Beauty and the Beast Write, Inspire, Create

When I first saw the Beauty and the Beast Write, Inspire Create, I thought it would be a fantastic follow on from My First Story Book  Ameli used during National Storytelling Week, so we nabbed the opportunity to review it. On arrival, however, I decided that while it’s a lovely book for her, I actually want to use it myself!

Read more: Beauty and the Beast Write, Inspire, Create

Time Now To Dream {Book Review}

Aw, there are books that are “sweet for kids”, and then are books that are just genuinely sweet. This is definitely one of those. You know the ones I mean? That actually tug at your heart strings, and if you are going to pull out a few books for the children to choose from for bed time reading, it’ll probably be included? Time Now To Dream by Timothy Knapman is one of those.Read more: Time Now To Dream {Book Review}

A Child Of Books {Review}

The moment I saw A Child of BooksI thought “That’s so Oliver Jeffers” as it reminded me of How To Catch A Star, and lo and behold, so it is!

A Child of Books is the latest book by author-illustrator Oliver Jeffers and typographical artist Sam Winston. If you have a book lover, (Think Matilda, Roald Dahl) then this is the perfect book for you.

A Child of Books

Read more: A Child Of Books {Review}

Blue & Other Colours: With Henri Matisse & An Art Project {Book Review}

Over the summer, Phaidon sent us a book to review. I kept looking at it with an idea in mind, but being summer, we were just so busy, we never got round to it. Well, rather than heading to the paddling pool after our regular Tuesday (brrrr) we came home, so I decided it was high time to turn our Blue & Other Colours book into a Matisse themed artwork.

Blue & Other Colours “takes children through Matisse’s colour palette, one artwork per page, beginning with blue and returning to it as a familiar refrain throughout. The variance of shapes, depth, and scale will keep readers engaged, while the text enriches the reading experience with relatable and humorous commentary.”Read more: Blue & Other Colours: With Henri Matisse & An Art Project {Book Review}

How To Be A Cowboy – Book Review

How To Be A Cowboy* by Alice V Lickens is a really sweet little book that will teach little ranchers everything they need to know about being a cowboy.

“Includes hours of fun with stickers, a talk-like-a-cowboy guide, a pop-out paper doll, maps to follow the journey north and a guide on how to design your own cowboy boots.  Discover everything there is to know about being a cowboy from how to wrangle cattle to picking your horse, from choosing your hat to cooking up a feast at a fireside”

How to be a cowboyWhat we loved about How To Be A Cowboy

There’s a lot of interactive activities, some bits to read, some bits to do, stickers on how to dress, how to brand cattle, how to talk like a cowboy and even how to find your way home following the stars. There isn’t too much reading, but lots of stuff to do, choose and talk about. The sticker page has beautifully done stickers on it, and the press out pages have clothes you can ‘dress’ the press out cowboy in too. Even the recipe pages are pull out pages, which just makes them unusual and different. It’s great, though I won’t personally be trying the sock coffee.

This isn’t a story book, but an activity book. It would suit anyone who likes the wild west, role play, cowboys or just doing activity books.I think I’ll be giving a copy to a little boy for his 6th birthday next weekend! (Along with some fancy dress).How to be a cowboy inside

What we don’t love about How To Be A Cowboy

There wasn’t anything about the book itself that we didn’t like, though for me I found the change in tenses a little off-putting at times. It’s not a problem, because it’s not written as a story, but for example “Cowboys HAD bad breath and never BRUSH their teeth”. Argh. I’m guessing most people don’t quite have the same reaction though. The kids certainly didn’t notice it.How to be a Cowboy Press Out

Where can I find How To Be A Cowboy?

Published by Pavilion books, How To Be A Cowboy has an RRP of £9.99, which is currently it’s price on Amazon, or it’s at The Book People for £7.99 (at time of publishing). This version was only published in November last year, so it’s fairly new – there’s an older version around too, but I can’t say how it compares.

NEW! Andy’s Amazing Adventures Magazine Review

If your little one is a fan of Andy’s Wild Adventure on CBeebies, Immediate Media have a treat in store for them: The new Andy’s Amazing Adventures Magazine which launches today.

What they tell us about Andy’s Amazing Adventures Magazine:

Andy's Amazing AdventuresThis magazine is aimed at 3 – 6 year olds, and the magazine is based on the extremely popular CBeebies shows Andy’s Wild Adventures, Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures and the forthcoming Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures and will cover all of Andy’s adventures.

In each issue, Andy will be their trustworthy guide as they explore the world and even travel through time, meeting creatures, facing dangers and solving problems along the way. It is packed with puzzles, stickers, colouring, stories and comes with a great free gift with every issue.

The magazine is based on the 7 key areas of learning that support early years development so it’s full of fun things while also supporting the readers’ learning.

What did we think of Andy’s Amazing Adventures Magazine?

We’ve received the first edition in advance of today’s launch, and the first thing I noted about the contents were that they are spot on for their target. My 6 year old finds all the puzzles and activities easy, but not boring and my 3 year old finds them challenging enough to do together, so I think it’s perfectly targeted.Read more: NEW! Andy’s Amazing Adventures Magazine Review

Amy And The Feelings Basket Series – Book Reviews

I’ve mentioned Amy and the Feelings Basket before, specifically The New Arrival, about the arrival of a new baby, but there are actually more Amy and the Feelings Basket books in the series. We have The New Arrival, Dad’s Leaving, Brave Beats the Bullies and Starting School.

Amy and the Feelings Basket is a series by Debbie Kinghorn, an NLP Child Therapist and Learning Practitioner, illustrated by Louise Grundy and Sofie D.

This series of books, predominantly aimed at ages 4 – 8, includes stories with emotive topics and encourage children and parents to explore these difficult topics together.

Feeling Basket Inside

The Magic Basket, the first book, opens with Amy crying on her bed because she doesn’t want to become a big sister. Her mother brings her a piece of cloth, which opens up into a blue magic basket. Amy puts her hand in the basket, and out comes Curious -a personified feeling who guides her through how to explore what she’s feeling. Being curious, Curious asks her what she was doing when her mother came in, and next thing you know, another feeling – Sad – comes into play. Curious and Sad help explore her feelings of worry about why her parents want another child, and help her realise that maybe they’re not trying to replace her, but ‘add to’ her. It’s quite a lovely message.

The New Arrival happens a few months later, obviously when the new baby enters the story and Amy learns to be a loving big sister with the help of

In Starting School*, Amy deals with the prospect of starting a new school.  Confused and Confident help her prepare for the big day, and everything works out.

Brave Beats the Bullies is self explanatory, as Amy Thorpe is bullied at school and how she stands up to the bullies, and while it may not deter their behaviour, she adapts how it affects her.

Dad’s Leaving is kind of sad – specially in light of my own recent separation, but it does deal with the topic of dad leaving very well. This story introduces Finn, Amy’s neighbour, whose parents are splitting up. Finn deals with feelings of confusion, rejection and curiosity in this book, which helps him come to terms with the changes in his family.Read more: Amy And The Feelings Basket Series – Book Reviews

What A Lovely Sound {{Book Review}}

What A Lovely Sound  by Starr Meneely  follows a young girl, Melody Jane, as she leaves a busy, bustling city with all its noises and sounds, and goes to spend a night in the country. When she arrives there, she is surprised by how quiet it is, and at first she worries that she can’t hear anything. As she closes her eyes and opens her ears, however, she begins to hear the sounds of nature – a babbling brook, a warbling bird, the wind swishing through the grass.

Soon Melody Jane is swept up in the sounds and song of the outdoors, and she spends a beautiful summers day in wholesome surroundings, find a lovely sound in nature.

The book is perfectly written for young children as there are enough words to make it engaging without taking too long, so it’s also an ideal bed time story.

What A Lovely Sound

The illustrations – by Susan Merick – are engaging, enchanting, and just lovely. Melody Jane strikes you as a real little girl, rather than a stick figure. She has chubby little thighs and rosy cheeks. I love it. She’s so cute.

We normally do a craft, or some kind of learning with our books, even if tenuous, but because of the things that have happened in our lives this last month, all our home education or play learning activities have been on hold. We are also on holiday as I’m writing this, so we haven’t had the routines and rhythms we normally have.

Instead, we’ve been staring at mountain and walking along streams, reviving our souls and restoring our hearts.

Today we were walking along the river, when Ameli closed her eyes to listen – it filled me with excitement that she was able to be present in the moment, and hear a river flowing, birds chirping, wind blowing, a dog barking, occasionally a car passing (and rather more obscurely, the ice in the puddles! We did hear some of them crack though, which was so unusual!)

So what did my four year old take from What A Lovely Sound?  A reminder to close your eyes, to feel what’s around you, the hear it, to listen to it, with your heart. It’s very cold at the moment, here in Wales, but I do look forward to reading the story again, in the summer, and lie in a field, listening, breathing, and becoming part of the beautiful story of nature, with Ameli and Melody Jane.