Category Archives: Books

Book Review: Parrots Don’t Live in the City

Last month we reviewed a beautiful book called Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City. Today we are taking a look at the follow up to that book –  Parrots Don’t Live in the City.

Parrots Don’t Live in the City is another lovely book by Lucy Reynolds and illustrated by Jenna Herman. Emily and Jack go on a walk on a summers day. Jack spied a bright green parrot, but Emily is insistent that parrots don’t live in the city, they live in the jungle. But is that really true?

Book Review: Parrots Don’t Live in the City

Just like Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City, this is a gorgeous nature trail of a book, with lots of wildlife tucked away on each page to spot. The pages are alive with colours; with brightly coloured leaves swirling and kites flying. As well as native birds and animals, the book also had jungle and zoo animals to spot. There are parrots hidden on virtually every page, can you spot them all?

The words are wonderfully rhythmic, in a style I’ve come to expect from this author. They’re gloriously descriptive and a real joy to read out loud;

“So next time you’re out
in the park for a walk,
look up in the trees and
listen out for a squawk.”

Towards the back of the book there are pages of parrot facts. We have a flock, or more accurately, a pandemonium of parrots who live in the park near our house. They fly over our garden and roost in the trees opposite; this is a lovely book for learning a little more about these exotic interlopers.

Parrots Don’t Live in the City is suitable for ages 4-8. It is a lovely read, with lots of gorgeous illustrations to explore too. It’s such a lovely book to read out loud, both for adults and children.

Book Review: Parrots Don’t Live in the City

A Parrots Don’t Live in the City by Lucy Reynolds costs £7.99 in paperback. It is published by Doodles & Scribbles and it is available from a wide range of bookshops and to order directly from Doodles & Scribbles.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of Parrots Don’t Live in the City for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Book Review: Clever Tykes Enterprise Storybooks

A little while ago I was sent a set of the Clever Tykes Enterprise Storybooks to read with my son. The Clever Tykes Enterprise Storybooks have been written to inspire children to be positive, resourceful and enterprising. Clever Tykes books promote important values through morals and role models.

The Clever Tykes books are illustrated by Sam Moore and written by Ben, Jodie and Jason. They are supported by Lloyds Banking Group and In 2017 they sent a set of the books free of charge to every Primary School in the UK.

Book Review: Clever Tykes Enterprise Storybooks

We were sent three of the books – Change It Cho; Walk It Willow and Code It Cody. The books are aimed at children aged 7-9 years, My son has recently turned 8 and I think he might appreciate them more in another year or so. We’ve read them together, but I think when he’s a little older he will appreciate and enjoy them more.

Change It Cho

Change It Cho is about a girl called Cho who loves healthy eating. After noticing that some of her friends at school don’t eat very much healthy food she makes it her mission to encourage her friends to eat more fruit and veg. Enterprising Cho sets up a fruit and veg stall in her village and makes it a success.

Walk It Willow

Walk It Willow is about a girl who loves walking her own dog. When she is asked to walk another dog by a family friend, she turns dog walking into a lucrative business. However, she makes a few mistakes along the way, and there’s the smelly business of poop-scooping! Will Willow walk her business to success?

Code It Cody

Code It Cody is about a boy called Cody who is part of the computer club at school. The members of the club are challenged to design a computer game and pitch their games to a panel of teachers. Cody does lots of research and creates a game of his own, but will his bright idea win?

Book Review: Clever Tykes Enterprise Storybooks

The Clever Tykes books are well written, with lovely line drawing illustrations and accessible text. The print is nicely spaced and I’d say they were just above the easy reader level.

The stories are certainly interesting and inspirational. I know I would have been inspired by them at that age, but I was quite an entrepreneurial child. The characters in the books are really good role models too. For a child with a glimmer of entrepreneurial spirit, these books will really inspire them.

The Clever Tykes books are available online, directly from the website. The Clever Tykes website also includes additional resources which are available to download, some of them are free.

Disclosure: We were sent these Clever Tykes books for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Children’s Book Review: The Element in the Room

The Element in the Room by Mike Barfield is a fully illustrated and fun guide to the chemical elements and is jam-packed with mind-blowing facts!

Children's Book Review: The Element in the Room

For reasons I still don’t quite fully understand, I never really did much chemistry at school. I was able to swap my GCSE options so I did drama instead of science. I don’t feel that choice has hindered me, but when it comes to helping with homework, I find myself sneaking off to the loo to google things a bit more than is proper. The Element in the Room is just the kind of book we need. It is as advertised – packed full of facts.

The Element in the Room is aimed at 7-11 year olds and is written in such a way that even scientifically dense me can understand. It even has a helpful glossary at the back, just in case I get extra stuck. For my science mad 8 year old, this is a great book all about the Periodic Table of Elements.

Children's Book Review: The Element in the Room

It’s got colourful illustrations by Lauren Humphrey, slightly larger than bite-size facts and even a few experiments to try. There are even some comic style pages featuring scientific sleuth Sherlock Ohms as he investigates the elements.

This funny and fascinating book is written by Mike Barfield, a comic writer; so it’s as funny as it is factual. It’s a real treat to find a book on the Periodic Table which is so accessible and fun to read. If you’ve got an aspiring scientist, The Element in the Room is a great book to buy them. It might even help me learn something about science!

The Element in the Room by Mike Barfield costs £14.99. It’s published by Laurence King and it is available from a wide range of bookshops including Amazon.

For details of more children’s books published by Laurence King, visit their website.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of The Element in the Room for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Book Review: Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City

Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City is a lovely book by Lucy Reynolds and illustrated by Jenna Herman. It’s about a brother and sister, Archie and Grace,  who go on an autumnal walk and discover a little family of hedgehogs.

Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City is a gorgeous nature trail of a book, with lots of wildlife tucked away on each page to spot. The pages are alive with autumnal colours, with brightly coloured leaves littering the book. The children and the buildings are somewhat grayer, and all the natural things are as colourful as nature allows.

Book Review: Hedgehogs Don't Live in the City

The words are the understated star of this book. They’re gloriously descriptive; whipping winds, pounding footsteps and dancing leaves. Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City really draws you in and you can almost smell the mellow fruitfulness of autumn.

Towards the back of the book there are pages of hedgehog facts and pages about how you can help hedgehogs in your own garden. I find hedgehogs are well-loved little creatures and children really enjoy reading and learning all about them. This is a lovely book to give to a little one who loves hedgehogs and nature.

Book Review: Hedgehogs Don't Live in the City

Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City is suitable for ages 4-8. It is a lovely autumnal read and probably a great accompaniment to a nature trail too. The illustrations are beautiful, but for me, it’s a real joy of a book to read out loud, both for me and my son.

A Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City by Lucy Reynolds costs £7.99 in paperback. It is published by Doodles & Scribbles and it is available from a wide range of bookshops and to order directly from Doodles & Scribbles.

If you enjoyed this review of Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City, you might also be interested in The Hedgehog and her Hoglet.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Children’s Book Review: A Hug is for Holding Me

A Hug is for Holding Me by Lisa Wheeler is a sweet, cosy book aimed at 3-5 year olds. This simple story is about love and affection and is a sweet way to look at nature and our surroundings.

Children's Book Review: A Hug is for Holding Me

In A Hug is for Holding Me, a little girl and her father go for a walk and spot all kinds of things which are like a hug; a speckled bird egg, a cocoon, a flower bud and a sea shell. They each hold something tight inside them and keep them safe, just like Dad! But who gives the best hugs in the world?

It is very soothingly written, with some rhythm to the text and teamed with the illustrations, A Hug is for Holding Me makes for a lovely bedtime book to share with a pre-schooler.

A Hug is for Holding Me is beautifully illustrated by Lisk Feng. Her colourful and eye-catching illustrations, particularly of flowers, butterflies and leaves are especially striking. The illustrations would make for interesting talking points with your child.

Children's Book Review: A Hug is for Holding Me

This lovely book is written for 3-5 year olds and is just the kind of book they would enjoy reading over and over again. The illustrations are striking and the words are perfectly pitched at that age group.

Published on 11th December 2018 in hardback, this book would make a lovely gift for a little one.

A Hug is for Holding Me by Lisa Wheeler costs £10.99 in hardback. It is published by Chronicle Books and it is available from a wide range of bookshops including Amazon.

If you enjoyed this review of A Hug is for Holding Me, you might also be interested in The Crocodile and the Dentist.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of A Hug is for Holding Me for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Children’s Book Review: The Ultimate Spell-Caster

The Ultimate Spell-Caster by Mike Barfield is a fun and funny flip-book full of over 60 million spell-casting combinations. It’s just the kind of book which would inspire young wizards and witches!

Children's Book Review: The Ultimate Spell-Caster

Magic spells aren’t just for Halloween! As the daughter of a wizard (ok, a magician) I feel I’m well qualified to review this book AND test out some of the spells in it.

The instructions on the back of the book read “all you have to do is wave your wand and flip the pages”. Once you flip the pages you can create an almost limitless combination of spells. There is no magic wand supplied with the book, so you will need to use your own wand. I use a wand I found in a magic forest, which I then wrapped in wool, because no one wants to use a cold wand.

The book itself is great fun and even had me snorting with laughter as we flipped the pages to create new spells. Has somebody wronged you? Flip the pages and find a spell that’ll teach them a lesson. It might not work, but picturing your nemesis as a self-exploding wasp polisher will make you feel a bit better.

Children's Book Review: The Ultimate Spell-Caster

If you’re looking for a spell book which actually works, this is probably not the right book for you. If you’re looking for a spell book which will make you laugh, then this IS the right book for you. It’s just the thing for an aspiring witch or wizard and would be a nice little stocking filler for a Harry Potter fan with a sense of humour. This mudblood gives The Ultimate Spell-Caster the thumbs up, or wands up, whichever.

The Ultimate Spell-Caster by Mike Barfield costs £10.99. It’s published by Laurence King and it is available from a wide range of bookshops including Amazon.

For details of more children’s books published by Laurence King, visit their website.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of The Ultimate Spell-Caster for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

25 Brilliant Children’s Christmas Books

Christmas is made for books. Is there anything nicer than snuggling up with your children at bedtime and reading a Christmas story with them? If you’ve every toys with doing the Book Advent thing, or if you just want some inspiration for some new festive reading, then you’re in luck; I’ve gathered together a list of 25 great children’s books about Christmas.

25 Brilliant Children's Christmas Books

They’re are books for tiny ones and not so tiny ones, but absolutely something for everyone. There are modern classic and classic Christmas books we remember from our own childhood. There’s a book for every day leading up to Christmas, what are you waiting for?

25 Children’s Books about Christmas

  1. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
  2. Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs
  3. Stick Man by Julia Donaldson
  4. Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R Tolkien
  5. The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore
  6. The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan and Janet Ahlberg
  7. The Best Christmas Present in the World by Michael Morpurgo
  8. Father Christmas Needs a Wee by Nicholas Allan
  9. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
  10. Construction Site on Christmas Night by Sherri Duskey Rinker
  11. Kipper’s Christmas Eve by Mick Inkpen
  12. Mog’s Christmas by Judith Kerr
  13. Dear Santa by Rod Campbell
  14. Jesus’ Christmas Party by Nicholas Allan
  15. Father Christmas Comes Up Trumps by Nicholas Allan
  16. Dream Snow by Eric Carle
  17. My First Christmas by Jan Pienkowski
  18. The Polar Express by Chris van Allsburg
  19. The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter
  20. The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden
  21. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
  22. Christmas at the Toy Museum by David Lucas
  23. Christmas Eve at the Mellops’ by Tomi Ungerer
  24. A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig
  25. The Christmas Bear by Ian Whybrow 

What is your favourite Christmas book? What Christmas book does your family enjoy reading the most? Is it a classic or a modern story? I’d love to know.

25 Brilliant Children's Christmas Books

Children’s Book Review: Who Owns These Bones?

Who Owns These Bones is written by Henri Cap, Raphael Martin and Renaud Vigourt and is a unique look at animal skeletons and anatomy for 7-11 year olds.

My son is fascinated by animals of all types and on a recent trip to Wild Discovery, he was especially interested in some pictures of bat skeletons. This got us all talking about bones and skeletons (and bat knees which bend the wrong way). Keen to capitalise on this new enthusiasm for skeletons, we’ve been reading Who Owns These Bones.

Children's Book Review: Who Owns These Bones?

Learning about what’s inside our bodies and how it all works is an essential part of science. Learning about animal skeletons and how they work and how they have evolved is both very important and actually quite a lot of fun. In Who Owns These Bones, you will discover a whole host of skeletons and learn about what makes each one unique. You’ll learn how to tell the difference between a human skull and a gorilla’s skull and a whole lot more besides.

The book is informative and facts are presented in slightly more than a bite-size format. Each page has flaps which you can lift up which shows the animal skeleton and the animal itself. The book covers all kinds of skeleton facts; from horns and antlers, teeth; how legs, feet and hands are put together, to the skeletons of creatures which swim, like fish, sharks and squid. Importantly it includes the proper scientific names for things, such as exoskeleton and coelacanth.

Children's Book Review: Who Owns These Bones?

Who Owns These Bones is a big book with a lot of information in it. It’s not a reference book, but a fun way of exploring biology, evolution and zoology. It’s perfectly pitched at the right age group, it’s accessible and interesting enough for my 8 year old to really get it; but with the depth of information and detail which would still enthrall an 11 year old.

It’s a stylish hardback book; printed in mostly blues and oranges, with detailed illustrations of skeletons and creatures alike. There’s some humour and a lot of good solid information. Who Owns These Bones would be a great book for children who are interested in biology and science. It ticks all the right boxes for us; it’s fun, accessible, interesting and educational.

Who Owns These Bones costs £16.99. It’s published by Laurence King and it is available from a wide range of bookshops including Amazon.

For details of more children’s books published by Laurence King, visit their website.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of Who Owns These Bones for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Six Books about Bullying for Anti Bullying Week

I was quite badly bullied at school and that kind of thing stays with you. Attitudes towards bullying seem to have changed in recent years, I think most schools have anti bullying policies and can take things a little more seriously than they did in my day. At my son’s school they’ve been doing a lot of activities around anti bullying week; so we’ve picked out six books about bullying to read this week (and every week, because this stuff is important)!

Six Books about Bullying for Anti Bullying Week

Six Books about Bullying

FAB (Friends Against Bullying) Club (FAB Club Book 1) by Alex Hallatt. This is an action-packed chapter book for 8-12 year kids who want to stand up to bullying. This is an inspiring children’s book about standing up to bullies and forming new friendships. FAB is full of humour, and has a gripping plot which teaches kids how to solve problems together.

Arlo Needs Glasses by Barney Saltzberg. One out of every five school children need glasses. This a really fun picture book for children, you can read an eye chart, look through a fold-out phoropter (that big machine optometrists use), and try on different pairs of glasses – movie star glasses, superhero glasses, mad scientist glasses and find the right pair of glasses for you. Once Arlo find some glasses which suit him, he’s back to enjoying all his favourite things again. This is a really positive book and ideal for children who are learning to love their own spectacles!

Giraffe Is Left Out – A book about feeling bullied by Sue Graves and Trevor Dunton. When Leopard arrives at Jungle School, Giraffe doesn’t want to include him and tries to exclude him from joining in. So when Leopard has a birthday party he doesn’t invite Giraffe, even though he has invited all his friends. Slowly Giraffe begins to understand how Leopard must have felt when he started school. Can the two of them learn to become friends after all?

Dandylion by Lizzie Finlay. Dandylion is one of my favourite children’s books ever! It’s all about being different and learning to accept difference in other people. When the ‘delightfully different, bright yellow and rather scruffy’ Dandylion joins Miss Gardener’s neat and tidy class, chaos and fun follow. But after one messy incident too many he’s told to go home – he just doesn’t fit in. It doesn’t take long, however, for everyone to realise that too much neatness and order isn’t always a good thing and everyone’s desperate for Dandylion to return!

A Smart Girl’s Guide: Friendship Troubles: Dealing with Fights, Being Left Out, and the Whole Popularity Thing (Smart Girl’s Guide To…) by Patti Kelley Criswell. This guide will help girls deal with the pitfalls of interpersonal relationships, from backstabbing and triangles, to other tough friendship problems. It features fun quizzes, practical tips, and stories from real girls who’ve been there – and are still friends. It’s just a shame there’s not a version for boys too!

Monty the Manatee by Natalie Pritchard. Monty the manatee is nervous about his first day at Sea School. He tries to make new friends but the other sea creatures think he’s a bit slow and strange. They’re really mean to him and call him names, but when his class is invaded by a dangerous predator can Monty save the day? Monty the Manatee is a simple book about kindness and friendships, suitable for pre-schoolers and children in KS1.

Do you have any favourite books on this subject?

If you enjoyed this, you might also like our round up of books about starting school!

Six Books about Bullying for Anti Bullying Week

Book Review: Construction Site on Christmas Night

My son will be 8 in just a few short weeks. He has always loved vehicles of all types, especially construction vehicles. He’s had a few books about construction vehicles since he was very young; even now he still likes to look at them sometimes. When I found Construction Site on Christmas Night by Sherri Duskey Rinker, I knew he would enjoy reading it at bedtime.

Construction Site on Christmas Night might be a bit young for him, but the illustrations, rhyming passages and the story made it enjoyable for him.

Book Review: Construction Site on Christmas Night

Construction Site on Christmas Night is the story of a team of construction vehicles who are busy building a surprise in time for Christmas night. In turn, each of the vehicles gets a Christmas gift from the crew.  There are presents for the excavator, bulldozer, crane, dump truck and the cement mixer. Just the things they needed too!

It’s a lovely story, one which my son could very easily read himself, which he did do, over and over. It is probably a bit more for 5-6 year olds, but my son still very much enjoyed the story. It’s an American book, so some of the language is quite obviously American. It wasn’t a major problem for us, but I did have to talk my son through a couple of the phrases.

Book Review: Construction Site on Christmas Night

The rhyming text is fun to read out loud and the illustrations are really vibrant. We have the hardback edition and the cover has some texture and a little bit of glitter to make the snow glisten. It’s the kind of book any little construction vehicle fan would enjoy at Christmas. It’s a lovely story with a lovely heartwarming message.

My son has already asked for Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by the same author, which is always a good sign!

Construction Site on Christmas Night costs £12.99 in hardback. It’s published by Chronicle Books and it is available from a wide range of bookshops including Amazon.

If you enjoyed this review, you might also be interested in The Crocodile and the Dentist.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of Construction Site on Christmas Night for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.