One of the lovely things about writing a book blog, and in particular a children's book blog, are the lovely people who share our simi...

Bedtime with Bookish Friends

Monday, April 24, 2017 BookBairn 19 Comments

One of the lovely things about writing a book blog, and in particular a children's book blog, are the lovely people who share our similar interests on blogs or social media accounts of their own. I feel so lucky to have met many like-minded people, often like-minded mamas, who share a passion for really good children's literature and encouraging all the little bookbairns out there to enjoy reading. There are quite a team over on kidsbookstagram on Instagram as well as the tweeting lovelies and pbnatterers (picture book natterers) on Twitter. But without a doubt my two bookish besties are @bookmonsterally and @bookloverjo. They have supported me from almost my very first blog post, they retweet and comment on lots of my posts and make me feel like a blogging superstar, as well as a valued friend! And we are very lucky to have them!

Especially because Jo has recently taken a more focused attention on her blog for slightly older readers (aged 5-13) meaning sometimes she doesn't need all the lovely board books that she gets sent from publishers and BookBairn is often the recipient of wonderful post from Aunty BookLoverJo! And my goodness, the most recent cast-off has been a huge hit!!

You know how much we adore the Pom Pom panda series of books by Sophy Henn and she has nailed it again creating a wonderful toddler-friendly character in Ted! In 'Bedtime with Ted', Sophy has again created a toddler that we can instantly recognise character traits of our own little BookBairn!

The story has a simple premise (don't the best ones always?): it's Ted's bedtime. On each page a speech bubble shouts through "Bedtime, Ted!" and on the reverse page... "Not yet says Ted". I mean, how many parents haven't heard that phrase over and over at bedtime?! Under the full-page size flap you then see the reasons why Ted is too busy for bed: it's bath time with his penguin friends, or he's brushing his teeth with a crocodile or my personal favourite he's "jump jump jumping out the fidgets like a bouncy kangaroo." All parents will be pleased to know that he does eventually get into bed with all his animal friends and drifts off to sleep.

There are many reasons why BookBairn loves this book but first and foremost it must be partly because she can identify with Ted. She sympathises that the grown ups think that it's bedtime but what do they know? Of course there are many things still to be done before they nod off - not least have a crazy last minute dash around the house to get those last bits of energy worn off (do other people's toddlers do this?). And Sophy has created in Ted the perfect parallel. She also loves to lift the flap and reveal Ted making mischief with his friends. And of course, the illustrations are just fabulous! Bright coloured backgrounds with a few simple objects to help you identify which room of the house you are in but most of the detail is in Ted and his friends and their antics allowing little ones like BookBairn to make the connections between the words and the illustrations so easily! Ted is irrestible in his red and yellow wellies with his orange and turquoise bobble hat (I'll be he chose his own outfit that day!) and his animal friends are as cute and cuddly as can be.

I love this book for one peculiar reason: Daddy BookBairn can't read it all the way through without yawning on the last page! And that makes me laugh. Every time! It doesn't matter if he's reading it at 7pm bedtime, 1pm naptime or any other time in between he yawns a huge yawn! So if you're looking for a book to help little ones fall asleep forget that 'Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep' book for making little ones tired - this one works a treat on grown ups and kids alike! And the illustrations are way better!!!

We cannot recommend this highly enough so thanks Jo for sending it! 'Bedtime with Ted' is one half of a duo of books, the other being 'Playtime with Ted' but unfortunately our local bookshop didn't have it yesterday so I'll be ordering it online instead! Look out for it in our #bookpost on social media soon!

Happy Bedtime Stories!
Mummy, BookBairn and a sleepy Daddy! xx


I imagine it is obvious to you that we have many many books. Many many many books. And we get more delivered from publishers, bought by M...

Papa Penguin

Friday, April 21, 2017 BookBairn 22 Comments

I imagine it is obvious to you that we have many many books. Many many many books. And we get more delivered from publishers, bought by Mummy, gifted to us and borrowed from the library on a regular basis. And sometimes those new books are a hit and other times they are a miss. It's all about timing. If BookBairn isn't interested in a book the day it arrives I keep it on the living room floor for a couple of days to see if she picks it up, and if not I stash it away for a few weeks, bringing it back out at another date. And some books never really make their way onto our Favourites Shelf and we re-home them.

But sometimes the right book just comes along at the very right moment and makes it's way into your heart! For BookBairn's second birthday we took her to the zoo to see lots of her favourite animals up close and of course she just adored seeing the penguins! And one of her favourite people in the whole wide world is her Papa Colin (you might have noticed he is one of our most supportive readers, having commented on every blog post I've ever written). So the perfect book combination came along in Morag Hood's 'When Grandad Was A Penguin' (I hope you don't mind, Morag, that we have renamed your book 'Papa Penguin'!).

This lovely book tells the story of a little girl (who does not look dissimilar from how I imagine BookBairn will look when she is older) who goes to visit her Papa. But something is a little bit odd. He talked a lot about fishing, his clothes were too big, he was spending a lot of time in the freezer and getting through mountains of tinned fish. Hmmmmm, BookBairn's Papa likes to golf not fish, his clothes usually fit just fine, he doesn't like to be chilly and much prefers chocolate biscuits to fish for a snack... something is definitely not quite right. Then one day the zoo calls. There has been a mix-up and the little girl and her 'odd' Papa head to the zoo to sort things out and you'll never guess who is inside the penguin enclosure: the little girl's real Papa!! (minus his glasses which the penguin has been wearing the whole time - BookBairn loves that part). So the penguin and the girl say their goodbyes, and the little girl takes her Papa home... well... sort of...

BookBairn just loves this story - she definitely understands that the little girl thinks that the penguin is her Papa but BookBairn knows that something is up! She loves that strange things that the penguin gets up to and she loves that he is wearing the Papa's glasses. She laughs that he is in the freezer beside the ice cream! She likes finding the odd penguin out in the endpapers - it's just a brilliant read for her.

I have mentioned before that BookBairn seems to really enjoy books where the illustrations are set against quite simple or plain backgrounds (I think this is because it allows her to focus on the main action in the foreground) and this book does that beautifully. The characters are also deceptively simple meaning that BookBairn can discuss the picture with ease and likes to retell the story in her own words (what a great way to support pre-reading and literacy skills for a child as young as two-years-old). And if you've read 'Colin and Lee, Carrot and Pea' by the same author you might spot a few connecting illustrative details too.

BookBairn loves this one so much - it has made it on to the Favourites Shelf with ease and she has shared it at nap-time story with her Papa, much to his amusement!

Here's a few words from our real-life Papa Penguin on sharing this story with BookBairn: "This a great book and BookBairn and I have quite a giggle when we read it together. I have to take my glasses off to read but the penguin wears Papa's glasses in the book so BookBairn will often say "Glasses on, Papa". I don't mind BookBairn comparing me to a penguin since they are her favourite animals but is is nice to know that my clothes still fit even after all the chocolate biscuits!"

The perfect book to be enjoyed with Papa (and maybe a Penguin biscuit?)
Mummy, BookBairn and Papa Penguin xx

*DISCLAIMER* I was given our book for free for review purposes, however, all words and opinions are my own, BookBairn's own and Papa's own!


A wee while ago the lovely Steph from ' A Little But A Lot ' invited me to write a guest post for her blog and I was absolutely d...

Picture Books for Grown Ups

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 BookBairn 6 Comments

A wee while ago the lovely Steph from 'A Little But A Lot' invited me to write a guest post for her blog and I was absolutely delighted to join in! Steph's blog has lots of great book reviews for readers of all genres - picture books, Middle Grade, YA and grown up books too, as well as great teaching ideas and insights.

So I thought I would write a little post about my (not so secret) passion for picture books! But I wanted to take the opportunity to write about some of the picture books that I adore but don't really fit in with the sort of books that I generally write about here on BookBairn, and that's because they are picture books for grown ups! Now that's not to say that these books don't or won't appeal to younger readers but BookBairn definitely isn't ready for these yet and as I only share her favourite books on here I jumped at the chance to write about them. Pop over to Steph's blog using the link below to read about three of my favourites:

And if you like this sort of blog post it would be great to get some feedback, I really do love picture books as much as BookBairn does and would be happy to share more of my favourites (ones that she is not so keen on or not 'grown into' yet) if you would be interested in reading them!


So today is the 'BookBumps' due date and as yet we still have no newborn baby photos to share with you all. Apparently he's ju...

Baby's First Books - Summer - Reading is Our Thing

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 BookBairn 6 Comments

So today is the 'BookBumps' due date and as yet we still have no newborn baby photos to share with you all. Apparently he's just too comfortable all tucked up inside! Cheeky wee monkey! Fortunately I'm still feeling ok and not too uncomfortable myself though I am now incredibly impatient to meet the little chap and hold him in my arms. Thanks to everyone who has sent kind messages and are keeping us in our thoughts - I promise I will let you know and share that much anticipated first photo as soon as I can after he arrives! But you could still be waiting a while!

In the meantime, the gorgeous Summer from 'Reading is Our Thing' has written us a lovely post to share about starting to read with you little ones and recommending some of her favourite books for little ones. Summer's blog is truly a work of art - I wish I had her IT skills! And she takes such fabulous photos of some beautiful bairns and books - as you can tell her blog is one of my favourite reads! So I'll hand over to Summer and her superior review skills...

When do you start reading to your child? 6 months? 1 year? When they show an interest in books? The answer is simple. It’s never too early. I read to my children while they were tucked up inside my tummy. I read to them from their first breath. The benefits of reading to your baby are endless. It’s bonding time. One on one attention. They’ll find comfort in your voice, your cuddles, hear different tones, patterns in language, emotions. Their little brains will piece together every single sound and sight.

“Children who are read to during infancy and preschool years have better language skills when they start school and are more interested in reading…In addition, parents who spend time reading to their children create nurturing relationships, which is important for a child’s cognitive, language and social-emotional development.” —AAP

There’s two main points I pulled from this quote, the first, that reading assists a child’s learning, and secondly, that creating a nurturing environment is key. It’s more than just pulling a book out from the shelf and going through the words. How, where, and what we read is of great value. I don’t mean to say that you have to have the perfect reading nook with just the right amount of comfy cushions for reading time to be effective. As a child I would pull my father along with a book in hand to sit on the floor in front of a wardrobe. That was our story spot and it was the world to me. Having good books that are accessible, part of your everyday, and making reading an activity you can enjoy together, these are three essential I focus on.


Don’t hide your books away in a box. Keep them in sight and easy to reach. Spread them out over the floor for your baby to explore on their own. Baby-led reading. BookBairn is an advocate of this, and we love it too. You most likely rotate toys already. Rotating books is equally great.

Because there’s so many books out there to choose from, I thought I’d share some baby’s first books that are tried and true. I started out to find a top ten, but the list kept growing. Always happens. Easily solved, I’ve divided them into groups.

Board Books and Picture Books…

  • Music Is… by Brandon Stosuy and Amy Martin
  • Love is a Tutu, and, Love is a Truck, by Amy Novesky and Sara Gillingham
  • This is Not a Book, and, Before and After, by Jean Jullien
  • Tails, by Matthew Van Fleet 
  • Little Blue Truck, by Alice Schertle
  • Orange Pear Apple Bear, by Emily Gravett
  • Pantone: Colors, by Helen Dardik
  • Make It Grow, by Debbie Powell
  • Look, Look Again, by Agnese Baruzzi
  • Touch Think Learn: ABC, by Xavier Deneux
  • Everyone Is Yawning, by Anita Bijsterbosch
  • The Wonderful Things You Will Be, by Emily Winfield Martin
  • Goodnight, Numbers, by Danica McKeller and Alicia Padrón
  • Tickle My Ears, and, Bathtime for Little Rabbit, both by Jörg Mühle
  • My Heart Fills with Happiness, by Monique Gray Smith and Julie Flett


  • The entire BabyLit series
  • Wee Gallery Slide and Play series
  • That’s Not My… series
  • Jane Foster’s… series


  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
  • Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell
  • Good Night, Gorilla, by Peggy Rathmann
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
  • The Going to Bed Book, by Sandra Boynton
  • We're Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen
  • Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury
  • Each Peach Pear Plum, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg


It’s a healthy habit. One that will only brighten your day. Making reading a part of your daily routine is particularly helpful at baby’s bedtime. It’s comforting for your little one, especially if combined with cuddles. Set aside at least 30 minutes, that’s all, and this can be broken up throughout the day—5 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes after snack time, 5 minutes in the bath, and 10 just before bed.


Reading is fundamental. Reading is fun! It’s best spent together. Be expressive with your reading voice. Use emotion, intonation. Change it up. Although your baby may not understand the words you’re reading, they will recognise and respond to emotion. Choose books that are full of colour. In the early stages, from birth to 3 months, black, white and red can stimulate baby’s vision and brain development. The more they’re exposed to, the more they’ll thrive. Board books are easy for babies to hold, play with, and bite. You’ll go through a few copies of your favourites.

As your child grows older, talk to them about the book, the story, emotions and lessons shared. Book based activities enhance story time, encourage creativity, and they’re a whole lot of fun. If you’re looking ideas, head to Instagram. We share many on our feed: @readingisourthing. Also check out @book.nerd.mommy, @kidlitcrafts, and @kidartlit.

Don’t stop reading together once your child can read on their own. I frequently read chapter books aloud with my two eldest, taking a chapter each. Even if you eventually are reading different books, still try and spend that time together, reading at the park, with your toes in the sand, legs over opposite armrests of the sofa. It’s time well spent.

Thank you so much Summer for such a well considered post!! BookBump has been hearing all of BookBairn's favourite stories day and and day out I'll be suprised if he can't recite some of them from the very early days! And some truly fabulous recommendations for a great start to a little ones library!

Hope you enjoyed this most recent guest post, to find them all click here.

Happy Reading, 
Mummy, BookBairn and (still tucked up inside Mummy!) BookBump!


I feel so lucky to have 'met' so many wonderful bloggers through our social media feeds and one of my absolutely favourite ladies...

Baby's First Books - Charnaie - Here Wee Read

Saturday, April 15, 2017 BookBairn 14 Comments

I feel so lucky to have 'met' so many wonderful bloggers through our social media feeds and one of my absolutely favourite ladies is Charnaie from 'Here Wee Read'. Charnaie is a fellow #kidlitpicks team member and has the best collection of multicultural and diverse books. Also she manages to haul home hundreds of library books each month - I swear she doesn't need to work out, she must already be able to lift a tonne weight of books at a time!

When I asked Charnaie to share some of her favourite books for babies I knew she would come up with a brilliant list! And now to hand over to Charnaie...

My absolute favorite gift to receive for my kids is a stack of great children’s books.  Of course that’s NOT the ideal gift my kids always want though as they’d much rather receive toys they can play with.  If I could gift every child in the world a stack of books to start their own little home library I would.  I think all children should have a collection of beautiful books to treasure, to enjoy, and to help them get the right start in life.  Wouldn’t you agree?
When my kids were younger I used to enjoy watching their interactions with books.  Once they got past the phase of chewing on them, they began helping me turn the pages and lift the flaps.  It’s truly amazing to see the progression kids make over time if they are consistently exposed to books and magazines.
Here are a few board book recommendations for building a baby’s first library.  I chose board books because they are more durable and can withstand all the wear and tear better than hardcover books. Enjoy!

Joy by Joyce Carol Thomas

This book is now out of print now, but you can still find a few copies online.  I believe the cover has also been updated too, but I like this cover best.  I think this book is such a sweet and tender story about a grandmother expressing her love to her grandson.  Absolutely LOVE this one!

Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering by Ruth Spiro

It is never too early to become an engineer!  With this adorable board book, babies will love learning the basics of flight giving them the head start they need.  Featuring friendly, simple text, cheerful illustrations and facts, this book is the perfect fun introduction to engineering.

Baby’s Big World Book Series from Barnes and Noble

This book in the Baby’s Big World series introduces children to important concepts using simple text and delightful art. Discover how we make music, from the letters for each note, to tempo, volume, and types of instruments.

Baby Blessings: A Prayer For the Day You are Born by Deloris Jordan

Did you know Michael Jordan’s mother is a published author?  I think this is a cute book for introducing a new baby into the home.  I like this book more for the illustrations than the text though.  The single sentence structure makes it a quick read to enjoy with babies letting them know what a blessing they are.

You Can Do It Too! by Karen Baicker

In You Can Do It Too! a little girl passes newly won skills and abilities to a younger brother, teaching him everything she thinks he needs to know. The simple cadence of text and direct-to-the-heart art result in a book as warm and generous as its message, providing reading pleasure for toddlers, older siblings, and the grown-ups who love them.

Whose Toes Are Those? by Jabari Asim

My kids favorite part of this book is the “this little piggy” rhyme. This book has easy and fun rhymes, vibrant colors and cute illustrations…just look at those toes on the cover! A wonderful book for both infants and toddlers.

Peekaboo Bedtime by Rachel Isadora

In this story a toddler boy plays peekaboo with everyone from his grandparents to his puppy, until it's finally time to snuggle into bed with his blankie.

Thanks Charnaie! What a brilliant list! Pop over to 'Here Wee Read' to read the full post as well as enter a giveaway for a gorgeous bookworm onesie that would make the perfect companion to any of these board books. To find her post, click here.
Hope you enjoyed this first guest post, to find them all click here.
Happy Reading, 
Mummy, BookBairn and BookBump!


Most of our regular readers will have noticed that I haven't been posting as often as I usually do and most of you will know why! Bab...

Baby's First Books

Friday, April 14, 2017 BookBairn 10 Comments

Most of our regular readers will have noticed that I haven't been posting as often as I usually do and most of you will know why! Baby BookBairn number two is due very very soon (I'm actually bouncing on one of the those birth balls as I type in hopes to encourage him along!) and I just haven't been able to dedicate as much time to blogging as usual. But fear not we are still reading - lots and lots - probably even more as I am less able to clamber up and down off the floor to play with BookBairn.

I'm also not so naive to think that I will have much time to blog once the little one arrives so I've enlisted the help of some of my favourite book and bookish bloggers, tweeters, instagrammers to help! I've asked them to recommend a book, or list of books for a new baby (or for a new big sister) to share with you all whilst we get to grips with new family life.

You will be able to find the whole series of posts under the label 'baby's first books' and I will try to post them on a weekly basis!

Wish us luck on our new adventure!
Mummy, BookBairn and the 'almost read to pop but being stubborn about it' BookBump!

Also - if anyone has any good name suggestions for our little BookBump please share! He can't really be BookBairn #2 that seems unfair and he deserves his own pseudonym!

And - if you would like to join in the collaboration please feel free to contact me using the 'contact us' at the top of the page (you don't have to be a blogger to join in!).


Parents have the capability to open the door to an incredible world for their child(ren). They have the sole pleasure of sharing the beau...

KidLit Picks March Round Up

Saturday, April 08, 2017 BookBairn 2 Comments

Parents have the capability to open the door to an incredible world for their child(ren). They have the sole pleasure of sharing the beauty and wonder of poetry with them. Poetry books contain soothing rhythms and rhymes, short, simple sentences and clever repetition of key words and phrases. There is nothing like the rhythm of words flowing together to form a story in such rich language. Poetry is such a happy thing! It's magical to watch children's eyes, minds, and hearts dancing along the rhythmical lines of poetry and into a lifelong love of lyrical language.

The variety of language and structure in poetry is great for children's growing brains and imaginations. It's also refreshing for the grownups who read with them! With National Poetry Month now that we're in April, it's a splendid time to let poetry blossom in your household and in the young hearts of your children.

We hope you enjoyed following @kidlitpicks book club this month, and a special thank you to Charnaie from Here Wee Read for the thoughtful theme!

Finding Wonders, by Jeannine Atkins 
“'Knowing our history can make us stronger.' Having examples of strong, determined, intelligent women from history for our own girls to read about can make them stronger.” -- Summer from @readingisourthing

Things to Do, by ​​Elaine Magliaro and Catia Chien
Things to Do shows readers that wonder and enjoyment can be found anywhere and everywhere." -- Mel from @spiky_penelope

A Child's Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson
It's easy to hear [poetry] and immediately jump to Shel Silverstein... But before there was Shel, there was Stevenson.” -- Katie from @afriendlyaffair

Noisy Poems, by Debi Gliori
It makes a nice change from stories every now and again and it's worth mentioning that it is chosen by Little Miss Bookhabit quite regularly so it gets the child friendly seal of approval.” -- Claire from @alittlebookhabit

A Family of Poems, by Caroline Kennedy and Jon J Muth
"When read aloud, poetry is rhythm and music and sounds and beats. Young children may not understand all the words or meaning, but they'll feel the rhythms, get curious about what the sounds mean and perhaps want to create their own." -- Leah from @astoryaday

Feelings, by Richard Jones and Libby Walden
“Full to the brim of delightful illustrations and with a brilliant use of colour, this book is a beautifully poetic look into a wide range of emotions ranging from ‘happy’ to ‘angry’ to ‘alone’ and ‘calm.’” --  Kim from @bookbairn

Voyage, Billy Collins and Karen Romagna
“My selection has sentimental value as it was given to me by a dear friend to celebrate the arrival of our daughter.” -- Miranda from @bookbloom

Poems to Perform, by Julia Donaldson
“This book was such a great find and has propelled me to explore poetry and performance in the classroom.” -- De from @books_and_babycinos

Animal Ark, by Kwame Alexander and Joel Sartore
Stunning images and beautiful text! National Geographic does it again!” -- Arielle from @childrensbooksgalore

What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? by Judith Viorst
This collection of thoughtful, funny, and touching poems is grouped into child-centred topics, such as feelings, school stuff, family, home, friends, help, best and worst, seasons, mysteries, and unfinished business.” -- Rossa from @curiouslittlepeople

Tan to Tamarind: Poems about the Color Brown, by Malathi Michelle Iyengar  and Jamel Akib
Who knew there were so many beautiful shades of the color brown!” -- Charnaie from @hereweeread

The Moon and Me, by Anna and Brian Boyter
"This easy read is perfect for little ones, especially with its lyrical text." -- Wendy from @homegrownreader

A Poem for Peter, by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Lou Fancher, and Steve Johnson
It's a heart-burstingly inspiring and beautiful read. And one that I foresee becoming a well-thumbed, much-discussed book in this household for years to come.” -- Shannon from @ohcreativeday

Poetrees, by Douglas Florian 
Ripe with information, Douglas Florian's poems in Poetrees are perfect for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers.” -- Jamie from @smallysbookshelf

Come With Me To Paris, by Gloria Fowler and Min Heo
I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and share my love of this big beautiful city with my kids.” -- Michelle from

The Land of Nod, by Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Hunter 
It's a phantasmagoric journey through twilight shadows and moonlight.” -- Liam from @words.and.illustrations

It's been a great month of poetry books and women's history books. They've glittered IG feeds like precious diamonds. I'm excited that during April we get to continue celebrating both themes, with it being National Poetry Month and because our new focus for KidLitPicks is MIGHTY GIRLS.

As parents and educators, it is important for us to reflect on the messages we present to our children through literature. Unfortunately, female characters have been historically underrepresented in children’s books and are often an easy target for gender stereotyping. Gender stereotypes are flawed because they are incomplete and marginalize those who don’t “fit” with the label. If we truly want books to be “windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors” for children (as described by Rudine Sims Bishop), then we must look for books that shatter gender stereotypes and reflect the diversity of the world we live in.

That’s why in April we are sharing books that feature mighty female characters – girls who are smart, strong, brave, adventurous, scientific, athletic, and messy. By choosing kids books that go against gender stereotypes, we can redefine what it means to act “like a girl.

We have been collating some of our favourite Mighty Girl books on the blog here and can't wait to see what the others in the #kidlitpicks team choose so we can add even more Mighty Girls to our collection. Join the @kidlitpicks book club as we share your Mighty Girl books all month long. Tag #kidlitpicks and #mightygirlbooks

Happy reading!
Mummy and BookBairn xx