I spotted a review of this one a few weeks ago and as soon as I saw the title I had to buy it. Ivy loves seeing her name in print so I knew it would be a popular choice but it also turned out to be an absolute corker of a story too!
When a little boy receives a plant for his birthday he decides to name it Ivy. It’s his favourite present and he spends lots of time tending to her to make sure she grows healthy and strong. As Ivy increases in size we soon discover that this choice of name was maybe a little incongruous. It doesn’t look like an evergreen climbing plant at all. In fact it looks distinctly carnivorous…
Over the next few days Ivy grows and grows and the boy asks different family members to keep an eye on her. The trouble is that those family members keep going missing! Where is the cat? and his sister? and his Grandpa? They are nowhere to be seen, but look closely and you might spot the sister’s saxophone and the Grandpa’s train set curled up in Ivy’s leaves.
It’s early December and Santa is feeling tired. Lifting heavy sacks of toys every year has taken its toll on his back and his knees so he thinks it may be time to retire. He carefully writes out a job ad for someone special to take over his role and throws it on to his magical fire.
At the exact moment the parchment hits the flames, someone else is making a big decision on the other side of the world. A little Monster from Monster Land is telling his parents that it’s time for him to see the world and try to do some good. As he talks, Santa’s letter drifts in to view and the Monster realises that this is the perfect opportunity for him to spread his wings.
In the North Pole Santa puts the monster through some rigorous training and soon he is ready to go out and spread some Christmas joy. Monster Christmas is about to be unleashed on the world! He’s very excited but his first appearance at a Grotto doesn’t quite go as planned. The children and parents take one look at his green fur and run away screaming.
Ivy really enjoys traditional fairy tales so I love it when we discover alternate versions with interesting twists! This new take on ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff’ had her giggling from start to finish.
When Mr Troll moves in to a brand new pad he’s looking forward to some luxury living, but instead he finds himself under a bridge frequented by a very noisy family of goats – the eponymous Billy Goats Fluff. The trip-trapping of their hooves keeps him awake 24/7, leaving him sleep-deprived and very, very grumpy.
He puts up a carefully worded sign but this doesn’t work so he soon finds himself shouting at the goats and threatening to eat them unless they stop waking him up. The three little billy goats are scared so they head home to tell their mum all about the nasty old troll.
We recently interviewed the author about the inspiration behind this book. You can read what she had to say by clicking here.
Scout, Sparkle, Arthur and Tiny are four colourful little monsters who go to pre-school together. They are all friends but sometimes – like most children – they find the politics of playtime somewhat difficult to navigate.
When Arthur and Sparkle put on a pretend magic show Scout really wants to join in. The problem is that Sparkle doesn’t want him to get involved. It’s her show, she’s the star and she only wants Arthur in the audience. There is shouting and snatching and eventually there are tears. As Scout and Arthur retreat outside to find a new game Sparkle finds herself all alone. Even Tiny doesn’t want to play with her now.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions experienced by children but it can be a difficult topic to discuss with someone who is too young to put their feelings in to words. This book uses the metaphor of a monster, albeit a friendly yellow one, to help kids understand.
At the start of the story a young boy introduces his monster and explains that it has been around for as long as he can remember. It’s large, loud and bossy, and it often gets in his way when he’s trying to enjoy himself. When his parents are around the monster hides so he doesn’t feel like he can talk to them about it, but he really wishes it would go away.
One day it all becomes too much and he opens his heart to his grandmother. In tears, he tells her all about the intolerable monster and how it just won’t leave him alone – but as he talks, something special happens. The monster starts to shrink! As the words tumble from his mouth the monster gets smaller and smaller until eventually he can pick it up and pop it in his pocket. Although he knows the monster will always be there, the little boy now knows that he is in control rather than the other way around.
When a bright pink Beast catches a little boy he is very excited about the prospect of eating him all up. He names the boy ‘Dinner’ and sets about inviting all of his friends to a very special feast.
Naturally Dinner is a little worried, but when the RSVPs start to arrive he proves himself to be very smart indeed.
The Beasts friends turn out to be very picky and they have lots of dietary requirements which they want Beast to consider. Sir Gutguzzler can’t eat anything scrawny so he suggests that Beast fatten Dinner up a little bit. Madam Gargoyle requests that Dinner is served extra salty and Giant Grumbo needs Dinner to be slimy!
There’s no getting around it, Sid Gibbons is a little bit naughty. Just this week he’s smashed a bird bath, thrown his dinner on the floor, trashed his bedroom and left his colouring pens on the floor for so long that they’ve all dried out. His poor mum doesn’t know what to do, because when she asks him about these misdemeanours he just lies and says that his imaginary friend Kevin did it all. Kevin is invisible and no one can see him except Sid, so he’s the perfect fall guy.
Then one day, when Sid has once again been sent to bed for being naughty, a hatch in the ceiling opens and a bright light appears. Sid climbs up to take a peek and finds himself faced with none other Kevin himself – he is real! Sid is super excited to see his (incredibly cute and fluffy!) friend and they have lots of fun playing together. However it soon becomes apparent that in Kevin’s world, it is Sid who is the invisible friend.
Cutesville is home to lots of cute and fluffy creatures, like puppies and bunnies and kittens. However it has one resident who is a tiny bit different – Monster. Monster isn’t cute or fluffy. He’s red and hairy with googly eyes and little pointy teeth.
Everyone loves cute things, but nobody seems to love him. He looks so different to everyone in Cutesville that sometimes people point and laugh. This makes Monster sad as all he wants is for someone to love him.
The sadness spurs him to take action. Instead of sitting at home moping he’s going to head out in to world and try to find a life partner. He looks everywhere but love continues to evade him! Disheartened, he decides to give up and head back to Cutesville – but when the bus finally arrives, something amazing happens…
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.
In Huffenpuffen Valley, dragons and humans live peacefully side by side. The dragons are very well-liked because they are really useful companions – in the winter they light bonfires and fireworks, and in the summer they help with campfires and roast corn on the cob with their flames!
But there’s one dragon who is a little bit different. Jasper breathes water instead of fire! He tries his absolute hardest to assist the people in the valley but the jets of water he sprays just leave them cold, wet and unhappy. Poor Jasper decides that the best thing to do is leave the people alone and just be by himself.
Then one day a fire breaks out at a nearby house and Jasper realises he can help. He swoops down and sprays his water through the windows and over the roof and soon the fire is distinguished. Jasper has saved the day! He may not be able to breathe fire but it turns out he has a very bright future ahead of him as a firefighter.