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 …’

These women changed the world. They followed their dreams and they used their brains and they made incredible things happen. This book is the perfect inspiration for the next generation of game-changers. And in this age of climate change, our world depends on the children reading this book. They will be the ones to save us all.



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.

 

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.