When a child is going through a difficult transition or is about to experience something new, the first thing we do is look for a book which can help guide them through it. That’s easy enough if you want to talk about starting school or moving house, but there are some topics which just aren’t covered in mainstream books – like adoption.
Written by an adoptive Dad, ‘The Blanket Bears’ follows two little cubs as they go through every step of the adoption process.
When we first meet the bears they are cold, alone and losing their fur. They are found by Tilly, a social worker bear, and taken to a foster home to be looked after until a Forever Home can be found for them. Their foster carers look after them very well and make them adorable little onesies out of blankets to keep them warm until their fur grows back. Eventually a Forever Family is found for the bears and they slowly make the transition to their new home.
This gorgeous book celebrates the love, warmth and mayhem of a family home. The story follows a family of four as they take us on a tour of each of the rooms in their house.
First up is the kitchen where they bake, dance, sing and make a mess. Then we see the dining room where they eat, pretend to be pirates and tickle their parents feet under the table. The living room is for relaxing and getting things off your chest, whilst the bathroom is for washing and pulling funny faces in the mirror.
The richly worded rhyme and the warm illustrations show us love, laughter and tears against a familiar backdrop of toys, washing up and teetering piles of books.
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.
Piper Crow is a little bird with a very special brother called Otto. Otto is on the autism spectrum which means that he sees the world a little differently, and sometimes other people don’t understand him.
This beautifully illustrated story follows a day in the life of the two siblings as they face new challenges together.
We learn that Otto loves the colour yellow. In fact, he loves yellow so much that he needs everything to be yellow – from his clothes and his toys right through to his drinks and his food. When things aren’t yellow, Otto is very unhappy. Otto likes to spin in circles, go extra high on the swings and hold his hands over his ears when things get too loud. Piper also tells us that Otto is non-verbal, so he uses a tablet to communicate.
The majority of the books on our shelves feature cartoon creatures, loud colours and bouncy rhymes – because let’s face it, all kids love a fun story! However at 3.5, Ivy seems to have reached a stage where she’s showing interest in books which require a little more thought (but still have lots of pictures).
This book is perfect for her as it works on two levels. The story itself is simple, but it encourages lots of questions about habitats and environmental issues.
The story follows two little tiger cubs and their mother as they move through the jungle trying to find a new home. Frightened by the sound of men and dogs the previous evening, mother tiger is determined to find somewhere safe before sundown.
The prospect of having a new baby brother or sister can be both exciting and daunting for a toddler. A new playmate sounds fantastic but where will the baby come from and how will life change when it arrives?
When I found out I was having Ivy I bought a big book which told me what to expect from my pregnancy and beyond, and this gorgeous book is like a mini version of that for kids!
The early pages talk about what having a new baby means and how it might affect you. It addresses the fact you might be a little worried and emphasises that although life won’t be the same, it will be better because there will be even more love and cuddles.
Most parents will be familiar with the sense of trepidation you feel when starting a busy day with a small child in tow. You know it’s *possible* that everything could go to plan, but realistically you’re going to be late for everything (if you even manage to get out of the door at all).
Such is the plight of Mama Bear who has a very long list of things she needs to achieve before the end of the day, starting with dance class and a trip to the supermarket.
Little Bella Bear has other ideas though. She wants to bounce on her bed. She wants to wear the red outfit and not the blue outfit. She wants to count the stairs slowly on her way down. She wants an elaborate breakfast (which she inevitably wouldn’t eat!). She doesn’t want to brush her teeth. She might want to use the potty though – but not until it’s time to leave, and not without reading at least 3 books whilst she ‘tries’. Sound familiar?
A little girl and her grandmother sit down together to look through a treasured book of memories. The grandmother explains what when she was a little girl everything was magical – colours were bright, grass was ten feet tall, there was music everywhere and life was a celebration. But sadly as she has got older, life has got greyer and she doesn’t think the magic exists anymore.
Upon hearing this, her granddaughter takes her hand and they lift up in to the sky. She takes her grandmother on a tour of the world as seen through her own eyes, and there is magic everywhere! They see faces in raindrops, listen to heartbeats in the mountains, dip their toes in to a river of seahorses and attend a birthday party for a flower.
This is a book about baby loss so if this topic is a trigger for you then please do not read any further———————————————-
I am breaking with tradition a little for this review. This is not a book which I have read with Ivy but it is one that I believe needs to be shared as it addresses an important topic – baby loss (during pregnancy and shortly after birth).
When a baby dies the focus is very much on the grieving parents, but often there are young siblings who will struggle to understand why the baby brother or sister they were expecting didn’t come home. This book seeks to address this, both gently and honestly, in language that is easy for a child to comprehend.
The soft rhyme acknowledges that often there is no reason for the loss and that no one is to blame. It helps children name and understand the emotions they might be experiencing and the beautiful illustrations show grief in its many forms.
The little spider in this book is very lonely – all he wants is a family of his own. So the enterprising little fellow finds a family he likes and sets about trying to become their pet. The problem is that they’re all scared of spiders!
He tries to impress them with his dancing, he shows them how nice and clean he is by hanging out in the bath and he builds a web and catches flies to prove he’s self-sufficient and can feed himself. However every time they seem him they yell ‘Aaaarrgghh! Spider!’ and throw him back outside.
Feeling defeated, the poor lonely spider decides to set up house in their garden instead and builds himself a giant sparkly web. Will this be the final straw for the family or will they see the spider as a potential pet after all?