We have a number of books from this fantastic Little People Big Dreams series. I bought them with the intention of putting them away until Ivy was a little bit older but she’s really drawn to the pictures and often asks for them to be read to her.
I recently visited the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A museum as I am hugely fascinated by her story and her art. In the gift shop I bought Ivy a flowered headband in a similar style to the one you can see on the front cover. She loved it and squealed with delight when I showed her that she looked like the lady on the book. As a result we’ve read this one lots of times over the last few weeks!
This beautifully illustrated title gives a brief overview of Frida Kahlo’s short and troubled life but deals with it in an age-appropriate way. We see that she suffers a childhood illness which affects her leg and is later involved in an accident which means she must spend much of her time in bed.
At the start of this lovely book the King is sat at his royal table eating takeaway pizza from a box. He needs a new cook and he needs one now. There’s a problem though – he’s really, really fussy! He auditions lots of impressive chefs but none of the meals they create for him is quite right. Then in walks Wobbly Bob – a self-confessed wimp who really wants the job!
The King agrees to give Bob a trial and sets him to work making fish and chips, but Bob is scared of every single step of the process. He’s scared of catching fish. He’s scared of digging for potatoes. He’s scared of slicing up chips. And he’s very scared of using the frying pan on the cooker. Fortunately the brave King is there to help and every time Bob is nervous about a task he steps in and shows him it’s okay.
In a quirky little world called Jumble Wood there lives a multitude of cute little creatures. Each of them has a thing they carry around with them which makes them happy. There are creatures with flowers, creatures with balloons, creatures with sunglasses or hats and even creatures with scooters and skateboards!
But there is one little creature called Pod who doesn’t have a happy thing, and this makes her very sad. She decides that the thing that will make her happy must be hiding out there somewhere so she sets off on a journey to find it. Along the way Pod meets Peach and Worm who help her in her quest
Together they venture in to the deepest and darkest part of the wood in search of the hard-to-find thing which will finally make Pod happy. Will they find it? Or will Pod realise that a happy thing doesn’t have to be a thing at all?
A few weeks ago a lovely lady called Helen dropped me a message to recommend us a book which her son had picked out at the library – The Knight Who Wouldn’t Fight. It wasn’t one that i’d heard of so I want to give a big shout out to her to say thank you as we LOVE it! (It should be noted here that this is definitely a different Helen to the one who wrote the book!)
The story is about a little mouse called Leo who likes nothing more than to curl up with a good book. However Leo is a knight so, despite his protestations, his parents insist that he has to go out in to the world and fight dragons.
Leo packs a bag with some sandwiches (and lots of books of course!) and heads off on his horse to fight a dragon who has been terrorising a town a few hours ride away. En route he faces a fearsome griffin and an angry troll, but defeats them quickly and easily using not his sword but his collection of books. It turns out that nasty creatures can be quite vain and love to hear stories about themselves!
There are so many reasons to love this magical and unique story, not least because it’s the first children’s book I have encountered which features a non-binary character using they/them/their pronouns.
From the moment they are born, little Miu-Lan is different to other children. Neither boy or girl, they are are a magical being able to shape shift at their will from one fantastical creature to another. Miu-Lan changes their appearance at will to reflect how they are feeling – one day they may soar through the skies with wings and feathers and the next have scales and a tail to swim through the ocean. Supported by their amazing mother who encourages them to be whoever they want whenever they want, Miu-Lan is happy.
We were lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this lovely new story which is out today in the UK and we’ve been looking forward to sharing it with you. We’re big fans of Rachel Bright and Jim Field’s previous collaborations (‘The Lion Inside’ is in our all-time top five!) and fortunately this new title is just as good!
The heartwarming tale is about a little wolf cub called Wilf who is extremely strong-willed and independent. He wants to do everything by himself and he wants to do it right now – which will sound very familiar to any parent with a toddler!
When his wolf pack is forced to leave their cave, Wilf wants to lead the expedition to find a new home. But the little wolf soon discovers that life in the wilderness is much tougher than it looks and he finds himself lost in a storm. Too proud to call for help he sits alone on the ice, which at that very moment begins to crack. It looks as though all hope is lost but then a friendly face appears from the depths.
As much as we love Penguin Blue, we have to admit that Grrrrr! is our favourite book from Rob Biddulph.
The heartwarming story is about Fred, a highly competitive grizzly bear, who has won the ‘Best Bear in the Woods’ contest for the last 3 years in a row. He has lots of medal and trophies, but unfortunately he doesn’t have many friends because of all the time he spends training.
Fred excels at every discipline however his extremely loud Grrrrr! is what he is best known for. This means it comes as quite a shock when he wakes up on the morning of the competition to discover that he’s lost his roar! It seems to have disappeared right around the time that Boris, a new bear, arrived in town. Coincidence?
All of the local animals pitch in and help search for the missing growl but to no avail. Downhearted, poor Fred has to start the contest without it. Can his new friends help him win the competition without his Grrrrr! and will the culprit be unmasked?
This uplifting story is about a little girl called Grace who loves stories and has a big imagination. She likes nothing more than to act out the stories she hears. One day she’s Joan of Arc and the next she’s Mowgli!
At school she discovers they are going to be putting on a play and she is desperate to get the lead role of Peter Pan. However her classmates laugh at her and tell her she can’t possibly play Peter because of her gender and the colour of her skin. Deflated, Grace goes home and tells her family – who rally together to show her that she can be anything that she wants if she puts her mind to it.
When Monday arrives it’s audition time and Grace wows her friends with her acting ability. But will she get the part?
This is such a lovely book about finding the strength to follow your dreams. The life-like illustrations are fantastic and Ivy finds them fascinating. She likes to copy all of Grace’s different acting poses!
If you’ve been following us for a while you’ll know that we are big fans of picture books which take on big emotions and break them down in a way which makes it easy for children to digest. Me And My Fear by Francesca Sanna is one of the best we’ve seen.
The book is about a little girl who has moved to a new country and is starting a new school. She has always lived with fear, who is depicted as a little ghost-like creature who goes everywhere with her – but the prospect of this new school causes her fear to grow so large that it takes up more space than she does. It fills her whole house and stops her from leaving her home. This super-sized fear doesn’t want her to go to school and doesn’t want her to make new friends. As a result the girl is lonely and her experience at her new school is a miserable one.
We love this series of books by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts. Ada Twist is the best of the bunch in our opinion but this one comes a close second!
Shy little Rosie Revere dreams of becoming a great engineer. Like a magpie she collects gizmos and gadgets that other people have thrown away and in her bedroom at night she turns them in to amazing inventions – including a hot dog dispenser and some helium pants!
Her favourite uncle is a zookeeper so she makes him a special hat (made of parts of a fan and some squirty cheese) to keep the snakes off his head. She proudly hands it over but her uncle laughs! He says he likes it but poor Rosie is mortified and vows never to invent anything again.
But then one day she discovers that her very clever aunt (who used to build aeroplanes) dreams of being able to fly and she begins to wonder if she could make this happen. Can she use all of her ingenuity and help her aunt take to the skies?