Here are some recent books we’ve had trouble letting go & returning to the library because they are just so much fun;
King Coo by Adam Stower, a highly illustrated short chapter book featuring my new favourite zany bearded heroine, King Coo. With fabulous illustrations this exciting romp was a joy to read & favourite for the whole household.
Inspector Flytrap by Tom Angleberger & Cece Bell had us in stitches with the premise alone. A detective Venus Flytrap scooting around town on a skateboard, pushed by a goat, solving silly crimes! With ingenious illustrations these comic capers were a hit & we cant wait to read more.
The Curious case of the Missing Mammoth by Ellie Hattie & Karl James Mountford.
In this tale we are chasing a baby mammoth around a museum where the exhibits all come to life. There are numerous flaps on each spread full of fascinating facts. The are also jokes aplenty with beautiful detailed illustrations to pour over & luxuriate in. Its a fun informative book & so much less tiring then taking the kids round an actual museum.
The Legend of Rock, paper scissors by Drew Daywalt & Adam Rex is brimming with gags & hilarious fighting talk. An origin story for Rock, Paper & Scissors we get to delight in the absurd pairings they encounter before they finally discover each other & the legendary game is born.
We were lucky enough to get out our colouring pens & pencils again to try out these exquisite new colouring books of cards & envelopes by Rachel Cloyne from Nosy Crow.
These two books feature illustrations inspired by patterns & objects found in the British Museum. One is themed around flowers & patterns and the other around animals & birds.
The intricate patterns are perfectly suited for either big swatches of colour for those who like to fill the page quickly or for more detailed colouring for those who like to fill each individual line area. In my experience the children start slowly & delicately but have a tendency to rush near the end.
We have enjoyed looking at the objects at the back of the book & making plans to track them down at the British Museum next time we visit.
With school nearly over & a number of thank you cards for the children to write to their hardworking patient teachers these book have arrived at the perfect moment!
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.
This is a fun spotting book focusing on birds in a variety of different habitats across the world. Each page is a glorious explosion of colour & shape making it a joy to study while endeavouring to find all the birds.
My experience of bird hides with the children involve unsuccessful attempts at being quiet, an inordinate amount of time getting binoculars into focus followed by 10 seconds of watching & declaring there are only ducks.
No such drama with this book! The pages are awash with birds & while some pages trickier than others, spotting 22 Ibis amongst flamingoes was no mean feat, it has kept us thoroughly entertained.
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.
A couple of favourite Nosy Crow reads this last month have been the fabulously funny Werewolf in my Tent by Pamela Butchart with illustrations by Thomas Flintham & the thrilling Jamie Drake Equation by Christopher Edge.
Werewolf in my Tent is the 6th book featuring Izzy & her friends. While B was already a firm fan of this series it was new to F & me. We read it together over the course of a week with regular cries of “please don’t stop, just one more chapter”, clearly a complete hit.
As camping trips go this was filled with plenty of strange goings on including spooky howling noises, missing sausages, scratch marks & a big poo (you can just imagine the giggles this induced). Izzy & her friends draw their own conclusions leading to plenty of excitement & adventure.
There is lots to enjoy about this book, the fabulous illustrations, the wonderful voices of the children, the great friendships, laugh out loud moments & the simple style of writing making it perfect for confident early readers.
The Jamie Drake Equation is for older readers & was quickly devoured by B (9yrs). I thought this was a great example of science fiction for children & B declared he “liked how the book taught you about space & technology through an emotional story”.
B summarised the story as “a novel about a boy who’s father is an astronaut. His dad goes on a mission to the international space station to launch some space probes but when his mission goes wrong its up to Jamie to save the day”
We both enjoyed this book, I liked how the family drama intermingled with the out of this world adventures. B however was very much taken with the science aspect & was quick to include an equation is his own science fiction story. An inspirational & engaging read.
Thanks to the publishers for providing a review copies.
The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton
This is a fabulous picture book featuring an adventurous feisty heroine, Erin. Erin is determined to discover more about the legend of Black Rock. After sneaking onto her mums fishing boat she soon gets her wish when she comes face to face with Black Rock & uncovers the real truth.
A marvelous ‘modern folk tale’ touching on issues of the environment & the dangers of rumours based on fear.
Play Doh model of Erin made by daughter
During the Easter holiday the children fell in love with paddling in the sea & scouring rock pools for sea life. The Secret of Black Rock proved the perfect end to their own coastal adventures night after night.
Scratch Art Black Rocks
Thanks to the publishers for providing a review copy.
We are very excited to try out these gorgeous high quality activity books from Nosy Crow. They are also proving to be excellent in keeping the children entertained over easter.
With the Press Out & colour books the children loved choosing their favourite birds. Both the birds & eggs are made from nice quality card which meant we could colour from feltips to pencils.
The Press Out & Colour Easter Eggs book has been a useful source for easter activities including bonnet making. I am also looking forward to hiding a few for the Easter Egg hunt on sunday (hoping it will help reduce the amount of chocolate!)
Something else we are looking forward to doing is filling these beautiful gift boxes.
There is more to colour with these boxes and I found them not as robust as the press out eggs or birds book. The patterns however are very beautiful & perfect for spring.
I may fill a few uncoloured boxes with some small crayons as the ideal activity when we are out & about.
Thanks to the publishers for providing these review copies.
Daughters reading is going from strength to strength. This is the longest book she has read to me in one sitting, from the magic of friendship comes the magic of reading.
One of my favourite times of the year is early December when the Christmas books come out of the loft. A couple of fabulous additions to the pile this year include, The Princess and the Christmas Rescue by Caryl Hart & Sarah Warburton and The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig & Chris Mould.
This gorgeous rhyming picture book was an instant hit, not only because of the fabulous illustrations, the fun rhymes,the charming story featuring festive favourites; Santa, Elves, Reindeer & the important decorative ribbon but mainly because of the main character Princess Eliza. The princess is an intelligent and kind inventor who’s wonderful creations help save the day. Reading this with Freya, an aspiring inventor, was a joy. The only downside was the last minute addition of a workshop to Freya’s christmas list.
The Girl Who Saved Christmas is from the duo who created one of my top books of 2015, A Boy Called Christmas. It was great to see some familiar characters again but also meet a host of new favourites including the heroine Amelia. Set during the victorian era this is another exciting tale full of christmas spirit, hope & warmth. The story begins with trouble brewing in both London & Elfhelm but when nearly all hope is lost the magic of Christmas is rediscovered through courage & honesty. Sharing these books is fast becoming a new christmas tradition in our house & the perfect illustrations are now the only way I picture chrismas.
We are so pleased to see Hilda back in a new adventure, Hilda and The Stone Forest. The Hilda graphic novel series is a firm favourite amongst the young & old in this house. We’ve enjoyed her adventures in the country & her move to the city, meeting a host of fantastical creatures along the way. In even more exciting news Hilda will soon be on screen with an upcoming cartoon series for Netflix.
Of all the Hilda books I am especially fond of this one because Hilda’s mother gets to be part of the adventure. Both mother & daughter (& not forgetting Hilda’s faithful pet Twig) demonstrate courage & determination when they find themselves lost in the land of trolls. After a narrow escape they find their way home. However the story ends on a huge cliffhanger leaving us desperately waiting for the next Hilda instalment.
With the help of the fabulous Hilda toy, we created our own Hilda fan-fiction to help pass the time while we wait for the next book.
Thanks to the publisher, Flying Eye Books, for the review copy.
Libraries and librarians in picture books
Do not bring your Dragon to the library by Julie Gassman & Andy Elkerton.
Many reasons why poor dragons aren’t suited to libraries.