June 2018

When I Grow Up By Tim Minchin & Steve Antony

When I Grow UpThe first time I read this book aloud I found myself practically singing the words because of the way they flow and bounce along. I later discovered this is because they are the lyrics to an actual song from Tim Minchin’s musical version of Matilda (which I haven’t seen yet but it’s definitely on my list).

The words take you on a journey through adulthood as imagined by a child. When there are so many rules imposed on you by grown-ups it’s easy to believe that when you become one yourself you can just do whatever you want with no consequences. The children here look forward to a future where they know the answer to every question, eat sweets and treats every day, stay up all night and watch cartoons until their eyes go square!

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A Little Paper Caper By Oliver Jeffers

A Little Paper CaperWe are huge fans of Oliver Jeffers and I had thought we owned all of his books, until Ivy spotted this one in our local bookshop and started gleefully shouting ‘Bear! Bear! Bear!’. This is a special board book version of an earlier work called The Great Paper Caper.

The animals in the forest are all very confused. Lots and lots of branches were going missing from trees and their beloved home is beginning to look a little forlorn. What is happening to all the trees? At first the animals all blame each other but it soon becomes clear they all have alibis. Until one day they find a paper aeroplane with Bear’s paw prints all over it.

Is Bear responsible for damaging the trees and lying to his friends? And what’s with all the paper aeroplanes?

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Sally Webb, Owner, Milk At The Museum

Milk At The MuseumTell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I am Sally and I have a 3 year old daughter Ivy and a 1 year old son Tom.  I previously worked at the Imperial War Museum for 10 years. My current job is a tour guide at the Churchill War Rooms and I have started up a blog called Milk at the Museum.

I started Milk at the Museum because when I had children I could not afford the childcare costs to allow me to go back to work.  I had been on Instagram a while and it suddenly dawned on me its potential in getting information out there.  I noticed that there was not one place you could go to, to find out all the family friendly activities going on in Museums and that’s where it all began.  Museums are a huge passion of mine and I have really enjoyed the Milk at the Museum journey so far.

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My World, Your World By Melanie Walsh

My World, Your WorldThis lovely book by Melanie Walsh celebrates cultural diversity in a smart but simple way which is perfect for toddlers.

Each cycle of 3 pages introduces two characters and shows us how they are different but ultimately how they are the same. For example we meet Kavita who wears a sari to school and Jacob who wears snow boots and a big jacket. Their uniforms may be very different because of where they live but they both wear trainers/sneakers for gym class. We also meet Muhib, who rides an elephant and Edie, who rides a horse. their modes of transport are different but they both like to ride skateboards at the skate park.

It’s such a simple idea but it’s so effective. Children around the world may not look the same and their experiences of day to day to life may be very different – but we are all one people and we share this one world.

Ivy loves the cute illustrations and I feel that when she’s a tiny bit older it will be a great way of starting a conversation about different cultures and our similarities and differences.

But it now:



by Peter H. Reynolds

IshRamon loves to draw, and does so whenever he gets the opportunity. However one day his older brother takes a look at one of his pictures and laughs at him. Ramon had been trying to draw a vase of flowers but his brother can’t tell what it is so he scrumples up the paper and throws it away. He tries many more times but can’t seem to get it right so, with his brother’s laughter still ringing in his ears, he decides to give up drawing forever.

His little sister Marisol wants to see what he has been drawing but, presuming that she just wants to laugh to, Ramon gets defensive and shouts at her. She runs away with a drawing in her hand and when he chases her he is surprised to see that she has his vase drawings all over her bedroom walls. She loves the images and this makes him see them in a different light. It is a vase-ISH, and this is what Marisol likes.

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Beautiful By Stacy McAnulty & Joanne Lew Vriethoff

BeautifulI spotted someone talking about this book over on Instagram a few weeks ago and liked the look of it so much that I just had a to buy a copy. Thank you to The HSP Bookshelf for bringing it to our attention!

Little girls are constantly told that they are beautiful and of course this is true, but this comes with a lot of pressure for girls to conform to society’s idea of beauty. This empowering book takes the concept of beauty and turns it on its head.

The words give a very old-fashioned view of what it means to be beautiful – you should be well dressed, good with make up, well behaved, smiling and sweet smelling. However the wonderful illustrations tell a different story and give you a thoroughly modern and healthy take on beauty.

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This Zoo Is Not For You
by Ross Collins

This Zoo Is Not For YouWhen Platypus arrives at the zoo on interview day the other animals assume that he’s there to apply for a spot at their establishment. Clutching an envelope and wearing a baseball cap and old woolly scarf, Platypus doesn’t seem to be quite what they’re looking for.

As he moves through each stage of the interview the different animals each take one look at him and decide that he’s definitely not up to the job. The panda doesn’t think he’s special enough, the flamingos think he’s ugly, the monkeys don’t think he is smart enough – and he doesn’t even get the chance to open his mouth and speak!

Annoyed, the platypus drops the envelope he was carrying and walks out of the zoo. When they open it they realise that he wasn’t applying for a job at all and their judgemental and rude behaviour will mean they miss out on some fun. Will they be able to convince Platypus to forgive them?

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Kelly Smith, Owner, Crafty Little Kel

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Crafty Little KelI’m Kelly and I’m mum to two little boys, Conor (7) and Iwan (5). I am a trained secondary teacher but gave up a stressful head of department job last year in favour of doing supply work around my pyrography and glass engraving business; something which had always been a hobby of mine and which I always dreamed of turning into a small business. I can honestly say I have never looked back as my children are growing up so fast and this is allowing me more precious time to spend with them whilst working around them from home.

What are your sons’ favourite books?

Conor is now 7 and so is reading confidently on his own. He is currently really in to the Goosebumps books. Until recently he lacked confidence in reading but discovering the Goosebumps series made a big difference to him – I think it’s a refreshing change to Biff, Chip and flipping Kipper! Iwan’s firm favourite at the moment is a book called “Nuddy Ned” by Kes Gray and Gary Parsons. It’s about a little boy who, after his bath, whilst his parents are sorting out his bed, decides that it would be far more fun to streak naked through the town. The book is written in rhyme and has lift the flaps on each page. Iwan shrieks with laughter throughout the whole story!

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Tiny Tantrum By Caroline Crowe & Ella Okstad

Tiny TantrumWe were recently recommended this book by one of our followers and i’m really happy we bought it as it’s fantastic. Ivy has recently turned two and a half so tantrums are (unfortunately!) now a part of everyday life. This means I am always on the lookout for books which may alleviate the stress a little!

The story is about a little girl called Tiny who has lots of tantrums. Every time her mummy asks her to do something she yells and screams and stamps her feet, refusing to oblige. However one day she is joined by an array of fluffy monsters who help her understand that there are better ways of dealing with her anger. From wiggling your bottom to flushing your tantrums down the loo, these monsters have lots of creative ideas on how to get rid of the grumps.

This one gets a big thumbs up from us as it makes Ivy laugh out loud. Additionally, there are lots of opportunities to put on silly monster voices and there’s a funky song at the end. The illustrations are lovely and definitely capture the drama of being a toddler!

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One Happy Tiger By Catherine Rayner

One Happy TigerWe love ‘Augustus and His Smile‘ by Catherine Rayner so we were really excited to see this lovely counting book which features the same character.

The book starts with lovely Augustus sitting on his own feeling lonely, but as we slowly count from 1 to 10 he meets some new friends, including bugs, birds, butterflies and bees.

This feels like it has a little more depth than your average counting book because the themes of friendship and nature are central to the simple narrative. As always, Catherine Rayner‘s illustrations are breathtaking and the animals seem to jump off the page.

If you’re looking for a baby or toddler gift that is educational, sturdy and beautiful to look at then this would be perfect.

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