Last month BookBairn and I started reading some much-loved classics for the #2016classicschallenge . There are lots of great versions of c...

A Colourful Post

Sunday, February 21, 2016 BookBairn 6 Comments

Last month BookBairn and I started reading some much-loved classics for the #2016classicschallenge. There are lots of great versions of classics for babies and toddlers available but, to be honest, I didn't want what I chose to read be dictated by BookBairn's reading options. So I decided to go ahead and read 'The Colour Purple' by Alice Walker, which is also on my reading list from Emma Watson's #oursharedshelf feminist book group on goodreads. I love and hate this book in equal measure and am happy to revisit it as I get so much out of reading it. Highly recommended book (though not for bookbairns).

BookBairn has, instead, been reading 'Alphaprints: Colours' by Priddy Books (and made by Jo Ryan, Sarah Powell and Pip Tinsley). This is a wonderful book introducing a simple rainbow of colours to wee readers. It goes without saying that this book is full of bold colours!

The book consists of seven double page spreads, one for each colour, and each features an animal that is primarily made from raised fingerprints. The fingerprints are slight embossed making them appealing for little hands to touch, feel and explore. The animals are set in a location created in a similar colour but rather than drawn or painted illustrations they are constructed from photographs of everyday objects, which will make for a great eye-spy game when BookBairn masters her sounds! I also like the fact that the text is a simple sentence and not just random words as it creates more of a story for each picture and as wee readers get older you could get them to act out what the animals are doing. For example "Yellow snake slithers in the yellow desert." BookBairn is getting very good at her "ssssss" snake sound and can slither on her tummy with ease so she has already been acting out this page!

Perhaps the best feature of this book is the graduated pages with multi-coloured foil edges (you can see in the pictures along the edge of the book). This has been brilliant for BookBairn! Whilst she has been able to turn pages in most board books for quite a while it is not the easiest for her and she often ends up returning to the same pages over and over (this may be her intention but I doubt it). With this book I have 'caught' her reading every single page as she can access them all easily. I have noticed that the green crocodile page is her favourite - she likes to feel the fingerprint eyes but also enjoys the button teeth.

BookBairn is absolutely loving this book! (As you can see in the above photos). There are many great books out there for introducing colour terms to little ones and this one is particularly good. We also like Ladybird's Baby Touch range's 'Colours' and Usbourne's Baby's Very First Touchy-Feely 'Colours Playbook' both of which we have borrowed from our local library in the past. And I am also keeping an eye out for Little Tiger Press's 'Colours Colours Everywhere' as I like the cut out features and the black backgrounds which add a little extra charm! If you have found any other colour books that you particularly like we would love to hear your recommendations.

Enjoy your colourful reading! Mummy and BookBairn xx
Caught red (or should that be purple?) handed
with Mummy's book!
*DISCLAIMER* I was given 'Alphaprints: Colours'  for free for review purposes, however, all words and opinions are my own.



There are many types of interactive books out there for babies and toddlers: lift-the-flap, touch and feel, pop-up, musical books. A new sor...

A Book Worthy of Applause

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 BookBairn 8 Comments

There are many types of interactive books out there for babies and toddlers: lift-the-flap, touch and feel, pop-up, musical books. A new sort of interactive book has emerged on the market, and surprisingly, it has no flaps, no texture, no smoke or mirrors, no batteries. It is simply ink on flat paper. And all you need to make it interactive? Your hands.

I have often admired Herve Tullet's 'Press Here' book which enables children to engage with the red, blue and yellow dots by giving them instructions on which ones to press (click here to see this book in action). However, it is still beyond BookBairn to follow instructions, and, will be for a while to come yet! But I didn't want to miss out on such fantastic, imaginative, interactive book fun, so luckily...

Madalena Matoso has created 'Clap, Clap!' published by Flying Eye Books providing all the same fun but without that tricky necessity of grasping the nuances of language! As you open and close the pages the characters come to life. Everything inside makes a movement or a noise as they pages meet and part when you open and close. The pages feature: a man knocking on a door; a butterfly flapping it's wings; a man playing the cymbals; a couple sharing a kiss; kids giving each other a high five; a sandwich press toasting a cheese sandwich. Each image is accompanied by onomatopoeic text that further brings to life the actions from "knock knock knock" to "flap flap flap" to "mwah mwah". BookBairn giggled with laughter at the man beating the drum with the loud "bong bong bong bong".
The illustrations are painted in simple geometric shapes in a bold colour palette primarily of red, blue, yellow, green, pink and black, which will immediately appeal to little ones. Little readers are often targetted with 'black and white for babies' books as their eyesight develops but this book will provide all the contrast they need with much more sophistication! Matoso's background in graphic design has clearly influenced her illustrations and they appeal to the grown-ups in our house as much as BookBairn.

My only quibble with this book is that, whilst it has a board cover and back, the inside pages are paper making it more difficult for BookBairn to manipulate. I found when she was reading it by herself she was constantly returning to the endpaper pages due to the weighty board outer pages and struggling to get her wee fingers round the paper pages. Probably a book that's better read together! And that's certainly not a problem!

Great fun! Bright illustrations! Mummy having to read silly words! A book worthy of applause!

Clap Clap! Mummy and BookBairn xx

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

We are linking up with #readwithme on Mama Mummy Mum and #weekendbookclub with Mummy in Training.


Sometimes you will find a book that will utterly charm you. Sometimes, less often, you will read a sequel that is as charming as the orig...

The Wonderful World of Oliver Jeffers

Sunday, February 07, 2016 BookBairn 8 Comments

Sometimes you will find a book that will utterly charm you. Sometimes, less often, you will read a sequel that is as charming as the original. Sometimes, even less often, you will want to read everything an author/illustrator has ever created. But rarely, you will love every page of every book. There are some authors/illustrators who have cast such magic spells: AA Milne, Beatrix Potter, JK Rowling. These are magicians who will be read generation after generation. Comparably, Oliver Jeffers has cast a spell that will captivate readers for generations. His books are enchanting. And I am bewitched.

The very first thing I did when I discovered I was expecting BookBairn was head straight to the local bookshop and buy copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Dear Zoo, Hairy Maclary, The Gruffalo and Oliver Jeffers's 'How to Catch a Star'. These were the books my BookBairn needed upon her arrival into the world. But How to Catch a Star was the one I read to my bump first. 
Here's the message I sent Daddy BookBairn.

'How to Catch a Star' is still my favourite (and Daddy BookBairn's too). It tells the story of a little boy who wishes for a star of his very own. He searches and searches, asks for advice, waits and waits and waits, and just when he almost gives up hope he spots a star floating in the water at the seaside. I love the imagery, which even a young child can grasp. The story is full of amusing moments, childlike imagination and creativity. The illustrations are flawless with simple lines and bold colours creating a world that you can't help but want to step inside. BookBairn loves this story too!

However, I think BookBairn likes 'Lost and Found' best. It features the same little boy on an adventure to help a lost penguin who he finds on his doorstep. Again, he asks for advice everywhere he can think, he searches and searches for the solution to helping his lost penguin friend find his way home. Through sunshine and storms they drift to the South Pole in their little rowing boat and the boy waves goodbye to the penguin. In a heartbreaking moment, having left his friend behind, the boy realises that his penguin friend was not lost but merely lonely and looking for a friend. The story is a beautiful exploration of the theme of friendship. Again, the illustrations are a joy! I think BookBairn likes this book so much partly because she has recently become a big fan of penguins and she particularly enjoys playing 'spot the penguin' as we turn the pages. She's pretty good at it, as you can see!
These are just two from a fantastic series of books featuring the boy and the penguin. We also adore the Hueys series featuring strange Humpty Dumpty-like creatures and particularly like their adventure with the new jumper which encourages us all to be ourselves, even if that means being a little bit different from everyone else. My classes have loved 'The Incredible Book Eating Boy' and 'The Day the Crayons Quit', which Jeffers illustrated and was written by Drew Daywalt. I am looking forward to reading them the sequel too! Both of the books were inspiration for great pieces of writing and provided weeks worth of interesting and engaging literacy work. I look forward to sharing these ones with BookBairn too when she grows old enough to sit still a little longer! (This crawling stuff is very clever but it makes snapping photographs a lot more difficult.) His books are more than just stories, with themes of friendship, courage, overcoming obstacles, being true to yourself, they are little pearls of wisdom subtly hidden inside a endearing story.

If you haven't read anything by Oliver Jeffers you are truly missing out. Next time you're in a bookshop or the library, look him up. You'll be enchanted. 
"If you haven't read Oliver Jeffers yet: do it now."
We can't wait to see what he releases next. (No pressure.)
Love Mummy and BookBairn xx
We are linking up with #SundayStars ; #readwithme on Mama Mummy Mum and #weekendbookclub with Mummy in Training.


To celebrate National Library Day we visited our local library and had lots of fun reading stories! We truly love our local library and visi...

Our library

Saturday, February 06, 2016 BookBairn 4 Comments

To celebrate National Library Day we visited our local library and had lots of fun reading stories! We truly love our local library and visit as often as we can. We love the wide selection of children's books; the never-ending supply of touch and feel board books; the cuddly toys to tell stories too; the jazzy rug to roll around on; the lovely librarians who treat us so kindly and compliment grandma's knitting and BookBairn's wee smile; the Bookbug rhymes, song and story sessions. It's such a happy place. Thank you.

BookBairn's favourite story of the moment is 'What the Ladybird Heard' by Julia Donaldson and in honour of our wonderful library we would like to share Julia Donaldson's 'Library Poem'.

Library Poem by Julia Donaldson
Everyone is welcome to walk through the door.
It really doesn't matter if you're rich or poor.
There are books in boxes and books on shelves.
They're free for you to borrow, so help yourselves.

Come meet your heroes, old and new,
From William the Conqueror to Winnie the Pooh.
You can look into the Mirror or read The Times,
Or bring along a toddler to chant some rhymes.

The librarian's a friend who loves to lend,
So see if there's a book she can recommend.
Read that book, and if you're bitten
You can borrow all the other ones the author's written.

Are you into battles or biography?
Are you keen on gerbils or geography?
Gardening or ghosts? Sharks or science fiction?
There's something here for everyone, whatever your addiction.

There are students revising, deep in concentration,
And school kids doing projects, finding inspiration.
Over in the corner there's a table with seating,
Some come along and join in the Book Club meeting.

Yes, come to the library! Browse and borrow,
And help make sure it'll still be here tomorrow.

Thank you to our lovely librarians who recommend such wonderful stories; and don't mind when BookBairn tells her stories in a loud voice; and hunt down 'just the thing' for our next blog post or reading whim; and who mention having read our recent blog posts; who treat BookBairn like royalty (and not because she's a blogger, it's just because she's a borrower); and who make Bookbugs so much fun. Truly, from the bottom of our bookshelves "Thank You!". And to all those librarians at other libraries, we hope you have bookbairns of your own who appreciate you as much as we do. You deserve it.

Happy National Libraries Day, Mummy and BookBairn xx

"Please librarian, can we borrow some more?"


BookBairn loves storytime! All cuddled up or stretched across the floor, it makes no odds or ends to her, she loves a story! She has start...


Wednesday, February 03, 2016 BookBairn 8 Comments

BookBairn loves storytime! All cuddled up or stretched across the floor, it makes no odds or ends to her, she loves a story! She has started to crawl and few things motivate her to get moving more than a book on the other side of the room (daddy's laptop and gingerbreadmen aside). And it appears a glossy magazine has the same pull.

'Storytime' Magazine is certainly far superior in quality than many of the magazines you will find in my hands. As sturdy as a book (and no staples), the luxuriously thick pages are a match for the rough handlings of little ones and, unlike most children's (and grown up's) magazines, there are no adverts, instead it's pages are packed full of story content! With around six stories (each several pages long), a dedicated poems and rhymes section, puzzles and games these magazines are more like a monthly anthology of short stories than a traditional magazine.

Each issue is divided into sections: brilliant books (featuring classics such as Pinocchio, 101 Dalmatians, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland); favourite fairy tales (like Thumbelina, Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White); famous fables; storyteller's corner; around the world tales; myths and legends; as well as poems and rhymes, storytime playbox (puzzles and games) and story magic (recommendations and competitions). The content is clearly well-thought-out by the magazines educational consultant who ensures that every inch of content is valuable to young readers. Even the puzzles page reference the stories featured in that issue with design projects, board games, treasure hunts, along with many others. There are also lots of downloads available on the Storytime Magazine website such as character masks for acting out the stories.

Clearly, these magazines are aimed at readers older than BookBairn and I plan on using them at school. The stories will make brilliant shorter texts for teaching and I'm sure the children will love the illustrations and stories as much as I do. Each page is well-laid out and avoids over-filling with text which might be daunting to some readers and the clear and larger than your average paperback text makes it easy to read! None of the stories are too lengthy either making them great for reluctant readers or for kids who are at that tricky stage between feeling 'too grown up' for picture books but not yet ready to independently read chapter books. You can see from the covers in our photos that these magazines are brilliantly illustrated with bright and colourful scenes and charming characters. Each story has a different illustrator and therefore every one is unique but they are mostly bold, bright and colourful befitting the stories and appealing to young readers.

From the issues we have, I particularly enjoyed the introduction to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, so much so, in fact, that I have bought the original Ian Fleming book to read myself (and I hope many kids will be tempted to do the same) and having never read the Velveteen Rabbit I was utterly charmed by this classic story!

I cannot recommend Storytime Magazine highly enough! It is a wonderful treasury for younger readers that will no doubt foster a love of stories in little readers and encourage them to read further.

Happy Storytime, Mummy and BookBairn xx

P.S. BookBairn would also like you to know that Storytime Magazine is great for playing peekaboo!

*DISCLAIMER* I was given two magazines  for free for review purposes. I already had a subscription prior to receiving review copies. All words and opinions are my own.

The Reading Residence
We've linked up with Reading Residence for #wordoftheweek