OH NO, GEORGE! – Chris Haughton

oh no, george!5/5

RELEASED: 01/03/2012
PUBLISHER: Walker
GENRE: Picture Book

It’s hard work being good all the time. And it’s especially hard for a dog like George! Harris is off to do some shopping. “Will you be good, George?” he asks. George hopes he can. He really wants to … but chocolate cake is just so very delicious and he does love to chase cat… What will George do now? Chris Haughton’s distinctive artwork perfectly accompanies the innocent charm of affable George, a dog trying to be good – with hilarious results!

Oh No, George, like all of Chris Haughton’s books, is full of humour and bold illustrations, with an adorable dog as the our main character. It’s impossible not to love George with his good intentions. But sometimes eating that cake or chasing that cat can prove just too much, and no matter how hard George tries he just can’t help himself!

This book is such a brilliant story to help children learn the difference between right and wrong and about making good choices. Although George doesn’t always get it right, we see how he learns about how doing the wrong thing makes Harris sad or cross so he tries very hard to make amends for his behaviour when he meets all those temptations again! The book ends on a decision for George which leaves it open to either scenario and it’s quite fun to wonder which choice George makes.

I have had the pleasure of meeting George, and I must say that he was behaving very well in the Waterstones tent considering how many wonderful books and snacks hanging about. He did very well to resist the temptation!


Thank you to Jo at Walker for sending me a copy of this book.
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THE BOOKSHOP GIRL – Sylvia Bishop, Ashley King

the bookshop girl5/5

RELEASED: 06/04/2017
PUBLISHER: Scholastic
GENRE: Young Reader, Middle Grade, Mystery

This story is about a little girl named Property Jones, so-called because she was left in the lost property cupboard of a bookshop when she was five years old. Property loves living in the bookshop, but she has a whopper of a secret … she can’t actually read! So Property doesn’t see the newspaper article announcing the chance to win the Montgomery Book Emporium, the biggest and most magnificent bookshop in the world! When her family win the competition, Property finds herself moving to the Emporium, a magical place filled with floor upon floor of books and a very bad-tempered cat. But all is not at it seems at the Emporium and soon Property Jones finds herself in a whole heap of trouble.

I would happily be abandoned in a cupboard if it meant that I could live in a bookshop, just like Property Jones.

From the fantastic duo Sylvia Bishop and Ashley King (Erica’s Elephant…one of the best books of 2016) comes a brilliant new story full of mystery, fun and, most importantly, books! We meet Property and her family as they leave their little bookshop after winning Montgomery’s Book Emporium, an incredible bookshop full of wonder, but all is not as it seems and soon they encounter a dastardly villain with a cunning plan! It’s up to Property and Gunther the Cat to save the day…but will they be in time?!

Again, Sylvia has created a heroine who you immediately love with a story that captures the imagination from the word go. Her writing style really is engaging and helps the plot to move along at the perfect pace. Coupled with Ashley’s illustrations which capture the characters, story and magic of the Montgomery Book Emporium perfectly (check out page 73…BEST. ANGRY. FISH. EVER.), this really is a story for all ages to love!

 

SHH! WE HAVE A PLAN – Chris Haughton

shh we have a plan5/5

RELEASED: 06/03/2014
PUBLISHER: Walker
GENRE: Picture Book

The winner of the 2014 Association of Illustrators’ Award for Children’s Books, Shh! is the covetable new picture book from Chris Haughton, one of the most exciting new voices in children’s literature. From Chris Haughton, the multi award-winning author-illustrator of A Bit Lost and Oh No, George!, comes a picture book about a beautiful bird, four friends and plans gone wrong… The friends are out for a walk. Suddenly, they spot it – a beautiful bird perched high in a tree! They simply must have it and – shh!- they have a plan. So they tip-toe very slowly, nets poised – “Ready one … ready two … ready three … GO!” But, at the turn of the page, we find a ridiculous bunch of very tangled characters and a blissfully oblivious bird, flying away. One hilarious foiled plan after another and it’s clear that this goofy gang cannot catch that elusive birdie! But the littlest of this group, a quiet spectator up until now, knows that a bit of kindness can go a long way… Will his friends follow his gentle lead or will they get themselves into even more trouble?

Such a simple concept, and yet it is absolutely perfect! This book makes me so happy and is so much fun to read aloud; it’s very repetitive, full of expression and is beautifully illustrated (like all of Chris Haughton’s books let’s be honest!).

Shh! We Have A Plan is one of my number one picks for storytime and is one of those stories that you can really make your own with actions and the different volumes, and is also a great choice for beginner readers due to the repetition. Whilst recently re-reading this, my little sister (although capable of reading much trickier books) had so much fun reading it confidently out loud and did all the actions and different SHH!s. It was brilliant!

I can’t recommend this book highly enough if you are looking for a quiet bedtime or fun read that will keep little ones engaged!


Thank you to Jo at Walker for sending me a copy of this book!

PENGUIN PROBLEMS – Jory John, Lane Smith

penguin problems5/5

Penguin Problems is SO GOOD!

What I love about this book is that it can be both hilarious and meaningful at the same time with a wonderfully grumpy penguin as the main character. His life is just full of problems…or so he thinks, because, whilst he may be having a difficult time, he’s got so much that isn’t a problem.

We start off meeting this fed up penguin and see him have a particularly trying day full of things that irritate him (which I’m sure many people can relate to!), but, after he meets a walrus who shows him how he’s exactly where he needs to be, he starts to see the positivity in everything…for a while anyway!

This is definitely one of my go to books to buy for all my friends and family just because of how relatable and entertaining it is, as well as Lane Smith’s beautiful illustrations which capture Penguin’s personality perfectly!


Thank you to Jo at Walker for sending me a copy of this book!

LAST STOP ON THE REINDEER EXPRESS – Maudie Powell-Tuck, Karl James Mountford

img_35825/5

No picture can quite do justice to the sheer beauty of this meaningful Christmas picture book. This was a total cover buy – as soon as I recognised it as being illustrated by  Karl James Mountford, I bought it there and then having no clue about what was inside. So, when I sat down to read this book, I was captivated by story and the beautiful illustrations!

Last Stop on the Reindeer Express is a Christmas tale full of warmth and meaning. With more and more families not being the traditional nuclear family, at Christmas children can often feel torn and unsure about who they’ll spend Christmas with. This book tackles this difficult topic in a sensitive way that shows those children that they’re not alone, and that no matter who they spend Christmas with, they are loved.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough; whether or not it’s a book that’s relevant to your own situation, it’s a joy to read and the illustrations are magical! It’s definitely one to add to your bookshelf this Christmas.

kayleigh

THE BANDIT QUEEN – Natalia and Lauren O’Hara

the bandit queen4.5/5

I went into this book a bit blind; I was literally going on the fact that it had a beautiful cover and is published by Puffin, and then I realised that it was from the pair behind Hortense and the Shadow, which explains why it’s so beautiful!

The Bandit Queen is a poetic story with morals intertwined that are subtle and open to interpretation. This makes for a really engaging story since you can get a lot out of it with each reread. I personally loved the message about needing structure and support in order to grow up, and how you can have everything that you think you want, but ultimately it’s family and friends who make the difference. That said, you could just see this as a fun children’s rhyming story, full of chaos and mischief!


Thank you very much to Puffin via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!

HIDING HEIDI – Fiona Woodcock

hiding heidi5/5

Last year I discovered a wonderful new talent, Fiona Woodcock, who with her debut has created such a beautiful book that passed the baby sister test with flying colours! I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to read this one with her…and I definitely don’t mind because I love it.

Heidi is so good at hide and seek that it’s not as fun as she thinks for the other children and, as she soon realises, herself. However, when they play different games as well as hide and seek, they can all have fun and enjoy it regardless of whether they’re the best.

Aside from simply adoring the illustrations, the story has the lovely message of how you don’t have to win to have fun because everyone has different talents and it’s (forgive the cliché) the taking part that counts.


Thank you very much to Simon & Schuster for my copy of this title!

WILD – Emily Hughes

5/5

This book. The wild child. The illustrations.

I love it.

I suppose I am slightly biased because the little girl in this story reminds me so much of my little sister, and always has done since I was shown this book for that very reason! However, I think that that is all part of the charm of this beautiful book – we will all be able to find something within ourselves that reminds us of the characters in this story. You can take this book at surface level and interpret the need to embrace our wilder sides and not feel trapped by what is considered “normal”, or you can look deeper (still on the same lines though!) and think about how we shouldn’t remove animals from their natural habitats because they often can’t adapt to a strange new environment. As I was writing this, I’ve realised how those aren’t even the limitations – there are more interpretations to be made!

This is a firm favourite of mine because of the simply gorgeous illustrations, the simplistic story that’s full of meaning, and the fun that leaps off the pages. The wild child is such an adorable character, full of warmth and humour, making this book one to be loved by both children and grown-ups!

MUM AND DAD GLUE – Kes Gray, Lee Wildish

5/5

A little boy tries to find a pot of parent glue to stick his mum and dad back together. His parents have come undone and he wants to mend their marriage, stick their smiles back on and make them better. This rhyming story is brilliantly told with a powerful message that even though his parents may be broken, their love for him is not.

This story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming! The little boy needs to find some Mum and Dad glue to fix his parents who are separating…but, as he learns, there isn’t a glue that can put them back together.

This book is beautifully written and illustrated, and is perfect for anyone who is experiencing or has experienced separation. I love it so much because the story emphasises how, unfortunately, these things do happen but it’s not the child’s fault and their parents still love them as much as they ever did – just because the parents fall out of love, their love for their child will never change. I also think this book is brilliant for grown ups, regardless of whether there are children involved in the break up, to show that it’s okay that relationships don’t always work out and that there doesn’t always have to be someone to blame.

An essential and beautiful book about how you can’t fix everything, but that’s okay, from the wonderful Kes Gray!

WISH FOR A WITCH – Kaye Umansky, Ashley King

4/5

Elsie is back with her whole host of friends as she returns to the world of Magenta Sharp who needs her help once again! But, with a troublesome genie on the loose, can Elsie save the day?

wish for a witch keith

Keith the Elf

I loved Witch for a Week which, rightly so, was one of Simon and Schuster’s biggest releases of 2017. So, imagine how excited I have been for the sequel to arrive! I was not disappointed and really enjoyed book two, albeit not quite as much as the first. Although this title did feel a little bit rushed and not quite as magical as Witch for a Week, Wish for a Witch kept me hooked right the way through and I couldn’t help but read it in one sitting and am looking forward to the next book which is out next year!

wish for a witch frog

Frogs!

Elsie is a very lovable and switched on main character and coupled with Ashley King’s brilliant, as always, illustrations (this time my favourite was the frogs), Kaye Umansky has crafted a series that young readers will really enjoy; there’s a perfect balance of magic and humour throughout.