In the beautiful city of Aleppo in Syria a little stray cat plays happily in the sunshine. She lives a charmed life, chasing butterflies, exploring the marble mosques and being fed by the locals – until one day, humans in big boots arrive and everything goes dark.
Now surrounded by sadness and war, the little cat doesn’t know what to do. She watches the city crumble around her and is startled by the loud noises and angry voices. She doesn’t understand where her friends have gone and why there is suddenly no food. She is hungry and afraid so she hides herself away in the darkness of the city.
Do you ever read a book to your child and find that the emotion in the story catches you by surprise? The first time I read ‘The Most-Loved Bear’ I found myself struggling to hold back the tears as it really struck a chord with me. It’s absolutely beautiful!
A long time ago a little girl called Mary Rose buys a bear for sixpence from her local toyshop. She names him Growly Bear because he makes a little growling noise when you tip him upside down. Her Mother embroiders the letters ‘G’ and ‘B’ on to his paws and together the little girl and her much-loved bear have many adventures. Until one day she leaves him on a train…
Growly Bear ends up in the Lost Property Office and when he isn’t claimed he is sold to a little boy called Ronnie who loves him just as much as Mary Rose did. They play together for many years until the boy is too old for toys. The bear is donated to a second-hand shop to make room for Ronnie’s new hobbies.
Hands up if you’re old enough to remember watching Play School when you were a kid? I loved it and just seeing pictures of Dame Floella Benjamin makes me feel all warm and nostalgic! When I saw that she was releasing a children’s book I was very excited and I am so pleased that it is utterly wonderful.
Coming to England is a very personal story about the author’s own experience of the being part of the Windrush generation. The stunningly illustrated pages follow a young Floella as she makes the journey from Trinidad to England in 1960 to start a new life with her family.
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.
The 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!
At the top of a very tall hill stands a lonely snowball in a tiny yellow hat. As he stares down at the little town miles below him he decides that today is the day his life is going to change. He’s going to leave his quiet hill and go and find some new friends to have fun with.
As he takes the first few steps towards this new adventure he trips and falls – and starts rolling down the hill! Being a snowball, he gathers more snow as he rolls. Getting bigger and faster, his descent is soon out of control! His big snowy body collects things as he rolls – first some twigs and a pebble, then a sheep, some pants and even an acrobat team. Even rolling through the zoo doesn’t slow him down.
What will happen when he finally reaches the bottom of the hill and will he make the new friends he so needed?
This 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.
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!
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.
This lovely book about hearing loss was recommended to us by one of our recent interviewees – Nell Nash of Tatty Rose. I really liked the look of it so bought us a copy and it’s currently one of Ivy’s favourite bedtime reads.
The story is about a little boy called Freddie who finds a fairy called Bessie-Belle tangled in a tree. He helps her down and she says she will grant him some wishes to say thank you. She tells him that she can’t hear very well and if you look carefully at the illustrations you can see that she’s wearing a little blue hearing aid.
Freddie doesn’t really understand this though so he mumbles when he asks for his wishes. He really wants a pet but because she can’t hear him the fairy doesn’t quite get it right. Freddie’s requests for a cat, a dog or a parrot result in a bat, a frog and a carrot – none of which make great pets!