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

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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

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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:

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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

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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!

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

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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 STORY ORCHESTRA: THE NUTCRACKER – Jessica Courtney-Tickle

the story orchestra the nutcracker5/5

The Nutcracker is the second book in The Story Orchestra series, and it provides a magical Christmas adventure for everyone who reads it. From the music to the illustrations, this beautiful adaptation of The Nutcracker is really enchanting and made me feel all warm and like I’m ready for Christmas!

Again, as with all the books in this series, it provides a creative and unique experience for the reader; you’re encouraged to use your imagination and see how you feel the music would change the story. My sister gets very excited every time I offer to read this book with her as she loves the interactivity and looking at the illustrations.

This is a must-have book for Christmas!

 


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

THE STORY ORCHESTRA: THE SLEEPING BEAUTY – Jessica Courtney-Tickle

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As soon as I received an email through saying that copies of the third stunning book in The Story Orchestra series were available for request, I didn’t hesitate in replying! Four Seasons in One Day is a book that my sister and I love to read together and the children at her school love it too, so I had no doubt that I would love The Sleeping Beauty. Luckily, we were not at all disappointed, and this has turned out to be my favourite in the series so far!

The Sleeping Beauty, like the previous titles in this series, is a beautiful book that makes for a hugely enjoyable read since it combines a story with music. In this case, we have the classic story of The Sleeping Beauty accompanied by the music from Tchaikovsky. The pieces of music selected really compliment the story and Jessica’s illustrations are a delight to look at!

I really hope for more in this series; they just keep getting better and better!


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