Tag Archives: picture books

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 – 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.

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*

Reviews to finish up the year

So, I am three reviews short of my Goodreads Challenge and, it has been an important part of ‘getting back on track’ for me this year, to complete it.

I knew I was running short of time. Although I have several great books that I am currently reading, Christmas has meant travel from Portugal to England and Scotland  to spend time with loved ones and all the hectic activities that go along with that. There is no prolonged period in the day to read chunky novels!

Therefore I downloaded three, free, children’s books with a Christmas theme to end the year. Here is the first review:-

Winter on the Farm by Beata Noemi Balint

img_1953This book seems to appear on Amazon as The Snowman but on Goodreads as Winter on the Farm. That was confusing when trying to tie up the two.

The story is very cute. The Snowman is created on a wintry day by children out to have fun in the snow but, all too soon, is forgotten when the time comes for father to chop down a tree for Christmas. The children’s attention is diverted and the Snowman is left alone, but not for long, soon all the creatures who had lived in the fallen tree are crowding around him asking where they can live now that their home is gone.

There are a lot of themes here; the impact of humans on the environment, the changing of the seasons, loss and renewal, the circle of life, but they are presented in a way that is fun, easily understandable and never preachy.

This really is a very lovely story but there are grammatical mistakes and it is in need of a thorough edit and polish up.


Review – How Santa Changed by Karl Steam

img_1946What a delightful and different Christmas story this is. Illustrated in full colour and in a traditional style, How Santa Changed, tells the story of Santa as a young man, who loves to make toys for children. But as the years go by the burden of producing more and more toys takes its toll and the moose that pulls his sleigh can’t cope either!

Changes are needed if the annual task of delivering toys to children all over the world can be completed.

The story is told in rhyme in the style of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ – it’s a bright, cheerful and very seasonal read that I loved and I am sure children will love to find out how young Santa became the Jolly Old Elf that we all know.

There are a couple of clunky lines but otherwise the rhyming story worked really well. A lovely, quick read for Christmas!


Review – Harry and the Hot Lava by Chris Robertson

img_1921A  colourful and striking picture book. Harry imagines hot lava is on the loose, running through his house.

Reading this book reminded me of when children have a what we used to call in our house a ‘mad half-hour’, running,chasing, screeching and laughing, the type of behaviour that makes parents quickly say ‘okay now, lets just sit quietly and look at some books.’

The illustrations in Harry and the Hot Lava are cute, colourful, dynamic and very well drawn. However the story is minimal, not really a story at all. I somehow think that once the impact of first seeing it was over it’s not a book that could be read over again very much.

Great fun, though. 3.5 stars