I definitely didn’t buy this one just because the little girl in it is called Ivy. Ok – maybe I did! But it turned out to be a good gamble as it’s a really lovely book with gorgeous illustrations.
The story starts with a little raincloud who is feeling lonely. The sun has come out so all his friends have gone away and he has no one to talk to. He sets off in search of a friend but no one seems to want him (and his raindrops) around.
He keeps searching until he spots a little girl who looks just as unhappy about the sunshine as he is. She’s grumpy in the market, grumpy on the tube and even grumpy when she gets home and tends to her garden. He starts to think that maybe the little girl is not really grumpy, just sad. He watches her in fascination as she looks after her plants, which seem to be struggling in the sun, and then he has an idea. If he rains on the plants and makes them grow, is it possible the little girl might smile again?
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family
I’m Jo, founder of Lobella Loves and mental health advocate. I live in East London with the hubby and my little girl who is three. I drink too much tea and wine, and not enough green things! I used to be a lawyer but decided I needed and wanted more to do more in my life. Suffering with postnatal depression (PND) after my little girl arrived, I knew I needed to help other women finding themselves alone and shamed.
What is your daughter’s favourite book?
She’s a real bookworm, so pinning it down to one is tricky. Right now, she’s loving, ‘You Can’t Take An Elephant On the Bus’ by Patricia Cleveland-Peck. It’s a fabulously silly tale about why various animals aren’t suited to different forms of transportation and without giving too much away, where they all end up is far more fun. It’s a delightfully energetic, beautifully illustrated, funny book and I love that it rhymes, making it a joy to read aloud.
We love this book by Peter H. Reynolds and i’m not ashamed to say it made me cry the first time we read it!
Vashti is a little girl who thinks she can’t draw. Whilst all of her friends paint and create in art class, she just sits and stares at the plain white paper, defeated. Her teacher challenges her to draw a dot in the middle of the page and then asks her to sign it. She jabs a dot with her pen, signs her name and then skulks out of the classroom.
The next week when she walks in to the art room she sees her dot (and signature!) on the wall, displayed in a lovely shiny frame. Inspired, she sets out to draw a better dot and then a better dot and then an even better dot than that. Soon she’s so good at drawing imaginative, colourful dots that the schools puts them on display at an art show.
This beautifully illustrated book by Rebecca Cobb is perfect for all of you parents out there who (like us!) struggle to get your child interested in sitting down and eating their meals.
The little girl in the story is very busy painting and playing with her toys, so when her mums calls her to tell her that lunch is ready she really doesn’t want to go and eat. She’s having far too much fun to stop for boring old food! Reluctantly she leaves what she’s doing and sits and stares at her lunch, looking grumpy, without eating a bite.
But then she spots a crocodile under the table. Then a bear. Then a wolf. The three fierce animals are VERY interested in her lunch, explaining that her soup, apple and sandwich are much more tasty than little children (who actually taste pretty disgusting). They gobble up her lunch and then thank her heartily for the lovely meal.
The combination of dragons and girl power make this one of our favourite collaborations between Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
Zog is a big orange dragon who loves going to Dragon School. He’s really enthusiastic about his classes but he just can’t quite get things right. He bumps in to trees whilst learning to fly, gives himself a sore throat trying to roar and accidentally sets his wing on fire whilst attempting to breathe fire. Fortunately each time he hurts himself a little girl appears with a bag of bandages and plasters and she fixed him right up.
When he gets to Year 4 the dragons have to learn how to capture a princess. Again Zog struggles until he discovers that his wonderful friend is in fact a princess herself. She allows herself to be captured in order to help him out and Zog gets a golden star from the teacher. She becomes a valuable member of the school, tending to the dragon’s ailments with the help of her trusty medical bag.
I bought this book based solely on the beautiful cover and when it arrived I loved it – but if i’m honest I wasn’t sure if it would hold Ivy’s attention. I was very wrong!
The story is about a little girl, living in a city who likes to watch the river through her bedroom window. As she sits there she imagines the journey the river takes as it moves towards the ocean.
The illustrations are a joy and my initial assessment that it might be a bit old for Ivy was immediately proved wrong when we read the book together and she was completely memorised by the pictures. The river moves from the city to patchwork fields, then through rolling mountains, over a waterfall and in to a jungle rich with animal life. Finally we move through mangroves of crocodiles before reaching the ocean and gazing at the sea life beneath the little girl’s imaginary boat.
Operation potty training is due to start shortly so we are currently reading lots of books on the topic to help her understand what’s coming. This one, from the Big Steps series, has quickly become her favourite and we’re currently reading it 3-4 times a day at her request.
The book shows two toddlers, Millie and Mo, as they start their potty training journey. At the beginning of the books they are both wearing nappies. You can lift up Millie’s skirt to see her nappy and you can also use a slider to pull Mo’s nappy down and reveal his bottom which Ivy thinks is hilarious.
They don’t want to wear nappies any more, so we see them visit the shop with their Daddy to buy potties and grown up pants. They learn how to use them and the book reinforces the point that everyone has little accidents and they are nothing to worry about. By the end of the book Millie is using her potty like a pro and Mo has even advanced to the loo.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family
I’m Sally Darby, founder of Mums Like Us – a network for disabled mothers. MLU is a facebook group exclusively for disabled mothers. I am also trying to open up the conversation about disability and motherhood @mums_like_us on Instagram and www.mumslikeus.org. I live in the Midlands with my husband and two beautiful and bonkers daughters who are 2 and 5.
What is your daughters’ favourite books?
The eldest currently adores Matilda by Roald Dahl. She loves that Matilda is smart and mischievous… a bit like her! The little one loves the Winnie the Witch books by Valerie Thomas. She has learned to say, ‘witch,’ and she loves repeating it as she points to every picture!
The Detective Dog seems to be one of Julia Donaldson‘s lesser known books but we think it’s fantastic and deserves a lot more attention. If you haven’t read this one yet then definitely keep an eye out for it!
The story is about a dog called Nell who is very good at finding things. She lives with a little boy called Peter who loses his toys all the time so she uses her exceptional nose to sniff them out and return them to him.
Every Monday Peter takes Nell to school with him and it’s her favourite day of the week. She loves all of the different smells and she is particularly fond of the books which the children read to her. However one Monday, when they get to the school, Nell realises she cannot smell the books. She and Peter rush in to the classroom to find all of the children and the teacher in tears. Someone has stolen all of the books. Every last one of them!
We adore this gorgeous book about families and have spent many hours poring over the amazingly detailed illustrations.
The lovely rhyme explores the concept of family, showing how they are there for each other in good times and bad. You see daytime routines, hospital visits, holidays, little household disasters and most importantly, love.
The beauty of the book is that the illustrations show ten different families going through all of the above. Each family is different but the book helps children see that although their family may not look like the same as somebody else’s, the experiences they go through and the love that they feel are all essentially the same.