Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions experienced by children but it can be a difficult topic to discuss with someone who is too young to put their feelings in to words. This book uses the metaphor of a monster, albeit a friendly yellow one, to help kids understand.
At the start of the story a young boy introduces his monster and explains that it has been around for as long as he can remember. It’s large, loud and bossy, and it often gets in his way when he’s trying to enjoy himself. When his parents are around the monster hides so he doesn’t feel like he can talk to them about it, but he really wishes it would go away.
One day it all becomes too much and he opens his heart to his grandmother. In tears, he tells her all about the intolerable monster and how it just won’t leave him alone – but as he talks, something special happens. The monster starts to shrink! As the words tumble from his mouth the monster gets smaller and smaller until eventually he can pick it up and pop it in his pocket. Although he knows the monster will always be there, the little boy now knows that he is in control rather than the other way around.
I love a book which isn’t afraid to ask the big questions, and this book asks the biggest of them all – why on earth are there so many books about bears? The rather genius story brings together some of the greatest animal minds in the world to try and come up with an answer.
The ‘summit’ takes place in the hallowed hall at Mollusc College in Oxford and is attended by William Snakespeare (a snake), Albert Swinestein (a pig), some PhDs (porcupines, hedgehogs and dragons with spines), Newton (a newt), Mary Shelley (a snail) and Trevor (an unassuming little mouse).
Many theories are put forward. Is it because ‘bear’ rhymes with so many good words? Is it because bears come in a handy variety of sizes? Or could it be because, with clothes on, bears look a lot like people?
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.
This beautifully illustrated story is a lovely addition to our growing collection of books about emotions.
We follow a small boy as he experiences a range of emotions during a short walk with his dog. He starts off calm and then quickly becomes happy when he spots a dandelion stalk which would make a lovely present for his mum.
With a hop, skip and a jump he plucks it from the ground but then experiences sadness as the wind pulls it from his hand and it floats away. Anger ensues, followed by envy when he spots a little girl holding a stalk which he covets. His interaction with the girl teaches him about the importance of sharing before hope, pride and love carry him home with his gift.
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.
It’s almost time for bed but Olive, Barney and Ella aren’t ready just yet. They want to go on one last adventure before they fall asleep! Olive wants to go to the jungle, whilst Barney wants to head out in search of treasure. And Ella? Well she would secretly really like to see a dragon.
The three friends hop in to a giant hot air balloon which has magically appeared outside their window and then whoooosh, they’re off!
Their first stop is a pirate ship which they eagerly explore, but their time is cut short when the crew decide they don’t want to share their treasure. Next they float down in to the jungle but a hungry tiger makes them a little nervous about staying. This adventure really isn’t working out as planned and poor Ella still hasn’t see a dragon!
When you think of Humpty Dumpty you can’t help but immediately picture him falling off a wall – but what if he could be so much more than that?
This brightly coloured book starts with Humpty sitting on his famous wall, talking about the future with his friends. One of them asks what he wants to be when he grows up and his response shocks them. He wants to be a boiled egg! Aghast, they suggest that he thinks outside of the box.
Wee Willie Winkie thinks Humpty should be a footballer, Little Bo Peep suggests he becomes a detective, whilst Mary Mary Quite Contrary thinks he would make a great musician. Soon everyone is sharing their career aspirations. Little Miss Muffet dreams of becoming a scientist, Goosey Gander plans to become a builder, and This Little Piggy wants to be a traffic warden!
Oi Dog! is the second title in the zany ‘Oi Frog and Friends’ series. There are currently four books and we love each and every one!
If you’ve read book one – Oi Frog! – you’ll know that these bonkers tales are about a peculiar set of rules which dictate where an animal can sit. In the first story we met Cat, Dog and Frog. Cat explained that animals are only allowed to park their bums on things which rhyme – so cats sit on mats, frogs sit on logs and (unfortunately for this particular frog) dogs sit on frogs. Squish!
As we move in to book two we see the feisty frog choosing to rebel. He disagrees wholeheartedly with the current rules so sets about making some of his own.
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.
Our favourite book this Halloween has been Mrs Blackhat by Chloe & Mick Inkpen. Ivy LOVES it and I’ve easily read it 2-3 times a day in the last week!
Mrs Blackhat is a witch whose life definitely has a colour scheme. Everything is black – her clothes, her broom, her cauldron, her house – except for one thing. She has a ginger cat!
She finds this splash of colour extremely irksome so she sets out to find a way to transform her cat so that he’s more in keeping with her witchy style. Being somewhat of an online shopping addict she hops on her laptop and orders some potions and spells from her favourite site. However when they arrive they don’t quite perform as they should.