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Texts From Dad: The Coronavirus Chronicles by Peter Barber – Blog Tour Book Review

About the Book

Hilarious account detailing 57 days of Coronavirus lockdown by ways of daily texts to his daughter that ended up going viral.

Bringing a smile by taking a different view. Introducing humour and leading the reader through a slow realisation that we have all been affected in the funniest ways if only we would stop to think about it.

After the first page a smile will creep across your face, by page two you will be hooked.

Written by a technophobic old fart that has trouble programming a dishwasher who was pushed into writing a blog using modern technology during forced isolation. Funny or insane? You decide.
Laugh at him, or with him. Either way, you will probably end up laughing at yourself too.

About the Author

Peter is a Carnivore with vegetarian tendencies (sometimes meat needs a garnish). BBQ enthusiast, father to a wayward daughter, husband to a fiery Greek philosopher and muse. Owner of two unfit overweight dogs, part time writer and full-time couch potato.

What I Thought

First things first the title and cover are slight misnomers. Rather than actual text messages these 57 entries are more like blog posts (or at least they are very long texts hence the author’s complaints of tired thumbs!). They detail musings on the first days of lockdown from Boris’ Blunders to The Tribulations of Trump, each accompanied by a pencil sketch which I assume the author drew. Nb. It was his daughter Charly – see her comment below.

We Now Fart to Hide a Cough

Thankfully the author shares similar views to me on Brexit and how the government has handled the pandemic response otherwise I think I would have struggled to connect with this. There were a couple of comments re China that maybe could be considered non PC but on the whole I got and understood the humour.

There are even a few more serious moments/reflections touched on but due to the end date this didn’t reach the BLM movement and instead has more hopeful references to seeing a reduction in racism etc at the start of lockdown.

I was a little surprised that there was no mention of the weekly clap for keyworkers as that was such a striking part of my own experience but this is one person’s account and a generally lighthearted one at that.

I do wish that more careful editing had taken place to transition from the ‘text’/blog format to the finished book.

This account will definitely kick start reminiscences now and in future. It takes us from 24th March to 18th May so does focus mainly on the early stages of lockdown and the humour to be found in that situation. And there is a lot of humour in it. Very British humour at that – including a fart joke or two. I did find myself chuckling along but then I do enjoy a dad joke and a pun.

I was gifted a copy for the purposes of an honest review.

I Swapped My Brother on the Internet by Jo Simmons – Blog Tour Book Review


‘I can get a new brother? On the internet?’ Jonny muttered. ‘Oh sweet mangoes of heaven!’

Everyone has dreamed of being able to get rid of their brother or sister at one time or another – but for Jonny, the dream is about to become a reality with! What could be better than someone awesome to replace Ted, Jonny’s obnoxious older brother.

But finding the perfect brother isn’t easy, as Jonny discovers when Sibling Swap sends him a line of increasingly bizarre replacements: first a merboy, then a brother raised by meerkats, and then the ghost of Henry the Eighth! What’s coming next?! Suddenly old Ted isn’t looking so bad. But can Jonny ever get him back?

About the author

Jo Simmons began her working life as a journalist. Her first fiction series for children, Pip Street, was inspired by her own kids’ love of funny fiction, and two Super Loud Sambooks followed. In addition to children’s fiction, she co-wrote a humorous parenting book, Can I Give Them Back Now?: The Aargh To Zzzzzz Of Parenting, published by Square Peg. Jo lives in Brighton with her husband, two boys and a scruffy formerly Romanian street dog. I Swapped My Brother on the Internet is her first book for Bloomsbury.


About the Illustrator

Nathan Reed has been a professional illustrator since graduating from Falmouth College of Arts in 2000. He has illustrated Christopher Edge’s How to Write Your Best Story Ever and the Elen Caldecott’s Marsh Road Mysteries Series. His most recent picture book is Samson the Mighty Flea by Angela McAllister. He was shortlisted for the Serco Prize for Illustration in 2014. When he’s not illustrating he can be found with his two boys and a football on Peckham Rye Common.



What I thought

From the phrase Oh sweet mangoes of heaven, to this sentence in praise of naps, I knew I was going to love this fun and charming book.

Of course I love and adore my sister and never once wanted to swap her!!! Um… whilst that is true now when we were younger we fought so much that I’m sure both of us may have been tempted to try the service offered by Sibling Swap. Johnny and his brother Ted have just had a fight when he spots their advert and he fills out the form not really thinking about the consequences. What follows is a series of swaps with siblings that aren’t quite what he’d bargained for. I think my favourite was the ghost of Henry the Eighth and adults will love the little history nods in that section. And if you are a fan of 80s film Splash you’ll love Mervyn the Merboy.

Kids are going to love the silliness, burping, adventure but mostly… The Hanging Pants of Doom!!!

The story was naturally far fetched – especially the Mum’s reaction to her missing older son- but it made me smile a lot and comes to the inevitable realisation that perhaps our siblings aren’t altogether bad after all.

Definitely one to read out loud at bedtime with the whole family enjoying. (Note – parents may wish to study Meerkat noises before reading).

Now – which one is Fred and which is George again?

Thanks to Faye Rogers and Scholastic for the copy of the book for the purposes of this honest review.

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