December 2020

The Rainbow Christmas
by Kate Heath & Susannah Gorman

After the year we’ve had, Christmas 2020 was always going to be a bit different. So many of us have had to say goodbye to friends and family, thousands of jobs have been lost and we all have big decisions to make about whether we should risk seeing the people we love on Christmas Day.

Amongst all of the mayhem, this tiny self-published book is a little beacon of joy. It’s just 10 pages long (and more of a pamphlet than a book) but it sums up the current situation perfectly.

Continue Reading…

The Robin and the Reindeer
by Rosa Bailey & Carmen Saldaña

Time for another chapter book review!

It’s Little Reindeer’s first winter and she’s astonished to see snow falling from the sky. Her whole world is soon covered in a thick white blanket, changing once familiar surroundings into something strange and new.

Her herd set off in search of shelter and the calf is given the great honour of walking alongside their Leader. As the flakes start to flurry and the snow gets deeper Little Reindeer pauses to look at the enormous moon – but when spots a shooting star and turns to tells her friends she realises that she has become separated from the group. All she can see are little white tails bobbing far off in the distance.

Cold, tired and alone she tries to get her bearings but it’s no use – Little Reindeer is lost. However a chance encounter with a kindly little Robin gives her hope. Together they navigate the wintry terrain with the help of a little bit of woodland magic.

Continue Reading…

If Christmas Were A Poem
by Ronnie Sellers & Peggy Jo Ackley

Most of our Christmas books are adventure stories with a hint of humour but nestled in amongst them is this traditional rhyme which celebrates the joy of the festive season (and makes me feel super nostalgic!).

What are your favourite Christmas traditions? In this beautiful book we follow a young girl as she tells us all about the things which make the holiday season special for her. We see carol singing, dancing and evening trips into town to see the lights. There are crafts and gifts and special times spent with friends and family.

As she waxes lyrical about Christmas she also ponders what makes it so wonderful. It’s not just about people and presents or even the nativity. It’s all these things and so much more.

Continue Reading…

Keep An Eye On Ivy
by Barroux

I spotted a review of this one a few weeks ago and as soon as I saw the title I had to buy it. Ivy loves seeing her name in print so I knew it would be a popular choice but it also turned out to be an absolute corker of a story too!

When a little boy receives a plant for his birthday he decides to name it Ivy. It’s his favourite present and he spends lots of time tending to her to make sure she grows healthy and strong. As Ivy increases in size we soon discover that this choice of name was maybe a little incongruous. It doesn’t look like an evergreen climbing plant at all. In fact it looks distinctly carnivorous…

Over the next few days Ivy grows and grows and the boy asks different family members to keep an eye on her. The trouble is that those family members keep going missing! Where is the cat? and his sister? and his Grandpa? They are nowhere to be seen, but look closely and you might spot the sister’s saxophone and the Grandpa’s train set curled up in Ivy’s leaves.

Continue Reading…

The Night After Christmas
by Kes Gray & Claire Powell

Everybody knows what Santa does on Christmas Eve, but have you ever wondered what happens when his work is complete? This fab rhyming story gives us a sneaky peak into what happens in the North Pole on Boxing Day, and it’s a lot more energetic than you’d think!

If I was Santa I’d probably spend Boxing Day recovering in bed, as I imagine that travelling around the world delivering so many presents to so many children would be pretty tiring work. Santa obviously has a lot more stamina than I do though as he chooses to spend the day partying!

First he sits down to a celebratory dinner with Mrs Claus and then the festivities begin. Hundreds of Elves gather in their festive jumpers and twinkling lights are strung on the trees. What follows is the most Christmassy of Christmas parties you could possibly imagine! There are owls, giant crackers and sweet treats galore. There is music, dancing and they even turn on the Northern Lights!

Continue Reading…

Lily and the Magic Comb
by VV Brown & Kate Hazell

It’s Lily’s birthday and her Mum has given her a beautifully wrapped box with a resplendent yellow bow. What could be inside? As she unties the ribbon and tears the paper Lily wriggles with excitement. She knows Mum’s present will be very special – and she’s right!

Inside the box is a sparkling wide-toothed comb decorated with pink stars. As she stares at it in wonder her Mum explains that this is not just any old comb. This is Lily’s special comb and it is filled with history and magic. Using it will transport her anywhere her imagination wants to take her!

As Lily pulls the teeth of the comb through her abundant curls she wiggles her nose to activate the magic and whooosh! She finds herself flying through space and time, taking tea with an astronaut, dancing on the rings of saturn and eating cake with aliens.

Continue Reading…

Can’t See Santa
by Mandy Archer & Chris Jevons

It’s Christmas Eve and little Mouse has finished all of his preparations for the big day. Everything is ready for Santa but there’s just one problem – Mouse can’t find him anywhere!

With over 40 flaps to lift and explore, this is the perfect book for busy toddlers. On each double page they are invited to help Mouse try and locate Santa, his reindeer and a selection of gifts.

They can peek under the tree, through windows, under tables and behind doors. They will find spiders hiding underneath plates, frogs in the fruit bowl and hamsters nibbling on cheese –  but they definitely won’t find Santa and his team.

Continue Reading…

How Frank Helped Hank
by Suzanne Hemming & Jacquie Hughes

If you’ve read ‘She’s Not Good For A Girl, She’s Just Good‘ then you’ll probably recognise the central character in this story. Back then, Frank had some pretty outdated views about how girls should behave, shaming his friend Florence at school because she wanted to be good at sports. Now Frank is back and we get a sneaky peek at his home life, which offers some interesting insight into how these thoughts were formed.

Hank, Frank’s Dad, was raised to believe that boys should behave in a certain way. They should play sports, have ‘boy’s toys’ and they definitely, definitely aren’t allowed to cry. These beliefs are so firmly ingrained that he parents Frank in the same way. When Frank bangs his head he is told to ‘Man up’ and his request for a shimmering butterfly wand is met with derision. As a result, Frank has learned to hold his feelings inside, no matter how much it hurts.

Continue Reading…

The Most Wonderful Gift In The World
by Mark Sperring & Lucy Fleming

When Esme and Bear finish opening their Christmas presents they are surprised to discover one last gift hidden away at the back of tree. It’s a small box wrapped in red paper with a beautiful golden bow. Who could it be for?

The tag reveals that the intended recipient is Little Bunny Boo-Boo – but they don’t now who that is! Saddened by the prospect of someone missing out on a gift, they pull on their hats and coats and head out in to the snow. Fortunately they spot a sign for Little Bunny Boo-Boo’s house straight away but it looks like the journey might be a tiny bit tricky….

First they have to slip and slide down a treacherous path and then they have to walk through a howling gale. When they come to a deep snow drift they consider giving up but they know in their hearts that they need to get the gift to its rightful owner.

Continue Reading…

The Littlest Yak
by Lu Fraser & Kate Hindley

Ivy and I read A LOT of books together, so when one comes along which truly captures her heart I know that it must really be very special. She is utterly entranced by ‘The Littlest Yak’ and I have to say I think it’s one of the best books we’ve read this year.

The gorgeous story follows a tiny little yak called Gertie who is fed up of being the smallest animal in the herd. She looks at the big yaks with their big horns and their big hooves and she wants to be just like them – but growing up takes such a long time!

Determined to speed up the process, Gertie comes up with a plan. She exercises, eats lots of vegetables and practises clip-clopping up mountains. She even reads lots of books to try and make her thoughts grow! But despite all her efforts, she remains the same size.

Continue Reading…