Newest For Sharing Reviews

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The Bus Is for Us by Michael Rosen and Gillian Tyler

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As a child of the 80s I sometimes yearn for an era free from Aliens in Underpants or rough Gruffalos. An era of Alan and Janet Ahlberg telling gentle stories that had an old fashioned feel, but were still great for the modern kid. Thankfully, I am not the only person out there that craves this as some books are still being produced that describe the simple pleasures such as riding the bus. However, I think that these kids have obviously never tried to catch the Number 9 at rush hour. Full review...

Whale in the Bath by Kylie Westaway and Tom Jellett

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It’s bath time, which is often not a favourite time of day. Really, it’s a sign that the fun is over and it’s time for bath, maybe a story, and then bed, at least for the little ones. The grown ups get to stay up later. Hmpf. But Bruno is not moaning too much about getting in the bath, though you get the impression that’s a battle he’s had, and lost, in the past. The problem is…there’s a whale in the bath. And whales are pretty big so there’s not much room for Bruno to hop in beside him. Full review...

15 Things Not to Do with a Baby by Margaret McAllister and Holly Sterling

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There’s a new arrival at home. A foreigner. An imposter. An alien. A BABY. What on Earth should you do with it? Full review...

Tell me a Picture - Adventures in Looking at Art by Quentin Blake

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

When did you last read a children's book that absolutely flummoxed you in the way it showed or told you something you didn't know? (And please be an adult when you answer that, or else it won't be quite so impressive.) Back in 2001, Quentin Blake wasn't a Knight yet – he hadn't even got his CBE – but he did get allowed to put on his own show at the National Gallery, with other people's pictures that contain oddities, stories, unexpected detail – sparks on canvas and paper that would inspire anyone looking, of whatever age, to piece things together, work things out, form a narrative. The pictures came with no major labelling, no context – just what they held, and some typically scratched Blake characters discussing the images as a lead-in. They were simply hung in alphabetical order, and probably could not have been more different. This then is a picture book of the most literal kind, with 26 stories. Full review...

My Village: Rhymes from Around the World by Danielle Wright (editor) and Mique Moriuchi (illustrator)

4star.jpg Children's Rhymes and Verse

I'm thinking that of all the kinds of books that have ability to surprise, high up on the list are poetry books. You can generally see the style, idea or genre of a novel from the cover, and beyond a few shocks and twists nothing changes. But take poetry on board, and there are surprises on each page – the concentrated form of the literature surely gives the author more chance to bedazzle, to pull the rug over the readers' eyes and to generally give something the audience didn't expect. And so it is with this book, for while Michael Rosen's introduction spoke to us of nursery rhymes, I had already flicked through and still was not expecting a spread of them. Even when he itemised the various kinds I didn't foresee finding them all on the pages, although that is what I got. Who would have thought that such a small, succinct and varied little volume would have that much capacity to surprise? Full review...

The Really Abominable Snowman by Valentina Mendicino

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The Really Abominable Snowman, it turns out, is just a little yeti called Milo. He’s not even abominable, never mind really abominable! But that isn't what everybody else thinks, they're all terrified of him, even though all he wants is a friend to share his favourite cupcakes with… Full review...

Charlie Cook's Favourite Book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

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As a parent, you’re always in search of it. That one, elusive thing; the perfect bedtime story. Well, in Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book, I think we quite possibly have it. This ten year anniversary edition of the book will hopefully bring it to slightly wider attention than some of Donaldson’s more well known titles, as it is a completely charming and timeless book. Full review...

The Pet Person by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross

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Children's stories often turn a familiar idea on its head. In this story it is that of pets, for the main characters in the story are a family of dogs, and one of them would very much like his own pet person! Will Rex succeed in persuading his parents to get him a person? And if so, will it be everything he ever dreamed of? Full review...

Frog in Love by Max Velthuijs

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Frog has been feeling a little strange. He finds himself wanting to laugh and cry at the same time, and his heart is beating strangely. Pig declares that Frog must have a cold, but Hare suggests that perhaps Frog is in love. But who can Frog possibly be in love with? Full review...

I Feel Sick! (Little Princess) by Tony Ross

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I should think most parents of small children are familiar with fake sicknesses, in an attempt to get out of nursery/school/the dentist or whatever other trauma you are heartlessly inflicting on them. I remember my daughter aged about three trying to convince me that she had a broken leg, pointing to the broken one and then limping on the other! Here we see the Little Princess insisting that she is terribly, dreadfully sick. Especially when she has been asked to do something she doesn't want to do. Then she feels really terrible! Full review...

The Deep Dark Wood by Algy Craig Hall and Ali Pye

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Children love a fairytale. Forests, monsters, Little Red Riding Hood. They open up a world of possible adventures, wonder and mystery. The Deep Dark Wood taps into that format brilliantly, taking ideas and myths already deeply ingrained into our culture and creating a really fun story for children (and adults) to engage with. Full review...

The Jolly Dodgers! Pirates Who Pretended by Neil Griffiths and Janette Louden

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I’ll get started with this point; the layout of this book is utterly wonderful. It’s got a great subject matter, pirates are always popular both with adults and children, and the story of a group of pirates who don’t really want to be pirates but who are being forced into it by their pushy wives, is a terribly entertaining one. But it is the layout, style and all the extras which are working the hardest in this book's favour. Full review...

Peacock Pie: A Book of Rhymes by Walter de la Mare

3star.jpg Children's Rhymes and Verse

It was a surprise for me to read online that Walter de la Mare spent so much of his life in and around London – born at least in what is now the borough of Greenwich, passing away in Twickenham. The reason I say this is that out of the copious poems collected here, it's as if cities don't exist. Hardly anything of the subjects is manmade. The concentration is fully on the idyllic and pastoral, and in following on so closely in the footsteps of his debut collection, 'Songs of Childhood' from 1902, still very, very much Victorian. Full review...

Tales from Acorn Wood: Hide-and-Seek Pig by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

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Pig and Hen decide to play hide-and-seek and whilst Pig counts to ten, Hen goes off to hide. Pig thinks that she's found Hen straight away when she spots a yellow beak behind the gate, but when we lift the gate flap we discover that the yellow beak belongs to Blackbird, who happily joins in the hunt for Hen. Could that be Hen hiding in a tent? There's a long brown ear peeping out from behind the flap, but when it's lifted, we discover Rabbit, who joins the two hunters. She was having a drink when she was found, but she brings her mug along with her. Before Hen is eventually found we've collected quite a few seekers! Full review...

Sparky! by Jenny Offill and Chris Appelhans

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There are so many books about unusual pets, that I was a little wary when first opening this book. On one hand, it’s a subject which I think works really well and is always popular. On the other hand, is it over done? I needn’t have worried, this book is really ever so slightly different. It’s aimed at an older reader, I’d say primary school age, and in the end it makes for a pretty poignant read. Full review...

This Little Piggy Went Dancing by Margaret Wild and Deborah Niland

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There are classics of the nursery rhyme oeuvre and This Little Piggy is certainly one of them. Who doesn't remember someone ticking of each of their fingers or toes as they explained the whereabouts of our porcine pals, only to be tickled at the end? However, this is 2014 and there must be a way to improve the rhyme; perhaps the pigs are eating something different or like a different activity? Or perhaps we should just leave well alone? Full review...

Esther's Rainbow by Kim Kane and Sara Acton

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There's something rather magical about rainbows. Even now I find I get a little bit excited when I see one and will rush over to the window to see how big it is, and where the pot of gold might be! In this rainbow story, Esther spies a rainbow on the floor. When she touches it, it's soft and warm and smells slightly like honey. After the rainbow goes away she finds herself noticing, throughout the week, the different rainbow colours in her every day life. Full review...

The Book With No Pictures by B J Novak

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My favourite moments of reviewing books are ones just like this; when I decide to take a chance on a book that I have no idea about but which looks like it might be just a little bit interesting, and it turns out they are. The Book With No Pictures by B J Novak isn't just a little bit interesting, it is staggeringly original and so much fun. Full review...

Bear and Hare: Snow! by Emily Gravett

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Emily Gravett is, let's face it, always good. There are books upon books which are well written and well thought out for the preschool market, but I can't help but feel like very young tots are often an after thought. Gravett, however, takes her sweet and witty style and gives it to just this market, and she is repeatedly excellent at it. There is just as much thought in her work as with any picture book for a slightly older reader, but it speaks to small ones in particular and I cannot do anything other than applaud her for that. Full review...

A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas and Peter Bailey

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Christmas time growing up in a Welsh seaside town was magical for Dylan Thomas, always snowy and full of adventure. From attempting to extinguish house fires with snowballs to hippo footprints in the snow his childhood in the snow was a time of wonder and pure joy. Full review...

Circle, Square, Moose by Kelly L Bingham and Paul O Zelinsky

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If you have children you have no doubt read loads of books about shapes; the circle, the square, the dodecahedron. They are all variations of the same things – this wheel is round like a circle, this bread reminds me of a square, what on earth is a dodecahedron? Why not spice the book up by throwing in a moose, but not just any moose. This is a moose that brings chaos to everything he touches and must be chased from the book! Full review...

The Naughtiest Reindeer by Nicki Greenberg

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If you made all of Father Christmas’s reindeer line up, you would find it pretty tricky to find the naughtiest one among them as they are so well behaved. However, there is one reindeer who is so naughty that she does not get asked to pull the sleigh very often. On certain occasions needs must and when Rudolf is ill on Christmas Eve, the only help comes in the form of his little sister Ruby – dear oh deer. Full review...

Sir Charlie Stinky Socks: The Pirate's Curse by Kristina Stephenson

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Sir Charlie Stinky Socks: the Pirate's Curse passed the grandchild test. The oldest granddaughter, aged 7, chose it for the teatime read as she'd already enjoyed another in this series. She took the lead in turning the pages, opening the giant flaps and pointing out details of the plot and jokes. The varied typefaces and sizes made it easy for her beginner reader brother to join in and the lively story line frequently attracted the attention of the third child who was sitting on the other side of the table absorbed in a project of her own. Full review...

The Squickerwonkers by Evangeline Lilly and Johnny Fraser-Allen

4star.jpg Children's Rhymes and Verse

Selma is a young girl who finds a strange attraction on the edge of a fair – a large gypsy caravan-styled contraption, which she enters, alone but for her shiny red balloon. She appears to be alone, until nine marionette puppets suddenly appear on the stage within, and a disembodied voice introduces them all to her. They are the Squickerwonkers, and as we are about to see, they can reveal someone's entire character with the simplest of actions… Full review...

The Adventures of Mr Toad by Tom Moorhouse and David Roberts

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Poop poop! Here comes Mr. Toad! The irrepressible Mr. Toad returns, accompanied, of course, by Ratty, Mole and Badger in this cheerful picture book version of The Wind in the Willows. The well-known highlights of the classic tale; the yellow caravan, the beautiful car, the shame of Toad's prison stay and his daring escape plus The Weasels and The Stoats are all included and, accompanied by charming illustrations, this is a wonderful way to introduce young children to a classic. Full review...

Frog is a Hero by Max Velthuijs

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Always a sucker for a story with a hero, I thoroughly enjoyed this book with Frog as the unlikely hero. It's a very rainy day. At first the rain, for Frog at least, is lovely and he goes outside dancing. But then it starts to get a little bit too heavy even for him. Worried about how his friends are coping with the adverse weather, Frog decides to go and see them and with everyone's houses leaking, a plan must be formed! Full review...

The Wonder by Faye Hanson

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Don't judge a book by its cover, they say. It was the beautiful cover that made me want to try this gorgeous book and still I was not prepared for the stunning illustrations that make up the journey into the imagination of the little boy in this thoughtful story. Full review...

The Boy Who Lost His Bumble by Trudi Esberger

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A little boy loves his garden and he particularly loves the bees that visit it each day. He is so fascinated by his buzzy friends that he gives them each names and records their habits and characteristics. Then the weather changes, it grows cold and his bees disappear. Where can they be? Will they come back? The boy is puzzled and saddened by their departure and tries hard to encourage his missing friends to return. Full review...

Rita's Rhino by Tony Ross

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Rita really wants a pet, but when she asks her Mum for one she isn’t so keen. They’re smelly and greedy and take lots of hard work. Eventually she relents, and gives Rita a jar with a flea in it, his name is Harold. Obviously, Rita isn’t happy with this so she decides to take matters into her own hands. What will she do, and how will she manage to hide a Rhino from her pet-fearing mother? Full review...

The Brockenspectre by Linda Newbery

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Tommi lives up in the mountains with his parents and his baby sister. Mamma is artistic and paints beautiful designs on chairs and stools and planters for tourists to buy. Pappi is a mountain guide and Tommi's hero - brave and fearless and a lover of his wild mountain home. Tommi wants nothing more than to be like Pappi. But things aren't peaceful at home. Pappi is only truly happy by himself, out amongst the peaks. After just a day or two at home without guiding work, he becomes irritable and critical of Mammi and his children.

After an argument one day, Pappi strides out of the house and onto the mountain. And he doesn't return. Full review...


The Quayside Cat by Toby Forward and Ruth Brown

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Sometimes it's good to be wrong. I'd been keen to review The Quayside Cat almost entirely because of the beautiful colour palette of the front cover – and also because I spend quite a lot of time hanging around on quaysides. But then I began to get cold feet – had I been guilty of the classic adult sin, choosing a book because it appealed to me and with no thought of whether the children would like it? Full review...

Numbers by Paul Thurlby

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Is it art or is it pedagogy? That’s a weighty question to start a review of a children’s picture book. When the book in question is 'Numbers' by Paul Thurlby though, it’s central to whether you will love this volume or not. Full review...

The Illustrated Old Possum by T S Eliot and Nicolas Bentley

4star.jpg Children's Rhymes and Verse

This title is clearly of importance to the house of Faber. To this day their puff mentions it was one of their first childrens' books, after the author sent his publisher's son, his godson, some writings based on jellicle cats and some of their scrapes. It's clearly a book that's important to Andrew Lloyd Webber, too, but we'll gloss speedily over that. It's a book that was important to me as well – I certainly had a copy, a thin, barely illustrated, old-fashioned style paperback of it once I had seen the musical. And with the excellent writing here and the ability of it to delight so many people of so many ages, it has the power to be important to a future generation. Full review...

Nonsense Limericks (Faber Children's Classics) by Edward Lear and Arthur Robins (illustrator)

4.5star.jpg Children's Rhymes and Verse

There was a young man whose critique
Of this book was submitted one week
When they asked 'Was it fine?'
He said 'No denyin' –
'There's very little here they could tweak!' Full review...

Rudey's Windy Christmas by Helen Baugh and Ben Mantle

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We all know that at this time of year there are oh-so-many Christmas and Santa related stories to choose from. How do you pick which ones to buy or read? Well, the answer to that is if you’ve got small boys or girls who tend towards potty humour, then this is the book for you. Full review...

Polly Parrot Picks a Pirate by Peter Bently and Penny Dann

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Anyone who has anything to do with little children will know that you can never have too many pirates. There are pirate costumes, pirate television shows, and here we have another pirate book. In this fun and entertaining tale, we find out how Polly the parrot goes about choosing a pirate as her pet. Full review...