MrsK's Seasoned Reader Picks

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Diaries of Robin's Toys by Ken and Angie Lake

 The Diaries of Robin's Toys
ISBN: 9781782260318
Publisher's Synopsis:
Robin and his Grandad buy a new toy from the car boot sale every weekend, and with the help of Grandad's magic spell, they bring them to life! Each toy has a fascinating new story to tell Robin, and helps to teach him some very important life lessons!

“Little toy, hear this rhyme,
Let it take you back in time,
Tales of sadness or of glory,
Little toy, reveal your story.”
MrsK's Review:
There is a thrill that runs "amok" within your body, a type of "buzz" whenever a book is delivered to your door. I was so excited when this delightful box of adventures from the UK (yes, my first international book review) was delivered. Such joyful anticipation! Not only has this box of delightfully "stuffed" critters arrived safely, the journeys they tell are inviting, comforting, and very endearing.

Robin is a boy with excellent imagination. He adores his weekly "jaunts" with his Grandad. He is very intuitive and has a heart for others. Grandad can be a bit zany, fun, and devoted to Grandma's "needs." Grandad also has a talent for finding just the right critter with a story to be told. Grandma takes the day to bake treats for their return and once in awhile understands the "treasure" that Grandad brings back to her.
"Have you ever seen an old toy,
perhaps in a cupboard, or in the attic or loft?
Have you ever seen how sad they look at car boot sales,
unwanted and unloved?
Well, look at them closely, because every toy has a story to tell..." 
Meet the Critters:
  • Bertie the Bee:  "It has black and yellow stripes, huge eyes, and a fat body. It's wings were made of loops of wire and it had a big smile..." Bertie the Bee teaches Robin about how helpful bees are. Of course the lesson will be all about each bee having its own job and how working together brings a desired outcome. This tale helps Robin and his team realize that there is no I in team.
  • Carla the Cow: "This cow had a long sad face. She did not look happy at all."  The other animals found her to be "grumpy, bad mannered, bad tempered, selfish, and rude." Needless to say she was always complaining and therefore quite lonely. Robin learns that making an effort to be kind and doing something positive can be a life changer.
  • Carlos the Cod:"I wondered what the world looks like for a fish?" Carlos helps Robin understand why not all friends are the best type of a friend, especially if they are older and wanting you to do things that could get you in trouble. This is one of my favorite tales, what would those fish on the "other side of the glass" think about us?"
  • Donkey Hoo-Tee: "A rather tatty-looking donkey." With this tale, Robin learns about Spain, pack animals, and a friendship with the man from La Mancha. Sometimes a kindness can turn into a friendship for others. This tale took a turn, it not only taught about the animal... it taught a history lesson about a famous literary character. This proved to be a favorite for even the older listeners.
  • Clarence the Camel: As a "Ship of the Desert," Clarence's story not only teaches about the world of camels, Robin also learns the valuable lesson about humility and starting over when you were "just not good enough." Clarence helps Robin understand that others will treat you as you treat them and how dignity without boasting will provide wonderful encounters beyond your expectations.
  • Taffy the Rabbit: Taffy is a real "sporting" rabbit. Dressed in a red rugby suit, Taffy teaches about Wales and the countries pride in the national sport of rugby. Although Taffy's story is about the team having a carrot sale, Robin learns a valuable lesson about pulling his scout group into a sale as a way to get new camping gear for their summer camp out. Finding a solution once disappointment is conquered can bring about a treasure of shared moments.
  • Gavin the Gorilla and Snuffles: At the bottom of a box, Robin discovers a black furry gorilla. Gavin appears to be so scary that every one avoided him. That is until a "fragile" little dog is in need of help. When you just don't fit in, an unexpected friendship can bring about so many adventures, including a friend who will stand up for you when others are being bullies.
  • Leon the Lion: With a big bushy mane, Leon begins his story about a timid sort of lion. You see Leon would rather write stories or poems, he doesn't like being bossy or telling others what to do. Robin learns that having a gentle personality is quite often the much needed "talent" in so many situations. Just like Leon, Robin discovers that our talents are the best strengths for any situation, we just need to learn how and when to put them to use. Inviting others to join in activities that match their talents can bring about a treasured friendship for so many.
  • Geraldo the Giraffe: Geraldo is a "Gourmet Giraffe." He loves eating! Yet, with all the new recipes he also becomes quite sick. Learning how to eat healthy foods and the importance of exercising, Geraldo inspires Robin to help a classmate who might need a friend as a "health coach." It is always so rewarding when a new friend is willing to support you as you make a change for the better.
  • Roger the Reindeer: Roger is from Lapland, he is having serious trouble in reindeer school. In fact, he is considered lazy and unwilling to learn. In truth, Roger just doesn't understand reading or writing (a story close to my heart). Roger's inability to read directions creates such sadness, embarrassing moments, and loneliness. Yet, once Roger accepts help at a local library his life begins opening up new pathways of opportunities (can you guess where he might be heading?). Robin knows of a student in his class that is from Italy who just might have something in common with Roger.  
Not every tale is meant for Robin. Many of the tales bring a glimmer of hope, friendship, and love to others who Robin and Grandad meet. Every tale will plant a character building opportunity for those who are listening.

Take a moment to snuggle up with a young heart and get ready for a teachable moment,
Enjoyable tales, Excellent learning opportunities! 
Click the logo above to meet Robin's toys!
Meet the Author:
Ken Lake   I started writing in the summer of 2009 after a series of traumatic near-death experiences. During this ordeal, as I lingered in that mysterious ether between life and death I was given a wonderful gift, the talent to write. Immediately after my recovery I wrote my first book for my grandchildren; Grandad Ken's Bedtime Stories.This was followed by a book of humorous short stories for adults, Flying Pigs.
Then I wrote a trilogy of adventure mysteries for the 7 to 12 age group featuring Grandad and his two grandsons Ryan and Mikey. Grandad finds some magic glasses and sees the world as a child again. The first book is Grandad and the Magic Glasses.(Now on Amazon e books).  The adventures continued in Grandad and the Time Machine when they discovered the wonders of time travel. Finally the strange mysteries were solved in Grandad and the Search for Robin.
My next book explored the humour and the folklore of my native Norfolk. Dumplings to Demon Dogs. I followed that with the book I had to write, Colkirk Boy (now on Amazon e books). It follows the life and times of my Grandfather Charley Lake. Then I teamed up with my daughter Angie and signed a publishing contract with Sweet Cherry Publishing Ltd, for a set of ten books; The Diaries of Robin's Toys. These are currently in print, available on Amazon and selling very well.
We have already signed a contract for another set of ten books in the Robin series. The Diaries of Robin's Travels. These books are designed to help children with geography and history. Angie is also writing a set of five books for a slightly older age group for the same publisher. I have also completed another set of ten children's book based on ponies and people at a livery yard. This set will target younger children with an interest in ponies. So you can see why Ken and Angie have been labelled; one of the most successful and prolific father and daughter co-author partnerships writing today.

"I received these books for free for this review."

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