January 2019

Ivy’s Guest Book: Natasha Kaplinsky, Co-Founder, Mum & You

Natasha KaplinskyTell us a little bit about yourself and your family

My name is Natasha Kaplinsky. For many years I have anchored news for the BBC, Sky and ITV. I am also a very active Ambassador for Save the Children. Through my travels with Save the Children I was inspired to work more with mothers and babies and so two years ago I co-founded a company called Mum & You.   We live on a farm in Sussex with our two children and our 47 pets!

What are your children’s favourite books?

Our kids love reading so it’s hard to name a particular author or a book. Now that they are 8 and 10, when they get into a particular author, I bulk buy all the books in that series – just to keep them reading. I have always said to the kids that they can beg all they like for random bits and pieces, but I will never say no if they ask for a new book.

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Buddy’s Pancakes by Judy Skidmore, Sheju Adiyatiparambil-John & Vanessa Arduini

Buddy's PancakesWe have recently discovered Parakeet Books – a small independent publisher whose focus is on stories which are truly inclusive – and we LOVE their ethos. Our favourite title so far is Buddy’s Pancakes, a story which will be very familiar to parents of fussy toddlers (us included!).

Buddy is a little boy who is far more interested in playing than eating. At breakfast time his dad asks him if he would like some pancakes and the answer is a resounding no.

As Buddy plays, his dad serves up food to the rest of the family and we see how everyone likes their pancakes a different way. Granny likes lemon and honey, Grandad likes blueberries, whilst Mummy prefers to have hers with slices of banana. Each time a new variation is suggested, they ask Buddy if he would like some but he always replies that he’s not hungry.

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Snuggle Down Deep by Diane Ohanesian & Emily Bornoff

Snuggle Down DeepAs snow begins to fall around the UK, this beautiful book about hibernation is the perfect choice for bedtime.

The story shows you ten familiar animals as they all snuggle up for the winter with their families. Bears cuddle up in caves, squirrels curl up in their nests, mice tuck themselves in to the little tunnels they have dug underground and turtles dive down deep to the sticky mud at the bottom of the pond.

The choice of language is really soothing and the gentle rhyme is repetitive so I love reading this to Ivy on nights when a little extra calm is required before putting her to bed. 

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Ruth Stevenson, Research Consultant, Ruthless Research

Ruthless ResearchTell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hello I’m Ruth, and I live in Edinburgh with my husband and my four year old son Arran.  I’ve been self employed now for eight years providing research services for charities, and these days I run my business flexibly around Arran’s pre-school needs. Edinburgh is an arts and cultural hub and we do our best to take advantage of the various festivals and events that run here throughout the year.

What is your son’s favourite book?

There’s a lovely series of books based on TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats with illustrations by Arthur Robins, and we have the five that have come out so far.  We have read them all many times and our favourites are Skimbleshanks (the railway cat) and Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer (the cat burglars).  We enjoy the interesting rhymes and beautiful pictures, and also the opportunity to listen to the songs in the car based on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical.  I can’t wait to take Arran to see Cats at the theatre some day!

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Katie And The Sunflowers by James Mayhew

Katie And The SunflowersThis book is aimed at slightly older toddlers, but if you like art and have a child who will happily sit still for a 10 minute story then I would definitely recommend it!

The clever tale is about a little girl called Katie who visits an art gallery with her grandma. Katie finds herself standing in front of Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ and is amazed at how real the flowers look. She reaches forward to touch them and her hand magically goes right in to the painting! She is so shocked that she knocks the vase and the sunflowers fall right off the canvas and on to the floor of the gallery. What on earth should she do now?

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I Know A Lot! by Stephen Krensky & Sara Gillingham

I Know A Lot!This gorgeous board book is part of a series designed to empower small children. This one focuses on the fact that, as a toddler, you are learning new things all the time and if you stop and think about all the things you know, you realise it’s a lot!

The gentle rhyme highlights lots of facts that your child will revel in knowing – like the fact that wet glue will dry, ovens are hot, balls can bounce, kites fly etc.

It’s a short read at just 12 pages but this just serves to reinforce the empowerment theme. Ivy now mostly knows it by heart so she can not only tell me the facts but also recite most of the text which makes her doubly proud of herself!

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Chocolate Mousse For Greedy Goose By Julia Donaldson & Nick Sharratt

Chocolate Mousse For Greedy GooseThe animals in this story are about to sit down for dinner, but nothing about this particular meal is going to be straightforward.

Chimp’s food is too hot, Duck won’t eat his carrots, Goose has forgotten his manners, Hyena is licking the bowl and Moth is busy nibbling on the wash cloth. It’s mayhem!

Finally the plates are empty – but will the naughty animals help clean up after themselves or do they have other ideas?

This brightly-coloured board book is perfect for younger toddlers, especially if they are picky eaters (like Ivy!) or are still learning the rules of the dinner table. They rhyme is bouncy and fun and we love the detail in the pictures. Ivy likes to point out the fact that the kangaroo has popped some carrots in her pouch for later!

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How To Be A Supercow! by Deborah Fajerman

How To Be A SupercowWhen Mummy Cow announces that it’s time for bed she’s not surprised when her little calves say no. After all, resisting bedtime is just what kids do. However these siblings have a very unusual reason for not wanting to catch some Zzzzs – they’re Supercows!

They excitedly explain to their mum that they can’t possibly go to bed because they simply have too much to do. Their Supercow duties include catching pirates, rescuing dragons from angry princesses, fixing broken tractors and fighting foes. If they go to sleep then who will be there to save the world? Fortunately Mummy Cow has a cunning plan… 

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The Dress And The Girl by Camille Andros & Julie Morstad

The Dress And The GirlEvery now and again a book comes our way which both captures Ivy’s imagination and brings me to tears, and this is most definitely one of those books.

The simple, yet extremely moving, story is about the relationship between a little girl and  her favourite dress. The girl and the dress are the best of friends and they go on many adventures together. They play and explore but they also stare out at the ocean and wish for something more.

One day the girl discovers that everything is about to change. The dress is bundled in to a trunk and the girl and her family take a long journey on a boat to start a new life in New York. But somehow the trunk is lost in the hustle and bustle of their arrival. The dress finds itself alone and the girl does not come back.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Suzanne Hemming, Children’s Author, Thea Chops Books

Thea Chops BooksTell us a little bit about yourself and your family

My name is Suzanne Hemming and I live in South East London with my husband Rich and our daughter Thea who is 5.  Before having Thea I worked in the TV and film industry, but now I’m a children’s author.

What is your daughter’s favourite book?

Well I do hope that one of my books would feature highly in Thea’s top ten of favourites! Over the years she’s made requests for many of Julia Donaldson’s; we went through a stage where we read Rosie Revere, Engineer every night; and lately she really loves reading The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak.

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