Ready – Get Set – Go!

Summer – Time! Holidays have started here where we live in The Netherlands and I am busy keeping the girls busy.

So time to update my blog with some good summer kids books. Oh by the way, if can’t find me for  while on my blog, check I write a review for this website every month, without fail, so you can catch me there.

Today’s books are on sport … it is summer after all. Last year we were getting ready for the summer Olympics so here we go, some great books on sporting competitions and being active.

The Champion Hare is a fun book with rhyming text written by Gwen Christie and illustrated by Paul Wrangles (Makalini Publishing).

champion hareThe story is about a hare that joins a sporting contest in which, every few years, the fittest, fastest and strongest animals compete. Hare tries his best, he runs, jumps, pole vaults, throws a javelin and when exhausted, he takes a rest and eats a carrot.

His competitors are much bigger and stronger than he is. There is a zebra, an ostrich, a cheetah and a giraffe that beats him at the high jump by merely stepping over the bar. But Hare never gives up! When he comes second in the final event, he admits that although he didn’t win once, he tried it all and enjoyed every event. What a sport! To Hare’s surprise, he is nevertheless presented with a medal. All along, unknowingly, he had been competing in a decathlon and was declared the winner: The Champion Hare! “Hop Hop Hurrah”! Brilliant message about never giving up and that taking part is what matters.

The book has a good length, the rhyming text flows nicely and the illustrations of ‘sporting animals’ are fun and expressive! 4 years +

Another book based on a competition but for slightly younger readers (2yrs +) is Elmer and the Stranger written and illustrated by David McKee (Andersen). Elmer the patchwork elephant is out and about when his friends come to tell him that they have just spotted a very unhappy looking kangaroo that is jumping and falling over.

elmer and strangerThe kangaroo tells Elmer & friends that he is secretly preparing for a kangaroo jumping competition. He is convinced that he can only bounce but not jump. As soon as he tries to jump he falls over. He is terribly worried that he will embarrass himself in front of all the other competing kangaroos.

Elmer and his friends decide to help him and when it comes to his turn in the competition, they trick him into forgetting that he is in fact ‘jumping’. Of course, the kangaroo wins and realises that he can bounce and jump and just needs to believe in himself.

As with all Elmer books, the text is easy for young readers to follow and the colours & patterns are stunning.

Finally, Hop, Skip, and Jump Maisy! by Lucy Cousins (Candlewick Press) is a very clever book for energetic and sporty toddlers.

hop skipThe story is based on Maisy’s day. We follow her from the time she gets up until she goes to bed. On the left page there is the text about what Maisy is up to and on the right page there is Maisy with a tab. If you pull the tab, Maisy will jump, touch her toes and even do a summersault. Children are encouraged to participate, to get moving by imitating Maisy’s movements. In the middle of her active day, Maisy takes a break and has a healthy lunch with juice and fruit.

It’s a large, colourful board book full of fun. It keeps children moving for quite a while on both rainy & sunny days. And it’s such a good laugh when there are a few toddlers participating. Although Maisy snuggles into bed on the last page, don’t give in and read this as a bed time story. Take my word, it won’t get them off to sleep!

If you want to have a peek inside, the publisher put a ‘virtual book video’ onto you tube:

Next review coming soon – we are going on a picnic!

Maps & more!

Oh dear it has been a while since my last post! Somehow things got a bit busy and if it wasn’t ‘things’ keeping me busy, Bee & Barlie certainly did their best!

In any case here we are and what’s new on my bookshelf you may wonder. Well quite a bit! I stocked up on activity and sticker books to make sure the girls were entertained throughout the May holidays and I added a few classics to my shopping basket such as the  Avocado Baby by John Burningham.

lift the flapThis morning the girls pulled out an atlas called ‘Lift-the-flap Picture Atlas‘ by Usborne and illustrated by Helen Lee. It includes a ‘giant world map poster’. Finally, this morning we put it up and believe you me,  it is a ‘giant’ map.

I bought this atlas for Bee last Christmas. It is a lovely designed atlas, large hard cover board book with colourful maps, flaps and lots of additional information. However, she is too young for it. There is so much to read & discover per page that I think this will suit a confident reader from 7 or 8   years onwards.

The print is small, the language is rich and there is so much information, on the side of the map and in the inside of the flap. So not only should the reader be confident but also ready to sit still.

Now, a brilliant first atlas is the Usborne Children’s Picture Atlas, illustrated by Linda Edwards.

picture atlas

There are truly beautiful maps which also include small illustrations of famous sights, animals and food products of each country. Even the oceans & seas have got images of the existing sea life.

The start of this atlas is amazing. It has got 2o odd pages, in large print with colourful and detailed illustrations, explaining for example what a desert is, the animals that live there, the people, the plants etc. The text is simple, in short paragraphs and most informative.I must admit, I have learned quite a few things myself!

So, if you are looking for a bright and buzzing atlas with lots to discover and talk about with your children, this is the one. It is a large book, hard cover and I’d recommend it from 2.5-3 years onwards.

Finally, another book which is very popular with my girls is The Usborne First Picture Encyclopedia.

first picture encyc.

I bought this for Bee when she was about, don’t laugh, 1.5 years old. I was looking for a book I could use to just talk about things happening on a page and this one worked really well.

It’s a hard cover board book with tabs for each of the 14 categories. The categories include the weather, on the farm, wild animals and sea life.

The pages are colourful, the designs large and the pages are not too full. There is plenty to discover on each page and talk about. It’s really good, it just made a nice change  from reading a story.

I am not sure if it is actually still in print but should you ever come across it or something similar, pick it up, it will keep your kids busy.

That’s it for today, I will be back very soon!

Fish …

School holidays here in the Netherlands and the girls are keeping me busy. A couple of their friends were scheduled to come and visit with their mums – play for them, lunch and a good chat for us mums. Unfortunately, all the little girls have fallen sick. So it is just me!

Thankfully, their grandparents are well and, on day 3 of the holidays, they came over to offer some afternoon variety & excitement. The girls were more than delighted to see them, nearly ecstatic, so not too sure how entertaining I have been! Oh well, will do better next time! Today their Dad is working from home so trying to creep into his office will keep them busy!

Yesterday evening the girls and I were reading Tiddler. Do you know Tiddler? Tiddler is a little fish. My last review was on cats, so fish – yes – fish works, here we go:

Tiddler by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler is the fabulous story of a ‘story telling fish’.  Tiddler might only be a small grey fish but he he can dream up the most incredible stories.

Everyday Tiddler is late for ‘fish school’. Everyday Miss Skate the teacher calls the register and unlike all his fish classmates: Little Johnny Dory, Redfin, Dragonfish and Dab, Tiddler is absent.

TiddlerFinally, one or two hours later, he swims into class with an unbelievable story why he is late.

One day though, he doesn’t. Lunch time comes and his friend Little Johnny Dory is getting worried. Tiddler is indeed lost. He gets caught by fishermen who throw him back into the sea.  He now finds himself in the deep sea, unknown territory and he is scared. Suddenly, he hears fish talking about him and sharing his incredible tales. So he follows his stories and finds his way back to the classroom, just in time before the end of the lesson.

It is a brilliant book, the story rhymes and its creativity takes you by surprise. The illustrations are great and Scheffler does an amazing job of giving colour, identity and character to each fish. If in a few years time, Bee comes up with some amazing stories for being late for class, I will know who to blame but until then we will just enjoy the book. 2 years +

Barry the Fish with Fingers by Sue Hendra was one of Bee’s all time favourites when she was about 1.5 years. This book barely survived her very early youth!  I think most pages are held together by sticky tape and I should really buy a new copy for Barlie.

BarryBarry is the story about a fish who has fingers. Until Barry arrives, Puffy the Puffer fish is the most admired fish. Puffy can make the most amazing bubbles – square, round… but then Barry has fingers and can play instruments. The limelights shifts and focus is now on Barry to Puffy’s disappointment.

In the end though they become friends and so the story has of course a happy ending. Initial jealousy turns to friendship, nice message.

The story is easy to follow (you might need  or want to rephrase a few words)  and the illustrations by Hendra are big, colourful and cheerful.  1.5 years + (Check Barry’s page, lots of free activties)

Bee & Barlie like books with fish so the next one I will get is  Bright Stanley by Matt Buckingham … blub blub …

2 Little Pigs, Bear and Moose

I am back. Boxes have been packed and unpacked and I’d say that we have settled in quite quickly. Our new home really is lovely. Bee & Barlie love the 10m hall and now scooter to the loo. Hubby and I just love the fact that there is so much light. But, best of all, we have lovely even white walls. Finally, years after leaving our London City flat, we have been able to set up the projector again, cuddle up on the sofa and watch a movie in ‘large’. Brilliant!

Although it has taken me until now  to sit down and write (flaky internet, no internet etc …), I have known for a long time that my first ‘post move’ book would be  A House in The Woods by Inga Moore.

A house in the woods

The story goes that 2 little pigs, a bear and a moose find themselves without accommodation. They sit on a bench together and wonder what to do when suddenly Moose has an idea. Moose suggests building their own house, a house for all 4 of them. What a fabulous idea. Obviously they cannot build a house by themselves so they call the beavers. They agree to help and soon a team of beaver carpenters arrives – trucks, hard-hats, tool-belts and all. They set to work and soon the walls are up, staircases and windows are in. Not much longer and the house is finished: 1  loft conversion bedroom, kitchen and living room with fire place.

The little Pigs, Bear and Moose borrow one of the beavers’ trucks and head off to the junk yard  to find all the necessary furniture, pots and pans. The house is finished &  furnished and it is time to pay the beavers for all their hard work. The agreed method of payment was peanut butter sandwiches. So the four of them prepare 6 plates of peanut butter sandwiches and take them down to the beavers’ lodge. Finally, it is time for the 2 little Pigs, Bear and Moose to go home, have dinner and go to sleep in their beds in their new house.

It is a magical book. The illustrations  are very detailed and simply feel natural and effortless. The chosen colour-scheme and delicate style of illustration supports the feeling of being in the woods. When I reviewed Six Dinner Sid by Inga Moore, I mentioned how surprisingly imaginative that book was. I wondered if she had known a cat like Sid to come up with such a story. Well, this book is the same and I doubt that she knows 2 pigs, a bear and a moose.

A House in the Woods or ‘Woods in the House‘ as Barlie my 2 year old calls it, is a really a  fabulous book and worth adding to your collection.  I would say 2.5 – 3 years +


We are moving house soon – to be precise in 14 days… So I am not sure how much writing I will be able to get done between packing, volunteer teaching and taking care of Bee & Barlie and my lovely man! So bear with me if I am not around that much in the next few weeks.

Today’s post is all about books with cats. I have been meaning to write this post for quite some time.  We don’t have masses of  ‘cat books’ but some of the ones we have are so imaginative that you can only marvel at the author’s creativity. Purr….

Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr is today’s first book.  Mog the cat lives with the Thomas family. Mr and Mrs Thomas have two children, Debbie & Nicky.

Mog Mog is such a brilliant dumpling of a cat. She is big, cuddly,  forgetful and ever so ‘non eventful’. Mog likes routine, not change, she likes her food and she loves Debbie.

In this book Mog is having a bad day and everybody gets annoyed with her. In the end, she surprises a burglar and she is back in the good books and very happy!

The story is engaging and so are  the illustrations. Big, colourful and expressive. All in all we have three Mog books, the other two are Mog’s Christmas and Mog and The Granny.

Mog is a classic, first published in 1970, so it is well worth having at least one Mog in your collection. 2years +

Six Dinner Sid by Inga Moore is one of those books I mentioned in the introduction -simply amazing. When you get to the last page and close this book, you just can’t help but think: how on earth did she come up with this story? Was this a cat she knew?

Six Dinner Sid

Sid is a beautiful black cat who lives on Aristotle Street. He lives in six different houses, has six different owners so that he can enjoy six different dinners – hence his name.

One day he gets found out and the owners are furious and give him only one dinner. This, however,  is not how Sid works.

He moves on and finds a new street to live in, six new houses and six new families. This time the owners all know each other and are happy to feed and share Sid.

Fabulous story, easy for children to follow. Lovely, detailed illustrations which have a bit of an old-fashioned feel. The story and the illustrations are so engaging that they offer plenty to talk about.  This book won the Smarties Award in 1990. 2.5 years +

There are cats in this book by Viviane Schwarz is another book which will surprise you. In this book the reader is encouraged to play with 3 cats.

There are cats in this bookThe text ‘talks’ to the child ‘ you look nice’ ‘will you play with us?’ ‘ Can you dry us? Just blow on the page.’ Indeed, blowing on the page so that the cats get dry, is Bee & Barlie’s favourite bit.

This book is bright and bold. The text is short and presented in speech bubbles. This book is exciting: bright colours, cheeky & light illustrations, speech bubbles and flaps to open.

We spend a day with three cats, we play, open flaps and in the end the cats (and we) are exhausted – it is time to turn in and play again another day. Fun, fun, fun! In 2010 this book was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal. 2 years +

Jaspers ‘s Beanstalk by Nick Butterworth & Mick Inkpen is the last of our cat books. I love this book and it is a great First Reader.

Jasper's Beanstalk The story is simple and the text is too. ‘On Monday Jasper finds a bean’. Next page: ‘On Tuesday …’  you get the gist. Excellent repetition of words encouraging first steps towards independent reading: on, he, it…

We follow Jasper planting, watering and waiting for his beanstalk to grow. In the end, he loses his patience and digs up the bean. However, the bean somehow makes it back into the earth because a long time later, Jasper finally has his own beanstalk!

Huge font, fabulously big and bright illustrations. Butterworth & Inkpen – what a winning combination. 2 years + and as Easy / First Reader 4 + (NB: Publishing house link connects to ‘Jasper’ only not the Beanstalk one…)

I know I have left out the tigers, no worries, your time will come – miauw! 

The Giant Jam Sandwich

I am back again after a lovely Christmas break at my parents’ house and a little New Year’s Party here at home with friends & kids. Brilliant! Lots of food & drinkies and lots of good company. Bee & Barlie got what they wished for: Duplo & Playmobil. And the grandparents got them a huge dolls house. Overall, enough to keep them busy for a few minutes…

As you probably guessed, I also got them quite a few books including one of those packs of 10 you can get over the ‘Book People’. Tremendous value for money: 10 books £10. Over the years I have bought a set of Elmer books and Kipper, excellent. This year the Michael Rosen Collection was on offer –  he is the one who wrote the classic ‘We are Going on a Bear Hunt‘. Bee & Barlie love this book so I thought, great, let’s order!

Oh dear, after reading a few, I actually started to think Michael Rosen might be a one hit wonder. Clearly he is not – some were actually quite good. I think we (my mum & I, bless) were left a little disappointed as we had expected the same kind of lightness, excitement and story flow as in ‘ We are Going on a Bear Hunt’, but that was not to be. Some of the topics of the books in this collection are quite deep. I must read them again so that ‘I get it’ . One day, I will review the pack but not today.

Today, I will write about a fabulous book (yes, this one I got right) which I have just had to read again to my little girls called The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord and Janet Burroway.

The giant jam sandwich

This book was first published in the 70s and if you are from around then, it will take you back, a bit like Mr Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham.

It is a story about a little village called Itching Down which is suddenly visited by 4 million wasps. Yes you read correctly, 4 million wasps just buzzed in one day. The villagers are being stung left, right and centre. They are at a loss and call an emergency meeting.

The village baker suggests trapping the wasps in a giant jam sandwich as jam is what wasps like the most. So the villagers get to work and bake a huge loaf of bread. 6 men, saw two slices off the loaf. One is  pulled onto a field, buttered and loaded with strawberry jam. The other slice is attached to helicopters and dangles in the sky. The plan does not fail, all 4 million wasps come buzzing in, dive down into the sandwich and get stuck in the jam. The slice in the sky is dropped and the wasps are trapped. Hurrah, the villagers have a party and no wasp was ever seen again in Itching Down.

Fabulous, so much imagination and attention to detail both in the story and in the pictures.  So much to see on every page, such detailed drawings, a style you don’t really see in recent publications. The text is rich and short and it rhymes. Absolutely brilliant.  3.5-4 years +

What’s the word…?

It’s been a while since I have written, looks like Christmas &  its preparations are taking up all my time. But oh, it’s such a brilliant time and it’s only once a year!

I have ordered quite a few books for the girls for Christmas so time to make same room for the new arrivals. I don’t really clear them out, just shift them to one side or higher up. I struggle with giving children’s books away. I have spent hours reading them to my children. They have been interested, not-interested, awake, half-asleep. I have ‘sticky-taped’ ripped pages, cut off chewed-on corners and so I feel we have bonded.  And if not totally chewed or ripped to pieces,  they deserve to stay, for now at least.

So some of the books that I will be ‘shifting’ are the ‘First Words’ books. First words, learning to talk, what a great time – so here we go:

100 Words

First 100 words by Priddy Books, is a big board book.

100 First words

Every page is divided into 9 big squares. Each square has got one image and the matching word. Words are grouped by category: bedtime, home, farm animals etc .. .

It is the first ‘word’ book I bought for Bee. I like it but really feel that the images need updating.

Barlie pulled it out some time ago, had a look and pointed at the ‘telephone’ and said  ‘Mummy, what that?’  I said ‘ It’s a telephone’. She said  ‘No  mummy, is not telephone’. 6 months+

Ladybird Baby-Touch Series

Quack!Quack! from the brilliant Ladybird Baby Touch series. This is another ‘big’ book.

quack quack

It is full of bright, touchy-feely animals. The book has got big tabs for each animal category: farm animals, wild  animals etc.

One word per animal and sometimes they have added the sound it makes. 3 months+



Baby touch wordsThe Baby-Touch series also offers smaller sized board books, great for the car!

We have got Words, Colours & Numbers. One image per page, one or two words per page.

The image on the right page gas got the touchy-feely effect. 3 months +

Mini Libraries

I couldn’t quite get  my head around mini libraries at the start. But they have grown on me. And little children actually like holding and looking through these little books. We have got two which have words and pictures.

Mini MaisyThe first one is Maisy’s Little Library by Lucy Cousin. 4 books covering animals, food, toys and clothes. I love these little books.

Full of colour and cheerful illustrations. However, some words are not really useful First Words (e.g. ostrich …). Not necessarily my first choice. 1.5 year + (check out Maisy’s  Funclub

Eric Carle MiniEric Carle’s Little Learning Library also contains 4 books. The books cover numbers, words, colours and animal sounds.

I like these ones and so did the girls. The images will be familiar if you have Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Bee loved these so much that not much was left for Barlie to look at. 9 months +

In case you come across the Very First Book series by Eric Carle while out shopping, have a close look at it. Personally, I did not like it very much. These books are cut in half inside. So there is an image or word at the top and bottom. The idea is to pick and match a word and an image.  I found that it had been poorly thought through, it just didn’t really work for us. The Shape one would be the only one I would buy again, reluctantly though.

Everyday Words

Ladybird has got a little hard cover range called Early Learning. We have the ‘Everyday Words.

everyday wordsLovely little book and one of those books you can take to the doctor’s and it will keep your child busy for ages.

Small, cute & clear illustrations, one word to describe the picture. It has 16 categories including opposites and  ‘doing words’ – excellent!

Lots to see and lots to describe and talk about.  I am about to order some more …  .1.5 year  +


Well, just in time, we have made some room for the new arrivals  …

The Paper Dolls

The Christmas tree is up! Kids are asleep, totally exhausted after choosing a tree & decorating it and dancing around it with excitement. So  far all the decorations are still on the tree but I fear Barlie, the 2 year old, might have other ideas…

A week ago we got a belated Birthday present for Bee & Barlie. It was a book, The Paper Dolls written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Rebecca Cobb.I was delighted as I had actually put this book onto my Amazon wish list.

Paper Dolls

The story is about little girl who makes a string of paper dolls with her mum. She paints them and gives them names. Together with the little girl, these paper dolls go on a number of adventures. They narrowly escape a tiger (her slipper), a toy dinosaur and a crocodile (hand puppet). Each time they manage to escape, the paper dolls sing a little verse:

“You can’t get us. Oh no no no!  We’re holding hands and we won’t let go. We’re Ticky and Tacky and Jackie and Backie and Jim with two noses and Jo with the bow.”

One fine sunny day, the little girl is out playing on a field with her paper dolls and along comes  a little boy with a pair of scissors.  He cuts the paper dolls into little pieces and says ‘You are gone forever’.

Yes, my girls gasped, too.  However, the dolls ‘regroup’ and fly off together, intact may I add, singing their little song. They fly high into the sky and into the little girl’s memory where they join her lost hairclip, bar of pretty soap and her granny. Much later, when the little girl is a mother herself, she continues her mum’s tradition and we see her making paper dolls with her daughter.

No doubt, this is a beautiful book. Cobb’s illustrations are marvellous. They are so delicate and capture the lightness of the paper dolls and add so much cheerfulness to a sensitive story. And then of course, there is the story – a story about friendship and a story about loss   And a story about how the memory of a good time can bring joy again. (4- 5 years +)

Rudolph, Santa & Co (Part 2)

And yes, there is more ….

Part of a Series

As you can see we have a number of books which are part of  a well-known series. Some of them have even be on TV:  Peppa, Wibbly Pig & Kipper… all A-list Cbeebies & C4 celebs!

Peppa’s Christmas is surprisingly good. I am not a great fan of ‘TV-to-Book’, ‘Book-to-TV’ is better I find,  but in this case it works. Solid board book with bright & shiny Peppa & family illustrations.

Peppa's Christmas

Peppa’s house is ready for Christmas and Peppa & George are in bed. They wake up when Father Christmas arrives and have a chat with him. Obviously, ‘This is the best Christmas ever!’ 1 year +

(Check this: Peppa has her own site with activities)



The Wibbly Pig & Kipper series are written and illustrated by Mick Inkpen.

Wibbly                                            Kipper's Christmas Eve

These Christmas editions, Tickly Christmas Wibbly Pig & Kipper’s Christmas Eve, don’t disappoint.

Stories with fabulous illustrations – funny moments, friendship, family, tolerance, giving, getting unwanted knitted scarves and of course staying up all night to spot Father Christmas…  1.5- 2 year + (check this: Wibbly and Kipper free activities)

Elmer and Papa Red

Elmer and Papa Red by David McKee is probably one of my favourite Elmer books.

Elmer takes the young elephants to see Papa Red. The young elephants are so excited, walking up the mountain,  hiding and then watching Papa Red land with his sleigh and reindeer.

This story has a very clear message: Christmas is all about giving and sharing. 1.5 years +


Zoe’s Christmas List is part of the Zoe & Beans series by Chloe & Mick Inkpen. This is definitely a series for little girls.

Zoe & Beans

Zoe has decided that the only thing she wants for Christmas is a doll called Kylie Kurlz. In order to make sure that Father Christmas gets her Christmas letter, she sets off with her dog Beans to the North Pole. She has packed some food and some sticky tape to stick her Christmas letter on his door. Ahhh I know, should have put this book in the previous post.

Anyhow, on her journey she and Beans become friends with a baby polar bear. She realises that friendship is worth much more and that whatever Father Christmas will bring, will be just fine. Lovely story, lovely illustrations. Have a guess what Father Christmas brings Zoe…2 years +

The last book, which is part of the famous Mog (the forgetful Cat) series, is Mog’s Christmas by Judith Kerr.

Mog's Christmas

Bless, Mog the cat is having a bad day. There is way too much activity in her house and Mog does not like excitement or change. She decides to go outside when she sees a walking & talking Christmas tree. She gets scared, climbs onto the roof and sleeps on top of the chimney.

In the end, the snow Mog is sitting on melts and she falls into the chimney. When she comes tumbling out everybody is delighted and finally Christmas can start. It does convey the message that Christmas is all about  family members being together, including cats. However, of all Mog stories, this one I find a little bit on the thin side. 1.5- 2 years +

Sticker Books

Finally, if you are looking for some activity books to keep your kids busy while you are rushing around, here are three sticker book suggestions:

Christmas First Sticker Book and Santa First Sticker Book by Usborne  are most suitable for 1.5 year +. Easy -peel, good sized stickers suitable for little hands. Lovely bright illustrations. I got the Santa one when  Bee was 3 and she loved it.


Mix 3


For older children (3 years +) check this one, also by Usborne: Christmas Sticker Book. More to do, smaller stickers.

And if you are looking for some Jingle Bells, check the post I wrote some time ago :‘Make some Noise’. I reviewed Xmas Carols and Christmas Sound books.

And, if all of this is still not enough – check this: Pull-back Busy Santa Book by Usborne, I found my husband, Bee & Barlie playing with this in the supermarket yesterday… I have actually just ordered it for him!

Well there we go – that was it, all our Christmas books, time for some of those Christmas biscuits …

Rudolph, Santa & Co (Part 1)

2.12.2012, fairy lights are curling around the windows, tins are starting to fill up with Christmas biscuits, the girls have opened the second door of their advent house, they have written and posted their letter to Father Christmas – indeed it seems, time has come to review our Christmas books. So without further ado, here come Rudolph, Santa & Co and a little bit of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah & Christmas

Light the lights! by  Margaret Moorman is a lovely book about a little girl called Emma who celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas.

Light the lights

One morning, her father wakes her up by saying it is time to ‘light the lights’.  They get the menorah out and in the evening she lights the first candle. We watch how Emma lights the candles, how her family comes over with presents and how  they eat special potato pancakes.

Then Hanukkah is over and it is time to get out the Christmas decorations and pick a Christmas tree.

It is a lovely and simple story which is set in and around Emma’s flat. Simple, so that young children can get a little ‘Hanukkah insight’ and see how some families combine two celebrations. The illustrations are very pretty and detailed and paint a scene, so there is plenty to discover and talk about on each page. 2.5 years +

The Classics

The Night before Christmas by Clement C. Moore and illustrated by Caroline Pedler is a great copy of this classic seasonal tale.

The Night before Christmas

It is the story, well of the night before Christmas  We are in a house, children and parents in bed and along comes Father Christmas (called St Nikolaus here). He climbs down the chimney, fills the stockings and leaves presents under the tree before disappearing up the chimney again.

The text rhymes, the vocabulary isn’t always straight forward, so when Bee was around 3, I had to just tell the story on certain pages. Now at 4, she is fine with its flow and vocabulary. Bee’s favourite bit is when Father Christmas calls  all the reindeer by name: Now Dasher!Now Dancer!…

I have come across a number of copies of this tale and the illustrations by Pedler are by far the best, especially for little children. Beautiful book. 3 years +


My Magical Book of Christmas Tales illustrated by Susan Lockheart is amazing. This large hard-cover book includes ‘moving pictures’.

The Magical Book

The text is on the left side and the images on the right. Every few pages. the right page will include a tab that you can pull and the scene changes.

This book consists of two tales: The Night before Christmas  and The Nutcracker. It is a beautiful book, something you give a as a present and that is exactly how we got it. The illustrations are very ‘Christmasy’ and the moving pictures add to the magic.

Bee got this book when she was 2, a bit too early. I just managed to get it away from her before she pulled the moving pictures apart. So I would say 4 years +.

The Ahhh-Factor

The Very Snowy Christmas written by Diana Hendry and illustrated by Jane Chapman is the next book. And yes this book deserves a special mention as it is just, ahhh so cute!

The very snowy Christmas

This is the story of Big Mouse and Little Mouse who are getting their little house ready for Christmas.

Little Mouse realises that they have forgotten the red holly berries for the tree. So he rushes out and we follow Little Mouse on a string of adventures.

Finally, Little Mouse returns home, totally exhausted and confused. He has seen snow for the first time, paw-prints and his reflection. In the end, Big Mouse and Little Mouse cuddle up in their little armchair, warming their feet at the fire, ready for Christmas.

Lovely story, lots of excitement and the illustrations are ever so beautiful. We read this book all year long … 2 years +

Little Christmas Books

Two little books for very little readers. First of all, Baby’s very first touchy-feely Christmas book by Usborne. Every pages has got one picture and two words describing it e.g ‘fluffy snowman’. Each page / picture has got a tactile, touchy-feely element to it. It is a small solid board-book, easy to hold for little hands and plenty explore. 3 months +

Xmas Mix 1

Dear Santa by Rod Campbell is a lift-the flap board book. I just love all of the Rod Campbell little board books. This is the story of Santa who is reading a Christmas letter and decides to send something special. Santa can’t make up his mind so plenty of flaps to open  showing what Santa is thinking of sending. Finally, he settles for a cat, just ‘what I wanted’.

Bright colourful illustrations, short story with a repetitive verse ‘ I’ll send something else’ for little readers to join in. 6 months+

Part 2 coming soon …hohoho

Library Lady

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