In the last few months we’ve read some fantastic self-published books and ‘Lauren Koala’ (which was recommended to us by one of our Facebook followers) is one of our faves.
The story is about a little koala called Lauren who loves to make people feel better by giving them a hug. All of the animals in the jungle know that if they feel sad Lauren will be there to comfort them. As a result, it’s a happy, joyful place filled with love.
One day, Lauren Koala hears about a rhino who is very sad because his mummy died when he was little. Determined to help, she sets off on a long journey to find him, cuddling lots of other animals along the way.
This book was recommended to me multiple times before I bought it and I have to admit I was sceptical. I genuinely didn’t think that Ivy would be able to sit through (let alone enjoy) a book without any pictures. I was very, very wrong!
I don’t want to give too much away as I think that would spoil it a little, but the basic premise is that the person reading the book has to read every single word out loud, whether they want to or not. So be prepared to say some very silly things and to put your voice acting abilities to good use!
Ivy loves this book and we both giggle from start to finish. It’s one of those books that she can’t get enough of so as soon as we get to the last page she directs me straight back to the beginning so we can start again and the voices and sounds get more and more ridiculous each time!
Morris the Mole has had a tough day at work and all he wants to do is get home to his family – the problem is he can’t find his glasses anywhere! He burrows in what he believes to be the direction of home but he keeps getting it wrong, again and again and again.
Each time he pops up into a house he shouts ‘Mrs. Mole, I’m Home!’ but it’s never the right house. He visits a burrow full of rabbits, a tree full of owls and a swamp full of crocodiles. He even ends up in Antarctica!
Finally he smells a familiar smell – worm noodles! Surely this must be his house, and where on earth are those glasses?
As we move through the Terrible Twos and get ever closer to Ivy becoming a Threenager I am definitely finding myself drawn to books which encourage good behaviour. This bright and colourful book is the best one I have come across so far.
The simple format makes this a really easy book to read with kids and you can either work from start to finish or just dip in and out. Each double page spread presents you with a ‘rule’ for good behaviour and an accompanying picture. The illustrations are ace – they make Ivy laugh and they hammer home the points made using a variety of cute and quirky characters. The tortoise is our personal favourite!
Hi Stacey! Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do
My name is Stacey Grant-Canham and I am the founder of Black & Beech, a design-led brand that focuses on feminism and motherhood, with products ranging from slogan jewellery to fine art prints and ethically sourced sweaters and tees.
What is your child’s favourite book?
I think a firm favourite at the minute is Odd Dog Out by Rob Biddulph. It tells the tale of a dog who feels she doesn’t fit in so travels to the bright lights of another city to discover that being different is OK.
If you’re a fan of books with strong female characters then this new one from Suzanne Hemming (author of ‘She’s Not Good For A Girl, She’s Just Good‘) is definitely for you.
The story is about a young princess called Florence who has her heart set on becoming a great engineer. She has the brain and the ambition but she has one problem – her father, the King, says that instead of pursuing her dream career she has to marry a Prince and have babies.
Young Flo is devastated. She has no problem with Princes and babies but she also wants to be a great engineer and the King says she can’t do both. She flees the palace and bumps in to her old babysitter, who sits and listens to her woes. The lady tells her that you always have to be who you are, not who other people think you should be. She shows Flo a picture of her wedding day (where she married a Princess) and says that when you follow your heart, some people will accept who you are and some won’t but what matters most is that you are always true to yourself.
Ivy loves Princess Polly so we have most of this series either on our shelf or stashed ready for her to read when the time is appropriate. This title is about starting nursery (which she will be doing early next year) so we’ve recently introduced it to our rotation.
The book starts with an apprehensive Princess Polly. She’s not sure about starting nursery because she doesn’t know what it will be like and she’s worried she’ll miss her parents. She visits with her Mummy and sees lots of children having fun which sets her mind at ease.
After some settling in sessions she has her first full day and the book shows all the things your child can expect to experience at nursery – from the activities they’ll do, like painting, playing and singing to the format of the day, like snacks, naps and story time.
Until a few years ago I wasn’t aware that Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe had been friends and that without each other they may never have reached their true potential or become the icons they are today. It’s a fantastic story and i’m so glad this book exists so that I can share it with Ivy.
The empowering tale starts with Ella Fitzgerald, a woman of colour with a truly amazing voice. She tours the country playing in small jazz clubs with her band but unfortunately there are many places where she isn’t welcome. Because of the colour of her skin, many venues refuse to let her play, including the largest and most well-known club of all.
But unbeknown to Ella, she has a fan who is soon to become a friend. An actress called Marilyn Monroe loves Ella’s music so she calls the club and says that if the owner books Ella to play for a week she will personally visit each night and sit in the front row, ensuring the paparazzi and press will be there. The owner agrees, Marilyn sticks to her word and Ella gets the opportunity to play to large audiences every night. She is a hit and becomes a huge star.
Hi Cat! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family
I’m Cat Bateman, a mum of two very energetic & football-mad boys, 11 & 8. I met my husband 26 years ago (I know! I am that old!) and I have a business called Little Folk Nursery Rhymes. I hold weekly sessions singing nursery-rhymes to lovely little customers accompanied by my guitar. I completely love singing and sharing music and am passionate about spreading the word about Type 1 Diabetes as my eldest boy was diagnosed when he was 5 years old.
What were your sons’ favourite books when they were small?
I will answer all the questions from my memories of what they loved when they were your demographic of 0-5 years – I have totally enjoyed digging these books out and taking another look at them – haven’t been able to get rid of any of them in the constant battle to reclaim the house from the children’s stuff as they hold such gorgeous memories.
Blue Chameleon by Emily Gravett is a really simple book but we have spent hours reading it and talking about all the questions which the beautiful illustrations present you with.
At the start of the story the little chameleon is feeling blue because he doesn’t have any friends. Each of the following pages shows him trying (and failing) to make friends with a different animal or object the only way he knows how – by changing colour!
He turns yellow to chat to a banana but the banana doesn’t want to talk. He rolls himself up and dons purple spots to speak to a spotty ball but the ball isn’t interested. The same goes for a brown boot, a green grasshopper, a goldfish and many many more. Will poor chameleon ever find a friend? (Spoiler alert – yes he does!)