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The Worrysaurus by Rachel Bright & Chris Chatterton

If you’ve been following Ivy’s Library for a while you’ll know I’m really passionate about books which help small children to understand and verbalise their feelings. I’m also a huge fan of author Rachel Bright, so when The Worrysaurus landed on our doorstep I was really excited. Ivy was instantly entranced by the title character – an adorable little red dinosaur with a tiny green backpack – and demanded we read it right away!

The Worrysaurus is a planner and a worrier (to be honest, he’s a lot like me!). When he decides to go on a picnic he organises it all in his advance. He plans out a route, he packs all of the things he might need in to his trusty bag and then he heads out in to the sunshine.

However it’s not long before his brain starts to itch. What if he didn’t pack enough to drink? What if he gets lost on the way? Slowly his happy mood starts to slip away and anxiety creeps in. When a little lizard warns him that there might be a storm poor Worrysaurus starts to panic. He’s not prepared for rain!

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Hannah O’Donoghue-Hobbs, Founder, Tilly Hobbs & Co

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

My name’s Hannah and my little passion project is Tilly Hobbs & Co – an insta blog where I sell Manchester themed muslin cloths and document me guessing my way through motherhood ha in our glorious city. I have one little girl called Cora, she’s my little livewire, I’m obsessed!

What is your daughter’s favourite book?

Now this does vary from day to night. Our daytime favourite has to be The President’s Cat by Peter Donnelly – it’s a lovely, lovely story about the President of Ireland leaving his cat behind when he comes home after a holiday in Kerry. Cora loves pointing out the cat on his little journey, the horse poo on one of the pages and the many, many cars and buses on a page featuring Dublin city centre. Reading that backward sounds insane, please go and read it ha! The illustrations are like food for my eyes.

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Oi Puppies! by Kes Gray & Jim Field

We are massive fans of this zany series so when the newest book – Oi Puppies! – arrived, Ivy was bouncing off the ceiling.

Frog, Dog and Cat are back to discuss the important issue of where everyone should sit, but this time they have a slight problem. Dog is babysitting a zillion puppies and they just won’t behave. They clamber all over Dog, hang from Cat’s whiskers and even start chewing on poor Frog’s swimming trunks.

Something needs to be done, so Frog gets on the phone to the wonderfully named ‘Oi Animal Seating Supply Co.’ to try and arrange some suitable ‘chairs’.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Katie Beardsworth, Founder, Polyphony Arts

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I am a freelance artist manager and classical music project manager, and I live in Hull with my nearly 3-year old son, my husband, and our cat. My son and I love reading together; he asks for stories first thing in the morning, often throughout the day, and always has several at bed time. He has just started to want to read them himself and can recite lots back to me, with a very funny way of skipping over the bits he can’t remember!

What is your son’s favourite book?

My son loves all the books by Julia Donaldson; I think The Gruffalo is his favourite but he is also extremely fond of Room on the Broom and Stick Man. I think the poetry really appeals to him, and he is fascinated by the details. In The Gruffalo he likes to look ahead a few pages to where the Gruffalo appears, and says “Look, a Gruffalo!” and I say “No, it can’t be, there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo”… and then he squeals with joy when the Gruffalo finally appears (and I am proved wrong)!

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The Pirate Tree by Brigita Orel & Jennie Poh

When Agu spots a little girl called Sam playing in a tree he sees an opportunity to make a friend. He is new to the country but so far all of his attempts at friendship have failed. Poor Agu is heartbroken when Sam says she doesn’t want to play because she doesn’t know him. Why is making friends so hard?

He watches as Sam pretends to be a pirate amongst the gnarled bows of the old tree. She sings of her adventures but when she mentions stealing diamonds from Nigeria Agu steps in. He tells her there are no diamonds there, and he knows because this is where he comes from. Intrigued, Sam asks him what else he knows and just like that the door of friendship starts to open. Agu tells her all about his former home and slowly they start to play. Soon they are sailing together on the breeze, fighting pirates and searching for seashells.

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The Good Egg by Jory John & Pete Oswald

The Good Egg is the kind of person everyone likes to have around. He rescues cats from danger, he offers to carry your groceries, change a tire for you, water your plants when you’re on holiday and even help you paint your house. He’s the kind of friend who you know will always be there in your time of need.

The problem is, being so good all the time can really take it’s toll. The other eleven eggs in his carton aren’t very well behaved so it always falls to the Good Egg to keep the peace and be, well, good.

The poor little guy ends up exhausted and small cracks begin to appear in his shell. He realises that putting all of this pressure on himself to be good is literally causing him to crack up.

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Album Review: Rolling Down The Road by David Gibb

I’m not going to lie – children’s music drives me bonkers. I totally understand that I am not the target audience but why does it have to be so annoying!

We listen to a lot of music at home and Ivy and I generally take it in turns to pick songs as our tastes are very different. This means poor Spotify regularly bounces between Peppa Pig and Fleetwood Mac, with some nursery rhymes thrown in for good measure.

However we recently received the newest album from family singer songwriter David GibbRolling Down The Road – and I think we have finally found some music we agree on. David has a great voice and the songs cover an eclectic mix of genres, from rock and folk through to jazz and country.

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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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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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