In the beautiful city of Aleppo in Syria a little stray cat plays happily in the sunshine. She lives a charmed life, chasing butterflies, exploring the marble mosques and being fed by the locals – until one day, humans in big boots arrive and everything goes dark.
Now surrounded by sadness and war, the little cat doesn’t know what to do. She watches the city crumble around her and is startled by the loud noises and angry voices. She doesn’t understand where her friends have gone and why there is suddenly no food. She is hungry and afraid so she hides herself away in the darkness of the city.
Poppy’s family run a circus and performing is all she has ever known. She has taken part in shows since she was a tiny little penguin, mastering all the skills needed to wow the crowds and make her parents proud. She can unicycle, juggle and trapeze like a pro. She’s a master at magic and regularly finds herself being shot out of a cannon or leaping through a ring of fire – but Poppy has a secret.
To the outside world it looks like Poppy is living the perfect life, but deep down she really doesn’t like performing. She dislikes the lights, the crowds, the noise and the attention but everyday she pretends she is happy because she is scared of letting her parents down.
One day it all becomes too much and the little penguin realises that something needs to change. She wants to be part of the circus but she doesn’t want to be in the spotlight anymore.
One Whole Year.
I honestly cannot believe that it’s been one whole year since we entered lockdown for the first time. I had no idea how long it would last but I genuinely didn’t expect to still be under so many restrictions twelve months later. Sometimes it feels like the time has flown, but other times it seems like we have been living this way for decades!
But here we are, and I am marking this strange ‘anniversary’ with this beautiful book from LeUyen Pham which begins with the lines: ‘Something strange happened on an unremarkable day just before the season changed.
Everybody who was outside…went inside.
Everyone. Everywhere. All over the world”
When Ivy and I are looking for something fun to do then Maths generally isn’t at the top of the list – however this fab board book has managed to change that! It’s part of a montessori-insired series called ‘My World’ which encourages childen to explore the world around them. Aimed at children aged 3-5, the book has a built-in string of colourful beads which you can use for counting and measuring.
Each double page spread shows a different scene for you to explore – including the home, the garden, under the sea, around town, the inside of a drawer and nocturnal animals. Kids are then encouraged to use the beads to count or to measure the things they can see. How many apples are there? How many bees? What’s the tallest household object? Which is the longest fish? Which items are too big to fit in the shed? Which animals are small enough to fit in the tent?
Little Tess has grown up surrounded by warmth and affection. She adores her family and, because they are never apart, love follows her like a warm scarf wherever she goes.
When it’s time for Tess to start school she is nervous because her family can’t come with her. She’s never had to do anything by herself before and she is worried that she will be seperated from her family’s love. Her mother explains that love is like a string which connects them even when they are apart. It can stretch really far and it won’t ever, ever break.
Tess isn’t sure about this theory but as she enters the school she starts to see little threads of love everywhere. Each child has a string just like hers and one boy even has a string which reaches right up to the sky, connecting him to the father which he lost when he was small. Reassured by this, Tess settles into her day and we even see a new thread start to grow between the little girl and her teacher.
In part 2 of our ‘Meet the Publisher’ series, diverse and inclusive ‘Lantana Publishing’ tells us how they got started, what they aim to achieve and which books you need to watch out for in 2021.
“Lantana Publishing was founded in 2014 by Alice Curry when she realised her mixed-race nephew would not be able to see himself in books. ‘Where are all the books about children of colour?’ she asked as she scanned bookshop and library shelves. From this question sprung the mission at the heart of Lantana: books should reflect the lives of all children, not just a few. Because ALL children deserve to see themselves in the books they read.
We are very proud to be an award-winning independent children’s publisher and social enterprise publishing inclusive books celebrating every kind of child and family.Today, Lantana is an all-female team committed to opening up a space for new and exciting voices from around the world and bringing their words to life with beautiful artwork from brilliant illustrators.
Hello Rebecca! Thank you so much for chatting to me about your new book ‘Beatrix and her Bunnies’.
Hello Ivy and Shelley! Thank you both for inviting me.
Could you give us a quick overview of what the book is about?
Beatrix Potter loved the countryside, but grew up in a big, lonely house in London which she filled with animal friends. This narrative non-fiction biography follows her relationship with two of her pet rabbits, Benjamin and Peter, and how they provided inspiration for her artwork and for her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. It also follows her development as a writer and artist, as well as her pioneering role as a conservationist.
When Triceratops damages her horn at a dinosaur picnic her friends know exactly who to call – Doctorsaurus!
Armed with her doctor’s bag and some extra-sticky plaster, the lovely doctor fixes the problem in a jiffy, but soon she has lots of new patients to see. Stegosaurus has a splinter, T-Rex has a blocked nose and Brontosaurus has a big, bloaty tummy. Doctorsaurus doesn’t bat an eyelid as she deals with green goo, snotty slime and some rather icky smells and before they know it all the dinosaurs feel well enough to celebrate.
But as they tuck into their picnic, Doctorsaurus hears an almighty rumbling and yells ‘Emergency!’. It looks like those prunes she prescribed Brontosaurus might be about to take effect…
Geography was never my favourite subject at school but if our textbooks had looked anything like this beauty from Caryl Hart and Bethan Woollvin then I suspect I may have paid more attention!
At the start of this gorgeous rhyming story we hop on board a submarine with a little girl and her dog. Together we embark on a journey to see the world’s oceans, but this is no ordinary tour as the guides are the waters themselves.
First we meet the Arctic Ocean, who smiles as she speaks of her pride at being the smallest. She shows us her narwhals, her beluga whales and the polar bears who inhabit her ice. Next is the choppy Atlantic who tells us about her underwater mountains and hidden caves. Our submarine glides past blue fin tuna in the Indian Ocean, sea snakes in the Coral Sea and millions of pieces of plastic in the Pacific.
I’ve read countless stories by Beatrix Potter but I have to admit that until I read this beautifully illustrated picture book I didn’t know anything about her life. Did you know that Benjamin Bunny and Peter Rabbit were real live animals which she befriended? Nope. Me either!
At the start of Rebecca Colby’s story, young Beatrix is living in London and feeling very lonely indeed. She loves animals and has lots of pets but none of them can really play with her in the way that she’d like. But then, on a visit to the countryside, she meets Benjamin, a mischievous bunny who loves snuggles and games. Finally the little girl has a friend!