Can you believe that Kipper the dog is 30 years old? I was 11 when his very first adventure was published but somehow he still feels like he was part of my childhood because I remember reading the stories to younger members of the family.
Fast forward to the present day and my daughter and I love reading about Kipper’s adventures together. There’s something about the series which is so simple yet so engaging for little ones.
We are big fans so I was over the moon when Hachette Children’s UK asked us to take part in Kipper’s Big Blue Balloon Blog Tour to celebrate his birthday!
What would you do if you found a dragon living in your basement?
When little Alex finds himself in this situation he is beside himself with excitement but he knows that he’s going to have to get some expert advice so that the dragon doesn’t burn down his house.
First he writes to the Fire Brigade, who send him back some excellent advice on keeping the dragon cool and moist. Next he contacts a local butcher to find out what the dragon might like to eat. The reply is a little concerning (the butcher is quite keen to find out what dragon meat tastes like!) but offers up some useful suggestions re dragon diets. Soon Alex and his dragon are having lots of fun!
This lovely book is the first in a series called ‘The Zara DogDog Club’ which is designed to teach children how to behave around dogs.
Children of this age are very focused on themselves and the things which make them happy but the story is told from the perspective of the dog which helps kids see how their own actions might make a dog feel.
The story starts with Zara DogDog being awoken by an alarm clock. It’s time for Amelia and Isaac, her owners, to get ready for school. Excited at the prospect of a big walk, she paces around waiting for them and then heads excitedly out of the door. She really enjoys the walk with all the sights, sounds and smells but when she gets to the school she becomes scared. Lots of loud children run towards her and try to touch her and she doesn’t know if they are friendly. Frightened, she lets out a growl.
Kipper is undoubtedly one of the best-loved characters in children’s literature and this year he is celebrating a very special birthday. The little pup has just turned 30! To mark the occasion, ‘The Blue Balloon’ (Kipper’s very first adventure) has been re-released in a shiny new anniversary edition.
When we first meet Kipper he is carrying a soggy little blue balloon. He takes it to his owner, a small boy, and together they play with it. It’s not long before they realise that it is a very special balloon indeed. They squish it and squash it and kick it and stretch it but it just doesn’t burst – not even when Kipper tries to bite it! It changes shape all by itself and one day it floats so high that Kipper and the little boy find themselves up amongst the stars!
The little spider in this book is very lonely – all he wants is a family of his own. So the enterprising little fellow finds a family he likes and sets about trying to become their pet. The problem is that they’re all scared of spiders!
He tries to impress them with his dancing, he shows them how nice and clean he is by hanging out in the bath and he builds a web and catches flies to prove he’s self-sufficient and can feed himself. However every time they seem him they yell ‘Aaaarrgghh! Spider!’ and throw him back outside.
Feeling defeated, the poor lonely spider decides to set up house in their garden instead and builds himself a giant sparkly web. Will this be the final straw for the family or will they see the spider as a potential pet after all?
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!
There are lots of books on the market which allow you to mix and match animals to comic effect but this one is our outright favourite.
Each double page features a familiar pet such as a cat, a dog, a guinea pig or a bunny. On the right hand side we see a picture of the animal and on the left is the name of the animal and a cute poem which describes what it looks like and what it’s like as a pet.
The pages are split in the middle, allowing you to flip over the top or bottom sections to different pages – thus creating new names, poems and creatures. There are 121 combinations in total so there’s lots to keep your little one entertained.
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.
Our favourite book this Halloween has been Mrs Blackhat by Chloe & Mick Inkpen. Ivy LOVES it and I’ve easily read it 2-3 times a day in the last week!
Mrs Blackhat is a witch whose life definitely has a colour scheme. Everything is black – her clothes, her broom, her cauldron, her house – except for one thing. She has a ginger cat!
She finds this splash of colour extremely irksome so she sets out to find a way to transform her cat so that he’s more in keeping with her witchy style. Being somewhat of an online shopping addict she hops on her laptop and orders some potions and spells from her favourite site. However when they arrive they don’t quite perform as they should.
Little Izabelle loves to invent things. Her house is full of things she has made – from the Beardtastic grooming machine to the Swirly Spagsonic mealtime helper – but the problem is that they’re all in states of disrepair. Izzy loves to make things but when they break down she is too frustrated to try and fix them. She just gives up and moves on to the next project.
One day an injured crow falls in to her path. The local vet tells her that he has a broken wing which can’t be fixed so Izzy takes him home to look after him. She tries lots of ways to keep him entertained on the ground but the poor little crow just wants to be airborne again.
Spotting an opportunity to invent something new, Izzy sets about making a pair of wings but they’re too heavy and don’t work. Disillusioned, she immediately wants to give up but her grandpa and the crow won’t let her! They gently encourage her to have another go so she tries again. And again. And again.