Erin, aged 6, #reviews all three Once Upon a NOW #books @ajcraftybox #kidlit #giveaway

ajbookreviewclub, kid's review, book review, book blog


My children’s book tour and giveaway is now up to stop number seven: the  ajbookreviewclub

I’ve been delighted to be included on many blogs where real children have been invited to read and share their thoughts about the series with adult reviewers in the feature. Here on AJ’s blog we meet the delightful and wise Erin (who is six). She had all three books read to her and tells us about which bits she liked (and didn’t!) and which of the stories is her favourite. 

One common comment on all the reviews of ‘Alf The Workshop Dog’ is that readers love ‘the song‘. They are referring to  the fictional National Anthem of Zanubia, which you can hear and watch being sung from within the book.  

Zanubia, King of Zanubia, Zanubia National Anthem, song, Once Upon a Now song,  Oscar Sparrow, narrator

It’s performed by my daughter on the piano (she’s very clever and wrote the music) and Oscar Sparrow who is the wonderful narrator on the audio book editions of all my children’s stories. 

He was very worried about being too fierce and frightening the kids – so we made him a paper crown to go with his plastic sword.  This then gave us a lot of trouble as he couldn’t keep a straight face and we had to record many takes.  In the end I set the camera rolling and left the room and that solved it.

Want to see the video and hear the song? Well I’m afraid it’s exclusive to the book… it’s one of the ‘bonus features’ included via scannable QR code and secret URL links.  

(A hint for my special readers – ALF will be FREE on Amazon Kindle 8,  9, 10 Feb:  grab your copy and hear the song! http://www.smarturl.it/Alf )

All books in the series are ‘chapter books’.  These are aimed at younger readers maybe not yet ready to read a whole book in one go.  The stories are divided into manageable chunks with the bonus materials as a ‘reward’ for the end of a section. The videos, photos and colouring pictures are accessed via QR codes and URLs in the book. QR codes let people with the paperback version still get the benefit of these interactive materials. I guess they are a bit of a gimmick but I think they make for a richer experience and help make story time more fun. They certainly added a new element to the job of creating the books! 

A big thank you to AJ and her daughter for sharing their thoughts on my stories – I’m so pleased you enjoyed them!

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Child Labour – digging it out to write for kids with @Maryannwrites – The inspiration behind Alf The Workshop Dog.

French flag wine, It's not all Gravy image, Emma Calin

Stop #6 on my Children’s Fiction Book Tour is back on ‘It’s Not All Gravy’ – this time for a chat and a lovely glass of wine with Maryann, tlaking about the about inspiration behind Alf The Workshop Dog.

Here’s the REAL Alf who spends his days in an busy inner-city bus garage.

Alf The workshop dog, Alf, Dog, Children's fiction, paperback book, kid's books

Find out how I worked backwards from meeting this little mutt to the mythical ancient kingdom of Zanubia, an evil king and a kind time-travelling prince – visit Maryann’s blog here.

Everyone needs a ferret godfather pic.twitter.com/6Cgub60Fzh #kidlit #review by @JossRadillo

Chapter 5 Blog, book reviews, blogger, book blogger, Joss Rodillo


Today the Once Upon a NOW! series visits the Chapter 5 Book Review hosted by Kindergarten teacher and book blogger Joss Rodillo. 

Frankie Ferret, ISabella's Pink Bicycle, Once Upon a NOW, children's books, kids literature, Emma Calin, review



Which book in the series is her favourite?  The clue is in the title of the blog….. yes she fell in love with Frankie Ferret the sidekick and adventure-buddy of Isabella in ‘ISABELLA’S PINK BICYCLE‘.

I was delighted that she gave the whole series a whopping 5***** and can’t wait to share the stories with her little charges.

Find out what else she had to say about ‘ALF THE WORKSHOP DOG and ‘KOOL KID KRUNCHA AND THE HIGH TRAPEZE‘ on her blog here

Children’s #book #reviews by blogger @ChelleyToy & her son "I loved how they all started Once Upon A Time and ended They All Lived Happily Ever After…..Ahhhhh :-)"

once upon a now, book blog, alf the workshop dog, isabella's pink bicycle, Kool Kid Kruncha and The High Trapeze

Today my ‘ONCE UPON A NOW’ tour visits the  ‘Tales of Yesterday‘ book blog – run by Michelle Toy and ably aided in this case by her son Corey.

I was amazed to click the link to Michelle’s blog and see the whole of the page decked out in ‘Once Upon a NOW’ bright egg-yolk yellow and the logos for my series plastered all over the screen. There was even a banner blending the blog’s logo with my book livery. I am totally bowled over.  Thank you so much Michelle!

I was further delighted to find that Michelle and her son had read not one, but all three of the books from the series – and enjoyed them too. Phew.

Find out which book was Corey’s favourite – read their reviews on Tales of Yesterday .

One of the books in the series is still going FREE on Amazon for another day: http://www.smarturl.it/Kruncha  – ends 28th Jan.

The next stop on the tour is http://chapterfive.wix.com/chapter5  on Wednesday 29th January.  Can’t wait!

Introducing the next generation of #bookbloggers on @BestChickLit #KidLitChat for my Children’s Fiction Blog Tour.

Today I am pleased to share with you the content from BestChickLit.com .  They recently featured my ‘Once Upon a NOW’ series of children’s books and introduced the world to super-reviewers Ellie and Eden (aged 11 and 9).

Both girls read the books and between them created 5 wonderful reviews for ‘Alf The Workshop Dog’, ‘Isabella’s Pink Bicycle’ and ‘Kool Kid Kruncha and The High Trapeze’.


Coming up with one review is hard enough against a deadline, but these sisters have really got the reading bug.  They are destined, I am certain, to become great literary star-reviewers of the future. The pair managed to read all three stories and came up with synopses of the plots as well as explaining the things they particularly enjoyed in each book.

A big thank you from me to them for all their effort and fantastic result!
(particularly as they liked the stories 😉 ).

Visit the blog and see all their thoughts and reviews on BestChickLit.com.

Kindle version of ‘Kool Kid Kruncha and the High Trapeze’ is FREE on Amazon Worldwide today & tomorrow (27/28 Jan 2015) http://www.smarturl.it/Kruncha.


Next stop on the tour is Tales of Yesterday readable from the 28th January. 








ONCE UPON A NOW – fairy tales for #children – launch #Giveaway #Kindle pic.twitter.com/7jhRxZ4PlH

Well, today’s the day. I’ve had children, I was a child myself ( do writers ever grow up?) and I still like them. As a kid I loved to listen to stories and today I’m launching my own series of children’s books.

The Fairy tale retains its potency because it still speaks truth, hopes and dreams. I’ve approached some modern day situations exploring contemporary dilemmas and issues that confront young folk.


These chapter-book stories are aimed at young readers, in the 7-10 year age group.  The books are all illustrated in a modern anime-style by talented artist Miko Abellera from the Philippines. This young guy has a real Wow style. He gets right in there in a special way. He’s got a great career ahead of him.

Each book features unique links and scannable QR codes to take readers of both paperback and e-books to bonus material such as audio and video clips, downloadable photos and colouring pictures to enrich the reading experience.

All the books are also available in audio book format – delightful recordings by the poet Oscar Sparrow, who brings the stories to life in his own inimitable style. He also composed the words for the National Anthem of Zanubia which he sings in Alf The Workshop Dog. Well – singing may not be quite the word. I’d love to hear your opinions. 


Ideal as stocking fillers or pocket money purchases!

How could a scruffy dog in a bus depot and the call of crows, link back to another world of power and love?

The ancient Kingdom of Zanubia and a stray dog looking for scraps in an inner-city repair garage, hold the secret. 

A wicked king, a beautiful girl, a young prince and the struggle between right and wrong maintain the fable tradition.


There’s something strange in the woodshed…

A poor little girl in a faraway land dreams of riding a pink bicycle. When she meets a strange animal, her dreams come true. Her happiness turns to sadness when a tragedy occurs in the town and her father doesn’t come home.


Maybe her new magic friend can find him?

Charlie finds it tough when his parents divorce – but Auntie Kate helps him overcome his greatest fear.

When Charlie has to move from the country into the city, he needs new friends. With his small size and red hair, some people aren’t kind to him. 

He wonders if he can face another day at school.

A trip to the circus gives him the strength to see himself and others in a new way.

To set the launch off with a bang I’m hosting a giveaway on Rafflecopter – something to really get your reading tastebuds fired up – first prize is a brand new 6″ KINDLE TOUCHSCREEN! 

Nothing complicated required for entry and plenty of options to qualify for for extra goes.  If you don’t want the latest Kindle, you can opt for a CASH alternative too. Oh – and I’ll be giving away some books as prizes too, as you’d expect.   The draw is on the 17th December 2014 – so don’t hang around to enter.



Find all the full details on my new ONCE UPON A NOW CLUB website or enter the Rafflecopter draw below:


a Rafflecopter giveaway