Tag Archives: Children’s books

Children’s Corner – The Great Jumperee by Julia Donaldson

This gorgeous new book by Julia Donaldson is sure to delight little children, perfect to cuddle up with!

Rabbit is on his way home one day when he hears an alarming voice coming from his burrow,

‘I’m the Giant Jumperee and I’m as scary as can be!’

Rabbit is understandably reticent to go into the burrow and cries for help. Along comes Cat who is sure she won’t be scared… she goes to the burrow and…

So it goes on, Bear and Elephant also being frightened off by the terrible voice. But then Mummy Frog comes along and all is revealed.

This is a familiar and winning format with the repetition that little ones love so much. A lovely story and most beautifully and finely illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.

*Many thanks to Penguin Random House UK Children’s, Netgalley and the author and illustrator for an advance copy of this book*

Children’s Corner- Emily and the Spellstone by Michael Rubens

Do not under rate the power of magic… or this book!

This is a five star read and more; I loved it.

Emily is a twelve year old with all the familiar problems;  parents that don’t understand her, an over-bearing older sister and an annoying younger brother. Her parents don’t listen to her and the school bully does everything she can to make Emily’s life unbearable. To  top it all, the weird new girl at school wants to make friends.

Emily is disappointed that her parents won’t buy her a phone for her twelfth birthday but, walking on the beach, finds something that shouldn’t be more interesting than a phone but actually turns out far more interesting. It’s a stone – with magical powers.

Make no mistake this is a great, adventurous, funny read. The stone contains not a genie but a monster whose sole purpose in life is to eat Emily and yet… it must do as she commands. Then there is the ferocious Dogg- never to be confused with the much more dangerous Doggg,

I don’t have any twelve year olds or even ten year olds to gift this book to at the moment but I will be saving this one for my grandchildren. The author has perfectly combined good, old fashioned adventure with so many great up-to-the-minute twists that modern readers will relate to. The stone has ‘apths’ and behaves like a phone, there are ichildren involved and computer games that can suck you in.

If I have any criticism at all it’s that at the beginning, ( before the adventure begins), Emily’s parents seem to very unfairly single her out amongst her siblings as the one who is always in trouble, rather than just being rather rubbish at parenting in general. I’m not sure if that added anything useful to the story, but I was soon lost in the wider narrative and all comes right in the end!

A highly recommend book due to be published in June 2017

*Many thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group and Netgalley for an ARC of this book*

Children’s Corner – The Mr Men and Little Miss Books

For my children’s feature this week, rather than a single review I would like to pay homage to the Mr Men and Little Miss series by the late, Roger Hargreaves.

These little books were a staple in our household during the eighties when our children were very young. The illustrations are simple and funny and the stories are just the right length to keep a young child interested all the way through without too much fidgeting.

I kept a few of our original books and began reading them to our grandchildren. They love looking on the back of the books to see the other titles in the Mr Men series and so I have added to our library and now we have a whole stack of them again.

If you enjoy reading aloud the Mr Men books are ideal. Mr Noisy is a great character. All the people in Wobbletown are frightened of him because he shouts so loudly even when he is only buying a loaf of bread.

     When most people sneeze you can hear them in the next room

      But… ATISHOO

     When Mr Noisy sneezes you can hear him in the next country! 

 

 

From Mr Happy:-

         If you’ve never seen a mouse smile or a cat, or a dog, or even a worm –       go to Happy land 

From Mr Forgetful:-

      It was such a lovely day Mr Forgetful decided to walk down to the village to buy a stamp for a letter he’d written three weeks ago but had forgotten to post…

I really do love these little books and recommend you try them. Even the covers make me smile. Have a fun Friday!

Children’s Corner – Spider School by Francesca Simon

img_1996Spider School is written by the author of the hugely popular Horrid Henry series and illustrated by the brilliant Tony Ross.

kate wakens on her first day at a new school. It’s a big day and she doesn’t want to go, so much so that she gets out of the wrong side of bed and this is where the trouble starts.

Kate is late and she can’t find her school clothes. Her mum is less than helpful and bundles her off in old clothes leaving her at the gates to find her own way to class. There are no toilets, the teacher is a gorilla who likes to read comics and the dinner lady is serving spiders for lunch.

Load of silly fun here and a perfect ending as, after running home to bed, Kate gets out of the right side and finds herself in a lovely school full of nice kids and teachers – and no spiders for lunch.

This is an early reader that, I expect,  will appeal to a lot of five and six year olds who are not so keen on princesses and fairy castles.

Children’s Corner – Winnie and Wilbur by Valerie Thomas

img_1994Known in its original form simply as Winnie the Witch this wonderful book has since grown into a whole series and Winnie and Wilbur is the new edition of that first book.

The story is simple but brilliant. Winnie the Witch lives in a black house with a black door and black furniture; everything is black. This does not work well when Winnie’s black cat Wilbur is curled up on a chair or the top of the stairs. With his beautiful green eyes closed he becomes invisible and Winnie is always tripping over him.

But Winnie has the answer, she is a witch after all. So she sets about casting spells to turn Wilbur all sorts of bright colours so that he can been seen. At first Winnie is delighted with the results but poor Wilbur is miserable until the perfect solution occurs to Winnie, to turn her house into bright colours and give Wilbur back his beautiful black fur.

This is such a classic and fun picture book with a story brought to life by Korey Paul’s fantastic illustrations. A must for every small child’s book shelf.

Children’s Books and What They Mean to Me

img_1990Books. When I was a child, I couldn’t get enough of them. Picture books, children’s encyclopaedia’s especially the sections on Volcanoes, tropical islands and exotic animals! I loved Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven and Famous Five series, because those kids had such adventures. Also, just William by Richmal Crompton and Jennings and Derbyshire by Anthony Buckeridge for their downright naughtiness. Later I loved the Nancy Drew mysteries.

When my children were small I began to discover children’s books all over again, old favourites and bright, new books. Parents are so lucky, moving through a few short years of The Hungry Caterpillar and Dear Zoo to The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Mog and Winnie the Witch and on to longer stories. When we read together (long after the children could read for themselves) The Animals of Farthing Wood, Terry Pratchett’s Bromeliad Series, Diggers, Truckers and Wings, and of course Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox and others I couldn’t wait for the next chapter any more than the children. I never got to read the Harry Potter books to my children as they came a little too late but I’m looking forward to that pleasure with my grandchildren.

At the time that I finished writing my first novel, The Palaver Tree, we also happened to be moving house and I came across an old box file of my writing from way back when I used a typewriter. In there was the outline for a children’s book that I had long ago imagined and named Kelly at Come-alive Cottage. I was excited by the story that I had forgotten and decided there and then that I would next produce a children’s book. After all, I told myself,  the process of writing a novel is a long and sometimes arduous task. I thought my little fifty page chapter book would be a breeze.

Wrong

It  was hard, just like any writing project, but it was fun and different and also gave me a new respect for children’s writers.

My blog is all about my love of and experience with books and, for a while I have wanted to separately feature some of the best children’s books, both old and new.  This is what Fridays will look like on the blog.

I started last Friday with a brand new and lovely book by Cat Michaels, The Magical Aquarium.

Which  children’s books have you loved and remembered? If you can recommend a favourite old or new or have written a children’s book please contact me with ideas for this feature. I will be choosy, I want to feature those that I would love to share with the next generation of readers (and parents!) I will be reading and reviewing each book, so please, none longer than about fifty pages. There  are still a lot of novels out there to read too!

Children are the next generation of readers. Who knows what publishing will look like by the time they grow up? Let’s give them all the encouragement we can with great books to start their reading journey.

My Come-alive Cottage Series

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Books for Children -The Magical Aquarium by Cat Michaels

img_1989PJ and big sister Blake take a fun trip to a new aquarium in The Magical Aquarium by Cat Michaels. The first surprise is that Blake (a second grader) is driving her younger sister to the aquarium, but this is a book about magic and so anything can happen. The author leaves a nice little note at the end of the book telling children they will have to wait a while longer before they can really drive a car.

Once safely at the aquarium the two girls soon make friends with Merrie who shows them around and there are some special surprises in store involving meeting talking sea creatures and tea-time with mermaids.

This is a charming story. Pj and Blake’s love for sea-life shines through right from the very start. Though the narrative is, in one way, quite whimsical it is dotted very cleverly with fun facts about sea creatures. There is a mix of photographs and illustrations and, at the end, some words to discuss (lagoon, kelp, coral) as well as some more photos and descriptions of creatures children might see on their own visit to an aquarium. There is even a short video clip of a scuba diver in shark tank.

This is a lovely story, with just the right amount of interesting information added. Great to be read before a visit to a real aquarium, especially for children visiting for the first time. I expect some little ones (and some not so little) will be hoping to get a peak at a mermaid too.

*With thanks to the author who provided and Advanced Copy with no obligation to review*