Spring is just around the corner and this lovely book from Nosy Crow and the National Trust is packed full of interesting little activities you can do with the kids to encourage a love of the great outdoors.
From building dens and spotting bugs to growing radishes and making compost, the simple instructions help you make the most of the garden. And if you don’t have any outside space, there are just as many projects to do indoors, like growing beans in a glass jar, making a tiny magic garden and creating a little window box.
Alongside the myriad activities there are garden-related words to learn, flowers, trees and vegetables to identify, and a handy section on how to stay safe whilst digging and planting.
Sally is the smallest girl in the school, which means that most of time people don’t notice her. She passes unseen in the school corridors but she is very special because she notices absolutely everything.
She sees the tiny details all around her, but most importantly she sees the people and how they behave with one another. She watches as the children are unkind to each other in the playground, and she notices how this makes the bullied and excluded kids feel. She watches as mean words are exchanged and tears fall.
And then one day Sally decides she’s had enough.
The tiny little girl steps out of the lunch line in the cafeteria, raises her hand in the air to quieten the room and then she opens her mouth and tells everyone what she has observed and how it should change. She expects to be laughed at but one by one she sees hands slowly rise in to the air in solidarity.
This gorgeous classic tells the true story of two very special male penguins at Central Park Zoo.
Choosing to ignore the female penguins, Roy and Silo are inseparable. They sing together, bow to each other and go on little strolls around the penguin enclosure. When they see the other penguins pair up and build a nest of stones they do the same and snuggle up to sleep. Soon however they see that the other penguins all have eggs in their nests. They watch as the eggs grow then hatch, and they want a baby penguin of their own.
Clever Roy spots a large round stone which looks just like an egg. He brings it home to Silo and they pop it in their nest. For days and days they take turns sitting on the egg, just as they have seen the other penguins do, but no baby penguin appears.
It’s Valentine’s Day so we thought we’d take the opportunity to share our favourite books which focus on love.
Aalfred and Aalbert by Morag Hood
A lovely tale about two (male) aardvarks who are potentially a perfect couple, and the little blue bird who plays matchmaker.
Read the full review
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney & Anita Jeram
A gorgeous book about trying to vocalise the extent of your love. This makes a perfect gift for a small child (or even a grown up!)
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You may remember that last year we got very excited about a book called The Steves which featured two puffins arguing over the fact they share a name. Ivy loved it (and still does!) so I was over the moon to spot that the Author, Morag Hood, has just released something new.
Aalfred and Aalbert are two aardvarks who are absolutely perfect for each other but, despite being neighbours, they have never actually met. This is because Aalbert sleeps at night and Aalfred sleeps all day. Both long for companionship but don’t realise that what they are looking for is right under their nose.
Unbeknown to them, a tiny blue bird has been observing their coming and goings and decides to play matchmaker. He hatches a number of elaborate plans involving alarm clocks, broccoli and balls of red string but nothing seems to work.
We have recently discovered Parakeet Books – a small independent publisher whose focus is on stories which are truly inclusive – and we LOVE their ethos. Our favourite title so far is Buddy’s Pancakes, a story which will be very familiar to parents of fussy toddlers (us included!).
Buddy is a little boy who is far more interested in playing than eating. At breakfast time his dad asks him if he would like some pancakes and the answer is a resounding no.
As Buddy plays, his dad serves up food to the rest of the family and we see how everyone likes their pancakes a different way. Granny likes lemon and honey, Grandad likes blueberries, whilst Mummy prefers to have hers with slices of banana. Each time a new variation is suggested, they ask Buddy if he would like some but he always replies that he’s not hungry.
This gorgeous board book is part of a series designed to empower small children. This one focuses on the fact that, as a toddler, you are learning new things all the time and if you stop and think about all the things you know, you realise it’s a lot!
The gentle rhyme highlights lots of facts that your child will revel in knowing – like the fact that wet glue will dry, ovens are hot, balls can bounce, kites fly etc.
It’s a short read at just 12 pages but this just serves to reinforce the empowerment theme. Ivy now mostly knows it by heart so she can not only tell me the facts but also recite most of the text which makes her doubly proud of herself!
Every now and again a book comes our way which both captures Ivy’s imagination and brings me to tears, and this is most definitely one of those books.
The simple, yet extremely moving, story is about the relationship between a little girl and her favourite dress. The girl and the dress are the best of friends and they go on many adventures together. They play and explore but they also stare out at the ocean and wish for something more.
One day the girl discovers that everything is about to change. The dress is bundled in to a trunk and the girl and her family take a long journey on a boat to start a new life in New York. But somehow the trunk is lost in the hustle and bustle of their arrival. The dress finds itself alone and the girl does not come back.
This gorgeous book takes a close look at what it means to be smart. Does it mean being good with letters and numbers and getting top marks at school – or could it be so much more than that?
With a gentle, lilting rhyme the author shows you that there are many, many different ways to be smart and that children do clever things all day long without even realising it. Some kids know lots about dinosaurs and some are excellent at making witches hats. Others show their smarts by being kind and compassionate when they see they someone else is feeling sad or shy. Your skill might be mixing coloured potions or being a mermaid or blowing bubbles. Whatever your talent is, it’s important and it’s special to you.
The story reassures that all kids are talented and that being ‘school smart’ isn’t the be all and end all. We all have our own special skills which we use to make the world a better place every day – whether we realise it or not.
Felicity and Jane are two African snails who are very much in love. The pair are inseparable and are looking forward to spending their lives together. Then something very special happens – Felicity finds out that she is going to have a little baby snail. She can’t wait to tell Jane, but when she does it turns out that Jane also has some special news, as she is pregnant too. They are going to be a family and are very excited!
The two expectant mums work hard to create the perfect egg chamber for their new arrivals and then together they lay their eggs and wait. It’s not long before the tiny snails start to hatch and soon Felicity and Jane are the proudest mums on the planet.