Last year I had great fun creating a Christmas countdown for my little BookBairn. She was a bit too young to 'get' that we were c...

Advent Book Tree

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 BookBairn 12 Comments

Last year I had great fun creating a Christmas countdown for my little BookBairn. She was a bit too young to 'get' that we were counting down to something but she did have great fun practising her unwrapping skills and by Christmas Day she was pretty good at tearing the paper off her gifts! So I thought I would do the same this year. As you know, she loves a bit of book post and hopefully this will be just as fun!

Obviously, 24 books could be a rather expensive outlay but as I got several last year, I'm just topping up with a few from the library and with some new releases that I couldn't resist and re-wrapping most of the same ones from last year. Five of our favourites from last year that we reviewed last year will definitely be top of the re-wrap list. (It's worth clicking on the link if you want to see some pictures of teeny tiny BookBairn especially as I haven't got pictures of her with this year's books to keep the secret.) But I thought I would share with those five that I couldn't resist.

The Christmas Bear by Ian Whybrow and Axel Scheffler

BookBairn loves the Tales from Acorn Wood series and I have no doubt that she is going to be thrilled to see some of her old favourites appear in this festive tale. This is the tale of the Christmas toy Bear who has been left behind in Santa's rush to leave. He has to make his way under the tree of the little boy who is waiting for him all by himself. Except all the animals help along the way. Told with silly rhymes such as "bees on skis", "duck in a truck" and "sardine in a submarine" it will make grown ups and little ones giggle alike. For those of you who loved Oi Frog or Oi Dog, and who enjoy Axel Scheffler's instantly recognisable illustrations this is a perfect festive read! As if that's not enough, it has lift-the-flaps to keep little ones busy whilst adults try to get their mouths around the tongue-twisting phrases!

Bunny Slopes by Claudia Rueda

I have recently discovered that interactive books for little ones don't always need to sing and dance, with lift-the-flaps or touch and feel or pop up elements to get their utmost attention. Bunny Slopes is the perfect example of this sort of story. Bunny is trying to make his way home down the mountain slopes but there's no snow. Little readers simple have to shake the book and turn the page to make the snow appear, tilt the book to help Bunny down the slope and turn the book to help Bunny overcome the obstacles in his path. With an irresistible main character this book will no doubt entertain little ones on those cold winter evenings. But you might want to have a cup of hot cocoa at the ready!

Countdown to Christmas by Stuart Lynch

It wouldn't be a countdown to Christmas without this one in the list! BookBairn is beginning to sequence numbers and can now count to six without help. This book is going to be great fun to help her along with her counting. Starting at 10, this book counts down lots of festive elements through 9, 8, 7 wrapped presents (not 24 books!), 6, 5, 4 stockings, 3, 2, 1 Santa on his sleigh. Featuring spreads that have one page with raised shaped objects that neatly fit into the scooped cutouts on the opposite page, they are such a wonderful multi-sensory books with key Christmas vocabulary and numbers. BookBairn loved tracing her fingers over the raised and cutout shapes of the Touch Think Learn books so I'm sure she will adore this book too. Not to mention I adore the cute illustrations so I just couldn't resist it!

Little Christmas Tree by Jessica Courtney-Tickle and Ruth Symons

This is a beautiful book sharing with little ones the change of the seasons from autumn to winter and showing the beautiful flora and fauna of the chilly winter months. Beautifully illustrated with delicate attention to detail and including some silver foil elements truly make the pages shine! Under each flap (of which there are several on a page) little readers can discover another creature or plant that you might find in a wintry forest. Accompanied by a poetic phrase on each page, this a beautifully magical exploration of a winter's forest.

Bizzy Bear: Christmas Helper by Benji Davis

I had not yet discovered this fantastic series of Bizzy Bear books but I'm so glad that I've found them now! Bizzy Bear is an adorable little bear who is helping Santa get ready for Christmas Eve and to deliver the parcels to the homes of good boys and girls. It's unbelievable to think that something could outshine Benji Davis's adorable illustrations but the movement mechanisms in this book are simply genius! In a similar way to the First Stories series of books, BookBairn is going to love poking her fingers in the 'slide holes' and pulling the tabs to reveal additional pictures. Perfect for improving her fine-motor and problem solving skills!

I'd best start the wrapping now! It's going to take a few nap times to get them all wrapped up! I'll be sharing photos of her unwrapping on our social media which you can find all the links to at the top of the page and I will pop any reviews of BookBairn's favourites as we unwrap them.

We would love to know what you will be reading this Christmas time! We are always on the lookout for good book recommendations!

Happy Advent,
Mummy and BookBairn xx

*DISCLAIMER* We requested copies of Bunny Slopes and Little Christmas Tree from their respective publishers and I bought the other books myself. All words and opinions are, as always, my own.

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Blog collaboration is now live on  I cannot say how much I adore this book! It is a truly beautiful masterpiece but as ...

Blog Collaboration - Feelings

Monday, November 28, 2016 BookBairn 4 Comments

Blog collaboration is now live on 

I cannot say how much I adore this book! It is a truly beautiful masterpiece but as it's aimed at slightly older children than BookBairn I've not managed to share it here yet. I'm delighted that Erin was happy to share it for us! The link is below!


Over the past few months, you will have noticed that I haven't posted with as regular frequency. We've been on holiday, we've...

Throwback Thursday - Butterflies

Thursday, November 24, 2016 BookBairn 16 Comments

Over the past few months, you will have noticed that I haven't posted with as regular frequency. We've been on holiday, we've had several winter bugs and, being pregnant, I've been using BookBairn's naps to rest up and nap. But we've still been out and having fun! We've still been readin books. So for the next few weeks, until the end of the year, I'm going to do a few flashback posts to share some of our adventures and the stories we read alongside them!

At the end of the summer, BookBairn and I went to the amazing butterfly house at our local botanic gardens. BookBairn had an absolutely wonderful time running around the hothouse (it was tropical) and pointing at all the "butters". She kept pointing to them and was utterly fascinated! Best of all was when a butterfly landed on her shirt and then on her head! She loved her "butter hat" and giggled and squealed with the kind of joy only a nearly-two-year-old can.

I thought it would be fun to read a few butterfly stories at home to relive the experience and reinforce all the words she picked up: "butter" and "cupertea" (caterpillar). We all know the ultimate butterfly book is the marvellous 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' by Eric Carle. I'm not going to say much about this one as I reviewed it some time back in one of our 'Story Book Classic' posts (you can check it out here). BookBairn is dressed as a caterpillar in the photos and was so little, it's super cute, even if I do say so myself!). Now that she is a little older she has started to enjoy the story more and it's a book we often take in the car with us and she 'reads' it as we travel. It's great for this as I know all the words by heart so I can 'read' it and drive at the same time. My favourite thing is that now she says "more more more" every time the caterpillar eats a little more.

After this, I honestly struggled to find many butterfly books and I had to consult the lovely librarians and some of my fellow picture book enthusiast friends on Twitter. Thank goodness we came up with a few but for children's story writers out there: there is a huge gap in the market here.

First we borrowed 'The Crunching Munching Caterpillar' by Sheridan Cain and Jack Tickle from the library and it has been such a brilliant read. It is most certainly a 'very noisy picture book' as the cover suggests and each page has a red and yellow button to press making a noise related to that part of the story. Unlike many noisy books these buttons are printed on the page and the corresponding buttons are tucked in the back cover pages meaning that the book isn't as heavy and cumbersome as other noisy books although it also means you need to have the pages aligned and sometimes BookBairn has found pushing the buttons quite tricky. This book tells the story of a little caterpillar who in between sleeping and munching on leaves he meets fellow beasties and creatures all of whom can fly and he dreams of having wings too. Of course one night he has a very long sleep and more dreams of flying and when he wakes up, like magic, he is a marvellous winged butterfly. I'll be honest, I only borrowed this book because we went to see the butterflies and I wanted to read some stories with BookBairn about butterflies. But this book has become a favourite of BookBairn's. She particularly enjoys pressing the button to hear the birds singing "tweet tweet" - a word that she had not learned before; and she has also picked up the word "munch" when asked "what does a caterpillar do?" she replies with "munch"! It's been a great little learning tool for us which is exactly what I was looking for. I will be looking out for others in the series.

I also picked up 'Butterfly: a book of colour' by Petr Horacek after it was recommended to me by some fellow book bloggers. I had heard lots about Petr's work but never before read any of his books myself so I was particularly intrigued. This book is a delightful story of a little girl who spends one day playing with chasing a butterfly (a bit like BookBairn at the Botanics) and then spends all of the next day searching for the butterfly to play with again, encountering some other creepy crawlies on the way. This is a fab book for introducing little ones to the names of beasties and with it's die-cut-outs its great for little fingers to explore. The illustration in this book is quite unusual, though in some ways it reminds me of the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and uses a bright bold palette of colours with tonnes of layering and detail. It's somewhere between a sketchbook of drawings and a collage of watercolour paintings and for some might be a bit 'manic' in it's style. Personally I find some of the pages a bit too busy and wonder if BookBairn might struggle to focus on any particular element at a time. What she does love is the huge pop-up butterfly on the final pages! It is such a treat! And a spectacular surprise. For me I love the little girl's ladybird dress as it makes me think back to BookBairn dressed as a ladybird for a friend's party

. This is a beautiful book with lovely elements and in some ways the crazy colours remind me of the Botanics with all those butterflies floating around. And of course with a pop-up butterfly at the end this story really does feel like you are surrounded by fluttering butterflies as you read.

If you know of any other great butterfly stories it would be lovely to hear from you!

And if you get a chance I would highly recommend visiting a butterfly house with your little ones. It's seriously magical! I think next year we might get caterpillars and watch them transform into butterflies before setting them free in our garden. Now that would be magic!

Thanks for fluttering by,
Mummy and BookBairn xx

Click on the images above to find these books on 
*This post contains Affiliate links.

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I recently received some awesome books in the post that I'm going to sneakily hide away for Daddy BookBairn's Christmas (Daddy, if...

One for Little Jedis

Saturday, November 12, 2016 BookBairn 16 Comments

I recently received some awesome books in the post that I'm going to sneakily hide away for Daddy BookBairn's Christmas (Daddy, if you're reading this... stop!) and several people have asked me about them so I though I would do a review of them! Please bear in mind these were not intended for BookBairn and aren't really suitable for her age group so, there won't be any photos of her reading them I'm afraid.

These books are for Star Wars fans! If you have a little one that you are keen to get into Star Wars, it might be worth considering the Star Wars Epic Yarns series by Jack and Holman Wang (you can find them here). I haven't read these myself but I love their Cozy Classic series, which BookBairn and I reviewed earlier this year and if the Star Wars ones are as good they would be great for toddlers and little readers.
The Star Wars series I got for Daddy BookBairn is by Jeffrey Brown and is a series of books that compile comic style cartoons of those heroes that you know and love from the films. But in this re-imagining Dart Vader is the devoted father to young Luke and Leia who, like most children, get up to mountains of mischief whilst their dad (unlike most dads) is trying to take over the galaxy.

I originally got a copy of 'Vader's Little Princess' for Daddy BookBairn as a joke and it is a hilarious book, but it is definitely a book that will appeal to Star Wars Fan Dad's of Little Princesses. So I was surprised to find that the two books included in this box set would appeal to Star Wars fans of (almost) all ages! I only say almost because younger readers will not get all of the jokes and would need a reasonable familiarity with the films and characters to 'get it' but for kids (big and small!) who love Star Wars, these books would make a great Christmas gift! The box set I received is a special edition gift set which included two books - 'Goodnight Darth Vader' and 'Darth Vader and Friends' - as well as two exclusive art prints which are presented inside a lovely illustrated envelope, all inside a beautiful box!

As you can see from the videos above, I thought it would be easier to show you inside these books so you can really get a feel for them, the illustrations are funny, colourful and packed full of details from the Star Wars franchise. I love the cute and quirky take on young Luke and Leia - and little Chewbacca is just adorable! Darth Vader is the doting dad whose children run rings around him, even though he can command the Death Squadron without a second thought. Does this ring bells for anyone else? Daddy can don a suit and commands his office but just can't resist the "one more story" pleas from his little princess!

I also particulary adore the fact that one of the special edition prints is of Darth Vader taking little Luke, Leia, boyfriend Han and Chewbacca to the library! It's a perfect blend of passions from our house! The books in this box set are a larger format, which makes them perfect for sharing with your little jedis!

Simply, a great gift for dads and little jedis alike!

Love Mummy Vader x

Find the Box Set and the rest of the series clicking the image above. *This contains Affliate links.

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

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November marks several celebrations in the bookish world - it's Picture Book Month, Non-Fiction November, and for those writers out ...

Picture Book Month - Pirates!!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2016 BookBairn 12 Comments

November marks several celebrations in the bookish world - it's Picture Book Month, Non-Fiction November, and for those writers out there it's NaNoWriMo! As you can imagine, Picture Book Month is the one that has most grasped mine and BookBairn's attention and for those of you who have been following us for over a year, you will know that last year we celebrated with a new picture book every day. Last year I wrote that Picture Books are imprtant because the create a magical worldfilled with words, art and adventure that can be shared from generation to generation (read more here).

And in a year, I have seen the value of these words all the more. BookBairn can now join in with the storytelling: she remembers key words from familiar stories, discusses the illustrations and enjoys choosing books to read. Books really do create a little kind of magic.

And along with a group of fellow picture book enthusiasts I have volunteered to write about some of our favourite books on certain of the themed days. (If you follow us on Twitter you will see I have shared their posts too).

So yesterday was 'Pirate' day and I shared this photo of two great pirate books on our social media. These two books by Jonny Duddle who wrote the popular 'Jolley Rodgers' series which have just been released in board book and they are brilliant!

'The Pirates Next Door' is a hilarious tale of a family of pirates who move into a suburban street, much to the neighbours dismay! They simply don't fit in - on the street, at school, at the dentist! But these pirates are used to this sort of unfriendly reception and when they leave they leave behind a treasure hunt apology for the neighbours. And in the end the neighbours realise that pirates maybe aren't so bad after all.

'The Pirate Cruncher' is not for the faint-hearted! A less-friendly band of pirates take to the high seas in search of treasure (of course) but what they find takes them by surprise. The treasure island is no island at all! It's an evil sea-monster who lures the pirates right on to the tip of it's nose before... well, it's not called 'The Pirate Cruncher' for nothing!

These books are both filled with fantastic and detailed illustrations with multiple illustrations on some pages making them seem more like a comic book than a picture book. There are also many speech bubbles which is a great introduction to little readers following speech throughout the story. As you can imagine, these books are aimed at readers older than BookBairn and whilst she has enjoyed looking through them she has yet to sit through the entire story. So we enlisted a little help from her older (he's six) nearly-cousin to share his review of 'The Pirates Next Door': his favourite part is when the pirates hand out the gold to all the neighbours and his dad finds it funny that the old gets golden headphones! Clearly a book that appeals to many generations! These books are both brilliant for your little pirates but I would recommend 4+ age (ish - I don't really like age brackets on books, after all we like what we like but sometimes it helps) or at least children who are able to sit through a slightly lengthier story and enjoy more detailed illustrations.

As part of the Picture Book Month collaboration, I also intended to share a craft but unfortunately I haven't been able to as BookBairn has been struck down with yet another winter bug. I will update this once she is back on form and capable of gluing and sticking!

What Picture Books are you enjoying this month? I'm also looking for recommendations for Non-Fiction November for really little readers. I find that non-fiction for toddlers is mostly early word primers but would love to hear recommendations of great non-fiction for younger ones.

Happy Reading,
Mummy and BookBairn

*DISCLAIMER* We requested a selection from this series of books from the publisher and received these books in response. All words and opinions are, as always, my own.

Click on the images above to find these books on 
*This post contains Affiliate links

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