Beautiful Board Books from Nosy Crow

27 Feb

Bright, beautiful, innovative and durable. Nosy Crow have aced it again with their latest board books. Forget about ripped and creased flaps, these editions are designed to be enjoyed by little bookworms over and over again. 

Where’s Mr Lion and its sister book Where’s Mrs Ladybird by Ingela Arrhenius are gorgeous new board books with bright felt flaps. Using felt rather than card makes the flaps easier for little fingers to handle and much more durable.

With a new animal to discover on each page and bold bright illustrations, this is the perfect series for very young children who are beginning to learn about the world. The last page has a mirror behind the felt flap, bringing the book to life for babies. 

You can get your copy here.

The latest addition to the ‘Can You…?’ series, Cheep! Cheep! by Sebastien Braun, has recessed flaps to make it easier for little fingers and ensure sturdiness. 

With lots of animals to discover and noises to make and a surprise double flap on the last spread, this is sure to delight the youngest of book explorers. 

You can get your copy of Cheep! Cheep! here.


For slightly older readers, Littleland: All Year Round by Marion Billet combines the durability of a board book with a spotting book format to meet the increasing curiosity and expanding vocabularies of toddlers. 

Loosely following the months of the year, the book follows the little ones through the seasons as they visit familiar locations such as the farm, nursery and the park. 


With lots to spot, find and match and talking prompts on each spread, the Littleland books encourage young children to engage with the book and supports their learning and development. Also look out for Littleland: Around the World. 


You can get your Littleland copy here.


Flip Flap Dogs by Nikki Dyson is a joy to share with pre-schoolers. Split pages invite you to create your own crazy canine combos. Younger children will love flipping through the book and giggling at their creations, while the funny rhymes will appeal to slightly older children. 


Ring binding and sturdy card pages give the book enough strength to withstand a nursery book corner and the accompanying app gives the book an additional level of fun.
You can get your copy here

Source – kindly sent for review by Nosy Crow

Let’s Find Fred by Steven Lenton – giveaway

23 Feb


I’ve been a fan of Steven Lenton’s work since I first came across his illustrations for the Shifty McGifty books. I love that there’s always so much going on in his illustrations, and the way he uses soft lines to create a pastel texture look that makes his art look so strokeable. It’s a beautiful combination.

I certainly want to stroke the eponymous Fred – but I’ll have to find him first! Fred the panda has decided that having an adventure is much more exciting than bedtime and he’s disappeared over the wall of Garden City Zoo. Stanley the zookeeper is in full chase mode, but Fred is a master of disguise.

As we follow Fred on his adventure, each spread has lots to look at and tons of humour. As well as spotting Fred among all the panda red herrings, and Stanley in hot pursuit, there’s a white butterfly on each page, some wonderful panda-fied references to popular culture, plus a few cameo appearances to discover. The 4 year old I shared this book with had great fun spotting all the ‘nearly-panda’s and laughing at my inability to tell a panda from a ghost.


Let’s Find Fred also boasts a brilliant interactive cover – which we had riotous fun with – and a wonderful pull out party page. Apart from all the giggles we had while sharing this book together, the thing that made me smile the most was Steven’s beautifully diverse characters. Bravo for that, Steven!

You can win your own copy of Let’s Find Fred by following Fred over to Twitter here.

Thanks to Steven and Scholastic for inviting me to take part in this blog tour – and for a fun afternoon of giggles with this book. It’s so perfect for cheeky pre-schoolers that my review copy has been pilfered by my young helper and proudly taken in to her nursery to be shared with all her friends.

Steven Lenton is a highly-acclaimed artist whose bestselling titles include the Shifty McGifty series by Tracey Corderoy and The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce. Steven has also worked as an animation director in children’s television. Originally from Congleton in Cheshire, Steven now splits his time between Bath and London where he works from his studios with his little dog, Holly.
http://www.2dscrumptious.com @2dscrumptious

Source – kindly sent for review by Scholastic, who invited me to take part in this blog tour.

 

Little People, Big Dreams

25 Jan

Now more than ever we need to empower our girls and young women. We need to show them examples of women who have made a difference, who have stormed their way through glass ceilings. Because these women are so often erased from history, we need to work twice as hard to highlight their achievements. And that is why books like the Little People, Big Dreams series (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books) are so important. 


These books feature trailblazing women as children, showing that no matter who you are or where you start in life, you can fulfil your dreams and achieve great things. 


They are brilliantly accessible and inspiring and the perfect way to start armouring the future generation of Nasty Women. I love the way they celebrate difference and show children that your uniqueness is your strength.


Each book includes a fact section and a list of further reading. I particularly like the inclusion of photographs of the women as children, to really show readers where these women came from and how they grew up to be such fantastic, inspirational women. 


These beautiful books really do deserve a place in every school library and classroom. They would work brilliantly with Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World by Kate Pankhurst (Bloomsbury)

You can get your copies here. And keep your eyes open for two new titles coming soon. 

Source – kindly sent for review by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books. 

The Book of Beasts – Colour and Discover

6 Dec

The Book of Beasts is part colouring book, part non-fiction book and completely stunning.


Split into four sections- Earth, Wind, Water and Fire – the book covers a diverse range of mythical monsters. ‘From gryphons and dragons to wicked werewolves and snake-haired Gorgons, there are over 90 creatures to discover.’

Angela Rizza’s illustrations are detailed enough to keep the most proficient of artists busy whilst also allowing larger areas for slightly younger children to colour. What makes this book really stand out is the brilliant balance of colouring and fact-finding. Children can colour the creatures then turn the page to read the legends behind them. It has really caught the imagination of my seven year old.


The Book of Beasts is beautifully designed. I love the large size, the paper quality, and the gold on the cover. It is certainly special enough to make a beautiful gift – and would make a great companion to a certain JK Rowling book that is sought after this Christmas. (Yes, there’s a hippogriff).

Not just for kids – I can’t wait to get the gel pens out and get stuck in to this page:


Source – kindly sent for review by the publisher, Buster Books.

There May be a Castle – Piers Torday

6 Dec

This is a beautiful book for snuggling up with on a wintery day. A wonderful celebration of the power of imagination and storytelling, There May be a Castle by Piers Torday is warm and funny and has the feel of an old friend and a future classic.


‘Eleven-year-old Mouse is travelling to see his grandparents on Christmas Eve with his mother and two sisters. But it’s snowing, and visibility is bad, and the car goes off the road, and crashes. Mouse is thrown from the car. When he wakes, he’s not in his world any more. He meets a sheep named Bar, who can only say Baaa, and a sarcastic horse named Nonky, who is a surprising mix of his beloved toy horse and his older sister.

So begins a quest to find a castle in a world of wonder – a world of monsters, minstrels, dangerous knights and mysterious wizards; a world of terrifying danger but also more excitement than Mouse has ever known. But why are they looking for a castle? As the cold grows, we realise it might just have something to do with the family he’s left behind; and that Mouse’s quest is more important than ever.’

I particularly enjoyed the mix of humour and nods to the crazy political world we live in where education has become all about endless testing and form-filling. I also want to raise a glass to the design – it’s just beautiful. Bravo to Rob Biddulph and Nicola Theobald.

One word of warning; there is a small section near the beginning of the book that mentions the non-existence of a certain festive someone. Possibly not the best book to give to a newly-doubting child. But, saying that, probably a helpful book for those newly-knowing.

This is a book I will pull out again and again at this time of year and I fully expect it to become a firm favourite in many homes.

Source – kindly sent for review by the publisher, Quercus Children’s Books

Books for a Future

12 Nov


We are all reeling from the American election results and the impact a Trump-led leadership is already having on tolerance, equality and justice. And all that on top of our own Brexit backlash! This shift to a right wing leadership is going to have a huge impact on the most vulnerable in our communities and will leave a lasting legacy for our children to fix. 

So what can we do? We can stand together and stand up to bigotry and hate. Now is the time for solidarity, kindness and inclusion. It’s more important than ever to teach the children in our lives to stand up for what they believe in and to look out for others. My social media has been full of positivity and plans for action. It’s one of the things I love most about social media – when the shit hits, there’s always an uprising of hope. 

So here’s what I’m going to do, and I’d love for you to join me…

*Goes full Whitney* I believe the children are our future. And I believe that books can change the world. So I’m going to bring the two together by gifting an empowering, inclusive book to my local school every month, as well as highlighting the best of the bunch on here. 

Books teach children about the world they live in, and in turn about tolerance, appreciating diversity and supporting others. I want to arm children with these qualities. They are going to need them!

This is something everyone can do to make a difference. We all have children in our lives, whether in our families, in our social groups or in our communities. Sharing empowering books with them could make all the difference. And it doesn’t have to cost money. You could donate your time and talk to these kids about books and the world, or share the book recommendations with parents and teachers you know to help get these books to the kids. 


The first book I’m going to give is Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World by Kate Pankhurst (Bloomsbury). It seems very apt! I love this book more than I can say. It’s a hugely empowering, fun and fact-filled picture book about women who changed the world across very different fields, including Coco Chanel, Frida Kahlo, Marie Curie, Mary Anning, Mary Seacole, Amelia Earhart, Agent Fifi, Sacagawa, Emmeline Pankhurst, Rosa Parks, and Anne Frank. I want to push this book into the hands of every girl and tell them it will be okay. That they can do it. That we believe in them and that we’ve got their backs. 


Want to join me? Perhaps you could gift a book to your local school, library or community group? Or to a child in your life? Perhaps you could give your time to read with a child at a local school. Have a look at Beanstalk and see if they work with schools in your area. Because reading unlocks the future. 

Sadly this awesome book is out of stock pretty much everywhere at the moment – that’s how good it is! – but more stock is coming and there are tons of fantastically inclusive and inspirational books out there. Perhaps you could gift one of these:

If you are concerned about right wing views on refugees and migration you could gift The Journey. If you fear for the freedom of the press and the impact of a biased media you could give Girl with a White Dog. If you want to empower young women you could give What’s a Girl Gotta Do? If you want to support inclusion try any of The Great Big Book… series. For LGBT awareness you could gift Made By Raffi. Or have a look at Letterbox Library for inspiration. 

I’ll be using #booksforafuture to share the book giving and highlight other awesome world-changing and empowering books that our children deserve in their lives. Come and join me. What books would you add to the list? 

A writer begins – book recs and kidlit advice please!

8 Nov

Right you lovely lot, I need some reading recommendations. My lovely friend @timesforrhymes is embarking on his children’s book writing journey. Mr Tree is a lovely, smiley, brightside person who believes in the power of books and words and reading, of imagination and children and change… He’s going to fit right in! 

Naturally my first response upon hearing his news was to throw loads of books at him ‘for inspiration’! I love sharing my favourites and he has been a captive audience. But now, as he ponders with pen in hand, he has come across the questions we all ask ourselves – as readers, writers, reviewers, publishers, teachers, and librarians – Where do I fit? Where do these words belong? Who is my audience? What is a ‘children’s’ book anyway? 

He has written a post about it here, asking for advice and for people to share their hurdles and how they overcame them. (Please do pop over and join in) It’s made me really sit back and think about my own writing journey. About all the incredible books I’ve read in the last few years, of how we really are living in a golden age of children’s literature and how lucky we are to be able to immerse ourselves in such inspirational and top quality works that move boundaries and push against conventions of age and genre. I want to share All The Books with Mr Tree, but as he starts his new venture and tries to find his place I want to share the books that will help him to do so. He is a poet, a word bouncer, a rhyme and rhythm kind of guy. So far I have shared some Caryl Hart, some A.F. Harold, some Rabbit’s Bad Habits and Wigglesbottom Primary. Next on the list are the wonderfully word bouncy works of Elli Woollard, Sarah Crossan and Katherine Rundell. Then Nuts In Space and Nibbles the Book Monster, combined with a splash of Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve. And this is where you come in… 

I’m looking for books that cross genres, break conventions, use awesome rhymes and rhythms and play with words and language. What would you recommend? What can you share with a fellow booky – or a booky fellow -? Let us know in the comments here or on Mr Tree’s blog here. And maybe pop over to twitter and join him on his journey @timesforrhymes

Albie is back! And it’s AWESOME!

7 Oct

9781471144783

The Albie books by Caryl Hart and Ed Eaves hold a special place in my heart. My daughter has grown up with them as firm favourites and even now, as she embraces full length chapter books and reading to herself, she regularly returns to Albie’s adventures. Her face lit up when this one dropped through the letterbox. A sure sign of a winning format!

I love the Albie books because of their celebration of childhood and imagination, and for their brilliantly casual inclusion. I’ve raved before about how Caryl Hart and Ed Eaves do this and how much I love them for doing so. Because it is an important thing. They make these books so much fun for kids but at the same time they think responsibly about how they present Albie’s world to them. That makes them superheroes in my eyes.

This latest adventure sees Albie turning into a superhero in order to tidy his room in time for ice cream. How to Save a Superhero has all the qualities you expect from a superhero adventure – the villain, mild peril, the trap, the rescue and the okay-i’ll-be-good resolution. It is fast-paced, action-filled and super fun. But guess what? There are different shades of skin colour here! And the villain is female. And there’s a girl superhero. And at one point the girl rescues the boy! 


All brilliant things that make me super happy. But, once again, the children enjoying this book won’t actively notice any of those things. Because THIS BOOK IS SO AWESOME and they will be far too busy dressing up as superheroes and desperately scrawling ‘I want a Flying Game Grabber and a Snooze Ray’ onto their wish lists. As it should be.

Bravo, Caryl! Bravo, Ed! High fives all round.

You can grab your copy here.

Source – kindly sent for review by Simon and Schuster.

The Bone Sparrow – A Refugee Story

7 Oct

9781510101548

Some books are important and teach you about the world and your place in it. Some books are beautiful and inspirational and leave you a changed person. This book is both. It will open your eyes, it will open your mind, and it will open your heart. This is a VERY powerful book.

Subhi is a refugee. Born in an immigration detention centre after his mother fled the violence of a distant homeland, life behind the fences is all he has ever known. But the world of his imagination is far bigger than that. The night sea brings him gifts, the faraway whales sing to him, and the birds tell their stories. The most vivid story of all is in the form of Jimmie, a scruffy, impatient girl who appears one night from the other side of the wires. Subhi and Jimmie might both find a way to freedom, as their tales unfold – but not until each of them has been braver than ever before.

This is a story about hope. It is about looking forward and standing strong for what you believe in. It is the power of storytelling and the importance of friendship. It sings when it could be crying. This is a book of truth, a book that doesn’t hide from the hardships and cruelties facing refugees but chooses to celebrate creativity and love and the strength of human kindness. Zana Fraillon has balanced it beautifully.

This is a book that shows you a world that needs changing and gives you the hope and strength to change it.

Orion Children’s Books are working in partnership with Book Aid International, and for every copy of The Bone Sparrow bought, they will donate a book to a refugee camp library.

You can get your copy here.

Source – kindly sent for review by the publisher.

The Beginning Woods

7 Oct

9781782690900

Oh this book! This book, this book. I almost want to leave the review there. Because how to tell you about this book?

The Beginning Woods by Malcolm McNeill (Pushkin Children’s Books)

The Vanishings started without warning. People disappearing into thin air – just piles of clothes left behind. Each day, thousands gone without a trace. Max was abandoned in a bookshop and grows up haunted by memories of his parents. Only he can solve the mystery of the Vanishings. To find the answers, Max must leave this world and enter the Beginning Woods.

This is a book that is deep and rich and layered. It explores that messy grey area where science and imagination collide and overlap. It looks at what it means to be human, what it means to live. The power of creativity and storytelling is here. The divisive fear of Other is here. It is a book that is far bigger than it appears to be, with whisperings of the past and the feel of an instant classic. It is beautiful. I wanted to both devour it and savour each word.

Did I mention it is Malcolm McNeill’s debut?

Zoe at Playingbythebook has written a wonderful interview with him here.

You can grab your copy of The Beginning Woods here.

Source – purchased copy.