Friday, 31 October 2014

Hubble Bubble series

Hubble Bubble series

By Tracey Corderoy and Illustrated by Joe Berger
Published by Nosy Crow


It’s been spookily fun but we’re ending the Halloween week on this Hubble Bubble series by Tracey Corderoy and illustrated by Joe Berger. If you like a little bit of magic in your life, you and your little ones will love this series (ages 3+). Meet the Granny who’s a witch! 


Hubble Bubble, Granny Trouble! 


Meet the Granny who’s kind of different, wears funny hats and has a huge menagerie of cats, frogs and bats who follow her everywhere. 



She likes to eat icky gloopy soup and make things disappear, but if you had a Granny like this, would you want to change her? Would you like her to be like normal Grannies?

This Hubble Bubble tale is about loving people just the way they are.



 Whizz Pop, Granny Stop!


Her Granny is quite different but sometimes her Grand-daughter wishes her Granny was just a little more like her. When her Granny tries to help brush her hair, Whizz! Pop! It goes all pink. Or when Granny tries to help clear out the rabbit cage, Whizz! Pop! Her rabbit disappears.



But with her birthday coming up, she bans her Granny from using magic to help, its time to make things by hand, like bake a cake, sew a birthday dress and even when all the children arrive, Granny helps paint their faces - its just like parties aught to be! But with such a mess left afterwards, its Granny’s magic to the rescue to help tidy up!



Spells-A-Popping! Granny’s Shopping!


Sometimes having a Granny who’s a witch can be quite embarrassing, as her Grand-daughter already knows, but when at the supermarket, things can get quite out of hand, when magic fills the air. Biscuits will dance, popcorn will pop, runner beans will race and monkeys may even appear from bunches of bananas. 


But when her Grand-daughter spots two robbers stealing, it’s her Granny to the rescue, with a giant POP and a chocolate bear, will they stop the robbers from escaping in time?

I really enjoyed this series of magical mishaps, with the fast and fun rhyming text and the magical illustrated pictures. And Joe Berger's illustrations across all the titles are perfectly matched to Tracey's words. Adults and children alike will love these books, especially the underlying message that though her Granny is different her Grand-daughter wouldn’t have her any other way!


If you like this series, the creators have just released the following titles, aimed at ages 6+: Hubble Bubble: The Glorious Granny Bake Off!, Hubble Bubble: The Pesky Pirate Prank! and Hubble Bubble: The Super-Spooky Fright Night!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Mouse’s First Night in Moonlight School

Mouse’s First Night in Moonlight School

By Simon Puttock and Illustrated by Ali Pye
Published by Nosy Crow



With Halloween just a few days away, this is another little picture book for the very little ones, recommended for age 2+. Mouse’s First Night in Moonlight School, written by Simon Puttock and illustrated by Ali Pye, is a warming and reassuring tale that would be good for very young children who are about to start school or about to try something new.

Moonlight school is run by Miss Moon, for all wee small creatures of the night. There’s Owl, Cat and Bat, but it’s Mouse’s first night at school and Mouse is very, very shy. Mouse is so nervous, that she gets to school extra early to hide behind the curtains. At registration, no one has seen Mouse and Miss Moon begins looking for her. As Mouse’s mother told her to be good, Mouse gathers the courage to call out and come out from behind the curtains. The other animals congratulate Mouse for hiding very well which gives Miss Moon the idea to suggest a game of hide-and-seek. After Miss Moon finds Owl, Cat and Bat very easily, they all try to find Mouse but where is Mouse hiding? It’s a very good hiding place!

Though this book isn’t scary, this is a night school run by a friendly witch, and you’ll be able to spot the broomstick, spell books and pumpkins in the backgrounds. With very cute animals, there's no chance that your young child will be scared by this sweet reassuring story, but instead be introduced to what may be making those sounds at night.

 Mouse’s First Night in Moonlight School is available to buy in all good bookshops and online at the Nosy Crow shop.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Ten Monsters in the Bed

Ten Monsters in the Bed

By Katie Cotton and Illustrated by Aaron Blecha
Published by Templar Publishing

It’s the fourth day of our Halloween week and for today, a book packed full of rather disgusting monsters. This little beauty has the added bonus of sound, so your own little monsters are going to find this one a delight! Ten Monsters in the Bed is a play on the ’10 green bottle/10 in a bed’ rhyme, but with this take being 10 monsters all squeezed on the top bunk bed. One by one they each get pushed off because they’re either being sick, have fleas, are belching or passing gas - it’s rather gross but very funny.

Though you may not feel sorry for the naughty monsters on the top bunk bed, you will be feeling sorry for the poor monster on the bottom bunk who gets no sleep, and gets covered in all sort of horrible fluids and gasses! Also, keep an eye on the fish bowl, who is an amusing monster goldfish.

The rhyming words are fun and children will love taking part in pushing the tummies of the monsters who have landed on the floor. Amongst these, children will get to hear the sounds of snoring, scratching, burping, screaming and there’s even a creepy laugh in there!  These aren’t cute monsters, instead you get yucky, smelly and very silly monsters - the type we all love!

Ten Monsters in the Bed is available to buy in bookshops, online and from the Templar shop.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Wilbur's Book of... Early learning series

Wilbur's Book of... Early learning series

By Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul
Published by Oxford University Press

It's day three of my special Halloween week, this is something for the very little ones - the new Wilbur toddler and baby board book series based on Winnie the Witch’s cat Wilbur. Winnie the Witch is the bestselling picture books by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul.

This series of 8 early learning books cover colours, first words, numbers, opposites, actions, feelings, dressing up and things that go. These are not your average first word books. You won’t find examples such as; A is for apple, or the big elephant or the small mouse. Instead you and your little ones will find a mix of magic and mischief. 

For example, in Wilbur’s book of colours, you’ll come across a red beastie, a black cauldron of white washing and maybe even some slimy green worms!

In Wilbur’s book of numbers, you’ll be counting broomsticks, monsters and even pumpkins.

These board books are humorous and witty and children will love following Wilbur throughout the books. These put fun into early learning. And what makes them even more sweet, is that at the end of each book there’s a message celebrating the fondness that Wilbur and his owner Winnie have for each other, a lovely way to end each book.

This delightful series, though different, are a great alternative from the traditional first word books. An ideal way for introducing magical creatures and other odd objects that they’ll soon be encountering in books, on TV around this spooky time of year!

All eight books in the series are available to buy in good bookshops and online at Oxford University Press Shop.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

No Such Thing

No Such Thing

By Ella Bailey
Published by Flying Eye Books

As everyone knows, there’s no such things as ghosts…or is there? Carrying on my Halloween week, I review Flying Eye Books delightfully spooky, No Such Thing.

Its a cool day in late October when little Georgia notices something weird; objects would move around the house and items were disappearing, could it be the work of something spooky? 'Of course not!' thought Georgia. And when snacks are stolen from the fridge, and a china vase is smashed, clever Georgia knows who’s responsible. Even shadows and strange noises late at night can be explained by simply using a torch light because surely, unquestionably, we all know there’s just no such things as ghosts…

This is another gorgeously infectious picture book by Flying Eye Books. Ella Bailey's illustration style using a pastel colour palette and screen printed effect has a lovely aesthetic appeal. The characters are cute, even those pesky ghosts, and you’ll feel sorry for the adorable cat who knows its the ghosts faults for all the mysterious mishaps around the house.

This is a great picture book for this time of year and little ones will love pointing out the cheeky naughty ghosts who are causing so much mischief for poor Georgia.

Although this is aimed for 5-7 year olds, adults will enjoy this little ghostly tale as well - but a word of warning, don’t let your little ones (ghouls) go blaming the ghosts for their naughty mishaps!

No Such Thing is available to buy in all good bookshops and online at the Flying Eye Books shop.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Florentine and Pig and the Spooky Forest Adventure

Florentine and Pig 
and the Spooky Forest Adventure

Written by Eva Katzler and Illustrated by Jess Mikhail
Published by Bloomsbury

With Halloween just around the corner, this spooky adventure with Florentine and Pig, will get your little ghouls in the mood for camping and searching for monsters that go bump in the night. Or if that’s a little too scary, maybe try the recipes and craft projects at the back of the book.

In this, their third adventure, Florentine and Pig are woken by a loud and frightening sound; ’Woooooooooooooo!’ Whatever could it be? Could it be the growling, prowling Bog Mog? Who lives in the deepest, darkest forest lurking in the bog? Well Florentine and Pig don’t want to be frightened again by the Bog Mog and decide to head into the forest to find him! Pig gathers their cosiest sleeping bags, brightest torch and warmest hat. While Florentine prepares their supper of roasty toasty campfire kebobbles, sweet potato woodland wedges and snuggly buggy marshmallow brownies, among other goodies! (well, monster catching is rather hungry work). It’s time for Florentine and Pig to go on a spooky forest adventure! They trudge and tramp, splish and splash, but after all their investigating no Bog Mog is found. After setting up camp and enjoying their delicious supper, its time to sleep... ’Woooooooooooooo!’ Oh dear, is there really a monster out there, or are Florentine and Pig's imaginations playing tricks on them? 

What makes this picture book extra special, is the great little craft ideas and easy tasty recipes. You'll find; Twinkly jam jar lanterns, a magic shape shiner, star gazers’ stacked banana pancakes and 'drink-in-your- sleeping-bag' honey milk malties (I think I’ll be trying this!). Though children will need adult supervision to make these, they are great ideas for keeping children busy and entertained. This book is part of the Florentine and Pig series, which all have recipes in. A great idea for introducing cooking to young children and helping them get excited about food.

And as with all the Florentine and Pig stories, the illustrations are by Jess Mikhail, which work well with this fun and spooky story. A great one to read this Halloween, as your little ones will enjoy this nail biting spooky forest adventure and also enjoy the yummy treats to make too! It's available now to buy in all good bookshops and online.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Matilda’s Cat

Matilda's Cat

By Emily Gravett
Published by Macmillan Children's Books

This delightful little 12 page board book is perfect for kids with a pet or those who long for one - Matilda’s Cat is about a little girl trying to find something for her cat to like and play with.

Matilda tries playing with wool, boxes, riding bikes, and even tea parties but her cat is not impressed. So Matilda continues to think of new things, but after trying on funky hats, fighting foes and even reading books about dogs, Matilda’s cat has had enough. So what does Matilda’s cat like to play with? Can you guess? 

This charming book is made even more adorable by Emily’s illustrations which are simple and clean and catches a cat’s expressions so well. Even the hand written text works really well with the pictures.

Even if you’re not a pet lover (or a prefer dogs), you won’t be able to not enjoy this lovely little story and will be amused by the antics that little Matilda will go to to find something that her cat will like!

Matilda's Cat is available now in all good book shops and to buy online.

Bounce & Jiggle (Baby Gym)

Bounce & Jiggle (Baby Gym)

Illustrated by Sanja Rescek
Published by Child's Play

This little hard back book would make a great gift for any first time mothers because, if you’re like me, you may have forgotten your nursery rhymes! And when you start visiting baby classes and have to join in singing it can be quite embarrassing haven forgotten them!

Bounce & Jiggle is recommended for 0-2 years and covers 5 nursery rhymes; This is the Way Ladies Ride, Humpty Dumpty, Horsey, Horsey, Here we go Looby Lou, and Father and Mother. What makes this a great little book is the suggestions for movement and actions for each rhyme which helps encourage interaction between parent and baby. The added instruction at the bottom of each page is also helpful and being smaller text does not take away too much attention from the rhyme and colourful pictures depicting mothers and babies showing the actions.

If you’re not the best of singers (like me), don’t worry, babies don’t care. But by devoting time to these sort of activities with your baby, it plays a crucial part in the bonding process but also helps babies learn new sounds, words and actions. These activities encourage babies to express their emotions and to enjoy being noisy!

Bounce & Jiggle will help any newbie parent and is a great way to practice in the comfort of your own home. It's available to buy from the Child's Play website here.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Snow Day

Snow Day

Written by Richard Curtis, Illustrated by Rebecca Cobb
Published by Puffin

Brrr! With the weather changing and thoughts turning to winter (and the dreaded word, Christmas!), this little charm of a book will remind you of the good old school days when there was a chance of staying home from school to make snowmen and have snow fights! Snow Day, the second collaboration by writer and director Richard Curtis and illustrator Rebecca Cobb (their first being The Empty Stocking); this wintery tale is about finding friendship in the most unexpected of places.

What does the worst student and the strictest teacher equal? A not so great day, especially as little Danny and Mr Trapper are enemies. After a morning of History, English and Science where Danny finds it hard to concentrate, stay awake or even not fall over, its break time and Danny finally gets a chance to build a snowman, as every little girl and boy loves to do. But Danny can’t seem to stop the head from rolling off and after the third time, Mr Trapper has had enough and shows Danny how its properly done! Not just stopping at two snowmen, they build a whole army of snowmen followed by a Geography lesson of building a medieval fort, ice skating in Games, designing an igloo in Maths followed by building it in French - this day turns out to be the best day ever for both of them.

But will this odd friendship last when everyone returns to school the following day?  I won’t spoil it and tell you, you’ll have to read this gem of a book yourself.

Puffin have recommended this book for 5-8 years, and I definitely agree it will be enjoyed by older children. With 40 pages, this is a slightly longer story compared to the standard picture book of 32 pages. And lets not forget the lovely illustrations by the talented Rebecca Cobb, with the use of the mixed media, the pictures enhance the story creating more charm to this heart warming story.

This charming book would make a lovely Christmas gift, definitely a book to be enjoyed all snuggled up with your little ones and a cup off cocoa - you might even look forward to the next snow day! Snow Day is in all good bookshops now and available to buy online.