Reviews

300 Picture Book Challenge #2

Our 300 Picture Book Challenge efforts received a surprise boost this week when I found out I’d won a Twitter competition run by Hodder Children’s Books. I’ve never won anything online before so it was all very exciting. On Wednesday morning our prize, a big box of books from across their range, arrived. Some will be put away until Little Miss is older but a good six or seven are perfect for now and we’ve really enjoyed reading them.

So here’s a picture of almost everything we’ve read this week…

300 PBs Week2

Our prize included the fab That Pesky DragonLlama Llama Red Pyjama and Is It bedtime Wibbly Pig? (already a firm favourite we’d borrowed from the library and kept far too long). It also introduced us to the adorable Hugless Douglas. More on him in a sec…

So this week my Baby Bookworm and I have read 28 different books, taking our total so far to 56.

Our top three reads have been:

Hugless Douglas Finds a Hug Hugless Douglas by David Melling – Douglas the bear is always on a mission to find the perfect hug and Little Miss just loves him! We were given two books in our prize, including the one pictured which features a cuddly Douglas puppet to really bring the story to life. Fun, heartwarming stories with great illustrations.

I'm Not Sleepy2 I’m Not Sleepy by Jane Chapman – The library provided our favourite bedtime read, which Little Miss has asked for every night (and several nap times) since we borrowed it. As the name and cover suggest, it’s about a little owl who doesn’t want to go to bed and has Grandma owl (‘Nanma’ as Little Miss says) in a flutter. Beautiful pictures and love the ending (I won’t give it away). Perfect for grandparents and anyone who loves owls like we we do (and if you do, here’s a post about owls and a couple more book suggestions).

The Gruffalo3 The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson – I’m not sure why it’s taken us so long, but we finally discovered just how great the hugely popular children’s author Julia Donaldson is this week. I can see what all the fuss is about and why she was made Children’s Laureate. The Gruffalo is one of the UK’s best-selling picture books and we loved it! Such a clever, humorous and appealing little story, with fantastic rhyming text. I think we’ll be enjoying this one for years! And I’ve just discovered there’s an official Gruffalo website to accompany the book, which looks good. We also read a second Julia Donaldson book, Wake Up Do, Lydia Lou, which again is lots of fun to read out loud.

I’ve realised this week that Little Miss is starting to move away from her more basic board books. She’ll still look at these on her own but when we’re reading together she chooses longer picture stories. Luckily I had a whole pile of books I’d previously put away so these have been much appreciated. Our latest batch of borrowed books also reflects her growing attention span and we now have a whole new section of library to explore.

You can follow our daily reading progress here on Pinterest.

Find out more and join in with the 300 Picture Book Challenge over on the Child Led Chaos blog.

Happy reading everybody!

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Categories: Baby bookworm, Reviews | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

Owls: General twit-twoo’sings and a couple of book reviews

ImageI don’t know quite when it happened – but it seems that owls are suddenly everywhere! This is especially so when it comes to children’s clothes, books and toys. I don’t have a problem with this; I’ve always thought owls were pretty cool and very cute – one of my favourite childhood books was The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark.


My daughter absolutely adores owls. It was one of her first words (a nice easy one to say) and if she spots one when we’re out and about it’s always heralded very loudly with excited squeals of “owl, owl!” And she has been known to spot them in the least obvious places. When out with friends the other weekend, she spied one from across a big table on the side of a water bottle. We had no idea it was even there so were all very impressed!

So, as you can probably tell, any stories involving owls go down really well in our house, which leads me to a couple of book recommendations for any other parents with a mini owl fanatic in their fold.

Wow Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood

The blurb: At night, when we are feeling tired and ready for bed, owls are just waking up. But this curious little owl decides to stay awake all day, instead of all night, and discovers a world bursting with colour! But when the night-time comes around again, the stars above her head are still the most beautiful sight of all. An engaging book about colours from the winner of the Best Emerging Illustrator, Booktrust Early Years Award 2008.

This is a lovely book and one that we originally found in the library before I decided we had to invest in our own copy. Apparently it was the author’s first book for younger readers and it’s certainly a hit with our little bookworm. She has enjoyed it since she was almost a year old but it’s even more popular now. I’m sure it will stay a firm favourite for a long time yet, especially once she starts to to become more familiar with the different colours. It’s both fun and educational and the illustrations are bright and engaging. We’ve got the board book version as these generally wear better in little hands.

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I’m Not Santa! By Jonathan Allen
The blurb: Baby Owl is back in this follow-up to the highly successful I’m Not Cute! and I’m Not Scared! Baby Owl is taking a Christmas Eve stroll though the woods with his sledge, when Baby Hare mistakes him for Santa. “I’m not Santa!” Baby Owl insists, and a comic Christmas tale unfolds.

Another library find when I was looking for something Christmassy. This book made me laugh, so is definitely one adults will enjoy too. You’ll recognise with amusement the all too familiar toddler behaviour of both Baby Owl and Baby Hare, especially Baby Hare getting very upset when he realises Baby Owl really isn’t Santa! I’ve since discovered that there’s a whole series of books featuring Baby Owl so I’m really looking forward to reading more of these.

If anyone else has any ‘owly’ recommendations of their own, please do share them with us. And to finish, here’s a barn owl pic I couldn’t resist!

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Top image courtesy of Sattva/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Bottom image courtesy of Liz Noffsinger/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Categories: Baby bookworm, Festive fun, Reviews | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Review: Snailbow online children’s story

Little Miss and I, as regular readers will know, spend a lot of time reading books together but we recently discovered a different way to share a story. We were sent a link to a new online interactive illustrated children’s story called A New Home for Snailbow.

Snailbow screen shotSnailbow has magic multi-coloured skin but is unhappy with his ‘sad’ grey shell so goes on a quest to find a new, more appealing, home. Along the way he meets Mr Turtle, Mrs Armadillo and Mr Crab before finally Wise Old Owl makes him realise that really he was happy as he was all along.

The story is set to music and animated, with the reader moving the Snailbow character along by using the scroll function. Once I’d got to grips with the scrolling and got the speed right – perhaps give yourself a few minutes practice before showing it to an inpatient toddler – we really enjoyed it.

Snailbow is a great little character, with his special skin changing colour as he moves along, and Little Miss sat quietly transfixed through the whole thing, without trying to bash the laptop keyboard or press any buttons, which is a rarity! And since she loves owls the final character was a big hit (cue lots of pointing and shouts of ‘owl, owl!’). As a parent, I liked the gentle ‘grass isn’t always greener’ moral to the story.

Snailbow was created by 23-year-old digital designer Jack Wild. It’s something he’s done in his free time and is totally non-commercial.

Jack says: “Illustration is a hobby of mine. I really like to try out lots of different styles, and snails are my go-to animal of choice when it comes to illustration (don’t ask)! I originally made a little story which was actually for adults, in the style of a children’s story, and the snail meets an unfortunate end, so it was dark humour. But then I felt guilty and thought it would be perfect to grow the idea into a children’s story instead, with a happy ending! So I developed the story and characters, and was working on it a couple of months in the evenings.”

You can find A New Home for Snailbow at www.snailbow.com. You can see a little case-study about how it was made here.

Categories: Baby bookworm, Reviews | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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