Tag Archives: Tracey Corderoy

Mother’s Day Picture Books

Mother’s Day is on Sunday 30th March in the UK this year, and we’ve been sent a selection of delicious picture books perfect for mums to share with their little ones. Although, significant others, you might also want to try to supply a lie-in or time for a nice bath too if you can!

I Love You Night and Day: Smriti Prasadam-Halls & Alison Brown (Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2014)I Love You Night and Day: Smriti Prasadam-Halls & Alison Brown (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2014)
The two characters in I Love You Night and Day aren’t specified as a mother and child, but I’ve chosen to interpret them as such (although this would work just as well for fathers, grandparents, and other significant carers.) There are no genders mentioned either therefore you can take the ‘child’ (rabbit) to be male or female easily. There is so much to love about this book – lot of different words for increasing vocabulary, sharing the love you have for a child, spot-on rhyming couplets and gorgeous illustrations. One for sharing at any time of year.

Mum's The Word: Timothy Knapman & Jamie Littler (Hodder Children's Books, 2014)Mum’s The Word: Timothy Knapman & Jamie Littler (Hodder Children’s Books, 2014)
The illustrations for Mum’s the Word are almost edible in their deliciousness. A puppy bounds with endless enthusiasm through the pages (so that would be any small child too, then!) trying to think of the word that means so many different things to him/her. No gender is mentioned so the pup could be male or female. Small children will love all the bright images throughout, and can you guess what the word is? Oh, I think the title might have given it away 😉 “It’s a word as warm as a goodnight kiss. There’s no other word that’s as good as this.” 

Me and My Mummy: various (Little Tiger Press, 2014)Me and My Mummy: various (Little Tiger Press, 2014)
This is such a lovely little set for any tot to share with mummy. Consisting of a cardboard case with carrying handle so little ones can carry it everywhere, and sealed with velcro for easy opening, the box contains four paperback stories, a card, envelope and sheet of stickers. Even very little ones can decorate mummy’s card with the stickers, and can proudly present their card in the morning, with stories ready for sharing. The books are small sized paperbacks, that can be easily transported without taking up much room in a bag, and would be good for toddlers to pretend to have ‘school reading books’ as they have a similar feel. The four stories are: The Most Precious Thing: Gill Lewis & Louise Ho; Big Bear Little Bear: David Bedford & Jane Chapman; Little Bear’s Special Wish: Gillian Lobel & Gaby Hansen; My Mummy and Me: Tina Macnaughton. Although all four books celebrate a mother and child’s special bond, Little Bear’s Special Wish does specifically mention ‘birthday’ rather than mother’s day. This is a very cute gift set with a low RRP of £9.99 (ISBN 978-1848958722)

I Want My Mummy!: Tracey Corderoy & Alison Edgson (Little Tiger Press, 2013)I Want My Mummy!: Tracey Corderoy & Alison Edgson (Little Tiger Press, 2013)
This is an adorably cute story about a little mouse who is spending his first day away from mummy. It’s lovely on many levels. Little Arthur is so cute in his dragon costume and this book is aimed at little ones who don’t go to nursery as Arthur’s first day away is with his granny. My children did go to nursery but I hear many parents asking why ‘first day away’ stories are always about nursery / playschool settings when they’ve chosen not to put their children into daycare at any time so this book will really suit. And even if your little one has spent time away before, it’s comforting to share Arthur’s fears and worries in the comfort of home again and again to remember that Mummy always comes back.

Mummy's Little Sunflowers: Angela McAllister & Alison Edgson (Little Tiger Press, 2014)Mummy’s Little Sunflowers: Angela McAllister & Alison Edgson (Little Tiger Press, 2014)
More cute little mouses! This is a lovely story about sibling love. Big brother Scurry brings home a sunflower seed from nursery but baby brother Scamp eats it! They then search for more seeds but when Scamp realises how long it will take for a sunflower to grow, Scurry helps them both become sunflowers for Mummy. Perfect for mums of a toddler and baby, or pre-schooler and toddler. After reading you could plant seeds or dress up too.

Dino-Mummy: Mark Sperring & Sam Lloyd (Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2014)Dino-Mummy: Mark Sperring & Sam Lloyd (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2014)
I’ve not read Dino-Baby but I assume this book is similar so if you like Dino-Baby, you might like Dino-Mummy. Personally I find this book appallingly sexist in its depiction of the mother dino dressed in pink heels vacuuming, cooking, doing all the childcare, washing, cleaning ovens etc while in one spread you spy father dino sitting behind a newspaper and doing absolutely nothing. I think it’s supposed to be a celebration of everything that mums do, but the portrayal of a domestic goddess mother and unhelpful father does not suit our family.

My personal favourite ‘mum’ book is Just Like My Mum by David Melling (Hodder Children’s Books, 2008)

Disclosure: Received for review from Little Tiger Press, Hachette Children’s Books and Bloomsbury Children’s Books.

Ways Into Reading Conference, Oxford

Next Saturday, 12th October, sees the bi-annual Oxford Children’s Book Group conference. This one-day event is packed with speakers from the breadth of children’s literature and is based on the theme “Ways Into Reading”.

Tickets are still available, and a booking form can be downloaded here. It’s £30 for non-members and £25 for members of Oxford Children’s Book Group (membership cost £15 for the year and includes three issues of Carousel magazine.) The cost is ridiculously low for an event of this kind and includes lunch.

If you can get to Oxford for next Saturday, then this is going to be an event to remember. It’s being held in historic Oxford University Press buildings in Great Clarenden Street, Oxford, and tours of the OUP museum can be taken during the lunch hour.


09.15 – 09.45 Registration with coffee and Danish pastries

09.45 – 09.50 Introduction
Jo Steele and Kathy Lemaire (Co-Chairs OCBG)

09.50 – 10.40 A room full of friends – the appeal of series fiction
Victor Watson

10.40 – 11.15 Project X: The role of the reading scheme in the lives of 21st century
children Andrea Quincey, Senior Publisher, Primary Literacy team, OUP

11.15 – 11.45 Coffee

11.45 – 12.30 Ways into reading – picture books, story sacks and stories aloud
Author and illustrator, Tracey Corderoy

12.30 – 13.15 The comic gateway to reading
Tom Fickling and Caro Fickling, The Phoenix Comic

13.15 – 14.00 Lunch and OUP Museum visits

14.00 – 14.40 Mum and magic: children’s use of language and children’s dictionaries
Vineeta Gupta, Publisher, Children’s Dictionaries, OUP

14.40 – 15.30 Dangerous Books
Andy Mulligan, Author

15.30 – 15.45 Narrative: the journey and the destination
Bill Laar, Education and Literacy consultant

Tantrums and Moods

The current England heatwave is certainly bringing out the worst in my darling children! What better way to enjoy a tantrum than in a book?! Here are two recent paperbacks to celebrate the joys of bad moods…

No!: Tracey Corderoy & Tim Warnes (Little Tiger Press, 2013)No!: Tracey Corderoy & Tim Warnes (Little Tiger Press, 2013)

Archie was adorable. Everybody said so… But then Archie learns the word “No!” and uses it all the time. No food; no bath; definitely no bed! No proper clothes; no coat; no playing nicely! Except, soon Archie is missing out on nice things from saying No! all the time, and it’s time to learn a new word.

Archie is adorable. An adorable baby rhino, even more perfect to read for us as we’ve recently seen the baby rhino at Cotswold Wildlife Park. And can you get anything cuter than a toddler rhino dressed up in a tiger suit? Well, possibly, but it’s pretty close to cuteness overload!

DG is being very similar to Archie at the moment. Mr Chaos was off work this week and offered to take her swimming (she loves water) but she threw a tantrum because I wasn’t going (I dislike swimming pools for various reasons, including that the last time I took MG & DG, DG almost drowned. It may have been nearly three years ago, and the lifeguard pulled her out before any problems, but I haven’t taken them since…) No! she screams at the top of her lungs, hitting Daddy. Do not despair, she does not have a favourite parent, I get exactly the same treatment at the moment too. Ugh. But reading books like this, although aimed at toddlers rather than four year olds, reminds us all that we all have our moments and we can say sorry. Destructo-Girl is adorable, too…

Olive and the Bad Mood: Tor Freeman (Brubaker, Ford & Friends (Templar Publishing), 2013)Olive and the Bad Mood: Tor Freeman (Brubaker, Ford & Friends, 2013)

It’s hard, when you’re in a bad mood. When I’m in a bad mood, I just want to be left alone. Grump. Olive is like this too. She has just had a rubbish start to the day, falling over and losing a button on her dungarees. It’s frustrating, annoying, and understandable. This is a story that can be potentially controversial, depending how you read it. For children, it’s a funny and silly story. For grown ups, we could start talking about how mean Olive is to all her friends; how unnecessary it was for her to say the things she says to them; how there isn’t a good moral to the story because she makes them all in a mood and then takes credit for cheering them up…

But for MG and DG it is a silly story. Poor Olive with her little stormcloud. When we’re angry or in a bad mood we can do things we don’t mean to. Olive loves her friends really, but she couldn’t show it properly because everything seemed so wrong in the world for her at the start. This would be a good story to use when talking about feelings. Or just enjoy it for the silliness, and the wonderful illustrations.

I can’t dislike this book even if I try! It has a girl playing dinosaurs, and a boy wearing a hat with a feather; and a boy playing football, and a girl with a frilly pink skirt; and five friends enjoying jelly worms together. No gender stereotyping, no segregation. And Mighty-Girl thinks it’s really funny, which is all you really need to know.

Disclaimer: We were sent copies of No! by Little Tiger Press and Olive and the Bad Mood 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.

A Handful of Recent Picture Books with Grandparents

Grandma Bendy by Izy Penguin (Maverick Arts Publishing, 2012)Grandma Bendy by Izy Penguin (Maverick Arts Publishing, 2012)

Here is a Grandma like no other – she has very stretchy and bendy arms and legs. She’s a superhero to her grandchildren and great for getting you in the house when you’ve lost your keys, but she has a dark past. Grandma Bendy used to be… a burglar! I like how, although this is a humourous book, it does touch on how upsetting being burgled can be and that a life of crime can only lead to prison.

MG and DG liked looking for Grandma Bendy when she was playing hide and seek, and that she was good now. MG was a little worried about the burglaring part because one of her friends scared her by pretending there were bad men burglars out in the dark, plus she caught some adult chat about the missing child which accentuated her worries. Fortunately this is a happy and funny book, and just what she needed to not worry about ‘bad men’ in the dark when she’s safely at home.

40 Uses for a Grandpa by Harriet Ziefert & Amanda Haley (Blue Apple Books, 2005)40 Uses for a Grandpa by Harriet Ziefert & Amanda Haley (Blue Apple Books, 2005)

A lovely little book, this consists of a list of forty things a grandparent can be, each with an illustration. ‘Uses’ given are storyteller, teacher, referee, nurse, opponent, baker, friend… Various grandparents and families are included in the illustrations, covering different races making this an accessible book. This book does include Americanisms (veterinarian, entertainment center) but not in a way to distract from the overall purpose of the book.

When reading this with MG and DG, we talked about which things their Grandpa was very good at and which things he probably wouldn’t do! Another time I’ll talk about my dad and what he would have done with them if he were still alive.  This is a good book to spark discussion about all the things we have because of our grandparents and all the things they do for us and would also make a lovely gift for a Grandpa to share with their grandchildren. MG and DG’s Grandpa is ‘Grandpa’ rather than ‘Granddad’ or another nickname (my dad was ‘Daddo’ being the Irish pet version) so this works very well for us but the name doesn’t matter as the message is the same so I think it’s suitable for all!

The Great Granny Gang by Judith Kerr (HarperCollins Children's Books, 2012)The Great Granny Gang by Judith Kerr (HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2012)

A new Judith Kerr, and beautifully illustrated as you’d expect. The premise is lovely: a gang of crime-stopping grannies (the youngest eighty-two) who all do things that you don’t expect elderly ladies to do: like ballooning, chimney repairs and lion taming. I do love the Granny Gang members, but I am disappointed that the antagonists chosen are a gang of ‘hoodies’. I thought we were beyond blaming the youth of today and their fashion sense for all being disrespectful and criminal, and as this is a book to read to young children who may grow up into these youths I’d prefer a more positive role model. I would have preferred a gang of bad grannies for the good grannies to convert! However, my children are young and don’t read so much into this, and it is only a picture book… They like the grannies, the mess, and the crocodile. I like the art, the cats, and the wonderful grannies – especially Maud with her pneumatic drill.

Lollipop and Grandpa and the Wobbly Tooth by Penelope Harper & Cate James (Phoenix Yard Books, 2012)Lollipop and Grandpa and the Wobbly Tooth by Penelope Harper & Cate James (Phoenix Yard Books, 2012)

I found this book whilst browsing the shelves in Mostly Books, vaguely looking for a book involving grandfathers as most of the books I had covered grandmothers but also just generally browsing when this caught my eye. There was also a copy of Lollipop and Grandpa’s Back Garden Safari which I flicked through and it looked great fun but I bought this one because MG is at the age where her teeth will start to wobble soon. Phoenix Yard are a relatively new independent publishers and looking at their catalogue, they are one to keep an eye on. I also flicked through I Have The Right To Be A Child and mentally added it to my wishlist!

Lollipop and her Grandpa have a wonderfully close relationship, she beams when he comes to stay and he loves spending time with her. Grandpa has a huge amount of joy and curiousness about the world, perfect for sharing with a child, and comes up with all sorts of mad ideas for helping Lollipop with her wobbly tooth.Throughout the book healthy teeth habits are encouraged (but not forced) and it’s a healthy snack that helps Lollipop’s tooth come out. I love the caring relationship between the grandparent and grandchild; DG and MG love all Grandpa’s silly suggestions, and to guess what will actually work. This is a happy and reassuring book, lovely to share with grandparents or to talk about them when they are not around, either through distance or loss.

Whizz Pop, Granny Stop! byTracey Corderoy & Joe Berger (Nosy Crow, 2012)Whizz Pop, Granny Stop! by Tracey Corderoy & Joe Berger (Nosy Crow, 2012)

This is the sequel to Hubble Bubble, Granny Trouble, which we borrowed from the library and loved (and will probably end up on the shelves at some point!) This granny is definitely very, very different. The first book has her granddaughter attempting a makeover to change her into a normal, ordinary granny but it’s really a story of how to accept people just the way they are. I don’t think the word ‘witch’ is used in either book, but Granny is very obviously a witch with her pointy black hat, black cat, cauldron and book of spells.

In Whizz Pop, Granny Stop the granddaughter wants Granny to stop making spells to try to fix things because they never seem to go quite right (pink hair and a missing rabbit being results of previous spells). For her party she wants it all to be done the long way so they bake cakes and sew clothes, and although the results aren’t perfect, it’s perfect for them. But after the party, there’s all that mess, and Granny’s magic comes in again. This book again is about accepting people for who they are, and for appreciating what we have rather than wishing for perfection. A great philosophy wrapped up in a fun, imaginative rhyme with utterly gorgeous illustrations Both books highly recommended – especially with Halloween just around the corner!

Disclaimer: We were sent copies of Grandma Bendy by Maverick Arts Publishing; 40 Uses for a Grandpa by Blue Apple Books; and The Great Granny Gang by HarperCollins 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.