We get so many wonderful books to share with you all and I struggle to blog about all the ones I want to share in full detail so I though...

Quick Reviews: Five More New Favourites

Monday, October 29, 2018 BookBairn 9 Comments

We get so many wonderful books to share with you all and I struggle to blog about all the ones I want to share in full detail so I thought I would share another 'Five Quick Reviews' in a mini-review format. 

Angry Cookie by Laura Dockerill & Maria Karipidou

Who knew cookies were so grouchy? And who knew you could fall head over heels for an angry, snippy chocolate chip cookie? When his roommate won't stop playing her recorder, his favourite toothpaste has run out, and his haircut goes all wrong, Cookie finds his anger tricky to cope with. So he kind of loses it. *Deep breaths* But maybe your little readers can find a way to cheer him up? We all know that just being there for a toddler when they are mid-meltdown is just about all you can manage. So when Cookie realises that you, the reader, are still standing by his side, he finds his clouds of anger lifting. I love this story, it makes me laugh out loud. It reminds me of the whims of toddlers, how the most insignificant things can ruin their whole day! A brilliantly unique book that is inventive and hilarious alongside vibrant illustrations, there's only one way to enjoy this book: with a cookie, of course!

My Friend Sleep by Laura Baker & Hannah Peck

When you have kids, you suddenly find yourself talking about sleep a whole lot. How much you are not getting, how often and for how long babies are napping, do they sleep through the night (of course they don't), they finally nap for more than forty minutes and not on top of you or in a moving vehicle, they slept in their big cot, you are still sleep deprived, they sleep all night (finally - meanwhile you were up every three hours to check on them), they are cutting teeth so no one sleeps, please tell me this cycle of sleep obsession ends sometime?! I have read enough about sleep and sleep patterns to boggle my mind. But I've never enjoyed a book about sleep as much as this one. Sleep is the starring character in this brilliant new bedtime story. A little girl and Sleep visit all wonders of places and have all sorts of nighttime adventures in their happy dreams. But when they encounter a monster in a dream, what will happen? Fortunately, Sleep knows just what to do! This is such an imaginative book, with illustrations that will whisk you off into a magical world, as well as helping settle children's fears around sleep and nightmares, this is the best book on sleep you will read! As I type this, both my bairns are softly sleeping in their beds. Long may it last tonight. Zzzzzzzzz

The Way Home for Wolf by Rachel Bright & Jim Field

You probably know that we get a lot of books through the post after three years of blogging, so you can imagine it takes something pretty special to capture BookBairn's attention and become the instant favourite. But I wasn't surprised that this book was such a success with her as the combination of Rachel Bright's wonderful storytelling and perfect rhyme with Jim Field's charming and witty illustrations are a proven winning combination for this little bookworm! This is the story of Wilf, a strong and mighty little wolf, who gets lost and separated on the pack's journey to find a new place to live. All along in the arctic night, Wilf doesn't feel so strong and mighty. With the help of some arctic friends, who appear just when time seems at it's most bleak, Wilf finds his way back to the pack. And learns that sometimes all we need is a friendly hand to guide us! BookBairn loves this and adores the illustrations - particularly those of the Northern Lights skies - and we have read it twice a day since it arrived! A brilliant picture book for any little cubs in your house!

Franklin and Luna Go to the Moon by Jen Campbell & Katie Harnett

We adore the formidable and enchanting team of Franklin and Luna. In the first book, we loved seeing them become friends and setting up their 'Flying Bookshop' showing people that dragons are to be treasured not feared. And now they are back on another adventure and this time they are flying even further! Luna and Franklin love stories and want to visit all the places that they have read about in their books, but despite copious research in their books, they just can't quite figure out where dragons come from. And at 605 years old, Franklin is so old he can't remember either. But longing to be reunited with his family, they know they have to find a way. And that sets them off on their biggest adventure yet! With a lyrical story that will enchant you, and illustrations that will bring that magic to life for readers this is a story that you will want to wrap yourself up in! Perfect autumnal storytime!

The Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson & Helen Oxenbury

Surely this is the collaboration of the year? In children's publishing it's hard to believe that there are two bigger icons that Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo and countless other wonderful stories aside, and Helen Oxenbury the talented artist behind We're Going on a Bear Hunt, as well as many other works of picture book art! When Rabbit is confronted by "the giant jumperee" who has taken up home in his burrow, he asks his friends for help. But they are too scared by this mysterious creature to intervene, except for Mummy Frog, of course, who has a sneaking suspicion she has met this 'jumperee' before! With the elements of suspense and a mastery in building anticipation, this is surely a new classic in the making! 

Hope you like this 'quick review' format!

Disclaimer: We were sent all these books free for review purposes by the publishers. Words and opinions are my own. If you click on the title or image of the book you will be sent to amazon.co.uk using an affiliate link. This means that if you choose to purchase on amazon.co.uk, I will receive a small sum (around 20-70p per book) from amazon at no extra cost to you. I understand that you may not want to use an affiliate link, but if you like reading our blog please just think of it as a small tip for a tip-off to an awesome book. And know that your support means I can buy more books! For more information check out our 'For Our Readers' section.

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We are just moving into the best season to curl up and cosy up with a good book! And we have read lots of really great books recently....

Favourites Shelf - Autumn 2018

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 BookBairn 4 Comments

We are just moving into the best season to curl up and cosy up with a good book! And we have read lots of really great books recently. I have shared our favourite Autumn stories (linked here) if you're looking for a seasonal book, so in this post I'm just sharing our 'Favourites Shelf' books. The books that we have read over and over again in the last couple of months. And as The Wee Page Turner continues to develop his own reading taste (I think he might enjoy books more than his sister as he chooses books over toys so many times a day!), I've included some of the books that he grabs out of the book basket most often alongside BookBairn's favourite books at the moment. 

Here are our most recent favourites and repeat-reads:

Bizzy Bear Building Site by Benji Davies

The Wee Page Turner is beginning to enjoy books which have more of a story to them than the simple first word/primer/baby books that we had been enjoying up until now. And don't get me wrong, those books have their place and we still read them lots but it's nice to share something that has more of a flow of a story. And these books are a great start for that! In Busy Bear Building Site by Benji Davies, Busy Bear is working on the building site and he does all sorts of things but the best part is that little fingers can use the mechanisms to keep them entertained whilst you read. These books are also super sturdy and have great illustrations (Benji Davies is one of our favourites and he wrote and illustrated The Storm Whale which BookBairn and I also love). We also have Busy Bear Racing Driver from the library at the moment and I think I will put some on his Christmas wish list. A wonderful series.

Bedtime with Ted by Sophy Henn

Ted has long been a favourite in our house - so much so that we have all six of the Ted books. I've written about them several times in the past (you can read the most recent one here) because we read them so often - I'm sure Bedtime with Ted by Sophy Henn was on BookBairn's favourite shelf over and over! 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. The Wee Page Turner 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 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.

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam: The Missing Masterpiece by Tracey Corderoy and Steven Lenton

We adore the Shifty McGifty (got to be one of my all time favourite character names) and Slippery Sam stories and Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam and the Missing Masterpiece by Tracey Corderoy and Steven Lenton has to be BookBairn's favoruite. It is a truly brilliant rhyming tale of two pooches that foil an art heist with humour galore! Tracey Corderoy has the most brilliant talent at writing rhymes without comprising wonderful storytelling (and I would love to be able to write like she does) and Steven Lenton packs so much humour into the expressions of characters and brings to life scenes that will have your little readers wanting to turn the pages to see what happens next! BookBairn truly adores these books! And finding the hidden little spider on each page - nice touch from the illustrator. Looking forward to exploring the chapter book with her now that she loves the characters so much. Shifty and Sam are a formidable team - much like their creators. If you like a crime caper - your kids will love these!

As it's getting into autumn time and we've been enjoying conker gathering, we have started to cosy up with some autumn reads. BookBairn adores the character in Tidy by Emily Gravett and we have been reading this one most bedtimes at the moment. Personally, I sympathise greatly with Pete, the badger who likes everything neat because anyone who knows me, will know I like things neat. So when all the leaves falls off the trees in Pete's forest, I completely understand why he felt the need to tidy them all away. And then I can understand that the trees look rather scrappy without their leaves on them. So they get tidied too. Until the forest becomes a concrete abyss. Badger has taken it a little bit too far. But is it too late? With humour and delightful illustrations, this is a lovely autumn read. BookBairn just loves this story so much!

Billy and the Beast by Nadia Shireen

Billy and the Beast by Nadia Shireen is a book we have been raving about since we first read it. When a terrible beast starts roaming the forest in search of tiny creatures to make a big bowl of monster soup, Billy and her Fatcat cannot let him get away with it. He's got boil in a bag bunnies, spicy mice and grated hedgehog all on his list but can Billy outwit this ferocious beast and save the inhabitants of the forest? Packed full of humour, fun illustrations and a heroine who stashes doughnuts in her hair for emergencies this is a brilliant new fable that will empower as well as make you giggle. And BookBairn loves it!

Lottie Potter Wants an Otter by Jeanne Willis and Leonie Lord

This is the story we read on repeat. Lottie Potter wants an Otter by Jeanne Willis and Leonie Lord. It has the most brilliant rhyming scheme - who knew so many things rhymed with 'otter'? And the story of the little girl Lottie Potter who really wants an otter but gets stuck with a rotter who bit little Lottie very hard upon the botty is one that we never forget! It's truly a delight to read and the illustrations are so much fun! And if your name is Lottie it's even better!

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts 

When my parents were in America last year I ordered this gorgeous doll to go with a story that I was itching to share with BookBairn, but at the time it was probably a bit long for her. But now Ada Twist Scientist by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts is not only a great read but it's one of our favourites. Ada is a might little girl with great ambition, intelligence, courage and gumption! Ada’s head is full of questions and she is endlessly curious and her efforts to answer them lead to scientific experiments. Some of which go too far, leading to her parents becoming more and more frazzled and they banish her to the Thinking Chair – what will they do with her? And the wonderful, supportive parents that they are, they join in sorting fact from fiction embracing their little scientist’s fascinations, “because that’s what you do when your kid has a passion and a heart that is true.” (This is perhaps one of my favourite lines from a picture book ever!). Written in rhyming verse, giving brilliant pacing and momentum to the story these books (there are two more picture books and now an early chapter book) really celebrate little heroines that children can look up to. The mixed media illustrations are a delight and capture the magic of what it is like to be little and to imagine and to create. They really are perfect inspirational stories for children about pursuing their own passions.

So those are our most recent favourite reads! What have you been enjoying reading recently? And if you can't wait to see our next quarterly installment of our Favourites Shelf, I always include a book or two in our monthly Little Loves blog posts!

Happy Reading,
Mummy, BookBairn and The Wee Page Turner

*Disclaimer: Some of these books were sent to us by publishers for review and others are ones that we have borrowed from the library or purchased ourselves. These are our genuine re-reads so all opinions are our own. If you click on the title or image of the book you will be sent to amazon.co.uk using an affiliate link. This means that if you choose to purchase on amazon.co.uk, I will receive a small sum (around 20-70p per book) from amazon at no extra cost to you. I understand that you may not want to use an affiliate link, but if you like reading our blog please just think of it as a small tip for a tip-off to an awesome book. And know that your support means I can buy more books! For more information check out our 'For Our Readers' section.

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Over the summer months I really enjoyed the beautiful weather and our new garden decking so that I could sit outside and read (it seem...

What is Mummy Reading? July - September

Monday, October 22, 2018 BookBairn 8 Comments

Over the summer months I really enjoyed the beautiful weather and our new garden decking so that I could sit outside and read (it seems strange typing this now that the beautiful autumn sun is coming through the window and the wind swirls the crisp amber leaves - but oh well!). And here's what I read and a short snippet about what I thought:


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling - 5 Stars

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling - 5 Stars

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling - 5 Stars

These three were definitely my favourites in the series (don't ask me to choose an absolute favourite until I've re-read them all) as they had so much more than the films. I can’t believe I waited this long to read them! And now I’m sad it’s over! Maybe I should just start from the beginning again?!

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances - 3 Stars

A good old quick read trashy thriller! Not read a thriller in a while and this reminded me why (I don't find them all that thrilling and they can be somewhat predictable and a bit cliche!) but every so often it's fun to read something so fast paced and utter nonsense!

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro - 4 Stars

This was such an emotional, gripping and thought-provoking book. As I had seen the film before, some of the shock-factor was diluted for me but I still really enjoyed it. And found it surprisingly easy to read.

The Book Case by Dave Shelton - 3 Stars

I bought this for the cover and the cover is the best thing about it. It was ok, but not as good as I wanted it to be. I love the Murder Most Unladylike series which is MG crime novels and I hoped this would be a similar sort of read but it wasn't nearly as good. But the cover is delicious! 

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng - 5 Stars

I really enjoyed this and loved the characters (I think Celeste Ng creates really rounded beautifully flawed characters), but it is quite a slow paced book, which I enjoy when I have lots of reading time, which I did in July with my husband working away a lot, but I know other times I would have found that a bit frustrating. I have seen some people saying recently that they just didn't get along with this book and I can see why as it's not very plot-driven. But I liked it.

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis - 1 Star

I heard so many good things about this book but I just couldn’t get into it. I even downloaded the audiobook to help (which I returned - did you know you can return books on audible if you don’t like them?) but it really wasn’t that great in my opinion. It was a bit kooky and not my taste.

I really enjoyed this even though the main character was wholly unlikeable. It made me think about what we value in modern society, how social media lies, how moving from your 20s to your 30s changes what you want from life and what you value, and how finding your own happiness is important rather than trying to value what makes other people happy you have to find your own. I think it’s easy to be flippant about this book as it’s pitched as a modern day Bridget Jones/Sex and the City chick lit but actually if it makes you think it makes you think.


My August reads were an eclectic bunch as for back to school (in the middle of the month) I started a month-long reading of kidlit chapter books. So you can expect a few more in my September round up too!

A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan - 4 Stars

One of the most intelligent and enjoyable MG books I’ve read. They way everything interconnected was perfect (if you’ll pardon the pun).

The Matilda Effect by Ellie Irving - 4 Stars

A little girl and her granny putting to rights a wrong from the past that meant her grandma was overlooked for her whole science career just because she’s a woman! A fun adventure that anyone raising little feminist will love!

Firebird by Elizabeth E. Wein - 3 Stars 

The story of female soviet pilots in WWII - for me this was a little too condensed into its novella format - I’d have rather had more character development and a slower plot and it be twice as long.

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend - 5 Stars 

It’s had so much praise and now I see why! I loved the world-building, the characters and the plot. It was all so gripping and took you on an adventure in another world. Amazing! Just pick it up now.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne - 5 Stars 

When I picked this up it was because I thought it was about time I read it, but as it turns out I have read this before, but since I didn’t remember the ending I was still weeping. One of the most powerful books in Kid Lit.

The Marvels by Brian Selznick - 5 Stars

Incredible! I loved loved loved this. I find David Selznick’s storytelling is engaging and enchanting. I may have cried at this too - and our builders may have caught me crying to this one.

The Beetle Boy trilogy by MG Leonard - 3 Stars

What an adventure! The characters in this, human and beetles, are so engaging and it was such a treat to read.

I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge - 3 Stars 

I mentioned this before on my Social Media just after I finished it and on reflection I find myself still wanting to read more on the topic. I found it very problem-centric pointing out all the things that are wrong and imbalanced, and delving into why this is so, but with no solutions or advice on how to help and support this feels like merely the start of a conversation.

The Girls by Emma Cline - 2 Stars

I didn’t enjoy this. I was so disconnected to he characters and found them naive, indulged and therefore I couldn’t see their points of view.


During September I continued with reading MG books to celebrate 'back to school' and I also read some of the best non-fiction that I've read in a long time. I'm looking at the books in my TBR pile at the moment wondering which ones I will actually manage to read before the end of the year! Certainly I'm enjoying reading so much this year and feel like I am using my spare time in a way that makes me happy and not just mindlessly scrolling or watching rubbish TV that I don't really enjoy. 2018 is definitely going to the year of books for me!

I love this story, it's equally sad and uplifting and challenges the way we see people. Choose Kind.

This is a very slow-building and atmospheric book. I enjoyed reading this again but it was spoiled slightly by having seen it unfold before. I still really enjoyed it though. I mistakenly watched the film though which I found to be very poor.

I love the characters in this series and the setting and magical elements are wonderful, though I do find some of it a bit overly complex, and some of the scrapes that the characters get into are rather conveniently resolved. I read the final book in the series in October so you will have to wait to see that review.

This book just effortlessly sweeps me up into another world and it's just brilliant.

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell - 5 Stars

I found this fascinating and really easy to read (and listen to the audiobook). Kind of want to move to Denmark. But then I think Scottish winters are bad enough.

The Feminists Guide to Raising a Little Princess by Devorah Blachor - 4 Stars

I really enjoyed reading this witty book, looking at concerns about empowering our daughters to be authentic, joyful and fearless in a culture that still promotes pink tutus and princesses as the ultimate choice for little girls.

Lullaby by Leila Slimani - 3 Stars

Not sure I really 'got' this one. I thought it was a thriller but it was more a character study in the breakdown of the nanny committed an atrocious crime. Really disappointed as not what I expected.

It has been so long since I read a graphic novel as, in general they don't cover the sort of stories and topics that I like reading about. But I loved this graphic novel, such an amazing story and one that really does help build empathy for refugee and asylum seekers. Very powerful.

I really enjoyed reading the stories (even though they are aimed at readers aged 5-11) and loved the diversity of the illustrations. They would be great for children who are already familiar with the characters and stories, to see a different way of tackling a problem and ultimately that not every story that has a 'happily ever after' needs to have a prince and a wedding. We can choose our own happily ever afters!

So I have really enjoyed the last few month's of reading! And I get excited about all the books I still have to read. One of the things that I am really enjoying is listening to audiobooks at the gym (since I joined in August in an effort to get this bookworm doing some exercise) and I love that my library have some availble to dowlaod straight on to my phone. But I also love Audible and some of the deals that they have. It's so easy, for £7.99 a month you get one credit to exchange for a book. But they also have deals on so you can often get 'buy one get one free' or 'three for two', and I recently discovered that if you don't like an audiobook you have downloaded you can return it (though I think this is at Audible's discretion so you don't take advantage). If you would like to sign up for a free trial I'd love it if you clicked on my affiliate link below, it literally won't cost you a penny! And you can always pop a reminder in your phone to cancel before the free trial ends if you don't want to continue.

Below is a link to my GoodReads page which should be up to date with all the books I have read so far this year (and it should keep updating as I continue to read). I'll be doing another quarterly post at the end of the year but if you want to see what I'm currently reading you can find me on there!

BookBairn's bookshelf: read

My Cousin Rachel
The Feminist's Guide to Raising a Little Princess: How to Raise a Girl Who's Authentic, Joyful, and Fearless--Even If She Refuses to Wear Anything But a Pink Tutu
The Dreamsnatcher
Northern Lights
Power to the Princess
Battle of the Beetles
The Matilda Effect
A Place Called Perfect
The Marvels
Beetle Queen
The Trials of Morrigan Crow
Beetle Boy
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race
The Girls
The Butcher's Hook
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
How Do You Like Me Now?

BookBairn's favorite books »

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
BookBairn has completed her goal of reading 48 books in 2018!

The next time I write one of these will be the end of the year so I wonder if I will reach my secret (shhhh!) target of 100 books. And I wonder what my favourite book of the year will be!

Do get in touch if you've read any of these - I'd love to know what you think! 

Happy Reading,


Disclaimer: Words and opinions are my own. If you click on the title or image of the book you will be sent to Amazon.co.uk using an affiliate link. This means that if you choose to purchase on Amazon.co.uk, I will receive a small sum (around 20-70p per book) from amazon at no extra cost to you. If you use the affiliate link for Audible I also receive a commission. I understand that you may not want to use an affiliate link, but if you like reading our blog please just think of it as a small tip for a tip-off to an awesome book. And know that your support means I can buy more books! For more information check out our 'For Our Readers' section.

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