This book is a little controversial in our house as it’s the first Julia Donaldson book that Ivy and I don’t agree on! I personally don’t think it’s one of her best – but Ivy loves it so what do I know!?!
The story is about the ‘Go-Away Bird’ who (as you’d expect from her name…) isn’t a big fan of company. She sits in her nest with a disgruntled look on her face and sends away all of the nice birds who try and make her acquaintance with a loud ‘Go Away!’
She doesn’t want to talk to the Chit-Chat bird, she doesn’t want to share a meal with the Peck-Peck bird and she certainly doesn’t want to fly with the Flip-Flap bird. But then the hungry ‘Get You’bird appears and the Go-Away bird discovers that maybe she does need friends after all.
There’s no getting around it, Sid Gibbons is a little bit naughty. Just this week he’s smashed a bird bath, thrown his dinner on the floor, trashed his bedroom and left his colouring pens on the floor for so long that they’ve all dried out. His poor mum doesn’t know what to do, because when she asks him about these misdemeanours he just lies and says that his imaginary friend Kevin did it all. Kevin is invisible and no one can see him except Sid, so he’s the perfect fall guy.
Then one day, when Sid has once again been sent to bed for being naughty, a hatch in the ceiling opens and a bright light appears. Sid climbs up to take a peek and finds himself faced with none other Kevin himself – he is real! Sid is super excited to see his (incredibly cute and fluffy!) friend and they have lots of fun playing together. However it soon becomes apparent that in Kevin’s world, it is Sid who is the invisible friend.
Sally is the smallest girl in the school, which means that most of time people don’t notice her. She passes unseen in the school corridors but she is very special because she notices absolutely everything.
She sees the tiny details all around her, but most importantly she sees the people and how they behave with one another. She watches as the children are unkind to each other in the playground, and she notices how this makes the bullied and excluded kids feel. She watches as mean words are exchanged and tears fall.
And then one day Sally decides she’s had enough.
The tiny little girl steps out of the lunch line in the cafeteria, raises her hand in the air to quieten the room and then she opens her mouth and tells everyone what she has observed and how it should change. She expects to be laughed at but one by one she sees hands slowly rise in to the air in solidarity.
Every now and again a book comes our way which both captures Ivy’s imagination and brings me to tears, and this is most definitely one of those books.
The simple, yet extremely moving, story is about the relationship between a little girl and her favourite dress. The girl and the dress are the best of friends and they go on many adventures together. They play and explore but they also stare out at the ocean and wish for something more.
One day the girl discovers that everything is about to change. The dress is bundled in to a trunk and the girl and her family take a long journey on a boat to start a new life in New York. But somehow the trunk is lost in the hustle and bustle of their arrival. The dress finds itself alone and the girl does not come back.
This book is fairly new to our collection but it has quickly become a firm favourite!
Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam are a pair of robber dogs – their goal is to steal things to make lots of money. The problem is that they are absolutely rubbish at it! Every night they come home with empty swag bags having failed yet again to burgle a bank or a shop. They decide that in order to increase their chances of success they need an easier target – their neighbours. Their plan is to hold a party, invite them all round and then sneak in to their house and steal their belongings whilst they’re having fun.
So that the party seems legit, they whip up some doughnuts, cupcakes and fruit pies, and they discover that they’re actually pretty good at baking. Very good, actually – and it turns out to be fun too! When the day of the party arrives their neighbours are all very impressed with the sugary treats and declare them the “best buns in town”.
When little Albie goes to the museum with his mum he is expecting the visit to be dull, dull, dull. However the arctic exhibition holds a lot more than just boring old exhibits!
Albie tries on a wintry outfit and is just about to start building an igloo out of blocks when BAM a snowflake falls on his nose, followed by a whole flurry of real snow. As Albie turns in confusion he sees a polar bear running towards him and realises he has magically entered an arctic world!
He befriends a little girl called Yura who is desperately trying to make her way home in the snow. Together they head off on an icy adventure featuring polar bears, an avalanche and some howling wolves. But will Albie be able to help Yura find her way home or will they be lost forever?
Penguin Small has a lot of fears. He is scared of the nasty polar bears bears who have been playing tricks on him and his friends, he’s scared of water and he’s not a big fan of being on his own. So when all of the other penguins decide enough is enough and head out to sea to make a new life in the South Pole, he is left in an unhappy position. He can’t follow them because he won’t go in the water, but he can’t stay because of the polar bears and the loneliness. What is a little penguin to do?
At exactly the right moment a Snowman appears and a series of events result in them floating off to sea on a small piece of ice and discovering a beautiful tropical island. The new friends meets lots of exciting new animals in this weird and wonderful place and the Snowman vows that he will stay there forever.
Everyone knows what lions are like. They’re big and fierce and they love to chomp on any animals which come their way. Right? Well what if that that’s not the case? What if that’s just a stereotype and all lions are individuals, just like people?
Meet Leonard. Leonard is a lion and he’s not fierce at all (except when he’s protecting his friends). He likes poetry, thinking important thoughts and having long intelligent conversations with his pal, Marianne the duck.
When Leonard and Marianne chance upon a pack of other lions they are mocked and ridiculed. These lions thinks that Leonard is no lion at all. Real lions would have eaten the duck and they certainly wouldn’t sit around watching shooting stars and talking about the universe.
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.
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.