris will be able to do with it as I go along.  He nailed the Jake character straight off, so I know he’s always going to really ‘get’ what I write.

Do you have any advice for young writers?

First and foremost, have fun.  What a magical thing it is to create whole worlds – with just paper and ink!  If you enjoy writing, you’ll do it often – and that’s the second thing … work!