Picture Book Month - Rabbits

Yesterday marked the final day of Picture Book Month by celebrating one of our favourite bookish c...

Yesterday marked the final day of Picture Book Month by celebrating one of our favourite bookish creatures. We are kind huge fans of rabbit books in this house and it's no wonder with BookBunny to accompany our reading adventures. We've written posts about many lovely rabbits from Miffy to Peter (and friends) to Little Rabbit in Tickle Bunny. In fact, my first ever post was about the hare family from the Guess How Much I Love You books. So when I volunteered to write a post about rabbits for a team of fellow picture book enthusiasts it didn't concern me that I might run out of rabbit-y stories! And I haven't.

In fact, the book I've chosen is one that BookBairn adores and had been a favourite choice for nap and bedtime story recently. You know that we LOVE the Emma Dodd books and BookBairn just loves 'Love'. Like all the books in the series, this one tells the story of a parent and child getting ready to cuddle up at bedtime and recalling the events of the day. Written with the most beautiful poetry with words that will bring a tear to a parents eye, it creates moments of real magic. The illustrations are deceptively simple with beautiful creatures from the animal kingdom. But to add to the magic, many of the pages are embossed with gold foil making them literally glow!

'Love' tells the story of a mother (or father) rabbit tucking their little one in to bed and telling them all the things they know about love.

"Love is in the morning sun when you wake and smile at me,
Love is when we talk together, happy as can be."

"I love you when you get it right, and when you get it wrong.
The world is much more lovely since the day you came along"

But the lines that always get me are:

"I love you so and when I try to count the reasons why...
... I find there are more reasons...
... than there are stars in the sky."

It's beautiful.

As part of the Picture Book Month collaboration, I was also asked to share a craft inspired by the book and this is something I find quite tricky as BookBairn isn't yet two she doesn't really do 'directed' artwork. But I decided to give it a go and see what we could come up with. And it's cute, but not very imaginative! At nursery, little miss has apparently enjoyed gluing and sticking so I thought I would create a starry sky with her. I picked up some pre-cut stars (yes, I am that lazy but I did wrap 24 books for advent this month so I'm giving myself a break!). And she created this beautiful starry sky. And it's true I find there are more reasons than there are stars in this sky!

Do you have any good rabbit-y picture book recommendations for us? I'm always looking for more to add to our collection!

Hope you've read lots of picture books this month!
Mummy and BookBairn xx

Click on the images above to find these books on amazon.co.uk 
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Throwback Thursday - Finding Nemo

Time for another ' Throwback Thursday ' post! One of the lovely things that we've been...

Time for another 'Throwback Thursday' post! One of the lovely things that we've been up to over the past months was having BookBairn's grandparents (you may notice they lovingly and dutifully comment on every post!) stay locally for a week and they got to join in with lots of our activities as well as take us out for a few fun trips! One of the best trips we went on was to the local aquarium.

I should begin by saying that BookBairn had recently become rather fascinated by some clownfish stickers that are part of a reusable sticker pad that she adores. So we watched Nemo and Papa BookBairn had picked her up a light-up clownfish toy. So simply we told her we were going to the aquarium to find Nemo. But we found so much more! The first tank was full of terrapins and she loved spotting the 'turtles'; she was fascinated by the sea lions in their outdoor enclosure, especially as they came right up to where we stood to say hello; she liked seeing the snakes; she enjoyed crawling through the little tunnel and popping up to find a tank full of Nemos and Dorys and seahorses! (She loved the penguins but I'm saving them for another post!) And of course we visited the shop and Papa wanted to buy her something. Now, we were all worried she would want one of those ridiculously overpriced giant cuddly toys and Papa would be spending a fortune. But instead she chose two very small plastic clownfish toys at 40p each! A great day out!

That was until the next day she literally lost Nemo on our walk home from yoga. Half way home she said "mummy, dropped Nemo" and of course, I trailed all the way back to the yoga studio scouring the pavements for the tiny fish! We couldn't find him. She declared, "Nemo lost. Very sad." I was disappointed for her but at least she learned a valuable lesson. Well, we popped out to the library that afternoon, walking along the same road and you'll surely have guessed... we found teeny tiny Nemo!

A fantastic book that encourages little ones to hunt under the sea for some of their favourite creatures - a starfish, a jellyfish and a clownfish! But it's a bit more meaningful than that. 'Where's Starfish?' by Barroux is a wonderful wordless picture book about the effects of pollution on our oceans. Sounds pretty hard-hitting for little ones but this book is pitched so perfectly!
As children turn the pages, Starfish, Clownfish and Jellyfish all become harder to spot due to the ever-growing amount of rubbish being dumped in the ocean. The first pages feature mainly other beautifully vibrant coloured fish amongst which our little sea creatures are hiding, but then as more and more rubbish appears more and more fish disappear until there is only our three heroes, a whale and a mountain of rubbish. Finally, whale takes action and pushes all the rubbish back to the shoreline and on to the beach, refusing to tolerate the trash any longer! I was skeptical as to how powerful this book could be without any words, and yet somehow it is even more powerful! And BookBairn enjoys the story even without the consistency of reading sentences aloud. We talk about the pictures and to be honest a lot of her understanding of stories still comes from the illustrations anyway. This book is delightfully colourful and Barroux's illustrations do huge justice to an important message!

On the final page of the book Barroux states that he was inspired to create this book after seeing a plastic bag on the beach that looked like a jellyfish prompting him to write a book about the threat of pollution to our waterways and oceans. He says "we must protect these important underwater kingdoms for the creatures that live in them, and everyone needs to remember to take litter home and put it in the bin!" Taking this message to heart, I love that the edition of the book that we have has been printed on forest friendly paper showing that the publisher values Barroux's environmental message too!

Barroux has created a series of similar books with big themes for little readers and I intend to collect them all. I recently bought 'Welcome', the story of some polar bears seeking asylum after their iceberg has melted, and have 'Where's Elephant?', a story about deforestation, at the top of my to-buy list! And honestly, I can't wait for more.

Hope you have as much luck Finding Nemo!
Mummy and BookBairn x

Click on the images above to find these books on amazon.co.uk 
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Advent Book Tree

Last year I had great fun creating a Christmas countdown for my little BookBairn. She was a bit t...

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.

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.

Click on the images above to find these books on amazon.co.uk 

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Blog Collaboration Now Live!

Blog collaboration is now live on raisingmom.ca  I cannot say how much I adore this book! It ...

Blog collaboration is now live on raisingmom.ca 

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!

Throwback Thursday - Butterflies

Over the past few months, you will have noticed that I haven't posted with as regular frequen...

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 amazon.co.uk 
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One for Little Jedis

I recently received some awesome books in the post that I'm going to sneakily hide away for Da...

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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