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Reviews

Isadora Moon Goes To School
by Harriet Muncaster

Hopefully by now you will have read my announcement from earlier this week – I am going to start reviewing Early Chapter Books alongside Board Books and Picture Books as we have recently started reading them at bedtime!

I am starting with Isadora Moon as this was the first chapter book we tried and Ivy is OBSESSED. We read the first book – Isadora Moon Goes To School – over 3 days and she loved it so much that I ordered the rest of the series.

Isadora Moon is a very special little girl. Her mum is a fairy and her dad is a vampire, which makes her a vampire fairy! She lives with her family and her very special friend Pink Rabbit.

In this first story, Isadora is ready to start school but she doesn’t know which one she should attend. There are schools for vampires and schools for fairies, but there aren’t any for vampire fairies!

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There’s Room For Everyone
by Anahita Teymorian

This gorgeous book from Iranian author Anahita Teymorian is a timely reminder of the difference which kindness and compassion can make to the world.

The story is narrated by an old man as he looks back over his life and shares the lessons he has learned. First he speaks of his childhood and observes that although his mother’s womb was small, there was enough space for him to grow. The house in which he grew up was also small, but there was enough room for his family and his toys and the love they shared.

As he moves through his life he sees that the sky is large enough to hold the moon and the stars, the library has room for all of his favourite books and the sea is vast enough to hold the largest whales. Nature has provided enough space for the world to thrive.

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Tiny Jumps In
by Inshra Sakhawat Russell

Tiny is a little girl who lives on the shores of a mysterious lake. She watches the water as it laps on the shore and feels a deep desire to explore it but she knows that first she must prepare. She starts to take swiming lessons and she immerses herselves in books and tv shows which will help her achieve her goal.

Finally the day comes when she feels she is ready to jump in. She packs up the things she will need and heads to her chosen spot. She tests the water with her toe and checks that it is deep enough for her to jump in to and then she carefully climbs a tree whose long branches lean out over the lake.

She has thought about this moment for so long – but suddenly Tiny is filled with doubt. What if she can’t do it? What if something scary lives beneath the surface? What if? What if?

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Freedom, We Sing
by Amyra León & Molly Mendoza

This powerful picture book encourages children to think about the concept of freedom and whether they are truly free.

A mother and her child dance through the pages as they discuss the world around them. Sometimes this world feels small as we wrap ourselves in the love of those dearest to us and othertimes it seems vast and unknowable.

In lyrical rhyme the child speaks to us of the lessons they have learned from their mother – that there are millions of children and parents under this same sky with different lives and different skin colours. Some people’s lives are more difficult than others, like whose who must escape from war to protect their families, but they all have hearts which beat the same way.

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Hope the Rainbow Fairy by Rosie Greening & Lara Ede

Inspired by the rainbow art which children have been displaying in their windows during the current situation, this story is all about connecting communities with kindness.

Hope is a Rainbow Fairy and it’s her job to spread colour and joy around Fairyland. She loves to wave her magic wand and make her fellow fairies smile with bright yellow sunshine and vivid green trees, but then everything changes when Fairy Flu hits and everyone has to stay indoors.

Hope starts to worry that, without her, the land will be colourless and everyone will be sad. In a bid to cheer people up, she tries sending rainbow lollies to her friends in the mail but they melt en route and when she sets up a colourful quiz online the ‘Wi-Fly’ cuts out. She even tries to magic the Fairy Flu away but her powers just aren’t strong enough.

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Our Favourite Picture Books About Dads

Sunday, June 21st 2020 is Father’s Day in the UK, so to celebrate we have put together a collection of our favourite books about Dads.

It’s a varied list which includes books which make great gifts, bedtime stories with strong father figures and even some beautiful poetry.

We have dads of many different races, bearded dads, gay dads, tattooed dads, animal dads, flatulent dads and if you look closely you’ll even spot a book with a pregnant dad  (spoiler: he’s a seahorse – but still!).

We’d love to hear about your favourites too. What would you add to this list?

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Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari has just learned to swim, and he is desperate to try jumping from the high diving board. However, when he gets there he isn’t quite so sure.

He doesn’t want to look weak, so he lets the other children go in front of him and spends a little time stretching and thinking about what kind of jump he might do.

Jabari’s fear is stopping him from doing the thing he wants to do the most.

But all this time, his father is alongside him. He helps his son explore how he is feeling and quietly encourages without pushing. The father shares times when he has felt scared too so that his son understands that he is not alone in his fears. And eventually, in his own time, Jabari takes a deep breath and jumps.

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Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada
by Jimmy Fallon

Ivy is 4 now but I can clearly remember the days when we were eagerly anticipating her first word. Would it be Mama, Dada or something else entirely? If this sounds familar, then you’re probably going to like this hilarious book from American comedian Jimmy Fallon.

The story follows a range of farmyard fathers as they try to get their children to say ‘Dada’. Naturally it doesn’t quite go as planned! As the dads say ‘Dada’ over and over again, the babies all insist on responding with their respective animal sounds.

This is a book of few words – in fact, until you get to the end of the book there’s only one word per page!

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Stella Brings the Family
by Miriam B. Schiffer & Holly Clifton-Brown

Stella has two dads. This has never been an issue but when her teacher announces they’re going to be throwing a special Mother’s Day party she finds herself in a bit of a pickle. She doesn’t have a mum so who is she supposed to invite?

As the other children play, Stella finds herself worrying about the party. She can’t concentrate on anything and she doesn’t want to eat. She doesn’t know how to explain that she doesn’t have a mum to bring to the party.

Eventually her friends ask her what the matter is and she tries to explain. The children are surprised and they have lots of questions. If she doesn’t have a mum then who makes her packed lunch? Who reads her a bedtime story? Who gives her kisses when she hurts herself? Stella explains that her two dads do all of these things for her and more. Plus she has Nonna, Aunt Gloria, Uncle Bruno and Cousin Lucy. She has a whole host of people who love her – but she still doesn’t have a guest for the Mother’s day party.

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What’s Next? by Timothy Knapman & Jane McGuiness

Baby Badger is extremely curious about the world. He explores every detail and corner of his underground home and then asks his Dad “What’s Next?”. His Dad explains that there’s a whole forest up above them so together they head out in to the dark.

Baby Badger sniffs and snuffles, learning everything he can about this new environment. He discovers soft moss and bluebell bulbs and his dad takes him to a spot where he can look at the stars and the perfect full moon. But inevitably, impatience sets in and Baby Badger asks “What’s Next?”. There are more things to learn and more things to see and he wants to do it all right now.

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