The story is about a little hermit crab who is looking for a new home. He finds a lovely shiny shell and moves right in but then he meets an anemone who wants to move in too! He really doesn’t want to share his shell but the anemone explains that he can help ward off predators so will earn his keep. The crab reluctantly agrees and soon realises that having the anemone around is really helpful and they are very happy living together. Then up rocks a bristleworm who also wants to move in. Again, the crab isn’t keen but relents when he realises that the bristleworm will keep the shell nice and clean.
The story is about a mermaid with a beautiful voice. One day she is discovered by a circus owner called Sam Sly who convinces her to leave her lovely beach to join his circus and sing to the crowds. He promises that if she goes with him she will become rich and famous. Excited, she agrees to go despite the protestations of her friends.
She makes lots of friends at the circus but surprise surprise, Sam Sly does not turn out to be a nice character. He keeps her in a tiny fish tank and the riches he promised never materialise. Instead she feels trapped and longs to return to the sea.
The Snail And The Whale is one of our favourite collaborations between Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. There’s a real sense of adventure but the rhyme is also very calming so it’s perfect for bedtime.
The story is about a little snail who longs to travel – but her family thinks she’s a little crazy and don’t understand at all! She’s determined to see the world so she hitches a lift on the tail of a humpback whale. On their magnificent journey the snail sees icebergs and volcanoes, beautiful beaches and strange animals. She is amazed at how big the world is and this makes her feel small and insignificant.
We have been reading Tabby McTat to Ivy since she was about 6 months old and it’s still one of her all time favourites. When she was tiny she was just drawn to the illustrations of the cats (one of them looks a little like ours) but now she’s older she loves the story and knows the little song off by heart!
Tabby McTat is a scruffy little street cat who belongs to a busker. He loves his life wandering the streets of London with his owner, and he enjoys singing along when the busker performs. An unlucky chain of events result in the two friends being accidentally separated and McTat ends up living with a girl cat called Sock.
Sock and McTat become the best of friends and soon they end up with a small litter kittens. McTat loves his cosy new life but he never forgets the wonderful busker. One day he decides that he simply has to find out what happened to him so he kisses his little family goodbye and sets off in search of his old pal.
Zog is a big orange dragon who loves going to Dragon School. He’s really enthusiastic about his classes but he just can’t quite get things right. He bumps in to trees whilst learning to fly, gives himself a sore throat trying to roar and accidentally sets his wing on fire whilst attempting to breathe fire. Fortunately each time he hurts himself a little girl appears with a bag of bandages and plasters and she fixed him right up.
When he gets to Year 4 the dragons have to learn how to capture a princess. Again Zog struggles until he discovers that his wonderful friend is in fact a princess herself. She allows herself to be captured in order to help him out and Zog gets a golden star from the teacher. She becomes a valuable member of the school, tending to the dragon’s ailments with the help of her trusty medical bag.
The Detective Dog seems to be one of Julia Donaldson‘s lesser known books but we think it’s fantastic and deserves a lot more attention. If you haven’t read this one yet then definitely keep an eye out for it!
The story is about a dog called Nell who is very good at finding things. She lives with a little boy called Peter who loses his toys all the time so she uses her exceptional nose to sniff them out and return them to him.
Every Monday Peter takes Nell to school with him and it’s her favourite day of the week. She loves all of the different smells and she is particularly fond of the books which the children read to her. However one Monday, when they get to the school, Nell realises she cannot smell the books. She and Peter rush in to the classroom to find all of the children and the teacher in tears. Someone has stolen all of the books. Every last one of them!
Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson & David Roberts is one of our favourite dinosaur books. It tells the story of a gentle little duckbill dinosaur who accidentally ends up hatching in a Tyrannosaurus nest. He tries his hardest to fit in with the family he believes to be his but he is just too different. His sisters are big and strong with sharp teeth and a love of hunting whereas poor little Drip is gentle and kind and just wants to eat some veg.
When his family start to pick on him for being different he decides to run away and he finds himself swimming with some Duckbill Dinosaurs in the river, unaware that they are his real family. Drip finally feels like he belongs and plays happily with his new friends. When he spots his reflection he is shocked to discover that he was never a Tyrannosaurus at all!
But then a storm comes and knocks over a tree, giving the nasty T-Rex family direct access to the Duckbill’s home. Quick-thinking Drip comes up with a plan but will it be enough to save his new family?
‘What The Ladybird Heard’ is one of our favourite books by Julia Donaldson and we’ve been reading it since Ivy was just a few months old.
The story is about a tiny ladybird who lives on a farm. All of the animals around her are very noisy but she just quietly goes about her business, not saying a word. Then one night everything changes. She overhears a conversation between two burglars (the wonderfully named Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len) and discovers their evil plot to steal the farmer’s fine prize cow.
She goes to the other animals and for once she speaks up, telling them about her fantastic plan to thwart the burglary. The animals listen carefully and they all agree to play their part, which involves impersonating each other in order to confuse the thieves.
Today’s book needs no introduction as it’s a modern classic. I’m sure most of you already have this in your child’s library but a collection of children’s book reviews doesn’t seem complete without it!
An enterprising young mouse is taking a little walk through the wood when he encounters a number of creatures who are keen to make him their dinner. Thinking on his feet he explains to each of them that he can’t stop because he is off to meet a Gruffalo. What’s a Gruffalo? the fox, the owl and the snake each ask in turn.
As he describes this imaginary, terrifying creature the details become more and absurd. He has terrible teeth, a poisonous wart on his nose, orange eyes and purple prickles all over his back! Scared of the mouses terrifying friend, the animals decide to let him go on his merry way.
Almost everyone has heard of the Big Five – the largest and most dangerous animals in Africa – but what about the Ugly Five? Julia Donaldson shines the spotlight on this lesser known group in this heartwarming story.
The lappet-faced vulture, the spotted hyena, the wildebeest, the marabou stork and the warthog are not going to win any prizes for their beauty. With their gnarled faces, distinctive odours and questionable table manners, they repel the other animals they meet.
However as they wander the savannah they meet a group who think they are the kindest and most beautiful animals in the world – their babies! Their little ones gather together and highlight all the reasons they think their mummies and daddies are wonderful and it really is quite lovely I may have shed a little tear the first time I read it…
This is a fantastic story which reminds parents and children alike that even at your worst, you are somebody’s whole world and to them you will always be beautiful.
Buy it now: https://amzn.to/2qkagqd