Month

September 2019

Ivy’s Guest Book: Katie Beardsworth, Founder, Polyphony Arts

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I am a freelance artist manager and classical music project manager, and I live in Hull with my nearly 3-year old son, my husband, and our cat. My son and I love reading together; he asks for stories first thing in the morning, often throughout the day, and always has several at bed time. He has just started to want to read them himself and can recite lots back to me, with a very funny way of skipping over the bits he can’t remember!

What is your son’s favourite book?

My son loves all the books by Julia Donaldson; I think The Gruffalo is his favourite but he is also extremely fond of Room on the Broom and Stick Man. I think the poetry really appeals to him, and he is fascinated by the details. In The Gruffalo he likes to look ahead a few pages to where the Gruffalo appears, and says “Look, a Gruffalo!” and I say “No, it can’t be, there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo”… and then he squeals with joy when the Gruffalo finally appears (and I am proved wrong)!

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Alison Cupples, Founder, Innovate Collaborate

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

My name is Alison Cupples and I live in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands with my partner Andy and my daughter Mila who is 4 years old and just starting school.  I run a business called Innovate Collaborate, which helps businesses make their admin processes more efficient, not just financially but with time and energy too.  I am passionate about getting business owners to go home on time to be with their loved ones.

What is your daughter’s favourite book?

My daughter is learning to read so at the moment she is reading lots of different stories.  However, the one book she will always come back to is “The Gruffalo” by Julia Donaldson.  It’s a very popular one but she has memorised it, which I think is helping her to read longer, more difficult words.  She loves that it rhymes and that a mouse can convince all this big animals not to eat him.  She pretends to be a teacher quite often and she will always read this book to her class of dolls and teddies.

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The King Who Looked For An Island by Chrissie White & Liz Poulain

Being a King can be a lonely job, especially if you live in a castle on a plain surrounded by mountains. The monarch in this story dreams of moving to a beautiful island, but the mountains around him are so high that he can’t even tell which way the sea is!

His Adviser is too busy to help him so instead he asks the people of his kingdom to build a tower that is tall enough to see the ocean. The farmers build a tower of bricks, the soldiers build a tower of steel, the cheese makers build a tower of cheese and the ice-cream sellers make a tower which looks like a giant cone. Even the shoemakers get involved, building a giant boot that reaches up to the sky!

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GoGo RoRo Finds Her Gifts by Rousan J. Davidson & Hayley Moore

GoGo RoRo is very excited about her upcoming birthday so when she overhears Abuela* Rosa and her brother Jean Bean discussing gifts, she presumes they are talking about her presents. Overwhelmed by curiosity, she asks for some clues but Abuela Rosa cryptically tells her that she will have to find her gifts herself.

GoGo RoRo and Jean Bean search everywhere for the birthday presents but they are nowhere to be found. Where on earth could their grandmother have hidden them?

When Abuela Rosa sees the mess they have made she is very disappointed and GoGo RoRo hangs her head in shame. She was just so excited about finding her gifts. But what if her gifts aren’t material goods at all? What if her grandmother simply wants her to find the gifts she was born with?

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Competition Time! Win A BookTrust Goody Bag with #TimeToRead

I have been a massive bookworm since I was a little girl, so when Ivy was born I was really excited at the prospect of sharing my childhood favourites with her. We’ve been reading together since she was about 4 months old and it’s always the best part of the day! She’s now almost 4 and I can’t begin to imagine how many hours she has spent snuggled on my lap listening to stories. It’s such a great way to bond and over the years she has learned so much. I love how books offer a little window in to different ways of life.

We read all kinds of books but I have a particular passion for stories which encourage kindness, empathy and positive mental health. That’s why I am super excited to be working with BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, to promote their #TimeToRead campaign.

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The Pirate Tree by Brigita Orel & Jennie Poh

When Agu spots a little girl called Sam playing in a tree he sees an opportunity to make a friend. He is new to the country but so far all of his attempts at friendship have failed. Poor Agu is heartbroken when Sam says she doesn’t want to play because she doesn’t know him. Why is making friends so hard?

He watches as Sam pretends to be a pirate amongst the gnarled bows of the old tree. She sings of her adventures but when she mentions stealing diamonds from Nigeria Agu steps in. He tells her there are no diamonds there, and he knows because this is where he comes from. Intrigued, Sam asks him what else he knows and just like that the door of friendship starts to open. Agu tells her all about his former home and slowly they start to play. Soon they are sailing together on the breeze, fighting pirates and searching for seashells.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Julia Barker, Founder, Zen With Julia

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Julia Barker, the owner of Zen With Julia. I’m a professional organiser and trainee KonMari consultant working and living between Yorkshire and Malta. My wife and I have one child, a chirpy little fellow called Ciccio (say chee-cho, it’s the Italian short version of Francesco which only gets used when something Dreadful has happened…). He’s nearly 3 by the way.

What is your son’s favourite book?

At the moment it’s A Whale of a Tale – one of the Dr Seuss books (Bonnie Worth et al). We picked it together from the library and he really loves the rhyme. Now, whenever something big or exciting happens he says ‘mummy, it’s a WHALE OF A TALE’ and is generally very pleased with himself. I was quite surprised he got so into it actually as it’s quite detailed about the ol’ cetaceans.

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The Good Egg by Jory John & Pete Oswald

The Good Egg is the kind of person everyone likes to have around. He rescues cats from danger, he offers to carry your groceries, change a tire for you, water your plants when you’re on holiday and even help you paint your house. He’s the kind of friend who you know will always be there in your time of need.

The problem is, being so good all the time can really take it’s toll. The other eleven eggs in his carton aren’t very well behaved so it always falls to the Good Egg to keep the peace and be, well, good.

The poor little guy ends up exhausted and small cracks begin to appear in his shell. He realises that putting all of this pressure on himself to be good is literally causing him to crack up.

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The Fruit That Loves Itself by Frank Chidwick & Jefton Sungkar

Remi the rambutan is feeling sad. All the other fruit at the market is being quickly snapped up by customers, but when people see his spiky exterior they just stare and point. He begins to wonder if there is something wrong with him. Maybe he just tastes really bad and that’s why no one wants to choose him!

The little fruit feels utterly dejected, but a chance encounter with a cactus sets him on a different path. The wise succulent explains to Remi that what other people say or do isn’t important. He just needs to stop comparing himself to others, focus on his own special magic and learn to love himself.

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Spectacular Animals of Africa by Ruth Bradford

Have you heard of The Little Black & White Book Project? Run by mum Ruth Bradford, it’s an award-winning small business which creates beautifully designed black and white board books for babies.

A newborn baby’s sight is a little blurry and their field of vision is only 6-8 inches. They cannot distinguish between shapes or colours but research has shown that the stark contrast in black and white images helps stimulate their vision. If you’ve ever worn a black and white Breton top around a baby you’ll know that they just can’t stop staring. Try it and see!

Ruth’s books are designed to help with early visual stimulation. Each one focuses on the animals from a different region and our favourite is this one – Spectacular Animals of Africa.

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