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.
This simple but effective book is designed to help your toddler understand and talk about their emotions.
At the start we are introduced to a character called the Colour Monster who has just woken up feeling very confused. His body is a mass of different coloured squiggly lines which represent his emotions. His friend explains to him that he feels all mixed up because his colours are all mixed up. She takes hold of his hand and offers to help.
To sort out his colours she suggests popping each one a jar and then examining it further. As the little jars fill up we learn that yellow is happiness, blue is sadness, red is anger, black is fear and green is calm. The girl explains how each one feels inside you and the illustrations do a wonderful job of evoking the sensations and showing the associated facial expressions.
The little boy in this story has a pet elephant which he loves very much. They go everywhere together and help each other when things get hard, because that’s what friends do. However sometimes having an unusual pet can be tough.
One day the little boy takes his elephant to Pet Club but when he arrives there is a big sign on the door saying ‘Strictly No Elephants’. He watches all of the other children head in to the club with their dogs and cats and he feels very sad. He hasn’t done anything wrong but he is being excluded.
The boy and his elephant walk the grey and rainy streets until they bump in to a girl with a pet skunk. She’s also sad because she was excluded from Pet Club too. They quickly form a bond over their unusual choice of animals and decide that the best course of action would be to set up their own club!
The hamster in this book is not a happy chap. In fact, he’s very grumpy INDEED! But why? Perhaps it’s because his mummy is very cross. But why is she cross? Maybe it’s because her teacher was mean to her. But why was the teacher mean? Well her manager was always moaning so maybe that has something to do with it…
The story shows how bad moods and the grumps can spread from person to person – but how can you make this cycle of grouchiness stop? The little hamster doesn’t know the answer, but one day he meets a wise old pigeon who lets him in to a little secret. You don’t have to hold on to all the grumps! You can take that energy and turn it in to something good.
Can the hamster overcome his grumpiness and learn how to be happy?
We are big fans of this brightly-coloured book which introduces the concept of a metaphorical ‘love umbrella’.
The neon images throughout the story show a diverse group of children encountering situations out in the world which may make them feel sad or uncomfortable – like being afraid of the dark, feeling shy around other children, moving house or starting a new school.
The lovely rhyming text explains that even if the child is on their own, their loved one is always with them ‘under their love umbrella’. They may not always be physically present but they are right there with them in spirit to help them through, because of the strength of their love.
This is a really comforting read and it’s definitely a good one to snuggle up with before bed. There are so many scenarios in which this book could be helpful to a small child – from being worried about being left at nursery for the first time right through to the loss of a loved one.
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.
In a quirky little world called Jumble Wood there lives a multitude of cute little creatures. Each of them has a thing they carry around with them which makes them happy. There are creatures with flowers, creatures with balloons, creatures with sunglasses or hats and even creatures with scooters and skateboards!
But there is one little creature called Pod who doesn’t have a happy thing, and this makes her very sad. She decides that the thing that will make her happy must be hiding out there somewhere so she sets off on a journey to find it. Along the way Pod meets Peach and Worm who help her in her quest
Together they venture in to the deepest and darkest part of the wood in search of the hard-to-find thing which will finally make Pod happy. Will they find it? Or will Pod realise that a happy thing doesn’t have to be a thing at all?
I’m a big fan of books which helps children recognise and understand their feelings and this one does a fantastic job of showing how moods can affect you and the people around you.
The main character in this story is called Ed and he is in a bad mood. He’s been in bad moods before but not like this one. It starts off as something tiny, but instead of addressing the way that he feels he just ignores it, stares at the ground and pushes on through until his mood becomes worse. His feelings take hold and little Ed is no longer in control of his emotions. The bad mood takes over and starts to affect the people around him. Eventually the bad mood is so big that it affects the whole town.
Can Ed regain control of his emotions, and if so will he learn how to stop this from happening again?
Our choice for World Mental Health Day is this lovely book of mindfulness, which encourages children to slow down and connect with the world around them.
Each double page focuses on a sense or emotional state – listening, feeling, relaxing, tasting, touching, discovering, smelling, loving, appreciating and breathing. There is a simple rhyme for each one which encourages your child to stop and anchor themselves in their surroundings or the way they are feeling. Many of the pages also feature a question or instruction which will provoke additional conversation.
The illustrations are both calming and intensely detailed so there are lots of interesting things for your child to take in.