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.
We are huge fans of the Shifty McGifty series here. In the very first book, we saw Shifty and his best friend Sam give up their life of crime and open a cafe when they discovered they were much better at baking cakes than robbing houses. In this fantastic sequel we see them use their skills for good as they help track down an infamous cat burglar.
The story begins at the newly-opened cafe, where all of the local dogs gather for a good gossip, a coffee and some cake. They begin to discuss the fact that a notorious robber called Kitty Le Claw has been spotted in town and and has been causing lots of trouble.
Together the dogs decide to hatch a secret plan to catch the criminal, but before they can get started a poor, rain-sodden cat called Dotty comes in and ask for their help. Eager to be good dogs, they offer her a job at their cafe – but perhaps Dotty is not all that she seems…
Since discovering the joy that is Tracey Corderoy, Ivy and I have been on a mission to read all of her books. We have devoured all of the Shifty McGifty picture books and now we are loving this Hubble Bubble series about a very unusual grandparent.
The little girl in the story wants to tel us all about her Granny, who happens to be a little bit different. She dresses all in black, has a pointy hat, keeps frogs and bats as pets and the food she serves is extremely unconventional! She loves her granny but sometimes she wishes she could be a little bit more like the kind of grannies her friends have.
She suggests to her Granny that it might be fun to have a makeover day together and she sets about making little changes which she thinks will make her more ‘normal’. They knit some hats together, travel in to town by bus (rather than broomstick!), buy some new clothes and get their hair done. By the time they are finished, her Granny looks just like all the other grannies in the street.
This book is fairly new to our collection but it has quickly become a firm favourite!
Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam are a pair of robber dogs – their goal is to steal things to make lots of money. The problem is that they are absolutely rubbish at it! Every night they come home with empty swag bags having failed yet again to burgle a bank or a shop. They decide that in order to increase their chances of success they need an easier target – their neighbours. Their plan is to hold a party, invite them all round and then sneak in to their house and steal their belongings whilst they’re having fun.
So that the party seems legit, they whip up some doughnuts, cupcakes and fruit pies, and they discover that they’re actually pretty good at baking. Very good, actually – and it turns out to be fun too! When the day of the party arrives their neighbours are all very impressed with the sugary treats and declare them the “best buns in town”.
There are lots of books on the market which allow you to mix and match animals to comic effect but this one is our outright favourite.
Each double page features a familiar pet such as a cat, a dog, a guinea pig or a bunny. On the right hand side we see a picture of the animal and on the left is the name of the animal and a cute poem which describes what it looks like and what it’s like as a pet.
The pages are split in the middle, allowing you to flip over the top or bottom sections to different pages – thus creating new names, poems and creatures. There are 121 combinations in total so there’s lots to keep your little one entertained.
When Platypus arrives at the zoo on interview day the other animals assume that he’s there to apply for a spot at their establishment. Clutching an envelope and wearing a baseball cap and old woolly scarf, Platypus doesn’t seem to be quite what they’re looking for.
As he moves through each stage of the interview the different animals each take one look at him and decide that he’s definitely not up to the job. The panda doesn’t think he’s special enough, the flamingos think he’s ugly, the monkeys don’t think he is smart enough – and he doesn’t even get the chance to open his mouth and speak!
Annoyed, the platypus drops the envelope he was carrying and walks out of the zoo. When they open it they realise that he wasn’t applying for a job at all and their judgemental and rude behaviour will mean they miss out on some fun. Will they be able to convince Platypus to forgive them?
A small band of woodland animals are on their way to a party but they’re in a hurry because they’re running late. They’re almost there when they come across a big sleeping tiger who is blocking their path. They need to get across him without waking him up – but how? With a cunning plan of course!
Fortunately they have lots of balloons for the party so they agree to take it in turns to float across the tiger holding on to a balloon. Your child is encouraged to help by doing things like blowing on the balloon to make it go faster and stroking the tiger’s nose to keep him nice and sleepy.
Will their plan work and will they all make it to the party on time?
Britta Teckentrup‘s gorgeous illustrations are on point as always, and the simple story and gentle interactions make this a must for any toddler library. This is one of our favourites.
Buy it now: https://amzn.to/2HlhzsL
Florence the Firefly is lost and trying to find her way home. Every time she sees a light she flies towards it in the hope it is her family but finds herself on a wild goose chase following trains and lighthouses and even the moon!
This lovely story invites you, the reader, to help Florence find her way by flapping your hands to help her fly faster and pointing to the right places in the pictures.
Can you help her get home?
Ivy loves this one but hasn’t quite mastered the word firefly. When she wants me to read this one she asks for the FlyFly book!
Buy it now: http://amzn.to/2o8AziO
We love this hilarious book by Ross Collins.
A little mouse in an adorable little jumper is absolutely furious to discover a polar bear sitting in his favourite chair. He tries everything he can think of to get the bear to move but he just keeps on sitting on that chair without a care in the world.
Finally the little mouse loses his patience and flips out. Will the bear pay attention?
The illustrations here are fantastic. I love the various stages of annoyance on the little mouse’s face and the nonchalance of the bear.
Ivy thinks it’s funny to press her hands against the pages and try to push the bear off the chair herself!
Buy it now: http://amzn.to/2FVBWIF