Storytime Saturday: King Baby

Storytime Saturday a weekly blog feature showcasing any new books we’ve been reading with Erin, reviewing picture books and talking about our monthly library haul! Basically, Storytime Saturday is all about books! This week we’re talking about King Baby by Kate Beaton (Walker Books)

All hail King Baby! King Baby is gracious – bestowing smiles on his public, allowing tickles and hugs, and posing for photo after adorable photo. But this teeny tiny royal ruler also has many demands, and when his faithful subjects can’t quite keep up, King Baby must take matters into his own hands.

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King Baby is described as the perfect gift for any family expecting a new baby. Now, before anyone gets any silly ideas I am not having another baby. However, this book is pretty funny and I think I would have quite liked it before we had Erin.

King Baby helps to prepare you for what having a baby is really about and what to expect. Babies are extremely demanding. This baby cries, demands ‘the thing’ but also the ‘other thing’ because ‘the thing’ is not right. The poor parents look exhausted. I love that it’s real! I would easily give this to a friend as a gift if they were expecting.

This is a really bright and colourful book and lovely to read. The illustrations stand out so much but they’re lovely and simple at the same time.

king baby

King Baby is quite strange looking if I’m honest. I think he looks like an evil genius. I guess that’s the point of the book. Babies rule the house, no matter what! I know that all too well as whatever Erin says goes… well, if she could actually talk! I actually hate to think about what she’ll be like when that happens.

Storytime Saturday: Penguin Problems

Storytime Saturday a weekly blog feature showcasing any new books we’ve been reading with Erin, reviewing picture books and talking about our monthly library haul! Basically, Storytime Saturday is all about books! This week we’re talking about Penguin Problems by Jory John and Lane Smith.

Have you ever considered running away to Antarctica? Of course you have! Because it’s a land free of worries and responsibilities! Think again, my friend. This penguin has come to tell you that his life down there is no picnic. For starters, it is FREEZING. Also, penguins have loads of natural predators. Plus, can you imagine trying to find your mum in a big crowd of identical penguins?

Penguin Problems

For the adult reading them, children’s books are annoying as hell. They can be too sweet, too cutesy and too boring. Very rarely is there a book that is perfect for children but will also have adults laughing as well. Penguin Problems is exactly that though!

Penguin Problems tells the story of a young penguin who moans a lot. He doesn’t really seem very happy about his life. When he’s hungry, there are no fish about. The ocean is too salty. He can’t fly. He can’t even find his own mum or dad because they all look the same. He’s a miserable little sod of a penguin.

However, this is not a book teaching children how to be miserable and how to hate everything they have. No, a wise old walrus comes to talk to the penguin to show him what good things he has around him! The walrus tried to teach the penguin to look on the bright side of life.

Does the penguin change? You’ll have to read to find out.

Honestly, I could not love this book any more than I already do and I cannot recommend it highly enough. BUY IT!

Penguin Problems was released by Walker on 3rd November 2016.

Erin’s Book Advent

When it comes to advent calenders, I thought I was being really fun this year and doing something exciting for Erin. Really, I should have left this one for now and done it in a couple of years time. I thought it would be such a good idea to make Erin’s first advent a book advent.

What on Earth was I thinking?!

Apparently I thought it would be fun. Buying the 24 Christmas/ winter themed books was lovely, even if I did buy one of them twice because I couldn’t remember what I’d already got. I loved seeing how many different books were available and we’ve managed to get Erin a couple of both mine and John’s favourites!

Then, a couple of night ago, I had to wrap all of the bloody books. I know Erin is only nearly 1 and doesn’t care what the wrapping looks like. John is TERRIBLE at wrapping presents though so he’s not allowed. I didn’t do them perfectly as I would for older people or Erin would never be able to open them but they still look okay. They were just really annoying to wrap.

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I chose a couple of different wrapping papers so that each day looks fun and interesting!

Hopefully Erin will get really excited to open a new book each day. I know she wont really know what is going on. She has just recently really gotten into board books  though so there’ll be a few I know she’ll love.

I have done these books in a completely random order. I won’t know which one will be opened on each day. Be sure to check out our Instagram account each day to see what book Erin opened!

The Happy Book Club

There are so many subscription boxes available but this one is by far one of my favourites. As I said in my earlier post today, we’re very much a family about books. When I came across The Happy Book Club I knew that it was something for us.

The Happy Book Club send out a themed package at the beginning of each month that also comes with some extras. The packages are tailored to your child’s age which is what makes this so perfect. We got the October package where the theme was Imagination! 
The Happy Book Club

The books in this package were:

The Wonder by Faye Hanson (Age 3-5)

This is a story about a boy whose head is always full of wonder. We follow him on an average-seeming school day, where his daydreams transform the world around him. Unfortunately lots of other people – the park keeper, the bus driver, the lollipop lady – all tell him to get his head out of the clouds. It is only in art class that he realises he can bring the wonder out of his head for the whole world to enjoy.

Use Your Imagination by Nicola O’Byrne. (Age 1-7)

Rabbit is BORED. What shall he do? Luckily, Wolf has the perfect solution. “Why not write a story?” he suggests. “I am a librarian, you know.” Well, Rabbit is just delighted – what a brilliant idea! And so Wolf teaches Rabbit to use his imagination to create the perfect story with lots of exciting props and interesting characters. What a kind and helpful wolf! Rabbit is DESPERATE to know what happens when it suddenly becomes clear that Wolf is very hungry – uh-oh, so THAT’S how the story ends. But Wolf hasn’t reckoned on Rabbit’s brilliant imagination and, in a final clever twist, Rabbit saves himself from the wily old wolf. “Now, that was a good idea,” says Rabbit.

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Both of these books vary slightly in the recommended age. With Erin being 10 months old at the minute, she really didn’t understand the story. However, she was so fascinated with the pictures and really enjoyed me reading them to her. We read these books to Erin quite often and her little legs kick with excitement each time and she really reaches out to touch the wonderful pictures on the pages!

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The Happy Book Club also sent out some imaginative craft items with the October package which is really a fantastic idea. Although Erin doesn’t do this kind of thing yet this would be something really fun for older children to do. The package came with a brown craft bag, pom poms, lolly sticks, sparkly blue card, pipe cleaners and feathers. Obviously, the items coincide with the theme of the month and it fit perfectly.

What’s even better is that these packages are available to buy in different quantities. You can buy just one particular month if you like or you can buy a 6 or 12 month subscription. A subscription would be a fantastic present for any child who loves books!

We’ll definitely be purchasing further packages.

The Happy Book Club have kindly given me a 10% off discount code to share with you all, which is HAPPYFAMILY!

Disclaimer: We were sent a sample box for the purpose of this post. All opinions are our own. 

Christmas Books for Children

One of the first things I bought for Erin before she was even born was a book. Most of my family read a lot albeit very different genres. It was a given really that Erin would grow up surrounded by books. So, I thought I’d do a bit of a post about some of my favourite Christmas books this year!

Walker Books

The Christmas Eve Tree by Deliah Huddy and Emily Sutton

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When the ugly little fir tree is taken to the city, no one wants to buy him; they prefer the big tall trees. But a homeless boy asks the shopkeeper if he can take the tree, and down by the river in a cardboard box, decorated with a few candles, the tree finds itself at the centre of a magical Christmas Eve it will never forget. A Christmas tale with a classic feel but a modern theme at its heart.

Maisy’s Christmas Presents by Lucy Cousins

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It’s so nice to give your friend a present at Christmas time, don’t you agree? Maisy thinks so! When she comes back from her shopping trip, she has presents for everybody! Help Eddie, Charley, Talullah and Cyril unwrap their wonderful gifts by lifting the flaps. Then help choose a special present for Maisy by turning the wheel – what surprise will she get? Or what surprise will you get, all for yourself? You didn’t think Maisy would forget you, did you?

Snowflake in My Pocket by Rachel Bright and Yu Rong

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The snow is coming – Bear can smell it! Squirrel is so excited – he’s never seen snow before! But when the snow arrives, Bear suddenly falls sick. Can Squirrel still bring some silvery, sparkly, magical whiteness to his best friend? Featuring a cut-out window in Squirrel’s oak tree home, giving readers a sneak-peek to the wintry world outside, this delicately-crafted book captures the cosy, cuddly feeling of sharing a snowy night with a loved one, and is the perfect read for parents and children to treasure together – at Christmas and all year round.

Puffin

The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton

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Jack Skellington is the most important figure in Halloweenland and for years he has delighted in organising macabre tricks and frights for Halloween. But this year he doesn’t feel right – there must be more to life than scaring people? Then Jack stumbles upon a cheerful, colourful place called Christmas Town and he knows what he must do – he will bring Christmas to Halloween!

A Peter Rabbit Christmas Collection by Beatrix Potter

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A treasure trove of Christmas delights, this collection includes some of Beatrix Potter’s best-known works, such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit and The Tale of Benjamin Bunny. Hidden among these favourites are some of her previously-unpublished Christmas-card illustrations.

Faber and Faber

Christmas According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney and Jason Chapman

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Jingle bells and dancing snowflakes, Christmas was coming and suddenly Humphrey’s life as a classroom hamster became unsqueakably exciting!

The music teacher, Miss Lark, spent a lot of time preparing the class for the school show so there was plenty of FUN-FUN-FUN. But Humphrey’s classmates were also having some BIG-BIG-BIG problems.

Disclaimer: We were sent some of these books for the purpose of this post. All opinions are our own. 

Book Review: The Horror Handbook & Giveaway

What happens to a vampire when he dies?

How does somebody become a werewolf?

How can you protect yourself from witches?

All of these questions and more are answered in this book, which will finally give you all the information you ever wanted to know about ghosts, zombies, monsters and all kinds of creepy-crawly creatures that give us the heebie-jeebies.

Horror Handbook

Happy Halloween everyone!

Today I bring you a review of a super book for Halloween, The Horror Handbook by Paul van Loon and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

The book is split into 8 different sections:

The Art of Horror

Vampires

Werewolves

Ghosts

The Walking Dead

Witches

Monsters

Horror Films

Three Classic Horror Books

I absolutely love how each section gives a background on the monster in question, if that is the case. Readers will be able to learn about the different kinds of ghosts, how to spot a werewolf and what an exorcist is.

My favourite part of the book was the second to last section focusing on Horror Films. Now, this section does reference a lot of classic horror films, such as A Nightmare on Elm Street but it does so in a really funny way and a way in which it is suitable for children. Okay, older children but still! The book also says that these films really are scary and shouldn’t be watched until you’re old enough.

The whole book is really interesting and I’m saying that as an adult. I can only imagine how children will feel reading this.

Giveaway!

I have one copy of The Horror Handbook to giveaway to one lucky reader. Enter by the Rafflecopter form below. The winner will be drawn at random on 21st November. UK entrants only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. We were sent this product for review but all opinions are our own. 

Storytime Saturday: Daisy and the Trouble with Vampires

Storytime Saturday a weekly blog feature showcasing any new books we’ve been reading with Erin, reviewing picture books and talking about our monthly library haul! Basically, Storytime Saturday is all about books! This week we’re talking about Daisy and the Trouble with Vampires (Daisy Fiction) by Kes Gray. (Published 6th October by Red Fox)

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It’s Halloween and Daisy is going trick-or-treating for the very first time. In the dark . . . in the fog . . . with a VAMPIRE . . . armed only with a torch and some silly string. GULP!

Daisy

This is our first Daisy books and I really enjoyed it. I’m not really sure what I was expecting but this one was really funny! I chucked to myself a lot as I read it so I know children will find it super fun. As a Halloween book, this one is perfect. While it focuses on Daisy and vampires, it’s not too scary and it also makes a bit of a joke of the vampires. Jack Beechwhistle does try to make Halloween scary for Daisy though with all of his stories!

What I especially liked about this book was the difference in the pages. When Daisy is trick or treating, all of the pages are black. I think this really adds to the atmosphere of the story and also, it’s just a really fun change.

I also really liked how the whole book was black and white. So many children’s books are so bright and colourful, and although this does capture their attention, I like a change. Babies are able to understand black and white before any other colours so this really took it back to basics.

There are plenty of pictures throughout to keep little ones interested if they start to figity with the story. Some pages have little pictures while other pages are one whole picture. Daisy and the Trouble with Vampires is 320 pages long so I imagine this would need to be read over a couple of days for younger readers.

Disclaimer: We were sent this item for review but all opinions are our own. Post includes affiliate links. 

Storytime Saturday: Gordon’s Great Escape

Storytime Saturday a weekly blog feature showcasing any new books we’ve been reading with Erin, reviewing picture books and talking about our monthly library haul! Basically, Storytime Saturday is all about books! This week we’re talking about Gordon’s Great Escape by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet.

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Follow Gordon the Balloon on his adventures around the world; learning new things, meeting people and avoiding all the dangers which come with being a balloon. Gordon is having a great time travelling with the circus when a storm hits their ship, leaving them stranded on an island! What will they do? Lost in the middle of the ocean and with no means of escape, it’s up to Gordon to save the day.

Gordon's

If there is something the majority of children like, it’s a balloon! They get them at birthday parties, restaurants give them out after meals and they’re used for all kinds of promotional reasons. A balloon is something most children will instantly recognise so what better to use for a story.

Gordon the balloon is such a cute character. I really enjoyed seeing him start off has an uninflated balloon is his little packet and grow to be the Gordon balloon that he turns in to. Gordon makes friends along the way and even manages to join a circus and go on a big adventure. However, he and his circus get stranded when their ship sinks and it’s all down to Gordon to save the day.

Gordon's

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I honestly loved this book. The story is just plain fun, with a bit of drama in the middle! The illustrations are so bright and colourful. Erin was transfixed while I was reading this to her. She kept reaching out for the pages each time I turned one.

We’ve discovered a fair few new picture books just recently but this is by far one of my favourites. I just loved everything about it!

Published by Simon & Schuster on 20th October 2016

Disclaimer: We were sent this book for review but all opinions are our own! 

Storytime Saturday: Alfie and His Very Best Friend

Storytime Saturday a weekly blog feature showcasing any new books we’ve been reading with Erin, reviewing picture books and talking about our monthly library haul! Basically, Storytime Saturday is all about books! This week we’re talking about Alfie and His Very Best Friend by Shirley Hughes. (published by Penguin)

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I was so excited when we were contacted with the opportunity to review this book. Shirley Hughes is an iconic name in children’s books so I was really excited about this one. I have recently written a post about Erin and her best friend Noah so this was perfect for us!

Book cover

Alfie and His Very Best Friend is such a wonderful book for children because it shows just how special a best friend can be.

Alfie and his best friend Bernard get up to all sorts in this book. They paint together, have scooter races and even have their very own, very secret club. I really enjoyed watching Alfie and Bernard on their adventures. It made me think back to my own childhood and also to wonder what Erin will get up to with her best friend later on in life! I hope they find fun in some of the more simple things!

Alfie

The illustrations throughout are wonderful. I love how realistic they are, compared with many other picture books for children. The illustrations are so wonderfully drawn and you can tell they’re for a Shirley Hughes book immediately.

Not only is it important to learn about friendship but also about kindness to others! I know this may seem like a really simple thing but I have come across so many children who can’t be nice to others. Some children are just mean and I don’t get it. I want Erin to learn that being nice doesn’t cost anything and it doesn’t take any effort. Alfie and His Very Best Friend will really help with this once Erin is a bit older.

Alfie and His Very Best Friend is one of those books that isn’t really for a short set of ages. I am happy reading this to Erin now at 9 months old. I imagine I’ll still be reading it to her when she’s 4 or 5. Alfie and His Very Best Friend is a book to last years and years and one to be enjoyed for a long time!

Penguin have released some DOWNLOADABLE ACTIVITY SHEETS! to go along with the release of Alfie and His Very Best Friend (friendship themed, of course)!

Buy on Amazon

Disclaimer: We were sent this book for review but all opinions are our own. 

Storytime Saturday: Books for bedtime

Storytime Saturday a weekly blog feature showcasing any new books we’ve been reading with Erin, reviewing picture books and talking about our monthly library haul! Basically, Storytime Saturday is all about books! This week we’re talking about Books for Bedtime from Walker Books.

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Erin’s bedtime is a bit hit and miss to be honest. From 8 weeks old until 6 months old she was a dream and slept through no problem. From 6 months old she has been a nightmare. We thought we’d try out some books with bed time themes to help her out.

First up is Goodnight Everyone by Chris Haughton. This is our first Chris Haughton book but it certainly won’t be our last. It’s absolutely stunning.

Bedtime

Goodnight Everyone tells the story of the bear who wasn’t sleepy, but everyone else in the forest was! There are some lovely characters to meet along the way, such as the mice and the rabbits!

Bedtime

The pages have a wonderful pinky/ purple theme to them and really are quite mesmerizing. There’s no wonder that Erin couldn’t take her eyes off the pages. However, I don’t think it did much to help her sleep or aid bedtime in any way. I did, on the other hand, end up yawning loads!

Bedtime

Next up is Dinosaurs Don’t Have Bedtimes! by Timothy Knapman and Nikki Dyson

Bedtime

The little boy in this book, Mo, is obsessed with dinosaurs. Dinosaurs Don’t Have Bedtimes! follows Mo on the time running up to bedtime and his mother’s requests for him to do certain things. His reply is always ‘Dinosaurs don’t (insert activity here)’.

Mo, his dog Rex and the green dinosaur are fantastic. I really enjoyed seeing what Mo and his imaginary dinosaur got up to before finally going to sleep!

Bedtime

The illustrations are bright, colourful and dino-rific!

Bedtime

This is a wonderful book for showing children that they really should listen to their parents and that certain things need to be done before bedtime.

While neither of these books helped to get Erin to sleep, she really enjoys us reading them to her!

*Disclosure: We were sent these books for review. All opinions are our own.