Owl Always Love You: A Bedtime Book of Love! by Patricia Hegarty & Bryony Clarkson

Books about sleep are always great for calming over-excited kids before bedtime and this particular one is ridiculously cute and very soothing.

“Time for bed, my little one, another day is through. As we snuggle up together, you know owl always love you.”

Written in gentle rhyme, this chunky board book takes us on a tour of the forest as all the baby animals settle down to sleep. We see little owls, bunnies, dormice, hedgehogs, squirrels and songbirds be coaxed in to bed by their grown ups and snuggle down for the night.

With glossy pages, raised sections and clever cut outs, this is a warm and cozy story for curious toddlers to explore. The pages are brimming with love plus the gorgeous illustrations give you the opportunity to talk about different kinds of animal homes and habitats.

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Jasper & Scruff
by Nicola Colton

It’s time for another chapter book review and this one had Ivy and I in fits of giggles!

Jasper likes to think of himself as cut above your average cat. He lives in a fancy apartment surrounded by books and fine art and his taste in bow ties is impeccable. Jasper has everything he needs except the ‘right’ kind of friends. He dreams of joining an elite group of felines called ‘The Sophisticats’ because members are invited to all the best parties and dine at the nicest restaurants in town.

He carefully crafts a letter inviting a select group of The Sophisticats to his home for dinner and is over the moon when they accept – but things don’t quite go to plan…

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An Engineer Like Me
by Dr Shini Somara & Nadja Sarell

Zara is an incredibly curious little girl. She loves learning about how things work and her super smart Gran is always on hand to answer her questions.

When they go for a walk to the shops Zara sees lots of interesting things which spark some in-depth conversations. How do lifts work? How can cranes lift such heavy things? How do roller coasters stay on the track when they go upside down? How do escalators run? What is wi-fi for? Her gran patiently answers each question with lots of detail to satisfy the little girls curiosity.

Gran also tells Zara about some famous engineers who have helped shape the world we live in, including Leonardo Da Vinci and Rahman Khan. Zara is particularly interested in the story of Alicia Boler-Davis whose childhood was very similar to hers. She loved problem-solving and fixing things as a little girl and went on to work as an Engineer at the General Motors car company.

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Wise Before Five
by Libby Walden & Ekaterina Trukhan

Today is the big day! Ivy had her very first day at school. She went through the gate full of smiles ready for her big adventure so I have all my fingers and toes crossed that the transition is a smooth one.

One of the books we’ve been reading over the weekend to prepare her is this gorgeous hardback called ‘Wise Before Five’ which I spotted over on Instagram and simply had to buy. It has helped reassure her that she actually knows lots of things and is more than ready for school.

Featuring a diverse cast of children (including a child in a wheelchair and a child with a hearing aid), this essential guide to being almost five covers a wide range of topics whilst quietly celebrating the joy of being unique.

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A Story About Afiya
by James Berry & Anna Cunha

Afiya is a little girl with a very special white dress. As she explores the world around her, little snapshots of her environment and her experiences imprint themselves on the fabric like memories.

When she walks through a field of roses, her dress looks like a beautiful bunch of flowers.  When she goes to the zoo, her dress takes the form of leaping tigers. And when she visits the sea, the dress looks like a pool of sparkling fishes.

Every night the dress is washed so that each day starts with a fresh ‘canvas’ but Afiya holds on to each precious moment.

Written by the late James Berry OBE, an award-winning Jamaican poet, and illustrated by outstanding Brazillian artist Anna Cunha, this whimsical story is absolutely breathtaking. Afiya is such a joyful character and I love the fact that we can see her collecting childhood memories with the help of her favourite piece of clothing.

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Along Came A Fox
by Georgiana Deutsch & Call Johnson-Isaacs

It’s the perfect night for finding fireflies so Bramble the fox heads out on a little adventure to find some – but where are they hiding?

She joins forces with her friends, Hazel the hedgehog and Twig the owl, who suggest that she look near the lake. Bramble bounds off in to the darkness because foxes never get scared, but when she peers in to the deep pool she lets out an almighty ‘EEEEEK!’ and falls on her bottom. There is another fox in the water staring straight back out at her! Bramble is embarrassed. How dare this nasty fox catch her unawares and make her fall over! Soon she finds herself yelling at the water, telling the fox that he is very rude indeed – but the audacious creature keeps on echoing her replies.

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Elephant Me
by Giles Andreae & Guy Parker-Rees

‘Giraffes Can’t Dance’ is one of our all-time favourite books so we were extremely excited to get our hands on this new one from the same team. I am happy to report that it didn’t disappoint and we’ve been reading it on repeat for days!

It’s the day of the Elephant Games which means that all the baby elephants have to perform for the King. In line with tradition, if they manage to impress him with their special skill then he will award them with their Elephant Name.

Nina goes first and she chooses to display her strength by ripping a tree from the ground with her trunk. King Elephant Mighty is amazed and he names her Elephant Strong. Norcus bellows so loudly that he gains the name Elephant Noisy! As each elephant steps forward in to the limelight, the King spots that one little elephant is cowering at the back of the line. Poor Num-Num hasn’t found his special skill yet and when he tries to perform some tricks everyone laughs at him – even the King!

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Bunny Braves The Day
by Suzanne Bloom

It’s the morning of Bunny’s first day at school and he has a long list of reasons why he definitely shouldn’t go. He’s too tired. He can’t find his underpants. His socks are too short. He thinks he might be coming down with a cold and it feels like there’s a giant frog jumping up and down in his tummy.

Fortunately his older sister is on hand to calm his nerves. As he rattles off excuses she talks about her own experience of starting school and assuages his fears. It’s fine that he doesn’t know how to tie his shoes because he can wear ones without laces. It’s ok that he doesn’t know how to read because the teacher will be there to help him learn. Although meeting lots of new children might sound scary he will soon make friends just like she did.

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It’s Only One
by Tracey Corderoy & Tony Neal

Sunnyville is a beautiful place to live. The residents are a friendly bunch and everything looks pristine – until one day Rhino drops a sweet wrapper on the floor and everything starts to spiral out of control.

“What? says Rhino “It’s only one…” – but of course it’s never as simple as that. Soon everyone in town thinks it’s ok to drop litter and the streets start to pile up with rubbish.

The mess makes Giraffe very unhappy so he picks a flower from the local park to brighten up his home. “What? says Giraffe “It’s only one… – but the town’s flower beds are quickly emptied as everyone picks ‘just one’ flower of their own.

Things go from bad to worse when Pigeon decides to play music in the park to cheer himself up. Yes – you’ve guessed it. Just one song!

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The Goody
by Lauren Child

I am a firm believer that you shouldn’t label children based on their behaviour so the first time I read this book I practically punched the air with joy. Lauren Child totally gets it! A positive label can put pressure on a child to conform and a negative label can affect their self worth or give them something to hide behind when faced with a challenge. No one is ever completely good/bad, or quiet/loud or any other combination of opposites we regularly see used to categorise people.

Chirton is a good boy. He eats broccoli, goes to bed on time and cleans the rabbit’s cage without making a fuss. He’s so good that his parents have even given him a badge with ‘Goody’ written on it. Chirton tells us: “If people have decided you are good, do not disappoint them by being bad.”

Life is different for his sister Myrtle though as she is a bad child. She won’t eat broccoli, doesn’t go to bed on time and never cleans the rabbit’s cage. Their parents don’t even try to make her behave anymore as it’s just too difficult. Myrtle tells us: “If people have decided you are bad, do not disappoint them by being good.”

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