“The language and the rhythm flow along and there is a good mix of onomatopoeic, descriptive and alliterative words, as well as original names which hint at the characters’ personalities.”
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“It is reminiscent of traditional fairy tales”

“My daughter (8yr) really enjoyed this book, as did I. The story is well written and the author’s use of words/rhyme is very clever.”

“I can easily say it is the best book app we have ever seen!”

“The use of colour, graphics and tone of voice all added to the atmosphere to make sure that the reader found the story exciting and wanted to read the whole book to find out the ending.”

“The rhyme draws you in and makes reading quicker and easier.”

“My children aged 9 and 7 were fascinated by this book which has beautiful illustrations and a slightly ‘diffeent’ storyline.”

“I loved the rhyming and illustrations and would be interested in the follow up book from this to see what happens.”

“Definitely a book I would recommend to others and hoping for more of the same from the marvellous Mark Boyde.”

The Edinburgh Reporter

The Witch of the East is the first book from Edinburgh-based author, Mark Boyde, to be published and is part of his saga, The Tales of Mordekai Hagg. The book has been released as an app (available at the Apple Store) and as a printed book. Although The Edinburgh Reporter loves a book, we have to say that this app is outstanding, as you get so many extras, so it seems well worth the small fee. It is also incredibly simple and fun to use.

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The story follows The Witch of the East as she tricks the faeries of Sweetascanbee Castle into going to her house in the scary Ringfinger Forest. As the ‘faery hunt’ starts, the witch summons her friends the sea hags, the blood sucking elves and the Grymdelhack Troll from Crimsonwrath Mountain to hunt the faeries whilst they flitter through the forest.

This fantastic tale has a deep-seated moral message, as do all the other books in the collection. The spelling of the words, particularly ‘faery’, is an ingenious touch and gives the story that Middle Ages old worldly feel of an fairy tale similar to the Brothers Grimm.

The story is dark and a wee bit scary at times, but the wonderful rhymes and inventive character and place names will make this book appeal to children and adults alike. The rhyming is certainly key to the story and enormous praise must go to the author Mark Boyde for managing to perfectly rhyme such tricky imaginative words. The sound effects for the noises and the voice over are excellently done on the app, and you will notice the famous voices of Jimmy Chisolm from Braveheart along with Siobhan Redmond.

The app gives you interesting insights into the creators including the wonderfully original illustrator, Scott McGregor. The App and book both have a firm Scottish connection, and I think this theme will run through the other books, as well as keeping on board well known Scottish actors for voice overs.
One of the best things about buying this app is that a percentage of the price goes to The Scottish Burned Children’s Club, an excellent charity dedicated to young burns survivors across Scotland. It is a charity close to Mark’s heart, and each book in the saga will be dedicated to a different charity.
Definitely worth a look, this is the perfect old fashioned gothic fairy tale with no video games here – just good old fashioned fun.

Buy Books for Boys

There have been numerous articles in the press recently about the growing gap between the reading ages of boys and girls. An All-Party Parliamentary Literacy Group Commission found that some boys find reading “nerdish” therefore do not take as much interest in reading at a young age as girls. The Group now calls for action to be taken in schools, home and communities to get boys reading.

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The National Literacy Trust found that although there had been improvements in boys’ reading since the National Literacy Strategy was introduced in 1998 the gap has started to widen yet again and it seems this isn’t the first time. Last year, 80% of boys reached the expected level in reading at age 11 compared with 88% of girls. In the early years of secondary school the gap widens further, and last year only 59% of boys achieved an A* to C in English GCSE compared to 73% of girls.

The findings also suggest girls are enjoying reading more than boys and that this difference has been intensifying in recent years, but why is this? Why do girls favour reading over boys?

Research suggests it is a mixture of the school system, the home environment and gender identity that can have a negative impact on boys’ reading habits. Boys, internationally have a lower reading age on average than girls. Why? Are books, on the whole, more targeted to girls? Is reading seen as a feminine hobby?
National Literacy Trust research found that boys are less likely to be given books as presents, but we want to change that with The Witch of the East and the Series of books titled; ‘The Tales of Mordekai Hagg’

The books are old fashioned fairy stories, gothic at times but with moral messages and lots of make believe fun. The Tales of Mordekai Hagg are a series of books and book apps for children between the ages of 4 and 11 and we believe these are the perfect mixture of fun to get boys reading again. The clever rhymes will engage the children and make them want to read the book again and again and the narrated apps will subtly help them with their reading without teachers or parents having to correct them. The narration tool on the book app is also particularly good for children with Dyslexia.

So to show your support for this cause follow us on Twitter and use the hashtag #buybooksforboys and why not buy some of our books for boys you know.

Junior Magazine

The thrill of listening to a spooky story at Hallowe’en is one that stays with most of us long beyond childhood, but in many households this year ghost stories are set to become an altogether more modern affair.

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Ogres, goblins and ghouls abound in The Witch Of The East, an interactive storybook app, perfect for children with a taste for the macabre.

Cuddle up with your child on a dark night and listen as the soothing Celtic tones of Scottish actors Jimmy Chisholm and Siobhan Redmond spin a spooky yarn with haunting illustrations that jump to life on an iPad screen.

What’s more, a large percentage from sales of the original book and app go towards SBCC, a charity providing support for young burn survivors across Scotland.

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Raising funds for UK charities
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