Thursday, 28 May 2020

Picture This: Sea

Another immediate classic from Britta Teckentrup. There is really nothing more lovely than snuggling up on the sofa with one of her peep-through stories. 

Sea takes you beneath the waves, to explore the colourful wildlife that fills our water. It looks at the dangers they face from one another, as well as their natural defences. It is a great book for introducing young children to a variety of marine animals and would provide great inspiration for artwork or craft. 

It is written in calm, soothing rhyme, making it a perfect bedtime story. Despite every picture being under the sea, there is a huge range of variety on each page. The backgrounds are an unexpected explosion of colour, from light purple to bright yellow.

Thank you Little Tiger for sending us a copy to review. 

Sea is written and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup

Wednesday, 27 May 2020


Wonderland: Dawson, Juno: Books

Wonderland was a wild trip down a rabbit hole that I didn't want to end. Here are three reasons I loved it:

1. Alice was snarky, fierce and she leapt from the page. I loved everything about her, from her realistic teenage insecurities and struggle to work out who she is, to her quick comebacks and brilliant internal monologue. She is a very fun character to follow and was the perfect guide for somewhere as insane as Wonderland because she sees all its flaws and horrors as well as its wonder. 

2. Wonderland is a brilliant, contemporary twist on a classic. I loved the character names, all the little references, and the Alice in Wonderland craziness of the whole thing. Caterpillr, the croquet, and the constantly running Bunny. It was very clever and so much fun to read.

3. Wonderland was as addictive to read as Clean and I really struggled to put it down. There are so many crazy twists in the plot and I was never quite sure what was going to happen next (or how true to the classic story the ending would stay). Dawson's writing is superb and this story shines. 

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Picture This: Meet the Grumblies

Grumble-Stick, Grumble-Rope and Grumble-Mud live in a beautiful village where everything is provided for them. Unfortunately, this gives them very little to do and lots of time to argue! When a Gobblestomp upsets their peaceful home, can they learn to work together to fix their village and make a new friend? 

This funny story celebrates getting along and keeping busy. It will ring true to many parents who've had to break up more arguments than usual over the lockdown! 

Full of words like "Ogg!" "Agg!" and "Igg!" Meet the Grumblies is also lots of fun to read aloud. My children giggled at the bread bushes and fizzy juice pond (if only snacks were that easily accessible at the moment!) and they loved the Grumblies' silly antics. 

Saldaña's illustrations are quirky and fun. The Grumblies' facial expressions are bold and easy to decode and there are plenty of bright, contrasting colours on every page. The Gobblestomp was a particular highlight in our house (just look at it in the picture below!). 

Thank you Little Tiger for sending us a copy to review. 

Meet the Grumblies is written by John Kelly and illustrated by Carmen Saldaña

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Picture This: A Friend for Bear

When Little Bear wakes up from hibernation there's so much she wants to do. From rolling down hill to tickling tadpoles, she's planning to pack as many activities into one day as possible. But if she doesn't slow down and take her time, she might forget her most important task of all - making friends. 

A Friend for Bear is a lovely story for children on the go! Little Bear is in such a rush to experience as much as possible, she doesn't stop to enjoy anything or to consider the feelings of those around her. 

Tortoise was a calm, steady friend who reminded Little Bear that the end of the day doesn't mean the end of fun - they have weeks of Spring to fill playing together. 

Steve Smallman's stories are always sweet and funny and A Friend for Bear is no different. It's lots of fun to read aloud - Little Bear's enthusiasm is contagious. 

Pedler's artwork is colourful and classic, with warm pictures of characters who look soft enough to cuddle. Little Bear's world is full of the joys of spring, with brightly coloured flowers and greenery in every illustration. 

Thank you Little Stripes for sending me a copy of A Friend for Bear to review. 

A Friend for Bear is written by Steve Smallman and illustrated by Caroline Pedler

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Date Me, Bryson Keller

Everyone knows about the dare: Each week, Bryson Keller must date someone new--the first person to ask him out on Monday morning. Few think Bryson can do it. He may be the king of Fairvale Academy, but he's never really dated before.

Until a boy asks him out, and everything changes.

Kai Sheridan didn't expect Bryson to say yes. So when Bryson agrees to secretly go out with him, Kai is thrown for a loop. But as the days go by, he discovers there's more to Bryson beneath the surface, and dating him begins to feel less like an act and more like the real thing. Kai knows how the story of a gay boy liking someone straight ends. With his heart on the line, he's awkwardly trying to navigate senior year at school, at home, and in the closet, all while grappling with the fact that this "relationship" will last only five days. After all, Bryson Keller is popular, good-looking, and straight ... right? {goodreads summary}

I knew the moment I read the synopsis that I would love this story and it did not disappoint. Date Me, Bryson Keller is so cute.

I loved the concept - it was so fun and offered a different twist on some great YA tropes. Kai and Bryson made such a great couple and I smiled so much while I was reading- their relationship is adorable and heartwarming. 

Kai was a fantastic protagonist - I felt for him so much with the blushing and social awkwardness and there were a few passages I highlighted because they felt so much like my own internal monologue! van Whye really gets inside Kai's head, giving him a realistic teenage voice that readers will love. The side characters, like Kai's sister Yazz and his best friends, were also really strong. 

Beyond the cute romantic plot, Date Me, Bryson Keller also explores the complexities of coming out, especially when it happens before you're ready. This is a book I would like to see in secondary school libraries everywhere, accessible to all the teens who need to read it, who will find it comforting and understanding. The author's note at the end of this story was hugely impactful and highlighted exactly why stories like Date Me, Bryson Keller are so important. I can't wait to read whatever van Whye writes next. 

I was provided with an eARC of Date Me, Bryson Keller for review

Monday, 18 May 2020

Picture This: Look for Ladybug in Ocean City

When Ladybug starts a game of hide and seek, detectives Daisy and Basil have to search through an underwater kingdom to find him. They'll need little readers to help them keep an eye out as they travel through ice festivals and thermal vent spas, until Ladybug finally comes home. 

This bright, lovely story was lots of fun to read. The artwork is incredibly intricate with so much to explore on every page. We will be able to read this plenty of times before we run out of new things to spot. My three year old and five year old really enjoyed searching for the funny animals on each page, and they learnt how to identify a few new ones too. This book would make a great gift, or a perfect way to entertain children stuck indoors. 

I was provided with a copy of this ebook for review via Netgalley

Look for Ladybug in Ocean City is written and illustrated by Katherina Manolessou

Five Books of Kindness

It's mental health awareness week and this year's theme is kindness, so I wanted to share five picture books which celebrate being kind to others. 

I'm Sorry is the story of two close friends who have a falling out. Sometimes being kind means learning to say you're sorry, and recognising when you have heard a friends' feelings.

Marmaduke hates being different, but when his differences help him to save Princess Meg, he learns just how special he is. Meg shows Marmaduke kindness when everyone else has turned him away. 

Something is eating Kipper's toy box! When Kipper discovers a pair of nibbling, nest-building mice are behind the mystery hole, he decides to share his cosy basket with the mice - and their babies!

In Twelve Days of Kindness, new friend Holly and Nabila create twelve rules of kindness to help their football team work together ahead of an important game.

The ABC of Kindness is an adorable board book where 'S' is for sharing and 'U' is for understanding. A perfect story to introduce kindness to the smallest of readers.

We'll be sharing lots of stories this week and remembering that kindness comes in lots of forms. Do you have any favourite picture books about kindness? Please share them in the comments if so - we're always on the lookout for new additions to our collection.