THE STORY ORCHESTRA: FOUR SEASONS IN ONE DAY – Jessica Courtney-Tickle

4/5

The beautiful first title from The Story Orchestra series.

This book is simply gorgeous, with a lovely story to accompany Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. It is a bit more of a wordy book, but it’s fun to be able to press the buttons and hear different parts from the music which correlate to what’s happening on that page – this makes it a really good introduction to music for little ones and for the understanding of how music can tell a story. It’s definitely more of a gifty book and older children will probably appreciate the music leading the story and the facts about the orchestra and score itself a lot more than younger children.

Personally, I really hope that there are even more stories to come from The Story Orchestra (Beethoven please!) as it is something different, I’d have to say it’s probably the best noisy book available (it’s not just sounds…I can deal with my sister pressing all the buttons. It’s good!), and it can help to spark a love of music as well as reading!


I received this book when I was a bookseller from the publisher, Quarto – thank you!
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THE BEAR, THE PIANO, THE DOG AND THE FIDDLE- David Litchfield

5/5

A stunning sequel to The Bear and the Piano from one of the brightest talents in children’s books today.

Generally, if a book involves David Litchfield illustrations, you can be guaranteed that it’s a good one, especially when he’s also the author. Grandad’s Secret Giant was my picture book of the year for 2017, and The Bear and the Piano is definitely a favourite and very much deserving of all the love surrounding it. The Bear, the Piano, the Dog and the Fiddle, no surprise, is just as good.

I actually love this sequel more than the first book; it was heartbreaking and heartwarming with a very clear and meaningful message about friendship and sharing, and how things may not always work out how you expect but true friendship will always shine through. It is such an important book for adults as well as children to read and love.

I can’t recommend The Bear, the Piano, the Dog and the Fiddle enough and it’s one that I hope finds as much love as the first book! Fans of David Litchfield will not be disappointed, and I hope that he finds many more new fans with the release of this title!


Thank you so much to Christopher and Ellen at Quarto for my copy of this book!

THE NIGHT DRAGON – Naomi Howarth

3.5/5

A beautiful look at how it’s okay to be different and on the importance of trying.

I know you shouldn’t judge a book on its cover, but, seriously, look at this one! It’s such a beautiful illustration that I just had to read the book!

The Night Dragon is a gorgeous story that’s perfect for people to read to young children, all about how we are all different and unique in our own ways, and how you don’t have to be the same as everyone else. It also highlights the importance of trying and not giving up, and believing in yourself and others.

I really enjoyed reading The Night Dragon, especially for the illustrations which were so beautiful and colourful! The end of the story was so heartwarming and the illustrations complimented that perfectly.


Thank you to Frances Lincoln via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018: Book Recommendations

So, this is after all a book blog and so I would like to spend some time recommending my favourite books that deal sensitively and effectively with mental health. If you want to almost guarantee that I pick up a book, just add that it’s got something about mental health – I’m sold! Here are some of my favourites:

The Goldfish Boy – Lisa Thompson
OCD

You can’t really get away from how much I love this book if you follow me on social media! The Goldfish Boy is a middle grade mystery where the main character Matthew has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and it’s honestly the best portrayal of OCD that I’ve ever come across. Obviously OCD affects people differently, but for me this book was perfect as mine manifests in the same way as Matthew’s. What surprised me most is that it’s not an own-voices book; Lisa has done such an incredible job of writing about OCD.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
Anxiety

For people with anxiety, this book is perfect to show you that you’re not alone; it’s an illness that can strike anyone, can be totally out of the blue, but it is something that you can survive and it’s okay to have bad days; “Little victories are everything.” There are wonderful people out there who will help you and support you.

Girl in Pieces – Kathleen Glasgow
Depression/Self Harm

Girl in Pieces is filled with such raw emotion, but not to the extent that it is an uncomfortable or triggering read, and, although this is an extreme case of depression/self-harm, it’s one that sheds a very realistic light on the issue. For people who have experienced this, the book is inspiring and easy to relate to, but equally it’s enlightening for people who do not know much about the mentality behind self harm and suicide.This book shows how you can hit rock bottom but it IS possible to carry on and survive despite all the stuff that life can throw at you.

Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
Depression/Suicide

This book is controversial, but I’m firmly in the camp of people who LOVE it. Whilst I do appreciate the flaws that people mention, for me the book is more about how the things people say and do can impact so much on others rather than about the suicide and morals of the tapes. It’s about knowing how the little things we do can have a massive effect on other people; you never know what’s going on in someone else’s life.

See You In The Cosmos – Jack Cheng
Schizophrenia

The first book I’ve come across that deals with schizophrenia, this is one that’s completely unputdownable! Whilst the subject of mental health isn’t the main focus of the book, we see the effect that someone’s mental health can have on those around us.

All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
Bipolar

All I will say is have a box of tissues handy if you’re planning to read this one! One of my favourite ever books, All The Bright Places totally deserves all the hype surrounding it although it will break your heart. Whilst coming across as a book about suicide, it focuses on the effects of bipolar disorder.

I Was Born For This – Alice Oseman
Anxiety

This one subtly tackles the topic of anxiety and of how utterly terrifying a panic attack can be; whilst mental health isn’t at the forefront of the book, it’s definitely an underlying theme.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies – Louise Gornall
Anxiety

A beautiful own-voices novel, Under Rose-Tainted Skies has such a fantastic representation of anxiety and agoraphobia. It shows just how debilitating living with anxiety can be and how it’s not simply a case of being a bit of a worrier.

Worries Go Away – Kes Gray
Anxiety

One of my absolute favourite picture books, the story is simple enough that for younger children it helps them to open up about things that are worrying them, but it’s also so good and meaningful that older children and adults who suffer from worries or anxiety can relate to the little girl and the feelings she’s experiencing and learn how to cope from this book too.

We Are Young – Cat Clarke
Depression/Suicide

We Are Young touches upon the devastating effects that depression and bipolar can have. Cat Clarke writes about mental health issues perfectly, and We Are Young is no exception.

 

HOW TO BE A LION – Ed Vere

5/5

The roarsome story of Leonard the lion going against the norm.

With a crunch and a chomp, this story of a poetry-loving lion will have you hooked as we learn that you don’t have to be what people expect you to be; it’s okay to just be yourself.

I can’t wait to see this book with the illustrations; I love Ed Vere’s work, especially Grumpy Frog, and I really want to see his story of Leonard come to life! However, just going on the text alone, this is a fantastic book that little ones will love. I can imagine that reading it aloud is great fun with all the rhymes!

I really enjoyed reading How To Be A Lion and am definitely going to be adding it to my collection of favourite picture books!

 

MONTY AND SYLVESTER: A TALE OF EVERYDAY SUPER HEROES – Carly Gledhill

3/5

A fun book all about how you don’t need a vacuum hoover to be a super hero!

I’ve been looking out for exciting new picture books lately; this year has seemed fairly quiet, so I was very happy to see one up on NetGalley that looked like it had illustrations I would love. I was not wrong because the illustrations throughout this book are so cute and engaging. Whilst I felt like there was just something missing from the story, I did enjoy this book and can definitely see youngsters loving it. I need to try it out on my little sister!

I’m looking forward to seeing what Carly comes up with next because I did like all the little bits of small print that brought the pictures to life and the style of illustration!


Thank you to Hachette via NetGalley for the ebook of this title!

BABY BIRD – Andrew Gibbs, Zosienka

3.5/5

A cute story all about finding your wings despite adversity.

Beautifully illustrated by Zosienka, Andrew Gibb’s Baby Bird is a gorgeous picture book about a little bird who is a bit different. Baby isn’t like the other hatchlings; he has one twisted, small wing. Throughout the course of the book, we see him try to learn to fly like the other birds until he meets a friend who helps him to have an alternative way of looking at things.

I like how the story is all about not giving up, and finding different ways of doing things if at first you don’t succeed. Baby Bird is such a lovely book; it’s really made by the illustrations and I look forward to seeing more work from Zosienka!


Thank you to Frances Lincoln Childrens via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!

HAPPY HATCHDAY – Rob Biddulph

5/5

A cute first book in an exciting new series from the talented Rob Biddulph

From the second I saw the endpapers, I knew I was in for a treat with Rob Biddulph’s latest title – which very excitingly is the first in a new series! Filled with beautiful illustrations (dinosaurs, what’s not to love?!) and fun rhyming verse which is perfect for reading aloud, Happy Hatchday is a cute story all about the adorable Greg and his hatchday surprise as he tries to join in with the other dinosaurs. As an older reader I loved reading this one, and I know that younger readers will be no different!


Thank you to Harper Collins via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!

NOW I KNOW MY AVOCADOS – Stephanie Wykoff

4.5/5

A fun take on learning your ABCs full of bright and bold illustrations.

Now I Know My Avocados is a different kind of picture book – it’s all about exploring the page and discovering the objects and creatures on it starting with that letter. Some of these are things that everyone knows and can easily identify, others are a little trickier! This makes it a perfect book to share as everyone can have fun looking and discovering what there is!

As you’ve probably guessed, I was very much sold on this book by the Ll page with a really cute llama on, but there’s definitely something for everyone here tucked among the pages. I like that at the back it does list everything you can discover so you don’t have to be frustrated if you’re not too sure like some books leave you. Also, the limited colour palette is really effective meaning that every object stands out beautifully.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend Now I Know My Avocados as a fun  book for children and grown-ups to share to discover lots of new words and learn the alphabet.

“Now that we’ve searched from A through Z, next time what do you think we’ll see?”

 


Thank you to the author Stephanie Wykoff for sending me an eBook copy of this title!

ALMOST ANYTHING – Sophy Henn

5/5

A beautiful story about the magic in not giving up.

You know that a picture book is something special when you can read it prior to publication without the illustrations and still simply adore it! Almost Anything is hands down Sophy Henn’s best book to date with its simple message of the magic being within ourselves to be able to do almost anything; we don’t need a magic hat in order to do things that our friends can do – all we need to do is to believe that we can do it. This book is perfect for little people (and older ones!) to teach the very important lesson of trying and not giving up.

*UPDATE: I have now seen the illustrations and THEY ARE ADORABLE! I stand by everything I said above; it’s a beautiful book!

Almost Anything is publishing on 1st March 2018


Thank you very much to Puffin via NetGalley for the eBook of Almost Anything!