The Day Mom Joined The Circus
by Sue Downing

Does your home feel like a circus right now? I dedicate this review to everyone out there trying to parent through the pandemic!

In this colourful story, the children wake up to discover a note from their Mum pinned to the fridge. It says that she needs some alone time so she’s decided to join the circus. She invites them to take on her share of the chores whilst she’s away.

The beautiful spreads which follow perfectly illustrate the ‘Mum juggle’ with which we are all so familiar. On the left hand page we see the children doing a household chore and on the right hand page we see how that chore has helped make Mum a fantastic circus performer.

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The Year We Muddled Through
by Lauren Fennemore & Zoe Damoulakis

Right now everything feels very unsettled. We are locked down in our homes, juggling the education of our children with our day jobs, dealing with sorrow and and being faced with a constant barrage of negative news. We’re all just muddling through and taking it one day at a time.

But what will we remember about this strange time in years to come? And perhaps more importantly, what do we want our children to remember?

A love letter from parent to child, this gorgeous picture book adds a sprinkle of magic to what has been a very difficult year. It alludes to the bad but focuses on the good, and in doing so the story of 2020 takes on a wonderful fairytale quality.

We see giant sunflowers and animals running wild on empty streets. We see rainbows shooting from rooftops as families take their daily walks. We see smiling faces as communities come together to celebrate everyday heroes.

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Exciting News: We’re Launching A Newsletter!

We are officially launching an Ivy’s Library newsletter to celebrate our love of children’s literature. All subscribers will receive a free 15 page PDF featuring some of our top picks. Squee!

Why are we launching an Ivy’s Library newsletter?

We share daily children’s book reviews and features on our blog www.ivyslibrary.com and also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – but because of the nature of social media you probably aren’t seeing all our posts. Subscribing to our newsletter means you won’t ever miss out on the good stuff!

What does it entail?

Once a month we will hit up your inbox with a curated selection of children’s book reviews, interviews, opinion pieces, special offers and other treats. Some of it will be content we’ve shared on our social media channels but there will also be extras which are exclusive to newsletter subscribers. The first newsletter will be sent in February and of course you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Jeremy Worried About The Wind
by Pamela Butchart & Kate Hindley

Hands up who has a little worrier? Both Ivy and I have a tendency to be a bit anxious and the current situation has definitely exacerbated this. Who knew there were so many things to stress about?

Jeremy knows all about worries. From morning till night all he can think about is the potential danger swirling all around him, from shoe-eating worms and too-crunchy crackers right through to runaway dinosaurs and evil squirrels. His biggest fear is the wind though – so he tries not go outside on blustery days just in case.

But then one day fastidious Jeremy meets Maggie. With mismatched clothing and trailing shoelaces, she seems an unlikely friend but the two hit it off straight away. Maggie’s mantra is ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ and fearful Jeremy is determined to show her!

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Mini Monsters: Can I Be The Best
by Caryl Hart & Tony Neal

Since Ivy started school last September we’ve had some struggles with perfectionism. If she’s not immediately the best at something then she gets disheartened and doesn’t want to try. It’s an uphill battle but, as always, we’ve found books really helpful to try and put things into perspective for her.

This new title in the Mini Monsters series has therefore come at just the right time for us. We both loved the first book – ‘Can I Play?’ – so Ivy was very excited to see a new story with familiar characters.

Scout, Sparkle, Arthur and Tiny are back once again and, having worked out how to play nicely together in book one, they have a brand new pres-school problem. They each want to be THE BEST.

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Kaiholo The Whale
by George Hudson & Laura Hyde

We all need a little bit of calm in our lives right now so I wanted to highlight this gorgeous immersive story which we received towards the end of last year.

Inspired by hypnobirthing, ‘Kaiholo the Whale’ combines words, watercolour illustrations and music to great effect. You scan the QR code on the first page with your phone or tablet to access the music and then read the story whilst it plays in the background. It’s a simple concept but it’s very effective.

The gentle rhyme tells the story of a family of whales as they explore the ocean and sing their songs together. They are a tight, loving family unit and baby Kaiholo worries about what would happen if they were ever separated. His mother explains that they will always be there to protect him, but if they find themselves apart he must look for the light of the stars in the night sky and listen for their voices. The strength of their love will always bring them back together.

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Book Box Review:
Cureadosity

Ivy and I love discovering new book subscriptions so we were very excited when this one landed on our doorstep on Christmas Eve.

Cureadosity is a brand new subscription service for 2-6 year olds and I have to say I am impressed. Our sample box contained lots of bookish fun – and Ivy dived straight in!

If you are as obsessed with picture books as we are then subscription boxes can sometimes be an issue. We buy a lot of books so i’m naturally wary of receiving duplicates. Cureadosity seem to be right on top of this though. They only include books which have been released within the last three months, thus drastically reducing the chance you might already have them in your collection – and sometimes they even include books before their official publication date so you get a sneaky advance look!

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Love Makes A Family
by Sophie Beer

Families come in all shapes and sizes and this gorgeous board book celebrates the ones which we often don’t see in mainstream books.

The brightly coloured pages show happy families enjoying life together whilst the words explore the different ways in which people can show their love.

We see two children waking up their dads in the morning by shaking maracas and banging a drum. We see a family with grandparent carers baking and sharing cakes. We see single mums finding lost objects and single dads jumping in puddles in the park. We see a group of children reading stories by the light of a torch with their two mums. I particularly like the inclusion of a dad wearing a baby carrier as i’m not sure i’ve seen this in any of our other picture books!

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I Wish You More
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld

What wishes do you have for your child’s future? I have far more than I could ever put into words, which is probably why I am drawn to this heartwarming picture book (and why it made me cry the first time I read it!).

A love letter from parent to child, the beautifully-illustrated pages outline a myriad of hopes and dreams. Unsurprisingly, the narrator wishes for health and happiness, joy and wonder but the clever word play injects an element of fun.

Ivy’s favourite wishes are “I wish you more bubbles than bath” and “I wish you more WOO-HOO than WHOA!”. Personally I am drawn to “I wish you more hugs than ughs” and “I wish you more stories than stars”.

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While We Can’t Hug
by Eoin McLoughlin & Polly Dunbar

Well here we are again! It’s lockdown 3.0 and I am really feeling it this time around. Ivy hasn’t seen her grandparents since August so she’s really missing them, plus the dreary weather and general sense of uncertainty is adding an extra layer of gloom.

If your little ones are feeling the same then you might want to take a peek at this heartwarming story which talks about how it feels to be separated from your nearest and dearest.

Hedgehog and Tortoise are the best of friends. They love to spend time together but they’re sad because they’re not allowed to go near each other right now. How can they show each other they care if they can’t hug?

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