For most people, this weekend sees the release of their most anticipated book of the year. The publishing and bookseller industry has been...

Most Anticipated Book of the Year

Saturday, July 30, 2016 BookBairn 14 Comments

For most people, this weekend sees the release of their most anticipated book of the year. The publishing and bookseller industry has been completely focused on it. And yes, it's pretty awesome! And yes, I'll be getting a copy (Daddy BookBairn has consented to additional book expenditure for that purpose). And yes, I'm talking about 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child'. But no, it's not my most anticipated book of the year.

I'm talking about 'Oi Dog' by Kes and Claire Grey with illustrations from Jim Field. I cannot express my excitement that it was released this week. Ever since discovering 'Oi Frog' I've been eagerly anticipated another release from this perfect book-creating partnership. I got all excited over the rumours of Oi Dog a year ago, and then devastated when I thought these were just rumours and not actually true, and then the elation to learn that 'Oi Dog' would be a real book! Honestly, it's too exciting.

It has taken me a couple of days to get a copy (yes, I know I could have pre-ordered it online but I wanted the thrill of seeing it on the shelves) and I managed to pick up the last copy in a local bookshop to my absolute joy!

As you can imagine, we have lots of books around our house and whilst BookBairn really enjoys them and gets excited by book-post, she is generally quite happy to read the same books over and over again. And she does love 'Oi Frog' but I was so surprised by her reaction to this new book. When I brought it home (I say that and it sounds like I'm bringing home a new baby to the family! - haha!) she took it straight from me and scurried through it's pages. She asked me to read it. She asked Daddy to read it. She looked through it again. She ran from room to room carrying it everywhere (this is a real hazard when you are as little as BookBairn because a hardback children's book really impedes your view) and eventually she put it on her 'Favourites Shelf'. It's now part of her book family! And it has pride of place! I think that's a pretty awesome reception!

'Oi Dog' is the much-anticipated follow-up to 'Oi Frog' by Kes Grey and Jim Field and it is truly fantastic! In the first book, Cat sets the world to rights ensuring that everyone is sitting in the right spot - cats on mats, frogs on logs and so on. Frog gets a pretty raw deal when asks "what do dogs sit on?" I'm sure you can imagine - and if you can't you need to get a copy of this book.

With the help of Kes and Claire Grey, Frog has decided to re-write the rules! And some animals don't fare too well this time around. Jim Field's illustrations are packed full of humour and his characters of Frog, Dog and Cat are so wonderfully expressive and endearing it's pretty hard to resist them!

I genuinely don't want to say too much to spoil this book. I simply implore you to buy it so you can enjoy it for yourself! I simply want to say that this was my most anticipated book of the year and it hasn't disappointed. It has exceeded all expectations! And I think it is my 'Book of the Year'! Certainly, so far! If you have any book-pennies to spare. This is the book you should buy!

It's the first time BookBairn has ever chosen to put a book on her Favourites Shelf. That's high-praise indeed! 
Mummy and BookBairn xx

P.S. I realise there were a lot of !!!! in this blog post - I'm just too excited!

*DISCLAIMER* I bought 'Oi Dog' and it was worth every penny!

We are linking up with Mama Mummy Mum for #readwithme


BookBairn's vocabulary is growing so quickly, she has so many words now I've lost count. And she's started stringing pairs of ...

One Word at a Time

Friday, July 29, 2016 BookBairn 4 Comments

BookBairn's vocabulary is growing so quickly, she has so many words now I've lost count. And she's started stringing pairs of words together to make her first little sentences like "help Mummy" and "open door" and "read-y book" (of course!). But for the most part she expresses herself pretty well with just one word. I previously mentioned the hated "wait!" in our post BookBairn gets the Grumps but she's particularly fond of "more". Throw in "shoes" or "pram" when she wants to go out, "milk" when she wants it, "sleepy" when she's tired and "Louieeeeeee" which is her bedtime buddy and she's got most of her needs met.

Archie the Rhino is also a toddler of 'why use many words when one will do?' mentality. Created by Tracey Corderoy and illustrated by Tim Warnes, Archie is an adorable and mischievous little chappy whose ever-expanding vocabulary sometimes has his parents, who have patience by the bucket-load, at their wits end. He would certainly drive me bonkers which makes me concerned how I will survive the toddler demands from BookBairn!

In the newest release, Archie wants everything "Now!"! All parents with impatient toddlers will know that wanting everything now can be a huge issue for little ones. In this book, Archie is finding waiting a little bit hard. There are so many fun things he wants to do: play in his paddling pool before it has any water in; read a story with his dad, whilst his dad is on the phone; ride his new scooter before it's unwrapped; and skip the queue of the bouncy castle. But the real challenge comes for Archie when his parents tell him he is going on holiday and he just can't wait. But of course, he has to wait! His parents make him a special countdown chart and over the ten days they fill his days with fun activities in the hope of keeping him busy. When the day finally comes to go on holiday there is a small problem: they can't find Tiger (the equivalent of BookBairn's Louis Lion) and now they can't wait! Don't worry, he turns up just in the nick of time and Archie does a marvellous job waiting in the queues at the airport. And then finally he gets his holiday.

This book is truly adorable! Archie is the cutest little rhino and is perfectly cast as a mischeivous toddler who uses his limited vocabulary in a very powerful way. I love the concept of this series and it is as funny for parents as it is enjoyable for little readers. It is so true to real life, apart from the talking rhino part, of course. But you will see yourselves in the parents pained expressions and see your toddler in the mischievous Archie. Tim Warnes's illustrations perfectly captured the chaotic words of having a toddler: piles of books everywhere (at least in our house), parents chasing around after a little person, and dark circles under the parents' eyes. In Archie, he has created a bundle of energy who is truly adorable (especially when he's sleeping - like all toddlers, right?).

If you like the sound of this one, there are three other books in the Archie series:

"More!" where Archie learns this powerful toddler word and just wants more and more and more of everything! I love the page where Archie wants just one more bedtime story and his frazzled dad is surrounded by piles of books (some of which have instantly recognisable covers to picture book fans). I know that feeling. And, quite honestly, it comes to bedtime story and I will happily read one, or two, but then I just want her in bed so I can pop the TV on and put my feet up with a hot cup of tea. In this book, Archie struggles with any kind of moderation but he eventually discovers that less is more.

"No!" where Archie makes life difficult for everyone by refusing everything and anything. His ever-suffering parents try their best but what can you do when they point blank refuse to do something? Archie makes a few errors in judgement though. He says "no" to everything and misses out on painting and eating cakes and playing with his friends. He learns that sometimes "yes" can be as powerful as "no".

"Why?" stars Archie in a question-marathon when he wants to learn everything. Fortunately, BookBairn is not at this stage yet but I'm sure when it does come round I will feel like Archie's exhausted parents who cannot answer Archie's questions quickly enough.  This one, unfortunately, doesn't have a great lesson where Archie realises the power of his words. He simply exhausts himself with questions and falls asleep. And I bet his parents collapse in a heap whilst he sleeps peacefully. Until the next morning: "Why aren't you up yet?" True to life!

I wasn't surprised to learn that Tracey Corderoy is a trained teacher with a background in literacy and a passion for language and learning. It is evident in these books. She knows kids. This series is hilarious for adults who will no doubt see their toddlers and themselves in the pages, but the books will also open up early discussions about patience, manners, empathy with unruly little ones!

I love how BookBairn's vocabulary is expanding! Its fascinating. And exhausting. We are taking each day, one word at a time.

Mummy and BookBairn x

Sometimes toddlers just have a mind of their own!
*DISCLAIMER* We borrowed 'More!', 'No!' and 'Why?' from our local library and received a copy of  'Now' for review from the publisher. All words and opinions are, as always, my own.

We are linking this post with The Reading Residence for Word of the Week


Since I started writing this blog, I have developed a deeper appreciation for the variety of artwork (and yes, I mean real art ) provided ...

When Illustrations Become Art

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 BookBairn 16 Comments

Since I started writing this blog, I have developed a deeper appreciation for the variety of artwork (and yes, I mean real art) provided by illustrators to visually tell stories. For BookBairn, there is, without a doubt, nothing more important to her when reading books than the illustrations. She feels them, touching the pages, she pours over them turning page after page after page. She can't read the words. And as much as she enjoys listening to stories read aloud to her, it's primarily the illustrations that determine her favourites.

I have gradually become more aware of our favourite illustrators, and how many of the books we adore, despite having different authors, have illustrators in common. Many people can roll off a list of their favourite authors and have no idea who illustrated them. And it's not their fault. All the press seems to be around the writer, and in some cases the illustrators name isn't even mentioned on the cover! Imagine putting in all that effort and not getting your name on the cover? Pictures sell books too. So from now on we will proudly display the 'pictures mean business' logo created by Sarah McIntyre (illustrator extraordinaire) in a show of support for illustrators and the art of illustration!

Flipping this lack of accreditation on it's head are the team at Little Tiger Press who have put the illustrator front and center of their newest release. Britta Teckentrup truly is an artist of the highest standard.

In 'Bee: nature's tiny miracle', she has created a magical world for little readers. It is completely enchanting. Using an intricate collage style, rainbow-hues and luscious colours, Britta has created fields of wonderful flora and fauna to tell the story of the flight of the bumblebees. Every page is delight! I thoroughly enjoyed reading Catherine at Story Snug's interview with Britta about the inspiration behind her beautiful creations (linked for you here). Also, the die-cuts throughout the book engage little fingers with exploring the pages and they are cutely hexagonal adding to the artistry of the images and aren't simply gimmicky. They certainly take nothing away from the artwork and they allow little BookBairn to explore the pages.

This book is not only a work of art but it also shares the plight of nature's unsung hero, the bee. Patricia Hegarty poetically tells the story of the vital role that bees play in our environment. In rhyming couplets she brings to life the bees to-ing and fro-ing as the bee sweeps through the fields gathering pollen. I re-read this several times with the intention of sharing some of my favourite  lines with you, and I just can't. The whole poem is just too beautifully crafted to take one or two from the story. You will just have to get your hands on a copy if you want to read this magical story.

Quite simply, this is a perfect example of a non-fiction picture book at it's best! I love that there is a growing genre of narrative non-fiction for younger readers. What a brilliant way to engage little ones with learning about a variety of subjects through the guise of a picture book story. I want more books like these. (We also loved 'One Day on Our Blue Planet' if you are looking for something similar.)

And it seems appropriate to end by sharing with you how beautiful the endpapers in this book are. They feature an incredible spread of wildflowers and mini-beasts, which support the message of the book that bees are vital to the pollination of plants and flowers, thus ensuring the survival of many other creatures, including us, in our eco-system. Perfectly beautiful.

I should also say that the pairings other book 'Tree: seasons come, seasons go' is also incredible, and a great read for learning about the seasons. If you are looking for a book that you will enjoy reading as much as your little ones, you should look out for Britta Teckentrup's magical works.

And hopefully, I've also encouraged you to appreciate the artwork in picture books and look underneath the cover for the illustrator's name too!

Enjoy the pictures! Mummy and BookBairn

*DISCLAIMER* We  requested a copy of 'Bee' for review from the publisher. All words and opinions are, as always, my own.

We are linking up with Mama Mummy Mum for #readwithme


Just a really quick on to share that I wrote a book review with kids from school for TES (formerly Times Educational Supplement)​. The kids ...

TES Book Review: Alison Hubble

Friday, July 22, 2016 BookBairn 2 Comments

Just a really quick on to share that I wrote a book review with kids from school for TES (formerly Times Educational Supplement)​. The kids enjoyed it so much and felt like proper little critics. Can't wait for them to read it! Read it here:

On a side note - I don't know why I have my eyes closed in the photograph - that's why I usually just stick behind the camera and let BookBairn do all the posing!


Like most parents we worry about spoiling BookBairn. She is lucky to have so many generous people who love to give her gifts. It has re...

What do you buy the girl who has everything?

Friday, July 22, 2016 BookBairn 13 Comments

Like most parents we worry about spoiling BookBairn. She is lucky to have so many generous people who love to give her gifts. It has resulted in a wardrobe I envy, a toy collection that has required that I invest in extra storage already, a doll's house that is truly every girl's wish and that's all before I even start on her personal library! What a lucky lucky girl.

But she's not as spoiled or as lucky as Petunia! In 'Petunia Paris's Parrot' written by Katie Haworth and illustrated by Jo Williamson, we meet a prim and pampered little girl who has everything she could ever wish for. Every year her parents ask her what she would like for her upcoming birthday. Previous gifts include a swimming pool, a city of toys, a thousand dresses, a bicycle with its own chauffeur and her own personal library (I don't think you can spoil a child with books - obviously, given BookBairn's ever-growing collection). So she requests a parrot. As you do. And unlike most parents, Petunia's parents don't roll their eyes and head to Toys R Us to pick up a stuffed toy parrot with fingers crossed that she won't notice/care. They buy her parrot. All the way from Peru. As you do.

But parrots don't perform on request: they can't be plied with exotic food, they aren't interested in pertinent topics of conversation, they aren't impressed by perfect piano playing and they do no enjoy preposterous outfits no matter how much planning has gone into them. The only thing Petunia's parrot would do was "squark". Frustrated by her non-compliant pet she finally asks "what do you want?" And the parrot asks simply that he wants to go home to Peru. And Petunia knows exactly what her next birthday wish will be. A trip to Peru! Where the parrot is finally happy flying with all his fellow macaws.

This is a hilarious story that is beautifully written. The use of advanced vocabulary such as 'pertinent' and 'perturbed' and 'preposterous' has the potential to seem slightly precocious but it is written in such a way that it is endearing to Petunia's character. It will also help little ones learn new words! I love the gentle use of alliteration throughout the story which you could chat about with older readers, but with little ones it just makes it a joy to read for the grown ups!

The illustrations are beautifully elegant with the majority of the book in shades of pastel pink, turquoise and grey. The introduction of the parrot adds a blast of colour - red and blue - to every page. Making him the new star of the show, eclipsing Petunia! The beautiful fold-out spread of when they reach Peru (pictured below) is a delight to behold. After such a limited colour palette these pages feel like the world has gone technicolour (making me think of Dorothy's arrival in Oz) - it creates a little bit of magic for readers.

Each page spread is packed full with details, particularly the lovely toy's shelf and the party scene. Lots of little eyes to pour over. This book feels slightly old-fashioned in its illustration - simple lines and visible brush strokes alongside the pastel colours, however, I find this quite refreshing as it stands out amongst more typical illustrations. It also helps to add to the pretty picturesque nature of Petunia's life. This book really is enhanced by illustrations that do more than simply tell the story, in fact, they embody it completely.

This is a  hilarious story with a valuable lesson about not always getting what you want. Hopefully, with BookBairn, we have a struck the balance between lucky and spoiled. And one thing is for certain, BookBairn is not getting a parrot!

So what do you buy the girl who has everything? Books. More books please. You can never have too many.
Mummy and BookBairn xx

This cheeky wee reader now likes to run away from the
camera. I think she just wants to read her books. Not
pose with them!

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

Read With Me


Several months ago I received an email from the publishers at Flying Eye Books looking for " some professional feedback on a new pi...

Marcel's New York

Monday, July 18, 2016 BookBairn 3 Comments

Several months ago I received an email from the publishers at Flying Eye Books looking for " some professional feedback on a new picture book we are about to publish". I was truly honoured to be considered a professional and I did my very best. And now, 'Marcel' by Eda Akaltun has arrived through our letterbox!

Marcel is an incredibly cute little French bulldog who loves his native New York as much as a dog loves his kibble! He loves the downtown streets of the city and he and his human know all the best spots: his favourite bagel shop, the doggy spa and listening to his favourite band play at Washington Square Park. There's nowehere else he'd rather be than downtown in the city. Definitely not uptown! On one of their many jogs, Marcel's human meets a handsome Frenchman who gets tangled up in the dog lead. And for the humans, romance blossoms. But Marcel's not so sure. Since this new human entered his life, he is having to spend more and more time uptown, much to his dismay. But the Frenchman knows how to woo this little doggy too: showing him the one thing that uptown has to offer that Marcel can't refuse: the dinosaur exhibits at the Natural History Museum! And Marcel decides there is room for one more human in his life. Uptown is "different, but sometimes different isn't SO bad."

You can see from the photograph of BookBairn that Marcel is instantly charming! He has such an expressive little face and the story is all told from his point of view which puts across his glorious personality. It's hard not to fall for this petulant pup and I think young children will be able to identify with him easily. Who among us really likes change? Most of the illustrations are drawn from Marcel's point of view, meaning that until the last page you don't actually see the humans faces. This is a fantastic idea and it adds to our ability to empathise with Marcel: the world is pretty confusing when you don't see the big picture!

Another interesting element to the illustrations in this book is that it is made up of photographs alongside illustrations. There are no lines around the images either creating an incredible quirky graphic that is quite unique! As someone who has been lucky enough to visit New York, I love the inclusion of real New York buildings in the backgrounds. Eda Akaltun has really captured the vibrant energy of the city. For me, it really brought the story to life! I thoroughly enjoyed the style of this book: it has a great colour palette (think retro graphics and ad posters), interesting illustrations and a cutesy main character to boot!

This book is a heartwarming tale of love an acceptance and I think it is a wonderful premise for a book about introducing a new partner to children and adjusting to big life changes. And yet this book is so much more than simply a children's self-help style book (think, 'my first trip to the dentist', or 'mummy goes to work', which, whilst helpful, can be lacking anything to really engage children), it really tells a story and still explores ever-changing family dynamics in a way that young children can identify with.

This book has made me want to return to New York with BookBairn in tow and show her all the sights and sounds of this marvellous city! And take her to the Natural History Museum, of course. But a nearly 8-hour flight with a toddler who has just learned to walk? Maybe not. Not yet!

Happy Reading, Mummy and BookBairn xx

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


We now have a toddler! BookBairn can walk . On her own. With no one to hold on to. And she likes to run! But with this new found freedom, ...

BookBairn gets the Grumps (Sort of!)

Friday, July 15, 2016 BookBairn 17 Comments

We now have a toddler! BookBairn can walk. On her own. With no one to hold on to. And she likes to run! But with this new found freedom, we are now encountering some tantrum-type moments. BookBairn has never been a grumpy, shouty or tearful sort of child, sometimes when she is overtired she will be a bit fussy but she's pretty easy-going and happy.

Some of this is no doubt due to the fact that she has quite an expansive vocabulary and can generally ask for what she wants. But now that she can walk there are many more dangers, and many more places she can get to that we don't want her to play. Like with the cupboards, or with the drawers, or on the slate floor in the kitchen. So now we have more need to say "no". And she's not a fan of this. She screams. Given, this has only happened a few times, like when I wouldn't let her scale her wardrobe and open the drawers nearly trapping her fingers; or when I shut the stair-gate for example. No big deal really. I said "no", lifted her away, she screamed, I distracted her with something else to play with. And happy-BookBairn returned as quickly as grumpy-BookBairn appeared. You'd also think that "wait" was a swear-word the way she shouts it back at you! And so it begins. The toddler tantrums.

Familiar with the grumps is Sophy Henn's Pom Pom. In 'Pom Pom gets the grumps', Pom Pom, an incredibly cute little panda, gets out of bed on the wrong side and nothing seems right. This is a tale that many parents will know: Pom Pom can't find his favourite blanket, he didn't get what he wanted for breakfast (though his mum probably gave him what he asked for, outside was too sunny, and he doesn't want to play any of the games his friends suggest for breakfast. And Pom Pom "goes nuclear", "has a meltdown", "tirade", "hissy fit", "has a paddy" (whatever you want to call it) and shouts at his nursery pals. Left alone, he feels sad and silly. But he learns his lesson and apologises to his friends. But does he really learn? This is a fantastic story for little ones about temper tantrums and how they can ruin everyone's day. I particularly I enjoyed the repeated use of the word "harrumph!" each time Pom Pom felt grumpy. Such a perfect word to describe it!

In the sequel, 'Pom Pom the Champion', Pom Pom is back and this time he's woken up "all at sixes and sevens" and not knowing what to do with himself, his mummy suggests playing a board game. And from that Pom Pom realises how much he enjoys winning. In his mind, he creates all sorts of games ensuring that he is always the winner: fastest to eat his elevenses (love this!), fastest to read his book in the library, fastest on the slide. Pom Pom joins his friends at playing scooters, playing on the swings, climbing up the climbing frame, catch the ball and at these things he doesn't win. So he goes off in a huff to play and win on his own until he figures out that winning isn't everything if you don't have other people to play with. Another fantastic message for little ones!
She is completely obsessed by seeing Pom Pom on the chute.
We are absolutely delighted to have a sneak preview of the newest in the series 'Pom Pom is Super', which is to be released on 4th August. In this book, Pom Pom wakes up "full of the fidgets" because his friends are coming over to play. He has set up his favourite toys, made sure that his mum his got their favourite snacks and waits for the doorbell to ring. Ding dong! But little does Pom Pom know that all of his friends are feeling super today and are keen to show off their superhero alter egos: Fantastic Footballing Flash, the Ant King, Swooshing Scout and Twinkly Twirly Tornado Bear. Pom Pom wants to be super too but struggles to find his super power. Fortunately his friends know eactly what he is good at and help him become Shouty Hula Disco Pom Pom! A lovely story about finding your talents and being a superhero in you very own way.

In Pom Pom, Sophy Henn has created an expressive little panda who is utterly adorable, even with a grumpy face!

The illustrations throughout these books are deceptively simple with bold colours against unfussy backgrounds. I'm not the biggest fan of black and white books for babies and I've always preferred high-contrast illustrations that will appeal to little ones without being too dull and with stories that will continue to appeal to them as they get older. We had two black and white books and BookBairn didn't like either, and neither did I really. I much prefer that she enjoyed reading story books with high contrast colours and think it probably helped her get into books as she had so many good ones to choose from. These books would be perfect for teeny ones, and still hold their value now that she likes a proper story too.

In all the books, Sophy Henn has shown a wonderful turn of phrase that I adore: "full of the fidgets" perfectly describes a toddler like BookBairn. She describes Pom Pom as so excited that "his feet did a little dance all of their own" - wouldn't you just love to be that excited about something? I love that Pom Pom eats 'elevenses' - my favourite meal of the day! And I already mentioned the perfectly phrased "harrumph" for Pom Pom's grumps.

All three books have an underlying theme of friendship. In 'Pom Pom gets the grumps', his nursery friends are particularly tolerant of his grumpy mood and very forgiving of his apology. In 'Pom Pom the Champion', his friends find a way for them all to be winners together. And in 'Pom Pom is super', they help Pom Pom to identify his particular talent. These are some very mature toddlers! But a lovely theme for little readers that subtly shows them what good friends should do. I think that the Pom Pom series is super!

Let's hope that BookBairn doesn't get the grumps too often now that she's toddling! She is certainly becoming more difficult to photograph sitting still now that she can escape.

I think BookBairn is super too!
Mummy and BookBairn xx

It's hard work all this posing with books!
*DISCLAIMER* We borrowed 'Pom Pom gets the grumps' and 'Pom Pom the Champion' from our local library and requested a copy of 'Pom Pom is super' for review from the publisher. All words and opinions are, as always, my own.

Pom Pom the Champion is to be released in the UK on 4th August 2016.

Read With Me


I love it when I get to the new books in the library before anyone else has borrowed them. It's the equivalent of coming first in a ra...

Peekaboo: Brand New Shiny Books

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 BookBairn 5 Comments

I love it when I get to the new books in the library before anyone else has borrowed them. It's the equivalent of coming first in a race for me (I've never come first in a race!). And this feeling of winning is doubled when it's a children's book because you know that nobody has chewed it or ripped the flaps or got their grubby paws on it. Win. And our library seems to have got quite a few new board books in recently - they must have had a book splurge. Thank you!

I had spotted this collection of books by Cocoretto (an illustrating team) popping up on my social media feeds recently and put it on my 'to read' (i.e. hunt down) list. But then I found one in the library and put in a request for the others (I love that we can request from other libraries too - it means a much better selection and saves you the time going to lots of different places to get the books that you want) and the librarians worked their magic and got them to us swiftly.

This new(ish) series of Peekaboo books are perfect for little readers especially those who love to lift-the-flaps, and let's face it there aren't many children under the age of five (ok, I'm thirty-one and I still like a wee surprise, if only grown-up books were as fun!) who don't love to lift-the-flaps. There are four books in the series 'Peekaboo!" each with a different setting: on the farm, in the snow, in the ocean and in the jungle. Each book features five different animals, each with their paws/wings/flippers/hooves over their eyes and the phrase "peekaboo, who's there?" I can imagine BookBairn joining in with this phrase as we read along when she is a little wordier! But even now, she enjoys guessing which animal is playing peekaboo with her and then lifting the oversized flaps to reveal the creature. Each 'reveal' page is accompanied by a short sentence describing what the animals are doing such as "dolphin splashing" or "frog croaking".

The bright and bold illustrations are delightful and perfect for little readers, especially babies whose eyesight is still developing and prefer high contrast books. The animals are set against bold colours with very little details in the scene-setting: a lilypad or branch and a few squiggles and bubbles to show underwater scenes. This means that little eyes can focus on the star of the show: the animal playing peekaboo! All the animals are charming and child-friendly with their huge grins and inviting smiles. These books would make a great introduction to animals and their habitats for little ones.

The books themselves are super-sturdy with strong flaps making them very durable (perfect for the library with all those little hands sharing them!).

Fellow local library borrowers: we have returned these books in perfect condition so if you want to feel like winning too, pop down and pick up these prize books before someone takes a bite out of them!

Let's hope there's another shiny new book-gem waiting for us next time we visit the library! Win.

Mummy and BookBairn xx


I imagine some of you are wondering by now how we manage to fit all those books in our house! I count myself pretty lucky that we have ple...

BookBairn's Book Swap

Monday, July 11, 2016 BookBairn 4 Comments

I imagine some of you are wondering by now how we manage to fit all those books in our house! I count myself pretty lucky that we have plenty of space for storing BookBairn's books: she has her favourites shelf which we have mentioned before (here), and she has her bookshelves in her bedroom (here) and her book cubby in the living room (here). I also have a stash of books hidden in my study/library/office but these are all winter/Christmas books or books from school as well as a box of Dr Seuss and Roald Dahl's hidden in the attic - how Daddy BookBairn puts up with all this I'll never know. He's a patient man!

But since starting this blog we have amassed so many more books having been sent some from publishers and authors as well as additional purchases that I just can't resist having seen them shared on other blogs and children's book guru's social media feeds. So I decided to host a little book swap with lots of BookBairn's little reading pals.

The idea was that I would put out lots of our unwanted* books and our guests would bring some that they were happy to swap (although I did request that only good-condition books were brought along to the swap as no-one really wants an old chewed up edition of the Very Hungry Caterpillar, etc). And many of the parents seemed more than happy to part with a few books that they themselves were quite happy to see the back of (click here to see one I would love to part with but BookBairn would be very upset so I've just hidden it for now!).

I put all the books out on the windowsill and after some chatting from the mummies and playing from the bairns, our book swap officially opened. It was elbows at the ready to get in for first dibs: the children behaved very well, it was the mums who were keen to get the best selections. I was super-impressed that all of the children parted quite happily with their books in exchange for something that was new to them. And I got lots of lovely messages later in the day saying how much the children had enjoyed their new books and that they had read all of them already.

We then had coffee, tea and cake for the grown ups and lots of healthy snacks for the children! After everyone had left, I ended up with a large pile of books, I think about the same amount that I started off with but maybe even slightly more and I have divided these up into two large piles to donate to BookBairn's nursery and the school that I was working at prior to taking a career-break. I dropped off the nursery pile (made up primarily of the board books and the simpler picture books) this morning: there were so many I wheeled them in the empty pram before collecting BookBairn and the ladies were delighted! I'm sure they will be put through their paces at nursery (this makes me think of Toy Story 3 - I wonder if the children are more like the caterpillar room or the butterfly room?). And I intend on dropping off the rest to my school after the school holidays.

I love this photo. It looks like this little bookbairn has found
a prize gem of a book!

All in all I am quite pleased. My house is tided of excess books (and by this I mean that there is now space on the bookshelves for new books!). Lots of BookBairn's friends have new books to enjoy. I had a lovely morning with friends. And the nursery/school children have new books added to their libraries. A fantastic result. I hope we will be able to host another book swap later in the year, I am hatching plans to do one around Christmas time that might involve wrapping and re-gifting the books but that's a long way off yet!

If, like us, you have lots of extra books gathering dust on your bookshelves, I highly recommend organising a book swap. The children don't notice or bother that the books aren't brand new and it doesn't cost a penny! Go for it!

Happy Book-Swapping, Mummy and BookBairn xx

* I use this term loosely as books are never truly unwanted in our house it's just that I wanted to get rid of some that BookBairn had never really taken to or needs time to grow into or books that we have duplicates of. In other words, books which could be re-homed to a more appreciative reader.


Today we had a truly wonderful day at the farm. BookBairn did her very best duck impressions, chased the chickens, watched a cow bein...

Noisy Farm

Wednesday, July 06, 2016 BookBairn 14 Comments

Today we had a truly wonderful day at the farm. BookBairn did her very best duck impressions, chased the chickens, watched a cow being milked, bounced on a trampoline, played on the swings and fell off the end of the slide. Throw in lunch and soft play and it's no wonder she was exhausted by bedtime. What a brilliant day!

When we got home BookBairn chose Axel Scheffler's 'Noisy Farm' off her bookshelf and immediately started pressing the noisy animals to reminisce about her day at the farm. She particularly liked the cockerel and his cock-a-doodle-do and has learned to say the word 'cockerel' (well, something like it, and no, it's not rude!). And she particularly enjoys pushing this button on the noisy book.

We have a few sound books now and BookBairn really likes them but to begin with she found pressing the buttons quite difficult. She has now mastered the art and mustered the strength and these are some of her favourite books. Written in rhyme, 'Nosiy Farm' is cute and follows the farmer around his very noisy farm. This book isn't really a wonderful story, what it is is a wonderful collection of fantastic illustrations making the animals instantly recognisable to little ones alongside a great sound gizmo that will keep little ones entertained read after read after read. Most of you will recognise Axel Scheffler's illustrations from the Julia Donaldson stories 'The Gruffalo' and 'Stick Man' amongst others and this book is true to his style. Bold colours, solid lines, animals with huge grins: perfect for little ones. BookBairn loves to spot the animals in the book as we read (see the video below from a few months ago).

A video posted by BookBairn (@bookbairn) on

I truly love this book. In part, it's because I love watching this video (and the extended version) over and over because I think it captures a lovely moment between daddy and daughter. In a previous post (here) I linked an article that said fathers reading with their children interact in a different way than mothers and that it can be particularly beneficial to language development and you can see here that BookBairn is certainly developing language skills as she reads with her daddy. This book is perfect for early language acquisition. It has the fun element of the sounds to keep little ones excited and engaged and is packed full of illustrations to reinforce animals and farmyard vocabulary. If you are looking for a great book full of learning potential this is a fabulous pick!

Happy reading and cock-a-doodle-do pick this book up!
Mummy and BookBairn xx

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I've recently been following the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign  on Twitter whose aim is to "put more books featuring diverse chara...

We Need Diverse Books

Tuesday, July 05, 2016 BookBairn 8 Comments

I've recently been following the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign on Twitter whose aim is to "put more books featuring diverse characters into the hands of all children".

In BookBairn's library, if I take out the books that feature animals as the main characters (for these certainly are a diverse mix: lions, ducks, caterpillars, dinosaurs, aliens, monsters, you name it we've seen it in a picture book!), there isn't a very big pile of books left. From what I gather, this is often a conscious decision on the part of authors, illustrators and publishers in order to sell books more widely across the globe without having at adapt characters to 'fit' with different ethnicities. And whilst, I understand this to some degree, shouldn't children be able to read books featuring characters that look like them as well as those who don't? In my experience, children don't seem to care much whether the main character in a book is black, white, brown, purple, yellow, orange or green - just take the Mr Men as an example!

I want BookBairn to grow up not to question someone's skin colour, religion or ethnicity but rather to have been so exposed to people from different cultures and backgrounds that she doesn't even notice. I want to raise child who is culturally and religiously literate, who knows that people who look different, speak differently or have different beliefs are spectacularly normal. Just like her.

To start, I'm going to look out for books featuring children from all around the world, and books by authors from all around the world, and books in different languages. I'm starting with some books by Bharat Babies who are working hard to challenge the lack of diversity in children's books by publishing a series of books starring characters from India or of Indian descent.

'Padmini is Powerful' by Amy Maranville, illustrated by Tim Palin, is a beautiful board book primer that introduces, through the main character, Padmini, the Hindu gods. Firstly, the illustration of Padmini is adorable: she has a geeky-tomboy quirkiness about her that is irresistible. Dressed in blue dungarees, with square-framed red glasses and converse-style trainers, with her lopsided bunches, Padmini is everything a little girl should be: ready for an adventure! As you turn the pages, you will learn that Padmini is powerful like the Hindu gods: she is wise, like Ganesh; she has focus, like Shiva; she is generous and kind, like Lakshmi; and she is protective like Vishnu. As you turn the final page, a mirror is revealed alongside the phrase "Padmini is powerful. And so are you.". What a lovely message for little readers! There is certainly something special about a book that teaches gently and empowers deeply. For anyone looking to introduce their tots and toddlers to religious diversity, this is such a great place to start.

We also have 'Hanuman and the Orange Sun' by the same team but aimed at older readers than BookBairn (aged 3 and up I would suggest). This book introduces Harini, a bit more polished that Padmini, with her yellow sundress, pink tights and tidy hair, complete with red bow and her mother as they make lunch. Harini's mother tells the story of Hanuman Dada, a Hindu god who, as a child, believed the sun was a juicy orange and flies up into the sky to eat it. As BookBairn is too young (i.e. she won't yet sit for the length of the story), I haven't read this story very often but I think it is a good introduction to Hindu stories and will certainly enjoy reading ti with her when she is older. In the meantime, I hope Bharat Babies are planner more primer-style books for little ones as I love the inspiration behind these books! I see that they have books about Eid and Ramadan on their website, but these look to be fore older readers so I hope there will be a primer for little ones featuring Muslim stories or traditions too.

I would love to know if you are aware of any books to add to our multi-cultural book selections. Please comment below, or send us a message on our Twitter, Facebook or Instagram Feeds.

Mummy and BookBairn xx

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

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