Ivy’s dad and I will be getting married later this year so it seems appropriate to kick off 2019 with a book about a wedding – although hopefully ours will go a little more smoothly than the one in this story!
Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay are two scarecrows who are very much in love. When Harry proposes, Betty is overjoyed and the pair start planning the best wedding the farm has ever seen. They make a list of all the things they will need – “a dress of white feathers, a necklace of shells, lots of pink flowers, two rings and some bells” – and then set off together to gather the beloved items together.
Soon they have everything except the pink flowers so Harry heads off on his own to find some whilst Betty has a little nap. However things don’t quite go to plan and Harry ends up being away for such a long time that the Farmer brings in a new scarecrow to replace him! Reginald Rake is the total opposite of Harry O’Hay. He’s selfish and showy and he isn’t nice to Betty at all. He boasts about all the things he can do but Betty isn’t impressed – she just wants her lovely Harry back.
But then things take a perilous turn. Reginald Rake tries to show Betty how good he is at blowing smoke rings, but he drops his cigar and sets the field alight. Will Harry make it back in time to save his bride?
This is one of our favourites from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. There’s a lovely mix of romance and adventure and Ivy gets very excited as the story twists and turns at the end.
I guess you could choose to criticise the fact that we have a girl scarecrow being rescued by a boy scarecrow – but I think that does the story a disservice. I prefer to focus on the way the story shows the difference between someone who respects women and someone who doesn’t.
Buy it now: https://amzn.to/2GQEo7Z
This magical story is about a little girl called Josephine who loves to run. When her running shoes begin to get a little tight she buys a new pair from an old lady who has a shoe shop filled with cats. The lady tells her that the shoes are magic bit she won’t reveal their special powers!
When Josephine leaves the shop she discovers she is being chased by a big white polar bear. She runs and runs and runs until she reaches a tall, snow-capped mountain. Feeling defeated, Josephine worries that she won’t be able to climb it to escape the bear – but then her shoes start to talk. They utter a little motivational rhyme before magically turning in to snow boots!
Josephine successfully climbs the mountain but the bear is still hot on her heels. Fortunately the magic shoes know just what to do. When they encounter snow, they turn in to skis. For a muddy bog they transform in to yellow wellies. And when Josephine stumbles upon the shores of a lake they become flippers and power her across to an island.
We’re big fans of ‘What The Ladybird Heard‘ by Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks. In fact we went through a stage towards the end of last year where we read it at bedtime every night for about 2 months! The illustrations, in particular, are fantastic so we love this little spin off board book with a ‘peekaboo’ theme.
The book starts by asking you who you can see on the farm. It shows you pictures from the original title and identifies the characters, but there are also lift-the-flap sections which encourage you to guess who is hiding. Little fingers can open the chicken coop to find the fat red hen, move a haystack to spot the hairy hog and find the cats behind the hedge. Look carefully and you might even spot Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len in a pile of manure!
At the start of this lovely book the King is sat at his royal table eating takeaway pizza from a box. He needs a new cook and he needs one now. There’s a problem though – he’s really, really fussy! He auditions lots of impressive chefs but none of the meals they create for him is quite right. Then in walks Wobbly Bob – a self-confessed wimp who really wants the job!
The King agrees to give Bob a trial and sets him to work making fish and chips, but Bob is scared of every single step of the process. He’s scared of catching fish. He’s scared of digging for potatoes. He’s scared of slicing up chips. And he’s very scared of using the frying pan on the cooker. Fortunately the brave King is there to help and every time Bob is nervous about a task he steps in and shows him it’s okay.
This lovely book about hearing loss was recommended to us by one of our recent interviewees – Nell Nash of Tatty Rose. I really liked the look of it so bought us a copy and it’s currently one of Ivy’s favourite bedtime reads.
The story is about a little boy called Freddie who finds a fairy called Bessie-Belle tangled in a tree. He helps her down and she says she will grant him some wishes to say thank you. She tells him that she can’t hear very well and if you look carefully at the illustrations you can see that she’s wearing a little blue hearing aid.
Freddie doesn’t really understand this though so he mumbles when he asks for his wishes. He really wants a pet but because she can’t hear him the fairy doesn’t quite get it right. Freddie’s requests for a cat, a dog or a parrot result in a bat, a frog and a carrot – none of which make great pets!
The Everywhere Bear belongs to Class One. During the week he sits on a shelf in Mrs MacAllister’s classroom and observes all of his friends as they learn their lessons and listen to stories. At the weekends he goes home with one of the children for an adventure and on Monday they come back and tell the rest of the class what they have done. He lives an exciting life!
One rainy Monday morning he is travelling back to school after a lovely weekend with a new boy called Matt when suddenly he falls out of Matt’s backpack and is washed down a drain. The Everywhere Bear is about to have his biggest adventure yet!
He ends up in the sea, gets caught in a fisherman’s net, is delivered to a fish shop, thrown in the bin and then stolen by a seagull – but will he ever end up back with his friends in Class One?
You may have noticed that we haven’t posted any reviews for the last few days and this is because Ivy and I have both been under the weather. We’ve had nasty colds which has meant we’ve spent a lot of time together, cuddled under the sofa blanket, watching Disney movies and reading books.
This lovely collaboration between Julia Donaldson and Helen Oxenbury (who illustrated ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’) has been Ivy’s first choice all week!
The story starts with Rabbit, who is heading home for the day. When he gets to his burrow he is met with a loud voice which shouts ‘I’m the GIANT JUMPEREE and I’m scary as can be!’. Rabbit doesn’t know what this loud Jumperee creature is so he runs away. Cat offers to step in and help but when he approaches the burrow he is also shouted at by the terrifying Jumperee. Bear steps forward to help, followed by Elephant but each time they are scared away.
We discovered this gem in our local library about 18 months ago and Ivy loved it so much that I bought us a copy that same week. The story is beautiful and I’m not ashamed to say that I bawled my eyes out the first time I read it!
This lovely book is about a little girl whose Mummy makes her a set of 5 paper dolls. She gives them names, plays with them constantly and invents a little song for the dolls to sing about their friendship.
In the girl’s vivid imagination the paper dolls do battle with dinosaurs, tigers and crocodiles. They explore magical islands (on the breakfast table) and dance through forests (in the garden).
Together they come through every adventure unscathed. Until one day they encounter a little boy with a pair of scissors and suddenly the dolls are no more.
Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks is a lovely little book about sharing and friendship, which we have read over and over again.
The story is about a little hermit crab who is looking for a new home. He finds a lovely shiny shell and moves right in but then he meets an anemone who wants to move in too! He really doesn’t want to share his shell but the anemone explains that he can help ward off predators so will earn his keep. The crab reluctantly agrees and soon realises that having the anemone around is really helpful and they are very happy living together. Then up rocks a bristleworm who also wants to move in. Again, the crab isn’t keen but relents when he realises that the bristleworm will keep the shell nice and clean.
Our copy of The Singing Mermaid by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks looks a little the worse for wear as it’s seen a LOT of love in the 18 months we’ve owned it!
The story is about a mermaid with a beautiful voice. One day she is discovered by a circus owner called Sam Sly who convinces her to leave her lovely beach to join his circus and sing to the crowds. He promises that if she goes with him she will become rich and famous. Excited, she agrees to go despite the protestations of her friends.
She makes lots of friends at the circus but surprise surprise, Sam Sly does not turn out to be a nice character. He keeps her in a tiny fish tank and the riches he promised never materialise. Instead she feels trapped and longs to return to the sea.