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


Yesterday we braved the elements and went to the Scottish Deer Centre. We spotted plenty of deer, elk, the Scottish Wildcat and were stalked...

Curl Up with A Letter for Bear

Sunday, November 29, 2015 BookBairn 15 Comments

Yesterday we braved the elements and went to the Scottish Deer Centre. We spotted plenty of deer, elk, the Scottish Wildcat and were stalked the length of the enclosure of the wolves. Alas, we did not see the bears, they are hibernating. I can't blame them it is the time of year for snuggling up. BookBairn and I enjoy a daily hibernation under a blanket in front of the fire with a good book and have discovered the perfect wintry read. 'A Letter for Bear' by David Lucas is full of beautiful illustrations which will transport you through the 'wardrobe' into a winter wonderland.

This is the heart-warming tale of Bear who delivers letters, getting to know all the animals in his local woodland neighbourhood for whom he decides to throw a party. I won't spoil the ending other than to say that it will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy (think the 2013 John Lewis advert with the bear and the hare).

This is perhaps one of the most stylish and sophisticated picture books that we have read. Full of beautiful imagery in the text - 'a snowstorm of letters' and illustrations which wold not look out of place in an art gallery, it is a treat for the ears and eyes! Featuring a limited colour palette of blues, purples, pinks and oranges it is visually quite different from all the other books in BookBairn's library. When we read the book, she is captivated by the illustrations and reaches out to touch the snowflakes which are scattered across every page. I am also delighted by the fact that she is now able to turn the pages of both paperback and board books and she flicked through these pages enjoying the beautiful end-papers in particular.

This story brings back memories for me of curling up with my own mum, G'ma BookBairn, and reading 'The Jolly Christmas Postman' by Janet Ahlberg. Another Christmas book to re-discover with BookBairn when she is older and less-prone to eating the postman's letters. It has also reminded me of the joys of #happymail not simply because I was happy to get this book in the post but also Bear's joy at receiving cards in the post from the woodland creatures... I think I'll get writing those Christmas cards this week!

Happy 'snuggling up with a book', Mummy and BookBairn xx

***We are very excited to run another competition! If you would like to win a copy of A Letter for Bear (perfect festive reading), please comment below. (Additional entries will be available so keep an eye out by following us on twitter and on facebook.) UK residents only please. Competition closes 5.12.15.***

UPDATE - Competition is now closed. Thanks to all who entered! Mummy and BookBairn x

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


The countdown to Christmas is about to begin and this year the excitement of Christmas has been enlivend anew for me as it will be BookBa...

Christmas Countdown for little BookBairns

Thursday, November 26, 2015 BookBairn 9 Comments

The countdown to Christmas is about to begin and this year the excitement of Christmas has been enlivend anew for me as it will be BookBairn's first Christmas! Suddenly, our old Christmas decorations and traditions seem dusty so I am inspired to bring back some sparkle to the festivities, starting new traditions and polishing up the dusty ones.

One tradition I am excited to throw some glitter on and bring some cheer to is to upgrade our Christmas countdown, especially since BookBairn is really too small for a chocolate advent calendar (don't worry I'll eat hers!). I hope to start a new BookBairn-family tradition by creating a book advent tree to countdown the days until Christmas.

To get started, I have been collecting Christmas and winter-themed books for a couple of months, and whilst it has been quite costly this year, I plan to put the books away at the end of the festive season and bring them back out again next year (and they will seem new again!) and over the years simply replace some books as BookBairn outgrows them. I should point out that not all the books are new and not all are festive (24 new books seemed far too indulgent, even for BookBairn). I have included a photo of the festive books I have included (if you are interested in doing something similar, I found the Book People website to be really good as it sells packs of books working out at around £1 a book or the Hive online bookstore which sells books cheaper than Amazon and contributes part of the sale to the highstreet/local bookshop of your choice). It has only taken two days worth of BookBairn's naptimes but I have finally lovingly wrapped all 24 books and piled them into a Christmas book-tree.

The plan is to open a book each day and savour some special time cuddled up together and enjoy the gift of an advent story. I hope that in the future our advent tree will become a family Christmas tradition that BookBairn and I will look forward to!

Merry Christmas Countdown, Mummy and BookBairn xx

One from the cutting-room floor:


"If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise... For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certa...

We're Going on a Bear Hunt!

Sunday, November 22, 2015 BookBairn 9 Comments

"If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise... For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain because today's the day the teddy bears have their stories read!"

I recently bought a copy of 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury as it brought back memories of my own childhood acting out this campfire song as a family by swishing and swashing and splishing and splashing and tiptoeing not over or under but always through each obstacle on our way to catch that elusive bear. What a brilliant adventure story for the whole family, brought to life through actions and props along the way! I thoroughly enjoy Michael Rosen's version of the story which puts to use great onomatopoeic words and repetition, building up to that moment when the family come face-to-face with a bear. Like many great stories, this one is made better by a great storyteller - you really have to throw yourself into this story to bring it to life for children. For me, the illustrations are beautiful and artistic but not as exciting or colourful as this book deserves and did not particularly appeal to BookBairn. Perhaps she is spoiled by some of the fantastic illustrations from other stories we have read or it couuld be that she is still young (still loving her high-contrast baby books) she seems to prefer the bold, distinct and colourful pictures of other stories. It's not a bedtime favourite though because it's too wild and gets her over-excited pre-sleep. Better fun to be had when she is full of energy!

But all this bear-hunting has got me thinking...
There are so many iconic picture books featuring bears and (not that we have any favourites) here are some of our most beloved bears.

The quintessentially British 'Paddington', created by Michael Bond, has sought refuge in our hearts and found a home for life. An almost-fairytale story of a lovable bear who is seeking a new home after stowing away on a ship to escape his native Darkest Peru (which was devastated by disaster). Arriving at Paddington Station, he has nothing but his suitcase, an almost-empty jar of marmalade and a label reading 'please look after this bear. Thank you.'. We would certainly welcome him into our BookBairn household with open arms! The version that we have is rather lenghty in text for BookBairn at the moment, but it would be hard to shorten it without losing the meaning of the story, so probably one for when she's older. The illustrations by R.W. Alley certainly capture the endearing nature of this much-loved bear and are absolutely delightful! I also can't help but mention that this story is particularly poignant in the current climate as the first planeload of refugees fleeing Syria arrived in Scotland this week. This story would be a great way to discuss this subject with younger children. More than fifty years has passed since Paddington was welcomed with open arms and has certainly found refuge in many hearts. We cherish him in our house!

Another bear who has charmed his way out of the book shop and into our lives is 'Hugless Douglas' by David Melling. The first in a fantastic series of books introduces Douglas as an enormous bear cub with an even bigger heart. All he wants is a hug. And the book describes his bear hunt to find the perfect one. This blundering , bumbling bear could not be more irresistible. The illustrations are truly wonderful with a whole cast of characters to adore. The bright, colourful and expressive artwork will appeal to youngsters of all ages! If Douglas is ever looking for a hug again, he can just pop round our house and I know a wee BookBairn (and her mummy) who would willingly oblige!

And finally, we can't talk bears without mentioning Winnie the Pooh! Our favourite cuddly wuddly honey-fiend of a friend! I love these stories, and although they are much too long to appeal to BookBairn at the moment, she does have a fantastic 1 2 3 counting book featuring illustrations by Andrew Grey which are true to the original characters by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard! What a great gift from a well-read friend (thank you!). This is a great book for introducing all the characters from the stories to BookBairn as well as introducing counting skills. For me, Winnie the Pooh will always be my favourite bear!

I wonder which bear will be BookBairn's favourite when is grows up. Perhaps one of these charismatic characters? Or perhaps she will prefer a new, yet-to-be-created bear? Who knows? All I know for certain is that we will be on a bear hunt to find it!

We would love if you could join us on our bear hunt by commenting below with your favourite bear!

Love Mummy and BookBairn x


Last week we posted about a brilliant charity fundraiser for Children in Need but we are acutely aware that charities closer to home need ou...

A Christmas Gift

Friday, November 20, 2015 BookBairn 0 Comments

Last week we posted about a brilliant charity fundraiser for Children in Need but we are acutely aware that charities closer to home need our support too. A friend has done a fantastic job over the last few years setting up and running a local toy drive every Christmas-time, encouraging us all to buy an extra gift this Christmas (what's one more in that huge pile of shopping, right?) and donate it so that children and young people in need living in North East Fife have a stocking of presents on Christmas morning.

We have bought a pile of books to donate this year and hope that they will go a small way to giving back to our community.

For more information on the Toy Drive, check out their facebook page by clicking on the picture above.

Merry Christmas-shopping, Mummy and BookBairn xx


There are times when I have found myself reviewing books because we have recently bought them or been sent them or we are reading them a lot...

A Story Book Classic - The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Monday, November 16, 2015 BookBairn 4 Comments

There are times when I have found myself reviewing books because we have recently bought them or been sent them or we are reading them a lot or they fit with a life event but sometimes there are those classic books which go, not forgotten, but under-appreciated for more shiny, sparkly, lift-the-flappy, or otherwise interactive books. I want every so often to put these children's classics back in the spotlight because, after all, they are the ones we read and enjoy over and over again, bedtime after bedtime, generation after generation!

One such classic that we read at least once a week is 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' by Eric Carle. What makes this so perfect for us at bedtime is that it is short and sweet! The illustrations are bright and cheerful and I love the food pictures with caterpillar-nibbled holes in them. BookBairn's fingers are just the right size to wriggle into these cut-outs too! I have mentioned in blog posts before that sometimes illustrations can be over-complicated by fussy backgrounds and unnecessary details that make pages a visual overload for little readers. Set against a plain background it is clear what we are reading about and I'm sure that it will help BookBairn connect words and pictures more easily when she becomes able.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is also a popular book for use in nurseries and primary schools so you will, no doubt, come across it through your children's reading journeys. It is perfect to introduce the concept of metamorphosis as part of minibeasts projects alongside the use simple numbers, the days of the week and discussion of healthy and unhealthy food choices it is a smorgasbord of learning opportunities! There are so many crafts to try out too, a quick google search returns hundreds of brilliant activities to try at home too. This famous little caterpillar has grown arms and legs (as well as wings) and there is a fantastic variety of merchandise out there too: BookBairn loves the pram toy with a jingly bell inside but not such a fan of the puppet book - I always get his head stuck as we turn the pages. Best stick with the classic version we think!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a masterpiece of children's literature. 

If you have any classic books that you love please feel free to comment below, we would love to know what you are reading too!

Love Mummy and BookBairn x

 And no, the hat didn't last long!


It's BBC Children in Need and this year you can get double the feel-good factor when you support this fantastic cause! This year, and fo...

Children in Need Special

Friday, November 13, 2015 BookBairn 16 Comments

It's BBC Children in Need and this year you can get double the feel-good factor when you support this fantastic cause! This year, and for the first time ever, some of the most famous names in music, sport and TV have contributed their imaginative ideas to a picture book, from which profits will go to Children in Need.

'The Curious Tale of Fi-Rex' is a hilarious story written as a game of consequences with each celebrity (or group of celebrities) were given some character details and the final line from the preceding page. The result is exactly what you would expect from a game of consequences slightly disjointed, but ultimately hysterical nonsense! It is all brought together by the wonderful illustrations of Julia Patton, featuring circus lions playing football, Keith Lemon as an umpire, a half-boy half-banana, two animal pop groups (Pond Direction and Quack That) and a Beetle.

This book is clearly not aimed at BookBairn so I will take it upon myself to share my opinion. I absolutely adore Julia Patton's illustrations and they amazingly bring the whole story together. I don't want to give away to much but an adventure into 'the Land of Your Imagination' with twists and turns galore will certainly keep you on tenterhooks. Here are some hints about what to expect. I know a few dinosaur-fans who will love the fact that the main protagonist is half-girl half-T-Rex and the crazed adventures will have kiddies in hysterics. Fans of boy bands will love the One Direction page, fans of man bands will be unable to resist the Take That section, featuring a flying Gary Barlow-duck, and the older generation will have great fun spotting the Beatles references in the Paul McCartney penned section. Sports fans will enjoy the footballing lions, tennis court and jumping of the diving board scenes contributed by Wayne and Colleen Rooney, Andy Murray and Tom Daley. A book for the whole family! Personally, I will definitely be using it in school to get a game of story-writing consequences going on.

Simply, this is an easy book to enjoy as a family! And to contribute to charity fundraising thrown in to boot.


 Good luck to all those fundraising for Children in Need this year! Mummy and BookBairn-Pudsey!


*Don't worry, this is not a birth-story post as is common on many parenting blogs, that's not my cup of tea.* For those of you ...

On the Night You Were Born

Sunday, November 08, 2015 BookBairn 9 Comments

*Don't worry, this is not a birth-story post as is common on many parenting blogs, that's not my cup of tea.*

For those of you who follow BookBairn on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram will know that we are celebrating Picture Book Month this November and sharing photographs of BookBairn reading a book based on the theme of the day. We have also been asked to join a group of bloggers sharing posts for Picture Book Month, and, having chosen Sunday 8th November to post, we have the gorgeous theme of LOVE! 

If you read our post on Guess How Much I Love You (http://bookbairn.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/guess-how-much-i-love-you.html), you will already know that we enjoy a story to share with BookBairn how special, important, unique and loved she is. We were recently recommended another story, which has a similar sentiment by a fellow bookbairn and I couldn't think of a lovelier story to share today. 
'On the Night You Were Born' by Nancy Tillman tells the story of the night when everything changed in the world: the night that you were born. Featuring beautiful, artistic illustrations and magical, poetic prose, On the Night You Were Born captures the sentiments of new parenthood and the emotions and joy felt on that very first night that you hold your newborn (and every night after that too!). It also shares the message that each child is absolutely unique and is truly loved. The hand-painted illustrations add to the magic of the story, with most featuring musical notes floating through the air, adding to the beauty and enchantment of the story. It is hard to capture the beauty of the story in a review, so I would like to share a few lines with you:

"On the night you were born,
the moon smiled with such wonder
that the stars peeked in to see you
and the night wind whispered,
'Life will never be the same.'

Because there had never been anyone like you...
ever in the world."

Isn't it magical? And that's just the first page. This book is a lovely story to share with very little babies and again with older children once they can better appreciate the illustrations and message. But for the moment, when we read this to BookBairn, I hope she felt special and truly truly loved.
Love (On the Night You Were Born... and Always), Mummy and BookBairn x


Full disclosure before we begin: I love Miffy! Always have. Always will. In fact, I now look back and wonder why BookBairn doesn't have ...

A Sweet Little Bunny: Miffy!

Friday, November 06, 2015 BookBairn 20 Comments

Full disclosure before we begin: I love Miffy! Always have. Always will. In fact, I now look back and wonder why BookBairn doesn't have a Miffy-themed nursery? I blame baby-brain. I digress.

Much to my delight, this year is the 60th anniversary of this cute little white rabbit and she is everywhere! We even went to meet Miffy at the Edinburgh Book Festival, sadly we have no photograph as BookBairn fell asleep (never work with animals or small children, they said). But she did get a delightful yellow balloon to match her M&S Miffy vest (which, yes, I bought in sizes for next summer too!).

The Miffy books, by Dick Bruna, are ideal bedtime reading for BookBairn. The stories are short and written in rhyme and the illustrations are deceptively simple and brightly coloured. We started with the original 'Miffy' story and haven't stopped. The collection is growing rapidly. Recently re-translated by Tony Mitton, the classic Miffy stories have been reworked and republished (with the original illustrations! Thank goodness). I must confess that whilst some of the new translations are true to the original voice, for me, some lack the continuity of the story and others grasp to maintain the rhyme ("The cock and hen came by to see. Their little chicks came too. Even the cow was keen to look at baby Miffy. Moo!" - seriously? Moo!) I have bought mostly modern versions for BookBairn but recently bought a haul of Miffy books on Ebay for Christmas gifts (spoiler for those who know me with wee bookbairns of their own - sorry) and am comparing the texts and swapping some of the modern ones with the originals. But, in all honesty, I know I am being picky. And BookBairn loves the illustrations either way!

The Miffy stories are perfect pre-nap stories as they are short enough to keep a sleepy BookBairn's attention but also appeal to me, which, as selfish as it could sound, is important given that we could be re-reading them over and over. In fact, we read Miffy on a daily basis. We also have copies of some of the newly published books 'Peekaboo Miffy' and 'Look and See Miffy' which were released alongside Miffy activity and sticker books to appeal to a modern audience of readers. These books are great fun too! And maintain the distinctive palette of bright primary colours and the cast of characters from the Miffy series. The lift-the-flap book 'Peekaboo Miffy' is super and has lovely large flaps which BookBairn can handle whilst 'Miffy Look and See' has peek-through holes which are large enough for her use to turn pages (she is too little to answer the who's next type questions in the text but this will no doubt be good for toddlers).

As part of Miffy's birthday celebrations, the TV channel Tiny Pop have started showing a new TV programme called 'Miffy's Adventures Big and Small' at 7pm and 7.30am. Well, I was never too keen to plop my wee one in front of the TV but, now I'm actually a mum, seven minutes peace seems like heaven! And even as young as BookBairn is, she will happily sit for seven minutes and watch. The show features rather cute computer-generated (although it has a Wallace and Gromit plasticine-look about it) Miffy and friends and certainly captures the essence of the Dick Bruna illustrations. The show also has an incredibly catchy theme-tune, which I find myself singing long after BookBairn is in bed but it grabs her attention as soon as it appears. It also generally has another song featured during the episode which maintains her attention when it might be beginning to waver (she's easy to please really, a song or a book can cure most grumpy moments!). It is bright and colourful and similarly to the books the shows feature simple backgrounds, allowing attention to focus on the characters. She loves it! And I enjoy the peace (I can now down a scalding hot cuppa in seven minutes).

***We are very excited to run our first competition! If you would like to win a sensory Miffy toy (perfect in time for Christmas), please comment below. (Additional entries will be available so keep an eye out by following us on twitter and on facebook.) UK residents only please. Competition closes 14.11.15.****

Good luck! Mummy and BookBairn

UPDATE - Competition is now closed. Thanks to all who entered! Mummy and BookBairn x

*DISCLAIMER* - We were provided the Miffy toy in exchange for reviewing the Tiny Pop TV show. I had always planned to write a Miffy post (having so many books) and all words and views are my own.


I have planned for some time to make a photo book for BookBairn with photographs of all the members of her immediate family and, fortunately...

One of a Kind: A Personal Book

Monday, November 02, 2015 BookBairn 4 Comments

I have planned for some time to make a photo book for BookBairn with photographs of all the members of her immediate family and, fortunately, I recently received a message from love2read asking us to review our experience of creating a personalised book. I was delighted! Exactly what I was looking for. Our family doesn't live locally but we are fortunate that they visit often. Still, I thought it would be nice to have all the family photos in a book together. Also, BookBairn's Aunty has just moved to New York for the foreseeable future so it's great that she can see her whenever she wants in the pages of this book.

The process of creating the book was straightforward with lots of options and templates to choose from. As I said, I had planned a 'My Family' book for a while so I selected that template. However, there are plenty templates to choose from, varying from books for specific family members (gran, cousin, pets) to memory books for special events and celebrations (my year, my birthday, my Halloween). The book consists of ten main pages and we are fortunate that this suited the size of our family perfectly. Our main difficulty came when choosing which photos to use: the book is best suited to landscape photos, and if you're anything like us, lots of your photos are snapped on iPhones and therefore are primarily portrait. A wee photo-shoot later and we had our perfect shots! I could add the text that I wanted underneath easily meaning I could include each family members name under their pictures, adding to the longevity of the book. Hopefully, she will be able to recognise their names as she gets older. Our only real issue was when it came to creating the cover as the process automatically selects the first four pictures from the book so we had to do a bit of shuffling pages around as I didn't want to feature one set of grandparents on the cover and not the other. Not that they would have bothered particularly but it would have bothered me. A quick re-shuffle was easy and all done! Apart for taking some new photos, the process took less than half an hour. And even better, the book arrived in the post two days later. Brilliant service!

The quality of the photo-printing is excellent and even though we used iPhone photos the clarity and colour is superb. I had, initially, been concerned that the book was not a board book and therefore wouldn't be as durable but the thick glossy pages make it strong and light! The perfect combination for BookBairn to hold and play with herself!

Well, if you've been reading our previous posts, you'll know that BookBairn loves to read and loves books. But reading this for the first time was one of the best reading experiences that we've had so far. She, literally, squealed with excitement! As we turned each page she touched the photos and grinned in delight! I couldn't have expected a better reaction. She knew that this book was one of a kind and unique. She recognised the faces. Honestly, I cried with happiness. What a special book! BookBairn has begun to wriggle, squiggle and shuffle around the room and, despite having several toys to choose to play with, she picks up this book.  It may have been a coincidence but when she picked it up upside down she put her wee brain to work to turn it around so that the photos were the right way up. She talks to the pages. It's her favourite book at the moment. And it will always be a special book.

Love Mummy and BookBairn x

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