Friday, 27 March 2015

The Great Cheese Robbery

The Great Cheese Robbery

Written and illustrated by Tim Warnes
Published by Little Tiger Press



In a lot of picture books, Dads are often portrayed as being very brave and strong, and are rarely scared of anything. That would be the case for The Great Cheese Robbery, however little Patrick soon learns that his Daddy is terrified of one very small little thing…


Patrick, a little elephant, knows he is very small compared to his big, strong Daddy. Patrick is scared of lots of things; like the dark, ghosts and even the fluff you find under the sofa. But not Daddy Elephant, he’s not scared of anything, but Patrick soon learns otherwise. Patrick often tries to scare his Daddy; jumping out of boxes and even dressing up as a monster. But no luck, until one day, there is a squeak at the front door. Patrick thought it was a tiny elephant but nope, “It’s a M-M-M-Mouse!”, cries his Daddy. The mouse announced himself as Cornelius J. Parker, a cheese inspector from the Cheese Inspection Council. He was there to inspect their cheese.

Cornelius J. Parker declares their cheese is very dangerous and calls in reinforcements. It’s not long before more mice have turned up at the door stating they are there for the fridge. Daddy Elephant is hiding behind the couch, too terrified, and isn’t much help in stopping these mice. And innocent Patrick is still under the impression that these mice are there on health and safety grounds. But when more mice turn up at the door, its clear they have a dastardly plan as Cornelius orders them to take everything!


It wasn’t just the fridge the mice were stealing, it was the telly, the phone and even Patrick’s toys. They even attempt to take the couch which Patrick’s Daddy sat quivering on. Patrick can’t stop them, when suddenly, who should arrive but Mummy Elephant. Patrick’s mummy asked what was going on but she doesn’t believe Cornelius’ lies. She demands them to put her husband down or else! But the mice are too bold to take any notice - so Mummy Elephant takes a big breath and blows the mice all around the room. The mice are soon scared and rush to follow her orders.


So in this case, though Daddy Elephant is big and very strong, it’s actually Mummy Elephant who is the bravest. So very true! The Great Cheese Robbery is very funny and would make the perfect book for reassuring any children coping with phobias!

The quirky illustrations are big and fun - look out for the title page, you'll get a glimpse of a little mouse putting on a disguise - a big hint for the mayhem and trouble that is on its way! Children will love these mischievous mice, and mums will like that it’s up to Mummy to save the day (isn't it always?). There’s no doubt that you won’t enjoy this cheesy tale. The Great Cheese Robbery, recommended for 3 years and over is available in all good book shops and online here.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Mummy’s Little Sunflowers

Mummy’s Little Sunflowers

Written by Angela McAllister, Illustrated by Alison Edgson
Published by Little Tiger Press



A belated Happy Mother’s Day for Sunday! It was my first Mother’s Day and I felt very lucky, I was able to have a lie in and didn’t have to cook, a very nice day indeed. If you have young children, Mummy’s Little Sunflowers is a lovely little book for this time of the year, and one that explores the unique relationship between siblings. Mummy’s Little Sunflowers is the latest book from Angela McAllister and Alison Edgson. 


Little Scurry has a sunflower seed from nursery which he plans to grow for his mummy but
disaster strikes when his little brother, Scamp, eats his only seed. With a little advice from a blackbird, they’re off in search of another seed. On their way, Scamp gets confused about what a sunflower looks like and its up to Scurry to explain and show him. But sunflowers are very tall and with the help from a cow, they get a lift to the top of the flower. There’s lots of seeds to munch, and once full, they gather seeds to take home.


Scurry shows Scamp how to plant the seed and explains what is needed to help the seed grow. After dinner, little Scamp rushes out to the garden where he lets out a wail, Scurry and his mother go running to see what’s the matter. Scamp doesn’t understand it can take quite a while for a seed to grow, and their Mummy explains that flowers needs lots of sun and rain to grow. Scurry has an idea and takes Scamp upstairs where their Mummy can hear lots of giggling. Scurry and Scamp are dressed as sunflowers, a lovely surprise just for their Mummy.

This sweet little mice tale would be great for siblings, showing how patience and guidance can sometimes be needed for younger brothers and sisters. It’s also a great book to read in Spring time to help little ones understand about planting and growing seeds. The illustrations are big and bright, while the characters are cute and large allowing little ones to spot and focus on them. The story flows well and Mummies and little ones will enjoy this sweet tale of one big adventure for two little mice.


Mummy’s Little Sunflowers is available to buy now from all good bookshops and online from Little Tiger Press.




Written and illustrated by Jérémie Fischer
Published by Flying Eye Books



A fun and wild new book from Flying Eye Books; WILD ABOUT SHAPES is the latest release from Jérémie Fischer, an illustrator and professional screen-printing technician.


As you can tell from the title, this book is all about shapes, shapes that turn into animals. This book has an almost magical quality as animals appear within pages of overlapping colour and alternating pages of printed acetate. There’s not many words within this book but on each page spread, there’s either a question "What can you see?" or direction "Look closer…", or "look up in the air" but then as you explore the book you’re on an exploration of the animal kingdom. Animals such as an elephant, giraffe, crocodile and even a mouse will appear among many more.


This is a fun book which has a colourful narrative that will engage young readers to explore the shapes and talk about what they can see. It’s beautifully crafted and cleverly designed - You can read more about Jérémie Fischeron here, where he includes shots of how he plans out the shapes and what they will form.

The recommended age for this book is from 3 to 5 years of age but this book will definitely appeal to adults and children alike. You’ll enjoy exploring these pages with eager young minds to see what animals will reveal themselves next.

WILD ABOUT SHAPES is available to buy now on the Flying Eye Books website.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

To Baby With Love

To Baby With Love
A baby record book

Illustrated by Sarah Ward
Published by Little Tiger Press



Moving away from picture books for this review, and on the theme of Mother’s Day, this baby record book would make a great gift for any new mum or mum to be.

This gorgeous journal offers space for those special moments and milestones; from first scan, first photo, first bedroom, first steps to enjoying baby's first foods. There’s a lovely first section, 'Before You Were Born', where parents can record what they thought they were having, whether girl or boy, what they felt, and even what mum was eating.



When baby is born, there’s a double page spread for remembering the number one song in the chart, the Prime Minister, a newspaper cost as well as a space for a postage stamp.
And like any record book, there’s space for weight, heights through the first year, when baby first sat up, crawled and first step. There’s even a little envelope for a little locket of hair and a large envelope at the back for keepsakes.

This is beautifully illustrated by Sarah Ward and has an almost picture book feel, that I’m sure little ones will love looking through to see their baby photos and adorable animal characters. The colours used also make this a great unisex book.


The covers are padded and have a lovely feel. While the thick elastic band, to hold the book closed, feels strong and looks like it will do a great job holding this book closed when full of photos and keepsakes, keeping those little treasures safe. This is a great little record book and would make a lovely gift to make sure those precious memories are never forgotten.

You can buy To Baby With Love on the Little Tiger website.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

I Love You to the Moon and Back

I Love You to the Moon and Back

Illustrated by Tim Warnes
Published by Little Tiger Press



Looking for a Mother’s Day gift? I Love You to the Moon and Back, a charming little board book, is a joyful celebration of the love between a parent and child.


As the sun sets, Big Bear tells Little Bear about loving their time together as they start each happy day; loving their bath time silliness, loving to lift Little Bear up high, and sharing the magic of the shining skies above. Big Bear and Little Bear think of all the different ways that they can show their love; like when they’re touching noses, seeing friends or playing chase. As the day comes to an end, and Little Bear is snuggled in Big Bear’s arms, it ends with these lovely words ‘I love you to the moon and stars, my precious little one.’


With the night time setting, this will make a great bed time read, perfect for reading with your special little person. The sweet illustrations are charming and work well with the celebration of love between parent and child. And with sturdy pages, it’s easy for little hands to turn pages.

I Love You to the Moon and Back is available to buy here.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015


This is my Rock

By David Lucas
Published byFlying Eye Books

The latest release by Flying Eye Books is THIS IS MY ROCK by the talented David Lucas, a timeless story about sharing.



THIS IS MY ROCK is about a little goat claiming the top of a mountain top, he won’t even let the other goats anywhere near the top, saying 'Not your rock'. He warns off an eagle, a brown bear and even fights off a pack of wolves, telling everyone that ‘This is my rock. Not your rock.’ When the goat is finally alone, he enjoys some yodelling and some tippity tapping.


But being all alone isn’t all it's hyped up to be, especially at night when it’s very cold (and scary!). When the sun rises, little goat knows what he must do. He finds his friends and tells them that the rock is ‘Our rock.’ They soon race to the top where a little bird has now claimed it! Doh! I must admit that this is the first time that I have come across David Lucas’ work and wow, I adore his illustrative style and his use of patterns (going through a pattern phase at the moment). After reading about him on his website, I love his decorative style, and with this book being printed in 4 spot colours (a process that mixes pantone inks and prints in layers to create a unique colour palette), the book has a lovely style and appearance and that 'must have' feel about it!


I also recently read an interview with Lucas on the Nobrow site, where Lucas shares his stories of his 5 other brothers. He admits that the eldest goat in the story is his brother, who sadly passed away when he was in the middle of this book. It was only later on that he noticed that he'd given the oldest goat his brothers’ scarf - with the same colours as the one his brother wore throughout his twenties, which he had completely forgotten about. I highly recommend having a read over on the nobrow site.

THIS IS MY ROCK has a simple moral of sharing which would make a great gift for any young book lover but also for siblings! Things can be much more fun when they are shared with your friends. THIS IS MY ROCK is available now to buy on the Flying Eye Books website here.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Happy Birthday Royal Baby

Happy Birthday Royal Baby

Written by Martha Mumford and Illustrated by Ada Grey 
Published by Bloomsbury



Well, I’m a little late in reviewing this book but with my thoughts now turning to my daughter’s first birthday it’s always good to remember that it’s the simple things babies love most! This is the second Royal Baby book, Shhh! Don’t Wake the Royal Baby! is the first in the series by author Martha Mumford.

The Royal Palace is awash with activity all because it's the Royal Baby’s first birthday and everything must be perfect. The cook is busy making the biggest cake ever with lots of jam, as the Royal Baby loves jam. The banqueting hall is filled with hundreds of balloons and dinosaur shaped ones, as the Royal Baby loves dinosaurs. There’s a bouncy castle and the royal orchestra in the garden, because of course, the Royal Baby loves bouncing and loves music.



It’s soon time for the party to begin and guests have arrived from near and far carrying gifts of all shapes and sizes. At any birthday party, there’s always party games and in this royal case, there’s Pin the Tail on the Corgi and Musical Thrones (what else?). Everyone is having a lovely time except the birthday boy himself. Waaaaaaaaaah! He cried. The Royal Baby was not happy. No one knows what’s the matter with him - they thought they had remembered all the things the Royal Baby likes.



The prince’s grandad suggests opening presents and what a pile of presents there are - so many toys for the little prince but still he just continues to cry. But who better to know how to fix the situation than Grandma. Minutes later the Queen’s private jet flies overhead leaving a vapour trail with the message Happy Birthday Royal Baby. As everyone looks up, the prince stopped crying just as the Queen parachuted to the ground with a present strapped to her front. Handing over the present, the little prince tore off the paper to find a cardboard box with nothing inside. His parents are astonished but the Queen knows to wait and see… the Royal Baby bounced up and down excitedly and climbed inside with his dinosaur shaped balloon - he was finally happy. Now the prince was able to enjoy all the cake, bouncing and the music, and everyone was right, he did love all those things and had the most fun ever.



This picture book is bursting with cake, balloons, presents and corgis! There are corgis everywhere! And I imagine children will enjoy spotting the cute little dogs amongst the wrapping paper and toys. Each page is jam packed with bright and bold illustrations. I enjoyed the illustrated Royal family and family members of the Duchess. It’s a lovely way of introducing Prince George and the Royal family to young children - though hopefully your little ones won’t be expecting a party of this magnitude! And as ever, Corgi covered end papers! (drool!).



With Royal Baby number 2 due anytime soon, look out for the third Royal Baby book - Hooray! It’s a New Royal Baby! due this April 2015. I’m sure it will be a marvellous Royal read! Happy Birthday Royal Baby is available in all good bookshops and on the Bloomsbury website.

Princess Stay Awake

Princess Stay Awake

Written by Giles Paley-Phillips and Illustrated by Adriana J. Puglisi 
Published by Maverick



After first reading this book, my first thought was, this is my daughter! We are currently going through a phase of fighting sleep in the day and refusing to go to bed at night, utterly exhausted! I’m sure other parents will be able to relate to this book, or if you’re one of the lucky ones who has a child that sleeps through the night, well, I’m sure you’ve heard of those sleepless children.



Princess Stay Awake is about Layla, a little princess who refuses to go to bed and doesn’t like sleep at all. Layla likes to skip around her room, play with all her toys and generally avoid shutting her eyes for a kip. The King and Queen try everything; singing lullabies, reading tales and even instructing a wizard to cast a sleeping spell - which backfires and makes him sleep instead! They call in a jester which just makes Layla laugh out loud. They make a knight run Layla around a maze and touch her toes to see if that would tire her out but it has no effect. "Perhaps a softer bed?", the king next suggests, but this just makes Layla imagine her bed is a trampoline and that she’s in the circus. The King and Queen are at their wits end (I know how they feel) when they have one more idea… It’s time to send for Grandma!


Grandma arrives in Layla’s room and suggests not sleeping at all and to stay awake. Layla is rather confused and unsure but as she says “I’m Princess Stay Awake!”, her eyes begin to droop, her legs and arms go floppy, and with a yawn, Princess Layla settles down to bed. Hooray!


This funny tale where Giles Paley-Phillips uses rhyme, which works and flows well throughout the story. The illustrations are big and bright, and the reader can clearly see what cheeky Layla is up to - avoiding going to bed!

This is the third Maverick book by author Giles Paley-Phillips - and after scary monsters and dark chilling tales, this rather different tale will be loved by your little princesses and Grandmas, because everyone knows Grandmas usually do know best.
Princess Stay Awake is available to buy now in all good bookshops. More information on the title can be found on the Maverick website.