We’re Off To Find A Unicorn by Eloise White & Cory Reid

When a multicultural family set off on an adventure to find a unicorn they don’t expect it to be too hard. After all – a unicorn has a shiny horn, a colourful, swishy tail and it sparkles and glistens all over. Surely they’ll spot one straight away!

As they search a variety of different habitats they spot things which *might* be a unicorn but each one turns out to be a magnificent endangered animal. The creatures they meet include a chameleon, a pangolin, a rhino, a polar bear and a bush baby. But will they ever find a unicorn?

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Sarah Billingham, Co-Founder, Confident Kids

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Sarah, a special needs teacher, living in Bracknell with my husband and our 2 daughter’s Clara (5) and Alice (6 months). I grew up in South Africa and came to England looking for a bit of an adventure and the chance to travel. 15 years later it is safe to say that it became more permanent than I had planned!

What are your children’s favourite books?

Clara has returned to Julia Donaldson books over and over. As a toddler she loved The Smartest Giant in Town and as a pre-schooler she really enjoyed the Highway Rat, Jack and the Flum Flum Tree and The Troll. Clara loves books and reads new books every week (lots of library visits!) but she has returned to her Julia Donaldson favourites.  I think the rhythm and rhyme in these books is very engaging. She is now taking great pride in reading to her little sister.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Hannah O’Donoghue-Hobbs, Founder, Tilly Hobbs & Co

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

My name’s Hannah and my little passion project is Tilly Hobbs & Co – an insta blog where I sell Manchester themed muslin cloths and document me guessing my way through motherhood ha in our glorious city. I have one little girl called Cora, she’s my little livewire, I’m obsessed!

What is your daughter’s favourite book?

Now this does vary from day to night. Our daytime favourite has to be The President’s Cat by Peter Donnelly – it’s a lovely, lovely story about the President of Ireland leaving his cat behind when he comes home after a holiday in Kerry. Cora loves pointing out the cat on his little journey, the horse poo on one of the pages and the many, many cars and buses on a page featuring Dublin city centre. Reading that backward sounds insane, please go and read it ha! The illustrations are like food for my eyes.

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In The Stars by Sam Kitson & Katie Faithfull

This is a book about baby loss so if this topic is a trigger for you then please do not read any further———————————————-

When someone dies, children will naturally have a lot of questions and reading books together is a great way of helping them understand. I’ve come across quite a few whilst writing my blog and it seems that most focus on the death of an older relative. But what happens when the lost loved one was just a child themselves?

This beautiful book, published by SANDS – the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity, is designed to help small children work through their grief. Written to help author Sam Kitson’s own children understand the death of their sibling, the book follows a conversation between Minnie and Moss as they contemplate where in the universe their sister might be.

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Beast Feast by Emma Yarlett

When a bright pink Beast catches a little boy he is very excited about the prospect of eating him all up. He names the boy ‘Dinner’ and sets about inviting all of his friends to a very special feast.

Naturally Dinner is a little worried, but when the RSVPs start to arrive he proves himself to be very smart indeed.

The Beasts friends turn out to be very picky and they have lots of dietary requirements which they want Beast to consider. Sir Gutguzzler can’t eat anything scrawny so he suggests that Beast fatten Dinner up a little bit. Madam Gargoyle requests that Dinner is served extra salty and Giant Grumbo needs Dinner to be slimy!

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The Golden Acorn by Katy Hudson

Squirrel loves to win and she’s definitely on a winning streak. For the last 8 years she has taken home the trophy for the annual Golden Acorn Hunt and once again she has her eye on the prize. She’s the fastest animal in the forest so she’s bound to win. Isn’t she?

The day before the race the organisers throw a spanner in the works by announcing a change to the rules. This year everyone must compete in teams! Squirrel eyes her friends in horror. How can she be expected to win when Beaver, Tortoise and Rabbit will just slow her down?

Race day arrives and Squirrel races off in to the distance but soon her friends call her back because they need her help. Tortoise gets lost, they all get tangled up in some hanging branches and then Beaver gets his bottom stuck in a tree! Annoyed at the fact they’re wasting time, Squirrel reluctantly assists but then speeds off on her own in search of the Golden Acorn.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Jaime Cox, Founder, Compelling Copy

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hello! I’m Jaime, I’m a copywriter and editor based in Berkshire and I have three children – 12-year-old identical twin boys and a 2-year-old daughter.

What are your children’s favourite books?

All 3 of my children adore books – a huge relief as I do too! My youngest has several favourites, but the current number 1 is Cave Baby by Julia Donaldson. Mae is very much into babies at the moment, so I think that’s the main appeal of this particular book. She also loves the animals in the story – woolly mammoth and sabre-tooth tiger. She loves to roar at the moment, and this book provides the perfect opportunity 🙂

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Taco Tuesday by Brick Puffinton & Amy Blay

This is easily the smallest book on our shelves but it has had a huge impact on Ivy since it arrived last week. She is obsessed with it!

Taco Tuesday is a tiny, chunky board book which is perfect for little hands. There’s a Taco finger puppet built in to the middle and you use him to read the rhyming story.

As you move through the pages the Taco does everything within his power to convince you not to eat him. He says he’s not delicious. He claims his cheese is suspicious. He tries to point out that pizzas and hamburgers are far tastier than he. Why on earth would you want to eat a spicy little Taco when there are so many other options out there? But then he realises it’s Taco Tuesday – will you choose to eat him or set him free?

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RWR Book Club: Best Books of 2019

Earlier this year I was invited to join a #bookstagram group called the Read with River Book Club. The group consists of 16 lovely members from around the world, including a number of educators, a speech language pathologist, a paediatrician, social justice activists, a reading education specialist, a few bloggers, a retired literary agent, and some marketers.

It has been an absolute joy getting to know these amazing people and sharing our favourite picture books and thoughts/ideas about the children’s book industry.

Between us we have a lot of expertise so we have come together to form a judging panel to create a list of the best new picture books of 2019. Publishers have been invited to send submissions across a number of categories and my dining room table is now awash with stacks and stacks of fantastic books which are awaiting the judging process.

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The Space Train by Maudie Powell-Tuck & Karl James Mountford

Jakob lives on a space station at the very edge of the galaxy with his granny and a robot chicken called Derek. Life is good, but deep down Derek really wishes he had some friends to play with.

One day, whilst exploring one of the empty decks, he finds an enormous abandoned space rocket. He shows it to Granny and her whole face lights up. This is the space train which she used to ride when she was a young girl! Once upon a time it streaked across the universe carrying star explorers and comet chasers to the 2,747 stations in the star network.

Jakob’s mind starts to whirr. If he can get the train running again then he can travel to other planets and meet other children! Granny rolls up her sleeves and gets to work. Can they work together to fix the train and head off on an intergalactic adventure?

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