Football School: The Guardian Young Sportswriter Of The Year 2019. About the competition and enter a giveaway.

Football School: The Guardian Young Sportswriter Of The Year 2019. About the competition and enter a giveaway.


About the competition:

Calling all young sports fans. The Guardian has opened a competition for young sports writers and the winner could see their piece published in the newspaper.

The newspaper has teamed up with Alex Bellos & Ben Lyttleton, football expert and creators of the bestselling Football School series, to create the competition.

To enter you need to write a 600-word match report on any sporting event, or a 600-word player profile about a sportsperson of your choice.

There are two categories, 7-9 and 10-12. The winners of each age category will win:

  • A once in a lifetime opportunity to watch a Premier League football game as a journalist in the press box
  • Their entry published by The Guardian
  • A signed bundle of Football School books and goodies

The two runners-up in each category will win a signed bundle of Football School books and goodies.

The competition kicks off on 2nd April 2019 and closes at 6pm on the 19th May 2019.

To enter, visit the Football School competiton homepage where you will also find some activities, videos and information about the books.

Best of luck!

(Information taken and reworded from the Football School homepage).


Win a copy of the book:

Want to swot up and get in ahead?

Check out my Twitter homepage where I will be running a giveaway to win a copy of Football School: Star Players. The giveaway ends at 11.59pm on 07/05/2019.

Thanks to Walker Books for providing the prize as part of a promotion.


Review and Giveaway: Hey Duggee Sticky Stick Sticker Book


About Hey Duggee and the Sticky Stick Song

Stick Stick Stick Stick

Sticky Sticky Stick Stick.

Who would have thought the hit of the World Cup would be an animated stick? Hey Duggee is an animated series for pre-school children. It follows the adventures of the Squirrel Club as they gain badges and explore the outdoor world. The Sticky Stick song featured in a single episode of the programme but has since gained something of a cult following. Millions of views later and a special version was introduced for the World Cup.

Kick Kick Kick Kick

Add some techno-vibes, background chanting and an animated stick and an anthem is born. 

 Sticky Stick Sticker Book review and giveaway

The lovely people at Penguin Random House sent me some copies of the Sticky Stick Sticker book to review and share with my readers. 

img_6638The book combines stickers with puzzles, activities and your favourite Hey Duggee characters. There is an added element which would earn a great big WOOF of support from Duggee – as well as the usual sticker activities, the book encourages children to get outside, find a stick and decorate it with their stickers. This would be a lovely activity to share with pre-school children and a great way into nature play for the shy or reluctant. 

Great fun was had in the creation of sticky-characters. The stickers didn’t stick perfectly to the real sticks, but this would be a nice introduction to decorating sticks with objects from the garden. An alternative would be to use ice-lolly sticks, or to photograph your sticks before the stickers come off. Why not create a gallery of stick friends? 


The stickers peel easily and repeel from the pages without tearing. They are big and solid enough for their young audience. The puzzles and games are pitched at different levels so this would be as friendly to a six-year-old as it would to a smaller child. The suggested age range is 3 years upwards. 

If you would like to win a copy of the Sticky Stick sticker book head over to my Twitter. I have FOUR copies for giveaway within the UK and Ireland. Many thanks to Penguin Random House for the opportunity to host this giveaway 


GIVEAWAY and mini-reviews – Spy Toys: Out of Control blog tour


Spy Toys Banner5.png

Today it’s my stop on the fantastic Spy Toys: Out of Control blog tour. Here’s your chance to win both Spy Toys, and Spy Toys: Out of Control, thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. I’ve written a short review of each book, to tell you why it’s worth winning. 

Spy Toys

Spy Toys CoverA teddy bear whose hugs could crush a child. A doll with anger problems? A rogue security rabbit? Snaztactular Ultrafun make toys with a difference. Every toy is implanted with a robotic chip. When rejects Dan and Arabella escape with rogue security rabbit Flax, they are spotted by Aunty Roz at The Department of Secret Affairs.

The things which make them malfunction as toys make them epic spies.

Escaped robotic mascot Rusty Flumptrunk is bent on revenge. He plans to kidnap the prime minister’s son Sam. Dan and his friends are assigned to the case. They pose as Sam’s toys, and keep guard. Will they be able to remove the threat posed by Rusty Flumptrunk so Sam can lead a normal life?

The world is brilliantly imagined – Powers has really thought about what would be different in a world full of high tech. robots. The humour is well-pitched to both child and adult readers: important at this stage when children read aloud with their parents. The chapters are short, and there is plenty of action to reward newly confident readers.

I love how Dan and his friends must face up to their fears. Dan is certain he will crush any child he comes near. Initially, he is certain he won’t be able to resist hugs, and is afraid to bond with Sam. As the adventure progresses, Dan begins to wonder whether he has more control over his strength than he realises.

Sam’s Dad is too busy to play with him, and he wants Sam to toughen up. The idea about ‘tough’ boys is a great starting point for discussing gender stereotype. Sam demonstrates bravery during the adventure, and would be a great example of a character who shows his emotions despite being brave.


Spy Toys: Out of Control

Out of Control CoverThe toys are back in town. Based at their new address, with several successful missions under their belts, the Spy Toys are faced with an unknown opponent. Someone has stolen information from Dr Potty’s computer. Dr Potty is a computer scientist at Snaztacular Ultrafun. His computer contains the codes for every Snaztacular Ultrafun toy. He’s the God of the robotic world.

Dan and Flax track down Jade Jigsaw – another rogue toy, with a grude against the toy company who made her a reject. Meanwhile, Arabella sets up base in Chloe Potty’s bedroom. It’s a dangerous place for toy. Chloe has a reputation for toy destruction, as John the unicorn’s crumpled horn can attest. Arabella’s task is to examine the computer … if she can get past fashion doll Gemma …

I love how we learn more about the wider world of robotic toys. The trio aren’t the only spy toys, nor are they the only toys to escape the Snaztacular factory. We see how rogue toys have handled their escape into the world differently, and how they cope with rejection by Snaztacular in different ways.

Snaztacular Ultrafun is a seriously CREEPY company. Not dangerous, off-the-bedtime-list creepy. Think Roald Dahl – young readers are blissfully unaware of how creepy Wonka is as he merrily teaches children lessons by pushing them into vats of chocolate and turning them into blueberries. Snaztacular have questionable ethics with regard to artificial intelligence. They are in it for money only. This kept me turning the pages, and I look forward to the third book. I am interested to learn more about this strange factory.

As in book one, the antagonists have wonderful backstory. Powers is great at world and character building, and I love how many possible fates he has thought of for robotic toys.



Here’s your chance to WIN and enjoy both Spy Toys and Spy Toys: Out of Control. To enter, tell me one toy you would like to see with a life of its own, and how this would make it more interesting.


  • Giveaway open to UK and Ireland only
  • Competition is open until Sunday 3rd September
  • Decision of Louise at BookMurmuration is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
  • Winner will need to email their address, or send it via direct mail on Twitter. Details will be given when a winner is chosen.


Best of luck!