The Wonder Machine

The Wonder Machine
Barry Timms and Laura Brenlla
Little Tiger

Something of a reclusive character, Wolf is an inventor, the world’s greatest so we’re told.

One day she decides to make a machine that will be a world changer and with that in mind she consults a large nameless book wherein she finds these words, ‘The wonder machine! / The wonder machine! / A gadget like nothing that / you’ve ever seen! From mittens to music, / from cushions to cakes, / The thing you most need / is the thing that it makes!’
Her search for the components required to construct such a marvel take her for the first time ever, away from her home and across onto the mainland.

Once there, she encounters, and helps in turn Squirrel,

Owl and a family of foxes. For each kind deed she receives a gift of thanks. First a garden rake, then a fishing reel and finally, a silver spoon: the very items she needs to complete her Wonder Machine.

Back at home she sets to work next morning, toiling all day until her creation is ready. Although from it there comes wonderful music, Wolf doesn’t feel the satisfaction she’d eagerly anticipated. But then as she sits downheartedly

there comes a realisation and a wonderful surprise …

All of which shows that stepping outside your comfort zone, paying it forward and sharing your talent are enormously rewarding.

Barry Timms’ tipping, tapping text flows along nicely sweeping readers along with it, eager to find out everything about Wolf’s invention, while on the way they’ll enjoy her exchanges with the other characters and empathise with her highs and lows as the story builds to its satisfying musical finale. All this is appealingly shown in Laura Brenlla’s rural scenes with their peepholes, flaps and foldouts.

Alice’s Wonderland Tea Party

Alice’s Wonderland Tea Party
Poppy Bishop and Laura Brenlla
Little Tiger

Poppy Bishop and Laura Brenlla present a new take on a classic tale.

Welcome to Alice’s tea party. Unlike that thrown by the Mad Hatter, she wants hers to be just perfect. No unexpected shrinking, growing or any other such craziness, just full of sweet things to eat.

As some of her guests sit at the table in comes White Rabbit announcing he indeed, has “something sweet to eat.” His insistence that clocks, especially those sprinkled with sugar and dipped in tea, will be absolutely yummy is met with scorn by the host.

She’s equally unimpressed with Dodo’s upside down cake

and Cheshire Cat’s vanishing pie and she’s certainly not intending to sample any of the tarts proffered by the Knave of Hearts, especially as the Queen of Hearts is hot on his trail.

Tums are all a-rumble when the Last Cook and Duchess arrive with a large plate of chocolate eclairs with a secret ingredient – uh! oh!

Alice’s “This is the silliest tea party ever” comment is bang on; but then Caterpillar turns up clutching cupcakes – something normal at last, thinks Alice settling to the now TERRIBLY ordinary tea party. But …

All our favourite characters are included, (the Cheshire cat is up to his usual vanishing and re-appearing trick as always) wonderfully portrayed by Laura in zesty vintage style. Every scene is sure to make you laugh, and there are flaps and cutaways to add to the enjoyment.

I’d definitely accept Alice’s invitation inside the front cover; this interactive experience is great fun.