Here is another great pick for Pride Month – The Pirate Mums by Jodie Lancet-Grant and Lydia Corry. It’s a swashbuckling adventure about pirates, the high seas and slightly embarrassing parents.
Billy’s family is a little bit different and sometimes this can be hard. He worries a lot about what his friends might think and sometimes just wishes his parents were a tad more ‘normal’. Why? Well his two mums have a penchant for all things piratey. They sing sea shanties all day long, they take their pet parrot for walks, they decorate the house with fishing nets and insist on using smelly old maps. They are SO EMBARRASSING!
When Billy’s teacher announces that the class will be going on a trip to the seaside and taking a boat ride, naturally his mums volunteer to help. The little boy is mortified because he knows his friends will make fun of their pirate-led fashion sense and their fondness for words like matey, scallywag and buccaneer.
How does your Dad make you feel? With mine I always feel safe and I know he’ll invariably have a sensible solution to any problem I encounter. He has the correct tool for every possible job squirrelled away in his garage and his childlike sense of adventure makes him a big hit as a Grampi!
The little boy in this gorgeous picture book has a very similar father so it really resonated with me. We follow their adventures as they build a go-kart, a tree house, a planter box and a cardboard castle. We see them pretend to be superheroes, rock stars, mechanics and farmers. We watch as they go about their days together, secure in the knowledge that they have each other’s backs.
This was not the book I was planning on reviewing today. It’s not even a book I was planning to review this week or even this month as I didn’t know it existed until it dropped through my door about an hour ago and made me cry big, ugly, shoulder-shuddering tears. I’m choosing to write about it right now because i’m not sure i’ve ever responded to a picture book this strongly before, and I need to get all the words out before I forget how reading it through for the first time made me feel. I’m not sure I can do it justice – but here goes!
The last 18 months have been incredibly hard for everyone. There has been loss, loneliness, separation, sadness and hardship – but through it all there has been hope that better days are coming. At 5, Ivy is old enough to understand why so many restrictions have been placed on our lives but has still struggled with the fact that so many of the fun things have been stripped away for so long.
The prospect of a new sibling is very exciting but most children struggle with the sudden shift in the family dynamic when a baby actually arrives. This beautifully illustrated book is perfect for reading in those final months of pregnancy, to help your little one process the changes that might lie ahead.
Dragons, much like toddlers, tend to have an air of mischief about them and this story plays on their ‘naughty’ reputation to great effect. How would you expect a little dragon to behave when they are no longer the centre of attention? Surely they will stomp their feet, huff and puff and breathe some fire, right? Well no. It turns out that little dragons now exactly how to behave around a new baby and they have lots of great advice to share. Children will want to align themselves with the dragon’s positive behaviour because she’s such a cute and kind character.
“Elephants never forget, but Edmund did forget… a lot.”
Poor Edmund. Everyone knows that elephants have fantastic memories so he’s very self-conscious about the fact he is a little forgetful. Fortunately his mum is on hand to help, teaching him songs and writing him lists to help him remember important things.
However today Edmund is a little stressed as he’s been tasked with collecting some essentials for his brother’s birthday party. As usual, Mum has written him a list but Edmund has accidentally left it behind! Edmund panics but then he hears the voice of his friend Colin the Caterpillar. Colin knows what was on the list so as they approach the Party Shop he shouts out each item to Edmund.
Poppy’s family run a circus and performing is all she has ever known. She has taken part in shows since she was a tiny little penguin, mastering all the skills needed to wow the crowds and make her parents proud. She can unicycle, juggle and trapeze like a pro. She’s a master at magic and regularly finds herself being shot out of a cannon or leaping through a ring of fire – but Poppy has a secret.
To the outside world it looks like Poppy is living the perfect life, but deep down she really doesn’t like performing. She dislikes the lights, the crowds, the noise and the attention but everyday she pretends she is happy because she is scared of letting her parents down.
One day it all becomes too much and the little penguin realises that something needs to change. She wants to be part of the circus but she doesn’t want to be in the spotlight anymore.
One Whole Year.
I honestly cannot believe that it’s been one whole year since we entered lockdown for the first time. I had no idea how long it would last but I genuinely didn’t expect to still be under so many restrictions twelve months later. Sometimes it feels like the time has flown, but other times it seems like we have been living this way for decades!
But here we are, and I am marking this strange ‘anniversary’ with this beautiful book from LeUyen Pham which begins with the lines: ‘Something strange happened on an unremarkable day just before the season changed.
Everybody who was outside…went inside.
Everyone. Everywhere. All over the world”
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?
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.
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.