Little Oliver is feeling sad. His family have moved from the countryside to the big city and everything feels strange. He misses the wide open spaces but most of all he misses his friends, and he hasn’t made any new ones since he arrived.
One day Oliver heads outside on his own to explore and in amongst the crowds he spots a dog called Patch who seems to be lost. Oliver befriends him and together they have lots of fun in Oliver’s new neighbourhood. For the first time he doesn’t feel lonely and the city doesn’t seem as scary after all.
But Oliver is old enough to understand that Patch is not his dog and that somebody out there must love and miss him very much. He sets about making some posters to help Patch find his way home, even though in his heart he wants him to stay.
A few weeks ago a lovely lady called Helen dropped me a message to recommend us a book which her son had picked out at the library – The Knight Who Wouldn’t Fight. It wasn’t one that i’d heard of so I want to give a big shout out to her to say thank you as we LOVE it! (It should be noted here that this is definitely a different Helen to the one who wrote the book!)
The story is about a little mouse called Leo who likes nothing more than to curl up with a good book. However Leo is a knight so, despite his protestations, his parents insist that he has to go out in to the world and fight dragons.
Leo packs a bag with some sandwiches (and lots of books of course!) and heads off on his horse to fight a dragon who has been terrorising a town a few hours ride away. En route he faces a fearsome griffin and an angry troll, but defeats them quickly and easily using not his sword but his collection of books. It turns out that nasty creatures can be quite vain and love to hear stories about themselves!
Ivy spotted this on the shelf of our local bookshop last week and was instantly fascinated. She sat on the floor looking at it for so long that I definitely had to buy it!
The simple format shows 18 animals per double page spread. Their size, shape and position on the page doesn’t change so Ivy quickly learned to identify what each one was and its rough location.
Each page then asks you a question and you have to find the correct animals in order to answer it. The questions are things like ‘Who’s hiding?’, ‘Who’s backwards?’ and ‘Who’s sleeping?’.
I particularly like the questions around emotions (Crying, Angry etc) as your child has to identify the emotion by looking at the expressions on the animal’s faces. Ivy likes to mimic the faces – particularly the angry bear!
Our favourite book this Halloween has been Mrs Blackhat by Chloe & Mick Inkpen. Ivy LOVES it and I’ve easily read it 2-3 times a day in the last week!
Mrs Blackhat is a witch whose life definitely has a colour scheme. Everything is black – her clothes, her broom, her cauldron, her house – except for one thing. She has a ginger cat!
She finds this splash of colour extremely irksome so she sets out to find a way to transform her cat so that he’s more in keeping with her witchy style. Being somewhat of an online shopping addict she hops on her laptop and orders some potions and spells from her favourite site. However when they arrive they don’t quite perform as they should.
We were lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this lovely new story which is out today in the UK and we’ve been looking forward to sharing it with you. We’re big fans of Rachel Bright and Jim Field’s previous collaborations (‘The Lion Inside’ is in our all-time top five!) and fortunately this new title is just as good!
The heartwarming tale is about a little wolf cub called Wilf who is extremely strong-willed and independent. He wants to do everything by himself and he wants to do it right now – which will sound very familiar to any parent with a toddler!
When his wolf pack is forced to leave their cave, Wilf wants to lead the expedition to find a new home. But the little wolf soon discovers that life in the wilderness is much tougher than it looks and he finds himself lost in a storm. Too proud to call for help he sits alone on the ice, which at that very moment begins to crack. It looks as though all hope is lost but then a friendly face appears from the depths.
As much as we love Penguin Blue, we have to admit that Grrrrr! is our favourite book from Rob Biddulph.
The heartwarming story is about Fred, a highly competitive grizzly bear, who has won the ‘Best Bear in the Woods’ contest for the last 3 years in a row. He has lots of medal and trophies, but unfortunately he doesn’t have many friends because of all the time he spends training.
Fred excels at every discipline however his extremely loud Grrrrr! is what he is best known for. This means it comes as quite a shock when he wakes up on the morning of the competition to discover that he’s lost his roar! It seems to have disappeared right around the time that Boris, a new bear, arrived in town. Coincidence?
All of the local animals pitch in and help search for the missing growl but to no avail. Downhearted, poor Fred has to start the contest without it. Can his new friends help him win the competition without his Grrrrr! and will the culprit be unmasked?
You may have noticed that we haven’t posted any reviews for the last few days and this is because Ivy and I have both been under the weather. We’ve had nasty colds which has meant we’ve spent a lot of time together, cuddled under the sofa blanket, watching Disney movies and reading books.
This lovely collaboration between Julia Donaldson and Helen Oxenbury (who illustrated ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’) has been Ivy’s first choice all week!
The story starts with Rabbit, who is heading home for the day. When he gets to his burrow he is met with a loud voice which shouts ‘I’m the GIANT JUMPEREE and I’m scary as can be!’. Rabbit doesn’t know what this loud Jumperee creature is so he runs away. Cat offers to step in and help but when he approaches the burrow he is also shouted at by the terrifying Jumperee. Bear steps forward to help, followed by Elephant but each time they are scared away.
This series of books by Kes Gray & Jim Field definitely wins the award for most random but we love them!
The book centres around a set of ‘rules’ which determine what different animals are allowed to sit on. The two main characters are a cat and a frog and the former is explaining the rules to the latter. The cat tells frog that he has to sit on a log – but he doesn’t want to! Logs aren’t comfortable and they give you splinters in your bottom -but unfortunately those are the rules!
The cat then explains all the other seat-based rules and they get more and more crazy. We see moles sitting on poles, lizards sitting on wizards, gophers sitting on sofas, gibbons sitting on ribbons and even fleas sitting on peas (Ivy’s favourite!).
Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks is a lovely little book about sharing and friendship, which we have read over and over again.
The story is about a little hermit crab who is looking for a new home. He finds a lovely shiny shell and moves right in but then he meets an anemone who wants to move in too! He really doesn’t want to share his shell but the anemone explains that he can help ward off predators so will earn his keep. The crab reluctantly agrees and soon realises that having the anemone around is really helpful and they are very happy living together. Then up rocks a bristleworm who also wants to move in. Again, the crab isn’t keen but relents when he realises that the bristleworm will keep the shell nice and clean.
A few weeks ago we asked our Facebook followers to tell us their current favourite book and ‘Sunk!’ was far and away the most popular response. We love Rob Biddulph but didn’t have this particular title so we grabbed ourselves a copy straight away and we’re very glad we did!
If you’ve read ‘Blown Away‘ then you’ll already be familiar with little Penguin Blue, a fun-loving penguin who is very adept at getting himself in a sticky situation far from home. Here, he dresses as a pirate and sets off to sail the seven seas in a rubber dinghy with his friends. Their goal is to find treasure but unfortunately they cross paths with a swordfish who pops their boat and sends them sinking in to the murky depths of the sea. Eeek!
However they soon discover that the ocean floor is awash with treasure when they find a sunken ship! Tired of swimming, they head to a nearby desert island to rest and figure out the next steps. It’s all very well finding lots of treasure, but how on earth are they going to get home without a boat?