BookBairn loves reading  books by herself. Yes, she will often bring books to mine and Daddy's feet all around the house declaring &...

Follow the Trail

Sunday, January 29, 2017 BookBairn 18 Comments

BookBairn loves reading books by herself. Yes, she will often bring books to mine and Daddy's feet all around the house declaring "daddy read it!" or "mummy's knees" (i.e. can I sit on your knees whilst you read me this book please mummy?). But she also loves to hit one of the many book cupboards, nooks, shelves, cases and drag her reading choice into her own lap and read. I say 'read' because clearly she can't actually read yet. She's not even two!

But she does have some pre-reading skills already: she can get the book the right way up, she can turn pages one at a time (even with a paperback) and she understands that we turn the pages from right to left to follow the story in the correct order. She looks at the pictures, she says some of the things that she can remember from previous reads with an adult or she describes what she can see. She's not even two! 

Looking to develop her reading skills further, I love the new releases from the 'Follow the Trail' series by Dawn Siritt and Charlotte Milner for supporting pre-reading and pre-writing skills. 

Each is more than just a non-fiction book for little one, though this is valuable in itself as many non-fiction books are very complex for younger readers and these ones are delightfully simple! However, as I say, they are more than just non-fiction, they encourage actual engagement with the pages. As you can see from the pages BookBairn is reading in the photograph above, the first pages feature lots of coloured and raised finger trails for little ones to trace their fingers over. Each page after features an non-fiction subject related to the book - we have the newest releases - 'Minibeasts' and 'Baby Dinosaurs' - so each page has a new species on it. There are some simple facts to read, key vocabulary highlighted in bold and several photographs rather than illustrations, as you would expect from a non-fiction text. But they also feature a glittery, bumpy, shiny trail that spans the double-page from left to right showing little ones the directionality of text and encourages them to 'follow with their finger' as they read or write the trail. Subtly woven into the book little ones won't be able to resist!

There are also extra trails to teach little ones about shapes, colours, matching and sorting. And at the end of the book there is a great finger trail maze to match the appropriate beastie to it's habitat or baby dinosaur zoomed-in features to the image of the baby dinosaur. Great for reinforcing fine motor control and pre-reading/writing skills in very little ones! 

BookBairn had these books straight out of the parcel envelopes and has played with them daily ever since! She will be reading by herself in no time! But for the time-being I'm going to enjoy every minute of "mummy's knees" that I can!

Love Mummy and BookBairn xx

*Follow the Trail: Minibeasts and Follow the Trail: Baby Dinosaurs have a publication date of 28th February 2017. Other titles are available from the series now (Baby Animals, Farm, Trucks and Wild Animals).

*DISCLAIMER* We were sent these copies of 'Follow the Trail - Minibeasts' and 'Follow the Trail - Baby Dinosaurs' for review by the publisher. But as always the words and opinions are our own.


One of the things we know about reading lots of stories with children is that it promotes literacy and BookBairn has certainly proved this...

Can You Say It Too?

Thursday, January 26, 2017 BookBairn 10 Comments

One of the things we know about reading lots of stories with children is that it promotes literacy and BookBairn has certainly proved this to be true. Now, I can't say for certain that all the stories have turned her into a little chatterbox, but I can certainly say that she has learned plenty of words from her books.

Daddy and I love books that get our little miss chatting. We love books that are simple enough that she can join in with the story, but also complex enough to add a little to her vocabulary. The 'Can You Say It Too?' series by Sebastien Braun is a favourite in our house. With these books, BookBairn likes to join in with revealing the animals hidden under the flaps and making the noises. Sometimes she likes to be the storyteller and read the story to us, letting Daddy lift the flaps and make the noises. We now have several of these books but top up our collection from the library.

Each book follows the same simple pattern - an animal is hiding behind the flap and little readers must discover who. All the books are different themes - woodland, farm, night time animals, etc hence the desire to read the whole collection. The repetition of the story is great from reinforcing vocabulary - animal names, and sounds as well as positional language (in, under, behind). Each reveal also has an adjective to describe the animal which BookBairn is beginning to pick up - a particular favourite "chilly penguin".

The illustrations are bright and colourful and instantly appealing for little ones. The animals are easy to recognise and all look adorable and friendly. The scenes also provide discussion with other animals in the illustrations and changing weather patterns and details. Deceptively simple, they are simply very clever!

Having borrowed a bundle of these books from the library, BookBairn got to read some new versions of the story and after reading 'Moo! Moo!' and shouting "baaaaa" very loudly (in the top photograph) she declared "like it this book!" (Unfortunately I didn't capture it on camera - but she did say it, honest!)

So there you go, the little chatterbox likes it! If that doesn't recommend this series enough to you, I'm not sure what else will!

Love Mummy and BookBairn x


Every child should be able to see themselves in the pages of the books they read. And every book should show children that they are part o...

We Are Family

Monday, January 23, 2017 BookBairn 14 Comments

Every child should be able to see themselves in the pages of the books they read. And every book should show children that they are part of the world around them. In a post, right at the very beginning of starting this blog, I wrote a message to BookBairn:

"You should know that not all families are the same. I want you know that our family, though far from perfect, is just one of many types of families out there. But that in our family you are surrounded by love. And that love comes from all sorts of people in all different sorts of ways."

And we recently discovered the most beautiful book that brings this message to life. 'We Are Family' by Patricia Hegarty with illustrations by Ryan Wheatcroft shares the stories of many families and their unique dynamics. Featuring illustrations of families of all shapes, colours and sizes, 'We Are Family' shows the many different families that exist in our society. Not so much a story book, more an illustrated poem about love, family and diversity it is a beautiful reflection of modern society.

Some of the lines will entrance the adults reading it, and send messages to children that will guide them for a lifetime. It follows a 'daily routine' from the morning rush, to the school run, through sickness and health, from holiday fun, to family tragedy, to bedtime. Each page (even the endpapers) shares and celebrates the similarities and differences of families. And what better way to end a bedtime story than with the lines: "After goodnight kisses, with our families all round, We drift off to dreamland, loved and safe and sound."

The illustrations are equally as captivating and children will pour of the ten families, recognising the characters from page to page. From single parent families, gay parent families, black families, white families, asian families, mixed race families, disabled families - diversity is reflected in each image. Each family approach is different and each one is celebrated. When we first got this book in the post, BookBairn admired the pages over and over, flipping through the vivid illustrations seeing the world, as it really is, around her.

What more could we want for our children than to see reflected and celebrated the wonderfully diverse and beautiful world around us?

Another message to my BookBairn - In our family, in our world, you are represented. You have a voice. You are not invisible. Nor is any child. You all must be represented. You all must have a voice. You all must be visible. Share your voice. Speak for others who cannot share their own voice. Share your love.

Love from Mummy to my BookBairn xx

*We Are Family is released in the UK on 9th February 2017.

*DISCLAIMER* We were sent this copy of 'We Are Family' for review by the publisher. But as always the words and opinions are our own - and you can clearly tell we love this one!


BookBairn is fascinated by all things colourful at the moment! She loves the rainbow song (and spotting rainbows in the sky); she likes to...

The Colour Monster

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 BookBairn 16 Comments

BookBairn is fascinated by all things colourful at the moment! She loves the rainbow song (and spotting rainbows in the sky); she likes to tell you the colour of cars, buses, tractors, etc; she adores a coloured bath bomb and watching the water colour change; and she loves to draw with all her coloured pencils, crayons and pens! And she's getting pretty good at it.

One of the colourful things that she is enjoying the most is 'The Colour Monster' by Anna Llenas. A truly brilliant pop-up book, this is the story of a little monster who is all mixed up. His fur is multi-coloured and his feelings are all in a muddle. A little girl offers to help him sort out his colours/feelings (which are perfectly intertwined).  She explains each colour he feels by linking it to his emotions and explaining in a little detail (just the perfect amount for an impatient page-turner) about what the emotion feels like. Yellow is happiness; blue is sadness; red is anger; black is fear and green is calm. They put each emotion into a little bottle so he can see the colours and their feeling labels. BookBairn loves this page - she loves opening the little bottles and saying the colour or the feeling word. She spends ages just choosing which one to open next. And on the final page, Colour Monster has pink and is surrounded by love hearts - I wonder what he is feeling now.

Not only is this book beautifully illustrated, it is beautifully constructed. Each page features monster, whose expression varied depending on the emotion, as he explores his feelings. I have to mention, in particular, the blue/sadness page - the clouds have strands of blue string dangling from them to represent the rain and it is just magical. BookBairn enjoys running her fingers along them. As this is a pop-up book it is more fragile and less toddler-friendly than the board books we usually review but BookBairn is quite delicate with her books and she looks after them well (for her age). We always read this one with her though just in case she gets a bit rough, though she has shown no signs of doing this. I think she understands that it is a special book.*

It has also reinforced her colour vocabulary and she is now aware of the colour 'black' which I'm not sure she really knew all that well before. She is also beginning to make connections between feelings words. For example, she is keen to do more and more for herself now but sometimes struggles to open, close, balance things herself and has started to make a little squeal scream of frustration, we have used the anger page to talk about feeling angry when she can't do something. She's only little but she is beginning to try to identify feelings in herself and others.

This is a wonderful and beautiful book and I cannot recommend it highly enough! We've read it every day recently and it is firmly on the favourites shelf.

Love Mummy and BookBairn x

P.S. I have a craft activity planned to do with this book which I will update you on when I get supplies, but I wanted to share this review now whilst it is a current top read for BookBairn!

*But if you have a toddler it's definitely worth investing in the hardback edition!

*DISCLAIMER* We requested this copy of 'The Colour Monster' from the publisher along with Anna Llenas's upcoming release and were kindly sent it in exchange for a review. All words and opinions are as always our own!


Fancy winning a copy of Blown Away by Rob Biddulph that we reviewed last week ? Then pop over to our instagram and enter! *Click the pict...

2000 Followers Giveaway!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 BookBairn 2 Comments

Fancy winning a copy of Blown Away by Rob Biddulph that we reviewed last week? Then pop over to our instagram and enter! *Click the picture above to follow the link.


As you can imagine a 'bookish' person like me is involved in a few book groups. I have my lovely friends who meet once a month f...

Mummy and BookBairn Book Group - Penguin Adventures

Friday, January 13, 2017 BookBairn 23 Comments

As you can imagine a 'bookish' person like me is involved in a few book groups. I have my lovely friends who meet once a month for a 'book and a bake' and we chat books for about ten minutes and then eat cake for a lot longer! I am so proud to be a founding member of the #kidlitreaders book group on Twitter where we discuss books aimed at 7-12 year olds, which make for delightful reading and discussion! BookBairn has her own little reading group (though we've not met for a while - sorry kids it's been a bit busy!). But I thought it was time to add one more...

Mummy and BookBairn Book Group!

Inspired by the #bookstagramxover challenge to share a picture book and a companion YA or adult fiction, I thought I would try and share a book pairing for myself and little BookBairn. 

As you may have noticed from our social media, BookBairn and I have become a little bit obsessed with penguins. This is in part due to the #kidartlit challenge, in part due to watching penguins on Frozen Planet, but mostly to do with reading lots of penguin-y books. For my 'book and bake' book group our next read is 'The Penguin Lessons' by Tom Michell. Based on a true story, Tom Michell rescues a penguin from an oil slick in Uruguay, only to find that the penguin will not leave his side. Tom then smuggles his new companion across the border into Argentina, where he teaches in an international school. I'm only half way through and loving the adventures that Tom and has penguin get up to!

And I found a great companion story for BookBairn! 'Blown Away' by Rob Biddulph tells the story of a penguin and his friends on a similarly strange adventure across borders. Penguin Blue is flying his kite in the Antarctic and a huge gust of wind blows him, his kite, and his friends (including a polar bear who was probably already a bit lost given he was a bit far from their arctic home) across the ocean to "a tiny island, lush and green (a colour that they've never seen)." These intrepid travellers then try to find a way home! Told in brilliant rhyme which had BookBairn entranced from the beginning. Rob Biddulph's illustrations are bold, bright and brilliant! The snowy, icy Antarctic scenes are a chilly blue in contrast to the vibrant green of the jungle island. With lots of details for discussion they will appeal to younger readers, like BookBairn, as well as school-age children who will want to pour over every detail. Penguin Blue is set for another adventure in 'Sunk' out later this year and we will certainly be looking out for this one!

So we both curl up and read our penguin adventures! It's a little dream of mine. It's also one of the first times that I can quote BookBairn for review: "Penguin Fly a Kite. Again! Again! Again!" - if that's not a five star review I don't know what is!

If you have any recommendations for Mummy and BookBairn Book Group, we would love to hear them! And if you want to read along, we'd love to hear your reviews. (Mummy will be posting hers on GoodReads when she is finished reading!)

Happy Reading,
Mummy and BookBairn xx

We had great fun making this penguin for the #kidartlit challenge.


One of the wonderful things about being a book blogger is that we often get books sent from publishers or authors free in exchange for ...

Book Giving Day 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 BookBairn 7 Comments

One of the wonderful things about being a book blogger is that we often get books sent from publishers or authors free in exchange for sharing on our social media or reviewing here.* But that means we have lots and lots of books and not enough bookshelves, cupboards, nooks or crannies to hide them in. So every so often we have a little book giving spree. Last month we did one with all BookBairn's local reading and play buddies, which I shared in yesterday's blog post. And we have another plan to share our book-abundance afoot.

So I'm excited about 'International Book Giving Day'. This brilliant scheme aims to turn the commercialsation of Valentine's Day on its head by enocuraging people across the globe to spread the love of reading by getting books into the hands of as many children as possible on 14th February. To find out more, you should read Catherine from Story Snug's interview with Emma Perry, organised behind this fabulous project, on her blog here.

Give away books - we're in! 

We are also excited to be part of the team who got a sneak preview of this year's artwork and delighted to announce that Marianne Dubuc is the illustrator behind 2017's official poster. Isn't it fabulous?!

I have decided that BookBairn and I are going to organise a little bookish treasure hunt in our local town, leaving wrapped books in places where kiddies can find them but also sharing photos on our social media so if you follow along you will have an even better chance of find them. So watch out around town on 14th February everyone! (Also if you live locally and have any books you want to share please get in touch and join in the fun!)

You can find us on our social media links here:

For more information on how to get involved check out the IBGD Social Media links below
Website |
Twitter | @bookgivingday

Happy Book Giving,
Mummy and BookBairn xx

* Please do not fret, we don't take everything we are offered and share only what we love because I simply do not want this blog to be a promotional tool - it's about BookBairn's reading journey!


Here are some of the books we shared. All fabulous reads but BookBairn was no longer  reading themand we knew they were better off in anot...

BookBairn's Book Swap #2

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 BookBairn 4 Comments

Here are some of the books we shared. All fabulous reads but BookBairn was no longer
 reading themand we knew they were better off in another bookbairn's house.
One of the things about starting a new year is that feeling of needing to de-clutter your cupboards, your house, your life! I'm not one for clutter generally - I can be quite ruthless, in fact, but... we do have a lot of books. Last July, I shared a post about our previous book swap but alas we have acquired more.

 A lot more. And I knew we would get more at Christmas time. So, ever the proactive de-clutterer, I decided to purge our bookshelves in November and create a little space. This time I decided I would share photos of our 'unwanted books' (please do not think there was anything wrong with the books - we were simply trying to re-home some to a family that would love them more than we do) and deliver them to the first to respond. The other members of the closed Facebook group (I decided to keep it to local friends so that I could deliver them all easily) also added some books they were happy to clear from their shelves. And it was a huge success! All in all we re-homed over 130 books between a group of thirty parents and lots of books that sat unread on the shelves are now being enjoyed. As you can see from all BookBairn's bookish buddies reading their 'new' books.

If you have a need to get rid of any extra books I highly recommend doing a book swap with friends. It's pretty easy to co-ordinate and all it takes is a little extra effort to carry some books around when you are going to see other kiddies!

*But I didn't make quite enough space! Whoops! The shelves are still over-flowing after Christmas. Fortunately, I am hatching plans...

In the spirit of giving, please keep an eye out for our blog post tomorrow about International Book Giving Day. We are part of a team of bloggers who will be taking part and have this year's logo and poster to reveal! Very exciting!

Happy Book Swapping,
Mummy and BookBairn xx


I was delighted when Sarah from ' Let Them Be Small ' asked me to join in her Five Books  series. Sarah is a huge fan of picture ...

Blog Collaboration - Five Books to Get Little Ones Interacting

Friday, January 06, 2017 BookBairn 2 Comments

I was delighted when Sarah from 'Let Them Be Small' asked me to join in her Five Books series. Sarah is a huge fan of picture books and has brilliant ideas for 'invitation to play' and preschool play-based learning activities. Her social media and blog feeds are truly inspiring!

I decided to think about five books that we have discovered that truly gets little ones interacting and engaging with a book or story (and won't drive you as a parent bonkers on the 100th re-read). Pop over to her blog to see what we chose.


The cold and wintry days are upon us and the days are getting dark by mid-afternoon so I've been looking for lots of fun ideas to kee...

Let's Stick Together!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017 BookBairn 12 Comments

The cold and wintry days are upon us and the days are getting dark by mid-afternoon so I've been looking for lots of fun ideas to keep BookBairn entertained whilst stuck indoors. I'm planning lots of baking and crafting in the beginning months of this year (until the baby arrives) but a quick-fix for the moment has been lots of sticker books.

We have amassed a large collection of different sticker book titles over the last few months (thanks to grandparents for these thoughtful gifts!) and BookBairn just loves sitting down together to create her sticker scenes. One of the lovely things about sticker books is that they allow BookBairn and I to play together with a bit of quality time that doesn't involve too much repetition (there's only so many times I can put her duplo characters through a door and tuck them into bed before I get a bit stir crazy) or mummy playing it wrong (when I try to make them do something different)! But we can play stickers for hours! And I'm honestly amazed at how good her instruction following (as well as free-play sticking) is for her age. We started with sticker books just after the summer holidays and even at less than 18 months she understood lots of positional phrases - on, beside, under - and could create scenes that made sense.

The first sticker book we picked up was a Peppa Pig sticker book and part of me wishes we never had! BookBairn had never watched Peppa Pig but it was the most sensible choice in our local bookshop and now we have a little Peppa fan! I have since watched hours of Peppa Pig much to my dismay. But she does love it! We picked up a second Peppa book and she enjoys playing with it because she recognises the characters. She can follow instructions and describe what she is doing - "Peppa eating cake" "Suzy making tea". It has been great for her language development, even if it hasn't been great for Mummy's TV preferences!

We decided to pick up another couple of sticker books that feature her favourite characters due to Peppa's success. Unwisely I bought both online so didn't get a chance to look through them beforehand and unfortunately the Hey
Duggee book is an activity book with a few stickers in it and most of the activities are beyond BookBairn's ability at the moment. I was impressed, however, that while she couldn't spot the difference between the two pictures - she could follow my instructions as to where to stick the 'splats' to show the differences. We made the best of it. The Bing sticker book proved far more successful. She could talk about what the characters were doing - "help Bing tidy up toys" and "Pando have cup of tea, Sula share cake". As I said it's a great way to stimulate chat and discussion with your little one!

I have recently discovered the Usborne sticker book series, which are brilliant! We took the 'Garden' one on holiday with us and BookBairn enjoyed playing with it with all her grandparents. This is my favourite of the books because I adore the illustrations - they are so colourful and clear! You also get loads of stickers for each page spread which is great because they aren't the cheapest so you certainly get good value for money. We have only just started the 'Nature' one and it's great too (though the illustrations don't appeal to me quite so much). I'll definitely be picking up more Usborne sticker books in future.

I picked up a little Finding Dory sticker pad in the supermarket too but it didn't have many stickers in it so I ended up getting some more stickers (also quite cheaply in the supermarket). They may be cheap but they didn't provide quite as much fun! Although, if you follow our blog you will know that BookBairn is a big Nemo fan so she loved this!

We also have some reusable sticker books and these are great too for the main reason that they are reusable. But for the moment, I still think we get good value for money out of the non-reusable stickers. It takes BookBairn half an hour to do two double page spreads and after that she is ready to do something else anyway. So we get lots of use out of them, and, as I mentioned, they provide an invaluable opportunity to play and talk together in a different way than we play with toys or other traditional story books.

Do you like sticker books in your house? Or do you find stickers stuck all over the walls?

Happy Sticking!
Mummy and BookBairn x

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