Earlier this week we visited London Zoo as a half term treat for Ivy. The highlight of her day was undoubtedly seeing the giraffes up close, but for me it was our visit to the gift shop as they had a phenomenal selection of books. From baby books right through to detailed encyclopedias, there was definitely something for every child to enjoy.
Ivy was allowed to select one title from their shelves and she headed straight for this beautiful board book from Ingela P. Arrhenius and Nosy Crow.
She’s three and a half now, but we’ve seen renewed interest in board books of late because she likes to try and read them herself by guessing what is going on in the pictures. This book is perfect for this type of game and as a result I honestly think we’ve read it 50+ times in the last few days!
I love a book which isn’t afraid to ask the big questions, and this book asks the biggest of them all – why on earth are there so many books about bears? The rather genius story brings together some of the greatest animal minds in the world to try and come up with an answer.
The ‘summit’ takes place in the hallowed hall at Mollusc College in Oxford and is attended by William Snakespeare (a snake), Albert Swinestein (a pig), some PhDs (porcupines, hedgehogs and dragons with spines), Newton (a newt), Mary Shelley (a snail) and Trevor (an unassuming little mouse).
Many theories are put forward. Is it because ‘bear’ rhymes with so many good words? Is it because bears come in a handy variety of sizes? Or could it be because, with clothes on, bears look a lot like people?
Every parent hopes that their child will grow up to be kind, and for that reason I think this book should be on bookshelves everywhere. It teaches children the value of kindness and the difference it can make to the world.
The tiniest little things can turn someone’s whole day around and they cost you absolutely nothing – a smile, a hug, a hand to hold. The book asks children to think about what they can do to help those around them. This could be something as simple as carrying a bag, being a little bit patient or sharing your toys.
It also encourages kids to think about how others might be feeling. If there is a new person in their class then they might be nervous or scared, so how can they make it easier for them?
At first glance, Westburrow Wood seems like a friendly place. All the weasels who live there look the same and they all follow the same rules so there is little for them to argue about. But then there is Wesley.
Wesley likes to wear clothes, which is unusual for a weasel, and his clothes are designed to stand out. Wesley thinks nothing of rocking a baseball cap with earmuffs, two watches, a waistcoat, some cowboy boots and a skirt. And why shouldn’t he? They’re just clothes and they’re a fun way of expressing his personality. Wesley thinks being just like everyone else is dull (and we have to admit we agree!).
The problem is that Wesley’s appearance makes the other weasel’s uncomfortable so they decide that something has to be done. They gang up on Wesley and tell him that he’s weird and needs to change.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family
My name is Claire and I live in Maidenhead in Berkshire with my husband and three girls, 11-year-old twins and a 16 year old. We love being outdoors, walking, running and of course reading.
I help businesses make their word come alive in print, online and on social media. I teach businesses how to write and create content so they can reach more customers. I’ve worked as a journalist and copywriter for twenty years. I love the written word and I hope my passion for reading has been passed on to my girls.
We adore this little book which teaches children colours whilst celebrating diversity and unconditional love.
The gentle rhyme encourages kids to step out in to the sun and be exactly who they are, safe in the knowledge that their families will always love them. The accompanying pictures show happy children from around the world, along with photographs of families with same sex parents.
We are introduced to the colours from the Pride flag, and a special section at the back tells you about Pride Day and the special significance of each colour.
This is a sturdy board book which means it’s perfect for even the littlest libraries and the use of colour and real photos is really engaging.
I had the pleasure of meeting Fifi Kuo at a recent event – the 2019 shortlist announcement for the prestigious Klaus Flugge Prize. Her beautiful book made it on to the list and, despite being very much in demand, she took the time to chat and also to compose a little drawing for Ivy on the inside cover of our copy!
The touching story is about a Little Penguin who really wants to fly. He flips and flaps his tiny wings but nothing ever happens. His dad explains to him that it’s just not possible – penguins simply cannot fly – but Little Penguin is convinced that if he just tries hard enough he can make it happen.
An over-enthusiastic leap in to the air results in him tumbling in to the sea. Is it possible that there, under the murky depths, he might finally take flight?
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family
I’m Steph. I live in southwest London with my husband Jorge, our 2-year-old daughter Emilia and a lazy cat called Oakley.
I’m a freelance social media strategist and content creator with a focus on small businesses in travel and the visual arts, plus a wonderful charity that advocates for disability inclusion. I’m from New York, but have lived in London for 12 years. Jorge is from Spain. He’s a garden designer, manages a local garden centre and teaches garden design to university students.
What is your daughter’s favourite book?
Emilia’s favourite book is one that I dug out of a box in my parent’s attic last year. It’s called I’m Not Sleepy by Colin and Jacqui Hawkins. It was written in 1988 and was one of my favourite books when I was a child.
Umar is a little boy with a big obsession. He absolutely loves keys! He likes to look at all the keys his family own and observe how they work. He watches his dad as he locks the door when they go for a walk. He watches his grandmother when she unlocks her front door for him to visit. He notes that his teacher has a different kind of key which he swipes to open the doors at nursery. How do they all work?
Umar is fascinated, and he dreams that one day he will be able to use keys all by himself. His grown ups let him practise all the time but he can’t quite master the skill. Will his hard work and determination pay off?
Meet Lucy Pear, a little girl with truly amazing hair. Her long flowing locks have a special ability – they change colour according to her mood!
Most of the time her hair is a bright shiny blonde to reflect her sunny nature but occasionally the shade is a little more exotic. When she gets mad her hair turns red, when she’s jealous it’s green and excitement turns it purple!
However, one day Lucy wakes up with a head of blue hair and a heavy feeling in her heart which she just can’t shake. The feeling is new to her and she doesn’t have the words to tell the people around her how she feels. She’s not even sure why she’s sad. She just…is.
Her friends think her hair looks cool and they just don’t understand why she isn’t her happy self. But then she spots a little boy in the cafeteria sporting blue hair and a smile. How could this be?