Look Up!
by Nathan Bryon & Dapo Adeola

Rocket is a little girl with a big passion. She loves to gaze at the night sky and when she grows up she wants to be “the greatest astronaut, star-catcher, space-traveller who has ever lived”. Every day, she pops on her tiny replica spacesuit, dons her star-shaped earrings and dreams of the day she can follow in the footsteps of her hero Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space.

The problem is that whilst she is looking up, everybody else seems to be looking down. She wants her brother to be as excited about the upcoming meteor shower as she is, but his eyes are permanently glued to his phone.

Determined to drum up some interest in this exciting event, Rocket creates flyers to distribute around her neighbourhood and even grabs the microphone at her local supermarket to make an announcement. She wants everyone to gather in their local park to view the meteor shower together  – but has she done enough to get the community to join together and look to the skies?

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Spotlight On:
Independent Bookshop, Chicken & Frog

In this new series we will be shining a light on some of the fantastic independent bookshops from around the UK. Here, Natasha tells us all about her bookstore – Chicken and Frog in Brentwood, Essex.

“A little bit of background about the people behind Chicken and Frog. Natasha and Jim met at Epping Forest College in 1989, when the world was cool and double denim was still okay. They fell in love, got married, had kids and went about life as a primary school teacher and a tech nerd. But, in the back of their minds, the whisper to open a bookshop kept on tickling their ears…

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The Lovely Haze of Baby Days
by Lindsay Kellar-Madsen & Mie Frey Damgaard

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.

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Dinosaurs in Love
by Fenn Rosenthal & Hannah Jacobs

Are you one of the two million people who have listened to tiny Fenn Rosenthal sing ‘Dinosaurs in Love‘ on YouTube? If not then you MUST because it’s utterly adorable.

Fenn was just three and a half when she freestyled the song with her Dad, musician Tom Rosenthal, and the results were surprisingly profound. The lyrics have now been made into a picture book and it’s fair to say that Ivy is obsessed.

The story gives us a toddler’s take on what happened to the dinosaurs, with a little romantic spin. In a nutshell – they eat some people, have a party, fall in love and then die. The end.

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Big Boys Cry
by Jonty Howley

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.

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The Day Mom Joined The Circus
by Sue Downing

Does your home feel like a circus right now? I dedicate this review to everyone out there trying to parent through the pandemic!

In this colourful story, the children wake up to discover a note from their Mum pinned to the fridge. It says that she needs some alone time so she’s decided to join the circus. She invites them to take on her share of the chores whilst she’s away.

The beautiful spreads which follow perfectly illustrate the ‘Mum juggle’ with which we are all so familiar. On the left hand page we see the children doing a household chore and on the right hand page we see how that chore has helped make Mum a fantastic circus performer.

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The Year We Muddled Through
by Lauren Fennemore & Zoe Damoulakis

Right now everything feels very unsettled. We are locked down in our homes, juggling the education of our children with our day jobs, dealing with sorrow and and being faced with a constant barrage of negative news. We’re all just muddling through and taking it one day at a time.

But what will we remember about this strange time in years to come? And perhaps more importantly, what do we want our children to remember?

A love letter from parent to child, this gorgeous picture book adds a sprinkle of magic to what has been a very difficult year. It alludes to the bad but focuses on the good, and in doing so the story of 2020 takes on a wonderful fairytale quality.

We see giant sunflowers and animals running wild on empty streets. We see rainbows shooting from rooftops as families take their daily walks. We see smiling faces as communities come together to celebrate everyday heroes.

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Exciting News: We’re Launching A Newsletter!

We are officially launching an Ivy’s Library newsletter to celebrate our love of children’s literature. All subscribers will receive a free 15 page PDF featuring some of our top picks. Squee!

Why are we launching an Ivy’s Library newsletter?

We share daily children’s book reviews and features on our blog www.ivyslibrary.com and also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – but because of the nature of social media you probably aren’t seeing all our posts. Subscribing to our newsletter means you won’t ever miss out on the good stuff!

What does it entail?

Once a month we will hit up your inbox with a curated selection of children’s book reviews, interviews, opinion pieces, special offers and other treats. Some of it will be content we’ve shared on our social media channels but there will also be extras which are exclusive to newsletter subscribers. The first newsletter will be sent in February and of course you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Jeremy Worried About The Wind
by Pamela Butchart & Kate Hindley

Hands up who has a little worrier? Both Ivy and I have a tendency to be a bit anxious and the current situation has definitely exacerbated this. Who knew there were so many things to stress about?

Jeremy knows all about worries. From morning till night all he can think about is the potential danger swirling all around him, from shoe-eating worms and too-crunchy crackers right through to runaway dinosaurs and evil squirrels. His biggest fear is the wind though – so he tries not go outside on blustery days just in case.

But then one day fastidious Jeremy meets Maggie. With mismatched clothing and trailing shoelaces, she seems an unlikely friend but the two hit it off straight away. Maggie’s mantra is ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ and fearful Jeremy is determined to show her!

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Mini Monsters: Can I Be The Best
by Caryl Hart & Tony Neal

Since Ivy started school last September we’ve had some struggles with perfectionism. If she’s not immediately the best at something then she gets disheartened and doesn’t want to try. It’s an uphill battle but, as always, we’ve found books really helpful to try and put things into perspective for her.

This new title in the Mini Monsters series has therefore come at just the right time for us. We both loved the first book – ‘Can I Play?’ – so Ivy was very excited to see a new story with familiar characters.

Scout, Sparkle, Arthur and Tiny are back once again and, having worked out how to play nicely together in book one, they have a brand new pres-school problem. They each want to be THE BEST.

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