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Reviews

Goodbye Mog by Judith Kerr

Most people are familiar with the series of books about Mog, written by the wonderful Judith Kerr. The very first one, Mog the Forgetful Cat, was published in 1970 and since then there have been many stories about this feisty feline and his owners, the Thomas family. But did you know that in one of the last books written about Mog, she dies? Written to help children work through feelings of grief and loss, Goodbye Mog is a touching story about the death of a much-loved pet.

Mog is old now and very tired so one day she decides that the best thing to do would be to sleep forever.

She watches over the Thomas family as they cry sad tears and lay their pet to rest in their garden. She listens as the children share fond memories of the things they did together.

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Nothing Is Scary With Harry by Katie McElligott & Jennifer A. Bell

Does your child have a favourite blanket or soft toy which they can’t live without? If so they’ll definitely identify with the little girl in this beautiful story.

Katie has a yellow blanket called Harry. When she’s cuddling Harry the world seems less scary so she takes him everywhere with her. He accompanies her on trips to the doctor, snuggles her during loud thunderstorms and nestles in her bag during difficult school tests. She’s ready to take on the world with Harry at her side because he comforts her and makes her feel safe and strong.

However not everybody understands Katie’s relationship with Harry. An old lady at the supermarket tells her that blankets are for babies, a boy at school points at her and laughs, and eventually even Katie’s mum thinks that perhaps it’s time for Harry to be packed away.

But brave Katie stands her ground and eloquently explains why she thinks Harry should be able to stay. In fact, Harry stays with her for many years, until one day she passes him on to someone very special indeed…

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Soul Pretty by Linda Giacomino & Paula Romani

This pretty little book teaches children about values and what it means to be beautiful on the inside.

The delicate illustrations show a young girl as she makes a journey on her bicycle. As she navigates the hills, valleys and tiny cobbled streets of her life we learn how to stay positive, how to treat others well and how to shine in a world which sometimes seems to be working against you.

Each page takes a different value and breaks it down so a child can understand what it means and the benefits it can bring. It covers integrity, harmony, honesty, optimism, attitude, self-respect, sincerity, wisdom, charisma, grace, gratitude, self-acceptance, confidence, loyalty, love and patience – all values which I am sure we’d like to instil in our children as they grow up!

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I Can Do It! A Book of 5 Fastenings by Patricia Hegarty & Hilli Kushnir

If you’re looking for a book which will both keep your pre-schooler entertained and teach them some new skills then I can highly recommend this one!

Each double page spread introduces a different kind of fastening which they have probably encountered in everyday life. The simple instructions show your child exactly what they need to do to open and close them, and then there’s an actual fastening which they can try for themselves.

There are 5 sections, which allow them to button a shirt, zip up a hoodie, do the velcro on a coat, push a popper on a backpack and tie up a shoelace. It starts easy but gets progressively harder as you move through the pages.

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It’s A No-Money Day by Kate Milner

This sensitively written book explores the topic of poverty in a way which is easy for small children to understand.

The mum in this story works very hard but despite this, like so many people, she struggles to pay her bills. Life is a constant juggle, and on this particular day there is no money and no food in the cupboard so she and her daughter need to visit a foodbank.

The little girl is upbeat throughout and she sees the positives in every situation. She tells us about all the fun things you can do on a no-money day, like reading a library book, practising your singing or trying on the clothes at your local charity shop. She enjoys the visits to the foodbank because she gets some squash and a biscuit, and she likes to talk to the volunteers about the cat she hopes to have one day.

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Competition Time: Win a 12 Month Subscription to Wonderbooks

You may remember that a few weeks ago we reviewed Wonderbooks, a fantastic new children’s book subscription service from Save the Children UK. We’re excited to tell you that we’ve teamed up with them on a very exciting competition!

We’re offering you the chance to win a 12 month subscription to their fantastic service, worth £108.00.

The winner will receive 1x Wonderbooks parcel per month for 12 months. Each parcel contains a new book inspired by the real-life stories of amazing children Save the Children has worked with around the world, plus a Grown-Up’s Guide, packed with activities and additional resources to help you start interesting conversations about the topics explored in the stories.

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Our Favourite Picture Books About Friendship

There are lots of lovely books available which celebrate friendship and help children learn how to form healthy relationships with their peers. Here we have compiled a selection of our favourites.

Big Hid by Roisin Swales – A beautifully illustrated tale about the friendship between Big (a tortoise) and Little (a squirrel). Together they have many adventures but one day Big just doesn’t feel like doing anything anymore. Can Little help him feel better? Read the review.

Bob Goes Pop! by Marion Deuchars – When a rival artist comes to town Bob is not impressed. Locked in competition, the pair try their best to outdo each other, but soon discover that life might be better if they work together instead. Review coming soon.

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Take Me Outdoors: A Nature Journal for Young Explorers by Mary Richards

Today is Earth Day 2020, which seems like the perfect time to share this gorgeous nature journal with you.

Split in to 5 chapters, this beautifully illustrated book is designed to help kids explore the great outdoors, discover new facts about nature and preserve the memories of their adventures.

Children are encouraged to engage with their surroundings, whether they are in their own garden, at the park, on the beach or on a woodland walk. What can they see? What can they hear? What can they name? What can they imagine? What can they do to help preserve?

There are sections to write field notes and draw pictures, as well as prompts and ideas for children to craft their own stories about nature. The pages are filled with interesting and accessible facts about nature, animals, artists and explorers. It’s hugely inspiring and extremely well designed. We’ve had lots of fun with it in the garden over the last few weeks!

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My Pet T-Rex by Fabi Santiago

The T-Rex is Ivy’s favourite kind of dinosaur so she squealed with excitement when she spotted the cover of this book! Set in prehistoric times, the story follows a little girl called Kiki as she learns to look after her new pet T-Rex, Petunia.

At first it seems like having a dino will be easy – but Kiki soon learns that a pet is a big responsibility. Petunia needs to be washed, fed and exercised, plus she needs lots of sleep and visits to the vet. Just when Kiki thinks it might be a little bit too much, Petunia gets lost!

Wil Kiki be able to find her and if she does, will she want to keep her?

If your child is hankering for a pet then this is the perfect book to help them understand how much work they can be. It highlights all aspects of pet care and also teaches that you can’t just give them back if you don’t want to put in the effort anymore.

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The Diddle That Dummed by Kes Gray & Fred Blunt

I love picture books which encourage kids to embrace their unique qualities and this new story from Kes Gray and Fred Blunt is one of the best I’ve seen in a while.

Flinty Bo Diddle is a musician and he’s trying to write a a new piece of music to play on his fiddle. He lines up all the musical notes on the page and then starts to play. It’s all going very well until he gets half way through the tune and one little diddle goes dum.

The little diddle apologises for messing up the music but explains that that’s just how he is. He’s a diddle but sometimes he can’t help going dum. 

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