With picture books I generally find the simplest ideas have the biggest impact, and ‘The Cat and the Rat and the Hat’ is an absolutely perfect example of this. It’s colourful, creative and uses short, sharp rhymes to great comic effect.
Cat is having a lovely snooze on his favourite mat when he sees a rat wearing a lovely big hat. The cat decides he definitely wants the hat so he chases the rat – but what happens when they encounter a bat wearing a fancy cravat? Who gets the hat? Who gets the cravat? Who will sit on the mat? Will it be Cat, Bat or Rat?
Honestly – even typing that made me laugh so you can imagine how much fun this story is to read aloud with little ones! Toddlers and pre-schoolers will love the rhythm and the cheeky, tongue-twisting humour – and if your child is in their Reception year at school (like Ivy) there’s an extra level of enjoyment to be had…
Charlie doesn’t like to make decisions. How can you choose between chocolate and vanilla ice cream when both are so delicious? How can you choose between spotty or stripy underpants when both look so fabulous?
Every single day Charlie finds himself overwhelmed by choices and he finds it really hard. He worries that he will make the wrong decision and what the consequences of that might be. What if he chooses sunglasses instead of an umbrella and then it rains? What if he keeps his light on at bedtime but then he can’t sleep?
All of Charlie’s worries come to a head when he is asked to choose a present for his birthday. Faced with such a momentous decision he panics, but fate intervenes when a flyer about rescue dogs land on his lap at the park. However when he gets to the centre he is greeted by dozens of adorable dogs and he can only take one home! The boy knows he will never be able to choose so he turns around and sadly walks away.
The prospect of a new sibling is very exciting but most children struggle with the sudden shift in the family dynamic when a baby actually arrives. This beautifully illustrated book is perfect for reading in those final months of pregnancy, to help your little one process the changes that might lie ahead.
Dragons, much like toddlers, tend to have an air of mischief about them and this story plays on their ‘naughty’ reputation to great effect. How would you expect a little dragon to behave when they are no longer the centre of attention? Surely they will stomp their feet, huff and puff and breathe some fire, right? Well no. It turns out that little dragons now exactly how to behave around a new baby and they have lots of great advice to share. Children will want to align themselves with the dragon’s positive behaviour because she’s such a cute and kind character.
Hello Rebecca! Thank you so much for chatting to me about your new book ‘Beatrix and her Bunnies’.
Hello Ivy and Shelley! Thank you both for inviting me.
Could you give us a quick overview of what the book is about?
Beatrix Potter loved the countryside, but grew up in a big, lonely house in London which she filled with animal friends. This narrative non-fiction biography follows her relationship with two of her pet rabbits, Benjamin and Peter, and how they provided inspiration for her artwork and for her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. It also follows her development as a writer and artist, as well as her pioneering role as a conservationist.
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: