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Splash Day by Nick Sharratt

Class One have worked really hard all year so the teachers have decided to reward them with a special treat – a Splash Day! When the children arrive, dressed in swimsuits, trunks and wet suits, the school playground looks very different to usual. There are buckets, sand trays, crates and washing up bowls everywhere, and each one is filled to the brim with water.

Anticipation rises when the teachers appear. Taking no chances they are armed with rain coats, shower caps and wellies! Mrs Thistle lays down a few ground rules before she blows her whistle and then the children are off. They splish, splash, splosh and spray until the whistle sounds again.

But just as they are reaching for their towels, Mrs Rose appears with a hose. She wouldn’t, would she?

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Let’s All Creep Through Crocodile Creek by Johnny Lambert

When Mouse, Rabbit and Shelly the Tortoise spot the sun going down they realise they need to get home quickly before it gets dark. Mouse suggests taking a shortcut through the creepy crooked creek but Rabbit isn’t sure. What if the tales of hungry crocodiles are true? Mouse is adamant that he has never seen a crocodile there so they all set off together.

It soon transpires that Shelly doesn’t even know what a crocodile is, so Mouse decides to educate him along the way. To reassure his friends, he repeats many times that he has definitely never ever seen a crocodile in the creepy crooked creek – but Rabbit and Shelly start to spot evidence to the contrary.

Here, the brilliant illustrations come in to their own as they start to diverge from the story which Mouse is telling. Just like Rabbit and Shelly, we can see that there are in fact crocodiles EVERYWHERE! The bridge they walk over is a crocodile’s back, the scratchy thorns are pointy claws and the vines they swing on are crocodiles tails – but Mouse just doesn’t seem to see it!

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Felix’s New Skirt by Kerstin Brichzin & Igor Kuprun

Felix loves to wear skirts. He likes how they feel, how they spin, and he particularly likes the fact they mean he can run faster and climb more easily. Felix borrows them from his older sister and his supportive mum even takes him to buy one of his own.

When Felix starts school he’s really excited about the prospect of wearing his new skirt but his parents aren’t so keen. They are worried that the other children won’t understand and that he will be bullied. However after a few days they finally relent and Felix is very excited about showing his outfit to his friends.

However all does not go well at the school gates where he is met with laughter and confusion. His friends tell him he looks like a girl and even the other parents whisper to each other that it just isn’t right. Felix has a very sad day at school and doesn’t understand why everyone just points and laughs. Girls can wear trousers, so why can’t boys wear skirts?

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In Every House On Every Street by Jess Hitchman & Lili La Baleine

This gorgeous book celebrates the love, warmth and mayhem of a family home. The story follows a family of four as they take us on a tour of each of the rooms in their house.

First up is the kitchen where they bake, dance, sing and make a mess. Then we see the dining room where they eat, pretend to be pirates and tickle their parents feet under the table. The living room is for relaxing and getting things off your chest, whilst the bathroom is for washing and pulling funny faces in the mirror.

The richly worded rhyme and the warm illustrations show us love, laughter and tears against a familiar backdrop of toys, washing up and teetering piles of books.

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Officer George by Adam Smart & Matthew Boobyer

When little Lils loses her favourite Teddy Bear she is inconsolable. What will she do without him? Fortunately her mum spots a local policeman, Officer George, and asks for his help. Lils is a little bit scared of the big policeman in his shiny uniform but Officer George springs in to action and immediately heads off in search of the lost toy. Will he be able to locate Lils’ friend and bring him back home?

Written by a serving police officer, this lovely book helps children understand that police officers are there to help the public. It’s an unfortunate fact that some parents still use the “You’d better behave yourself or that policeman will take you away” line with their kids. This can cause a negative association in children’s minds and potentially cause problems if they are in a situation where they need help. This story reinforces the fact that police officers are friendly, approachable and not to be feared. It even suggests that children give them a smile and a wave next time they see them to see how they react!

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Where Happiness Lives by Barry Timms & Greg Abbott

Since receiving this book earlier this summer I have recommended it countless times and purchased it as a gift twice so I figured I should probably write a review!

Grey Mouse has a beautiful little cottage which is filled with love. He doesn’t have a lot of space or material wealth but he is warm, safe and happy. That is until the day he spots a big, spacious house with a grand balcony, and a tiny little bit of jealousy sets in. He presumes that the mouse who lives in this lovely property must be happier than him because he has a bigger house.

However, when he chats to White Mouse – the owner –  he learns of an even larger house which makes both of their homes seems tiny. Together they travel to this veritable mansion and a bejewelled Brown Mouse offers to give them a tour. There’s a games room, a parlour, a music room and even an observatory. All of these riches make Grey Mouse and White Mouse extremely sad so they are shocked to discover that Brown Mouse is in fact very lonely.

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The Little Frog With The Bottle Top Hat: A New Home by Dean Vivarelli & Curtis Walker

If you want to teach your children about the environmental and wildlife issues we face today then this is definitely one to add to your list.

When a little boy called Beau spots a frog wearing a blue plastic bottle top as a hat he has no idea that both of their lives are about to change. They strike up a conversation and Beau learns that the frog’s home has been destroyed by pollution. The pond water is littered with plastic bags and bottles, and all of the plants have died.

Beau decides to take his new friend home and together they plant a lovely frangipani in the garden. The frog is so happy with his new home that he invites all of his friends around and soon Beau is surrounded by frogs of all shapes and sizes.

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Autism With Lola: Playing With Bourbon Badger by Jodie Isitt & Lucy Smith

Lola the rabbit loves her art lessons at school. The splashing and sploshing of paint completely consumes her, until the bell rings for playtime and her happiness comes crashing down.

Lola is autistic and has a demand avoidant profile. This means she does not like loud noises or being told to stop an activity without any warning. As the children crash and bang around Lola becomes increasingly distressed.

Outside in the playground her discomfort continues. She doesn’t know how to join in with the other children and is scared of being rejected if she does something wrong.

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My Pet Star by Corrinne Averiss & Rosalind Beardshaw

As parents we naturally want to shield our children from sadness but it’s an important topic to touch on if we want to raise resilient future adults. There are now lots of titles on the market which feature loss or difficult goodbyes, but all too often we only seek them out in times of need. This beautiful book from Corrinne Averiss is an excellent addition to a child’s bookshelf as it gently weaves the subject in to a wonderful bedtime story.

A little girl finds a fallen star and gently nurses him back to health. She cleans him, feeds him and takes the time to learn all about her new friend. When he starts to get better she wants him to play but understands that he is a little different to her. He sleeps in the day and isn’t interested in toys but they soon find ways to just enjoy each others company.

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A Twist In The Tail by Sandie Anderson

I am quite excited that we seem to have reached a point with Ivy where she’s ready for slightly longer books. We’re definitely nowhere near chapter book territory yet, but she is starting to show an interest in stories with more complicated plots than standard picture books. However, if i’m honest, I’ve struggled to find books which bridge this gap.

We have recently been reading this series of tales about a worm-like creature called Reggie Wriggle and I’ve found them really useful for this stage of reading. They are quite wordy (in a good way!) but also toddler-friendly as you can colour them in.

In this first Reggie Wriggle adventure, Reggie finds himself a little under the weather. He wakes up one morning and can’t stretch his tail and then he starts to develop some uncomfortable lumps and bumps. His best friend Bert soon arrives with a diagnosis. Reggie isn’t getting enough vitamins so he needs to eat more fruit! Together they set off in search of an apple tree, but before long they find themselves slap bang in the middle of an adventure. Can they rescue local farmer Mr Glossop from sinking in to a giant muddy puddle, and will poor Reggie ever get his fruit?

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