What an incredible year! We have enjoyed so many wonderful books. Thank you to everyone who has bought, sent or recommended books for ...

A Year in Review

Thursday, December 31, 2015 BookBairn 6 Comments

What an incredible year! We have enjoyed so many wonderful books. Thank you to everyone who has bought, sent or recommended books for us to read. I cannot express how amazing it has been to have such wonderful friends who have supported our blogging adventure. We have turned many pages, lifted lots of flaps, played peekaboo with books, touched and felt textured pages and enjoyed some wonderful storytelling from mummy, daddy, grandparents, librarians and anyone else who offered to read. At nearly ten months old she is one of the most avid library-users I know, a huge fan of Bookbug, can say "book", can turn pages, and lift flaps. We need to read several stories at bedtime to satisfy her demand for more books.

So, here are our 15 favourites of 2015 (in no particular order, you must understand that would be an impossible task!):

1. Me by Emma Dodd
2. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
3. Where's Spot? by Eric Hill
4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
5. Miffy by Dick Bruna
6. What the Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson
7. Sense and Sensibility by Jennifer Adams
8. Hairy Maclary by Lynley Dodd
9. My Family by Mummy BookBairn
10. Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
11. Baby, I Love You (a lovely book given to all babies in Scotland by Unicef following the 2014 Commonwealth Games).
12. Mouse is Small by Mary Murphy (given out free in Scotland to all babies as part of the fantastic Bookbug scheme).
13. Funny Bunnies Up and Down by David Melling
14. That's Not My Owl by Fiona Watt
15. First 100 Animals by Roger Priddy

I have linked all of the books if you are interested in finding out more. (Not amazon/other retailers links, I'm not in the business of selling books, just recommending them!)

It is hard to put into words how incredible 2015 has been. In March, we welcomed our beautiful little BookBairn and life has been quite different ever since. She has brought so much joy. Pure joy. She is doted on by her loving daddy, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles, honourary aunts and uncles and friends. And I cannot thank you all enough. You are wonderful. I hope you will indulge me as I list some moments that we are most grateful for in 2015.

10 March - BookBairn is born (safely and swiftly, emphasis on the swiftly).
15 March - My first Mothers Day.
18 March - BookBairn gets her library card (I have included this as it's a particular highlight for Grandma BookBairn!).
28 April - Mummy BookBairn turns 30!
31 May - BookBairn sleeps all night (for all those parents out there you know that this is a biggie, but you will also be able to guess that it was a one-off and she only properly started sleeping all night when she hit 8 months old).
16 August - BookBairn nearly meets Miffy at the Edinburgh Book Festival.
23 August - we enjoy the messy beginning of tiny tastes of real food.
7 September - those first teeth appear. (And coincidentally mummy doesn't get any sleep).
18 September - our first family holiday (And coincidentally nobody sleeps).
25 September - the first blog post is published.
27 October - BookBairn stands up by herself.
26 November - BookBairn appears in Gurgle magazine.
29 November - snow!
20 December - BookBairn talks (she said 'dad' but it was closely followed by 'book' and 'mum'
25 December - a truly wonderful first Christmas (And coincidentally nobody sleeps).
31 December - 2015 has gone by in a blur (I'll admit some of this was sleep-deprivation) and I wouldn't change a minute of it.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who enjoy our blog,
Thank you to all the wonderful people who have shared our blog with friends,
Thank you to all the wonderful people who have bought or sent a book to BookBairn.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

May your 2016 bring as much joy to you as 2015 has to our BookBairn-y family! 
Love Mummy and BookBairn xx


We shared our festive book recommendations on http://scotbloggers.blogspot.co.uk/ last week! For anyone who missed it! You'd better w...

BookBairn, You'd Better Watch Out! Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

Monday, December 14, 2015 BookBairn 4 Comments

We shared our festive book recommendations on http://scotbloggers.blogspot.co.uk/ last week! For anyone who missed it!

You'd better watch out, you'd better not cry, you'd better not pout, I'm telling you why... Santa Claus is coming to town! In less than three weeks! And that means there is no time like the present (pardon the pun) to be cosying up and reading festive stories with your little bookbairns. We started our festive book countdown on the 1st December with our Christmas Advent Book Tree and can't get enough of the daily unwrapping and festive stories.

Looking for inspiration for Christmas books for your babies and tots? Here are some of our festive favourites so far!
Dear Santa
I couldn't resist adding this one to our advent countdown of festive books. We love 'Dear Zoo,' also by Rod Campbell, and BookBairn is at that fabulous stage of being able to life the flaps by herself. This book follows a similar structure to 'Dear Zoo' with Santa trying to find the perfect present. 'Dear Santa' has bold colourful flaps set against plain white backgrounds making it perfect for little peepers to get excited and find the flaps easily. The repetitive text would be great for older tots to join in with the reading of the story. It also has a great surprise at the end! #nospoilers This will make a great gift for little readers!

Winter A Pop Up Book
David A. Carter is nothing short of an artistic genius! 'Winter' is a fantastic book as a Christmas gift for toddlers. The pop-up illustrations make this simple book an engaging and imaginative introduction to simple winter vocabulary, flora and fauna. I should point out that this book is American and therefore many of the animals featured are US-based, featuring the red cardinal in place of our beloved winter robins. But the pop-ups are incredible! It was hard to keep BookBairn's little fingers at arms length so as to not rip the papercraft, but in the end I decided what could be better than a book that is so irresistible to touch?! I love this book and cannot understate it's brilliance but it's probably not for those with a 'don't touch' policy to fragile objects. But for us, this book is too precious to cherish, it's meant to be loved!

A Christmas Carol
You might think that BookBairn is a little young at nine months old to be approaching reading the classics but you'd be surprised! I recently came across a collection of books called BabyLit written by Jennifer Adams with art by Alison Oliver that make reading the classics so accessible for bookbairns. The BabyLit series is a collection of unique early learning books that uses the original context of the classic text to develop learning on a particular theme, making them far perfect for babies and tots. A 'Christmas Carol' is a colours primer featuring the key elements of the traditional tale. This book is undoubtedly as much for the parents as for the child. The themes and illustrations are clearly directed towards toddlers and their development but the references to the original classic plays to the whims of the parents. This would make a great gift for parents and kiddies alike, after all it's us parents who end up reading the books over and over again!

 Christmas A Treasure Hunt
When I first saw this book I thought that perhaps it was too tricky for BookBairn to fully enjoy. I hold my hands up and admit I was wrong. Completely wrong! She loves it! In the introduction, Roger Priddy notes that he has "noticed that babies are fascinated by brightly coloured patterns and endpapers in books" and I can see why; when we read this book that BookBairn is truly captivated. There is no story in this book, it is a seek and find book for little ones featuring photographs of festive treats against the bold backgrounds that Priddy Books do so well! BookBairn will look at the pages over and over, flipping back and forth enjoying the bright colours, she has even started to tap at the little bear hidden on each page, recognising that he doesn't quite fit the pattern.This book is great for little bookbairns to play with by themselves and for older ones to show off their treasure hunt skills by hunting out the odd pictures out! A lovely stocking filler!

Nativity Flap Book
Our final recommendation is Usbourne's 'Nativity flap book'. I wanted BookBairn to have a book in her Christmas collection that told her the story of the first Christmas, familiarising her with that beautiful story of the stable, donkey and baby Jesus. We love 'lift-the-flap' books and they are great for developing those fine-motor skills in wee ones! This book is beautifully illustrated, featuring all the characters from the Bible story and the starry sky scenery and the text has been shortened and simplified whilst still maintaining the key parts of the story. This makes it perfect to keep little bookbairns' attention and engaging them further through allowing them to interact with the flaps. This is a great gift for sharing the traditional Christmas story in a fun way for little ones!

We would love to know what you will be reading this Christmas time! We are always on the lookout for good book recommendations!

Thanks for reading, Mummy and BookBairn x


BookBairn loves a game of peek-a-boo! Give her almost anything big enough to cover her eyes and she will hide behind it and reveal her gorge...

Peekaboo! Who is making all those giggling noises?

Sunday, December 06, 2015 BookBairn 9 Comments

BookBairn loves a game of peek-a-boo! Give her almost anything big enough to cover her eyes and she will hide behind it and reveal her gorgeous wee giggle when you say '"peek-a-boo"! It will not surprise you, then, that she also loves a 'lift and reveal' story book (as we previously told you in 'click-tweet-peek-a-boo' and 'spook-tacular' blog posts). We recently discovered another fantastic 'reveal' book alternative to lift-the-flaps books for babies who love to play peek-a-boo! 'Who Says Roar?' by Priddy Books is a pull-the-tabs book full of high contrast bold prints and photographs of some very noisy animals!

BookBairn adores this book! She finds it very entertaining and amusing when I pull the tabs to reveal the animals and has great fun listening to my attempts at animal noises, the louder and sillier the better as far as she is concerned. Each page asks the simple question of 'I say insert appropriate animal noise here. Who am I?' and I am looking forward to when BookBairn begins to imitate the noise, or answers the question. What a great way to develop her speaking skills. In fact, she is working towards joining in with the 'neigh' of the horses. She then has great fun as we pull back the tab to reveal the pictures of the animals, and we repeat the noises every time that animal 'peekaboos' at us!
The back covers of the Priddy Books range have a great guide for parents as to the sort of skills their books aim to develop, alongside a recommended age range, which is incredibly helpful when choosing an appropriate book for your bookbairn. They suggest that this book is perfect for developing hand-eye coordination and I wholeheartedly agree! At the moment BookBairn doesn't have the coordination to pull the tabs herself but she has already figured out that the tabs are how mummy reveals the animal and as she gets older I have no doubt that she will master this. She has, in the meantime, realised that she can push the overlapping boards to reveal the picture (definitely working on her problem-solving). 

My only criticism lies in the fact that the book has just four double-page spreads and I think BookBairn and I would have enjoyed more. I understand that this limitation is down to the way the book is constructed with the tabs, adding more would make the book too thick and heavy for little hands to handle. For us though, you can't get enough of a good thing. I guess we could always buy more from the Priddy Books Peekaboo range to satisfy our desire for more peekaboo fun! 

 This is a perfect book for giggly bookbairns! We can't get enough!

Love Mummy and a very giggly BookBairn x

*DISCLAIMER* I was given our book for free for review purposes, however all words and opinions are my own.


Last month we celebrated Picture Book Month by reading a themed picture book every day and documenting it on our instagram account. Th...

Why Picture Books are Important!

Friday, December 04, 2015 BookBairn 0 Comments

Last month we celebrated Picture Book Month by reading a themed picture book every day and documenting it on our instagram account. The official Picture Book Month website featured picture book ambassadors, i.e. authors, illustrators, and movers & shakers in the kidlit industry, responding to the question 'why are picture books important?' This made for fascinating reading and got my thinking...

Why Are Picture Books Important?

Picture books are meant to be read aloud, creating a valuable shared experience between reader and listener. For young children sharing a picture book can be amongst their first social experiences, curled up in the lap of a parent with their undivided attention. Like sharing a meal, reading and exploring stories and books can form lifelong bonds between children and the adults who read to them. Not only do picture books create a shared social connection in those moments of turning the pages but they also create a connection across generations. We were all little once, and we were all read a picture book. And since becoming a parent, I enjoy reading BookBairn the books that I loved as a child and there are so many I can't wait to introduce her to. For me, reading a story aloud creates real magic. I love those moments with BookBairn and her daddy when we read bedtime stories and she looks up adoringly at the reader whilst cuddled up in the lap of the other. There can be no denying that picture books are magical when reading a picture book to an entire class of thirty children, all of whom try to shuffle closer to the front as you read, whose smiling faces and bright eyes are eager for you to turn the next page and tell the next part of the story. Magic.

Picture books are many children's first experience of story allowing them to make connections between words and pictures. With picture books, readers can determine the pace of the story, turning the pages as they feel ready, lingering over the illustrations to 'read' the pictures. Even now, BookBairn is learning to turn the pages of story books and has recently started to lean forward to peak at the next page. She also knows the difference between the text and the pictures, beginning to make the connection that the words tell the story along with the illustrations. In time, reading picture books will enrich her vocabulary; introduce her to concepts of plot, setting, characterisation, theme and style; and as they are rich in rhyme and repetition will help her in the development of decoding and word-recognition skills. In short, picture books provide her with the skills to join the next generation of readers and storytellers.

Picture books also provide children's early experience of artwork. Illustrators are undervalued artists. Artists use art to communicate thoughts, feelings and ideas. So do picture book illustrators. Illustrators create artwork that rivals that found in any large art museum. The use of line, colour and shape in picture books can make lasting impressions on children. Who doesn't remember the bold use of colours of Dick Bruna's Miffy, or the instantly recognisable use of materials by Eric Carle in the Very Hungry Caterpillar, or the quirky lines of Quentin Blake bringing to life Roald Dahl's equally quirky characters? Picture books undoubtedly allow the youngest of children to begin forming their own opinions of art and design.

Picture books allow children to explore new worlds, opening doors to new adventures, making lifelong friends with characters. Picture book stories are wonderful and meaningful; full of valuable lessons and adventures, and when you accompany a meaningful, beautifully story with illustrations that transport you into another world it makes the story truly come alive.

Why Are Picture Books Important? They create a magical world filled with words, art and adventure that can be shared from generation to generation.

Love Mummy and BookBairn x