If you’re looking for picture books which teach acceptance and encourage children to celebrate their differences then you NEED to have this story on your shelf. It’s such a simple story but it packs a very powerful punch.
In The Land of This and That there are two types of creatures – blue bunnies and yellow birds. Everyone is either one or the other, until the day an egg hatches and out pops Neither.
Neither isn’t a blue bunny or a yellow bird so everyone is a little confused. They see their green body, their bunny ears and their bird-like feet and they demand to know what they are. They cheerfully explains that they’re both but the creatures of the land declare this impossible. They can’t be both therefore they must be neither.
” I love to go to school. Well most days I do. There are some days when what I really want is to stay home with you.”
School has always been fun for our little protagonist. She enjoys playing and chatting with her friends, writing about her favourite things and climbing to the very top of the climbing frame in the playground – but lately school has felt like a sad place. Some days she just wants to stay at home with her tiger, because she knows he loves her and will always listen.
You see, there’s a kid at school who isn’t very nice to her. She stares at her and she laughs. She blocks her way and takes her lunch. This makes the little girl feel powerless and makes her want to run and hide.
Siba and Saba are Ugandan sisters who are a tiny bit forgetful. They leave their sweaters on buses and their sandals at the beach. They leave slippers at sleepovers and sashes on safaris. And every evening, when they go to sleep, their dreams are filled with the things they have lost.
But then one night something strange happens. Siba dreams of a silver shilling and Saba dreams of a school uniform. The girls wake in the morning feeling very confused. They have never lost these things, in fact they have never even had these things, so why have they infiltrated their dreams?
In the days that follow Siba and Saba discover that their dreams are now giving them hints of the future instead of the past. A future filled with books, knowledge, travel and adventure. A future beyond their wildest dreams.
Sunday has a tiny tear in her eardrum which requires an operation under general anaesthetic. She’s never been in to hospital before so she doesn’t know what to expect and is naturally very nervous. Perfect for little ones who may be about to go through a similar experience, the story outlines the day of her surgery and also her recovery.
From the strange gown and super-tight socks through to the IV insertion and the operating room, we see all of the detail through the eyes of a child. Sunday is a plucky little character with a big imagination so, despite her obvious nerves, her bravery shines through and she tries to be as positive as she can. Soon her ear is better and she is playing with her friends once more.
The book closes with Sunday’s ‘unofficial rules of surgery’ which are both practical and funny, including a little warning that you might get a cold bum because the hospital gowns usually don’t have a back!
This contemporary fairy tale about an unlikely friendship is breathtakingly beautiful and wonderfully atmospheric. If your child is a fan of intrigue and suspense then I would highly recommend The Wolf’s Secret.
In a forest far away lives an enormous wolf with deep, dark fur and big, golden eyes. All of the other animals fear him, but the wolf harbours a secret. He is in love with a young woman who lives in a wooden cabin hidden deep within the trees. Every day he secretly listens to her sing as she collects water from the well and tends to her sick father.
But then one morning the young woman fails to appear so the Wolf edges closer to the cabin. He sees his love sobbing on her father’s empty bed and her sadness consumes him.
You know how sometimes yawning is contagious? Well, when a little boy does a massive yawn at the start of this story he kicks off a chain reaction beyond his wildest dreams.
Once his yawn is out there in the world, everyone else starts yawning too. The boy passes his yawn on to a dog, who passes it on to a cat, who passies it on to a tiny mouse… Soon the whole town is yawning and it spreads through the countryside too.
Next the yawn goes international, passing through the pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal and even the North Pole. Peope start yawning on buses and trains and on ships and planes. The yawn even spreads on to a rocket and heads in to space!
It’s World Space Week so I thought I would share this gorgeous little board book which is perfect for babies and toddlers.
Featuring bold illustrations and lots of eye-catching shiny sections, it introduces small children to some very big ideas. The pages are folded like a concertina and they are designed to be stretched out to create a frieze. You can use it to keep a baby entertained during tummy time by standing it up in front of them, and toddlers will enjoy sitting in the middle of it and interacting with the pages.
On one side of he frieze we see all of the planets laid out in order. Each of them has a very expressive face (which can be used to talk about emotions) and a descriptive name which tells us something about that specific planet – Little Mercury, Red Mars, Cold Neptune etc. As someone who was born in the seventies I love that there is also a little nod to Pluto as I refuse to accept that he’s been downgraded!
“Wow! Wow Mummy, wow!” – and that’s pretty much all Ivy said the first time we flicked through this stunning book together! I have to admit she’s right. It’s an absolute joy to behold and is jam-packed with amazing facts about nature.
This non-fiction book takes you on a mesmerising journey around the world as we learn the effects the seasons have on different environments.
First up is the European Oak Tree which should be very familiar to your child if you live in the UK. The clever laser cut pages show us the tree at different stages throughout the year and the text introduce us to the variety of tiny creatures which call it their home.
In the middle of the forest stands a tiny little Mouse, daydreaming of her very first home. Her thoughts are disturbed by a Frog who explains that his pond has dried up so he has no place to go. Mouse takes this to be a sign and she suggests that they build a house together.
As construction begins, more animals appear and each has a sad tale to tell. There are rabbits who have been chased from their home by an eagle, birds who have had their tree chopped down and a big brown bear who feels isolated because his size scares people.
Mouse comforts each displaced creature in turn and invites them to be a part of her project. Soon they are all working together to build the perfect home, where they can all reside safely together.
I love language so this fantastic book of idioms makes me very happy indeed!
“Do you see a dragon?” asks a child at the start of this story. “A dragon? What dragon? I’ll believe you when pigs fly!” says his friend.
‘When Pigs Fly’ is a wonderful expression which we use in English when we think something will never happen – but what do they say in other countries to express the same sentiment? This book takes us on a little journey around the world to find out.
I won’t spoil the idioms for you as they are great fun but the countries included are the Netherlands, Spain, Nigeria, Turkey, India, the Philippines, Poland, Germany, Russia and Latvia. From whistling lobsters and upside down crows through to ice-dancing cows and tree-climbing fish, this eclectic and slightly bonkers collection of phrases is guaranteed to have your child laughing out loud.