Danny’s Dream tells the story of a little boy with big ambitions and how he learns to overcome obstacles in order to achieve them. It’s aimed at a slightly older age group than the books I would normally recommend on this blog (probably best for those aged 5+) – but I’m sharing it because Ivy was fascinated by the illustrations and the story behind them.
As soon as we opened the book, Ivy had questions! The inside cover shows a photograph of the artist, Ian Parker, painting using his mouth. She was utterly intrigued by the fact this was possible and amazed that each of the 34 illustrations had been painted in this way. Before reading the story we looked through all of the artwork and talked about how long it must take to be able to paint such intricate pictures without the use of your hands – 2 whole years in fact! It sparked a great conversation about disability, a theme which would continue when we started to read…
Ivy is an extremely picky eater so I like to keep an eye out for books which might encourage her to expand her tastes a little. Results are generally a bit hit and miss but we have had some success with this one so I wanted to share it with you.
The child in the story loves dinosaurs but absolutely does not like broccoli! She refuses to try it or even touch it because she thinks it looks yucky. But mum steps in with a thought which makes her think twice. She cleverly points out that broccoli looks like tiny trees and dinosaurs like to eat trees…
The girl (who is dressed in a dinosaur costume) asks if her toy dinosaur can try it first – and together they take baby steps towards a first mouthful of broccoli.
We were lucky enough to meet the lovely Chitra Soundar at an event at Moon Lane Ink last year so I was very happy when Lantana Publishing invited us to be part of the book tour for her newest title – You’re Strong With Me.
This is the third book in a trilogy, all of which feature beautiful illustrations from Poonam Mistry. The previous books in the series are You’re Safe With Me and You’re Snug With Me and each one focuses on the wonderful bond between parent and child.
In this story we follow a mother giraffe and her calf through a day in the wild. The little giraffe encounters many things which make her scared or uncomfortable, like a hissing fire and a bird which pecks at her fur, but her mother is always there to reassure and comfort her.
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!
When little Lils loses her favourite Teddy Bear she is inconsolable. What will she do without him? Fortunately her mum spots a local policeman, Officer George, and asks for his help. Lils is a little bit scared of the big policeman in his shiny uniform but Officer George springs in to action and immediately heads off in search of the lost toy. Will he be able to locate Lils’ friend and bring him back home?
Written by a serving police officer, this lovely book helps children understand that police officers are there to help the public. It’s an unfortunate fact that some parents still use the “You’d better behave yourself or that policeman will take you away” line with their kids. This can cause a negative association in children’s minds and potentially cause problems if they are in a situation where they need help. This story reinforces the fact that police officers are friendly, approachable and not to be feared. It even suggests that children give them a smile and a wave next time they see them to see how they react!
Aqua is a dog who works hard on an Australian farm, herding sheep and helping the farmer. However whenever he gets the chance, he runs off to the water hole for a quick paddle. He likes nothing better than to swim, splash and dive beneath the surface – but the farmer just doesn’t understand. Aqua often gets in to trouble for indulging his passion for swimming!
One day, the farm is hit by a terrible storm and the rain soon causes a flood. The farmer doesn’t know what to do but Aqua Dog springs in to action. He dives through the water, and like a hero, he rescues every sheep. Once his rescue mission is complete he looks around for the farmer but he’s nowhere to be found. Aqua soon realises he must be underwater and he can’t swim! Can he rescue him before it’s too late?
When three little girls find a tattered hot air balloon hidden away in an old shed they realise they have found something special. The balloon used to belong to their grandmother, and they have heard many stories about the adventures she had in it as a girl.
With a flicker of excitement they realise that, if they can fix the balloon, they could have some adventures of their very own! Working together, they mend the holes in the fabric and soon find themselves soaring through the sky.
However it’s not long before they discover that flying a hot air balloon isn’t quite as easy as it looks, and after a minor collision with a tree they start to doubt their own abilities. Will they manage to fly the balloon safely to Grandma’s house, and what on earth might she say when they arrive?
In the big city, the dogs move in highly visible tribes. The business dogs all wear suits and scurry busily along. The football dogs all wear matching kits. The scout dogs all wear khaki. Everywhere you look there are groups of dogs, all uniformly dressed.
But in the middle of the hustle and bustle is an odd dog out. Wearing a woolly hat and scarf and listening to music on his snazzy headphones, it’s apparent that this little guy does not fit in. No matter how hard he tries, he realises he’s just not like the other dogs in the city.
Saddened, he decides to leave his home town to try and find a place where the dogs are more like him. He travels far and wide until he stumbles upon Doggywood – a place where all the dogs wear woolly hats and scarves and listen to music on their headphones. He is so excited because he thinks he has found his place in the world!
Benny the robot is a little bit different. All of his robot friends have lots of shiny buttons which do fun things, like flash lights, blow bubbles and play music. But poor Benny only has one button. It’s bright red and says ‘Only Press In An Emergency’.
The other robots make fun of him and call him ‘One Button Benny’ and this makes him sad. He doesn’t really know what an emergency is but he secretly hopes one will happen so that he gets to press his button and find out what it does.
One morning Benny wakes up, eats his breakfast and brushes his teeth, unaware that outside his house an actual emergency is unfolding. The evil Collectors have landed on his planet and they are planning to gather up all of the robots, crunch them up and turn them in to teapots! The Collectors are small hairy aliens with green bums and they mean business!
When you think of Humpty Dumpty you can’t help but immediately picture him falling off a wall – but what if he could be so much more than that?
This brightly coloured book starts with Humpty sitting on his famous wall, talking about the future with his friends. One of them asks what he wants to be when he grows up and his response shocks them. He wants to be a boiled egg! Aghast, they suggest that he thinks outside of the box.
Wee Willie Winkie thinks Humpty should be a footballer, Little Bo Peep suggests he becomes a detective, whilst Mary Mary Quite Contrary thinks he would make a great musician. Soon everyone is sharing their career aspirations. Little Miss Muffet dreams of becoming a scientist, Goosey Gander plans to become a builder, and This Little Piggy wants to be a traffic warden!