Coming into Summer there are lots of wonderful books to encourage little ones to get outside so the  Touring Picture Book  team have ch...

Touring Picture Book - Sunflower Shoots and Muddy Boots & Flower Pressing

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 BookBairn 2 Comments

Coming into Summer there are lots of wonderful books to encourage little ones to get outside so the Touring Picture Book team have chosen one of the very best for our latest post. If you're new to the Touring Picture Bookwelcome! The team love to share a fun new release and a follow-up activity you can do with your children or a connection that we have made to the book that you might find helpful to think about.

Sunflower Shoots and Muddy Boots by Katherine Halligan & Grace Easton is packed full of brilliant activities as well as fascinating facts about starting your own garden (indoor and outdoor!). So if your little ones loves to dig in the dirt and get messy, wants to learn more about what to plant, then this book is a great place to start. Especially if you are a garden-novice parent like me! 

Before I share my thoughts on the contents of the book, I just wanted to share that this book is ingeniously spiral bound meaning that it can lie fully flat on the grass, patio or workspace where you are and the pages are a heavy gloss making them wipe-clean and also heavy enough that they aren't flapping around in a breeze. It has really been designed to be used outdoors and whilst gardening!

But under the cover is a treasure trove of ideas for getting you started! It gives you top ten plants for little gardeners, guides to garden flowers, herbs and creepy crawlies as well as a list of great projects like creating a pea-pod tee-pee, a mud kitchen, creating magic garden imaginative play areas. It also has lots of facts scattered throughout the pages and vocabulary builders too so that children can take about the tools they need, the plants they want to grow; and also it has lots of tips for keeping safe. I really liked the fact that it has a small section on small, indoor gardens too meaning that there is a space for everyone to grow their own little garden. 

The illustrations in this book are utterly charming - with beautiful floral images it really brings to life the wonders of a garden. And they are definitely inspiring for creating your own garden! It's an absolute delight and the perfect gift for budding little green fingers.

Flower Pressing

When I looked through the book in the early Spring for a project to do I was very much drawn to the flower pressing 'Making Memories' section as I loved doing this as a kid! (Quite a few of the other projects are more suitable for now the weather is becoming more summer-y so we will try them out too.) And BookBairn loves to pick flowers so it seemed like a nice way to keep them. It's really easy too and involves very little preparation but does require some patience!

BookBairn and I went out to the garden, and out local footpath, to collect some flowers (some might be considered weeds but we know that weeds are just flowers that are growing in the wrong place) and brought them home. We have a little flower press that I picked up for the project but you can just as easily put some flowers between paper/card and then weight then down with some heavy books. (Make sure they are dry before you do this - you don't want your book pages soggy and ink bleeding). Then leave them for a week and when you open them up, hey, presto, pressed flowers!

We have turned ours into a garden picture but they make lovely gifts, especially in a frame, or some bookmarks. Such a fun activity.

Check out the other activities happening across the Touring Picture Book Club and pop over to our Twitter to be in with a chance of winning a copy of Sunflower Shoots and Muddy Boots of your very own!

Acorn Books - Dinosaur Garden

Mamma Filz - Mud Kitchen

And look out for our next touring picture book which will be Super Duper You by Sophy Henn! Hooray!

And if you've popped over from one of the other fabulous blogs - hello! And our regular readers - hello to you too! We would love to hear if you have any signed books that you love!

Happy Reading!
Mummy, BookBairn and the Touring Picture Book Team!

Disclaimer: all four bloggers were sent copies of the book after we reached out to the publisher and requested them and we were provided with an additional copy for the giveaway. Words and opinions are each of our own. 

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


There are lots of wonderful books about nature being released at the moment - perhaps it's because we get to spend more time out do...

Picture Books about Nature

Friday, May 24, 2019 BookBairn 2 Comments

There are lots of wonderful books about nature being released at the moment - perhaps it's because we get to spend more time out doors now that the weather is improving! But also it's because in 2015, a group of authors raised concerns over the loss of around 50 words relating to nature and the countryside from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. Whilst the dictionary is updated to reflect word usage, it means the removal of these words more than likely reflects a decreased engagement with the natural environment. So here are six great new books to get you back talking about nature!

The Green Giant by Katie Cottle

If you are looking for a book whose illustrations will literally take your breath away, then you have to get your green fingers on a copy of The Green Giant. It is truly truly spectacular. It tells the story of a young girl, Bea, who is visiting her grandfather in the countryside, far from the big grey city that she lives in. And she finds it rather slow and boring, until she finds a new and unexpected friend in the Green Giant who is hiding away on an old greenhouse. A giant made entirely of plants! The giant opens Bea's eyes to the wonders of nature and the magic of greenery and together they set off on a mission to make the city (and the world) a greener place. This fits with everything I want to share with the bairns about being concerned about our environment but in a way that little children can understand. And the illustrations are so striking - the contrast between the grey city and the greenery is incredibly poignant. It's just beautiful.

A Walk Through Nature by Libby Walden & Clover Robin

It's hard to imagine a book that captures the beauty of nature better than the wonderful images created through the collages of Clover Robin. Her artwork is just sensational. With beautiful intricacy as well as sweeping landscapes it really is a marvel. I love the scenes of the rabbits hopping in the fields, the shells on the seashore and the swallows sailing across the skies. With lyrical accompanying poems as well as facts about how the leaves change colour, migration and baby animals, there really is a lot to treasure in this marvellous book. This beautiful book (in prose and in illustration) addresses that loss of language and will help to bridge the gap by not only sharing all these wonderful words with children but also encouraging an enthusiasm about the natural world. Taking you on a Walk Through Nature, this book is a wonder! Clover's books about birds and bugs are also spectacular! (We reviewed them here.)

Sea by Patricia Hegarty & Britta Teckentrup

If you are a fan of picture books, like us, then you will probably be familiar with the beautiful artwork of Britta Teckentup. Her books are truly spectacular visual wonders (in fact they feature in over twenty blog posts that I have written - here's a favourite!). And it will come as no surprise to you that she has done it again! Her newest in a series of nature books that explore the world around us, Sea, takes you deep beneath the waves explore that beautiful sea! Britta Teckentrup has created a magical world for little readers. It is completely enchanting. Using an intricate collage style, rainbow-hues and luscious colours, she has created a colourful array of sea creatures from tiny seahorses to giant humpback whaled. Every page is delight! The die-cuts throughout the book engage little fingers with exploring the pages. Patricia Hegarty poetically tells the story of the importance of our oceans. In rhyming couplets she brings to life the mesmerising story of the world beneath the waves. Beautiful and Spectacular.

Little Bear's Spring by Elli Woollard & Briony May Smith

Little Bear has just woken up from his long winter sleep. As he gently steps out on to the snow around him the world seems vast and silent. He nestles a little stone into his fur - perhaps he empathises with it seeming lost and alone? - and together they set off on adventure to explore the emerging Spring world and make new friends. Such a lovely lyrical story with some of the most enchanting illustrations we have come across, you will just fall in love with bear. So much so that you'll be reading him all year round - Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter!! Such a breath-taking book with incredible landscapes. Such a joy to read!⠀

The Nature Girls by AKI Delphine Mach

“We’re the Nature Girls! We must explore. We pack our bags, we’re out the door...”

This book is such a delight and brings back lots of memories of reading Madeline as a child with its little girls in straight lines (though not whilst adventuring obviously!) and rhythmic rhyming prose. The bold Nature Girls are ready for whatever nature throws at them. In the sequel to The Weather Girls’, The Nature Girls pack their bags and start their journey exploring all sorts of different natural habitats around the world. From swimming to the depths of the oceans, sailing the seven seas, sledging across the Arctic tundra, camel rides across the desert, climbing trees in the jungle and more, these girls really do explore all that the great outdoors has to offer. Bringing to life all the wonderful corners of the natural world your little ones will want to follow this bright group of girls on their adventures. With stunning illustrations and lots of fun nature facts, this rhyming picture because one that you read over and over again. 

Look and Say at the Seaside by Sebastien Braun

As you know we live very very close to the Seaside so we love books that are set on the shore. And this one is a delight because it's a search and find book (check out more search and find books in this blog post!) and both kids enjoy looking at it together! Along the bottom of each page is a glossary/seek-and-find list and there additional, more challenging questions in the illustration, which makes it perfect for both children as The Wee Page Turner can manage the simple words and BookBairn the more challenging parts. This is great as there's room for growth in this book meaning that your little one won't get bored of it too quickly! But most importantly in this seek-and-find book is that the illustrations are enchanting. Sebastien Braun illustrates the Can You Say It Too? series for the same publisher and we love those books too. I find his style so engaging which is exactly what you want from these sorts of books. The focus on British wildlife is also wonderful for us (it was made in collaboration with the National Trust) as the bairns can relate to the creatures she sees from terns to surfers to mussel shells to limpets and oystercatchers (though some of the ocean wildlife like porpoises and whales are a bit out of our viewfinder - and I hope we don't come across any grass snakes though I remember seeing one in my garden as a child!). So not only can we look together at this book we can take what we have spotted (and learned the words for) and seek-and-find them when out for seaside strolls!

I hope that inspires you to get back to nature, take your books outdoors and go on an explore of your local area! Or to dig out your nature books and create a book spine poem about nature like I did recently.

I've also added a new 'Books about Nature' section to my Amazon shop!

Happy exploring!
Kim and the bairns x

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


Do your kids love to read? My bairns certainly do! And we love to share what we are reading - hence the blog. If you share or review ch...

Kids Love to Read #42 & Giveaway

Monday, May 20, 2019 BookBairn 4 Comments

Do your kids love to read? My bairns certainly do! And we love to share what we are reading - hence the blog. If you share or review children's books or are raising a reader whilst writing a blog then our co-hosted monthly linky with  Laura's Lovely Blog and Acorn Books is perfect for you! I love discovering new picture books that you recommend in your posts and also reading what you think of books we love too! Kids Love to Read is a link-up to share blog posts written by other bloggers that star wonderful children's books. It's a great way to find new blogs to read and new book recommendations too, as well as invite people to come and read your own blog.

So if you write about your favourite children's books I would love it if you link-up your post! And I'm looking forward to reading them all!

Last Month's Favourites

Last month my favourite post came from Raisie Bay reviewing one of our recent favourites too: In the City.
Laura's favourite was a wonderful post about a picture book helping children to feel safe around dogs by Arthurwears
And Acorn Books chose a lovely review of Bea's Bees by Picture Book Perfect 123.

Linky Rules:

– Write about reading with children, share your love and your children’s love of books, what do you love to read together, how do you encouraging reading and books with your little or not so little ones? Books you love or book reviews.
– This Linky is open every 3rd Monday of the month for one week.
– Grab the Kids Love to Read badge and pop it in your post. It's linked at the end of the post for you.
– Use the #KLTR hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
– Share the love – try and read & comment the host’s posts and on 2 other blogs listed on the Linky.
We look forward to reading your posts! And don't forget to enter the competition below!
Kim and the #KLTR team x

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter


Each month, to encourage reading with kids and to go along with our #KLTR Linky, we host a Book Giveaway.
We have a fabulous giveaway this month of We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michel Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. 
*Terms and conditions: Entries are open to UK and Ireland residents. The competition closes on the the 10th June 2019. Winners will be announced on social media and contacted via email. If the winner does not respond to the email in two weeks, a new winner will be randomly chosen.
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This is an advertorial.  Books are a great tool for supporting children's learning and development beyond just their ability to...

Supporting Children's Learning with STEAM Books

Wednesday, May 01, 2019 BookBairn 2 Comments

This is an advertorial. 

Books are a great tool for supporting children's learning and development beyond just their ability to read and their literacy skills. They are also wonderful for teaching children lots of new and fascinating facts such as historical events, about the world around us, people of historical significance, flora and fauna and all sorts of interesting things. If you are a regular reader you will know that I also believe that books are also great for building the blocks of self-esteem, mindfulness and empathy. But when I was browsing the great selection of books over on The Book People's website as I often do when their latest catalogue drops through the door, I noticed that they have an interesting selection of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering. Art and Maths) based book sets and when the opportunity to collaborate on a blog post with them came up I thought it would be a great opportunity to try them out. And we have! Here's what we thought...

This series takes a fun, first look at maths in the environment around us by using photographs objects and that children are familiar with and can relate to it really brings to life mathematical concepts in a way that children can understand. Each book takes a different maths concept and simplifies it down, whilst also using correct vocabulary that children will hear in the classroom, and encourage them to count objects, or sort them based on a variety of criteria or measure them. I love the simple layout of these books which are not text-heavy at all and are written in a language that little ones will be able to gras easily. I also love that the books have a word-bank at the end to reinforce some of that key vocabulary that they will hear in school. And the bright photographs are lots of fun. These are perfect for children in preschool up to primary two to help them building maths skills.

These simple stories follow children as they use their STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) know-how to make a difference in their everyday lives. Introducing a variety of learning objectives such as addition and subtraction, electricity, planning and designing projects and energy amongst many others. These are lovely stories about things that children will have enjoyed doing in their own lives like decorating cookies, going on a picnic that your little ones will enjoy reading. But interspersed amongst the story are small challenges which the characters can solve with your little ones help making them much more interactive and engaging children in their learning of these STEAM areas. We love the illustrations in these books which star two adorable characters as well as a cast of others, including some lovely animals. This is a lovely box-set and would be great for children in their first years of school.

This is such a bright and cheerful book. telling the story of what Teddy and his family get up to throughout the day. And little ones can join along by turning the hands on the clock to make it match the timings in the story (with guided instructions on each page). It's a really lovely book. It focusses purely on the o'clock 'on the hour' timings. But that's exactly where you would want it to start. It's super sturdy too so if you are looking for a book that will stand the test of time (pardon the pun) then this book will see your toddler from enjoying the story to a preschooler playing with the clock to a school-aged child beginning to grasp the concept of time. A great book for little time-wizards!

One of the key skills for starting school is being able to tie your shoelaces and I thought that this book looked like a great one for littles who are learning this. (Please note I'm not saying that children have to be able to tie their shoelaces before they start school but I do recommend that you don't send you children to school in laced shoes until they can do them theirselves, until then stick with velcro.) This is a lovely bright and colourful book that will appeal to little ones who will want to play with the brightly coloured laces. Inside, on the left-hand pages there is a lovely story of two bunnies playing, and on the right-hand side there are step-by-step instructions on how to tie laces. There is also a recap on this on the final pages. I love the simple instructions in this and I love that they have coloured one lace yellow and one lace red making it easier for children to follow. A delightful book for little lace learners.

And all these books were on a super discount in the hand-picked favourites section on The Book People's website (I've linked the titles of each so you can find them easily).

If you haven't used The Book People before, they are an online and catalogue (as well as pop-up events in schools) bookseller who specialise in discounted books. And, from my own experience, there are some real gems on their website! I often spot a new-ish release much cheaper than on/in other retailers and I love their bulk and box sets for getting bundles of books for gifts! When I was a teacher I used to use their website regularly to top-up my class library (the Roald Dahl box set was my very first purchase when I started teaching and it's still a great bargain!) and also for end of year and Christmas gifts for my classes. You can get all sorts of books on there but checking out their "hand-picked favourites" is always a great place to start as you will find the best discounts there as well as the most interesting books. Delivery is always excellent and BookBairn recognises the box and is always keen to open them!! And you can often get additional discount codes which are promoted on their own website as well as top-up cashback by using sites such as Quidco. So, in short, it's a really great place to get awesome books at low prices. 

Hope you find some great bargains on their website too! If you check out our InstaStories I try to share deals on there when I find them.

Happy Reading!
Kim and BookBairn

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us by the The Book People team for review after I selected them and this blog post was sponsored by The Book People.