Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family
My name is Holly and live in South London with my husband, 11-month-old daughter and our two moody cats! I run creative workshops for children in museums, gardens and bookshops! I collect children’s picture books and finally have a child in the house who can enjoy them too although she is currently trying to eat most of them! I run Foxglove Forest School, a family forest school session for under5s in Forest Hill London. I love to use books and storytelling in my sessions.
What is your daughter’s favourite book?
At the moment my daughter loves ‘the Noisy Book’ by Soledad Bravi. Its great example of onomatopoeia and has bright, simple illustrations that she is hooked by. I am passionate about her enjoying books as much as I do! She also loves Spot books! We are lucky to live in Southwark which is part of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. It’s a free reading scheme for children under five, she sends you a new book for free each month. Thank you Dolly!
One day little Kaya stumbles across her mother meditating. She is also humming an unfamiliar tune which Kaya finds fascinating. When she asks what it is her mother explains that it is her heart song – the song which her heart sings when she is happy.
Kaya would very much like a heart song of her own but she doesn’t know how to find it so instead she goes out to play. She follows a butterfly in to the jungle and there she finds an old man guarding a broken-down elephant carousel.
Drawn to the elephants, Kaya climbs on top of one to try and free it from some vines. She imagines what it would be like to be a beautiful princess riding the elephant through the jungle and suddenly she hears the soft beat of music in her ear.
This little book about a parent’s love for their child is super cute and may have made me well up a little the first time Ivy and I read it together!
The gentle rhyme reassures your child that you will always be there for them in their life no matter what they are going through. Whether they are happy or sad, smiling or scared you will always walk besides them and help them in any way that you can.
The illustrations are delightful and really evoke the spirit of the book. Our version has shiny silver patches for the snow which Ivy really likes.
It’s not explicit within the book (but then i’m no polar bear expert!) but the back cover says that this is a daddy polar bear which is a lovely touch as so many of these types of books feature a mother instead.
Buy it now: https://amzn.to/2Hzc5La
Today’s book needs no introduction as it’s a modern classic. I’m sure most of you already have this in your child’s library but a collection of children’s book reviews doesn’t seem complete without it!
An enterprising young mouse is taking a little walk through the wood when he encounters a number of creatures who are keen to make him their dinner. Thinking on his feet he explains to each of them that he can’t stop because he is off to meet a Gruffalo. What’s a Gruffalo? the fox, the owl and the snake each ask in turn.
As he describes this imaginary, terrifying creature the details become more and absurd. He has terrible teeth, a poisonous wart on his nose, orange eyes and purple prickles all over his back! Scared of the mouses terrifying friend, the animals decide to let him go on his merry way.
Little Flora has found a nest of eggs and they’re starting to hatch. When the mother hen wanders off Flora tries to scoop up the little chicks and transfer them to a large bowl but their wriggling and flapping make it a challenging task. Can your little one help her count them in?
This wordless lift-the-flap book has gorgeous illustrations and the cheeky rabble of wandering chicks never fail to amuse Ivy as they refuse to stay put. Flora is a determined little girl though and, unflustered, she tries her best to round all ten of them up.
How does she manage to do this so gracefully? Look closely at the illustrations and you’ll spot that she’s actually performing a number of dance moves as she gathers up the chicks – a lovely detail if your toddler happens to go to a dance class and can recognise the positions!
We love a book which encourages imagination and individuality and Petra is definitely one of those books.
When you first look at Petra you see a rock surrounded by fronds of grass. She is an adorable little rock with curious eyes and a quirky little smile. Or is she?
Perhaps she is a magnificent mountain, the solid foundation of a village above the clouds. Or is she a tiny pebble? A shiny egg? An island? Is it possible she is even an elephant?
Petra has lots of important lessons to teach children. You don’t have to be defined by where you start out in life or by who other people think you are. If you believe in yourself you can be the person (or rock!) you dream of becoming. You also don’t have to be the same person every day or even the same person to everybody. Some days you might want to be a mountain and some days you might want to be an island, and that’s ok.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family
My name is Ceci, short for Cecilia and I am half of Toy Box Tots, renting out boxes of super fun toys to preschoolers across the UK. I have boy girl twins who will turn 3 in the summer and a wild and crazy kitten called Harry. We live in East Dulwich with my husband Marco, having relocated from the UAE 18 months ago.
What are your children’s favourite books?
This changes on a monthly basis! At the moment it’s ‘Lottie Potter wants an Otter’ by Jeanne Willis and Leonie Lord . Every couple of weeks we go up to the local library and chose about 10 books to take home and there is always 1 that gets singled out and has to be read at least 10 times a day until we all know it from memory! They always love books where someone or something is naughty or there is some drama or scandal that we can talk about. It’s brilliant for me as I’m always looking for new books to base our toy boxes around so constantly having new books on the scene is great research.
A small band of woodland animals are on their way to a party but they’re in a hurry because they’re running late. They’re almost there when they come across a big sleeping tiger who is blocking their path. They need to get across him without waking him up – but how? With a cunning plan of course!
Fortunately they have lots of balloons for the party so they agree to take it in turns to float across the tiger holding on to a balloon. Your child is encouraged to help by doing things like blowing on the balloon to make it go faster and stroking the tiger’s nose to keep him nice and sleepy.
Will their plan work and will they all make it to the party on time?
Britta Teckentrup‘s gorgeous illustrations are on point as always, and the simple story and gentle interactions make this a must for any toddler library. This is one of our favourites.
Buy it now: https://amzn.to/2HlhzsL
This creative little book is a fantastic tool for teaching children that it’s healthy to make mistakes.
Every page features a spill or a smudge or a tear which could be deemed a disaster to a small child – but the clever illustrations and the excellent paper craftsmanship shows that each little mistake is in fact an opportunity.
A torn page becomes the mouth of a crocodile. Some spilled paint becomes a pile of puppies, some ducks and then an elephant. A bent page becomes a penguin’s beak and a scrunched up piece of paper becomes a lovely sheep.
Ivy enjoys saying ‘OOPS!’ at the turn of each page and is always excited to see what the oops will become. Her favourite is the dog’s head created from a torn scrap of paper.
Little Ada drives her parents to distraction because she refuses to talk. Whilst all the children around her are starting to spout their first words, Ada just silently observes the world around her. Then she turns 3 and suddenly everything changes. She starts to talk and she just can’t stop. She wants to know why? when? where? how? and she needs the answers right now!
Ada’s endless need to question everything means that she is a perfect mini scientist. She devises experiments and builds hypotheses, trying to work out how everything she encounters works. This causes new problems for her parents however, as Ada pushes them to their limits with her constant questioning and tinkering.
One days she smells something horrible whilst playing in the garden and vows to track down the source. Can she puzzle it out? And how will her parents react when she starts experimenting on the cat and scribbling equations on the walls?