There’s A Lion In The Library by Dave Skinner & Aurélie Guillerey

With her little dimples and tiny button nose, Lucy Lupin looks utterly adorable. However if you take a peek below the surface, Lucy isn’t quite what she seems. She’s actually pretty mean and she loves to tell big juicy lies!

One Monday morning she goes to the library and tells the biggest lie she can think of. She walks right up to the Librarian and tells her there’s a lion in the history section, eating a book about the Ancient Egyptians. The Librarian takes one look at cute little Lucy and presumes she must be telling the truth. The library is evacuated and the police are called but there’s no sign of a lion anywhere. Everyone is perplexed, except little Lucy who finds the whole thing hilarious.

In fact, she enjoys the lie so much that she goes back and repeats it again and again. On Tuesday she informs the Caretaker that there’s a lion in the romance section, and on Wednesday she tells the Coffee Shop Manager there’s a lion in the geography section. Soon the adults at the library cotton on to the fact that adorable little Lucy isn’t actually adorable at all.

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NERP! by Sarah Lynne Reul

Ivy and I both love books that are a little bit crazy, so when NERP! landed in our laps we instantly fell in love. Every single word of the story is quite literally utter nonsense, but somehow the whole thing makes perfect sense!

The premise will be very familiar to any parents out there with picky eaters. We see an enthusiastic mum and dad present their child with a series of lovingly prepared dishes in the hope that they might actually eat something, but nothing is quite right.

The frizzle frazzle hotchy potch? NERP! Mushy gushy bloobarsh? NERP! Even the garble snarfy barflecrunch and the yuckaroni smackintosh are rejected with a massive NERP! Will anything make this pesky child say YERP or SLURP? 

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Kat Brown, Founder, Mama Brown & Co

Hi Kat! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Thanks for having me! I’m Kat Brown, mama to two lively but loving boys Louis (6) & Max (3) and wife to Papa Brown. Having enjoyed working in publishing for the last 12 years, I left after having my youngest son and in September I launched Mama Brown & Co. We are the online magazine and marketplace dedicated to making parenting more playful and helping you get more fun out of family life (however tired you might be!) My husband and I originally hail from Yorkshire but moved down to London to work after university and somehow never ended up leaving. We now live just outside London in Kent but often find ourselves back up in Harrogate visiting family and friends and staying in touch with our Northern roots!

What are your sons’ favourite books?

My eldest Louis’ current favourites are The Christmasaurus & The Winter Witch by Tom Fletcher (yes we are reading it in March!) and Bear Grylls Adventures. He is 6 and in the past year has found a love of chapter books, ever since we read The Famous Five together by Enid Blyton. I read a chapter a night to him at bedtime but he can’t wait until his reading is strong enough for him to read them himself!

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I Can Only Draw Worms by Will Mabbitt

It’s rare that I sit down to write a review and don’t really know what to say. This book has no clear story and the only illustrations are crudely drawn worms – yet somehow it’s completely brilliant and we just can’t stop reading it!

So what exactly is it about I hear you ask?

Well, it’s about worms.

And counting.

And counting worms.

Because the author can only draw worms.

And that is about all I can tell you! One of the worms has glasses and one of the worms gets accidentally cut in half. One of the worms even has a flying unicorn and travels to outer space – except the author can only draw worms so we have to imagine the rest…

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I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast by Michael Holland FLS & Philip Giordano

Ivy and I have spent all afternoon in the garden so this feels like a very appropriate choice for today! This beautiful non-fiction book celebrates plants from around the world and it has taught us lots of fascinating facts.

Split in to four chunky chapters, this illustrated compendium looks at all aspects of plant life. In the early sections we learn everything a child could possibly need to know about what plants are, how they grow and why they matter. But it was the second half of the book which completely captured Ivy’s imagination, as here we discover how plants sustain our everyday lives. She was amazed to discover there were plants in her toothpaste, in her clothes and even in her medicine!

As an added bonus there are 12 DIY projects included. We’re planning to try them all over the coming months but I think we’ll start by making a plant maze and and a wild weed bottle garden. The invisible ink project looks fun too!

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When Grandma Gives You A Lemon Tree by Jamie L. B. Deenihan & Lorraine Rocha

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But what do you do when your Grandma gives you a lemon tree for your birthday and you’d secretly been hoping for a drone or a remote control car? You definitely shouldn’t pull a face and you certainly shouldn’t drop it off a bridge!

The little girl in this story is quite confused about her unusual gift but she has good manners so she knows how she should react (and also how she shouldn’t!). She manages an excited face and she maintains her smile until Grandma falls asleep, but she really doesn’t have a clue what to do with her lemon tree.

However as the pages progress we see her build a special bond with her new present. She keeps it in the sun, waters it and makes sure the neighbourhood slugs maintain a safe distance. She keeps it warm in winter, repots it and slowly watches it grow.  And when she gets her first batch of lemons, Grandma is the first person she wants to share them with.

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Avocado Asks: What Am I? by Momoko Abe

Avocado AsksAvocado lives on the fruit and vegetable aisle at the supermarket. Life is nice and simple until one day the nature of his whole existence is thrown in to question by a small child. She points at him and asks her mum whether an avocado is a fruit or a vegetable.

Suddenly Avocado is thrown in to confusion. He doesnt know the answer. How can he not know who he really is? Determined to dscover his true identity, Avocado turns to his friends for help.

First stop is the vegetables, who decide he can’t possibly be one of them because he’s not leafy or crunchy and he has a big stone in his middle like a fruit. So next he visits the fruit, but they say he’s not one of them either. He’s not sweet or juicy and he wouldn’t taste right in a fruit salad.

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Picture Books Which Will Make Kids Laugh Out Loud

Since the UK lockdown was announced I have had lots of messages from parents who are looking for new books to entertain their little ones. To lighten the mood, I have put together a selection of all our funny favourites. Let us know if there are any you would add to our list!

The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak – Without giving too much away, the basic premise is that the person reading the book has to read every single word out loud, whether they want to or not. Read the review.

Daddy Fartypants by Emer Stamp & Matt Hunt – Daddy Fartypants has a problem. He farts ALL THE TIME! And what’s worse is that he never owns up.  Every time he does a bottom burp he blames someone else, whether that’s a tiny baby, a snail or a bear on the telly. Read the review.

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International Women’s Day: Books Which Feature Strong Female Characters

March 8th 2020 is International Women’s Day so I have collated a list of our favourite books which feature strong female characters. Take a look and let us know in the comments if there are any others which you think should be included!

Fiction Books

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty & David Roberts – Little Ada’s endless need to question everything means that she is the perfect mini scientist. She devises experiments and builds hypotheses, trying to work out how the world around her works. Read the review.

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman & Caroline Binch – An uplifting story is about a little girl called Grace who loves stories and has a big imagination. Can she find the confidence to follow her dreams? Read the review.

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Scratch & Sniff Fart Book by Barney & Buddy Ltd & Nicola Moore

Most pre-schoolers find bodily functions hilarious so, unsuprisingly, this scratch and sniff board book about farting was an instant winner with Ivy!

Every page shows a different animal and your child is invited to lift a flap and then scratch a panel to discover what their farts smell like. Fortunately the smells are all pleasant ones. Unicorns smell like jelly beans, bears smell like honey, monkeys smell like bananas and horses smell like apples. Even the cheesy mouse farts are quite aromatic – in a good way!

The lovely illustrations are accompanied by rhyming text which makes Ivy laugh every time we pick up the book. The chunky pages are perfect for little hands (aged 3+) and despite lots of scratching, the sniffable panels seem to be holding their smells really well.

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