In the big city, the dogs move in highly visible tribes. The business dogs all wear suits and scurry busily along. The football dogs all wear matching kits. The scout dogs all wear khaki. Everywhere you look there are groups of dogs, all uniformly dressed.
But in the middle of the hustle and bustle is an odd dog out. Wearing a woolly hat and scarf and listening to music on his snazzy headphones, it’s apparent that this little guy does not fit in. No matter how hard he tries, he realises he’s just not like the other dogs in the city.
Saddened, he decides to leave his home town to try and find a place where the dogs are more like him. He travels far and wide until he stumbles upon Doggywood – a place where all the dogs wear woolly hats and scarves and listen to music on their headphones. He is so excited because he thinks he has found his place in the world!
Benny the robot is a little bit different. All of his robot friends have lots of shiny buttons which do fun things, like flash lights, blow bubbles and play music. But poor Benny only has one button. It’s bright red and says ‘Only Press In An Emergency’.
The other robots make fun of him and call him ‘One Button Benny’ and this makes him sad. He doesn’t really know what an emergency is but he secretly hopes one will happen so that he gets to press his button and find out what it does.
One morning Benny wakes up, eats his breakfast and brushes his teeth, unaware that outside his house an actual emergency is unfolding. The evil Collectors have landed on his planet and they are planning to gather up all of the robots, crunch them up and turn them in to teapots! The Collectors are small hairy aliens with green bums and they mean business!
When the little girl in this story hears a knock at her front door, she is surprised to find Sadness standing on her doorstep with a large suitcase. She lets hims in and he follows her around, sits too close to her on the sofa and refuses to go away.
Sadness consumes her to the extent that all she can feel is sad, even when those around her are playing happily.
Trying to hide Sadness away doesn’t work so she tries a different approach. She gives him a name and she asks him why he’s here. She listens to what he needs and they learn to work together. They sit in comfortable silence, they draw, they cuddle, they go for walks and they accept each other.
If you’re trying to teach your child about colours then the last thing you need is a black and white book, right? WRONG! This genius little board book, which was published in association with the Whitney Museum of American Art, is the best colour book we have encountered so far.
Made up entirely of black and white pages, the book features clever cut outs which encourage kids to think differently. The first instruction is ‘Find Yellow’, accompanied by a cut out of a sun. You then need to find something yellow to either hold the book up to or place under the page to make the sun shine. This continues throughout the book, where you need to make a red cockerel, a green leaf, a blue cup, some purple grapes, a grey elephant, an orange, black sunglasses, pink worms, brown paw prints, a white moon and a multi-coloured rainbow.
There’s no getting around it, Sid Gibbons is a little bit naughty. Just this week he’s smashed a bird bath, thrown his dinner on the floor, trashed his bedroom and left his colouring pens on the floor for so long that they’ve all dried out. His poor mum doesn’t know what to do, because when she asks him about these misdemeanours he just lies and says that his imaginary friend Kevin did it all. Kevin is invisible and no one can see him except Sid, so he’s the perfect fall guy.
Then one day, when Sid has once again been sent to bed for being naughty, a hatch in the ceiling opens and a bright light appears. Sid climbs up to take a peek and finds himself faced with none other Kevin himself – he is real! Sid is super excited to see his (incredibly cute and fluffy!) friend and they have lots of fun playing together. However it soon becomes apparent that in Kevin’s world, it is Sid who is the invisible friend.
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.
This is a book about baby loss so if this topic is a trigger for you then please do not read any further———————————————-
I am breaking with tradition a little for this review. This is not a book which I have read with Ivy but it is one that I believe needs to be shared as it addresses an important topic – baby loss (during pregnancy and shortly after birth).
When a baby dies the focus is very much on the grieving parents, but often there are young siblings who will struggle to understand why the baby brother or sister they were expecting didn’t come home. This book seeks to address this, both gently and honestly, in language that is easy for a child to comprehend.
The soft rhyme acknowledges that often there is no reason for the loss and that no one is to blame. It helps children name and understand the emotions they might be experiencing and the beautiful illustrations show grief in its many forms.
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…
Kipper is undoubtedly one of the best-loved characters in children’s literature and this year he is celebrating a very special birthday. The little pup has just turned 30! To mark the occasion, ‘The Blue Balloon’ (Kipper’s very first adventure) has been re-released in a shiny new anniversary edition.
When we first meet Kipper he is carrying a soggy little blue balloon. He takes it to his owner, a small boy, and together they play with it. It’s not long before they realise that it is a very special balloon indeed. They squish it and squash it and kick it and stretch it but it just doesn’t burst – not even when Kipper tries to bite it! It changes shape all by itself and one day it floats so high that Kipper and the little boy find themselves up amongst the stars!
Sally is the smallest girl in the school, which means that most of time people don’t notice her. She passes unseen in the school corridors but she is very special because she notices absolutely everything.
She sees the tiny details all around her, but most importantly she sees the people and how they behave with one another. She watches as the children are unkind to each other in the playground, and she notices how this makes the bullied and excluded kids feel. She watches as mean words are exchanged and tears fall.
And then one day Sally decides she’s had enough.
The tiny little girl steps out of the lunch line in the cafeteria, raises her hand in the air to quieten the room and then she opens her mouth and tells everyone what she has observed and how it should change. She expects to be laughed at but one by one she sees hands slowly rise in to the air in solidarity.