I chose the book as its one that Freya has at nursery & it has now become a regular bedtime request. She is happy pouring over the pictures picking out the teddy, a cat and a variety of sealife.
It’s a story of a group of children who believe that Pirates live ‘in that house on the corner’
They create a whole mythology around this idea, my favourite being if you looked at the pirate washing you could turn into jelly fish.
When the door to the house finally opens however they are in for a disappointment, but the story ends with a clever little twist. As the children shout ‘nothing EVER happens on our street’ those with keen observation skills may think differently.
I have really enjoyed reading this story, especially the depiction of a group of children happily playing out on the street, stretching their imaginations in a place they are comfortable in. I absolutely love the colour palette & illustrations adding a real joy & vibrancy to the story.
We were lucky enough to be sent a couple of Zoe and Beans books to review.
The first was Zoe and Beans Look at me! – one of a new series of board books.
Zoe & her friend Oscar are playing dressing up. The book is full of completely adorable, gorgeous scenes of two children having fun dressing up, as pirates, robots & more. The last spread is a real delight bringing a huge grin to my face.
Freya loves looking at the illustrations while insisting that Zoe & Oscar are actually Bryn & Freya. I find Zoe a fantastically funny & feisty character, characteristics she shares with Freya.
The next book we looked at was Zoe and Beans Hello Oscar.
In this story Zoe finds a guinea pig at the bottom of her garden, then another, then a tortoise followed by a menagerie of animals till eventually she meets their owner, Oscar.
Bryn’s only complaint was he didn’t want the story to end & I could understand why, having been introduced to Oscar we were keen to find out more about him & his animals.
As with other Zoe and Beans books we loved the illustrations & the humour in the story, the chameleon camaflouging as Zoe’s dress made us smile. Zoe’s independent spirit and her willingness to look after all these animals made this an enjoyable read. We look forward to more adventures from Zoe and Beans. (and hopefully Oscar)
Disclaimer: I received these book from the publisher. I was not asked to write this post, nor was I given any money for doing so, and the review represents my own honest opinion.
Tonight’s bedtimes stories included
Little Mouse by Alison Murray A beautifully illustrated book with ‘little mouse’ keen to show just how unlike a mouse she is. Animal impressions are Freya’s speciality making this a perfect book for her to join in. An engaging and sweet read.
The Bear with Sticky Paws by Clara Vulliamy
A feisty Pearl meets her match when visited by a bear, ‘a small white tufty one’ bringing chaos & mess. A fun read with lots of opportunity for Freya to practice her favourite word ‘no’, ending with hugs & kisses. The best kind of bedtime story.
I had read a number of excellent reviews of this book but was keen to hold a copy in my hand & once I did there was no way I was leaving it on the shelf. (It really is an irresistible book, perfect size, colours, illustration, feel,… the list goes on)
A truly awesome ‘how to guide’ with stylish illustration, humour, the right amount of advice & top tips to set you on your way to create an ‘Awesome Robot’
Bryn was instantly attracted to the book, he was even able to read some of the pages himself which was great to see. The book provided lots of inspiration & he was brimming with ideas of the type of robot he wanted to make.
One of my favourite pages of the book is the ‘workshop rules’ especially the advice ‘it is every engineer’s right to do things badly while working them out!’.
A perfect craft book, in not only providing steps to follow but also helping create the right space and atmosphere for some inspired robot building, as these photos prove.
Freya is a big fan of roaring like a lion so was pleased when I came across the book ‘A Lion in the Meadow’ by Magaret Mahy.
This is such a joyful story, where make believe comes true. It’s a beautiful reminder of the power of stories & as the Lion says ‘some stories are true and some aren’t’.
The pictures are charming and natural, depicting a very cosy home & beautiful countryside for the boy to run around making the picture of the roaring lion & big dragon more fierce in contrast. Both Bryn & Freya really enjoy listening to this story while Freya also likes spotting the characters in the beginning & end papers.
A little boy with big plans, space ships, dung blasters, floating space cows, robots & tasty sounding ‘Choco-goo’ , this book has it all.
The King of Space tells the tale of Rex, ‘Rex might look little, but he has big plans that will take him to the furthest reaches of space.’ With his army of ‘warbots’ Rex is on a mission to become King of Space.
I love the cinematic nature of this book with its rich illustrations & a stunning four page spread. I also loved the character of Rex, his aspiration, determination & his awkwardness around Princess Kooki. The highlight however for me was Rex’s mum saving the day, as my boy is quickly growing up (starting to read & write by himself) it’s nice to have a reminder that Mum’s still here to help.
Bryn tells me he loves this book especially the pictures & his favourite page is when Rex has been given lines as a punishment at school, as usual Rex is not doing as he’s told. After only a few readings he has pretty much memorised the story & is enjoying retelling it to us with his sister taking on the role of a Moog. Now we just need to find some wall space for the glossy ‘warbot’ poster that comes with the book.
Disclosure: We received our copy of ‘King of Space’ from the publisher for review. Our opinions are our own.
Freya has discovered the rhyming joy of the queen of picture books Julia Donaldson & the beautiful illustrations of Axel Scheffler (who she got to hear at the Stratford Literary festival when she was only a few weeks old)
It started with the Gruffalo which she demanded be read to her on a daily basis, both at home & nursery. It was the only book she would let us read for about a month & her favourite character without a doubt was the Gruffalo. Bryn also loved this book when younger & was always ready with the line ‘don’t you know there no such thing as a Gruffalo’. It’s a book we’ve read countless times & I imagine more to come. A classic picture book with a clever little hero & a monster with the right balance of fearsome & cuddly.
Having a number of the Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler books we gradually weaned her off the Gruffalo & now her daily bedtime reads are Zog and Room on the Broom. She easily recognises the illustrative style & likes studying the pictures. Zog is not a favourite of mine, I have never found the story or the rhyming refrain particularly strong. Freya however is a big fan and the highlight seems to be when I bang the page as Zog crashes into a tree.
Room on the Broom is a spectacular hit & is a favourite of the rest of the family too. Having recently been to a few storytelling sessions I was inspired to add a few props to the story which has been a great success (although tracking down all the toys at bedtime can be a tad fraught). She loves making the toy puppy bound across the page & shouting out ‘mines’ when we get to the phrase ‘Buzz of that’s my witch’. This is a lovely simple tale of friendship with the opportunity to shout ‘whoosh’ every couple of pages.
Freya is very fond of picture books with photos or drawings with animals. She is less keen on meeting them in real life, but as her favourites include crocodile and lions that’s no bad thing.
An early favourite was a mini board book of animals illustrated by Eric Carle, the perfect size for her chubby little hands & resilient enough for the occasional chew. She used to like to find the page with the lion then wait expectantly for me to roar.
From about 14 months till now she has been fascinated by the Turn & Learn Baby Animals by Priddy Books she got from her grandparents, it has been a daily morning read. Its a bright colourful board book with charming photos and a wheel on each page to turn to match the animals. Although she has only been able to turn the wheels herself recently up until now she has enjoyed spotting the animals, making the noises & instructing me to turn the wheel.
Recently she’s been showing more of an interest in ‘My Book of Pets’ by Emma Gold Hawk & Illustrated by Carol Tratt. It’s a book I spotted in the public library and was so enamoured of the beautiful illustrations, the huge variety of animals, the textures & sliding tabs I had a buy a copy. I think this type of book with chunky sliders to push are really toddler friendly & allows Freya a chance to enjoy the interactive element of the book and control the movement as opposed to tearing the pages (the fate of a few lift the flap books). She is really enjoying spotting all the different animals and getting the crocodile to snap its jaws. The animals are drawn with a great sense of character & fun and I especially like the drawings at the edges of the pages of the dog wagging its tail, playing with a ball etc all adding to the movement in this book. This book is packed full of charm, character & animals which I suspect will mean it remains a favourite for a while to come.
For the last month Freya has been very keen to have Dragon on your Doorstep read to her it has even replaced ‘Little One’s Bedtime‘ as her bedtime story.
This book is published by Barefoot Books and was included in the BookStart pack Bryn received when he was 2. Both children have really enjoyed this book and it has the quality & diversity that we have come to expect from Barefoot books. (We have accumulated quiet a number over the years)
Freya loves the page where the spider makes its first appearance, we have a break in the story at this point for a rendition of ‘Incey Wincey Spider’ with actions of course. The more we read this book the more interest she shows in the other animals the children encounter providing the perfect excuse to ‘roar like a lion’ and ‘snap like a crocodile’. She is also noticing the children’s expression in the illustrations & enjoying miming to ‘shut the doors’ (slamming doors shut is another of her favourite pastimes). As I did when reading this to Bryn we have fun spotting the animals on the last page which of course leads to another round of ‘Incey Wincey Spider’.
I really like the bold colours & shapes in the books and the other highlight is having a non white character in a picture book.
Finally a series which entertains both Bryn & Freya – Meg and Mog.
I was glad when Freya dragged Meg & Mog (a compendium of 4 stories) out of the book box the other morning as its a series I really like. It also made a nice change from the tactile books she enjoys but which have no story. Meg the witch, her cat Mog and Owl often start the story with something as simple as a trip to the seaside but once Meg casts a spell it leads them down an unexpected path.
The bright bold colours & simple illustrations with stories short enough to match her attention span are key to Freya’s enjoyment. Bryn meanwhile enjoys them for their humour as the spells inevitably go wrong or have unexpected consequences.
A great example of amazing storytelling with few words and unique illustrations about an endearing little family you can’t help but warm to.