Mummy and BookBairn Book Group

As you can imagine a 'bookish' person like me is involved in a few book groups. I have m...

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

Click on the images above to find these books on 

*This post contains Affiliate links.

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

Book Giving Day 2017

One of the wonderful things about being a book blogger is that we often get books sent from pub...

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!

BookBairn's Book Swap #2

Here are some of the books we shared. All fabulous reads but BookBairn was no longer  reading them...

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

Blog Collaboration - Five Books to Get Little Ones Interacting

I was delighted when Sarah from ' Let Them Be Small ' asked me to join in her Five Books ...

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.

Let's Stick Together!

The cold and wintry days are upon us and the days are getting dark by mid-afternoon so I've b...

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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KidLit Picks December Round-Up

One of the things that I really enjoyed about 2016 was finding so many picture-book-loving li...

One of the things that I really enjoyed about 2016 was finding so many picture-book-loving like-minded people through social media. It's fascinating to see what others are reading all around the world and the variations in recommendations are as vast as the oceans between us! One of the groups that I was delighted to be asked to join was the wonderful 'KidLit Picks' on Instagram. Each month we nominate a theme and share our favourite reads on this theme and my to buy list grows and grows. 

Every month the wonderful Mel from 'Let's Talk Picture Books' writes a round-up post to share and until now I haven't included it in my blog but I feel I have been doing my readers a disservice as there are so many good recommendations and I have been keeping them all to myself. Sorry readers!

So here's our December Round up on the theme of 'Books About Celebrating'!

Little One, by Panela C Reid and Tom Tolman 
“The charming narrative and dialogue speaks gently to children and reminds that Jesus loves us, no matter our stature, that we all have meaning, purpose, and we’re all important in His eyes.” -- Summer from @readingisourthing

When an Elephant Falls in Love, by Davide Cali and Alice Lotti
“There's a lot of of it going on this month in terms of holidays, but I want to discuss something else worth celebrating: love." -- Mel from @spiky_penelope

Kitchen Disco, by Clare Foges and Al Murphy
“I have decided that this is the perfect choice for...celebration as I'm sure many of us are having our own kitchen discos over the festive period, and the fun and energy of this book captures perfectly how it feels to celebrate at this time of year.” -- Claire from @alittlebookhabit

Nighty Night, Baby Jesus, by Molly Idle
"This is the celebration of one miraculous child who will live in my heart forever. A story that is near and dear to me. This celebration, to me, is the true reason for the holiday season." -- Leah from @astoryaday

Walk This World at Christmas Time, by Debbie Powell
“It is a celebration not only of the Christmas time celebration, but of the fact that we are not alone in this world, that different is beautiful, and that we are all connected in some way.” -- Clarissa from @book.nerd.mommy

A Letter for Bear, by David Lucas
“Remember to celebrate the little things this season, look for those who are tired and working hard to make this season a joyful one, and enjoy all your festive celebrations whatever they may be!” --  Kim from @bookbairn

I'm In Charge of Celebrations, by Byrd Baylor
“Tis book is a reminder to relish the natural world around us and recount the days that are special to us, even if they look like an ordinary day to others.” -- Miranda from @bookbloom

Flora and the Penguin, by Molly Idle
"There is no better way to celebrate the New Year than by losing ones self in the ritual and rhythm of musical movement.” -- Megan from @chickadee.lit

Click, Clack, Ho! Ho! Ho!, by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin 
“Duck is stuck in the chimney! Can the other animals get him out?” -- Arielle from @childrensbooksgalore

Tell Me What to Dream About, by Giselle Potter
“Beautiful full colour illustrations in Giselle Potter's unique style will make you wish your dreams were half as whimsical and magic.” -- Fiona from @fee_loves_

Chanukah Lights, by Michael J Rosen and Robert Sabuda
"There is no better way to begin the holiday then with latkes, dreidels, chocolate gelt, and this exquisite pop-up book." -- Lauren from @happily.ever.elephants

K Is For Kwanzaa: A Kwanzaa Alphabet Book, by Juwanda G Ford and Ken Wilson-Max 
“Little readers will enjoy celebrating and learning while reading this book. It beautifully captures themes like: family, culture, community and traditions.” -- Charnaie from @hereweeread

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, by Gloria Houston and Barbara Cooney 
"It is a combination of both fabulous talent of Barbara Cooney and Gloria Houston's skillfully fluid story telling that makes this tale the perfect Christmas story year after year." -- Wendy from @homegrownreader

L'âne Trotro et Zaza fêtent Noël, by Bénédicte Guettier
“This book is currently the most requested Christmas book here.” -- Shannon from @ohcreativeday

Hap-pea All Year, by Keith Baker 
“Celebrating an entire year in one book! A fun way to look forward to a new year and the fun that each month brings or look back and remember the past year.” -- Michelle from

Our January theme is going to be 'Find Yourself in a Book'

Being able to relate to the characters within a book is such a vital piece of enjoying it. It is through these characters that we find the courage and strength to be who we truly are. Trials and tribulations are at the heart of every story and the way that characters triumph over them can be the essence of what readers are searching for in their own lives. It's no coincidence then that so many characters can feel lost, alone, and full of doubt. The uncertainty that haunts the beginning of a book though, can be washed away by the end, leaving behind a sense of hope and fortitude that we, as readers need from time to time. It is this self-confidence that we hope to instill within the young readers who glance into unknown pages and hopefully are able to see themselves reflected back.

In January, @kidlitpicks is focusing on books that exemplify those feelings: finding comfort with who you are. Tag your favorites with #findyourselfinabook and #kidlitpicks

This will be a tough one to choose but I think I might already know which lovely book I want to feature!
Love Mummy and BookBairn x

A New Bundle to Look Forward to in 2017

We are anticipating lots of exciting events in 2017! Mostly the arrival of BookBump in April who...

We are anticipating lots of exciting events in 2017! Mostly the arrival of BookBump in April who hopefully will enjoy books as much as his big sister.

But we are also looking forward to lots of exciting book releases next year! When researching this post I could have picked a huge list but I've narrowed it down to some of the ones we are most excited about. It is by no means exhaustive and there is a good chance that we have missed something off the list. But here are a few I thought I would share:

Edie - Sophy Henn

BookBairn and I really enjoyed Sophy Henn's Pom Pom series of books which we discovered this year! It's no surprise then that we can't wait to read her newest character creation in 'Edie', a little girl who always loves to be helpful! Edie helps her mummy wake up bright and early, she helps her Daddy to get everything at the shops and she helps her little brother with knowing what's what! I get the feeling that BookBairn and Edie may be kindred spirits!
Due for release 2nd February 2017* Take a sneak peek!

First Stories Series from Campbell Publishing

Some of our top bedtime re-reads of the year have been from this fabulous series from Campbell Books by various authors and illustrators. BookBairn adores the Alice and Wonderland and The Jungle Book retellings which have been simplified for little readers. But mostly she adores the ingenious mechanisms that allow her to interact with the story. Campbell have four new versions of these books due out at various points next year: Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I'm sure they will be top of BookBairn's wish list!
Various release dates throughout the year. Find out more here.

Cozy Classics: Wizard of Oz - Jack and Holman Wang

Ok, so I included this one because I cannot wait to share this story with BookBairn! One of my most memorable teaching moments was reading this with my class and they all adored it. It's definitely a story to be shared across the generations and now even littlier ones can enjoy it too thanks to this clever retelling from the Cozy Classics series
Due for release 9th May 2017*

Little People Big Dreams: Marie Curie - Isabel Sanchez Vergara and Frau Isa

The Little People, Big Dreams series is one of my favourite discoveries this year. I want BookBairn to learn about a variety of role models but would love her to have strong 'mighty girls' to aspire to. This series has two new releases next year - Marie Curie and Agatha Christie - and I can't wait to add to our collection! We look forward to reading more about the lives of these outstanding women who went on to achieve such incredible things. Inspiring and beautifully illustrated! A great combination!
Both due for release 2nd March 2017*

Felt Flaps Series by Ingela Arrhenius

BookBairn is at a great age now where she loves to be read a real story, but the books that she often picks up to 'read' on her own are what publishers refer to as novelty books. (I think this is a bit unfair as they are equally as valuable for little readers but that's off the point of this blog post.) Nosy Crow have a new 'Felt Flaps' series which sounds fabulous for independent little readers like BookBairn. Described as "vibrant board books with an animals hiding on every spread - just peek behind the bright felt flap" (and a mirror too!) I'm sure they will appeal to little miss BookBairn!
Where's Mr Lion? and Where's Mrs Ladybird? due for release 12th January 2017* with two other books in the pipeline.

I Love You (Nearly Always) - Anna Llenas

I must confess we were a bit late to the game when I finally got a copy of 'Colour Monster' by Anna Llenas but it was so worth the wait! I won't make that mistake again and we will be first in the queue for this newest release from a very talent illustrator and paper engineer. The story of a woodlouse and a firefly who are very different but that love each other completely. Until one day when suddenly being different seems very difficult. A true celebration of friendship and differences this sounds like story-telling magic. Can't wait!
Due for release 9th February 2017*

Peepo - Jo Lodge

One of my delights in starting this blog was when the lovely Jo Lodge sent us a copy of her newest release -'Baby's First Playbook: Farm', another novelty book that BookBairn returns to time and time again! So it's perfect timing that her new Baby's First Playbook features a new little baby so that BookBairn will be able to share this one and read it to her new baby brother.
Due for release 27th July 2017*

I Can Only Draw Worms - Will Mabbitt

This brightly coloured little wonder-book is one that we don't have to wait to read as the wonderful publisher from Puffin just knew that we would adore it and sent us an unbound proof copy and I can assure you it is just fabulous! I can sympathise with Will Mabbitt, I'm no artist myself but this clever story will have children captivated as this video shows! You might think worms are a bit boring but with a little bit of imagination they can get up to the most wonderful things. A wonderfully silly story (with counting and number thrown in) children will want to read this story again and again. And who can argue with a book that's so bright it makes your face look bright pink when you hold up the pages!
Due for release 26th January 2017*

Bathtime for Little Rabbit - Jorg Muhle

One of BookBairn's top reads of 2016 was 'Tickle My Ears' and we are so looking forward to helping Little Rabbit with his bathtime routine. These books are great fun for children and allow them to really interact with the story of a book and not just additional elements like touch and feel. It's so clever. And Little Rabbit is so loveable!
Due for release February 2017*

We would also love to read anything new by Emma Dodd, are hotly anticipating sequels to Nibbles the Book Monster by Emma Yarlett and Oi Dog/Oi Frog by Kes Grey and Jim Field. And if Oliver Jeffers has time to illustrate something new that would definitely jump to the top of my list!

What are you most looking forward to in 2017?

Happy New Year, 
Mummy and BookBairn xx

*Release dates are for UK release provided by publisher but may be subject to changes.

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Best Reads of 2016

Wow 2016 has been some year! BookBairn has gone from a babbling baby to a little chatterbox, fr...

Wow 2016 has been some year! BookBairn has gone from a babbling baby to a little chatterbox, from a crawler to a walker, from a highly dependent baby to an independent little thinker with a mind of her own. Goodbye baby, hello toddler. And it has been amazing! Like most parents, I'm in awe of all her daily achievements, many of which are now a blur as she whizzes on to learn the next thing. She still loves her books, but now it's impossible to get her to sit and read something that she doesn't want to read - we hear the phrase "don't like it" more regularly than ever and she can now request her bedtime reads by title. She can make choices. And that is fascinating.

So here are five books, published this year that she chooses over and over again. (I won't go into to much detail here as we have reviewed them all on the blog previously - just click the titles below to link to the original reviews.)

Nibbles the Book Monster - Emma Yarlett

This is a book that is constantly lying around our house. It's pulled from the book cupboard, lives on the toy box, or features on our favourites shelf. But wherever I put it, it never stays shut for long. Daddy, BookBairn and myself all love to read this story together but it's also one that BookBairn enjoys reading on her own. If you haven't discovered this book this year - you really must hunt down a copy! It is beautiful, funny, clever and keeps little ones busy for long enough to enjoy a hot cup of tea - what more could you ask for?

Oi Dog - Kes and Claire Grey and Jim Field

I could not wait for the release of this book and it did not disappoint! The rhymes are just ingenious, and the illustrations are laugh out loud. It's a real delight to find a book that we can all enjoy re-reading night after night, time and time again. There are lots of lovely books out there but there are few that will appeal to children and adults the way that this one does.

Pom Pom the Champion - Sophy Henn

BookBairn just loves these books - perhaps it's because she can sympathise with the grumpy toddler panda who likes to get his own way, perhaps she adores the colourful illustrations, perhaps she likes that Pom Pom does the same sorts of things as her? Who knows? But she loves him. And I think he's pretty darn cute too!

Together - Emma Dodd

"Today we had a dreamy day, we watched the clouds float by." 2016 has been a year of dreamy days for us, and BookBairn often falls asleep just after this book. She has requested it more than any other at nap and bed times. And she can recite much of it by herself. It's poetic, beautiful and brings a tear to my eye to read it with her. One of the most magical books of the year. It will make you proud to be a parent and want to squeeze one more cuddle in just before bedtime!

Tickle My Ears - Jorg Muhle

A lovely story that will help little ones get ready for bed. An interactive story that avoids the flaps, touch and feel or loop-the-loop gimmicks to get children involved in the story. It simply asks them to join in with the routine. And BookBairn loves it! She loves helping Little Rabbit get ready for bed. Bedtime story perfection.

Some honourable mentions (Mummy loves them but BookBairn is still too little to appreciate them) go to:

Welcome - Barroux
Feelings - Libby Walden and Richard Jones
The Colour Monster - Anna Llenas
Frida Kahlo - Isabel Sanchez Vergara and Gee Fan Eng
Amelia Earhart - Isabel Sanchez Vergara and Mariadiamantes 

This is by no means an exclusive list, I realise I've missed off so many great books but I thought I should limit myself so that I could get this post written before 2016 was over!

Look out for our post tomorrow sharing the 2017 books that we are most looking forward to!

Hope you all had a wonderful 2016! 

Happy Hogmanay, Mummy and BookBairn x

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