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Minter manages to do it again, blending simple everyday life with the most extreme and incredulous events, all combined to produce another piece of humoristic brilliance.
An unexpectedly good read Although aimed at us with the condition, I'd highly recommend it to anyone who likes their spy thrillers with their tongue firmly in their cheek.
I love James Minter's sense of humour and his choice of characters in this fast London based comedy. Hilarious spy thriller with a serious edge.
June FinniganLight-hearted, gripping, and all for a good cause!!
... vintage Minter in the combination of the catastrophic with the everyday. The humour of the characters and the situations keeps the whole thing frothing.
You don't have to have Haemochromatosis to enjoy this book, it's witty and gives the funny ups and downs to having Hereditary Haemochromatosis.
This is a novel full of humour with a fascinating storyline of romance, spies and totally crazy events.
I love James Minter's sense of humour and his choice of characters in this fast London based comedy. A must buy and for a good cause too! June Finnigan
A great and easy read for anytime reading. Loved the main characters too. If you know Berkshire, UK its even more interesting as a lot of it is based around Maidenhead/Henley. I would recommend this to any friend/family! Finch
Based on the notion that the disease Hemochromotosis can create an overload of iron a suprisingly humerous tale is woven around the main characters with the disease. An enjoyable, funny read. Ann Cody
A light-hearted read and the story certainly highlights awareness of a little known medical condition. I loved the twist at the very end - worthy of a sequel ? Mimble
How refreshing to find a book without sex-- except for the girls who dressed as French waitresses in Anne Summers outfits for Lady Wills' open day. No violence-- apart from someone using his car to try and run down a policeman. No dirt -- barring the times Colin was covered in mud, slime, tilth and slurry. And absolutely no bad language -- absolutely none at all!!! Well done James for a laugh-a-minute tale of woe. Roll on the sequel. Annie
...whatever my reason for buying, I'm so very glad I did. Although it took me a little while to get into it - as another reviewer said, it does feel a little far fetched at the beginning, once I stopped wondering where the plot was going to go and just enjoyed the story, I absolutely loved it. It made me laugh out loud on several occasions and loved the eccentricities of the many characters - so very British and very funny. Will definitely be downloading the sequel.
This is a book from a genre I would not usually choose but it just goes to show that you should always keep an open mind. It is a very British farce based on the genius idea of a farmer, Colin Griggs and his wife Izzy, wanting to diversify and subsequently coming up with the `hole' business. It is far-fetched, obviously, this is a work of farce after all but it is carried off throughout with great ease and enthusiasm. The fully rounded characterisations are solid and stereotypical - just as they should be in this sort of story - you could picture each and every one brilliantly. This is a fun, light hearted book to read or listen to filled with misunderstandings and entertaining situations that involve the whole village, golf club, nearby country house, pub, bank...amongst others and a cast of `mostly' likeable characters. Finally I thought the narration of the book by Pete Nottage was excellent, he has done a very good job and I was really impressed by this presentation of the book. Georgia Rose
The "The Hole Opportunity" by James Minter is a delight, providing a brilliant & hilarious take on the changes to modern farmers' lives and proving that true, well written classic British comedy is still very much alive and thriving. Welly Jen
Books these days are full of sex and violence or horror and gore which has its place, but James has written an excellent book which harps back to the roots of great British humour, fun and silliness. This book won't keep you awake at night with disturbing images but it will leave you with a happy relaxed warm feeling. That's how I like to sleep. I love his characters - Colin Griggs, Izzy, Major Woods, Lady Wills and the rest. I want to know what he has planned for them in the sequel. An excellent read and I'm very happy to say so. J Richard Vessey
The Hole Trilogy follows the lives of the citizens of the small town of Harpsden.
When I started reading this book, Minter’s writing style immediately appealed to me. The text is very well written, accessible, and humorous. Jude Fawley
In A Tunnel is Only a Hole on Its Side, James Minter has constructed a rollicking tale of colorful characters and humorous happenings. Sprinkled liberally with British witticism and flavorful turn of phrase, the prose reads easily and propels the reader into the lives of several neighbors, all of them struggling with news of a planned bypass that will cut through a much used and well-loved golf course. While the prospect of this is quite catastrophic to this gang of eccentric folk, the story that is woven around them and about them is nothing less than uproariously entertaining. JC Wing
This is a beautifully written story about bullies and how a young person can deal with both bullies and bullying. It gives some very simple actions that will help the person being bullied to deal with the problem in a proactive way rather than a reactive way. Alongside the wonderful story there are lots of fabulous full colour illustrations that give that little bit extra to the book and will help engage the younger readers even more. I definitely recommend this book to every parent/ grandparent, not just those who's children are being bullied. Patricia Walker
The four stories in this collection deal with different issues and help young readers learn about different behaviours and values. In Billy Has A Birthday the issue is bullying – how and why it happens. In Billy And Ant Fall Out arrogance and pride and doing the right thing is the theme. In Billy Is Nasty To Ant: how jealousy can arise and its consequences. Then, in the final story, Billy and Ant Lie, deceit and lying is looked at. At the end of each chapter is a short section explaining the theme and what can be learnt from this.
James Minter’s collection is intended to be used by teachers, parents or others needing material to use with children to promote values-based education programmes or curriculum. The stories would, for those purposes, be suitable for reading aloud to a group of children over a number of sessions and then discussed. Stories can be ideal ways to get children thinking and engaged in talking through and understanding the behaviours (and possible consequences of behaviours) and the emotions we all experience. I did feel the stories had a slightly old-fashioned feel to them in places and a couple of incidents possibly not that realistic. But the main purpose of the book is to invite young readers/listeners to explore and understand positive values - by following the adventures of Billy and Ant and experiencing various difficulties with them as the stories unfold and situations are eventually resolved in good ways. Rainbows (Dr Hillary Hawkes)
What a delightful surprise, to come across James Minter’s Billy Books and see such a fine example of life lessons spun into stories. Billy is a likable, fallible child who manages to get himself into all sorts of emotional binds, and then work his way out again. The challenges Billy faces ring true, as do the resolutions – realistic rather than pat, clear but never preachy. There is enough action in these stories to keep 8-11 year olds interested, with ample humor and plain old good writing. While able to read these stories on their own, children will especially benefit from reading with a caring adult or in the context of a small group as each story provides rich fodder for exploring thoughts, feelings and relationships. I have already recommended these books to clients. NH Reader (Dr Dawn Huebner)
This book is one of a series dealing with problems faced by children in their day to day lives. It is based on the principles of Values-based-Education - a splendid initiative for getting moral values across to children. Parents will find that this is an ideal book to read to their children, based as it is, on delivering a message by means of the story itself. Billy is a likeable chap and in this tale is made to deal with the problem of thinking too much of himself. The whole series of books is beautifully produced, and provide an excellent educational tool for parents and teachers alike. Tony Sims
I bought the first Billy Book for my grandson who recently had to start wearing glasses and now seems to be pushed around a lot at school, especially by two boys who are about six months his senior. I want to thank James Minter for writing this particular story. I'm not going to give away the plot, but Billy gets to know what it means to have a grandfather who cares so much about him that he and his 'assistant' Max, perform once more as a team in The Great Magisco, and show a fourteen-year old bully that it's never acceptable behaviour to gang up on younger boys, threatening them.
Then too, I would like to mention that the illustrations, although not elaborate are well-suited to the story. The book is well edited and formatted. We loved the natural dialogue among the various characters, whom we got to know a bit better. Apart from being an excellent read especially for boys for pure entertainment, I recommend this book to parents who may want to encourage their children to cope with bullying. This story also highlights how wonderful it is for children to have a grandparent in their lives. MarethMBotha
This is a charming little book about a just turned ten year old called Billy that sadly falls prey to a teenage bully and tells a tale of how he reacts to being robbed by nasty Eddy. For parents, who will probably be reading it out loud, the message of this book is loud and clear and should be music to the ear - bullying is a serious issue and often children find it hard to deal and this story hopefully will steer kids towards the right path when in crisis.
If James Minter's little story can help your child to understand that their first port of call when trouble comes knocking should be their family, then 'Billy Has A Birthday' has done its's job. Keep up the good work :) Amazon Customer
Nice to read a slightly longer story about bullying, and one that occurs outside of the school gates.
There's a fair amount of back story to Billy, his party and presents to make him feel like a real person. The bullying itself is short but fairly realistic. ... The handling of the bullying is good - victim feels guilty, friends get involved, adults help, and eventually the bully is found out and punished. ...overall its well structured and a reassuring short story about coping with bullying.
A preface for adults puts it in context and there's a friendly afterword for children as well.This would be a good class read for KS2 PSHE lessons. With thanks to the author for the review copy. K. J. Noyes TOP 100 REVIEWER
The story follows Billy, a young boy who turns ten on the tenth October – 10, 10, 10 – a once in a lifetime occasion. Billy’s excitement at his ‘big’ birthday perfectly encapsulates that of a child who is bordering on adolescence – each birthday seems so much more important than the last, and the move from single to double figures is one of the greatest of all. On Billy’s birthday he is over the moon to be given a £20 note by his granddad. No more silly children’s toys, he can finally buy what he wants. At the age of ten this must seem like a huge amount of money – possibly more than Billy has ever owned. The options available to him seem countless. But things take an unpleasant turn when the local bully hears about Billy’s birthday present, and forces him to give it up – or else. Billy, like many other children his ages, agrees to the bully’s demands.
Billy is devastated to have lost his special birthday present, but he attempts to keep the situation a secret from his mum and granddad. He has nothing to be ashamed of but has convinced himself that the adults in his life will be cross if they find out what has happened. Like many bullied children he feels he cannot turn to anyone for help. Fortunately, luck is on Billy’s side, and a little bird finds out about the Bully and tells Billy’s granddad. Together they are able to hatch a plan to get the note back and to ensure the bully gets what’s coming to him!
Billy’s Tenth Birthday is a wonderful example of a story that young children can enjoy reading together with their parents. The book carries Minter’s trademark wit, and is well written and accessible, but it also deals with a serious issue that will affect many children as they grow up. Bullying can be a difficult subject for children to talk about, many may feel frightened or embarrassed if they fall victim to bullying. Minter’s book acts as the perfect icebreaker for adults and children to begin discussing these issues.
The message in Minter’s book is clear – you can’t rid the world of bullies but you can do something about how you deal with them. Jude Fawley