Storytime Saturday: Also an Octopus

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 Also an Octopus by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Benji Davies. It was published by Walker Books on 5th January 2017.



From Benji Davies, the illustrator of The Storm Whale and Grandad’s Island, comes a metafictive story about … how to build a story! First, a story needs a character. So why not a ukulele-playing octopus? And since this is a story, the octopus has to want something – maybe it dreams of travelling to faraway galaxies in a purple spaceship. But every character needs an obstacle to overcome, and when the octopus sets out to build its own spaceship out of glue, umbrellas, glitter and waffles … well, he doesn’t have much luck. Could there be another character that could help? Debut author Maggie Tokuda-Hall sets up a funny, smart and warm-hearted story all about storytelling, then hands the baton to imaginative readers, who will be more than prepared to take it away.


Oh what a wonderful book this is. It amazes me how people come up with such good ideas for children’s books. The premise for this one is so super simple but it works so well.

Always an Octopus starts off with nothing. I mean nothing. As in blank white page nothing. This is how all stories start out though, which is the whole point. Always an Octopus helps to teach children how to construct a story and what they need to make one up. After the blank beginning you need characters! You need something that happens, a problem, a resolution. You need an ending.

The book is so bright and colourful, with pages and illustrations being mostly blue, purple and yellow. The characters and story are just as bright and interesting and it each page will be sure to capture any child’s eye, and hopefully their imagination.

Disclaimer: We were sent this book for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own. 

Storytime Saturday: A Child of Books

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 A Child of Books by by Sam Winston and Oliver Jeffers (Published by Walker Books on 1st September 2016).

a child of books

I am a Child of Books. I come from a world of stories, And upon my imagination, I float.

In this inspiring, lyrical tale about the rewards of reading and sharing stories, a little girl sails her raft “across a sea of words” to arrive at the house of a small boy. There she invites him to come away with her on an adventure. Guided by his new friend, the boy unlocks his imagination and a lifetime of magic lies ahead of him. But who will be next?

Forget the kids, this is a book for adults as well. More so, it’s a book for book lovers and story enthusiasts.

A Child of Books doesn’t really have a story to it, which makes it a bit strange. However, what it does do is explain the magic of reading a book. The girl in the book explains all the things that can happen through reading, like going on an adventure, discover fairy tales or go into space. The whole point of the book is to make other books and stories seem really exciting!

The illustrations are what really make this book for me though.


As you can see, the words of other stories make up the illustrations. I love how inventive this book is, using the actual words from other books to get the point across. I think this is why adults will be able to appreciate this book a bit more than children will.

However, I still think this is a lovey one for slightly older children, especially if you’re trying to get them into reading a bit more.

Disclaimer: We were sent this book for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own. 

Storytime Saturday: Meltdown

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 Meltdown by Jill Murphy (Published by Walker Books on 1st September 2016).


From the bestselling author of The Worst Witch and the Large Family series comes a true-to-life, laugh-out-loud family comedy about a toddler tantrum. Ruby the rabbit likes to be helpful, but she often gets a bit overexcited . especially in the supermarket. Crisps are so CRUNCHY! Tins of beans are fun to ROLL! And when Ruby sees a cake, a cake in the shape of a cute pink piggy, she wants it . she wants it now. Introducing Ruby, a completely loveable new bunny, Jill Murphy observes the oh-so familiar supermarket sulk with all of her trademark warmth and wit, and perfectly depicts family life – in all its hectic glory – once again.


Now, Erin doesn’t get to sit in the trolley when we go to the supermarket. We don’t have a car so when we go to the supermarket, Erin is always in her pushchair. However, I know we’re going to get to the point soon where she can walk instead and then it’s going to be a whole other game completely.

Meltdown tells the story of an innocent shopping trip. Well, I guess it started out that way. Ruby, the little girl (rabbit) in the book is a complete nightmare. The illustrator has actually made me look a bit evil, as that is what she is in this book. She throws things in the trolley, she grabs things she’s not supposed to and does everything against what her mum says. It scares me because I know this is probably what I have to come.

I love this book! Honestly, I think this is a book for every family with children. It might scare you while reading it, as it did me but at least you’ll be prepared.

Disclaimer: We were sent this book for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own. 

Storytime Saturday: Du Iz Tak?

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 Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis.

Du Iz Tak?

Carson Ellis invites readers to imagine the dramatic possibilities that can be found in the natural world, even in the humblist back garden. With gorgeous, exquisitely detailed illustrations that appeal to children and art-lovers alike, and a wonderfully playful invented language, we soon find ourselves speaking “Bug”… Du iz tak? What is that?

Du Iz Tak?

I love, love, love the idea of this book! To start with, the cover really draws you in. it makes the bugs look absolutely beautiful and sort of like they’re on an alien planet. Which, I guess, they are sort of. Also, as someone who took Linguistics at university for a year, I found it so interesting to read!

Although this book obviously has a made up language, the story is really quite simple. Thankfully! I was expecting to not know what was happening whatsoever throughout the whole book but that really wasn’t the case. The language is lovely and easy to understand so there was no confusion at all really. My 1 year old daughter isn’t going to understand but this book is aimed at older children.

Although Erin doens’t understand stories yet, she did love looking at the pictures. Each page is beautifully illustrated and is packed full of detail. I spent loads of time with Erin pointing out little things on each page and she seemed to really enjoy tracing them with her finger. Once you spend a bit of time looking at the pictures, you’ll realise just how detailed they are.

If you’re looking for something really different for your child, then this is the book for you. I’ve never seen anything like it and it’s now one of our favourites!

Published by Walker Books on 3rd November 2016. 

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

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.

king baby

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.


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.


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!


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


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


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


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.


The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton


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


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


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




The Walking Dead



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.


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.