Tag Archives: Children’s Books

Shadows of the Silver Screen by Christopher Edge

Shadows of the Silver Screen: Christopher Edge (Nosy Crow, 2013)Penelope Tredwell, thirteen year old proprietor and writer for popular Victorian magazine The Penny Dreadful, is back in her second historical-alternate-history-mystery-horror-paranormal tale starting six months after the end of Twelve Minutes to Midnight.

This time she’s pulled into the new and exciting world of the moving picture when the mysterious Mr Gold offers to make a film of one of Montgomery Flinch’s tales of terror.

Shadows of the Silver Screen has a similar pace to Twelve Minutes to Midnight, with a slower set-up for the first half of the book before you start finding out what’s really going on. The novel has a Sherlock Holmes feel to it, except the supernatural is real in this world.

When Penny left Alfie in London to travel with Monty, I was a little sad because I wanted all the characters to be included. I needn’t have worried as we need him in London to track down further clues. I found Penelope not as strong a character as the first novel, but this may have been the effects of ghostly interference. I hope she returns to strength for the third, and I hope there is a third because I am getting quite hooked on Christopher Edge’s alternate version of Victorian England.

A highlight of the novel for me were the historical facts the story inspires you to look up. I hadn’t heard of Louis Le Prince before and yet I would have called myself reasonably aware of film history (apparently not!) I also loved how the story didn’t end where I thought, but still held more thrills. Creepy and gripping, Shadows of the Silver Screen should appeal to anyone with an interest in film, horror, Victorian era, strong female leads and gripping plots.

Belle & Boo by Mandy Sutcliffe

Belle & Boo are new to me, but I am totally in love. And based on the blissful silence and total concentration from both MG and DG (alone and together) these beautiful books grab the attention of small children too. Belle & Boo is described as a ‘lifestyle brand’, which is actually a negative for me because phrases like ‘lifestyle brand’ generally make me feel like vomiting! However, what this means in reality is that these beautiful characters already exist as stationery, party accessories and even clothing.

Again, this could be perceived as a negative, but the text in these books is written by Gillian Shields which makes them thoughtful, readable books instead of just ‘character tie-ins’. The delightful vintage feel to the illustrations will appeal to many. I’m usually not a huge vintage fan but Belle & Boo have completely won me over. They are adorable.

So far there are three books: Belle & Boo and the Birthday Surprise (available in hardback and paperback); Belle & Boo and the Goodnight Kiss (available in hardback, paperback published on 7 Feb 2013); and Belle & Boo and the Yummy Scrummy Day (published in hardback on 21 Feb 2013 & paperback 6 Jun 2013). There are also two sticker activity books to be published in July 2013.

I was sent one paperback and one hardback book by Hachette Children’s Books to fall in love with review, and found the books themselves beautifully made. Gorgeous matt pages add to the vintage feel and the hardback cover again has the vintage attention to detail. I’m in danger of completely overusing the word vintage but it fits so well! A set of the hardbacks would make a lovely Christening present, especially when coupled with Belle & Boo stationery.

This is Belle, and this is Boo.
They are always together –
on sunny days,
rainy days,
and dreamy let’s be lazy days.

Belle & Boo and the Goodnight Kiss: Mandy Sutcliffe, text: Gillian Shields (Orchard Books, 2012)Belle & Boo and the Goodnight Kiss: Mandy Sutcliffe, text: Gillian Shields (Orchard Books, 2012)
It’s the end of a busy day, full of ‘very lots of busy’ and Belle & Boo are tired. But first they must do all their bedtime rituals: bath, putting the other toys to bed, milk and cookies, story… But then Boo decides to hide to give Belle a surprise and when she can’t find him, she worries he’ll miss the most important part of bedtime: a goodnight kiss. This is a lovely, gentle story with a familiar bedtime routine that’s perfect for sharing at bedtime. The gorgeous muted pastel illustrations are eye-catching and uncluttered so as not to overwhelm before bedtime. I love little details like Belle’s stray hairs sticking out of her bob, and Boo’s expression with the dust under the bed. Just beautiful.

Belle & Boo and the Yummy Scrummy Day: Mandy Sutcliffe, text: Gillian Shields (Orchard Books, 2013)Belle & Boo and the Yummy Scrummy Day: Mandy Sutcliffe, text: Gillian Shields (Orchard Books, 2013)
Boo is having a ‘hungry sort of day’ but everything Belle offers him is wrong. Porridge is too hot; toast too crunchy; and a boiled egg is just too ‘eggy’! He wants cookies and cake, but Belle wants to show him that fruit and vegetables are lovely too. Belle takes the role of grown up here, taking Boo to pick fruit from the orchard and vegetables from the garden. Boo takes the child role, agreeing with Belle that he doesn’t like soup (‘too soupy’) even though actually it smells delicious. A brilliant idea saves him from showing his changed mind, and cuteness ensues. This is so true-to-life of children who can come up with any excuse not to eat something, I particularly loved ‘too eggy’ and ‘too soupy’ as reasons. Simple perfection.

Disclaimer: We were sent copies of Belle & Boo and the Goodnight Kiss and Belle & Boo and the Yummy Scrummy Day 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.

Little Wizard by Kazuno Kohara

Little Wizard: Kazuno Kohara (Macmillan Children's Books, 2010)

Little Wizard: Kazuno Kohara (Macmillan Children’s Books, 2010)

I saw this book hidden on a shelf in a discount bookstore and pounced on it quickly. It drew me in with the vibrant colours and a quick flick through showed that we needed this book! I later realised that I had heard of other books by Kazuno Kohara and they are now all on my wish list.

This book is beautiful. The images are linocuts (that’s what they look like, I haven’t been able to find behind-the-scenes book creating for her work which is a shame as it’s so gorgeous) in two colours on purple paper. It works so wonderfully well. The black print lines stand out against the purple, and the only other colour is green for the dragon. Perfection.

The story is one of friendships in unlikely places, and the things that really matter not being what you originally thought. I have lost track of the number of times I have read this book today, DG has requested it over and over. It was one of DG’s Christmas present books and I’m so glad I found it. Hugely recommended, and well loved by DG and MG.

ABC Doctor and Dentist

With is being delightfully chilly here at the moment, and the midst of the cold/flu season, what better time to review books aimed at easing children’s fears of the unknown – in this case, doctors and dentists.

ABC Doctor: Harriet Ziefort & Liz Murphy (Blue Apple Books, 2007)ABC Doctor: Harriet Ziefert & Liz Murphy (Blue Apple Books, 2007)
Both these books are written for the American market so some parts of the alphabet don’t quite translate for the UK but on the whole the ABC Doctor is an easy-to-digest, light-hearted and informative read covering things from Appointments to Fever; from Hand hygiene to Urine samples and ending with feeling a Zillion times better. The temperatures mentioned are in Fahrenheit rather than Celsius but the majority of the book translates well between US and UK so is probably fairly appropriate for most of the English-speaking world. One teeny bugbear I have about the book is that despite doctors and nurses being depicted of either gender (and many races) throughout the book, for the Doctor entry a male is portrayed and for the Nurse entry a female is portrayed, continuing a gender stereotype that children will see in many formats. However, this is my only real negative as the illustrations are interesting and engaging, being a mix of collage and paint and the ABC format gives a nice structure. There is just enough detail in the text to be informative and the ABC listing also allows a tired reader to skip most of the words on the third or fourth consecutive reading of the book as well as introducing vocabulary to small children. This would be a perfect book for a child who wants to know more about a doctor visit and who prefers facts to stories.

ABC Dentist: Harriet Ziefert & Liz Murphy (Blue Apple Books, 2008)ABC Dentist: Harriet Ziefort & Liz Murphy (Blue Apple Books, 2008)
Much of what I’ve written for ABC Doctor applies to ABC Dentist. Things that don’t translate so well from US to UK include mentioning that mouth ulcers are also called canker sores (I never knew that!) but again these are minor areas. The alphabet here goes from Appointments to having teeth a Zillion times cleaner! It’s the same team as ABC Doctor so the same style and a nice accompaniment. I particularly liked the entries on Teeth, Number of Teeth and Roots which were very informative on the structure and layout. DG and I had a giggle looking for Plaque, counting our teeth and feeling our Jaws – and then she went to brush her teeth, before asking for both books again and again…

Disclaimer: We were sent copies of ABC Doctor and ABC Dentist by Blue Apple Books for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

Little Roar’s Peekaboo by Jo Lodge

Little Roar's Peekaboo: Jo Lodge (Hodder Children's Books, 2012)

Little Roar’s Peekaboo: Jo Lodge (Hodder Children’s Books, 2013)

I’m slightly out of touch with board books, on account of daughters who will turn six and four this year (where did the time go?!) but it’s oh-so-tempting to want to collect all five of these new Little Roar books! Technically ‘too young’ for either MG or DG, both girls pounced on this book when it arrived and we’ve read it many, many times over.

Not that there’s a huge amount to actually read, but words are unnecessary in this fabulous pull it, twist it, turn it, interactive book. The words that exist are just perfect for toddlers, encouraging searching the pictures and repeating “Peekaboo”. Little Roar’s Peekaboo consists of only four double pages but it feels like more because of the (extremely sturdy, toddler friendly) tabs on each page.

Jo Lodge is something of a toddler’s dream book creator. We all adored the Mr Croc books and, despite their quality, the girls managed to thoroughly destroy them with much love over the years! Every house with babies or toddlers (or pre-schoolers, or…) ought to have at least one Jo Lodge book and Peekaboo Little Roar would be a lovely one to start with.

Peekaboo Little Roar

The thick, chunky tabs pull out to reveal Little Roar and his friends as they hide in different scenes. As well as the main characters appearing: spiders climb their threads, bugs climb trees, the moon appears… The tabs are slightly different (above or at the side, pull out or twist etc) making an exciting challenge for small children.

Peekaboo Little Roar

The bright colours are inviting and I can see this becoming a toddler’s favourite book that they can ‘read’ independently very quickly. “I do it!” is a common refrain from toddlers trying to gain independence and the tabs in this book are perfect to allow them free rein – even at almost-four DG can get so frustrated with small tabs in other pop-up and interactive books we own (and they break so very easily…)

I was very impressed with this book, and surprised by how much MG loved it. She’s almost six and well on the way with reading but this book attracted her instantly and she ‘helps’ her little sister read it on a regular basis.

Peekaboo Little Roar; Little Roar’s Starry Pyjamas; Little Roar’s Five Butterflies; Little Roar’s Red Boots; and Little Roar’s Round Balloon were published on 3rd January and would make wonderful presents for toddlers or expectant parents. Peekaboo Little Roar is more interactive, and is priced accordingly. I haven’t seen any of the other four books to review.

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Peekaboo Little Roar 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.

Twelve Minutes to Midnight by Christopher Edge

Twelve Minutes to Midnight: Christopher Edge (Nosy Crow, 2012) Twelve Minutes to Midnight is the first in a series of books about Penelope Tredwell, thirteen year old proprietor and writer for The Penny Dreadful – a monthly periodical she’s made so successful since her father’s death that it’s now outselling The Strand.

In this tale, Penelope’s alter-ego Montgomery Flinch is requested to help a baffling mystery at Bethlem Royal Hospital – the notorious Bedlam. Fortunately for Penny, she has already hired actor Monty Maples to ‘play’ Montgomery Flinch, as she’s desperate to solve the mystery for her next story. Unfortunately for her, Monty is terrified of almost everything so she doesn’t get to find out as much as she needs from the haunted inhabitants at Bedlam. Every night, at twelve minutes to midnight, every Bedlam patient is compelled to write and write. Words of madness believe the Superintendent but Penelope is sure there is truth in them…

The first 100-or-so pages set up the characters and plot and are relatively slow-paced. Relatively compared to the second half of the book when as soon as we’re introduced to the mysterious widow, Lady Cambridge, things start happening in speedy succession. Lady Cambridge’s creepy research subjects are still making my skin itch a day after finishing this book; and the world of Penny, Alfie, Monty and Mr Wigram are somewhere that the reader will almost certainly feel compelled to revisit.

Twelve Minutes to Midnight is an intriguing mix of historical, alternate history, mystery, horror and paranormal novel with a strong female lead and decent supporting cast. Penny is probably a little too brilliant to be believable, but not in an overly irritating way. I also wasn’t convinced by some elements of the dream-based finale but I am not the target audience!

I have to review this as an adult, because MG and DG are too young. This is aimed for age 9+, and I wondered how many of the historical references would be understood by this age group. However, I have no current direct experience of the age range to know, and even if the historical references pass the reader by the story can still be followed and enjoyed. I just got an extra thrill from the inclusion of Arthur Conan Doyle, H G Wells, Freud et al.! I found this a very enjoyable read and will be getting the sequel because I want to find out more about Christopher Edge’s turn-of-the-century Victorian world. The synopsis for the sequel, Shadows of the Silver Screen, sounds intriguing and it’s published on 10th January so not long to wait!

Advent Books, part three

One Little Christmas Tree: The Curto Family & Rusty Fischer (2012)One Little Christmas Tree: The Curto Family & Rusty Fischer (2012)
I’ve called this section ‘favourite characters’ and am starting with an unknown – but not really as the Christmas Tree is the star of most Christmases in the UK so a very familiar character indeed! This is the story of a fir tree who is left alone in the Christmas tree lot year after year but eventually finds the perfect family to go home with. It’s the first of a series of three books, which seem to share a gentle, loving core. They are available as paperbacks and e-books from Amazon. You can find descriptions of all three books here. I was sent a paperback copy of the first book by the creators. It’s an enjoyable enough story, pitched somewhere between a picture book and an early chapter book. This is very much an American book, e.g. it uses “Mom”, and for that reason it doesn’t work as well for us. MG and DG enjoy listening to the story, MG comments on how the little tree’s nose grows through the story! Based on the first story, these are nice little additions to Christmas story times, but as a thin A5 paperback they are sadly overpriced. However, the clear text would work well on a tablet and it is available in electronic format.

Mog's Christmas: Judith Kerr (HarperCollin's Children's Books, 1976)Mog’s Christmas: Judith Kerr (HarperCollin’s Children’s Books, 1976)
I love Mog. Mog the Forgetful Cat is one of my all-time favourite children’s books. Amazingly, I still haven’t read all of the series, I think partly because I will sob when Mog dies… Mog is drawn with such love and her expressions are wonderful. In this book, she is scared by all the goings on at Christmas (as a side note, I love how Christmas only ever starts on Christmas Eve in children’s books!) There’s a walking, talking tree and everyone is busy so Mog hides on the roof, falling asleep on a nice warm chimney… Another lovely book to share at Christmas story times, MG and DG love Mog and her reactions almost as much as I do. One I definitely look forward to every year!

Merry Christmas Maisy: Lucy Cousins (Walker Books, 2000)Merry Christmas Maisy: Lucy Cousins (Walker Books, 2000)
This is a novelty book with lots of flaps to lift, a couple of tabs to pull and tons of sparkle in the pictures. It is aimed at very young children, and I forget when we bought it but it could have been before DG was born. It is still loved by both MG and DG, despite being technically years too young for MG. DG loves it best, as she still enjoys all the Maisy books where MG is more grown up now (although will watch the DVDs at Nanny’s house on a loop still!) But it’s Maisy, and Maisy is just so lovable and in bright eye-catching colours suitable for babies and up. Probably not one to buy for older children, but get when they’re babies and it will be treasured for years. Also our copy is still in remarkably good condition considering how many years it’s been mauled at Christmas!

Harry and the Dinosaurs make a Christmas Wish: Ian Whybrow & Adrian Reynolds (Puffin Books, 2003)Harry and the Dinosaurs make a Christmas Wish: Ian Whybrow & Adrian Reynolds (Puffin Books, 2003)
I think there’s a Harry and the Dinosaurs book for every ocassion and I am glad there is because every tale is lovely and full of fun. MG tells me there’s a TV version of Harry and the Dinosaurs that she’s seen at school and with MG, if it’s been on TV it makes it instantly more insteresting! To be fair, she also loved the books before that though. In this tale, the dinosaurs really want a duck for Christmas having seen ducklings hatch at the farm. Harry is distracted by other toys but the dinosaurs still want the duckling. On Christmas morning, they don’t quite get their wish but something even better – a new friend. The Harry books are wonderful. I adore how the subtle text covers sibling arguments, and how the Nan lives with the family.

Harry and the Snow King: Ian Whybrow & Adrian Reynolds (Puffin Books, 1997)Harry and the Snow King: Ian Whybrow & Adrian Reynolds (Puffin Books, 1997)
Another Harry book, but I had to include it. We all absolutely love this story, me possibly a bit more than MG and DG but there’s lots of snow, and snowmen, and Harry gets a ride on a tractor – all of which is incredibly appealing to small children, well incredibly appealing to my small children but it all seems great fun to me so why wouldn’t it appeal? 😉 I love the patience in which Harry collects up all the tiny amounts of snow in order to make his mini snow king, and the text is perfectly pitched with lovely illustrations. One of my absolute favourites of all the Harry books, I hugely recommend this book at any time of year but it really fits when you’re wishing for the snow that never comes at Christmas. A beautiful book.

The Gruffalo's Child: Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler (Macmillan Children's Books, 2004)The Gruffalo’s Child: Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler (Macmillan Children’s Books, 2004)
This is not technically a ‘Christmas’ book, but look at that front cover, it’s so Christmassy. Plus the two animated Gruffalo films were both released at Christmas so there’s a definite Christmas theme… The Gruffalo needs no introduction, it is a wonderful book. I am not as keen as I don’t think the rhyme flows as well in the sequel but it’s a nice touch to have the Gruffalo use the “Big Bad Mouse” as the scary warning to his child, and her attempts to find the Big Bad Mouse with the Snake, Owl and Fox making appearances joining in with the Big Bad Mouse story links it heavily to the first story. Enjoyed by both girls, and who can resist a baby Gruffalo?

I was going to include Everything’s Rosie: The Last Snowball, but actually it’s a book set in spring so I left that one out. There’s Mr Snow from the Mr Men which I should include if I can find it. There’s also Mr Christmas and some other newer snowy and Christmassy Mr Men books, but anything after the first forty-three Mr Men books don’t count in my opinion! We don’t have a huge amount of character tie-in books but there are plenty of Christmas and winter books from all favourite characters that could be included.

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of One Little Christmas Tree by Good Times at Home LLC for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

Advent Books, part two

Puppy's First Christmas: Steve Smallman & Alison Edgson (Little Tiger Press, 2012)Puppy’s First Christmas: Steve Smallman & Alison Edgson (Little Tiger Press, 2012)
This is a lovely Christmas book, and another one that I’ll be putting for opening near the beginning of the month so we can read it extra times. I have to say the cover didn’t appeal to me personally as it looks overly cutesy (which I’m not) but the illustrations and the rhyme are both lovely, cute but not overly so. Steve Smallman writes an excellent rhyme with lots of humour making it great for grown ups to read. The whole book has children written all over it, toddlers especially will love Puppy’s confusion with all the changes in the house and the added nice touch (literally!) of the red hats being fuzzy – also not on every page so you have to search out the fuzzy bits. Both MG and DG enjoyed this, both searching out the fuzzy pages! The humour is great too – Puppy is confused that the children didn’t fight all day, and thought the tree was a new place for him to pee! Adorable illustrations, especially in observing how small children puppies fight sleep before giving in when too tired… A book for both dog and cat lovers (I do get annoyed with dog vs cat books where one or the other are seen as evil…), parents and small children. Bigger children may enjoy reading it to their smaller siblings because of the humour. A surefire Christmas hit.

Father Christmas Needs a Wee: Nicholas Allan (Random House Children's Books, 2009)Father Christmas Needs a Wee: Nicholas Allan (Random House Children’s Books, 2009)
This is another one that Mr Chaos bought for the girls last Christmas, he’s far more into the Christmas spirit than I am (he and the girls put up and decorate the tree together while I stay out of the way!) I think we can all empathise with poor Father Christmas; he’s had far too many drinks and desperately needs a wee! But before he can, he has to deliver all those presents he forgot about. We all breathe a sigh of relief with him when eventually he gets to go! A very silly book, but with an educational twist as we count the house numbers and the drinks (at number one, he has one drink; and so on to number ten!) And as he forgets the presents, after counting up from one to ten we then get to count down again. Surreptitious learning at it’s best!

Father Christmas on the Naughty Step: Mark Sperring & Tom McLauglin (Puffin Books, 2012)Father Christmas on the Naughty Step: Mark Sperring & Tom McLauglin (Puffin Books, 2012)
Most children know the idea of the ‘naughty step’ even if it’s something you don’t use in your own house (I tend not to but do occasionally when one child has deliberately hurt the other…) This book is part of a series where we’ve not read the others but that doesn’t matter. It’s Christmas Eve and Sam is on the naughty step (we’re not told why). He’s soon joined by a pirate who lied on his letter to Santa, and by Father Christmas himself who is at the top of the naughty list for taking something that isn’t his. Sam helps him to learn to say sorry, says sorry himself and all is well for Christmas Day (with a little twist). This is a story that children will enjoy because they can relate to being ‘naughty’ and saying sorry and the power is on the child’s side because he helps the grown-up. There’s also the humour in the pirate and  Father Christmas being on the naughty step. It certainly appeals to my two.

Santasaurus: Niamh Sharkey (Walker Books, 2004)Santasaurus: Niamh Sharkey (Walker Books, 2004)
Niamh Sharkey. Dinosaur Santa. Do I even need to write any more? Good, just go and get a copy already… Niamh Sharkey’s illustrations are wonderful, packed with humour and interest. She’s created a wonderful world like-ours-but-not with dinosaur children and dinosaur parents planning for Christmas. This follows the current traditional British (Irish?!) Christmas of decorating trees, buying presents and leaving mince pies and carrots out on Christmas Eve. Youngest dinosaur Milo wishes more than anything to ride with Santasaurus on his sleigh and help deliver the presents. Does he get what he wants and is this the best Christmas ever? Yes, of course!

How Santa Really Works: Alan Snow & Maggie Bateson (Simon and Schuster, 2010)How Santa Really Works Pop-Up: Alan Snow & Maggie Bateson (Simon and Schuster, 2010)
Alan Snow is a humourous and talented illustrator. We have his ‘How Dogs Really Work’ and ‘How Cats Really Work’ books but don’t read them much (see my issues with reading aloud in the previous post!) as I think they are ones that will be more enjoyed when read by MG & DG themselves. This is a whole different concept though because it pops up! Five fantastically detailed pop-ups with so much to look at that we can tell our own stories (I have to admit I haven’t read the text yet) and MG and DG just enjoy looking at all the details and talking about what they see. As I may have mentioned, DG and MG are both hugely into pop-up and novelty books at the moment and they’re at an age where it can take entire minutes before they break them! Seriously though, MG is old enough to be left alone with novelty books and use all the pull tabs etc with no help; DG is a little rough (she is Destructo-Girl after all) but with mild supervision she can be left to experience pop-up books too. How Santa Works is a book that can be opened on the floor, experienced from all angles, looked at closely to see the details (even lift up Santa’s toilet seat!) It is beautiful and tons of fun, MG and DG really enjoy it. It’s new to us this year  so we’ll see how it holds up to serious reading, but on half a dozen reads from both children, it’s still in one piece. Highly recommended, but not for threes and under.

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Puppy’s First Christmas by Little Tiger Press for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

Advent Books, part one

The Night Before Christmas - Clement C Moore & Anita Lobel (Franklin Watts, 1984)The Night Before Christmas – Clement C Moore & Anita Lobel (Franklin Watts, 1984)
The poem needs no introduction, and the version you have depends on personal preference to art styles etc. This is one that came from the corner of Blackwell’s once upon a time and this will the first year we’ll be sharing it. We have another Anita Lobel, Alison’s Zinnia, which is a beautiful A to Z of flowers enjoyed by MG and DG so I think the art will appeal to them. The pictures are gorgeous, and the poem nicely spread out through the pages, although the description of St Nick is quite long and on one page so I hope it will keep their attention! I’ll either put this at the start of the month, or keep it out permanently, with it being such a classic.

Father Christmas: Raymond Briggs (Penguin, 1973)Father Christmas: Raymond Briggs (Penguin, 1973)
Although it pains me to admit it, I don’t actually like reading aloud! I do, and several books a day, but I do tend to stick to shorter books because I struggle over saying all the words in long stories. It’s why I don’t really read chapter books to MG and DG although I really want to. I am a generally silent person, I love to read but I love to read in my head. I look forward to when MG and DG can read and then we can share and discuss books after reading (if they wish) instead of me getting all tongue-tied because I’ve spoken for longer than I’m comfortable with. (cont…)

Father Christmas Goes on Holiday: Raymond Briggs (Penguin, 1975)Father Christmas Goes on Holiday: Raymond Briggs (Penguin, 1975)
(…cont) All of the above being a terribly long-winded way of saying that I have not read either of these books (or The Snowman, which we no longer seem to have a copy of) to MG and DG on account of the fact that I can’t ‘read’ pictures and I don’t know how to help them follow a cartoon style book when I’ll just be reading the odd speech bubble. It is a terrible failing on my part, but I also haven’t attempted to read these because I’m not a huge fan of Raymond Briggs work either, it just never appealed to me. I am happily in a minority with this opinion, after all we all like different things! Mr Chaos bought these two books for MG and DG last year because he loves them, therefore he can share them 🙂

Stick Man: Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler (Scholastic, 2009)Stick Man: Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler (Scholastic, 2009)

I can’t review this one yet because we haven’t got it, but I’ll change this blurb as soon as it arrives. I’ve ordered it via the school’s book club to add to the advent books because it was only £1.99 and it’s a Julia Donaldson / Axel Scheffler collaboration so will probably be a hit!

 

When I Dream of Christmas: Oakley Graham (Top That! Publishing, 2012)When I Dream of Christmas: Oakley Graham (Top That! Publishing, 2012)
Each double page of When I Dream of Christmas consists of a gorgeous Christmas image on the right and simple humour-filled text on the left. The descriptions make me smile as we read through the book, and MG and DG love all the different Christmassy items as well as the glittery cover. You can read my full review of this book here.

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of When I Dream of Christmas by Top That! Publishing for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

Advent Books 2012

This year I plan to do advent books – wrapping up all our Christmas and winter books and getting one to open every day from 1st – 24th December to add to the advent fun. I think I first read about it on Playing by the Book but was reminded this year by Here Come the Girls, who made the wrapped books into a tree shape – I won’t be so clever!

I’ll be writing about the books we’ll be choosing from in batches of about five books.

http://childledchaos.me.uk/2012/11/19/advent-books-part-one/
Five books in which Father Christmas / Santa Claus make an appearance – Advent Books, part one. Includes: The Night Before Christmas – Clement C Moore & Anita Lobel; Father Christmas: Raymond Briggs; Father Christmas Goes on Holiday: Raymond Briggs; Stick Man: Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler; When I Dream of Christmas: Oakley Graham.

http://childledchaos.me.uk/2012/11/20/advent-books-part-two/
Five more books in which Father Christmas / Santa Claus make an appearance – Advent books, part two. Includes: Puppy’s First Christmas: Steve Smallman & Alison Edgson; Father Christmas Needs a Wee: Nicholas Allan; Father Christmas on the Naughty Step: Mark Sperring & Tom McLauglin; Santasaurus: Niamh Sharkey; How Santa Really Works Pop-Up: Alan Snow & Maggie Bateson.

http://childledchaos.me.uk/2012/11/25/advent-books-part-three/

Six books including familiar characters – Advent books, part three. Includes: One Little Christmas Tree: The Curto Family & Rusty Fischer; Mog’s Christmas: Judith Kerr; Merry Christmas Maisy: Lucy Cousins; Harry and the Dinosaurs make a Christmas Wish: Ian Whybrow & Adrian Reynolds; Harry and the Snow King: Ian Whybrow & Adrian Reynolds; The Gruffalo’s Child: Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler