Since discovering the joy that is Tracey Corderoy, Ivy and I have been on a mission to read all of her books. We have devoured all of the Shifty McGifty picture books and now we are loving this Hubble Bubble series about a very unusual grandparent.
The little girl in the story wants to tel us all about her Granny, who happens to be a little bit different. She dresses all in black, has a pointy hat, keeps frogs and bats as pets and the food she serves is extremely unconventional! She loves her granny but sometimes she wishes she could be a little bit more like the kind of grannies her friends have.
She suggests to her Granny that it might be fun to have a makeover day together and she sets about making little changes which she thinks will make her more ‘normal’. They knit some hats together, travel in to town by bus (rather than broomstick!), buy some new clothes and get their hair done. By the time they are finished, her Granny looks just like all the other grannies in the street.
We have recently discovered Parakeet Books – a small independent publisher whose focus is on stories which are truly inclusive – and we LOVE their ethos. Our favourite title so far is Buddy’s Pancakes, a story which will be very familiar to parents of fussy toddlers (us included!).
Buddy is a little boy who is far more interested in playing than eating. At breakfast time his dad asks him if he would like some pancakes and the answer is a resounding no.
As Buddy plays, his dad serves up food to the rest of the family and we see how everyone likes their pancakes a different way. Granny likes lemon and honey, Grandad likes blueberries, whilst Mummy prefers to have hers with slices of banana. Each time a new variation is suggested, they ask Buddy if he would like some but he always replies that he’s not hungry.
Felicity and Jane are two African snails who are very much in love. The pair are inseparable and are looking forward to spending their lives together. Then something very special happens – Felicity finds out that she is going to have a little baby snail. She can’t wait to tell Jane, but when she does it turns out that Jane also has some special news, as she is pregnant too. They are going to be a family and are very excited!
The two expectant mums work hard to create the perfect egg chamber for their new arrivals and then together they lay their eggs and wait. It’s not long before the tiny snails start to hatch and soon Felicity and Jane are the proudest mums on the planet.
We are big fans of this brightly-coloured book which introduces the concept of a metaphorical ‘love umbrella’.
The neon images throughout the story show a diverse group of children encountering situations out in the world which may make them feel sad or uncomfortable – like being afraid of the dark, feeling shy around other children, moving house or starting a new school.
The lovely rhyming text explains that even if the child is on their own, their loved one is always with them ‘under their love umbrella’. They may not always be physically present but they are right there with them in spirit to help them through, because of the strength of their love.
This is a really comforting read and it’s definitely a good one to snuggle up with before bed. There are so many scenarios in which this book could be helpful to a small child – from being worried about being left at nursery for the first time right through to the loss of a loved one.
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.
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!
We discovered this gem in our local library about 18 months ago and Ivy loved it so much that I bought us a copy that same week. The story is beautiful and I’m not ashamed to say that I bawled my eyes out the first time I read it!
This lovely book is about a little girl whose Mummy makes her a set of 5 paper dolls. She gives them names, plays with them constantly and invents a little song for the dolls to sing about their friendship.
In the girl’s vivid imagination the paper dolls do battle with dinosaurs, tigers and crocodiles. They explore magical islands (on the breakfast table) and dance through forests (in the garden).
Together they come through every adventure unscathed. Until one day they encounter a little boy with a pair of scissors and suddenly the dolls are no more.
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.
There’s something incredibly special about Oliver Jeffers. All of his books seem to work on two levels. Children love them because the stories are simple and the illustrations are beautiful – but there is something deep in each story which really resonates with adults too. When I pick up one of his books and read it for the first time, I know that it’s probably going to make me feel a bit weepy and this one affected me more than any of the others.
The story is about a little girl who loves life. She loves to explore, she loves to learn and she sees wonder everywhere she turns. Pictured beside her (but not mentioned in the text) is her grandfather. Then one day she discovers an empty chair in her house, and the grandfather is no longer there.