Monthly Archives: March 2012

Welcome to Alien School by Caryl Hart and illustrated by Ed Eaves

Albie is back in another fabulously imaginative story. In ‘Welcome to Alien School’ Albie finds himself being rocketed to outer space for a school day unlike any other day.

This is an enjoyable read making us laugh out loud and wishing we too had paints that made pictures come alive. The real charm of this story for me however is how, like the other Albie books, it provides Bryn with lots of scope of weaving the story into his play.

Albie has crept into our affections, whether out shopping & spotting artic monkeys in the chiller cabinet (a la Supermarket Zoo) or dodging rockets from the firework seeds Bryn planted in his hair (a la How to Grow a Dinosaur) I am looking forward to seeing what elements of Alien School we will find ourselves playing along with next.

I also like the mother who continues to be unaffected by any of the craziness, I aspire for that calmness, she’s a perfect foil for Albie’s run away imagination.

We got the book yesterday and are already onto our 4th read through, I think this will be a firm favourite in our household. After the 3rd read Bryn thought he too would like to go to Alien school and as this his last summer before starting school I can see how this book will be helpful in preparing him for that stage.


Disclosure: We received our copy of ‘Welcome to Alien School’ from the publisher for review. Our opinions are our own.

Edible Books

I decided to enter ‘Playing by the Book’s edible book competition, the idea was to create an edible book based on a children’s book – what a fab idea. I quickly came to the conclusion however that neither my baking or creative skills were up to such a challenge. As I was just about to give up we woke to a fairly sunny Saturday sending Owen out to dig up the garden & Bryn talking about planting seeds, it was just the inspiration I needed.


Our entry is based on ‘Planting a rainbow’, a book I bought for Bryn when he was a baby & one which Freya is currently enjoying flipping though. We bought the book at a time where we didn’t have a garden so I used to enjoy reading it to Bryn while planning one day that we too would plant our own rainbow (so far i have managed yellow daffodils & purple irises). I like the geometric shapes, block colours within the book & it is by far my favourite gardening book.

Once we had decided to make a garden from biscuits we rifled through the cookie cutters, Bryn picked out a holly leaf while I chose a bell to make bluebells. Owen & Bryn got to work on the biscuit dough & once cooked then cooled I was let loose with the icing. After decorating the biscuits I raided our fridge & used cucumber peel for flower stalks and carrots for additional flower heads.

This was a fun competition & a fab excuse to fill our biscuit tin with beautifully brightly coloured biscuits, a great start to spring.


Albert le Blanc by Nick Butterworth

A few weeks ago I took the children out for breakfast, once fed they were content to enveloped in this charming funny tale set in a toy shop.

It’s a story of a new addition to the toy shop, a huge white polar bear whom the others feel need cheering up. There are some wonderfully endearing characters who energetically carry the story forwards, their eagerness to please builds & builds waiting for the final crescendo. It’s a lovely tale showing kind if misguided spirit. The generousity of the story is complimented by the detailed illustrations, including familiar characters from other stories lined up on the toy shelves.

The book made us smile from the start when told to begin at the beginning & then you get to the title page, feeling like we are being let in on the joke. The over exuberance character are wonderfully comical. A truly delightful read.

I have discovered there is another Albert le Blanc book, I am looking forward to tracking it down & seeing what they have been getting up to, it’s bound to be fun.


World Book / Bear Day

As its World Book Day it seemed an apt time to post about a children’s author & illustrator I only recently discovered, Clara Vulliamy.

I came across Clara via twitter just before Christmas & am so pleased I did as not only does she create the most charming books but her tweets are also of the same bright sunny disposition. I should also mention her beautiful blog which has nearly persuaded me to pick up a needle & thread to get crafting.

We are currently enjoying two of Clara’s books, the first is one we picked up from the library a few weeks ago The bear with the sticky paws, won’t go to bed. A story of a young girl refusing to go to sleep, “I’m really really busy” until a bear comes to visit, with a very mischievous grin & suggests an adventure. To begin with the girl is happily joining in all the activities but is slowly worn down until she is asking to go to bed. A great bedtime story providing a big burst of energy just before sleep catches you. I adored the detail in the illustration, with the tiny toy bears, fruity cocktails & ice lolly clock while coveting the little girls pyjamas. It’s a stylish treat with a colour palette which includes the most fabulous turquoise, pinks & orange.

The second book we won alongside a stunning print in a competition on Clara’s blog. In Muffin & the Birthday Surprise we meet another sweet little bear. Muffin gets an invite to a party & takes along a bag of sugar buns (what an ideal gift) although on the way he gets a little peckish. After a fabulous party with games & a small mountain of biscuits it’s time to open the presents & Muffin realises his is a little flat. His ingenious plan to get out of this pickle made me smile. It is a very sweet read aided by such charming illustrations & some patterned pages making me feel like I too was getting a present to open.

Bryn enjoyed the story & the anticipation of what Muffin was going to do about his present. Freya meanwhile, obviously inspired by the pictures of the sweet treats was keen to get her teeth in the book. I think she may enjoy a few of these bunnies to chew on when next time i read the book, I better get sewing.


CAUTION – reading these books may lead to eating sweet treats

Illustrations copyright Clara Vulliamy