Children’s book review: Lego Ninjago Brickmaster

August 11, 2011 Joanne Mallon 2

Lego Ninjago brickmaster I used to wonder if Lego were trying to do slightly too much with the Ninjago range – it's a construction toy, a trading cards game, a toy spinner, a collectible – and now with the release of Ninjago Brickmaster, it's a book as well.

But what do I know – the range has become enormously popular. Last term it was the toy of choice to smuggle in to school for every small boy I know.

The Brickmaster range from DK is a sort of hybrid – half story book, half Lego building project. The left hand side of the book is a cardboard sleeve containing around 130 Lego bricks, designed to make at least five different models. The right hand side is a combination of the sort of Lego instructions you'll know, but with extra text giving facts about the models and a story involving the escapades of Frakjaw, Skeleton of Fire.

UPDATED: A beginner’s guide to the Amazon Kindle

July 30, 2011 Joanne Mallon 15

Lady reading Kindle

 

I've been using my Amazon Kindle for about 10 days now. Here's what I've discovered:

  • Set up and book buying couldn't be easier
    You will be good to go in under a minute. Don't be scared of this device if you're a technophobe because it really is extremely easy to use. You do need an Amazon account to operate, but if you're buying a Kindle then you're probably no stranger to The Big A anyway.
  • You could spend a frickin fortune if you're not careful
    I had assumed that ebooks would be a lot cheaper than the print versions, since the production and delivery costs are so much less, but that's not the case. Many best sellers are a fairly similar price whatever version you choose. Somebody's making a lot of money out of Kindle books, and I suspect it's not the writers.
  • But you'll still be seduced
    It's the instant delivery to Kindle that's so seductive – you can think of a book, buy it with one click and be reading it in under a minute. So if you're in a field and you fancy reading some Rilke – away you go. You can see why it's caught on.

Writer’s woes – writing two books at once

July 4, 2011 Joanne Mallon 5

Typewriter-tea-drawing

So that writing two books business, how's that going Joanne?

Actually, not so great. Have you ever tried to eat two elephants? That's what it's like. Or giving birth to two babies (I don't mean like twins. At least twins have the decency to queue, not both rush the exit at once).

And I didn't help myself at all by being so overwhelmed by the task in hand that that I achieved very little for weeks on end. Writing a book seems so much more permanent, and by implication important, than the online writing I've done.

But that's not even true – many more people have access to work that's published online than will ever pick up a book and read it. But still, it felt like A Bigger Deal than anything I'd done before, so I panicked a bit and hid my head in the sand. For most of May.