Ivy’s Guest Book: Ruth Buckingham, Owner, Kandu Marketing

Kandu MarketingTell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hello! My name is Ruth and I am a content marketing specialist.  I’m originally from Scotland but I now live in Buckinghamshire with my husband and our two children, Fraser (9) and Annabel (4).  As a family we all love reading or being read to and I’m very fortunate to have a job that also allows me to read on lots of different subjects.

What are your children’s favourite books?

My daughter has a habit of changing her favourite books often!  This week she is really enjoying “Arggh Spider” by Lydia Monks.  She always likes a book which has a bit of humour and she keeps laughing when the spider gets put outside again and again.  She is starting to read at school so I think she likes this one because of the repetition.  Its also beautifully illustrated and has some nice glittery features on the spiderwebs.

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Oi Dog! by Kes & Claire Gray and Jim Field

Oi Dog!Oi Dog! is the second title in the zany ‘Oi Frog and Friends’ series. There are currently four books and we love each and every one!

If you’ve read book one – Oi Frog! – you’ll know that these bonkers tales are about a peculiar set of rules which dictate where an animal can sit. In the first story we met Cat, Dog and Frog. Cat explained that animals are only allowed to park their bums on things which rhyme – so cats sit on mats, frogs sit on logs and (unfortunately for this particular frog) dogs sit on frogs. Squish!

As we move in to book two we see the feisty frog choosing to rebel. He disagrees wholeheartedly with the current rules so sets about making some of his own.

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Today by Julie Morstad

TodayI spotted this one on Instagram a little while ago and I admit that I bought it based solely on how pretty the cover is! It’s a beautiful book – but it has so much more to offer than the aesthetics.

The pages take you through a typical day for a child – albeit during a weekend or a holiday – and asks you to make lots of decisions. What will you wear today? What hairstyle will you choose? What will you eat for breakfast? Where would you like to go if the sun is shining? How do you plan to get there? How about if it’s raining? What game shall we play? Do you want bubbles in your bath? Which pyjamas will you wear?

Every option is beautifully illustrated and there is a great cast of diverse characters. The clothing, hair and food choices cater for different cultures, which opens up lots of discussion and opportunities for learning new things about the world. My super-picky daughter is fascinated by the fact that in some countries rice is eaten for breakfast and she definitely wants to move somewhere where you can travel around on a camel or where grass skirts are an option!

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The Scarecrows’ Wedding by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

The Scarecrows' WeddingIvy’s dad and I will be getting married later this year so it seems appropriate to kick off 2019 with a book about a wedding – although hopefully ours will go a little more smoothly than the one in this story!

Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay are two scarecrows who are very much in love. When Harry proposes, Betty is overjoyed and the pair start planning the best wedding the farm has ever seen. They make a list of all the things they will need – “a dress of white feathers, a necklace of shells, lots of pink flowers, two rings and some bells” – and then set off together to gather the beloved items together.

Soon they have everything except the pink flowers so Harry heads off on his own to find some whilst Betty has a little nap. However things don’t quite go to plan and Harry ends up being away for such a long time that the Farmer brings in a new scarecrow to replace him! Reginald Rake is the total opposite of Harry O’Hay. He’s selfish and showy and he isn’t nice to Betty at all. He boasts about all the things he can do but Betty isn’t impressed – she just wants her lovely Harry back.

But then things take a perilous turn. Reginald Rake tries to show Betty how good he is at blowing smoke rings, but he drops his cigar and sets the field alight. Will Harry make it back in time to save his bride?

This is one of our favourites from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. There’s a lovely mix of romance and adventure and Ivy gets very excited as the story twists and turns at the end.

I guess you could choose to criticise the fact that we have a girl scarecrow being rescued by a boy scarecrow – but I think that does the story a disservice. I prefer to focus on the way the story shows the difference between someone who respects women and someone who doesn’t.

Buy it now: https://amzn.to/2GQEo7Z

The Colour Monster by Anna Llenas

The Colour MonsterThis 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.

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What were our Most Popular Reviews of 2018?

Over the last few days I have been putting together a little plan for reviews and features in the coming year. As part of this I have looked back over 2018 and pulled together some data to help me see what kind of content you seem to like reading the most. I found the results fascinating!

The lists below show the book reviews which received the most likes, comments and shares on social media in the last 12 months.

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Socks For Santa By Adam & Charlotte Guillain & Lee Wildish

Socks For SantaThoughtful George has a plan. As Santa brings him presents every single year, this Christmas George decides he’s going to take some gifts to Santa instead. He makes himself a sleigh, packs a big box of presents (throwing in some extra woolly socks for himself just in case it gets cold!) and he sets off for the North Pole.

However when he gets there he is met by a little elf in despair. They are really behind at wrapping the presents and Rudolph’s nose has stopped glowing because he has flu. George mucks in to help and soon everything is ready for Santa’s journey. He digs in to his box of presents and gives the elves some treats to make them feel better and also finds a torch for Rudolph. However the other reindeer get a little over-excited at the sight of all the presents and soon the big box of gifts George had brought for Santa is empty!

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We’re Going On An Elf Chase By Martha Mumford & Laura Hughes

We're Going On An Elf CHaseWe love this festive lift-the-flap book which will appeal to fans of the 80’s classic ‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt’.

Join a group of bunnies, wrapped up warm in their winter woollies, as they head off on an adventure to find Santa’s elves. On the way they encounter sliding penguins, chirping robins, snoring polar bears and clippy cloppy reindeer.

The bunnies do an excellent job of manoeuvring around the obstacles in their path but they will need your child’s help to find all the elves, who are sneakily hidden away behind flaps on the pages.

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A Greyt Christmas Tail By Miriam Payne & Anne-Marie Sonneveld

A Greyt Christmas TailRamsey and Blue, two rescue dogs, are fast asleep in their beds dreaming of sausages when Santa and his reindeer come crashing down in their back garden. Some of the reindeer have colds and are too ill to pull the sleigh – but Santa still has a whole sack of presents to deliver and he doesn’t know what to do.

Fortunately the two dogs have a solution! Ramsey, a lurcher, is super strong and Blue is a retired greyhound who can run really fast. With a sprinkle of magic they leap to the skies and they pull Santa’s sleigh with ease.

Soon all of the presents have been safely delivered and grateful Santa asks them to make a wish. Will they ask for more sausages or will they ask for something which benefits dogs less fortunate than themselves?

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How To Ride A Polar Bear By Caryl Hart & Ed Eaves

How To Ride A Polar BearWhen little Albie goes to the museum with his mum he is expecting the visit to be dull, dull, dull. However the arctic exhibition holds a lot more than just boring old exhibits!

Albie tries on a wintry outfit and is just about to start building an igloo out of blocks when BAM a snowflake falls on his nose, followed by a whole flurry of real snow. As Albie turns in confusion he sees a polar bear running towards him and realises he has magically entered an arctic world!

He befriends a little girl called Yura who is desperately trying to make her way home in the snow. Together they head off on an icy adventure featuring polar bears, an avalanche and some howling wolves. But will Albie be able to help Yura find her way home or will they be lost forever?

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