The Book Corner: Gordon’s great escape (a review)

“You can find magic wherever you look, sit back, relax, all you need is a book”

Dr Seuss.

I love reading to Ben my toddler. He is at that age where he really listens intently, and he also pulls the most expressive faces as I say the words. Every night, we try and sit together – me, Ben, Luke and Zak – and enjoy a story. Sometimes I read to them, other times Luke wants to do it. On this occasion, it was just me and Ben reading together and the story was Gordon’s Great Escape by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet – A husband and wife team with a passion for writing and illustrating. They also happen to be very funny.


The book description says,Follow Gordon the Balloon on his adventures around the world; learning new things, meeting people and avoiding all the dangers which come with being a balloon. Gordon is having a great time travelling with the circus when a storm hits their ship, leaving them stranded on an island! What will they do? Lost in the middle of the ocean and with no means of escape, it’s up to Gordon to save the day!” – Sounds gripping eh?! And I’m not being sarcastic for once 😉

The book is not too long, so good for a toddler with a relatively short attention span like Ben, and the illustrations in the book are wonderful. Bright and bold, with lots going on so you can spend just as long chatting to each other about what you can see in the pictures as you can reading the actual book itself. Ben loved pointing at the balloons when I asked him to find one of a certain colour.

We have a book by the same writers called, Barry the Fish with Fingers. Luke, my eldest, loved that book as a little one and it became his bedtime favourite for over a month. Gordon’s great escape has had the same effect on Ben. We have read it EVERY night for 3 weeks now and he is showing no signs of wanting to stop anytime soon! Well, they do say kids love routine!

Gordon the balloon is the perfect character for a kids book. Familiar, funny and adventurous. We really enjoyed seeing him ‘grow’ as a character (literally and metaphorically!) and Ben laughed his way through the whole book…though, on second thoughts, that could just be due to my unique narrative skills 😉

I suppose I should note that the book ‘contains mild peril’ but it’s really nothing too traumatic, not like The Lion King…sob.

It’s a tale of growing up, going on an adventure, being brave and saving the day. Things our kids do every day when playing in their own little worlds!

If you would like to buy your own copy of Gordon’s great Escape, you can do so via this link.

We would thoroughly recommend it – Gordon the balloon won’t let you (or himself – sorry, had to get that joke in there somewhere) down!

 gordon's great escape book review

Gordon’s Great Escape Activity ideas!

If you’re looking for some ways to broaden your child’s understanding of the book, or if you’re a school/preschool who would like to do some activities around this story once you’ve shared it together, these Gordon’s Great Escape activity ideas are just the job!

We had a go at at a craft from the sheets and chose to make a balloon pasta shaker/drum instrument. Ben has loved bashing it to pieces and shaking it to some music whilst charging around the house!

balloon instrument craft

Have a go yourselves using the activity sheets below!

Gordon The Balloon_v6_OUTL.FINALpdf (1)

Published by Simon & Schuster on 20th October 2016
Disclosure: I was sent this book for the purpose of this review but all words, thoughts and opinions are my own..and Ben’s!

The Book Corner: A Review of Timmy Failure – Number 4

 “I don’t have a lot of time to tell you this next part, so I’m going to be brief. Corrina Corrina is so evil she could scare the tail off a beaver. She is ruthless and diabolical and cunning and immortal and destructive and malicious and vicious and dishonorable and corrupt and fraudulent and vile and nefarious and sordid and smelly and apparently one time I kissed her.

And with all that said, I’m now running out of time. So the point is this: Corrina Corrina stole the money. And I will hunt her down and get it back or my name is not Failure. And that means going wherever she goes.

And so, when my mother got to my hotel room that afternoon, she could not get angry with me, for I was already gone”.

Back page of the book cover for Timmy Failure. It tells you he is a detective destined for greatness...apparently.

A few weeks ago we were sent a book for my eldest lad to review.

It seemed right up his alley and, as a reluctant reader, I was really keen to see how he got on with the book and also what he thought of it.

The book is called;

Timmy Failure. Number 4. Sanitzed for your protection.

It is written by Stephan Pastis.

It is the 4th book in the Timmy Failure series and charts the crazy antics of a young chap called Timmy, who has his own detective agency….but sadly he is a pretty terrible detective!

It’s a really funny book that I would say is suitable for children aged 7+. My eldest is 8 and managed it perfectly, with just a little help here and there, and was heard giggling his head off most nights whilst he was reading it. A good sign that a kid is enjoying a  book…

If your child liked reading Tom Gates or The Wimpy Kid books, the Timmy Failure series is definitely up your U-bend…

In this particular book in the series, Timmy is using his detective skills to find out who stole the money from, ‘Yip Yap’. Yip Yap is the name given to a group of children from Timmy’s school, who are trying to raise money for a boy called Yergi Plimkin who sadly has no books. One week, they had a whopping 120 dollars but the next week, they only had 12 cents!




…and some really very funny jokes ensue.

Timmy would usually be on the case, sleuthing his way to find out who is responsible for such a terrible crime but this time, there is a problem. Timmy can’t investigate because he’s being dragged off on holiday to help his Mum’s new boyfriend, Doorman Dave, move into his new house in Chicago. On the way there, Mum’s car breaks down so her new friend Esther takes him and Total the Polar Bear (Timmy’s best friend and ally who loves to eat) to Chicago while Mum waits for the breakdown truck. His Mum’s friend, Esther, just so happens to be the Mum of a young lady called, Molly Moskins. And unfortunately, according to Timmy, Molly has committed many crimes, and is a prime suspect in the theft of Yip Yap’s money. He’s now riding in a car with a criminal mastermind, who also happens to like him…

Could life get any worse?!

Can he find out who stole Yip Yap’s money?

Can he survive this investigation with Molly Moskins fluttering her eyelashes and demanding to dance?

 My 8 year old LOVED reading this book.

He had lots of favourite bits, but he really loved the end, which I can’t tell you about because that would spoil the whole book, but lets just say, the ending hits all the right notes and gives your child a little life lesson in the process.

Luke, my eldest chap, said of the book;

I loved reading Timmy Failure! I now want to read the books before this one so that it makes a bit more sense to me because I wasn’t sure who some of the characters were to start off with. It made me laugh lots and I really liked the drawings on the pages, some of them were really funny. The chapters weren’t too long so if I just wanted to read a little bit I could and then read some more another day. I think all my friends would like this book and I want to ask school to get them in the library because then we can all read them.”

So, I think it is pretty safe to say, he loved the book and from what I read of it, I can completely see why!

It’s silly, funny, imaginative and not at all patronising to it’s audience. The language used in the book is appropriate and challenging (I’m not ashamed to admit that even I learnt a new word in the form of Nefarious!) so the perfect fit for a newly independent reader.

You can buy the Timmy Failure books here, as I say there are 4 in the series so far.

He also has his own website with games and other fun stuff on! Do give it a visit.

My eldest gives the book 10 out of 10!

High praise indeed!

Disclosure: I was sent a free copy of Timmy Failure to read and review. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own.