Tag Archives: Laurence Anholt

Treasuries to Treasure

I kept a selection of books from my childhood, mostly novels from when I was 12+ and no picture books. But the books I do still have from when I was younger are all treasuries. Lovely chunky hardback collections that people generally only buy as presents, especially at Christmas. Here are a selection of newly published, delicious additions to any bookshelves, all of which would make perfect gifts.

Just So Stories: Rudyard Kipling & Robert Ingpen (Templar Publishing, 2013)Just So Stories: Rudyard Kipling & Robert Ingpen (Templar Publishing, 2013)
Long ago, before your parents’ parents were born, O Best Beloved, there was a man who told stories about how things came to be… I would love to write this review in the style of Just So stories but using O Best Beloved is about as good as it gets. Kipling was a genius, there is no doubt. I’m embarrassed to say I have barely read any of his original work (I assume The Jungle Book doesn’t really have singing monkeys in it…) but I did grow up on a sprinkling of Just So Stories and therefore have a soft spot for them, though there are many in this book that I never knew, or don’t remember. But why buy a book when you can get them for free online, you might ask? And there are so many versions, why this one? Because Robert Ingpen’s illustrations are just so 🙂 This is a truly beautiful book, packed full of colour illustrations throughout, with many double-page illustrations, and coloured pages.  It uses the original text, which may lead to conversations about historical changes. I personally love the part where a father is furious with his daughter and is contemplating whether skinning her or not giving her a kiss at bedtime is the worst punishment – this is a book for all ages! This version is beautifully produced, and a nice size for reading too. I’m hugging it a bit as I write this (in between reading a bit more, and gazing and the illustrations.) The RRP is £16.99, which is a bargain for what you get, and I’d not be at all surprised to see this on the Greenaway long list next year.

The Emperor’s Nightingale and Other Feathery Tales (The Story Collector 1): Jane Ray (Boxer Books, 2013)The Emperor’s Nightingale and Other Feathery Tales (The Story Collector 1): Jane Ray (Boxer Books, 2013)
This is a beautiful collection of traditional tales involving birds in some way. The stories are perfect for reading aloud but even fairly early readers can attempt the easily laid out text (although the words may be challenging.) This is the first in a series of tales collected by the enormously talented Jane Ray and illustrated using scraperfoil techniques. The book has been formatted beautifully, and includes many coloured pages for interest. The stories are suitable for all ages, and include tales that have both sad and happy endings. It is a gorgeous book for any book lover, young or old, and a bargain at RRP £12.99.

Little Grey Rabbit's Story Treasury: Alison Uttley & Margaret Tempest (Templar Publishing, new ed. 2013)Little Grey Rabbit’s Story Treasury: Alison Uttley & Margaret Tempest (Templar Publishing, new ed. 2013)
Little Grey Rabbit books are ones I remember from my childhood and it’s lovely to see them all being reprinted in their original little book form by Templar. Because of course, they should be little books, unless they’re in a treasury. This book collects six of the tales together and includes information about the editor, author and illustrator, as well as the characters. I never knew Alison Uttley was one of the first women to gain a physics degree (in 1906), and that just makes me love the stories even more. These are delightful stories and, dare I say it, much more readable than many of Beatrix Potter’s tales. This is a beautiful gift edition that should delight any age. RRP £12.99.

The Orchard Book of Greek Myths: Geraldine McCaughrean & Emma Chichester Clark (Orchard Books, reissue 2013)The Orchard Book of Greek Myths: Geraldine McCaughrean & Emma Chichester Clark (Orchard Books, new ed. 2013)
I always loved Greek and Roman Myths when I was a child, and as this is the 21st anniversary edition I wondered why I never had this one. Then I remembered I was 17 twenty-one years ago, in the midst of A-Levels and was mostly reading Stephen King and Terry Pratchett. If it had been around as a child, I’m sure I would have loved this book. Containing sixteen famous tales from Pandora to Persephone, Orpheus to Odysseus, this is a beautiful introduction to stories that have been told for thousands of years. RRP £12.99.

The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems: Carol Ann Duffy & Jackie Morris (Barefoot Books, 2006)The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems: Carol Ann Duffy & Jackie Morris (Barefoot Books, 2006)
Introduced by Carol Ann Duffy and stunningly illustrated by Jackie Morris, this is a beautiful collection of many favourite poems to share with children, including selections from Robert Louis Stevenson, Walter De La Mare, A A Milne, Eleanor Farjeon, Elizabeth Browning, Tennyson, Wordsworth, Kipling, Shakespeare, Auden… I never studied literature beyond GCSE and I recognise almost every name, and almost every poem. These truly are classics. Accessible, enjoyable, and a beautiful addition to any bookshelf. RRP £14.99, but get 20% off with code TWENTY13 if you buy online (or look at these blogs for 25% off for a limited time.)

Old Bear Stories: Jane Hissey (Scribblers, updated ed. 2013)Old Bear Stories: Jane Hissey (Scribblers, updated ed. 2013)
Even though the original Old Bear stories were wonderful in their original format, Jane Hissey reworked them all this year to reduce the text, making them even more readable, and on a par with modern picture books. The reissued books seem even clearer and more beautiful that before (we have a mixture of old and new versions!) Old Bear Stories collects five favourites: Old Bear, Little Bear’s Trousers, Little Bear Lost, Jolly Tall, and Jolly Snow into one glorious hardback edition. Having had the delight of meeting Jane earlier this year, I am even more in love with these stories. Every picture is based on real-life models that Jane created, and the detail in the pencil pictures is breathtaking. Perfect for very small children and up, this is a very special book. RRP £16.99.

The Orchard Book of Funny Fairy Tales: Laurence Anholt & Arthur Robins (Orchard Books, 2013)The Orchard Book of Funny Fairy Tales: Laurence Anholt & Arthur Robins (Orchard Books, 2013)
A collection of six classic fairy-tales retold with lots of fun, lots of rhymes, silly pictures, and without any of the scary bits. Laurence Anholt and Arthur Robins also collaborate on a series of seriously silly stories for younger readers and this is a great addition to silly fun for threes and up. This would be a brilliant addition to any Christmas stocking, but you’d better be ready to read them all day as they’ll be a hit. Stinky stepsisters, gentle giants, hairy bears, and did you ever wonder what a house made of sweets would do to a witch’s teeth? Once you see the answer, you’ll be brushing your teeth very carefully! RRP £12.99.

My Rainbow Fairies Collection: Daisy Meadows & Georgie Ripper (Orchard Books, reissue 2013)My Rainbow Fairies Collection: Daisy Meadows & Georgie Ripper (Orchard Books, reissue 2013)
Regardless of what you think of Rainbow Fairies, there is a certain demographic (of which my eldest child is a part of) who think they are wonderful. This book contains the original seven rainbow fairy stories plus one special, Flora the Fancy Dress Fairy. The stories are about two girls who are independent and brave, and their adventures helping the fairies of fairyland. It’s not great literature, but it’s fun and (in this collection at least) doesn’t depict limiting gender stereotyping. Any series with over 100 titles will suffer quality issues over time, but these are the originals and are quite captivating. The best thing about this collection is that it is illustrated in colour. Mighty-Girl is a very good reader, but she doesn’t stick with books that she is capable of reading because she doesn’t like books without colour pictures. She is a very creative and visual child, so pictures are important to her. With this collection, she is flying through the stories, which can only be good for her literacy levels. The book itself has a padded cover, is covered in sparkling stars and butterflies, and includes a ribbon bookmark. Every page is in colour, and there are added character profiles, a map, and a pictorial list of all (so far) 169 books! A delightful gift for RRP £12.99.

Disclosure: All except The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems and Old Bear Stories were received from their respective publishers for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post. Barefoot Books links are affiliate links.

Babies, Babies, Babies by Catherine and Laurence Anholt

Babies, Babies, Babies by Catherine and Laurence Anholt (Orchard Books, 2012)

Babies, Babies, Babies by Catherine and Laurence Anholt (Orchard Books, 2012)

If you have a baby or toddler and don’t have one of the Anholts’ books on your shelves, I recommend you add one forthwith! If you’re in England, you probably already have their leaflet “Babies Love Books” from the Bookstart baby pack.

Babies, Babies, Babies is a catalogue-style book with each double spread covering familiar things: food, colours, animals, clothes… but with the added fun of rhyming words.

Beans, bread, bananas,
salad, spaghetti, sultanas,
cherries, chocolate, cheese,
pasta, pancakes, peas, […]

This is a very cleverly written book, as well as being visually appealing. There’s a bunny to search for on each double spread, and so many things to look out for. Not to mention animal sounds and lots of pro-book wording 🙂

Babies love pictures of other babies, and this book doesn’t disappoint, being filled with boys and girls of various ages and ethnicities so there’s probably at least one that your child can relate to.

MG (six) and DG (four) are probably a little too old for this book. DG enjoys it, and I think if we’d had it from younger it would be read for a long time, but I think it’s a book that is better introduced earlier than four to get the most from it. Having said that, I love it and am very much out of the age range!

Sensible, silly and sublime, this is a perfect book to share with babies and toddlers.

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Babies, Babies, Babies by Hachette Childrens Books for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

Special Guest Reviewers

I feel very fortunate to receive any books from publishers but sometimes I’m sent surprise review copies for an age range I find it hard to review for. I therefore asked my daughters’ lovely school if they’d mind asking some of their keen readers to review some books. Today I got the first set of reviews back! I was thrilled to receive them and the children have done a fantastic job.

Not More Seriously Silly Stories!: Laurence Anholt & Arthur Robins (Orchard Books, 2013)Not More Seriously Silly Stories!: Laurence Anholt & Arthur Robins (Orchard Books, 2013)

Little Red Riding Hood: I liked the part when dear old granny wolf came in the door, because she was really fat. Also the worst part was when the big bag girl (who is the baddy) got a job cutting down trees. I think it was the second best story because it was quite funny.
Rumply Crumply Stinky Pin: This was the best out of all the stories because it was really funny! The best part was when ‘Rumply Crumply Stinky Pin’ made bank notes out of cod (which is fish), because it said ‘smelly bank notes’. AMAZINGLY I would say there is nothing I think could be better!
The Rather Small Turnip: Sadly this was the worst story, because it was hardly funny 🙁 The story did not introduce the fat farmer or his fat wife. There was one thing I found funny it was when the farmer nearly ate his wife! I was a bit disappointed with this story.

REVIEW Not More Seriously Silly Stories!: Laurence Anholt & Arthur Robins (Orchard Books, 2013)

Even Sillier Seriously Silly Stories!: Laurence Anholt & Arthur Robins (Orchard Books, 2013)Even Sillier Seriously Silly Stories!: Laurence Anholt & Arthur Robins (Orchard Books, 2013)

This is a really funny book. The characters are really creative. There is a godmother who comes out of the TV and her godson and his horrible step brothers! I would recommend these hilarious stories to children aged 7-10.

REVIEW Even Sillier Seriously Silly Stories!: Laurence Anholt & Arthur Robins (Orchard Books, 2013)

Jennifer the Babysitter Fairy: Daisy Meadow (Orchard Books, 2013)Jennifer the Babysitter Fairy: Daisy Meadow (Orchard Books, 2013)

Kirsty and Rachel are on a holiday at the famous eco park. But watch out! There’s goblin trouble all around the park. Jack Frost has sent his goblins out to cause trouble. Jennifer has three special objects that help her with her babysitting in fairy land and the human world. But look out Jennifer there’s goblin trouble on the way! Kirsty and Rachel have to help Jennifer recover her magic objects. I would recommend this book for girls age seven to twelve. (Although my little sister who is age six loves it!)

REVIEW Jennifer the Babysitter Fairy: Daisy Meadow (Orchard Books, 2013)

For privacy reasons I can’t share the school or children’s names but I will be sending them thank-you notes for their fantastic work and I hope to have more reviews from this age group in the future.

Disclaimer: We were sent copies of  Not More Seriously Silly Stories!; Even Sillier Seriously Silly Stories!; and Jennifer the Babysitter Fairy by Hachette Children’s Books for review and donated them to our Primary School. No other financial reward was given. These reviews are the honest opinions of the 8-10 year old reviewers. I was not asked to write this post.