Emma Laybourn

Biography

I'm a qualified teacher and librarian who has had seven children's books published in traditional form in the UK and USA. I've also had about 50 short stories published in British and Australian magazines.
In 2012 I set up a child-friendly website, www.megamousebooks.com, to offer free children's stories, ebooks and printable puzzles. It's proving a full-time job, but a very enjoyable one!

Where to find Emma Laybourn online


Where to buy in print


Books

Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights: Abridged
Price: Free! Words: 78,220. Language: English. Published: January 17, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Classics, Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom
This edition of "Wuthering Heights" has been shortened to two-thirds of its original length, and slightly simplified, whilst preserving the book's character. It offers readers with good English a more approachable version of Emily's Bronte's great classic novel.
Chaos at Custard Castle
Price: Free! Words: 8,280. Language: English. Published: December 26, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables, Fiction » Children’s books » Entertainment
Custard Castle has three hundred dusty rooms, and only seven people. One of them is Wizard Watchit – whose spells have a habit of going horribly wrong! Four easy, humorous stories for younger children.
Clone Rangers
Price: $3.49 USD. Words: 41,000. Language: English. Published: December 8, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories, Fiction » Children’s books » Dystopian
Benbow is a police dog who patrols the ruined City, home to gangs of street children and their dogs. When he loses a leg, he thinks his career is over - but his boss has other plans. He has Benbow cloned, and then orders him and the pups to track down three special children hidden in the City... A futuristic adventure for readers of 9 and over.
George Eliot's Daniel Deronda: Abridged
Price: Free! Words: 186,580. Language: English. Published: August 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Classics, Fiction » Literature » Literary
"Daniel Deronda", the last, great novel by the author of "Middlemarch", is less read nowadays than it deserves because of its length and complexity. This abridged version makes George Eliot's important and insightful work more accessible to the general reader.
Doofus, Dog of Doom
Price: Free! Words: 44,460. Language: English. Published: May 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Paranormal, Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories
(4.00)
He's a sad, abandoned puppy from the dogs' home. But Doofus is no ordinary dog, as Clive and Holly soon discover. Can he really be a fearsome dog of ancient legend? And why is their village being invaded by frightening creatures from the past?
A Bundle of Dinosaurs: Three Dinosaur Stories
Price: Free! Words: 5,060. Language: English. Published: February 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals / Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures, Fiction » Children’s books » Readers / Chapter Books
(5.00)
Three dinosaur stories, with full colour illustrations. Meet a terrifying T Rex, and the world's biggest dinosaur! "Earthshaker," "Elly and Aargh!" and "King of the KIllers" are ideal for reading aloud, or for confident readers to enjoy on their own.
Jane Austen's Mansfield Park: Abridged
Price: Free! Words: 105,300. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Classics
This edition of "Mansfield Park" has been shortened to two-thirds of its original length, and slightly simplified, whilst preserving Jane Austen's style. It offers readers with good English a more approachable version of the great classic novel.
Flying Fur
Series: WHEElers, Book 3. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 20,340. Language: English. Published: August 2, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Cars, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
It's fast, it's sleek, it's beautiful - it's the Golden Arrow car, first prize in a competition that Horace is determined to win. But all the other dogs want to win it too; to say nothing of the stunt hamsters, and those sneaky cats... More mayhem with Horace and his friends, in this fast and funny sequel to the free books PETROL PAWS and RACE NIGHT.
Race Night
Series: WHEElers, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 11,490. Language: English. Published: July 5, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Cars, Fiction » Children’s books » Entertainment
What's a car-mad dog to do? The cats have challenged Horace to a race - but he's been banned from driving the family car! So he decides that he'll just have to build his own. What could possibly go wrong? This sequel to PETROL PAWS is full of fun for ages 7 and over.
Petrol Paws
Series: WHEElers, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 12,130. Language: English. Published: April 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Cars, Fiction » Children’s books » Entertainment
Can a dog really learn to drive? Horace is a car-mad hound who longs to get behind the wheel. With the help of two stunt hamsters and a snake, he sets out on the road - and drives straight into trouble! Action-packed fun for ages 7 and over.
Cosmic Camel
Price: Free! Words: 22,760. Language: English. Published: March 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories, Fiction » Children’s books » Animals
(5.00)
Donal's school trip to the zoo turns into an unexpected journey across space. Accompanied only by a lofty camel and a lemming, he finds himself hurtling towards a distant planet, a crowd of little green aliens - and a deadly mission! Thrills and laughs for readers of 8 and over.
I Can't See You
Price: Free! Words: 11,550. Language: English. Published: March 1, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Social Issues / Bullying, Fiction » Children’s books » Family / General
(5.00)
"I can't see you!" said Oliver. "You're not there." All Reece wants is to make friends at his new school. But when Oliver snubs him, he finds a most unusual way to get revenge... A lively and thought-provoking story for ages 9 and over.
Mummy Mania
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 24,230. Language: English. Published: November 26, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories, Fiction » Children’s books » Historical / Ancient Civilizations
Can an Ancient Egyptian mummy really have got up and walked out of the museum? Amber and Jake set out on its trail - and end up on a hair-raising and hilarious chase!
The Ghost of Custard Castle
Price: $1.85 USD. Words: 10,390. Language: English. Published: November 6, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables, Fiction » Children’s books » Entertainment
Six stories about Custard Castle, which has three hundred dusty rooms and only seven people. But it also has a ghost, a skeleton and some unwanted visitors - including a knight with no head, and a Count with worryingly sharp teeth! Excitement and humour for younger readers.
The King of Custard Castle
Price: Free! Words: 5,920. Language: English. Published: November 6, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables, Fiction » Children’s books » Entertainment
Custard Castle has a King, a Queen, a wizard, a dragon under the stairs - and a terrifying Thing in the dungeon! Four gently humorous stories for younger children.
The Trophy Trap
Price: Free! Words: 9,030. Language: English. Published: July 4, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Family / General, Fiction » Children’s books » Entertainment
Abby's never won a trophy before. So why should her brother Liam be the one who gets to keep it? There's only one solution: steal it off him. Her attempts to get the trophy back leave chaos in their wake... and will amuse readers of 8 and over.
Captain Snatchit's Parrot
Price: Free! Words: 6,740. Language: English. Published: June 11, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Pirates, Fiction » Children’s books » Readers / Chapter Books
(5.00)
The parrot Neptune sails the high seas with the pirate Captain Snatchit. Then the pirate ship sinks - and Captain Snatchit decides to take over Parrot Island. With thrills, spills and laughs, it's pirates versus parrots in these three stories about Neptune. Beware of bad pirate language!
Megamouse
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 21,140. Language: English. Published: May 24, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Survival Stories, Fiction » Children’s books » Computers
"It came alive!" Joe can't believe it when his new computer mouse comes to life. He's thrilled - until Megamouse goes exploring, and ends up in terrible danger... A new edition of the book reviewed as: "Very funny" (The Observer) "A rollicking adventure" (The Independent
One Thousand Lollipops
Price: Free! Words: 8,450. Language: English. Published: May 10, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction, Fiction » Children’s books » Family / General
(5.00)
Sam just loves sweet things. So when he wins a thousand giant rainbow lollipops, it's a dream come true. But very soon the dream turns into a disaster... A fast and funny chapter book for readers of 8 and over.

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Emma Laybourn's favorite authors on Smashwords


Smashwords book reviews by Emma Laybourn

  • Animal kennings (poems) on March 31, 2012

    There are some lovely images in these short poems by school-children. They should inspire other children to try writing their own kennings.
  • Breakthrough on April 24, 2012

    This SF/horror story is written with considerable skill and panache. The only reason it doesn't get 5 stars is because the ending was a little too guessable - and too short. I wanted more!
  • The Red Man on May 15, 2012

    I thought I'd just take a quick look at this and then couldn't stop reading. It's intelligently and skilfully written, with some striking images and a rhythm to the prose that hasn't just happened by accident. Well-researched on archaeology too. Oh, and nicely creepy...
  • Barnaby's Shorts (Volume One) on July 27, 2012

    These good-natured, discursive stories are sometimes a little slow to get going, but contain some really inventive ideas. I especially enjoyed "Benny" and "Onwards and Upwards."
  • A Little Orange in the Big Apple on Dec. 31, 2012

    The story of Ali and her family, who move to New York in the 1950's, this thoughtful, carefully-crafted story is very evocative of its time and place. Although its heroine is 7 at the start, the book is better suited to ages 10 and over; it's quite long and leisurely and describes unsettling events as well as happy ones. However, it should be enjoyed by older childen and adults who like realistic family stories.
  • Spoticus on Jan. 04, 2013

    This is a clever, funny book, skilfully written with plenty of excitement and an interesting, well thought-out plot. Because it's fairly complex and has a bit of slightly bad language, I think it's best suited to children over ten. The setting and humour are very British and might at times bemuse readers of other nationalities - but give it a go anyway. Lots of thought-provoking fun.
  • 4 Go to Dumdumland on Feb. 18, 2013

    I really enjoyed this funny, anarchic story, packed with silliness and good jokes. My only reservations are that the use of the present tense might put off some readers; and in one or two places the punctuation appears to have gone walkabout. But overall it was a very entertaining read.
  • Creepy Christmas on Nov. 20, 2013

    I'm really impressed by the way the author gets inside her 10 year old heroine's head. This is a well-written story with some creepy effects worthy of a Dr Who plot, and a suitably heart-warming finale for a Christmas story. I think the book would have been even better if the first 2 or 3 chapters made more use of dialogue and paragraph breaks. The solid blocks of text might deter some children if they're not confident readers; and that would be a shame, as once the story picks up pace it remains absorbing to the end.
  • The Ride to Save King on Jan. 05, 2014

    Well-written and clearly told, this realistic adventure does a good job of conveying the tension of trying to outrun a hurricane. Although the heroine is 14, the book would appeal to readers of 10 and over - and not just horse-lovers. I felt the ending was rather abrupt, but overall a good, engrossing read.
  • 5th Grade Freak-out on Jan. 23, 2014

    If the author was only 10 or 11 when she wrote this, she shows tremendous talent and a strong grasp of narrative language and style. While the book obviously owes a great deal to Enid Blyton's St Clare's and Malory Towers school stories, it's carefully plotted, with lively dialogue, and is fun to read. I hope the author keeps writing!
  • Miserable Myron and the Christmas Dollar on Nov. 27, 2014

    Cynical Myron hates Christmas - until he wakes up one morning to find his well-off home has been transformed, and not for the better. This leads to an equal transformation of his feelings as he learns to care and work for others. There seems to be some erratic formatting in this ebook (the font size on my kindle kept changing), but it's a well-written, carefully plotted and enjoyable story. Sure, it's sentimental - but the right sort of sentiment for Christmas, balanced with enough humour to make it a proper heart-warmer.
  • Theophilus Grim and the Fowl of Ruin on Dec. 11, 2014

    This tongue-in-cheek adventure set in Victorian London is written with verve and aplomb. Its wordy style is appropriate for the setting, though it means the book is best suited to older children (or indeed adults).
  • Speed on Dec. 12, 2015

    This is a very competently written thriller for readers of about 11 upwards. It has plenty of excitement (and doesn't pull its punches) but is also perceptive in its analysis of the 14 year old hero's frame of mind as he finds himself caught up in a web of fear and deceit. A good, pacy read.
  • The Alphabet Game (an Interactive ABC Book for Kids) on April 21, 2016

    This animal alphabet book is based on a really clever idea. It asks children to recognise one letter in an animal's name; then by clicking on it, they are led to a picture of a new animal, where they click on a new letter in its name, and so on. It also works well as a standard alphabet book. The illustrations are bright, colourful and appealing, and the game is easy to play. The animal names are in upper case (which some people might not like) - but children have to learn upper case letters as well as lower case, and this book is an attractive way of helping them to do that. Unfortunately you can't play the interactive game on Smashwords' "online reader" format as links don't work in that format (for any book, I believe, not just this one). However, if you wanted to play the game on a computer screen with your child, the pdf version works very well.