Category Archives: Giveaway

Hoo’s Kids Book Fest 2014

Hoo's Kids Book Fest logo

It gives me the greatest pleasure to talk about Hoo’s Kids Book Fest 2014. Firstly, because we get to go this year (woohoo!) and secondly, because we get to offer a family ticket to one lucky reader this year too!

I don’t think I ever went to a literary festival or book event before I had children. I’d been to book signings (mainly Terry Pratchett in my student and post student years. Huge queues. Wonderful man.) but not events. I still don’t go to many because finances don’t allow but blogging about books has introduced me to wonderful authors and fab events.

Literary festivals are quite nice to go to, but children’s literary festivals are amazing. Hoo’s Kids Book Fest is held in the Luton Hoo Walled Garden, part of the Luton Hoo Estate. The garden was designed by the infamous “Capability” Brown and although I’ve never been to Luton Hoo, I used to live minutes away from Blenheim Palace whose gardens were also designed by Brown so can imagine how wonderful the setting must be.

Hoo’s Kids Book Fest is a one day festival with a packed programme of events. I’ve just been trying to decide what we’re going to do and came up with the following:
11.00-11.45 Tent of Terrific Tales: Roald Dahl event
12.15-13.00 The Creative Conservatory: Clara Vulliamy, Dixie O’Day
1.30-2.15 The Creative Conservatory: Petr Horacek, Puffin Peter LUNCH
2.45-3.30 The Marvellous Marquee: Alex T Smith & Caryl Hart, Foxy Fiction
4.00-4.45 The Pavillion of Possibilities: Steve Lenton, Shifty McGifty

Except… I also want to fit in:
2.00-2.45 Awesome Action Tent: Mike Brownlow, Ten Little Pirates
3.00-3.45 Awesome Action Tent: Steve Antony, The Queen’s Hat

Oh, and then there’s the Signing Tent, and the Comics, and the gardens…

Mighty Girl and Danger Girl love Clara Vulliamy, so her event is a must. Mighty Girl has met Caryl Hart and loves her too, and really I couldn’t miss Alex and Caryl as they are both so wonderful. Oh, it’s so hard choosing! And I’m only focussing on the picture book events, there are plenty of things for children of all ages.

Entry for the festival is £6 per person, with certain individual events costing an additional £3 each. My plan of four events would cost £72 for a family of four if paid individually, but there are ‘Golden Tickets’ at £25 for two allowing you up to six paid events saving over £10 per person. Under 2’s are free to everything (and may like the Miffy and Kipper events especially…)

If you have children ages 7-11, the festival can be especially bargainous as the Groundbreaking Tent has a day of events for free, plus the Comic Tent workshops are also free. There are such a variety of activities for all ages that the day can be as packed or as leisurely as you’d like. I haven’t even mentioned the other activities on offer because I’m so excited about the author and illustrator events!

We will be travelling about 70 miles (each way) to experience this wonderful festival (I owe my husband for this as he has little interest in children’s books but I can’t drive annoyingly) and maybe we’ll see you there too?

This year’s festival will be held on Sunday 11th May from 10.30am – 5.00pm and I have a prize of one family ticket (4 tickets, one adult minimum) to give away. The tickets are ‘Golden Tickets’ so festival entry and paid-for events are included. Travel, food, and any other costs you might incur are not covered.

If you would like to be in with a chance of winning this fabulous prize (and can make it to Luton Hoo on Sunday 11th May) please enter via the Rafflecoptor widget below. It’s one easy entry, no social media following required (although that would be nice, but won’t affect your chances!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions
Closing date midnight (UK time) Sunday 4th May. Winner will be notified via e-mail and have 2 days to confirm or alternate winner will be chosen. Winner chosen at random. Prize cannot be transferred and no cash alternative is available. Tickets are to be collected from the festival on the day. The decision of Child-Led Chaos is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

YA/MG Book Giveaway – CLOSED


We’re very lucky that we get sent books to review, but as the focus here is picture books, there are some unsolicited children’s literature that we don’t have time to read or review. I’m giving away this selection of YA/MG books that we received through various means and are all in as-new condition although a few have been read. I think all are aimed at age 9+ or above.

The books you will receive are:
Siege – Sarah Muzzi (HB, giveaway prize via Twitter, reviewed here. This is a read copy, but you can’t tell.)
Peter Pan in Scarlett – Geraldine McCaughrean (HB, given by Oxford Children’s Book Club. This might be a read copy and fly cover has slight tears but no more than you might find on a new copy.)
The Boy Who Swam With Piranhas – David Almond (HB, my purchase. This is a read copy, but you can’t tell.)
Gladiator School: Blood Oath – Dan Scott (PB, sent for review by Salariya. Unread copy.)
Aldo Moon: The Ghost of Gravewood Hall – Alex Woolf (PB, sent for review by Salariya. This is a read copy, but you can’t tell.)
Night Witches – L J Adlington (PB, uncorrected proof, sent for review by Hachette. Unread copy.)
Secret Breakers: The Power of Three – H L Dennis (PB, sent for review by Hachette. Unread copy.)
Maggot Moon – Sally Gardner (PB, my purchase, reviewed here. This is a read copy, but you can’t tell.)
The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom – Christopher Healy (PB, sent for review by HarperCollins. Unread copy.)



The winner of this pack of nine books will be chosen at random from comments left on this post. You can have one entry for adding any comment, and additional entries if you tweet or share by any other means (Facebook, G+ etc) plus an additional entry if you subscribe via RSS or email to this blog (if you’re already subscribed, don’t forget to add another comment.)

Closing date is Friday 31st January 2014, 11.59pm GMT. One comment will be chosen at random and the winner will have 5 days to send their address before another winner is selected.

The books will be sent by courier to UK mainland addresses only, although if you want to pay the difference between the UK price and overseas price then please enter but I doubt it will be cost effective (e.g. additional cost to Highlands & Islands: approx £7; Europe: approx £10-£15 depending on location; USA: approx £23.)

The Wonderful World of BabyLit and LoveLit

Love Lit Tote, Notebooks, Badges and BabyLit Dracula

I was approached on behalf of BabyLit to review some of their board books. I love their board books anyway, and we have Dracula (I discovered them after my two were past the board book stage, but I still bought one!) Then I also saw their LoveLit range of totes, notebooks and badges I knew that my wonderful book addicted readers would love everything LoveLit.

BabyLit Sherlock Holmes

The BabyLit board books take themes and ideas from classical literature and create stunning designs that work for babies, children, and adults. There are some mutterings from purists that these board books are nothing like the works they are based on, but I think they contain the heart and symbols of the books they’re based on and aren’t supposed to be a baby version of a novel.

BabyLit Jabberwocky

And did I mention how stunning the art work is? This is important on all sorts of levels, but leaving my personal love of them aside, let’s think of the board book reader demographic. You’re looking at a child from maybe four or five months, who can consistently grasp something, up to around three or four years when they’ve widened their book library with the ability to turn paper pages.

This highly fussy demographic is attracted to beauty. They want bright colours and contrasts, they want the familiar and they want the strange (but safe), they want to absorb the world and they need to learn constantly.  BabyLit has that covered. The books are also quality made and durable, an essential for this age group!

BabyLit Anna Karenina

There are a huge range of books to choose from, and I’ve added some sample pages to this post but you can see the full range at (a US site), plus lots of lovely images at Alison Oliver’s website. You can also read (glowing) reviews from The Book Sniffer and Plastic Rosaries.

In addition to the board books, there are playsets. The first (and, at time of writing, only available playset in the UK) is Pride and Prejudice. It looks gorgeous. I’m afraid to say I’ve not seen it in real life but from the picture (and knowing the quality of the board books) it looks very sturdy and great fun. If a Dracula or Jabberwocky one comes out, I don’t think I’ll be able to resist at all…

BabyLit Pride and Prejudice playset

Giveaway – ENDED
BabyLit’s UK distributors, PGUK, have very kindly offered one of their lovely totes as a prize – and the winner can choose which one they get. They also very kindly sent me a tote so I can confirm they are well made, very sturdy, thick canvas, and look like they’ll withstand being packed to bursting with books from your local bookstore or library! I was also sent notebooks and badges and will post the red notebooks and three badges from the top picture in this post to the winner. Mighty-Girl will be getting the blue notebooks to write her next novel in. The Dracula badges are mine 😉

To win the prize of tote bag of your choice (sent by PGUK), notebook set and three badges, all you need to do is look at the BabyLit and LoveLit UK range (PDF) and comment below with your choice of tote. If you share this blog (Twitter, Facebook or other social media), add another comment for a second entry. The winning comment will be chosen at random at some point after the deadline of 12pm on Sunday 8th December 2013. The winner will have five days to contact me with their address to arrange delivery of the prizes. If not contacted within this time, I will choose another winner. I’m afraid the prizes can only be posted to UK addresses.

The winner selected via was comment number 3 – liveotherwise

Disclosure: I received LoveLit goodies from PGUK in exchange for sharing our already existing love of the BabyLit range and my newly discovered love of the LoveLit range. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own.

Belle & Boo Giveaway

It’s Belle & Boo Blog Tour week, which means I not only get to promote one of my favourite publishers but also some of my favourite children’s book bloggers too. Make sure you pop by to these fantastic blogs on the dates below for an exclusive download (one per blog) and more…

Belle and Boo exclusive downloads

Monday 8th July – Read It Daddy! (

Tuesday 9th July – Story Seekers (

Wednesday 10th July – The Book Sniffer (

Thursday 11th July – Child-Led Chaos (

Friday 12th July – Library Mice (

Not only that, I get to offer a wonderful prize to one lucky reader! A complete (so far) set of Belle and Boo story and activity books (in paperback), plus the cutest bag to keep them (or other special things) in. We reviewed two Belle & Boo books previously, and they are very lovely.

Belle & Boo prize

I’d normally do a Rafflecoptor widget for the giveaway, but inspired by the lovely Book Sniffer’s competition, I thought I’d make this one more interesting. For a chance of winning, please e-mail childledchaos @ or tweet @childledchaos a picture of a rabbit that you’ve drawn or made. I’ll get my resident artist, Mighty-Girl, to choose her favourite. The deadline is 3.30pm, Monday 15th July. Entrants must have a UK address for the prize to be posted to. I’ll post all entries on Facebook and here.

On Thursday we’ll be reviewing the two new sticker and activity books, plus there’s an interview with Mandy Sutcliffe and the KS1 class of our local primary school.

Small Print: It would be nice if the e-mail subject was “Belle & Boo Giveaway” or you added #belleandboo to your tweet, but not required 🙂

Sixty-four, sixty-four, sixty-four Zoo Lane…

64 Zoo Lane An Vrombaut Hodder Children's Books

Anyone with small children is probably humming the 64 Zoo Lane theme song now… 64 Zoo Lane is an animated series about a little girl called Lucy who lives next door to a zoo and gets told a bedtime story by the animals every night before she falls asleep. It’s often on in the bedtime hour slot on CBeebies (when Abney and Teal and 64 Zoo Lane are both on, bedtime hour is unbeatable viewing for 6pm on a weekday!)

As an adult, you could take the series too seriously and feel for the poor animals in the zoo reminiscing about their life in the jungle or savannah, but that would be just silly. And when you have characters with names like Audrey (ostrich), Reginald (lion), Herbert (warthog), and Esmerelda (snake), you know you shouldn’t be taking it too seriously!

Best of all, the series is based on a set of books by An Vrombaut whose style has been lovingly translated. There are over 100 animated episodes now, but only six original books: Georgina the Giraffe; Joey the Kangaroo; Kevin the Crocodile; Snowbert the Polar Bear; Zed the Zebra; and Henrietta the Hairy Hippo. We were sent copies of the newly reissued Georgina the Giraffe and Zed the Zebra to review, but I’ve since added the rest to our shelves – I’m not sure why we didn’t have any already.

As enormous fans of the TV programme, the books were instant hits with MG and DG. They were instant hits with me because they are not TV tie-ins, the TV series was based on these books rather than the other way around. I am one of those people who dislikes most TV tie-ins, preferring a story that makes sense and is beautifully illustrated.

For fans of the series, the lyrics of the song are printed on the inside back cover. This means I have to sing the theme song every time I read the stories but I can live with that, and my girls tend to join in. It was nice having the lyrics written down actually, because there were a couple I hadn’t worked out!

All six books are joyful to read, and are currently available at the ridiculously low price of £6.99 the set via The Book People. Because I bought all six, I’m giving away the two copies we have duplicates of. To be in with a chance of winning Zed the Zebra and Georgine the Giraffe, please enter via the Rafflecoptor widget below. Closing date is midnight Friday 28 June, open to UK addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: We were sent copies of Georgina the Giraffe and Zed the Zebra 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.

Just Like My Dad App News plus Book Giveaway

For those new to the blog, you may not know that I we are huge fans of David Melling in the Chaos household. This addiction goes back six years, when I purchased a copy of Just Like My Dad from one of our local bookshops for Mr Chaos’ first Father’s Day when MG was only a few months old.

That book is enjoyed as much now as it was then. Well, technically it’s enjoyed much more as there’s only so much a four-month old gets out a book, and we’ve double the children now! But I’m sure you understood what I meant before I decided to add needless clarification…

Just Like My Dad app screen

Today, 13th June 2013, Just Like My Dad is being released as an app. Perfect for Father’s Day sharing, it includes burp and fart sounds. What more does any self-respecting 2-8 year old want than burp and fart sounds? Apparently this also applies to most dads too, but I try to avoid gender stereotyping…

I don’t have anything to run apps on, so normally leave app reviews to the wonderful CApptivated Kids. But the fact that the app includes David Melling illustrations and is based on Just Like My Dad would make it worth the £1.99 price tag in my opinion!

Just Like My Dad app screen

The Just Like My Dad app is released in iOS and Android versions, and is available from the iTunes AppStore and Google Play in the UK, Europe, Australia and North America. I’ll add links as soon as I get them.

I normally ignore press releases in my reviews, but as this isn’t a review here’s some facts from the press release:

  • Narrated by a child actor to appeal to children using the app
  • ‘Read to me’, ‘Read by myself’ and ‘Record myself’ options
  • Available in all options, each screen has automated and touch-activated animation
  • Available in all options, each screen includes touch-activated sound effects, including farting skunks and burping dad and son lion
  • Children get to torment ‘dad’ by ripping plasters off the dad lion
  • ‘Record myself’ option allows a child and father to have fun recording the story together

Sounds like fun. I think my two would particularly like the ripping plasters off dad lion part! Amazingly I haven’t actually reviewed Just Like My Dad yet, but for an idea of the style I have written about Just Like My Mum.

Just Like My Dad app screen

To celebrate the release, Hachette have offered me five sets of the Just Like My Dad board book plus toy lion to giveaway. If the lion is anything like the mini Hugless Douglas from his book/toy set then it is cuter than cute (and small enough to smuggle into schoolbags for a bit of comfort away from home…) I wish I could enter my own competitions!

Just Like My Dad Book and Toy Box Set

To be in with a chance of winning one of these book/toy sets, please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. The prizes will be sent direct from the publisher. Obviously they won’t arrive in time for Father’s Day, but this is a book to be enjoyed any day of the year. The deadline is midnight on Tuesday 18th June. Open to UK addresses only. Winners must reply with addresses within 5 days of drawing, or another winner will be drawn. Five prizes on offer.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cinderelephant by Emma Dodd WITH GIVEAWAY!

Cinderelephant: Emma Dodd (Templar Publishing, 2012)

Cinderelephant: Emma Dodd (Templar Publishing, 2012)

Cinderelephant is a Cinderella tale with the main parts taken by Elephants. The Warty Sisters are the step-sisters (or warthog cousins in this version); there’s a Furry Godmouse (a male one at that); and lots of elephantine puns!

As well as being full of anthropomorphic animals, this is a modernised Cinders with a glossy white limo and sparking pink high heels. Prince Charming Trunky reminds me of Babar (although I was remembering incorrectly because Babar doesn’t wear green pinstriped trousers other than in my head apparently!)

...and it's a big but...

The enormous shoe is obviously, ridiculously, too big for all the ‘girls’ who try it on, which adds another lovely comic touch to the imagery. I would have prefered something other than “[they] were married the very next day” at the end, but it’s a minor quibble. The art is gorgeous, and it’s a lovely alternate-Cinderella addition to fairy tale loving children.

I am thrilled to be able to offer a SIGNED copy of Cinderelephant to one lucky reader. All you need to do to enter is click the widget below and add a comment. The prize will be sent directly by Templar, and you need a UK address to enter. As with all good things, the giveaway ends at midnight… on 29th January. I’ll press the button to get the random winner in the morning of Tues 29th January.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: We were sent an e-copy of Cinderelephant by Templar Publishing for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to review the book, just to offer a copy to give away!

National Hug Day with Hugless Douglas

Hugless Douglas in London looking for hugs

Monday 21st January is the most depressing day of the year, according to some made-up calculations. It’s also National Hug Day, which seems like a much better idea. In honour of this, a giant Hugless Douglas will be out and about in London all day. He’ll need all that fur with snow predicted. Brrrrr!

David and Douglas’ London Schedule:
8.30am Hugless Douglas at Watermark bookshop, Kings Cross Station.
10.00am Hugless Douglas at Buckingham Palace.
11.00am David Melling and Hugless Douglas at Waterstones Piccadilly signing books and giving hugs.
2.00pm David Melling and Hugless Douglas at Netley Primary School giving 117 free books to the children!
4.00pm David Melling and Hugless Douglas at Watermark books, Kings Cross Station signing books and giving hugs.

If you’re out in London and take a photo of your hug with Hugless Douglas, tweet it to @hodderchildrens and you could win a Hugless Douglas plush and signed book.

Signed books and slippers

If you’re not in London, how about a set of signed books and fluffy Hugless Douglas slippers? This wonderful prize comes courtesy of Hachette Children’s Books and I wish I could enter because they look so lush! Fortunately there’s a second chance to win with Book Sniffer too.

For one entry into the draw, let me know about your favourite kind of hug. For a second entry, do some social media sharing or tell a friend about National Hug Day and Hugless Douglas. Winner chosen via the Rafflecoptor widget below so make sure your entry counts! The competition closes at 12am 22nd January.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Look at those slippers, aren’t they gorgeous?

If you’re on Twitter, follow @davidmelling1 and @hodderchildrens because they’re awesome, and for notification of other competitions throughout the week.

Hugless Douglas Week: Giveaway

Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep: David Melling (Hodder Children's Books, 2012)

To celebrate the publication day of the paperback of Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep on 4th October I will be having a week of Hugless Douglas posts including reviews, activities and where to download colouring sheets etc.

To start the week off, I’m opening a giveaway for one hardback copy of the third Hugless Douglas book plus a copy of the activity book you can usually only get by attending an event. You can read my original review of the book here, or the edited re-post is below.

Before you read that, let me point you in the direction of Hugless Douglas events with David Melling coming up very soon:
6th October 2012: Cheltenham Literary Festival
(SOLD OUT, Sorry!) 7th October 2012: Bath Literary Festival
12th October 2012: Wimbledon BookFest
31st October 2012: Wessex Festival
10th November 2012: Leicester Festival
See for more details.

UPDATE: Thanks to the generosity of Hachette Children’s Books and David Melling, more prizes added plus all books can be SIGNED if wanted. Giveaway extended until Tuesday 9th October due to extra prizes.

Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep is the third in the Hugless Douglas series, and I think it might just be my favourite of the three. To recap: In Hugless Douglas (Hodder 2010), Douglas wakes from a long sleep and tries to find a hug that suits him, looking for big tall and comfy hugs in all the wrong places until Rabbit takes him to the best hug of all. In Don’t Worry [Hugless] Douglas (Hodder 2011) Douglas gets a new hat from his dad but in his excitement the hat gets ruined. He looks for advice about what to tell his dad, before finding out that telling the truth is the best option.

In Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep, Douglas is heading for a sleepover with Rabbit: “There’s plenty of room at Rabbit’s.” But not before choosing what to take with him, getting lost, picking up some friends along the way and ending sleeping not quite where originally planned…

It’s the attention to detail that make me love these books so much. This may be why I like Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep so much, because it brings themes from the original Hugless Douglas book: the honeybee pyjamas, the bush with eyes, the owl saying “Twooooo Twit!”. I also love how the sky subtly darkens throughout the book with a sunset sky before night falls – something that you can even see in the storyboard:

Kind permission given by David Melling to use storyboard sketch

Kind permission given by David Melling to use storyboard sketch

Poor Douglas. They pushed... ...and they pulled.

This double spread also has that Winnie-the-Pooh trapped in Rabbit’s house feel, except in this case Rabbit is very happy for Douglas to visit and the problem is getting into her house, not out of it. (And I just love how this Rabbit instantly just decides to dig a bigger hole because she is, after all, a rabbit…)

The attention to detail really is just fantastic: there are always ten sheep (even when they’re just eyes in a bush), Douglas’ storybook front and back cover is an exact match to the first Hugless Douglas book, one of the sheep is pulling the pyjamas out of the bag before Douglas is shown wearing them (though how he gets them on must be a book in itself!)

The final double page spread of “things to take on a sleepover” is packed with humour (especially the cuddly toy), but I think my favourite has to be: a friend. Hugless Douglas can be every child’s friend so off you go now, grab yourself a copy and enjoy. And don’t forget to read it to your children once you’ve enjoyed it…

Don’t forget to pack a friend…

a Rafflecopter giveaway