Bunny Makes Breakfast
by Kathryn Smith & Seb Braun

Happy Shrove Tuesday! Did you make pancakes with your little bunny today?

This gorgeous board book follows a family of rabbits as they source ingredients and cook themselves a delicious breakfast – but they need your help!

They start off in the kitchen, where your child is encouraged to lift the flaps to find flour, maple syrup and butter. Next up they head outside for berries, fresh eggs and creamy milk from the cows.

Little Bunny is very excited but really isn’t sure what they’re making. Can your child help them guess what will be served up?

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The Lovely Haze of Baby Days
by Lindsay Kellar-Madsen & Mie Frey Damgaard

Those early days of motherhood are tough. The lack of sleep, the fear of getting it wrong and the utter shock that you are now responsible for the life of a tiny human is a potent cocktail which can you leave you feeling like you’re losing your mind.

When Ivy was tiny I used books as a way of bonding and calming my thoughts. We’d snuggle on the sofa, surrounded by a whirlwind of mess, and let the words wash over us both. It didn’t matter what I read – sometimes it was a picture book and sometimes it was a magazine or the novel I was reading – but the result was always the same. Ivy would listen to my voice (and inevitably fall asleep) and I would feel like I had been reset, ready to face whatever the next challenge of the day might be.

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Big Boys Cry
by Jonty Howley

We live in a society which tells boys that they need to be strong, that they need to be leaders, play sports and show no fear. However, these behaviours don’t come naturally to most, so what does it mean for the majority when they don’t think they measure up and then aren’t able to share how they feel?

Toxic masculinity is a very real phenomenon and boys need to be reassured that they can show their emotions – especially right now.

Big Boys Cry is about a little boy who is nervous about starting school, unaware that his father is much more worried than he is. It’s a moving look at how our words can affect our children, and why we need to choose them carefully.

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The Day Mom Joined The Circus
by Sue Downing

Does your home feel like a circus right now? I dedicate this review to everyone out there trying to parent through the pandemic!

In this colourful story, the children wake up to discover a note from their Mum pinned to the fridge. It says that she needs some alone time so she’s decided to join the circus. She invites them to take on her share of the chores whilst she’s away.

The beautiful spreads which follow perfectly illustrate the ‘Mum juggle’ with which we are all so familiar. On the left hand page we see the children doing a household chore and on the right hand page we see how that chore has helped make Mum a fantastic circus performer.

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The Year We Muddled Through
by Lauren Fennemore & Zoe Damoulakis

Right now everything feels very unsettled. We are locked down in our homes, juggling the education of our children with our day jobs, dealing with sorrow and and being faced with a constant barrage of negative news. We’re all just muddling through and taking it one day at a time.

But what will we remember about this strange time in years to come? And perhaps more importantly, what do we want our children to remember?

A love letter from parent to child, this gorgeous picture book adds a sprinkle of magic to what has been a very difficult year. It alludes to the bad but focuses on the good, and in doing so the story of 2020 takes on a wonderful fairytale quality.

We see giant sunflowers and animals running wild on empty streets. We see rainbows shooting from rooftops as families take their daily walks. We see smiling faces as communities come together to celebrate everyday heroes.

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Love Makes A Family
by Sophie Beer

Families come in all shapes and sizes and this gorgeous board book celebrates the ones which we often don’t see in mainstream books.

The brightly coloured pages show happy families enjoying life together whilst the words explore the different ways in which people can show their love.

We see two children waking up their dads in the morning by shaking maracas and banging a drum. We see a family with grandparent carers baking and sharing cakes. We see single mums finding lost objects and single dads jumping in puddles in the park. We see a group of children reading stories by the light of a torch with their two mums. I particularly like the inclusion of a dad wearing a baby carrier as i’m not sure i’ve seen this in any of our other picture books!

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While We Can’t Hug
by Eoin McLoughlin & Polly Dunbar

Well here we are again! It’s lockdown 3.0 and I am really feeling it this time around. Ivy hasn’t seen her grandparents since August so she’s really missing them, plus the dreary weather and general sense of uncertainty is adding an extra layer of gloom.

If your little ones are feeling the same then you might want to take a peek at this heartwarming story which talks about how it feels to be separated from your nearest and dearest.

Hedgehog and Tortoise are the best of friends. They love to spend time together but they’re sad because they’re not allowed to go near each other right now. How can they show each other they care if they can’t hug?

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The World Made A Rainbow
by Michelle Robinson & Emily Hamilton

Well that was quite the year! Whilst i’m extremely happy to see the back of 2020,  the realist in me knows that the first few months of 2021 aren’t going to be much better. We live in a ‘high-risk’ area so Ivy won’t be returning to school next week as we had originally thought. She’s already missing her friends and is having to deal with so much change and uncertainty so i’m really sad for her.

As always, we turn to books in times of turmoil and this beauty by Michelle Robinson and Emily Hamilton is our current favourite. It follows a little girl in lockdown as she processes the fact she can’t see her friends and family.

The girl is feeling sad so her mum suggests they work on an art project together. They decide to create a rainbow to display in the window of their house, however the colours and materials trigger memories of the things that she misses. As her emotions threaten to overwhelm her, her parents pull together and turn the situation around.

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Ella Has A Plan
by Davina Hamilton & Elena Reinoso

It’s the day of the big family party and everyone at Ella’s house is busy getting ready. Kind-hearted Ella can’t wait for her relatives to arrive but she’s also a little bit worried. Two of her cousins, Taye and Jade, have a habit of arguing and bickering and she’s concerned that this might ruin the party for everyone else.

Mum tells her to go and chat to Great Grandad Frank who apparently has a great story about how he once tricked two of his children into playing nicely together. Ella speeds off to find him, but sure enough, a fight breaks out before he gets the chance to share his wisdom.

As Ella steps between Taye and Jade she realises that she needs a plan. How can she get the two cousins to understand that they are more alike than they realise, and that arguments are not the answer?

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by Charles Fuge

If you have been searching for the perfect snuggly bedtime book then you can stop now as I have found it! This beautiful story feels like an enormous hug.

In a vast landscape of ice and snow a polar bear and cub find warmth and comfort in each others company.  We watch as they explore their surroundings, battle snowstorms and find joy in small things. They dream of faraway lands, gaze at the stars in the night sky and master new skills. Life in the snow may be tough at times but they know they will never be lonely as they have each other.

Written in gentle, reassuring rhyme this story celebrates love and kindness. The icy tones of the illustrations are really calming and the bears are depictied beautifully. I find myself drawn to the depth of love you can see in their eyes as they live their lives peacefully side by side.

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