Book Club

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Book Review: Open Very Carefully - A Book With A Bite by Nick Bromley and Nicola O'Byrne

Open Very Carefully - A Book With A Bite 

By Nick Bromley and Nicola O'Byrne 

First of all I have a thing for Nosy Crow books. I feel they re just so much cooler than what other publishers have to offer the young readers. Plus they are ALWAYS so beautifully illustrated. 

Open Very Carefully is no exception; the duckling is cute and the crocodile is mischievous and full of sass. 

Essentially, the book is about  crocodile breaking into the story of the Ugly Duckling and we have to help get him out! It's fun and interactive with the narrator (The Ugly Duckling) talking directly to the reader. We have to shake the book and rock the book and eventually the crocodile breaks out by biting through the pages! There are actual bite marks on the last few pages - this is what made me want to buy the book straight away! 

Open Very Carefully has everything you want from a book for young readers: Evelyn will sit still all the way through, giggles at the funny bits and demands 'MORE!' When it's finished. That is a five star rating for sure! 

I also love this book, it's so different from the mundane stuff normally targeted at young readers, I feel it properly engages them and their imagination; I'll recommend it to all parents of babies and toddlers. 

Written by Amy @kittyandpip 

To buy the book click here


Book Review: The Playground Mafia by Sarah Tucker

The Playground Mafia 

By Sarah Tucker

Now to all you Momma's out there, I'm sure you know what it is like to settle into a new area, a new place or meet new friends. It is bloody damn difficult to settle in somewhere, especially when it comes to schools or playgroups. I always find that in a school setting there tends to be groups of mums.. you get the mums that strut around like the queen bee, the soccer mums, the quiet mums who keep to themselves and many more. Growing up doesn't always mean growing up, bitchy behaviour never leaves the playground whether you are 4 or 44 we don't get along with everyone...

This book is about a newly-single mother to a 4 year old boy and divorcee, Caroline Gray. Caroline has recently moved to a town called Frencham and settling into her new life is the easy part... the hard part is fitting in being a mum at school! Heather and Eva, Caroline's best friends already have children at The Sycamore school and they know who to avoid at the school gates, however for poor Caroline she has to learn the hard way. 'The Playground Mafia' rule the roost at The Sycamore, well they think they do until all takes an unexpected turn... Brace yourself for playground politics, bitchiness, a whole lot of drama and a little romance along the way.

Written by Kara @about_a_book-x 

To buy the book click here


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Friday, 12 May 2017

The Day the Crayons Quit (10 life lessons I learned from my toddler)

The Day the Crayons Quit. Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers.

I absolutely love this book. It’s brilliant. My two year old, Brodie, is still a bit young for the story, he mostly just wants to look at the pictures of dinosaurs that the Green crayon drew, but I don’t really care because I read it through to myself after he has gone to bed anyway.

Essentially the book tells the story of all the gripes, insecurities, frustrations and petty squabbles of a box of crayons. Yellow and Orange have fallen out because they both want to be the colour of the sun, Pink is pissed off about being gender stereotyped and Red is tired and overworked. If I was in a ‘guilty mum’ place it might tip me over the edge for neglecting the feelings of the crayons – I already feel bad enough about the cuddly toys that never make the cut for the crib.

There are a lot of books around that teach kids about emotions and they are all very lovely (although this is my favourite because it’s funny not twee). However, unless I am missing something, these would be better aimed at adults…toddlers have emotions nailed. Angry – let it out. Overjoyed – shout about it. Upset – hurl yourself to the ground. Why are there no books explaining to adults how best to deal with the passive aggressive work colleague who keeps taking credit for your ideas (throw a sippy cup at them?), or your mum when she tells you for the eleventybillionth time you should start potty training your toddler (scream “ME DON’T WANT TO” in her face?)?
Personally, I feel I have learned some valuable life lessons from my toddler. Here are my top 10.
1. Love yourself – Brodie looks in the mirror and feels gooooood. Doesn’t matter if his belly is too big for his t-shirt, he has toast in his hair, eczema, baby acne, weird rashes. Whatevs. He is feeling himself and it is awesome to watch.

2. Making friends is not that hard. You’re at the park, you meet someone who likes the swings as much as you do, you become their friend. Don’t try to figure out if they only feed their children organic fruit as snacks, whether they voted for or against Brexit or if they would be up for a lunchtime gin on a Sunday. Just be nice and all of that stuff will come. If they aren’t into gin you can always ditch them at a later date. Toddlers are fickle.
3. Dancing is a good idea any time, anywhere. Music is optional.

4. Use hand gestures to emphasis your key points. If you are trying to talk to someone who isn’t giving you their full focus, get louder and louder until they have to stop fannying around on Instagram and give you the attention you damn well deserve.

5.  If you don’t want to do something, make it clear instantly. If you HAVE to do something you don’t want to then insist on a sweetener. In toddler world chocolate buttons suffice, for Mums may I suggest not being the designated driver at the next family event. Remember, family gatherings go quicker with liquor. I didn’t write that, I just live by it.

6.  Don’t feel guilty about anything. And if you do just say sorry and then instantly forget about it. Toddlers don’t spend ages agonising over whether your friends choice of sign off emoji was passive aggressive and meant that she really DID mind that you’re cancelling a planned night out because your baby has a sniffle (aka you want to watch Orange is the New Black in your pyjamas with a pizza). Or if it’s one of those friends you don’t really like that much but still feel you have a social obligation to, don’t make the plan in the first place. I refer you to point 5.

7. Never refuse pudding. You never know when the next cake is coming. Applies equally to wine.

8.  You definitely miss out on fun if you go to bed early. Or even on time. Cool people stay up late.

9. Don’t dress appropriately for the occasion. If you want to wear a tutu, pyjamas or your pants over your jeans then damn well do it. Or at least the grown up equivalent which is probably not caring about whether sports luxe is still a thing, or if you own too much animal print (you don’t).

10. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Be so completely absorbed in your own stuff that there is no room for that shit. Toddlers do not give a toss if their friend got promoted and has their own office / took up that hardcore type of yoga and got all toned and glowy / bought a new pad that looks like your secret dream house Pinterest board. They put all their energy into being the centre of their own world. And yours.

Written by Holly from @hollypmilne

To Buy the book click here.


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Book Review: Winnie the Pooh: The Great Heffalump Hunt.

Winnie the Pooh: The Great Heffalump Hunt.

By Giles Andreae

Winnie the Pooh was 90 last year – 90 years of making toddlers chuckle at his name, teaching us all about the value of friendship, and encouraging the purchase of large jars of honey.

This brand-new picture book will inspire a new generation of fans, and give parents some fresh reading material with gorgeous art-work that pays homage to E. H. Shepard’s originals.  If you liked Giraffes Can’t Dance you’ll love this – it’s written by the same award-winning author, Giles Andreae (and is suitable for the same age range).  You might remember him as the creator of Purple Ronnie, the stickman on every birthday card I received as a teen, and also Edward Monkton, whose philosophies on shoes, love and life raise smiles round the globe.

It’s a retelling of the Heffalump story, focussing on the friendship between the cuddly Pooh, and the more nervous Piglet.  No spoilers here, but my kids loved it, and enjoyed the gorgeous picture.  Pooh and Piglet are still the best of friends, and they show the reader how life is better together.  It’s also easier to catch a Heffalump when there are a few of you.

Try not to go misty-eyed when nervous Piglet puts his friendship before his fears, and shouts out, “But something in his little soul / Prevented him from running, / And Piglet’s voice rose clear and strong, / “Hold on, Pooh Bear… I’M COMING!”’

I missed some of the other characters – where is Rabbit, Roo and Wol, not forgetting grumpy Eeyore?  But it was refreshing to read a non-Disney version of the story.  Here’s hoping that Giles Andreae returns to the genre and brings back some of the other animals from the 100-acre wood.

Celine Bell

Twitter: @bell_from_bow
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Facebook: Bell from Bow

To Buy the book click here


Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

By Ransom Riggs 

First of all, technically this is a kids book. But it's a kids book in the same way as the Hunger Games, Divergent, Twilight etc is. It's for grown up kids, isn't that what adults are? I personally love this type of book (except for twilight, friggin HATE Twilight!!!) My eldest read it first, she devoured it actually and was most insistent that I read it straight after! Cait has reviewed as a kids book over on my blog. 

After reading I realise that maybe I should have checked it first; in the first half of the book there is a fair bit of swearing which I didn't realise as we picked it up from the same section we get most of Cait's books. But oh well, I'm sure she has heard worse, there's no harm as long as she isn't using that language I suppose? 

This is a cool book! The author has collected some seriously creepy photos from thrift sales and compiled a story around them. They way he fits them into the narrative is cool, a little clumsy in places, but your imagination can really runaway with you after you've studied them for a bit. 

The story itself is fairly standard for this type of teen fiction; outcast kid who isn't particularly fond of his family, tragic loss early on and then journey of discovery and a battle of good verses evil which obviously leads into a trilogy. The characters have enough about them for you to get a feel for them but the full picture I imagine is being held back for book 2 and 3. Some of the peculiar children are quite awesome and definitely want to get to know them more.

It's quite basic in places but I suppose as the narrator is a teenager it fits. When Jacob, the main character, goes back in time it's very innocent which I really enjoyed; it's a teen's story you don't want it to be cynical and sordid; he has a kiss and it's described as 'nice', isn't that how a kid would describe their first kiss after all?

I think without the photos the story itself would probably loose some of its edge and I might have liked it a lot darker but this is such a good easy read, perfect escapism. My daughter is desperate for the second and third book and to be honest I want to know what's going to happen to Jacob and his peculiar friends.  

Review written by Amy from @kittyandpip

To buy click here

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