I’ve read countless stories by Beatrix Potter but I have to admit that until I read this beautifully illustrated picture book I didn’t know anything about her life. Did you know that Benjamin Bunny and Peter Rabbit were real live animals which she befriended? Nope. Me either!
At the start of Rebecca Colby’s story, young Beatrix is living in London and feeling very lonely indeed. She loves animals and has lots of pets but none of them can really play with her in the way that she’d like. But then, on a visit to the countryside, she meets Benjamin, a mischievous bunny who loves snuggles and games. Finally the little girl has a friend!
Hands up who has a little worrier? Both Ivy and I have a tendency to be a bit anxious and the current situation has definitely exacerbated this. Who knew there were so many things to stress about?
Jeremy knows all about worries. From morning till night all he can think about is the potential danger swirling all around him, from shoe-eating worms and too-crunchy crackers right through to runaway dinosaurs and evil squirrels. His biggest fear is the wind though – so he tries not go outside on blustery days just in case.
But then one day fastidious Jeremy meets Maggie. With mismatched clothing and trailing shoelaces, she seems an unlikely friend but the two hit it off straight away. Maggie’s mantra is ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ and fearful Jeremy is determined to show her!
Wanda’s words have a sneaky habit of getting stuck. Whenever she tries to speak, the words just won’t come out and this makes her feel nervous and small in front of her teacher and the other children. Everyone else just seems so confident so why can’t she be the same?
Wanda struggles along until one day a new girl joins her class. Flo looks nervously at her new classmates before dropping her eyes to the ground and blushing. In the playground Wanda gives her a little wave and a smile and soon the two are playing quietly alongside each other. They slip into an easy and comfortable friendship where few words are needed. The two girls just seem to ‘get’ each other.
Later that week their teacher announces something which terrifies them both – a school magic contest in which they will have perform a spell in front of the class! Flo and Wanda decide to work together but when the big day arrives they are both dizzy with nerves.
Have you read ‘There’s A Bear On My Chair‘ by Ross Collins? It’s been a firm favourite in our house for years and was one of the books I reviewed way back in the early days of Ivy’s Library.
Now the cheeky duo are back and the tables have been turned. In the first book, Mouse was extremely annoyed at Bear for sitting in his chair and refusing to move. This time it’s Bear’s turn to feel the frustration because Mouse has taken up residence in his house and is driving him crazy!
Poor Bear. All he wants to do is relax in his own home but Mouse just won’t go away and his hobbies are a little extreme. From practising Taekwondo and pretending to be a pirate through to blasting out soft rock and eating the contents of the fridge, Mouse is not a good house guest at all.
Milly is very excited about going to school because it’s Superhero Day. She has fashioned a costume out of tin foil and a tea towel but she’s a little bit sad that she doesn’t have any REAL super powers. Or does she?
In the classroom Super Milly spots that William is sad because his dad forgot it was a dress up day. She hands him her superhero badge and tells him he can be Wonder William. She cheers up Fantastic Flora with some jokes. She settles a dispute between Amazing Archie and Spider Sid and she comes to Incredible Iqbal’s aid when his pet spider escapes during Show and Tell.
We are massive fans of the Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam picture books so we were very excited to discover that there are chapter books too!
Shifty and Sam are two loveable dogs who used to live a life of crime. These days they are reformed characters who have swapped robbing banks for baking cakes and catching bad guys. In ‘The Spooky School’ they use their skills to solve a series of wacky mysteries.
Each of the books is divided in to three stories and each story has four short chapters which makes them perfect for bedtime reading. We’ll usually read two chapters per night but if Ivy is particularly tired we’ll drop this down to just one.
The stories in this volume are:
Little Tom spends his days watching for pirates from atop a hill next to the village where he lives. When he spots a boat he shouts ‘THE PIRATES ARE COMING!’ and all the villagers quickly hide. However it soon becomes apparent that it’s just a little fishing boat, and not a pirate ship at all.
Undeterred, Tom climbs back up the hill and continues to watch the horizon. Each time he spots a boat he yells down to the village and everyone hides – but it’s always a false alarm.
But then one day he spots a very large ship with a pirate flag! He yells ‘THE PIRATES ARE COMING!’ but everyone ignores him. Tom is never right about the boats so they don’t think there’s any point hiding. How wrong they are! The ship docks and a motley crew of pirates disembark. The villagers soon realise their mistake and scramble to their hiding places…
If your little one is headed to ‘big school’ later this year then I would definitely recommend grabbing yourself a copy of this gorgeous book to read over the summer holidays!
Before Ivy and I read this together I asked her a question – how do you think a dragon would behave if they went to school? She immediately answered ‘NAUGHTY’, which was exactly what I was expecting her to say! This set the scene perfectly for the story as it turns out that dragons are better behaved than she realised…
The story follows an adorable dragon as she navigates her first day at school. We see her say goodbye to her mum and dad and greet her new friends. She eats her lunch, reads some stories and plays in the playground before preparing to head home. These are all scenarios which a child will encounter on their own first day and with Dragon’s help they will learn how to meet each new challenge with a smile.
Earlier this week we visited London Zoo as a half term treat for Ivy. The highlight of her day was undoubtedly seeing the giraffes up close, but for me it was our visit to the gift shop as they had a phenomenal selection of books. From baby books right through to detailed encyclopedias, there was definitely something for every child to enjoy.
Ivy was allowed to select one title from their shelves and she headed straight for this beautiful board book from Ingela P. Arrhenius and Nosy Crow.
She’s three and a half now, but we’ve seen renewed interest in board books of late because she likes to try and read them herself by guessing what is going on in the pictures. This book is perfect for this type of game and as a result I honestly think we’ve read it 50+ times in the last few days!
Spring is just around the corner and this lovely book from Nosy Crow and the National Trust is packed full of interesting little activities you can do with the kids to encourage a love of the great outdoors.
From building dens and spotting bugs to growing radishes and making compost, the simple instructions help you make the most of the garden. And if you don’t have any outside space, there are just as many projects to do indoors, like growing beans in a glass jar, making a tiny magic garden and creating a little window box.
Alongside the myriad activities there are garden-related words to learn, flowers, trees and vegetables to identify, and a handy section on how to stay safe whilst digging and planting.