Watch out dragons... Here be Aaron!

Aaron Gray and the Dragon War Is now available as a book and ebook.

Aaron is a brat, which is understandable after everything he's been through. He also sees dragons when he hums, which isn't understandable by anyone, ever. He soon gets sucked into the dragons' dangerous war, where his only defences are his embarrassingly magical fingernails, and a fierce, ten-year-old girl.

Available everywhere across the world! Check out goodreads / amazon uk / amazon us / barnes & noble / book depository or your favourite book or ebook retailer.

Friday, 19 July 2019

The Lion King 2019 - Review

Well it's the 19th July 2019, which means the new "live action" version of The Lion King is out at a cinema near you. I was lucky enough to go to the Royal European Premiere last weekend at Leicester Square.

No really. I was, here's a picture of me in the same general area as Harry and Meghan, published by OK magazine (it really was that kind of day)!

I'm obviously a celeb now. But anyway, back to the movie review.

Firstly, they didn't have to remake The Lion King. The original is obviously an absolute classic. Not just one of the best Disney movies of all time, but one of the best films of all time ever in the history of film making. I wouldn't say the new movie is an improvement on the original, but I'm not sure it's trying to be.

What the new movie does is takes an amazing existing story, combines it with new technology, and creates something absolutely stunningly beautiful. You know the story's a good one, it's The Lion King. Now take that story and combine it with something that looks as beautiful as this:

That's not a real lion talking to a real bird! That's an animation! That grass isn't real, the trees aren't real! Every centimetre of scenery is realistic and beautiful and not at all cartoony! I'm using too many exclamation marks! Safe to say this entire film is absolutely awe-inspiringly stunningly beautiful! I remember when Toy Story 1 was released and everyone was like "Wow realistic animation is the future" well this seems bigger. This is the most beautiful animated movie I have ever seen. Go see it at a big screen at the cinema because I guarantee whatever size TV you have at home will not be big enough.

Which leads me to the soundtrack, which is similarly big, beautiful and awe inspiring. Like the story, the music is true to the original. The songs are great and apart from "Be Prepared" are mostly the same lyrics as the old versions (more on Scar and the hyenas later), but the orchestral bits in between feel so much bigger than they did in the original. Beyonce's new song felt a little bit out of place, but if you ever had the anniversary DVD where they forced in "Morning Report" as an extra song, this isn't as bad. 

Now I have "morning report" stuck in my head, so now I'm grumpy let's talk about the bad bits.

Okay so there aren't any real bad bits, but some of the throwaway humour from the original has gone. I'm guessing it's because the animals need to look more realistic, so they can't, for example, have Scar pulling faces like this:

The result is that Scar loses his quick wit and sarcasm, and instead becomes a much darker criminal mastermind. The hyenas are also dark and brooding, and although there are comic elements there, they're definitely more evil than their original counterparts. Generally this is a much more grown up film than the original, although Timon and Pumbaa are hilarious and there are plenty of laugh out loud moments throughout.  I also like what they did with Zazu, who I respect much more in this version than I did in the original.

So I'm now a big fan of both the original and the remake, and I just hope that we all find away that they can live together, in the great circle of life.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Dragon In Space!

See this rocket?

Well that rocket sent this capsule into space:

And that capsule is called...

The SpaceX Dragon V2


This is obviously the coolest name for a spaceship ever. But why? Why is it called Dragon?

Well the capsule is made by a company called SpaceX, owned by a very rich man called Elon Musk. When he made SpaceX, loads of people told him that he couldn't possibly make successful rockets and capsules. They said it was all in his imagination. So he named the capsule "Dragon" after Puff the Magic Dragon, a story about a boy and his imaginary dragon.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

500 Words: One Week to go!

There's slightly less than one week to go until the entries have to be in for Radio 2's 500 words competition!

This exciting competition is for any 5-13-year-olds who just want to tell a story. The judges don't care about spelling or grammar or that kind of stuff. Instead they care about these things:

1) Is the story original and imaginative?

The judges are looking for a story that they've never heard before. They say they want something that's creative, imaginative and fun!

2) Characterisation

The judges want to believe that the characters in your story are real! How do they act? Can the judges see the world through your characters' eyes?

3) Plot

Is the story told in a way that makes you want to read right to the end? What's keeping the reader interested?

4) Language

This isn't spelling or grammar, but about how cleverly you use language to tell your story. You can have fun, play with words, and even make up your own words as long as it's clear what you mean!

5) Enjoyment

Do the judges love your story? Will it make them laugh, cry, or hide under a blanket because they're so scared? All of these are good things! 

How to enter

Just write your story of up to 500 words, and when you think you've got it perfect get a parent to send it to radio 2 via their website. It has to be all done before 7pm on Friday 8th March, and they're really strict and won't read it if you're late.

Loads more information can be found at

I'm off to help my daughter with her entry.