Hands up who has a little worrier? Both Ivy and I have a tendency to be a bit anxious and the current situation has definitely exacerbated this. Who knew there were so many things to stress about?
Jeremy knows all about worries. From morning till night all he can think about is the potential danger swirling all around him, from shoe-eating worms and too-crunchy crackers right through to runaway dinosaurs and evil squirrels. His biggest fear is the wind though – so he tries not go outside on blustery days just in case.
But then one day fastidious Jeremy meets Maggie. With mismatched clothing and trailing shoelaces, she seems an unlikely friend but the two hit it off straight away. Maggie’s mantra is ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ and fearful Jeremy is determined to show her!
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.
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.
When little Lily declares that she wants to be a Superhero her Mum presumes she wants to dress up in tights and a cloak – but how wrong she is!
Lily doesn’t want to be a *silly* Superhero, she wants to be a real Superhero. So who are the real Superheroes that she looks up to? They are the key workers who help to make the world a better place.
She could be a doctor, a firefighter, a teacher or a carer. Perhaps she’ll fly an air ambulance or drive a recycling truck. Or maybe she’ll be a vet or a scientist. There are so many Superhero jobs that the possibilities are endless! Each page delves in to these different roles and shows children what the jobs involve and the impact that they have.
Helping kids develop a growth mindset is both tricky and vitally important. They need to learn the power of persistance but their big emotions mean that they are easily frustrated when they don’t get something right the first time.
Recently i’ve received lots of requests from parents for books which tackle this topic, probably because we’ve all been doing a bit more homeschooling than we expected in 2020! The one which I recommend most frequently is this one – The Magical Yet.
Written in beautifully tight rhyme, the story is about a little girl who is learning to ride her shiny new bike. When she struggles to pedal and steer the bike ends up on the ground and she refuses to try again.
We’re very excited to be part of the cover reveal team for this fab new book by Susannah Lloyd and Paddy Donnelly!
Publishing in February 2021, ‘Here Be Dragons!’ is a fiercely funny story about a hapless knight on a dangerous mission to find and slay a dragon.
His friends have all told them that the fiery beasts don’t exist, but he has discovered a map which seems to suggest otherwise. Determined to prove them wrong, the knight sets off into the wilderness.
Wanda’s words have a sneaky habit of getting stuck. Whenever she tries to speak, the words just won’t come out and this makes her feel nervous and small in front of her teacher and the other children. Everyone else just seems so confident so why can’t she be the same?
Wanda struggles along until one day a new girl joins her class. Flo looks nervously at her new classmates before dropping her eyes to the ground and blushing. In the playground Wanda gives her a little wave and a smile and soon the two are playing quietly alongside each other. They slip into an easy and comfortable friendship where few words are needed. The two girls just seem to ‘get’ each other.
Later that week their teacher announces something which terrifies them both – a school magic contest in which they will have perform a spell in front of the class! Flo and Wanda decide to work together but when the big day arrives they are both dizzy with nerves.
You’ll need to get your tissues ready for this heartwarming and truly uplifting book about showing courage and kindness during difficult times.
When Noah’s Daddy is rushed to hospital the little boy is sent to stay with his grandmother. Naturally he is scared and confused but he finds comfort in an old lamp which has been placed in his bedroom. Shaped like a baby bird, the lamp emits a warm and soothing light and Granny lets slip that she thinks it might have magical properties.
Later that night Noah finds himself unable to sleep. He tosses and turns, worrying about his Dad, until something wonderful happens. The glowing bird leaps from its perch and flutters over to the bed. She introduces herself as the Starbird and gently talks to him until he feels calmer. She offers up a glowing feather to help him feel brave and Noah starts to feel a little better.
Chester the raccoon doesn’t want to go to school. He wants to stay safe at home with his mummy and his toys and books. Mrs. Raccoon draws him close to her and explains gently that sometimes we have to do things which seem a little big and scary. Although school might seem strange at first she is confident that he will grow to love it. He will make new friends, play with new toys, read new books and learn exciting new things.
Chester is unconvinced so she lets him in on a little secret – The Kissing Hand. She takes his hand, spreads out his fingers and plants a big kiss on his palm. He feels the warmth run right up his arm and straight to his heart. His mum tells him that every time he feels scared or lonely he just has to press that special spot on his hand and he will immediately be able to feel her love all around him.
I love picture books where the words and illustrations work in opposition and ‘I Will Be Fierce!’ is the best example I have seen.
The pictures show a young girl moving through an ordinary day at school but the words are those of a fierce knight going in to battle, determined to make the world a better place. The result is a powerful narrative which teaches children that they can be the hero of their own story.
At the start of the day we see the protagonist don her armour (a stripy jumper), fill her treasure chest (a rucksack of books) and head out in to the world. On her way to school she fearlessly faces monsters (dogs), giants (older children) and a dragon (the school bus). The day continues in this wonderful manner as we encounter more mythical beasts (like the Guardian of Wisdom – the school librarian) and battle against doubt and injustice.