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Reviews

The Golden Acorn by Katy Hudson

Squirrel loves to win and she’s definitely on a winning streak. For the last 8 years she has taken home the trophy for the annual Golden Acorn Hunt and once again she has her eye on the prize. She’s the fastest animal in the forest so she’s bound to win. Isn’t she?

The day before the race the organisers throw a spanner in the works by announcing a change to the rules. This year everyone must compete in teams! Squirrel eyes her friends in horror. How can she be expected to win when Beaver, Tortoise and Rabbit will just slow her down?

Race day arrives and Squirrel races off in to the distance but soon her friends call her back because they need her help. Tortoise gets lost, they all get tangled up in some hanging branches and then Beaver gets his bottom stuck in a tree! Annoyed at the fact they’re wasting time, Squirrel reluctantly assists but then speeds off on her own in search of the Golden Acorn.

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Taco Tuesday by Brick Puffinton & Amy Blay

This is easily the smallest book on our shelves but it has had a huge impact on Ivy since it arrived last week. She is obsessed with it!

Taco Tuesday is a tiny, chunky board book which is perfect for little hands. There’s a Taco finger puppet built in to the middle and you use him to read the rhyming story.

As you move through the pages the Taco does everything within his power to convince you not to eat him. He says he’s not delicious. He claims his cheese is suspicious. He tries to point out that pizzas and hamburgers are far tastier than he. Why on earth would you want to eat a spicy little Taco when there are so many other options out there? But then he realises it’s Taco Tuesday – will you choose to eat him or set him free?

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The Space Train by Maudie Powell-Tuck & Karl James Mountford

Jakob lives on a space station at the very edge of the galaxy with his granny and a robot chicken called Derek. Life is good, but deep down Derek really wishes he had some friends to play with.

One day, whilst exploring one of the empty decks, he finds an enormous abandoned space rocket. He shows it to Granny and her whole face lights up. This is the space train which she used to ride when she was a young girl! Once upon a time it streaked across the universe carrying star explorers and comet chasers to the 2,747 stations in the star network.

Jakob’s mind starts to whirr. If he can get the train running again then he can travel to other planets and meet other children! Granny rolls up her sleeves and gets to work. Can they work together to fix the train and head off on an intergalactic adventure?

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Stephen, the Sprout of Kindness by Richard Dungworth & Samantha Meredith

“Time to help!” thinks Stephen Sprout. ” I know a way to sort this out…”

Love them or hate them, sprouts are an essential part of Christmas, and the sprout in this book is extra special. Stephen is a sprout of kindness!

Whenever he sees a child in distress, Stephen knows just what to do. He helps a lost girl find her friend. He makes sure everyone gets a turn on the swings. He helps people understand how to share. He even gently helps someone overcome their fear of the water. Stephen spreads kindness wherever he goes and his friendly enthusiasm is infectious.

We love this gorgeous little board book and it’s been requested repeatedly since it arrived. The rhyming text is super tight which makes it really fun to read aloud and the brightly-coloured illustrations have lots of lovely detail.

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Danny’s Dream by Victor Margiotta & Ian Parker

Danny’s Dream tells the story of a little boy with big ambitions and how he learns to overcome obstacles in order to achieve them. It’s aimed at a slightly older age group than the books I would normally recommend on this blog (probably best for those aged 5+) – but I’m sharing it because Ivy was fascinated by the illustrations and the story behind them.

As soon as we opened the book, Ivy had questions! The inside cover shows a photograph of the artist, Ian Parker, painting using his mouth. She was utterly intrigued by the fact this was possible and amazed that each of the 34 illustrations had been painted in this way. Before reading the story we looked through all of the artwork and talked about how long it must take to be able to paint such intricate pictures without the use of your hands – 2 whole years in fact! It sparked a great conversation about disability, a theme which would continue when we started to read…

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Hello, Friend! by Rebecca Cobb

If your child has recently started nursery, pre-school or reception then they’re inevitably in the process of navigating new friendships. This beautifully-illustrated book by Rebecca Cobb follows a child’s journey to securing a new friend.

The main character in this story is an extremely enthusiastic little girl who very much wants to be buddies with a boy in her class. She loves spending time with him and she tells us about all the things they do together. They play, build towers, share lunch, draw pictures, play music and dance. We see her smiling and practically bouncing with excitement about the special time they share.

Look closely though and we see that the little boy doesn’t seem quite so sure. He appears reluctant to join in the games and his facial expressions and demeanour suggest that he is shy and perhaps new to the class. The girl’s optimism wins him over though and we see them become firm friends.

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The Terribly Friendly Fox by Susannah Lloyd & Ellie Snowdon

If your child likes books with a dark sense of humour then I’d highly recommend you have a look at this one!

It’s time for the Annual Woodland Creatures’ Ball and the little Mouse host has been busy getting his house ready for the occasion. He’s over the moon when a throng of guests appear but is somewhat surprised when a Fox turns up wearing a tuxedo and clutching a bunch a flowers. The tiny animals are all very concerned because the fox has something of a reputation, but when he explains that he’s a reformed character (and a vegetarian!) their worries ease. The fox joins the festivities and soon everyone is having a lovely time.

Gerald the Fox turns out to be the life and soul of the party. Who knew a fox could be so much fun? He proposes a toast over dinner, he sings, he makes balloon animals, he starts a game of musical chairs and even performs some magic tricks. The Mouse is really impressed with his guest (and will definitely be inviting him again next year) but as the evening draws on he starts to get a little concerned that some of his revellers seem to have left the party early. At least that’s what he presumes…

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Oi Puppies! by Kes Gray & Jim Field

We are massive fans of this zany series so when the newest book – Oi Puppies! – arrived, Ivy was bouncing off the ceiling.

Frog, Dog and Cat are back to discuss the important issue of where everyone should sit, but this time they have a slight problem. Dog is babysitting a zillion puppies and they just won’t behave. They clamber all over Dog, hang from Cat’s whiskers and even start chewing on poor Frog’s swimming trunks.

Something needs to be done, so Frog gets on the phone to the wonderfully named ‘Oi Animal Seating Supply Co.’ to try and arrange some suitable ‘chairs’.

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On NO, BEAR! by Joanne Partis

Everyone needs a go-to funny book on their shelf and this bright yellow beauty is brilliant!

When Bear wakes up one chilly morning he knows he has something important to do but he can’t quite remember what it is. Distracted by his rumbling tummy, he pops on his winter coat and follows a delicious smell through the forest.

He soon stumbles upon his friend Rabbit who is busy digging up lots of yummy carrots. He helps himself to a tiny nibble but accidentally eats every carrot in Rabbit’s pile! The same happens with Squirrel’s big basket of acorns and then again with Beaver’s fish.

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You’re Strong With Me by Chitra Soundar & Poonam Mistry

We were lucky enough to meet the lovely Chitra Soundar at an event at Moon Lane Ink last year so I was very happy when Lantana Publishing invited us to be part of the book tour for her newest title – You’re Strong With Me.

This is the third book in a trilogy, all of which feature beautiful illustrations from Poonam Mistry. The previous books in the series are You’re Safe With Me and You’re Snug With Me and each one focuses on the wonderful bond between parent and child.

In this story we follow a mother giraffe and her calf through a day in the wild. The little giraffe encounters many things which make her scared or uncomfortable, like a hissing fire and a bird which pecks at her fur, but her mother is always there to reassure and comfort her.

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