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Reviews

NERP! by Sarah Lynne Reul

Ivy and I both love books that are a little bit crazy, so when NERP! landed in our laps we instantly fell in love. Every single word of the story is quite literally utter nonsense, but somehow the whole thing makes perfect sense!

The premise will be very familiar to any parents out there with picky eaters. We see an enthusiastic mum and dad present their child with a series of lovingly prepared dishes in the hope that they might actually eat something, but nothing is quite right.

The frizzle frazzle hotchy potch? NERP! Mushy gushy bloobarsh? NERP! Even the garble snarfy barflecrunch and the yuckaroni smackintosh are rejected with a massive NERP! Will anything make this pesky child say YERP or SLURP? 

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I Can Only Draw Worms by Will Mabbitt

It’s rare that I sit down to write a review and don’t really know what to say. This book has no clear story and the only illustrations are crudely drawn worms – yet somehow it’s completely brilliant and we just can’t stop reading it!

So what exactly is it about I hear you ask?

Well, it’s about worms.

And counting.

And counting worms.

Because the author can only draw worms.

And that is about all I can tell you! One of the worms has glasses and one of the worms gets accidentally cut in half. One of the worms even has a flying unicorn and travels to outer space – except the author can only draw worms so we have to imagine the rest…

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I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast by Michael Holland FLS & Philip Giordano

Ivy and I have spent all afternoon in the garden so this feels like a very appropriate choice for today! This beautiful non-fiction book celebrates plants from around the world and it has taught us lots of fascinating facts.

Split in to four chunky chapters, this illustrated compendium looks at all aspects of plant life. In the early sections we learn everything a child could possibly need to know about what plants are, how they grow and why they matter. But it was the second half of the book which completely captured Ivy’s imagination, as here we discover how plants sustain our everyday lives. She was amazed to discover there were plants in her toothpaste, in her clothes and even in her medicine!

As an added bonus there are 12 DIY projects included. We’re planning to try them all over the coming months but I think we’ll start by making a plant maze and and a wild weed bottle garden. The invisible ink project looks fun too!

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When Grandma Gives You A Lemon Tree by Jamie L. B. Deenihan & Lorraine Rocha

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But what do you do when your Grandma gives you a lemon tree for your birthday and you’d secretly been hoping for a drone or a remote control car? You definitely shouldn’t pull a face and you certainly shouldn’t drop it off a bridge!

The little girl in this story is quite confused about her unusual gift but she has good manners so she knows how she should react (and also how she shouldn’t!). She manages an excited face and she maintains her smile until Grandma falls asleep, but she really doesn’t have a clue what to do with her lemon tree.

However as the pages progress we see her build a special bond with her new present. She keeps it in the sun, waters it and makes sure the neighbourhood slugs maintain a safe distance. She keeps it warm in winter, repots it and slowly watches it grow.  And when she gets her first batch of lemons, Grandma is the first person she wants to share them with.

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Avocado Asks: What Am I? by Momoko Abe

Avocado AsksAvocado lives on the fruit and vegetable aisle at the supermarket. Life is nice and simple until one day the nature of his whole existence is thrown in to question by a small child. She points at him and asks her mum whether an avocado is a fruit or a vegetable.

Suddenly Avocado is thrown in to confusion. He doesnt know the answer. How can he not know who he really is? Determined to dscover his true identity, Avocado turns to his friends for help.

First stop is the vegetables, who decide he can’t possibly be one of them because he’s not leafy or crunchy and he has a big stone in his middle like a fruit. So next he visits the fruit, but they say he’s not one of them either. He’s not sweet or juicy and he wouldn’t taste right in a fruit salad.

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Scratch & Sniff Fart Book by Barney & Buddy Ltd & Nicola Moore

Most pre-schoolers find bodily functions hilarious so, unsuprisingly, this scratch and sniff board book about farting was an instant winner with Ivy!

Every page shows a different animal and your child is invited to lift a flap and then scratch a panel to discover what their farts smell like. Fortunately the smells are all pleasant ones. Unicorns smell like jelly beans, bears smell like honey, monkeys smell like bananas and horses smell like apples. Even the cheesy mouse farts are quite aromatic – in a good way!

The lovely illustrations are accompanied by rhyming text which makes Ivy laugh every time we pick up the book. The chunky pages are perfect for little hands (aged 3+) and despite lots of scratching, the sniffable panels seem to be holding their smells really well.

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Pug Hug by Zehra Hicks

The pug in this book really wants a hug. He asks all of his animal friends but no one seems interested. Hamster is busy spinning on his wheel, Rabbit is eating carrots, Cat just doesn’t like hugs, the parrots laugh at him and Fish… well, hugging Fish would be a little tricky.

Feeling dejected, Pug curls up and snuggles himself. His ears prick up when a crocodile offers him a cuddle but he soon realises the croc has ulterior motives! Will Pug ever get the big hug he desires?

This book has been a big hit with us! The vibrant illustrations jump right off the page and Ivy has fallen in love with the adorable Pug character.

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Slow Samson by Bethany Christou

Everybody loves Samson. He is a kind and considerate sloth who is always available for a chat or to give a helping hand. As a result he has many friends and gets lots of exciting party invitations. There’s only one problem – Samson is very, very slow.

On party days he always leaves home on time, but his slow movements and his kindly nature mean he is always late. In fact, he usually arrives after the party has ended which always makes him very sad.

His friends love him dearly and recognise that Samson is never late through any fault of his own. He just can’t move fast enough, and if he sees someone in need along the way he simply has to stop and help because that’s his nature.

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Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak & Julian Frost

If you’re looking for a simple but effective way of teaching your child about germs then I highly recommend this book! It uses a mixture of cute characters and photographs taken under a microscope to show how germs spread and where they live.

On the first page we meet Min the microbe, a little blue creature with an enormous grin (who is actually an e-coli).

The reader is encouraged to take Min on an adventure by touching the page to pick him up. You are then asked to transport him to a variety of places, including your teeth, your top and your belly button! In each instance we see photos taken under a microsocope of the surface Min is standing on, as well as the other microbes he meets along the way (Hello Rae the streptococcus, Dennis the fungus and Jake the corynebacterium!).

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My Monster And Me by Nadiya Hussain & Ella Bailey

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions experienced by children but it can be a difficult topic to discuss with someone who is too young to put their feelings in to words. This book uses the metaphor of a monster, albeit a friendly yellow one, to help kids understand.

At the start of the story a young boy introduces his monster and explains that it has been around for as long as he can remember. It’s large, loud and bossy, and it often gets in his way when he’s trying to enjoy himself. When his parents are around the monster hides so he doesn’t feel like he can talk to them about it, but he really wishes it would go away.

One day it all becomes too much and he opens his heart to his grandmother. In tears, he tells her all about the intolerable monster and how it just won’t leave him alone – but as he talks, something special happens. The monster starts to shrink! As the words tumble from his mouth the monster gets smaller and smaller until eventually he can pick it up and pop it in his pocket. Although he knows the monster will always be there, the little boy now knows that he is in control rather than the other way around.

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