A Twist In The Tail by Sandie Anderson

I am quite excited that we seem to have reached a point with Ivy where she’s ready for slightly longer books. We’re definitely nowhere near chapter book territory yet, but she is starting to show an interest in stories with more complicated plots than standard picture books. However, if i’m honest, I’ve struggled to find books which bridge this gap.

We have recently been reading this series of tales about a worm-like creature called Reggie Wriggle and I’ve found them really useful for this stage of reading. They are quite wordy (in a good way!) but also toddler-friendly as you can colour them in.

In this first Reggie Wriggle adventure, Reggie finds himself a little under the weather. He wakes up one morning and can’t stretch his tail and then he starts to develop some uncomfortable lumps and bumps. His best friend Bert soon arrives with a diagnosis. Reggie isn’t getting enough vitamins so he needs to eat more fruit! Together they set off in search of an apple tree, but before long they find themselves slap bang in the middle of an adventure. Can they rescue local farmer Mr Glossop from sinking in to a giant muddy puddle, and will poor Reggie ever get his fruit?

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Old Man Of The Sea by Stella Elia & Weberson Santiago

This evening we are extremely excited to be sharing our thoughts on a brand new book from Lantana Publishing as part of the official #oldmanofthesea bookstagram tour.

This beautifully illustrated story looks at the quiet relationship between a boy and his ailing grandfather. Every Sunday they sit together and talk or share a comfortable silence, until one day the Grandfather decides the time has come to share tales of his life with the boy. And what a life!

Grandpa was a sailor who circumnavigated the world and fell in love with each continent he discovered. He picnicked in olive groves with Europe, climbed sand dunes with Africa, explored temples with Asia and went diving with Oceania. The love he felt for these lands was strong, but not as strong as the lure of the sea. Eventually he always found himself back in his boat in search of a new adventure.

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What Do You Do If Your House Is A Zoo? by John Kelly & Steph Laberis

Picking the right pet can be hard. There are so many different animals out there so how are you supposed to choose? The little boy in this story thinks he has the perfect solution. When his mum and dad finally agree to let him have one he places an advert in the local paper asking for possible pets to get in touch.

He receives some promising replies from a pampered pussy cat, a forgetful goldfish and an extremely nibbly goat, but none of them seem quite right. But then the next day he is inundated with post. Gorillas, wolves, horses, emus, bulls and even ants have all written to him in the hope of finding a new home. Now he has so many options that he doesn’t know where to begin!

Things go from bad to worse when animals start turning up at his house. A mob of meerkats set up a security post and won’t let the family leave the house for their own safety and then some beavers arrive and start building a water feature in the garden!

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Anna and Daphne Paley-Smith, Founders of Offshoot Studio

Hi Anna! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi, I’m Anna and I live in Clapham, London with my husband, Greg and our two children, Charlie who’s two years old and Sophia who’s two months old.

Alongside my mum, Daphne, I am a co-founder of Offshoot Studio, an art studio specialising in handmade limited edition archival giclée prints for children. Mum is the artist and I run the studio.

The natural world is a huge source of inspiration in the studio. It’s endlessly fascinating and appealing to mum, and we think to most children too. Our prints are illustrations to stories waiting to be told.  Things are happening up in the sky, deep in the jungle, out in the desert, and under the sea.  All it needs is a little imagination, and a child wanting to hear or tell their own special story. Our prints let you escape into their world together …

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Morris The Stealing Magpie by Nicola Parkhouse & Joseph Hopkins

Morris is a magpie with a penchant for all things shiny. Whenever he spots something made of silver, brass or gold he can’t resist picking it up and taking it to his nest. The problem is that all these beautiful items belong to other people!

He steals jewels from the Queen’s crown, wind chimes from a garden, a bell from a cow and even a musical instrument from a small child. It doesn’t matter to him that he made the little girl cry, he believes that all the shiny things should belong to him and therefore he should be allowed to just take what he pleases.

However, when Morris steals a silver alarm clock he gets a lot more than he bargained for. Sleep is extremely important to him, so he’s horrified when this shiny new object starts to ring loudly at 4.30 in the morning. Then 5.30. Then 6.30. Then 7.30….

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Star In Your Own Story: (Add Your Name) Drives a Digger by Danielle McLean & Kathryn Selbert

When I was a kid it really bugged me that I could never, ever find anything with my name on. For years I secretly coveted a tacky china mug or a fake leather key chain with ‘Shelley’ proudly emblazoned on it, but unfortunately it was never meant to be. The idea of an actual book featuring my name would have totally blown my mind, so I was delighted to discover this new series from Little Tiger. Each title comes with a set of alphabet stickers which allow you to personalise the story and become the star of your own story!

There are a number of books in this new series but this one is Ivy’s favourite. It places you front and centre at a busy building site where you are in charge of a shiny yellow digger. You need to gouge out the earth and dig a deep hole, but your progress is hampered when you hit a mysterious object with a loud clang! Can you recover it and find out exactly what it is?

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Llamaste & Friends by Pat-A-Cake & Annabel Tempest

A few weeks ago, Ivy and I were having a chilled morning in our pyjamas with no specific plans for the day – but then this book arrived in the post and everything changed. Suddenly our living room was an exercise studio and Ivy was in stitches trying to hold a Tree pose whilst I read to her about a yoga-loving llama!

Llamaste is a kind and calm creature who loves to practise yoga and look after her friends. The story follows her as she pays each of them a visit and helps them feel better using different yoga poses. A scared flamingo tries the Warrior pose and soon feels like a superhero. A cross tiger calms down using the Downward Dog. Each friend has a different worry for Llamaste to ease and each page encourages your child to consider their own emotions by asking them if they have ever felt this way.

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Eve’s New Brother by Sheju Adiyatiparambil-John, Judy Skidmore & Anastasiya Epishina

Eve is very close to her two mummies, so when baby Stanley joins the family she isn’t quite sure what to expect. She hopes that he’ll play with her and share her love of trains, but she knows that babies cry a lot and she’s not looking forward to the dirty nappies!

The  path they tread will be a familiar one for many parents of more than one child. Eve is initially excited about the new baby but this quickly turns to resentment as Stanley gets lots of attention for things she doesn’t deem that interesting. He can’t talk, he can’t play and he messes with her train set all the time. Eve decides that there’s only one thing for it – Stanley will have to go back to wherever he came from so that she can have her mummies back!

Then one day, Eve throws a ball and everything changes. Stanley wobbles towards it on uncertain legs, picks it up and returns it. A game! As Stanley’s ability to interact with the world grows, Eve realises that maybe there’s room in this family (and her heart) for a little brother after all.

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My Favourite People by Rob Keeley & Simon Goodway

The little boy in this book has lots of lovely people in his life and he wants to tell you all about his favourites! From Auntie Meg (who cuts his hair and has four cats) through to his teacher Mr. Martin (who wears cool clothes), we hear all about the diverse characters which make up the boys world.

Each of the people mentioned have a different job and play a different role in the boys life. Ivy and I talk about the equivalents in our own lives and then Ivy likes to list out all of her own favourite people (which naturally changes at least once a day!)

The story also encourages you to think about why you like people. What do they bring to your life that is special? Why are they your favourites? What would it be like to have all of your favourite people in one room?

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Together We Can by Caryl Hart & Ali Pye

Since Ivy started nursery in January we have had lots of conversations about friendship, and this gorgeous book from Caryl Hart and Ali Pye has helped pull all of those strands together.

The gentle rhyme explains what friends are and what you can do for each other to make your days a little brighter. From helping each other in the classroom through to scratching an itch they can’t reach, we see a diverse group of children revel in the company of their friends.

Sometimes friends are very similar to you and sometimes they’re different. Sometimes they live close by and sometimes they live far away. Whatever the nature of your friendships, we see that they enrich our lives in many different ways.

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