Category Archives: Books

Book Review & Giveaway: Dinosaur Number Crunch!

It’s well documented that the boy loves dinosaurs. He loves playing with them almost as much as he loves learning about them. His favourite books at the moment are “non-fiction books about dinosaurs” and every week he seems to bring a new one home from the library. His current favourite is the newly published Dinosaur Number Crunch! by Kevin Pettman.

Book Review : Dinosaur Number Crunch!

Dinosaur Number Crunch! is a snappily written, fact-packed overview of the world of dinosaurs. It’s jam-packed full of colourful, well-illustrated facts. It contains all the essential info that dinosaur fans need to know; such as where they lived, what they ate, how big they were, how fast they could run, how many teeth they had and their key weapons.

Book Review : Dinosaur Number Crunch!

Each fact is based around a number, creating an entire book of easy-to-digest information that will hook even the most reluctant of readers. For example…

“Ankylosaurus had 2 horns on the top and 2 horns on the side of its head. These 4 horns protected its head and eyes from predator attacks.”

Dinosaur Number Crunch! is written to be enjoyed by children aged 8 and up. My son is 7 and such a big dino fan that he’s had no trouble at all reading and digesting the facts in the book. He does struggle to pronounce some of the names, but I’m 41 and I can’t pronounce them either!

This 96 page, hardback book covers a wide range of dino topics including “Clash of the Killers”, “Under the Sea”, “North verses South” and “Brill Bones & Fab Fossils”.

It’s very much the kind of book you can dip in and out of and absolutely perfect for fact fans like my son. It’s very well put together. I like the themed pages and it means you can find the facts you want quickly. It’s probably the most informative and interesting dinosaur book we’ve read, and we’ve read an awful lot of dinosaur books!

Dinosaur Number Crunch! is published by Carlton Kids and costs £9.99. It’s available in all good bookshops and online now!

Book Review : Dinosaur Number Crunch!

WIN A copy of dinosaur number crunch!

To be in with a chance to win a copy of Dinosaur Number Crunch! simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will be sent a copy of Dinosaur Number Crunch!
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 11th March 2018.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winner, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
11. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
12. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

I was sent a copy of Dinosaur Number Crunch! in exchange for this review. All images and opinions are my own.

Children’s Books: Five Lovely Books About Love

When my son was just 3 months old he had his first Valentine’s Day. To mark this occasion I bought him a copy of the much-loved classic, Guess How Much I Love You. I’ve read it to him regularly ever since (and he’s 7 years old now).  Guess How Much I Love You and the phrase “I love you to the moon and back” has stuck with us and grown over time; he now loves me to the moon and the stars and the planets and back; and I love him all of that and a little bit more. In celebration of Valentine’s Day, here is my selection of five lovely books about love…

Five Lovely Books About Love

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney is an absolutely gorgeous book which perfectly sums up how much a parent loves a child. Featuring Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare; they take it in turns to try to measure how much love they have for each other. It’s lovely, it’s heartwarming and it’s about the most famous book about love you could think of, for good reason too!

Children's Books: Five Lovely Books About Love

The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle. Eric Carle’s books continue to be adored by children, their illustrations are so beautiful and unique and the stories are appealing. The Very Quiet Cricket is one of his lesser known books, but one we all enjoy reading. It’s a wonderful little story of a tiny cricket who can’t make a sound. As he grows, he meets lots of different insects and can’t chirp hello; until he meets a lovely lady cricket and in the moonlight they chirp hello, hello, hello to each other. It’s a lovely, heartwarming story with a chirping surprise at the end!

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury is gorgeous little picture book about babies from all around the world. One thing they all have in common is they have ten little fingers and ten little toes. My son loved me to read this to him, probably because he liked to look at all the children, but I liked reading it because it was really about how much I love my baby.

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams’ timeless picture book classic has been read and cherished by many generations of children and their parents. The Velveteen Rabbit is the sometimes sad story of a stuffed rabbit’s wish to become a real rabbit; something he can only achieve this through the love of his owner, a sickly little boy. The book was first published in 1922 and remains loved by generations of children.

I Love You Just The Way You Are by Tammi Salzano is a story which will make mums of boys go all gooey inside. The story follows a day in the life of a mother and son. Their day is packed with activities such as dressing-up, reading, painting, having a bath and saying goodnight. The story has a lovely rhyming rhythm which is great to read aloud. It’s the perfect story to read with your preschooler before bed.

If you’re looking for a lovely book about love for Valentine’s Day; or if you just want to share the most wonderful feeling in the world with your child; then this selection of books about love is a pretty good place to start. What’s your favourite book about love?

Children's Books: Five Lovely Books About Love

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy my other children’s book round ups!

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Children’s Books: Five Classic Books About Bears

In real life, bears are such ferocious creatures that we are warned to steer well clear of them. But in the world of children’s fiction books, you’ll be hard pushed to find a better friend than a bear. I’ve picked out five classic books about bears, I’ve probably missed some really important ones, but these are my bear necessities of children’s books about bears.

Five Classic Books About Bears

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is a classic picture book by Eric Carle and Bill Martin Jr. It is wonderfully rhythmic and is packed full of Eric Carle’s beautiful and iconic illustrations. It’s a great way to get pre-schoolers talking about animals and colours. Plus you’re guaranteed to get “brown bear, brown bear” stuck in your head.

Children’s Books: Five Classic Books About Bears

Goldilocks and the Three Bears – there are many versions of this 19th century fairy tale, but it’s the classic tale of Goldilocks, a girl who finds a cabin in the woods belonging to the three bears. She can’t help but creep in and explore – she sits in their chairs, eats some of their porridge, and sleeps in one of their beds. When the bears return and discover her, she jumps up, runs out and is never seen again. Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a classic which will never go out of fashion!

Paddington by Michael Bond has recently been made into a hit film, but the book is always worth returning to. This friendly bear from deepest, darkest Peru, dressed in a blue duffle coat and wearing a hat stuffed with marmalade sandwiches. Paddington has become a classic character in English children’s literature. These beautifully illustrated, easy reading books make the perfect bedtime story to share with your children.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury is undoubtedly a modern classic. The story follows a family on an adventure, through swishy-swashy swathes of grass and across muddy fields. They get a bit wet and a bit cold, and when they finally find a bear, they’re a little bit scared. I always feel a bit sorry for the bear at the end, I think all he wants is a friend. It’s a beautiful story, fantastic to read and the textures of the grass, the mud and the wind are so evocative and great talking points for you and your child.

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne is such a classic, no books about bears collection should be without him. This adorable and quietly wise bear is loved by adults and children alike. There are a million different Winnie the Pooh books available; from pop-up books to philosophy books for adults; but you can’t get any better than the original.

These classic books about bears are to my mind, essential reading for children and adults alike. There’s something friendly and cuddly about these bears, some of them are a bit edgy, but on the whole they just want to be your friend. Have I left any classic bears behind?

Children’s Books: Five Classic Books About Bears

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Children’s Books: Five Children’s Poetry Books

Reading together is a big part of our evening routine. As a parent, the books I’ve most enjoyed reading to my son are ones that have been written with a rhyming structure like the Hairy Maclary books by Lynley Dodd or any of Julia Donaldson’s books. I’ve always felt that these kind of children’s poetry books were a wonderful gateway into the world of poetry.

I’ve picked out five children’s poetry books which I either read a lot with my son, or I’m looking forward to reading with him when the times comes. I hope you enjoy my choices.

Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. This has been a childhood classic for as long as I can remember. First published in 1978 this classic is full of rhyming couplets featuring almost every fairy tale character you can think of. The illustrations are a joy too, even though my son is getting a bit old for this book now, I still like to flick through it and savour the simple joy of it.

Kicking a Ball by Allan Ahlberg. This is a book my son likes to read out loud to us, it’s full of action and action words and is the perfect poetry-story book for football fans.

Children's Books: Five Children's Poetry Books

Dirty Beasts by Roald Dahl. No poetry round-up is complete without a Roald Dahl book. Dirty Beasts is a collection of poems about the foulest, most grotesque creatures in Roald Dahl’s imagination. This was my copy from when I was a child and I’ve passed it down to my son who loves the disgusting rhymes and terrifying tales in Dirty Beasts. This is a treat for adults and children alike!

I’m a Little Alien by James Carter. This poetry book for 3-8 year olds covers all forms of life, from aliens, sharks, robots, snowflakes, moles and elephants. Each poem is full of joy and it’s perfect for dipping in and out of with your little ones. We are big fans!

Poems to Perform, chosen by Julia Donaldson. This wonderful poetry collection has been chosen by Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson, it’s ideal for children’s groups and school classes to learn and perform, but equally it’s a wonderful collection of poetry to have at home. Something you can dip in and out of. It’s a collection for slightly older children, my son is 7 and he’s only just starting to read and enjoy the poems from this book.

Reading and writing poetry at home is a great way to encourage a love of the written word. Poetry doesn’t have to be hard work or hard to understand. It can be the start of a wonderful adventure with the written and spoken word.

What’s your favourite children’s poetry book?

Children's Books: Five Children's Poetry Books

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Christmas Book Review: The Christmas Snowflake

One of our family traditions is a Christmas Eve box. We pack up a box full of lovely things for Christmas Eve, new pyjamas, some nice treats to nibble on and a Christmassy book to read together at bedtime. This year we’ve chosen The Christmas Snowflake from Wonderbly, a wonderful personalised Christmas story.

Christmas Book Review: The Christmas Snowflake

The Christmas Snowflake tells the tale of a lonely snowflake who is looking for a place to call home this Christmas – but only you and your family can help! Like with other personalised books from Wonderbly, The Christmas Snowflake is beautifully illustrated and full of wonderfully festive images.

Christmas Book Review: The Christmas Snowflake

This heartwarming story includes personalisation for up to 9 family members, friends or loved ones and as the final page is turned, you’ll find a charming pull-out-and-keep ornament – something that you can hang on your Christmas tree!

The Christmas Snowflake is written in a lovely rhythmic style, which reads well. The personalisation within the book is very smoothly done and children will enjoy spotting familiar names throughout the story.

Christmas Book Review: The Christmas Snowflake

The book comes in a hardback format and contains 34 colourfully illustrated pages. The style of the illustrations is almost vintage, and of course it’s wonderfully festive. The pull out snowflake on the last page is inspired and a lovely surprise at the end of the story.

Christmas Book Review: The Christmas Snowflake

The Christmas Snowflake is a wonderful keepsake book which you can bring out and read year after year. I can’t wait to read this special story with my son, personalised stories are such a treat.

Personalising your book with Wonderbly is really easy, just visit their website, choose your story and add the names of up to 9 of your child’s favourite people. You can also add a personalised dedication to be printed on the first page.

The Christmas Snowflake costs £19.99 and makes a wonderful gift for any child or family this Christmas; or you could put it in your Christmas Eve box like me.

We were sent The Christmas Snowflake from Wonderbly for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Giveaway: My Golden Ticket – A Beautiful Personalised Roald Dahl Book

I’ve been reading Roald Dahl books since I was a child and I’m keen to pass on a love of his stories to my own son. I’ve loved all of Roald Dahl’s books, but Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is an especially iconic tale. Who hasn’t dreamed of finding a golden ticket and being transported into a wonderful new world? Wonderbly have recently released a new personalised story book based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – My Golden Ticket.

My Golden Ticket- A Beautiful Personalised Roald Dahl Book

My Golden Ticket is a beautifully illustrated personalised adventure that opens up Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory to absolutely everyone. This isn’t just a version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with a Charlie’s name swapped for your child’s name. Everyone gets a different personalised story; including their own unique candy, Oompa Loompa song and Wonkafied family tree.

When you order your copy of My Golden Ticket on the Wonderbly website there are a few questions you need to answer to personalise the book. Obviously there’s your child’s name, in our case Benjamin. You can also choose someone to go on the adventure with him. We chose Grandad who died last year; but he would have been the perfect person to go on this adventure with.

My Golden Ticket- A Beautiful Personalised Roald Dahl Book

You can also add your names to an inscription on the first page. Ordering the book is really straightforward and only really took me a few minutes to do. My Golden Ticket starts at £19.99, but there are a number of different options to choose from which can build the price. We chose a hardback book which took the price to £25.99. I then added a dedication and someone to go on the adventure with. With added gift-wrap and candy scent the final price was £30.99, but that really is the all singing – all dancing version of the book.

My Golden Ticket- A Beautiful Personalised Roald Dahl Book

My Golden Ticket is beautifully illustrated, rich with colour with a stunning golden embossed cover. If you add the candy scent (which is something I recommend for an extra £2) they slip a scented postcard into your book. This gently wafts chocolate smells at you while you’re reading. It’s very clever and is brought to you by “Wonka Smell-o-Vision”.

My Golden Ticket- A Beautiful Personalised Roald Dahl Book

This beautiful (and I can’t stress this enough, it is beautiful) personalised book would make a really magical keepsake for any child (or Wonka mad adult for that matter). It’s the kind of book which we will bring out to read time and again for many years to come. It really is a very special book.

WIN A personalised copy of my golden ticket

To be in with a chance to win a personalised copy of My Golden Ticket, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will be sent a personalised copy of My Golden Ticket.
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 7th December 2017.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winner, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
11. Your email address may be passed on to the promoter for marketing purposes, you may unsubscribe at any time.
12. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
13. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

Books: Jurassic World Special Edition: From DNA to Indominus Rex!

Dinosaurs are showing no signs of falling out of fashion for my six year old son. On the contrary, he seems more obsessed than ever at the moment and why would I discourage that? He’s starting to read independently now and whilst he still needs some help with tricky words he’s never seen before, he does like to take himself off to bed each night with a dinosaur book. We were sent the new Jurassic World Special Edition: From DNA to Indominus Rex to see what our junior paleontologist thought about it.

Books: Jurassic World Special Edition: From DNA to Indominus Rex!

Jurassic World Special Edition: From DNA to Indominus Rex is a 32 page hardback book. It’s a large sized book packed with dinosaur facts and includes genetically engineered, terror-inspiring dinosaurs from the Jurassic Park trilogy and Jurassic World, including new profiles for Tyrannosaurus rex, Indominus rex and Velociraptor, as well as other favourites from the original films.

Books: Jurassic World Special Edition: From DNA to Indominus Rex!

Download the free Jurassic World Special Edition: From DNA to Indominus Rex app (available from the App Store and Google Play). Then using the advanced Augmented Reality app, you can bring the book to life. Just scan the code on the pages of the book and you can walk a lifesize Jurassic Park dinosaur across your floor, photograph your friends with favourite dinosaurs or connect with another device in dual user mode to roam and explore. 

There’s lots of reading in small chunks which are the right length for our six year old. The book features the fictional island where Jurassic Park is set, with information about some of the main characters in the films. It’s an engaging combination of fact and fiction and ideal if you’re a fan of the films too. 

The book and app combination is an obvious winner. Bringing the dinosaurs to life and having them walk across your table is really good fun. Swatting off a plague of flying Pteranodon is also pretty funny; it helps if you’ve got a silly mum who will pretend to run away from them too.

Books: Jurassic World Special Edition: From DNA to Indominus Rex!

Jurassic World Special Edition: From DNA to Indominus Rex! costs £9.99 and the app is free to download. Together they are a lot of fun to play with and it is both interesting and educational. The book would make an excellent present for any junior dinosaur enthusiasts in your life.

Jurassic World Special Edition: From DNA to Indominus Rex! is available in bookshops and on Amazon from 10th August 2017.

 
Note: We were sent the Jurassic World Special Edition book to review. All images and opinions are our own. This post contains an affiliate link.

Books: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – Nature Guide Books

We are long time fans of the children’s story book, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. It’s a lovely story with lots of scope for learning about and talking about nature and the outdoors. I confess I always feel a little bit sad for the bear at the end. He just looks like he wants to make friends. Poor bear, I’d be his friend.

This week we got our human paws on two new books inspired by the children’s classic; We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. The books are both published on 6th April 2017 and are available from all good book shops.

Books: We're Going on a Bear Hunt - Nature Guide Books

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: My Adventure Field Guide (£6.99, Walker Books) is a fun field guide, it features some of the artwork from the animated Bear Hunt film which was shown over Christmas. This adventure field guide is packed with information and facts. It is ideal for young nature lovers (and their not quite so young parents).

The guide has a wealth of facts about plants and animals, bugs and birds, clouds, the night sky, the weather, and so much more. For both city and country kids there is so much to discover, from urban streets to the remotest forest. The guide is fact packed, but also has some recipes, science projects, and tips for how children can help protect the environment. 

Books: We're Going on a Bear Hunt - Nature Guide Books

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: My Explorer’s Journal (£8.99, Walker Books) is a brilliant interactive journal for young explorer’s to record, create and experience the natural world. This is a companion to We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: An Adventure Field Guide. It is the perfect place for young nature enthusiasts to record their outdoor experiences; the animals and plants they’ve seen, weather conditions, cloud formations and much, much more.

With lots of space to write or draw what they discover, as well as stick in leaves and flowers. The journal has suggestions for easy art and nature-inspired projects to complete, and invites you to explore the natural world around you. Be inspired by nature and create a keepsake journal of your outdoor adventures.

We spent some time looking through both the guide and the journal. We’re planning some nature walks over the Easter break and these will be perfect to explore as a family. 

Both books are beautifully illustrated, children and fans of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt will love them. I think they’re a great way to develop and encourage a love of nature and the world around us.

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We’re Going on A Bear Hunt – Christmas Eve TV

Each Christmas there’s something special on TV which we all make a point of watching together as a family. This year We’re Going on A Bear Hunt will be shown on Channel 4 at 7.30pm on Christmas Eve. If you miss the Christmas Eve premier, you can catch the repeat on Christmas Day at 5:25pm. 

This screen version of the much loved children’s book by Michael Rosen features the voices of Olivia Coleman, Mark Williams and Pam Ferris. The DVD of We’re Going on A Bear Hunt is scheduled for release on Monday 6th February. The DVD includes a pair of bear ears and some bonus DVD extras. You can watch a sneak preview of the Bear Hunt trailer here…

This beautiful hand-drawn animation is made by Lupus Films, the team behind festive favourites – The Snowman and The Snowdog. This adventurous story is sure to become another Christmas classic.

To celebrate the festive premier of this gorgeous animated story, Walker Books sent us some Bear Hunt goodies and a copy of the book. We’ve added We’re Going on A Bear Hunt to our festive reading collection. We are loving reading this adventurous and beautifully illustrated classic again, knowing we’ll be watching it on Christmas Eve.

Christmas TV: We're Going on A Bear Hunt on Christmas Eve

This beautiful bear to go with the book is made by Aurora. The cuddly bear is available from a range of retailers including Foyles, Waterstones and Amazon. Additionally for Bear Hunt fans, there’s an app which is available to download on iOS and Android devices for £2.99. You can splosh through the river, tiptoe through the cave search for crabs on the beach and even play with the friendly bear himself.

We’re Going on A Bear Hunt is an enchanting story of adventure, perseverance, optimism and a love of nature. We love reading this story at home and it’s a real modern classic which adults and children love in equal measure.

We’ll be watching it this Christmas Eve. Will you be watching too?

Stories for life – childhood books we love to read

In our house there are some things we do every day. We brush our teeth, go out to school, work or to the park, we talk and share food and we always, always read at least one book together.  I’m thinking about sharing “stories for life” with our children, and the kind of books that make great presents – not just Christmas presents either!

When the small boy was Christened, we asked our friends and family not to give presents, but if they did want to give a gift, to give the boy a copy of their favourite childhood book. This meant at the great age of six months my son had a reading library which was full of variety, and each book had a lovely back story attached to it. We hoped that this would cement a love of reading in him. He certainly loves a good story or three at bedtime.

For his Christening we got everything from Rupert Bear and Spot the Dog to a full set of Harry Potter books and of course a host of Roald Dahl classics.

Stories for life

I was the most avid of readers as I child, and over the years my love of reading hasn’t diminished, but the opportunity to curl up for a quiet hour with a good book has. This is something that makes me a little bit sad sometimes.

Looking back, I suppose my favourite book was The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, which is still a much loved classic today. Once I reached the age of 7 or 8 I fell in love with Roald Dahl books and read them all, even the slightly unsuitable ones (I’ve read his NSFW adult books too, but I was over 21). 

I’m not sure what books my son will look back with fondness on, but we’re reading a lot of Thomas the Tank Engine stories at the moment. Our bedtime reading is an eclectic mix of the Biff and Chip style books school sends home to read, non-fiction books about transportation, construction and geography (all subjects he loves) and fun books we read with him.

Stories for life

This week we were sent a selection of books to read or give away as gifts from Puffin Books. I think the books they’ve sent us would be absolutely ideal for the the small boy, but I don’t want to be greedy, so I think we will choose to keep just one of these stories for life for Christmas and give the others to other children who might enjoy reading them.

The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter is about a boy who gets a very hungry dinosaur for Christmas. His dinosaur eats everything in sight, including all of Christmas – but as we know, what goes in must come out! This sounds like exactly the sort of book my dinosaur obsessed boy would enjoy!

Max and Bird by Ed Vere is about a kitten called Max who meets bird and wants to eat him. But Max soon discovers that friends don’t eat each other, instead friends try and help each other, so that’s what they do. Max and Bird is on the New York Times Bestseller list and it’s a very sweet story about friendship.

The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin is a wonderful book to read if your child struggles to wind down for sleep and can really help them to drift off to the land of nod. The story is a wonderful tale about Ellen the Elephant who goes on a journey through a magical forest, meeting fantastic creatures along the way, eventually ending up in dreamland.

These are three really, really lovely books. I’d be very tempted to keep them all to share with my son, but this month we are doing a Reverse Advent calendar with our local Foodbank. I’m collecting some small gifts and books for them to distribute to families who have been referred to them this Christmas. I can’t actually think of a better recipient for these stories for life.

What was your favourite book when you were a child?