Tag Archives: Orchard Books

Eight Recent Picture Book Paperback Releases

I have realised that I am not going to be able to give every book we have to review a post of its own but I do want to write about them all so here’s a multiple review post with no particular theme or order!

Copycat Bear: Ellie Sandall (Hodder Children's Books, 2012)Copycat Bear: Ellie Sandall (Hodder Children’s Books, 2012)
Plot: A lusciously illustrated tale of Mango the bird and her friend, Blue the bear. Blue copies everything that Mango does until Mango gets fed up and leaves her friend…
Age range: Toddler; Pre-school; KS1
Concepts: Frustration; forgiveness; breaking and making friends
Activity: Make patterns on paper, cut up into leaf shapes to make a tree
Also read: Iris & Isaac by Catherine Rayner

Elephant Pants: Smriti Prasdam-Halls & David Wojtowycz (Orchard Books, 2012)Elephant Pants: Smriti Prasdam-Halls & David Wojtowycz (Orchard Books, 2012)
Plot: Bright, colourful and told in rhyme, this tale follows poor Major Trump who’s lost his knickers! Noah goes through all the animals in the ark until they eventually turn up.
Age range: Toddler; Pre-school; KS1
Concepts: Embarrassment; humour
Activity: Decorate underwear templates, make a washing line
Also read: Pants by Giles Andreae & Nick Sharratt

Jack's Amazing Shadow: Tom Percival (Pavillion Children's Books, 2013)Jack’s Amazing Shadow: Tom Percival (Pavillion Children’s Books, 2013)
Plot: Jack is an ordinary boy with an extraordinary shadow, and together they are the best of friends. Until one day Jack’s shadow gets him into trouble and he shouts at him. Emotions are conveyed beautifully in the artwork, making this a great book to discuss emotions as well as a feel-good story with fun illustrations.
Age range: Pre-school; KS1; KS2
Concepts: Anger; forgiveness
Activity: Copy the ideas on the endpapers to make shadow hands, or cut out black paper shadow shapes
Also read: Copycat Bear by Ellie Sandall

Tim, Ted and the Pirates: Ian Whybrow & Russell Ayto (HarperCollins Children's Books, 2006)Tim, Ted and the Pirates: Ian Whybrow & Russell Ayto (HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2006)
Plot: Told in rhyme, a bored boy imagines a swashbuckling pirate adventure during a dull storytime at school.
Age range: Pre-school; KS1; KS2
Concepts: Boredom; imagination
Activity: Look at the cutaway pirate ship, think about what rooms you’d have on your ship and design your own
Also read: Captain Flynn and the Pirate Dinosaurs by Giles Andraea & Russell Ayto

A Farmer's Life For Me: Jan Dobbins & Laura Huliska-Beith (Barefoot Books, 2013)A Farmer’s Life For Me: Jan Dobbins & Laura Huliska-Beith (Barefoot Books, 2013)
Plot: A sing-a-long book (with CD) about different aspects of farming.
Age range: Baby; Toddler; Pre-school
Concepts: Being busy; working
Activity: Sing!
Also read: Over in the Meadow (various versions available)

Pittipat's Saucer of Moon: Geraldine McCaughrean & Maria Nilsson (Hodder Children's Books, 2012)Pittipat’s Saucer of Moon: Geraldine McCaughrean & Maria Nilsson (Hodder Children’s Books, 2012)
Plot: A kitten imagines the moon is a saucer of milk and dreams of climbing the sky to drink it. The art is gorgeous but I find the text too tongue tripping to easily read aloud.
Age range: Pre-school; KS1; KS2
Concepts: Bravery; dreaming
Also read: watch In the Night Garden for similar surreality

Llama Llama Shopping Drama: Anna Dewdney (Hodder Children's Books, 2007)Llama Llama Shopping Drama: Anna Dewdney (Hodder Children’s Books, 2007)
Plot: Young Llama Llama is taken shopping and gets very fed up. Told in rhyme with lots of humour, and great expressions from the baby llama. A very familiar tale for any parent of young children, and great fun to share.
Age range: Baby; Toddler; KS1
Concepts: Boredom; tantrums; forgiveness
Activity: Play shops
Also read: More in the Llama Llama series; How Do Dinosaurs…? series by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague

Florentine and Pig and the Lost Pirate Treasure: Eva Katzler & Jess Mikhail (Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2013)Florentine and Pig and the Lost Pirate Treasure: Eva Katzler & Jess Mikhail (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2013)
Plot: Florentine enthuses about the fun they’re going to have in the sunshine outside, until Pig points out it’s raining. They then imagine they are searching for missing treasure and have a fun day inside instead.
Age range: Pre-school; KS1; KS2
Concepts: Imagination; creativity
Activity: Cooking and crafts already in the book
Also read: Tim, Ted and the Pirates by Ian Whybrow & Russell Ayto

Disclaimer: We were sent copies of all eight books by their respective publishers (Hachette Children’s Books, Harper Collins Children’s Books, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, Barefoot Books and Pavillion Children’s Books) for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

Father’s Day Books

Is it really Father’s Day this Sunday? I know it’s always the third Sunday in June, but I had in my head that it was 23rd June, not 16th! Then again, I think today is the 2nd of June, not the 11th. Or perhaps April. 2010. So my date-keeping isn’t that impressive…

There are lots of lovely books involving Fathers but I hope you don’t mind if I only cover two recent releases that I’ve been sent!

I Love My Daddy: Giles Andreae & Emma Daddy (Orchard Books, 2011)Firstly, there’s the board book version of I Love My Daddy from the team of Giles Andreae and Emma Dodd. A lovely celebration of dad-ness that quite fits our family (the dad is shown cooking pancakes; this is the only thing Mr Chaos volunteers to cook – apart from BBQs of course!) I like how the toddler child pictured could be male or female, making this accessible to any gender of blonde, white child. It is a nice book. It’s not a stand-out or particularly showcasing the talents of Giles Andreae or Emma Dodd, who between them have an amazing body of work, but it’s a nice book. I was going to offer our copy as a giveaway (my two being a bit on the old side for board books apart from their extra-special ones) but someone’s used this book to lean on when drawing so there are small dents in the cover and it’s not good enough (in my opinion) to give away. However, if you’d like it, the first person to contact me will get it in the post – not in time for Father’s Day alas!

There, There: Sam McBratney & Ivan Bates (Templar Publishing, 2013)Secondly, is a book I am far more excited about. There, There by Sam McBratney and Ivan Bates is stunningly beautiful. Sam McBratney is the writer of Guess How Much I Love You?, a book that is a classic but only a so-so book for me. What really makes There, There are Ivan Bates delicious illustrations. I’ve just realised I’ve managed to miss a whole series of books illustrated by Ivan Bates and will be tracking them down forthwith! This story follows Hansie Bear (what a gorgeous name!) as he plays and, as small children do, he gets minor hurts along the way. His dad is there, watching him from a suitable distance, allowing Hansie freedom to play and learn but always being there for a hug and the comforting words of “There, there…” This is a lovely book to share with small toddlers who may be afraid of trying new things, reassuring them that we’ll always be there for them (but not wrapping them up in cotton wool so they can’t appreciate the world or have fun!) but also lovely to share with older children who already know this and who will fall in love with cute little Hansie and his Dad. MG and DG do think he’s cute, and can relate to how Hansie gives his dad a hug at the end to cheer him up because we’re a family who supports each other and our girls have hugged Mummy and Daddy when we’ve been down too. A gorgeously beautiful book with a lovely message, and a fantastic Father’s Day gift too – you’ve still time to order this in to your local independent book store or buy online in time to get it for Sunday. We won’t be giving our copy away I’m afraid!

Last year I reviewed My Daddy by Curtis Jobling. The first Father’s Day book I bought Mr Chaos was Just Like My Dad by David Melling, which six years on is still a firm favourite.

Disclaimer: We were sent copies of I Love My Daddy by Hachette Children’s Books and There, There by Templar Publishing for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

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.

Friends creating books

I have a ridiculous pile of review books to get through, so much so that I will have to schedule time to write in as just writing when I feel like it doesn’t seem to be working for me at the moment, because I don’t really feel like it.

But I really need to share some of the wonderful books I’ve been sent and we’ve been in enjoying, so in lieu of proper reviews (which will follow), I want to talk about three books that MG and DG are particularly loving at the moment. Actually, it’s six books but four are by the same author/illustrator team so I’m choosing one from them.

It’s author/illustrator teams that I want to talk about. I’m merely a (very) interested party when it comes to picture books so I know a few things about how picture books are magicked into existence, but not the full details. So I may get some things wrong here!

In general it appears that for books created by two people, i.e. an author (or “illustrator’s assistant” as Korky Paul described them in a recent event we went to) and an illustrator, the creators may never even meet each other. For the books that MG and DG are loving so much at the moment, this is not the case.

All three books are about friendship in some way, and have been created by friends. This really seems to shine through and make these stories extra special.

friends

Mabel and Me is a hilarious, insightful, quotable and gorgeous book. You can read about Mark Sperring and Sarah Warburton on Sarah’s Blog.

Bubble and Squeak is a delicious, moreish, adventurous and happy book. You can read about James Mayhew and Clara Vulliamy on Clara’s Blog; and on James’ Blog.

Faster, Faster, Nice and Slow is a colourful, contradictory, bouncy and bright book. I couldn’t find any Nick Sharratt or Sue Heap information probably because this is an older book, but it’s extra-special because Nick and Sue both write and both illustrate and both appear in the books. They’ve collaborated on four books together, and this is my personal favourite (DG loves them all extra specially, they are her special books).

Disclaimer: We were sent copies of Mabel and Me by HarperCollins Children’s Books and Bubble and Squeak 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.

The Super Swooper Dinosaur by Martin Waddell & Leonie Lord

The Super Swooper Dinosaur: Martin Waddell & Leonie Lord (Orchard Books, 2012)

The Super Swooper Dinosaur: Martin Waddell & Leonie Lord (Orchard Books, 2012)

The Super Swooper Dinosaur is a ‘sequel’ to The Dirty Great Dinosaur, which we also have. I bought The Dirty Great Dinosaur because of loving Leonie Lord’s art in Whiffy Wilson and was delighted to be sent the second book in the series. The first one confuses me slightly: at the end the pet dog is shown with a toy dinosaur and I’m not sure if you’re meant to realise that the dinosaur was all in the child’s imagination or whether it was supposed to be real. A bit too deep for small children perhaps, and there seems to be no ambiguity in the sequel.

The Super Swooper Dinosaur tries to play different games with Hal, but he’s not very good at any of them because he’s too big. In the end, they do what he does best – swoop! Seeing a pterodactyl/pteranodon crying is a very silly sight, but the subtext of the story is probably on how to make playdates feel okay when they visit?

Oh, I read too much into these books sometimes! It’s a lovely story of a boy, and his dog, and his dinosaur, in an idyllic village setting with lots of outdoor space, lots of playing, and lots of fun. Great for any child who likes dinosaurs. So, about 90% of all small children then 😉

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of The Super Swooper Dinosaur 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.

Lily Gets Lost by Jane Simmons

Lily Gets Lost: Jane Simmons (Orchard Books, 2012)

Lily Gets Lost: Jane Simmons (Orchard Books, 2012)

You can’t go far wrong with Jane Simmons for beautifully illustrated gentle books for toddlers (and older) and Lily Gets Lost is no exception. In this story Lily, an inquisitive little lamb, hears a noise and goes off to investigate. Then she hears more noises, and investigates some more. Before long she’s lost but a kind mother pig helps her find her way home.

There are so many things to love about this story. Lily is inquisitive and brave. Yes, it gets her into a spot of bother but actually she’s in no danger. Enforcing the ‘stay in sight of your parent’ is a good lesson alongside this book. Encouraging investigation and questioning is an even better lesson in my opinion!

Lily hears lots of animal sounds, so the book teaches (or reinforces) animal sounds to very young children, and encourages listening to the sounds around to older children. At the end, Lily has to listen very carefully to hear her mother and find her way home. Learning to be quiet and listen to all the sounds around you is an extremely important skill.

Then, of course, there is the beautiful soft, pastel art that make all the animals jump out of the page and into your lap as you read the story. Lily is a lovely character (and a female animal star, something that is surprisingly rare) and one I hope to see more of in the future.

Perfect for toddlers and pre-schoolers, and lovely to read aloud, we all enjoyed Lily and her adventure in the Chaos house!

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Lily Gets Lost 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.

Small Knight and George and the Pirates

Small Knight and George and the Pirates: Ronda Armitage & Arthur Robins (Orchard Books, 20??)

Small Knight and George and the Pirates: Ronda Armitage & Arthur Robins (Orchard Books, 2012)

I’ve been trying to get my head around writing about this book because it’s a bit of an odd one for me. It’s got pirates. It’s got a dragon. It’s silly. But… For some reason I don’t quite love it, but I can’t work out why. Because there are so many good points of this book, I really ought to like it more than I do.

Small Knight’s castle is falling to pieces and his parents are worried about fixing it. Money worries are probably something that all small children pick up on, and to have it actually mentioned in a book gives it a more accessible place. Especially a book where things work out well for everyone.

There are lots of different words to increase a small child’s vocabulary like ‘turquoise’ and ‘provisions’ and ‘wallowing’. And some lovely alliteration like ‘wallowing waves’ and ‘prattling parrots’.

Female pirates! Okay, so they’re the secondary characters after Small Knight and his crew, but they are female without any comment. They just are, and it shows that pirates can be either gender.

Captain Swashmebuckle’s treasure isn’t gold and jewell-er-y but her beloved parrots. Showing that money isn’t everything, and things that are important to us are worth more.

This is the third in a series, and I’ve not read the others. In this book, George the dragon seems superfluous as a character. I don’t know if he never speaks or does anything in the others, but it’s a shame he hasn’t got more of a part in this one because as a first time reader of the series I can’t see the point of his character!

It’s got pirates. It’s silly. It’s got lots of good points. It ought to be a 5* book, but it just didn’t quite work for us. Would be great for pirate-mad children who love words and silly stories.

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Small Knight and George and the Pirates 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.

The Dark by Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen

The Dark: Lemony Snicket & Jon Klassen (Orchard Books, 2013)

The Dark: Lemony Snicket & Jon Klassen (Orchard Books, 2013)

I have started writing a review for The Dark many times over. I just seem to end up being overly negative every time, which it doesn’t deserve. This is one of the most highly anticipated picture books of the year, a collaboration of two of the finest contemporary children’s book creators. But anticipation is a duel edged sword and knowing the talent behind this book I think I was expecting something other than it is.

There is nothing wrong with this book. It is a very good picture book. Not every book will be loved by every family, and this one didn’t work for us. So instead of struggling with words, I’ll leave you with this fantastic trailer, narrated by Neil Gaiman, which gives you the first few spreads of the book and a very good feel of the story. Enjoy!

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgiRc3CytPM”]

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of The Dark 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.

Come On, Daisy by Jane Simmons

Come On, Daisy: Jane Simmons (Orchard Books, 1998)

Come On, Daisy!: Jane Simmons (Orchard Books, 1998)

This is a fifteenth anniversary re-issue, and therefore completely new to me! Fifteen years ago I was… Um… I was 22, not quite two years out of university and just about to leave home and move into a rented bedsit. It was not a time when I took much interest in picture books!

Daisy is a curious little duckling who is more interested in investigating the world around her than listening to her mother’s calls of “Come on!” It’s an all-too familiar scenario for any parent of small children. Come on; Keep moving; Keep Close; Don’t stray… We constantly tell these things to our children, knowing that we have to get somewhere, knowing that we want to keep them safe. But children need to explore and discover, and learn danger. I’d rather they learnt danger from Daisy’s worries than in real life, but I think this book also has a message for parents too: allow time for exploring. I think Mamma Duck has slowed down a little at the end so Daisy can look at the butterflies while staying close, and Daisy has learnt that she needs to listen to Mamma Duck too.

A lovely message in a beautifully illustrated book. Suitable for toddlers and up, we’ve all enjoyed this story in the Chaos household. It’s no wonder it’s been popular for fifteen years, here’s to the next fifteen and beyond.

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Come On, Daisy! by Hachette Children’s Books for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.