Tag Archives: Sarah McIntyre

Jam!

Jam! Jam! Jam! Jam! Lovely Jam! Wonderful Jam!

I may have misquoted slightly, but I couldn’t resist. Jam goes in sandwiches, in porridge, on toast, in cakes, and in debates about whether strawberry or raspberry is best. Raspberry, obviously. And it can be mistaken for blood, which is what the following three books sort-of have in common.

jampires

Jampires: Sarah McIntyre & David O’Connell (David Fickling Books, 2014)

Jampires began life as a comic created by Sarah McIntyre and David O’Connell, where one drew a page and the other one followed until a story appeared.  Encouraged by their publisher to transform the idea into a picture book, David and Sarah worked together to create Jampires. Sarah and David are both the author(s) and the illustrator(s) in this fabulous collaboration.

Sam is distressed to find his favourite treat dry and wrinkly, as if all the jam had been sucked out. Determined to catch the culprit, he sets a trap with ketchup filled doughnuts (yuck!), but ends up with more than he bargained with. Two small Jampires, a land of yummy treats that DG(5) wants to move to, and a deliciously sticky adventure.

The Jampires are far too cute to be scary, even with those fangs and red-smeared faces. You can find out more on the Jampires website, including the original comic and activities to download.

bernardBernard: Rob Jones (Beast In Show Books, 2014)

This is not only Rob Jones’ debut picture book, but the publisher’s debut too. Based on the quality of this, I expect Beast In Show Books, and Rob Jones, to have a rosy future ahead of them.

Bernard is the tale of a misunderstood wild dog. Poor Bernard, all alone on the moors with everyone afraid of him, and all he wants is your yummy tasty jam – eek, lock up your fridges!

Told in a minimal palette with strong lines and text taking a starring role, the bold style will appeal to even small children. Grown-ups, however, might find some of the images a little scary, especially one of the double spreads showing a close up of the hound’s mouth full of sharp pointed red-stained teeth and manic red pupils… Just hold your child’s hand and you’ll be fine.

Disclosure: Bernard received for review from Beast In Show Books.

The Wolves in the Walls: Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean (Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2003)The Wolves in the Walls: Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2003)

The slightly scary nature of Bernard, and his taste for jam, brought to mind the wolves from this classic Gaiman/McKean picture book. I reviewed The Wolves in the Walls a couple of years ago, and actually we haven’t read it this year so I’ve pulled it out to see what DG thinks of it now she’s five (MG doesn’t listen to stories at all any more, she prefers to read alone.) What this has in common with Bernard is that it’s a book that grown-ups will probably find more frightening than children will.

I think we forget that a book like Owl Babies is more terrifying to a small child than vampires or werewolves can ever be, or that children will just see jam as jam if that’s the context…

Monster-ous and Beast-ly Picture Books

It’s a week until Hallowe’en, All Hallow’s Eve, when the supernatural roam openly and the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest… Or it’s a commercialised festival where we carve pumpkins and eat too many sweeties! In either case it’s a perfect time for reading monster-ous and beast-ly books. Here are a few from our collection.

Tamara Small and the Monsters Ball: Giles Paley-Philips & Gabriele Antonini (Maverick Arts Publishing)Tamara Small and the Monsters Ball: Giles Paley-Philips & Gabriele Antonini (Maverick Arts Publishing)
From the same team that created The Fearsome Beastie, another beast-ly book but with friendly monsters (and more) this time. Perfect for Halloween this book is filled with witches, skeletons, ghouls, ghosts, goblins and pretty much anything else you can think of! Although the beasies aren’t so fearsome here, the book starts with the rather terrifying act of a child being snatched from her bed. Being a parent, this is the part of the book I’m not keen on, but I was oversensitive when I first read it as April Jones had only just gone missing at the time. It didn’t scare my daughters in the slightest. With fun rhyming, scary moments and lots of cute and safe monsters, this is a book that should appeal to most children. My two monster-mad-munchkins love it, especially the break-dancing werewolf. A recommended Halloween read – and good fun the rest of the year too 🙂

Morris the Mankiest Monster: Giles Andreae & Sarah McIntyre (Random House Children's Books)Morris the Mankiest Monster: Giles Andreae & Sarah McIntyre (Random House Children’s Books)
I think the highest praise I can give this book is that I feel quite ill on reading it! Morris really is a very manky monster. Giles Andreae’s repulsive rhyme coupled with Sarah McIntyre’s disgusting(ly cute) illustrations make a great pair and most small children (and adult males who follow a certain stereotype for that matter!) will love Morris and his gross ways. Highlights include “pustules which dribble like hot melted cheese” and “breath [reeking] of rotten fish paste”. What a delight! Bleurgh! 😉

Bedtime for Monsters: Ed Vere (Puffin Books)Bedtime for Monsters: Ed Vere (Puffin Books)
This is very much a bedtime book, it doesn’t work nearly as well in the middle of the day for instance… Is there a monster out there? And does he, maybe, want to eat you up? Bedtime for Monsters is very much a read aloud book to share with small children with lots of word sounds (e.g. bumpity bump, scritch scratch, creak…) to wrap your tongue around. It’s a book to read when snuggled up tight with small children, teasing them with tickles and scariness until the delightful twist at the end giving you an excuse to kiss and tuck them in for the night. DG is a huge fan of this one, and we have some one-to-one time going through it with her. Wonderfully illustrated with a monster that is far too cute to want to eat you up really, great for any time of year but especially on dark nights…

The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child: Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler (Macmillan Children's Books)The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child: Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler (Macmillan Children’s Books)
On the one hand, these books need no introduction; on the other, they need an entire post to themselves. Is there anyone who isn’t aware of The Gruffalo? We all think that The Gruffalo deserves it’s reputation and the brilliant repetition in the rhyme makes it all too easy to memorise too – I used to quote this to MG when she was a toddler and I’d forgotten to bring a book out and about with us. For this time of year, where the nights are getting darker and the trees are losing their leaves The Gruffalo’s Child is perfect. I don’t think the rhyme works as well but the story is fun and, well, it’s The Gruffalo 😉

Where the Wild Things Are: Maurice Sendak (HarperCollins Children's Books)Where the Wild Things Are: Maurice Sendak (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
A classic of course, and all the more poignant since Sendak’s recent death, but not one of my favourites to read out loud. It’s a book with so many pictures to be savoured which I find difficult to ‘read’ to small children, they need to read it themselves! The story is of pushing boundaries; of limitations and freedoms; of imagination and of parental love. Perfect subjects for small children.

The Octonauts & the Only Lonely Monster: Meomi (HarperCollins Children's Books)The Octonauts & the Only Lonely Monster: Meomi (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
We all love the Octonauts cartoon series in the house. It’s packed with real information about underwater creatures making it educational as well as fun. The original books are more fantastical but we appreciate both on their own merits, and this book is a fine example. The octoalert is blaring, the octopod is under attack! Except, really, it’s a lonely monster who thought that the octopod was like him. Off the octonauts go to find the monster’s family – they search north, east, south and west. The search pages are wonderful, packed with creatures and each at a different orientation so you have to turn the book 90 degrees to view each double page. The monster may turn out to be the only one of his kind, but that doesn’t mean he has to be lonely. A lovely tale of accepting our differences, and sure to be appreciated by all octonauts series fans too!

I have a soft spot for monsters, which has rubbed off on my daughters so we have plenty of monster and beast books. Others we’ve already written about: The Monster Machine; The Ravenous Beast; The Pirate-Cruncher; Love Monster; plus a special mention for the perfect Halloween book Haunted House.

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Tamara Small and the Monster’s Ball by Maverick Arts Publishing for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

I’m Looking for a Book about… Space

It’s the third “I’m looking for a book about…” carnival from Playing by the Book and this month’s theme is Space.

There is obviously a discrepancy between what I think is on my shelves and what is actually on my shelves because I thought we had loads of books on Fairies (but found none), and loads on Space (but not as many as I thought) and none on the Seaside, Beaches and Oceans (but found far more than on any other subject so must go back and enter that carnival…)

Welcome to Alien School by Caryl Hart and Ed Eaves.

The third of a series of books about Albie, an ordinary boy who extraordinary things happen to. We’ve previously reviewed this book.

 

You Can’t Eat a Princess! by Gillian Rogerson & Sarah McIntyre.

Since reviewing, we now own our own copy of both You Can’t Eat a Princess! and You Can’t Scare a Princess! and they are both still very well loved.

 

Winnie in Space by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul.

Winnie the Witch! In space! What’s not to love? I am a huge fan of Korky Paul’s work, the details are wonderful and make re-reading books a joy. Winnie in Space is the eleventh Winnie book. Valerie Thomas’ text is spot on, these are proper picture books with text and pictures telling the stories together.

In Winnie in Space, Winnie conjures a rocket and off Winnie and Wilbur go for a picnic. But, oh no, space rabbits are coming to the picnic! “Chocolate Muffins? Disgusting. Cherries? Yuck!” but space rockets? Yum! How will Winnie and Wilbur get home after the rabbits have chewed their rocket up?

Every page also has a picture of a planet or object from the solar system with their astronomical symbols, a nice touch to lead to further study if your child shows an interest.

Meg on the Moon by Helen Nicol and Jan Pienkowski.

It’s Mog’s birthday and for his birthday treat he wants to go in a space ship.  Meg makes a spell (that works!) and off they go. This book actually covers a lot of educational activities: counting down from 10 for lift off; weightlessness in space; moon buggy, lunar module and spacesuits; food in bags; jumping high with the moon’s lower gravity; what the Earth looks like from space… Another gem of a book.

Basher’s Astronomy by Dan Green and Simon Basher.

I love these Basher Books, I’ve not written about them before because they’re too old for my girls but I’ve been collecting them nonetheless because they are brilliant. Manga-style characters with simplified explanations of the concepts they represent. This book deserves a post to itself

Finally a free book to download (or buy in physical form) for early readers: Tick Tock Little Facts Blast Off! Lots of photos of real space images and only 100 words for new readers to attempt themselves.

There is also a series of books about the solar system from the same publishers for early readers who want to read a bit more detail.

Next month’s carnival theme is (Starting) School. Thank-you Zoe for these carnivals, it’s been great fun thinking of books to fit each theme!

Fiction Fridays #3: You Can’t Eat A Princess!

You Can't Eat A Princess!

“It’s nearly time for my party!” said Princess Spaghetti.

FF#3
You Can’t Eat A Princess!: Gillian Rogerson & Sarah McIntyre (2010)

Read more about Fiction Fridays here.
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Extra info:
I did try to get a picture of the book before the battery of my camera died, but that was the best I could do of the front cover. It’s not an easy book to extract from Destructo Girl! We borrowed this from the library 8 days ago and I have read it at least twice a day ever since. Both Mighty Girl and Destructo Girl choose it – MG finishes off the sentences and takes great pride in recognising some of the 3 letter words (all, the…) DG asks “Where’s Princess?”, point’s out King Cupcake’s crown and throws a tantrum when I refuse to read it for the third time in a row: “Again! Again!”
DG enjoying You Can't Eat A Princess!
I like this book because the princess is a strong willed character who isn’t afraid to go off to rescue her dad when no one else is willing to. Oh, and there’s lots of chocolate! And aliens! The pictures are fantastic, lots of details in there and everything looks good enough to eat. Sarah McIntyre and Gillian Rogerson are both on Twitter, and well worth following. Sarah McIntyre has loads of extras on her website for crafts and parties. I’ve only just found this today, and I know my girls will love this, especially MG who loves all sorts of crafts.

I’ve put both this book and its sequel, You Can’t Scare A Princess, on the girls’ Christmas wish list! It has been an instant hit and I think I’m going to need to keep this library copy for quite some time!