Tag Archives: Angela McAllister

Mother’s Day Picture Books

Mother’s Day is on Sunday 30th March in the UK this year, and we’ve been sent a selection of delicious picture books perfect for mums to share with their little ones. Although, significant others, you might also want to try to supply a lie-in or time for a nice bath too if you can!

I Love You Night and Day: Smriti Prasadam-Halls & Alison Brown (Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2014)I Love You Night and Day: Smriti Prasadam-Halls & Alison Brown (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2014)
The two characters in I Love You Night and Day aren’t specified as a mother and child, but I’ve chosen to interpret them as such (although this would work just as well for fathers, grandparents, and other significant carers.) There are no genders mentioned either therefore you can take the ‘child’ (rabbit) to be male or female easily. There is so much to love about this book – lot of different words for increasing vocabulary, sharing the love you have for a child, spot-on rhyming couplets and gorgeous illustrations. One for sharing at any time of year.

Mum's The Word: Timothy Knapman & Jamie Littler (Hodder Children's Books, 2014)Mum’s The Word: Timothy Knapman & Jamie Littler (Hodder Children’s Books, 2014)
The illustrations for Mum’s the Word are almost edible in their deliciousness. A puppy bounds with endless enthusiasm through the pages (so that would be any small child too, then!) trying to think of the word that means so many different things to him/her. No gender is mentioned so the pup could be male or female. Small children will love all the bright images throughout, and can you guess what the word is? Oh, I think the title might have given it away 😉 “It’s a word as warm as a goodnight kiss. There’s no other word that’s as good as this.” 

Me and My Mummy: various (Little Tiger Press, 2014)Me and My Mummy: various (Little Tiger Press, 2014)
This is such a lovely little set for any tot to share with mummy. Consisting of a cardboard case with carrying handle so little ones can carry it everywhere, and sealed with velcro for easy opening, the box contains four paperback stories, a card, envelope and sheet of stickers. Even very little ones can decorate mummy’s card with the stickers, and can proudly present their card in the morning, with stories ready for sharing. The books are small sized paperbacks, that can be easily transported without taking up much room in a bag, and would be good for toddlers to pretend to have ‘school reading books’ as they have a similar feel. The four stories are: The Most Precious Thing: Gill Lewis & Louise Ho; Big Bear Little Bear: David Bedford & Jane Chapman; Little Bear’s Special Wish: Gillian Lobel & Gaby Hansen; My Mummy and Me: Tina Macnaughton. Although all four books celebrate a mother and child’s special bond, Little Bear’s Special Wish does specifically mention ‘birthday’ rather than mother’s day. This is a very cute gift set with a low RRP of £9.99 (ISBN 978-1848958722)

I Want My Mummy!: Tracey Corderoy & Alison Edgson (Little Tiger Press, 2013)I Want My Mummy!: Tracey Corderoy & Alison Edgson (Little Tiger Press, 2013)
This is an adorably cute story about a little mouse who is spending his first day away from mummy. It’s lovely on many levels. Little Arthur is so cute in his dragon costume and this book is aimed at little ones who don’t go to nursery as Arthur’s first day away is with his granny. My children did go to nursery but I hear many parents asking why ‘first day away’ stories are always about nursery / playschool settings when they’ve chosen not to put their children into daycare at any time so this book will really suit. And even if your little one has spent time away before, it’s comforting to share Arthur’s fears and worries in the comfort of home again and again to remember that Mummy always comes back.

Mummy's Little Sunflowers: Angela McAllister & Alison Edgson (Little Tiger Press, 2014)Mummy’s Little Sunflowers: Angela McAllister & Alison Edgson (Little Tiger Press, 2014)
More cute little mouses! This is a lovely story about sibling love. Big brother Scurry brings home a sunflower seed from nursery but baby brother Scamp eats it! They then search for more seeds but when Scamp realises how long it will take for a sunflower to grow, Scurry helps them both become sunflowers for Mummy. Perfect for mums of a toddler and baby, or pre-schooler and toddler. After reading you could plant seeds or dress up too.

Dino-Mummy: Mark Sperring & Sam Lloyd (Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2014)Dino-Mummy: Mark Sperring & Sam Lloyd (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2014)
I’ve not read Dino-Baby but I assume this book is similar so if you like Dino-Baby, you might like Dino-Mummy. Personally I find this book appallingly sexist in its depiction of the mother dino dressed in pink heels vacuuming, cooking, doing all the childcare, washing, cleaning ovens etc while in one spread you spy father dino sitting behind a newspaper and doing absolutely nothing. I think it’s supposed to be a celebration of everything that mums do, but the portrayal of a domestic goddess mother and unhelpful father does not suit our family.

My personal favourite ‘mum’ book is Just Like My Mum by David Melling (Hodder Children’s Books, 2008)

Disclosure: Received for review from Little Tiger Press, Hachette Children’s Books and Bloomsbury Children’s Books.

Beautiful Picture Books for Giving

I think any picture book from a child’s favourite theme or illustration style is a wonderful gift when it’s a hardback edition. Hardback books, especially picture books, have a special air about them. Here are a selection of recently published books that are available in hardback and are especially beautiful.

The Tale of Jack Frost: David Melling (Hodder Children's Books, Anniv. ed 2013)The Tale of Jack Frost: David Melling (Hodder Children’s Books, Anniv. ed 2013)
I hadn’t seen this anniversary edition when I first wrote this list, but now I have it’s at the top of it. The Tale of Jack Frost is a near-perfect winter story, beautifully illustrated in watercolour. It’s a fairy tale and a winter tale, full of unique magical creatures, horrible goblins, forgotten pasts and hopeful futures. I’ve written about the paperback version before, but this hardback (signed and limited to 1000 copies) takes a beautiful story and packages it perfectly. With shining snowflakes on the cover and endpapers full of sketches, the anniversary edition is also individually hand numbered and signed by the author. Search out a copy now, before they all disappear.

Abigail: Catherine Rayner (Little Tiger Press, 2013)Abigail: Catherine Rayner (Little Tiger Press, 2013)
Every Catherine Rayner picture book is a piece of beauty, and Abigail is no exception. Abigail is the newest animal character from Catherine, and she is a giraffe who loves to count. The hardback edition is a near-square with gorgeous matt covering depicting Abigail against a night sky. The story follows Abigail as she tries to count things, but they keep moving. Eventually she gets her friends together and they find something to count that doesn’t move. Stunning imagery of the African plains and its inhabitants pack the book, with a lovely gentle story suitable for all ages but especially for 3-5 year olds because of the focus on learning to count. A flip-up page adds to the interest, and ending with night-time makes this the perfect bedtime read.

Winter's Child: Angela McAliister & Grahame Baker-Smith (Templar Publishing, 2013)Winter’s Child: Angela McAllister & Grahame Baker-Smith (Templar Publishing, 2013)
This book truly is an object of beauty, and a perfect Christmas story. The story is about Tom, who loves winter and wants it to stay forever. He finds a friend in a strange pale boy and every day they play in the stunning icy landscape. But at home, Nana is getting frailer, food and fuel is running out, and Tom’s mother is worried… I cannot describe how beautifully illustrated this fable is, it is a book to be poured over and enjoyed on many levels. Suitable from 3+, it will probably most appeal to 5-8 year olds, but older children will get so much from the story too.

All Through The Night: John Ceiriog Hughes & Kate Alizadeh (Simply Read Books, 2013)All Through The Night: John Ceiriog Hughes & Kate Alizadeh (Simply Read Books, 2013)
This book has perfect Christmas stocking filler written all over it. It is a small square hardback with words of a traditional Welsh lullaby (translated into English) with beautiful pastel illustrations. The lyrics are very Christian and refer to God and Guardian Angels so will appeal more to people with Christian faith. The book is a small package of beauty, lovely for bedtime reading. It may even be a thoughtful gift for someone who is grieving, but that would be a very personal choice.

Barefoot Books - The World of Miss Clara Gift SetThe Princess and The Pea; The Twelve Dancing Princesses; and The Snow Queen: Miss Clara (Barefoot Books, 2013)
I’m cheating a little here, because I haven’t seen these books in real life yet. I have however seen the chapter book versions and know how stunning Miss Clara’s illustrations are. These three hardback editions are new to Barefoot Books this month, and are also currently available as a gift set saving 10% on individual prices. You can get a further 20% off ordering online with the code TWENTY13. All Barefoot Books are produced to a high standard, and these will be no exception. A trio of classic fairy tales with beautiful illustrations, what more could you ask from a Christmas gift?

Rules of Summer: Shaun Tan (Lothian Children's Books, 2013)Rules of Summer: Shaun Tan (Lothian Children’s Books, 2013)
I don’t ‘get’ Shaun Tan’s picture books. The art is stunningly beautiful, weird and unique, and wonderful for getting lost in. But the picture books make absolutely no sense to me at all. I read this one to my four year old and she told me I was reading it wrong, because I must have missed out some of the words! These are not books for small children. Stunningly beautiful, cinematic and wonderful, this could be read to any child, but is probably of more interest to children aged 8+. I think this is one to add to the Christmas stockings of any art students you know too. This would be perfect as a springboard for discussion about… Well, I have no idea what the book is about at all, which I think may be the point, so the discussions from this book are potentially limitless.

The King of Space; Jonny Duddle (Templar Books, 2013)The King of Space: Jonny Duddle (Templar Publishing, 2013)
The paperback version is already out but the hardback is still available. You can read my full thoughts on this book here. This will appeal to all space-loving children (so most of them) of any age, but under threes probably won’t appreciate it as much. It’s also perfect for all sci-fi geek parents too. I’m usually a fan of traditional artists, as I find a lot of digital art too ‘shiny’ (for want of a better word!) but in all three of his books Jonny Duddle has packed the pages with grime and details. I’ve read them so many times and still have the odd “oh!” moment when I notice yet-another connection between the stories in the background…

The Tiger Who Came To Tea: Judith Kerr (HarperCollins Children's Books, Gift ed. 2013) The Tiger Who Came To Tea: Judith Kerr (HarperCollins Children’s Books, Gift ed. 2013)
This story probably needs no introduction. The fun, and surreal, tale of a Tiger who visits Sophie and her mummy to eat everything in their house has been well-loved since it was first published in 1968. To celebrate Judith Kerr’s 90th birthday this year, a beautiful gift edition hardback complete with slipcase has been released. This gift edition deserves its place on every child (and children’s book lover’s) bookshelves, and makes a perfect gift.

The Girl With A Brave Heart, A Tale From Tehran: Rita Jahanforuz & Vali Mintzi (Barefoot Books, 2013)The Girl With A Brave Heart: Rita Jahanforua & Vali Mintzi (Barefoot Books, 2013)
A traditional tale from Tehran which starts in a Cinderalla-like way; Shiraz’s mother dies young and her father remarries but after he too dies, her life changes from one of happiness to drudgery as the step-mother and step-sister make her their maid. Unlike Cinderella, no prince is required for a happy ending. Because of Shiraz’s kind heart, and the good that she does, it appears that she receives the gift of beauty. In reality it is Shiraz’s own personality shining through. Beautifully illustrated, this is a very positive and non-stereotyped story; the perfect antidote to Disney princesses. Available to buy from Barefoot Books.

amelienanetteSparkly Shoes and Picnic Parties (Amelie and Nanette): Sophie Tilley (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2013)
In a complete contrast to the non-stereotyped Girl With A Brave Heart, Amelie and Nanette are the epitome of girlyness, and you can read my thoughts on this book here. This is such a beautiful hardback that it deserves a place in this list, as it will make a lovely present. The theme of summer picnics will be a great pick-me-up on a cold, dull winter’s day and the beautiful illustrations should put a smile on even the grumpiest face. Suitable for reading to any age, this will be enjoyed most by 3-8 year olds.

Barbapapa and Barbapapa's Voyage: Annette Tison & Talus Taylor (Orchard Books, new ed. 2013)Barbapapa and Barbapapa’s Voyage: Annette Tison & Talus Taylor (Orchard Books, new ed. 2013)
The Barbapapa books were originally published in the 1970’s although I have no memory of them from my childhood so it’s with new and adult eyes that I was introduced to Barbapapa, a pink blob-creature who was found in a garden (in Barbapapa), and his family (in Barbapapa’s Voyage). The stories are a little strange and surreal, but full of adventure and concepts that small children will be familiar with. These books will either be a classic for parents who read them as children to share, or just fun new additions. They are very lovely, and the hardback editions are beautifully produced. Suitable for any age, but especially 3-5 year olds.

I hope that has given you some ideas of a tiny fraction of the beautiful books currently released in the UK that would make wonderful gifts. I will be writing more gift list ideas over the next two weeks.

Disclosure: All books (except Barefoot Books) received from their respective publishers for review. Barefoot Books links are affiliate links. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.