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Julia Donaldson

Ivy’s Guest Book: Jon Richards, Brand Identity Designer, Obladee

ObladeeTell us a little bit about yourself and your family

My name is Jon Richards. I am a Brand Identity Designer and along with my business partner Dan, we are Obladee. I live in Swindon with my wife and two young children, Emily aged 3 and Alice aged 1.

When our eldest daughter Emily was born, a friend gifted us a Hairy Maclary book along with the advice of reading a book everyday before bed from the day they are born and we have done so ever since.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Marie Farmer, Founder, Mini Mealtimes

Marie FarmerTell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi, I’m Marie Farmer and I’m the founder of the family nutrition app, Mini Mealtimes. Coming to an app store near you soon. I live in London with my wonderful husband and 2 year old son, who is on the spectrum.

What is your son’s favourite book?

My sons favourite book seems to vary from week to week but Not Now Bernard by David McKee is a staple in our house.

Which book do you most like reading to him and why?

I love to read him any book by Julia Donaldson. Her engaging plots, memorable characters and the unique illustrations always keep my son glued to the spot. Plus they are entertaining for me so reading them over and over isn’t a chore. At least until the 5th reading in a row anyway 🙂

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Ruth Bradford, Owner, The Little Black & White Book Project

Ruth BradfordTell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi! I’m Ruth and I am the owner/creator of The Little Black & White Book Project, monochrome animal illustrations for babies and toddlers in the form of books, flash cards, prints and accessories. After 6 years overseas in Singapore, we moved to Bristol in 2017 and I live with my husband and my little boy who is 2.

What is your son’s favourite book?

My son is a real little book worm! We’ve read to him since birth and it’s now his go-to activity every morning and of course at bedtime. His favourites change weekly but he usually comes back to the same few time and time again. So I’d probably say Paddington by Michael Bond would have to be right up there for him, but like most toddlers he’s also really into Room On The Broom and Zog at the moment too, I think he likes the lyricalness (if that’s a word?) of the stories.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Alexandra Appleton, Freelance Writer & Researcher

Alexandra AppletonTell us a little bit about yourself and your family

My name is Alex and I’m a freelance writer, editor and proofreader. I have a PhD in English Literature/Theatre History and I’m currently re-writing my thesis into a book for publication! I live in Harlow, Essex with my husband (Leo), youngest stepdaughter (18), and two children (aged 6 and 4). Oh and we have another baby on the way this summer!

What are your children’s favourite books?

When my son, Jackson, was a toddler, he was OBSESSED by The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, and boy do I mean obsessed. As well as reading them throughout the day, we had to read them every night, speaking increasingly softly as he dropped off to sleep! He loved the rhyming pattern and the sounds of the words. After a few weeks, my husband and I knew all the words and could recite them in a doze as we read on the end of his bed.

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Chocolate Mousse For Greedy Goose By Julia Donaldson & Nick Sharratt

Chocolate Mousse For Greedy GooseThe animals in this story are about to sit down for dinner, but nothing about this particular meal is going to be straightforward.

Chimp’s food is too hot, Duck won’t eat his carrots, Goose has forgotten his manners, Hyena is licking the bowl and Moth is busy nibbling on the wash cloth. It’s mayhem!

Finally the plates are empty – but will the naughty animals help clean up after themselves or do they have other ideas?

This brightly-coloured board book is perfect for younger toddlers, especially if they are picky eaters (like Ivy!) or are still learning the rules of the dinner table. They rhyme is bouncy and fun and we love the detail in the pictures. Ivy likes to point out the fact that the kangaroo has popped some carrots in her pouch for later!

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Ruth Buckingham, Owner, Kandu Marketing

Kandu MarketingTell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hello! My name is Ruth and I am a content marketing specialist.  I’m originally from Scotland but I now live in Buckinghamshire with my husband and our two children, Fraser (9) and Annabel (4).  As a family we all love reading or being read to and I’m very fortunate to have a job that also allows me to read on lots of different subjects.

What are your children’s favourite books?

My daughter has a habit of changing her favourite books often!  This week she is really enjoying “Arggh Spider” by Lydia Monks.  She always likes a book which has a bit of humour and she keeps laughing when the spider gets put outside again and again.  She is starting to read at school so I think she likes this one because of the repetition.  Its also beautifully illustrated and has some nice glittery features on the spiderwebs.

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The Scarecrows’ Wedding by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

The Scarecrows' WeddingIvy’s dad and I will be getting married later this year so it seems appropriate to kick off 2019 with a book about a wedding – although hopefully ours will go a little more smoothly than the one in this story!

Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay are two scarecrows who are very much in love. When Harry proposes, Betty is overjoyed and the pair start planning the best wedding the farm has ever seen. They make a list of all the things they will need – “a dress of white feathers, a necklace of shells, lots of pink flowers, two rings and some bells” – and then set off together to gather the beloved items together.

Soon they have everything except the pink flowers so Harry heads off on his own to find some whilst Betty has a little nap. However things don’t quite go to plan and Harry ends up being away for such a long time that the Farmer brings in a new scarecrow to replace him! Reginald Rake is the total opposite of Harry O’Hay. He’s selfish and showy and he isn’t nice to Betty at all. He boasts about all the things he can do but Betty isn’t impressed – she just wants her lovely Harry back.

But then things take a perilous turn. Reginald Rake tries to show Betty how good he is at blowing smoke rings, but he drops his cigar and sets the field alight. Will Harry make it back in time to save his bride?

This is one of our favourites from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. There’s a lovely mix of romance and adventure and Ivy gets very excited as the story twists and turns at the end.

I guess you could choose to criticise the fact that we have a girl scarecrow being rescued by a boy scarecrow – but I think that does the story a disservice. I prefer to focus on the way the story shows the difference between someone who respects women and someone who doesn’t.

Buy it now: https://amzn.to/2GQEo7Z

The Girl, The Bear And The Magic Shoes By Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks

The Girl, The Bear And The Magic ShoesThis magical story is about a little girl called Josephine who loves to run. When her running shoes begin to get a little tight she buys a new pair from an old lady who has a shoe shop filled with cats. The lady tells her that the shoes are magic bit she won’t reveal their special powers!

When Josephine leaves the shop she discovers she is being chased by a big white polar bear. She runs and runs and runs until she reaches a tall, snow-capped mountain. Feeling defeated, Josephine worries that she won’t be able to climb it to escape the bear – but then her shoes start to talk. They utter a little motivational rhyme before magically turning in to snow boots!

Josephine successfully climbs the mountain but the bear is still hot on her heels. Fortunately the magic shoes know just what to do. When they encounter snow, they turn in to skis. For a muddy bog they transform in to yellow wellies. And when Josephine stumbles upon the shores of a lake they become flippers and power her across to an island.

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Who’s On The Farm? By Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks

Who's On The Farm?We’re big fans of ‘What The Ladybird Heard‘ by Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks. In fact we went through a stage towards the end of last year where we read it at bedtime every night for about 2 months! The illustrations, in particular, are fantastic so we love this little spin off board book with a ‘peekaboo’ theme.

The book starts by asking you who you can see on the farm. It shows you pictures from the original title and identifies the characters, but there are also lift-the-flap sections which encourage you to guess who is hiding. Little fingers can open the chicken coop to find the fat red hen, move a haystack to spot the hairy hog and find the cats behind the hedge. Look carefully and you might even spot Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len in a pile of manure!

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The Cook And The King By Julia Donaldson & David Roberts

The Cook And The KingAt 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.

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