READ TO YOUR BABY EVERY DAY – Chloe Giordano, Rachel Williams

59323889_353912795240060_7684367320242920782_n4/5

RELEASED: 14/03/2019
PUBLISHER: Frances Lincoln
GENRE: Children’s Poetry, Nursery Rhymes, Picture Book

Science tells us that babies develop best when they are spoken to, sung to and read to. Introduce your baby to a world of words and pictures with these 30 classic nursery rhymes from the Mother Goose collection and beyond paired with images of Chloe Giordano’s delightful hand-embroidered illustrations on cloth.

Even when they’re tiny, the sound of their parents’ voices helps babies make sense of the world and feel comfortable with new people and places. This treasury gives you the opportunity to rediscover just how useful (and calming) these best-loved nursery rhymes are in one, handsome volume.

I adore a good nursery rhyme, and have many fond memories of watching my favourite VHS of nursery rhymes over and over again (I finally found it on YouTube!) and so when I was offered a copy of a new book of nursery rhymes from Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for review I jumped at the chance!

Read To Your Baby Everyday is a beautiful addition to anyone’s collection; it’s really unique in the fact that the illustrations are all taken from hand-embroidered cloth! It’s so clever and I really enjoyed taking the time to appreciate every detail in the book. I think that the one thing that held me back on giving it 5 stars is that it’s not always the most engaging book for a child as it’s not as bright as I would’ve liked. Other than that, I can’t fault it and it really would make a perfect gift for a little one.

I would highly recommend Read To Your Baby Everyday as a way to showcase some of the best nursery rhymes that we’ve all grown up knowing and loving, in a new and fresh take on a gift book.


Thank you to Nicky at Quarto for sending me a copy of this book

 

Advertisements

FIREFLY HOME – Jane Clarke, Britta Teckentrup

img_45213.5/5

RELEASED: 11/01/2018
PUBLISHER: Nosy Crow
GENRE: Picture Book, Children’s

There’s no place like home, but poor Florence Firefly is lost, and there are so many bright lights shining in the night sky she doesn’t know which way to go. She’ll need some help to find her way back home. In this brilliant interactive picture book, children can help Florence on her journey by encouraging her to fly faster, suggesting which direction to take and making a wish.

There are some picture books that you read that you just know will be perfect for storytime and reading aloud, and Firefly Home is definitely one of them! I was immediately drawn to this book by Britta’s beautiful illustrations, and by how adorable Florence Firefly looks. Coupled with the fun story that’s highly interactive and enjoyable to read, this makes for a really engaging reading experience.

My gut feeling is that I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I’d hoped. I found it a little bit too childlike at times (which is very rare for me to say!) and didn’t enjoy the interactivity when reading it on my own. However, I can imagine that this is a wonderful story to share with your children.

All that said, I did overall like the book and think that it makes a lovely addition to my picture book collection!

THE KING WHO BANNED THE DARK – Emily Haworth-Booth

img_45205/5

RELEASED: 04/10/2018
PUBLISHER: Pavilion
GENRE: Picture Book, Children’s

An illuminating tale of power, rebellion, darkness and light

There was once a little boy who was afraid of the dark. There’s nothing unusual about that. Most children are afraid of the dark at one time of another. But this little boy was a Prince, and he decided that when he became King, he would do something about the dark.

He would ban it.

When the King bans the dark completely, installing an artificial sun, and enforcing “anti-dark” laws, it seems like a good idea. The citizens don’t need to worry about any of the scary things that might live in the dark.

But what happens when nobody can sleep, and the citizens revolt? Will the King face his fears and turn the lights off?

The King Who Banned the Dark is a beautiful and thought-provoking story about how we need the dark in order to enjoy the light.

I love beautiful picture books that use a limited colour palette, like The King Who Banned The Dark. Immediately, I was drawn to read it, and I’m very glad that I did because I’ve found a new favourite! The illustrations, whilst simplistic, are lovely and make for a very enjoyable read.

The King Who Banned The Dark is a story that can have different interpretations; on a simpler note it can be about how we need the dark as well as the light, making it a wonderful book about the fear of the dark and appreciating the beauty of the light. On a deeper level, as I’ve read in a few places, this book can be interpreted as being a bit more political – people have got power and can revolt against decisions taken by the leaders which may not be for the benefit of the people, and how decisions can be manipulated.

I personally like to think of it as being the lighter option, making it a perfect bedtime story to be enjoyed time and time again!

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.

YOUR MIND IS LIKE THE SKY – Bronwen Ballard, Laura Carlin

img_43174.5/5

RELEASED: 07/02/2019
PUBLISHER: Frances Lincoln
GENRE: Picture Book, Mental Health

Your mind is like the sky. Sometimes it’s clear and blue – but sometimes a raincloud thought comes along and makes everything seem dark. So what can we do about rainclouds? This beautiful picture book, written by child psychologist Bronwen Ballard and illustrated by award-winning artist Laura Carlin, shows children that worries and negative thoughts are normal and helps them develop healthy thinking habits. Tips on mindfulness and extra resources for parents are included at the back of the book.

As someone who struggles with controlling my thoughts, I was very intrigued when I heard about this book. Mindfulness is something that I haven’t found useful in the past, much as I’d love it to be! So, I was really hoping that a picture book aimed at children may help me a little bit more…

Luckily, I was not disappointed.

Your Mind Is Like The Sky is a beautiful book with a powerful message; whilst you can’t control your thoughts, you can accept them and learn to deal with the different types. I love how thoughts are personified into clouds; this makes them seem less scary, and shows that, despite how dark they can be sometimes, they are only thoughts and they will pass. Unlike many books that focus on mindfulness, there isn’t too much text which made this book stand out even more. It reads just like a normal story and is just the right length to make it useful but not overwhelming.

At the back, something that’ll make this book more useful for parents and teachers is the breakdown of how mindfulness works and what you can do to help children. That said, I think that this book is useful for people of all ages who struggle with raincloud thoughts making this an essential addition to your collection of books about mental health.


Thank you to Ellen at Quarto for sending me a copy of this book.

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!

A CHILD OF BOOKS – Oliver Jeffers, Sam Winston

a child of books5/5

RELEASED: 1/9/2016
PUBLISHER: Walker
GENRE: Picture Book

The book: nothing is more important or more precious. In his first collaboration with the award-winning Walker Books, illustration hyperstar Oliver Jeffers – the genius behind the instant-classics Lost and Found and How to Catch a Star – has joined forces with ground-breaking typographer Sam Winston to present the extraordinary A Child of Books.
Soaring passages from masterworks such as Little Women, The Wind in the Willows, Great Expectations and Treasure Island form a very literal and brilliantly-released landscape of adventure. Two children – one a girl who lives for reading, the other a boy yet to understand – embark on a stunning voyage of discovery, gloriously captured by Oliver Jeffers’ unique imagination.
A Child of Books will be one of those very rare volumes that will bridge both those new to the pleasures of a book and for those already deeply in love with its promise.

Ironically, words can not do justice to this book. It is simply stunning, utilises the wonderful storytelling and illustration of Oliver Jeffers and an exciting new talent in Sam Winston who uses typography to incredible effect in this book.

A Child of Books makes the perfect gift for children to treasure and enjoy, and for adults; every time you read it you take something new away from it and everyone can interpret it in such a different way. The use of typography is such an innovative idea for a picture book and I loved how the texts chosen had clearly been selected carefully as they related to what was going on in the story at that point; if you want to spend some time fully appreciating each page you can find extracts from many of your favourite books growing up accompanied by Oliver’s lovely illustrations.

The campaign that surrounded this release has really stuck with me and is something that I closely relate to the book; we are all children of books, and it’s interesting to think how there is usually a specific book or author that sparked that love of reading and literature within us all, thus creating “a child of books”. For example, Enid Blyton made me A Child of Books! I’ve loved seeing the different titles that have inspired so many authors, booksellers and readers.

A Child of Books is an essential upon every child’s bookshelves; it’s a wonderful story for bedtime, to read with family or to read independently. There is so much to discover on every page if you want to spend time on it, so it’s a book that brings joy time and time again.


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

snailycanflyy Book Award 2018

Last year, I hosted my first snailycanflyy Book Award, where I narrowed down my top books of the year, and after a fab reading year the award is back for 2018! Last year saw some tough competition from some amazing books featuring amazing authors and illustrators with the overall winner being the very worthy The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson which still stands out as one of the best books I’ve ever read!

The award is split into three categories – Best Picture Book, Best Middle Grade and Best Young Adult, with a winner in each category and an overall winner. The criteria is simply that it has to be a five-star rated book published in 2018 and one that I want to talk about, one that has stuck with me since reading and one that I would recommend wholeheartedly. So, without futher ado, here are the category nominees:

img_4075

BEST PICTURE BOOK:

Oscar the Hungry Unicorn – Lou Carter, Nikki Dyson
The Bear, The Piano, The Dog and the FiddleDavid Litchfield
Ruby’s Worry – Tom Percival
Space Tortoise – Ross Montgomery, David Litchfield
The Story Orchestra: The Sleeping Beauty Jessica Courtney-Tickle

BEST MIDDLE GRADE BOOK:

The Truth PixieMatt Haig
Death in the Spotlight – Robin Stevens
The Eye of the North – Sinead O’Hart
The Light Jar Lisa Thompson
The Secret Seven: Mystery of the Skull – Pamela Butchart

BEST YOUNG ADULT BOOK:

I Was Born For ThisAlice Oseman
To Kill a KingdomAlexandra Christo
LegendaryStephanie Garber
Sunflowers in FebruaryPhyllida Shrimpton
The Exact Opposite of OkayLaura Steven

AND THE WINNERS ARE…drumroll please!

oscar the hungry unicornBEST PICTURE BOOK
Oscar the Hungry Unicorn

death in the spotlightBEST MIDDLE GRADE BOOK
Death in the Spotlight

to kill a kingdomBEST YOUNG ADULT BOOK
To Kill a Kingdom

OVERALL WINNER
The Truth Pixie

A massive congratulations and thank you to all of the authors who’s books made it to the shortlist! All of these books are so incredible and I’ve loved reading them in 2018!

kayleigh

 

THE NIGHT BEFORE THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS – Kes Gray

img_35835/5

RELEASED: 04/10/2018
PUBLISHER: Hachette
GENRE: Picture Book, Children’s, Christmas

A brilliantly funny Christmas picture book from the bestselling author of Oi Frog!

It’s the day before Christmas Eve and Santa is ever so busy … he’s got presents to wrap, reindeer to wake and a sleigh to start. But has he forgotten something? And, more importantly, will he be ready in time?

Inspired by Clement C. Moore’s classic festive poem, this hilarious, rhyming picture book is sure to have you ho ho ho-ing!

As soon as I saw Kes Gray’s name on the cover of this Christmas book, I just bought it, and I’m so glad that I did! Along with his typical fun rhymes in a story that’s both fun to read and listen to, Claire Powell’s illustrations are beautiful and really bring the story of Christmas Eve Eve to life!

The Night Before The Night Before Christmas is an enchanting book that’ll bring fun and laughter to everyone’s Christmas preparations, telling the story of how Father Christmas gets ready for a busy night! I can’t recommend this book highly enough and it has immediately become one of my festive favourites!

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!