Animal Rescue – with app giveaway

21 Mar

PatrickGeorge create clever, bright and fun interactive books. I have raved about their books before and now I have something new to shout about. They have produced their first app – Animal Rescue – and I have a promo code to give away so the lucky winner can download the app for free.


Animal Rescue is based on the book of the same name, released in 2015. The book uses PatrickGeorge’s trademark transparent pages to allow you to interact with the book and become an animal rescue hero. Each page shows an animal that needs rescuing and the transparent sheet allows the reader to turn back time and rescue them. Some are a simple placement, like the bear:



While some use clever design to alter the images:


There are no words in the book, or the new app version, allowing the reader to choose the words that are age appropriate. Animal Rescue is a fantastic introduction to animal welfare and a great springboard for discussion.

The Animal Rescue app uses the same transparent sheet concept but animates the whole process. The pictures come to life and the background sounds make the animals’ environments even more realistic. By swiping your finger across the screen you can turn the transparent sheet and rescue the animal, collecting a cheer and an app sticker as you do so. 

The app even has extra animals to rescue, including one that is particularly close to my heart!

PatrickGeorge have a real talent for strong design and equally strong messages. This app is bold, bright, stylish and smooth to use. It’s a great app for classrooms to use as a discussion starter.

To win a promo code to download the app for free, head over to twitter and retweet the competition tweet.

The app is available now through the App Store. You can get your copy of the book here.

Thanks to PatrickGeorge for providing the promo code for this giveaway.

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

15 Mar

9780008124090

‘Pax was only a kit when his family was killed and he was rescued by ‘his boy’, Peter. Now the country is at war and when his father enlists, Peter has no choice but to move in with his grandfather. Far worse than leaving home is the fact that he has to leave Pax behind. But before Peter spends even one night under his grandfather’s roof he sneaks out into the night, determined to find his beloved friend. This is the story of Peter, Pax, and their journeys back to each other as war rampages throughout the country.’

As is the case with all the best children’s books, Pax is about so much more than a boy and his beloved pet. Pax is about love, trust, the price of war, and the importance of self discovery. Peter’s fear is of becoming like his father; of inheriting his anger and closing himself away. Through his journey he learns to trust in the people he meets and to trust in his self and his ability to become the boy he wants to be. It is a powerful message of tolerance and hope in the face of adversity, beautifully echoed by Pax’s own discovery of his inherent wildness.

Peter’s time in the woods with an isolated and self-destructive ex-soldier highlights the human cost of war. She is a brilliantly created character who resonates long after the last page is turned. Their relationship is beautifully developed and sings of the power of standing against social expectations and following what is in your heart.

Told from both Peter and Pax’s point of view, Pax is deeply layered and filled with echoes and balances. The sections from Pax’s point of view made me look at everything through fresh eyes and were an intelligent, well-researched, sensory adventure. Beautifully illustrated by Jon Klasson – just look at that cover! – Pax truly is a wonderful, wonderful book.

Source – my lovely local library.

the stars at oktober bend by Glenda Millard

14 Mar

Australian author Glenda Millard is highly respected for her work in her home country and deserves to be as well-known and respected in the UK. Old Barn Books are releasing her works to a wider audience and the stars at oktober bend had me wowed.

9781910646151

‘Alice Nightingale writes about how it is to have perfect thoughts that come out in slow, slurred speech. She imagines herself stepping into clear midair with wings made of words and feathers.

Manny James runs at night, trying to escape memories of his past. He sees Alice on the roof of her river-house, looking like a figurehead on a ship sailing through the stars. He has a poem in his pocket and he knows the words by heart. He is sure that the girl has written them.

Alice longs to be everything a fifteen-year-old girl can be. And when she sees the running boy she is anchored to the earth by her desire to see him again.’

Glenda Millard’s writing is beautiful. Evocative and lyrical, the stars at oktober bend explores the healing power of creativity and hope and the importance of family – however it is formed.

Alice and Manny are both survivors. Alice from a violent assault and Manny from war in his home country. Both are learning to live and trust again and to move on from the guilt they feel over the loss of their families. Despite the premise, this book sings of hope. It is in the poems Alice writes, the intricate fishing flies she makes from feathers, and in the way trust develops friendships into family. the stars at oktober bend opens our eyes to the darkness in the world – and feels very relevant in these times of Trump – but it also shines a light. In the words of Alice, ‘if we let cowards stop us living the way we want to, we let them win.’

A special mention, too, for Ruth Grüner’s stunning cover design which manages to echo the book perfectly.

Old Barn Books are releasing a further novel by Glenda Millard. Keep your eyes open for A Small Free Kiss in the Dark this summer.

Source – bought from my lovely local indie bookshop, Bags of Books in Lewes.

Labyrinth -a maze book for the digital age

14 Mar

Labyrinth by Théo Guignard (Wide Eyed Editions) is a large-format, stylish maze book that is packed with things to spot and explore.


Each spread is set in a different world full of sea creatures, dragons, robots, and knights. With a list of things to spot on each spread there is plenty to keep you occupied.



The mazes get progressively harder as you work through the book, until you arrive in a digital world that will have the most proficient of puzzlers retracing their steps and caught in dead-ends.


As with all Wide Eyed books, the design is forefront and this book looks and feels special. Definitely gift-worthy, Labyrinth is a stunner!

You can get your copy here.

Source – kindly sent for review by Wide Eyed Editions.

 

Secrets of Our Earth: A Shine-A-Light adventure

13 Mar

Secrets of Our Earth by Carron Brown and Wesley Robins (Ivy Kids) is part of the innovative Shine-A-Light  non-fiction series. Perfect for Early Years and Key Stage 1 topics, these books make learning a hands-on adventure.


Exploring the planet from the outside in, looking at mountains and rivers, rainforests and cities, children can hold each page up to the light to get a glimpse of what happens behind-the-scenes.



Brilliant fun and full of facts, this is a great book to get young children involved in reading and learning. I can imagine children in dens with torches exploring this book and learning about the world around them. I love how it plays to children’s natural curiosity and interest in hands-on learning. It shows them that there is a whole world out there waiting to be explored and that there’s always something new to be discovered.



The series of Shine-A-Light books includes Secrets of the Seashore, On the Space Station, Secrets of the Rainforest and On the Construction Site, meaning there’s a book for every interest and every school topic.

You can get your copy here.

Source – kindly sent for review by Ivy Press.

Under the Love Umbrella

10 Mar

I love to wave my diversity flag and champion books that are inclusive and celebrate diversity. Under the Love Umbrella by Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys (Scribe) does so beautifully, and I am thrilled to be a part of this blog tour and sing the book’s praises. This book deserves to be in every nursery and early years library.


A diverse range of families celebrate the comfort to be found from familial love. In gentle rhymes, parents tell their children that, no matter what situation they may find themselves in, they will always find comfort ‘under the love umbrella’.

I love the warmth and gentle humour throughout the book.


Reading it feels like a big cosy hug. The celebration of childhood and togetherness is just delicious.


Bright colours and neons play against black in this bright and playful book. The illustrations are beautiful and oh, the joy at seeing them smash so many gender stereotypes! Boys are scared of the dark and carry dolls, dads are primary caregivers – and read bedtime stories, two women are parenting together, children of different colours and genders play together. In fact, every type of family can be found between these pages. Every page has something to celebrate. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. 

Bravo to all involved.

You can get your copy here.

Source – review copy sent by Scribe Publishing

Gender play is Child’s Play

9 Mar

Child’s Play produce beautiful and inclusive books that celebrate diversity and tolerance. It’s their thing and they excel at it. Here are three brilliant examples that I want to share.

Mayday Mouse by Seb Braun


‘When Captain Mouse sets sail on a bright, sunny day with a birthday present for her brother, little does she know the sea-going perils she will have to face! Her cheerful, optimistic nature refuses to be downcast by storms, caves, rocks and shipwrecks. Resourceful and inventive, she’s able to save the day – with just a little help from her friends!’

Yes, you read that correctly… ‘she’! Captain Mouse is a girl. Hurrah! I’m making a big deal out of it, but Seb Braun and Child’s Play don’t at all. Their casual inclusion is their super strength. Because of course a captain can be a girl, and children growing up listening to and reading this story shouldn’t be surprised by that. They haven’t (yet) been trained to see the world through gender stereotyped eyes and, as long as there are books like this around, they will be able to envision an equal future. But for me, this is glorious and I salute it.


A heartwarming story that celebrates optimism, determination, and the power of friendship,  Mayday Mouse is a beautiful read.

You can get your copy here.

My Tail’s Not Tired! by Jana Novotny Hunter and Paula Bowles


‘How can any little monster possibly go to bed when their tail isn’t even tired? And when their knees still have plenty of bounce in them? And when their arms still want to fly like a jet plane? Bedtime is surely a long way off! Luckily, Big Monster has a strategy to outwit Little Monster, with the inevitable result!’

I love the gender-neutrality of this book. Big Monster and Little Monster could represent any big person/small person relationship and therefore opens up the book to be entirely relevant to every child. They can be Little Monster and Big Monster could be whoever is reading the book to them.


The illustrations are gorgeous. Look at the use of the page layout to make Big Monster always slightly outside of the picture, slightly too large to fit on the page. And Little Monster’s wigglyness is just adorable – and certainly reminiscent of a few energetic toddlers I know!

A delightful celebration of carer/child relationships, My Tail’s Not Tired is the perfect book to act out together.

You can get your copy here.

Henry and Boo! by Megan Brewis


‘Henry isn’t happy when an uninvited guest suddenly interrupts his tea break. And he is less than thrilled when the little creature decides to stay – along with its annoying habit. With the unwelcome visitor getting under his feet all day, it’s easy for Henry to miss the signs that a dangerous and hungry bear has been seen in the area. How can he avoid being the next victim?’

With its catchy refrains and speech bubbles, Henry and Boo! is wonderful to read aloud and act out together. And again, Boo is gender-neutral, allowing any child to become Boo – with all the shouting and jumping that entails. It’s also nice to see a male character in a domestic setting.


Its gentle message of tolerance, and humorous illustrations make Henry and Boo! a winner.

You can get your copy here.

Source – kindly sent for review by Child’s Play.

Evie’s Ghost by Helen Peters

8 Mar

Evie’s Ghost by Helen Peters has the feel of a classic. It is engaging and entertaining with a beautifully empowering message regarding equality and respect. I loved it! 

‘Evie couldn’t be angrier with her mother. She’s only gone and got married again and has flown off on honeymoon, sending Evie to stay with a godmother she’s never even met in an old, creaky house in the middle of nowhere. Her phone is broken and it is all monumentally unfair. But on the first night, Evie sees a strange, ghostly figure at the window. Spooked, she flees from the room, feeling oddly disembodied as she does so. Out in the corridor, it’s 1814 and Evie finds herself dressed as a housemaid. She’s certain she’s gone back in time for a reason. A terrible injustice needs to be fixed. But there’s a housekeeper barking orders, a bad-tempered master to avoid, and the chamber pots won’t empty themselves. It’s going to take all Evie’s cunning to fix things in the past so that nothing will break apart in the future…’

What an excellent premise. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by that? Think Tom’s Midnight Garden for the modern age.

Humorous and witty, Peters has aced the voice, brilliantly portraying the frustrations and worries of an early teenaged girl. Evie’s Ghost is filled with brilliant characters to inspire children, including an awesome 1814 Nasty Woman. It describes the chasm between privilege and poverty and the pain and indignities that such inequality causes. Despite the majority of Evie’s Ghost being set in 1814 these lessons are painfully relevant today.

Forced marriage, poverty versus privilege, inequality, the unwanted attentions of men and unjust repercussions on women, and human beings as commodities. When looked at from a Trump-led 2017 it’s easy to wonder if we have progressed that far at all. And that’s why we need books like Evie’s Ghost. Books that are engaging and entertaining but have an underlying message of equality. I’m thankful that children will be able to read this book and make these connections themselves. I hope it changes the way they see their world and inspires them to be the change they want to see. Huge hurrahs to Helen Peters and Nosy Crow.

Out in April, you can pre-order your copy here.

Source – kindly sent for review by Nosy Crow.

Women In Science

8 Mar

It is International Women’s Day 2017 and this gem has just been delivered. 


It is PERFECT. I will let it speak for itself:

‘A gloriously illustrated celebration of trailblazing women. Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, from both the ancient and modern worlds. The book also contains fascinating infographics and an illustrated scientific glossary.’


‘The extraordinary women profiled include well-known figures like the physicist and chemist Marie Curie, as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, the African-American mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists and beyond …’



You can get your copy here.

Source – purchased copy.

The Painting-In Book

28 Feb


The Painting-In Book by Anna Rumsby (Laurence King Publishing) is a thing of beauty. Part activity book, part painting workshop, each page teaches an easy to follow painting technique and provides a picture to complete. Whether it’s mixing and blending colours, finger painting, splatter painting, or experimenting with texture and movement, each picture will inspire children to experiment and be creative.

My 4 year old Chief Book Tester had a wonderful time mixing colours, experimenting with different painting tools and techniques and creating her own masterpieces.


The book has been thoughtfully designed and produced to make it easy to use. I particularly like the oversized (A3) pages, allowing little hands lots of space to experiment. The pages are made from thick paper which is lovely to paint on and can withstand a lot of water and paintbrush action. They are easy to pull out and only printed on one side so masterpieces can be easily dried and displayed.

Stylish, fun and easy to follow, The Painting-In Book is a wonderful way to introduce children to new painting techniques and to encourage them to explore their creativity.

Ideal for 3-7 year olds, you can get your copy here.

Source – kindly sent for review by Laurence King Publishing.