Category Archives: Books

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.

Children’s Books: Six Books about Remembrance

On the last day of school before half term I went along to my son’s school where they were having a special assembly about Remembrance Day. They’ve been taking part in the There But Not There project with the local church. Each class had taken a name of a soldier on the War Memorial in the school and done some research on the soldier. They then sang this song and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

Fairly unusually, we have two soldiers listed on the school War Memorial. They are my Great Uncles, both died horribly young in France. I’m very proud of these boys who went to war and didn’t come back, but I would like to know more about them. I’ve always spoken to my son about these two boys, but as he’s got a bit older, he’s started to understand what it all actually means. Over half term we did some reading and learned a bit more about the First World War, about why we remember and about Remembrance Day.

Children's Books: Six Books about Remembrance

Here are our six books about Remembrance 

Remembrance Day (Why do we remember?)by Izzi Howell. This is the first book we read on the topic and it is very comprehensive. Covering everything from the First World War right up to modern day conflicts; and poppies, memorials and Remembrance Day parades. It’s written for children aged 5+ and it’s a solid place to start exploring the topics of war, peace, conflict and remembrance. 

Charlie’s War Illustrated: Remembering World War One by Mick Manning. Mick Manning’s grandfather joined the army in 1914 and served right through the First World War. Fighting in the artillery on the front line in Egypt, Palestine and France, Charlie lived to tell his tale. Written for readers aged 6+ this book was nominated for the 2014 English 4-11 picture book awards. Charlie’s War doesn’t pull any punches, but it shares the reality of war on the front line in a way which is interesting and engaging for primary aged children.

Remembrance Day by Jane Bingham & Ruth Nason. Remembrance Day looks at the background to the First World War and looks at objects, such as poppies and the Cenotaph that are key to the day itself. Key words at the bottom of each section help children build their vocabulary and get a better understanding of the topic. It’s a simple book for children aged 6+ and will help children to understand why we remember.

Coming Home (My Story) by Jim Eldridge. For slightly older children (8-11 years), this first hand account of a 13 year old who goes off to war to find his father is both gripping and moving. Joe returns home after the war and finds life is very different life to the one he left behind. His father is injured and furious at Joe for going to war, plus the Spanish flu is raging. Joe may have survived World War One, but the danger isn’t over yet.

Poppy Field by Michael Morpurgo. Most famous for his incredibly moving story, War Horse, Michael Morpurgo has written a special book about the meaning behind the poppy with the Royal British Legion. This illustrated book shares the real horrors of war in a poignant way through the love and loss of one family. The book also includes a full-colour, illustrated afterword that explains the history that inspired the story.

Remembrance: Imperial War Museum Anniversary Edition by Theresa Breslin. For readers aged 9-12 years; this is the fictional story of a group of Scottish teenagers who become engulfed by what is to become known as The Great War. Determined to forge their own paths during a time of enormous upheaval, the five friends encounter the horrors of the trenches. Their lives will be changed forever – and nothing will ever be the same again. It’s an incredibly moving and powerful story, one which is very thought provoking.

Children's Books: Six Books about Remembrance

This November there will be a number of events and Remembrance Services that we will go to. We will remember those who gave their lives so that we could have the freedoms we enjoy today. We will never forget.

Book Review: The Crocodile and the Dentist

Getting my son to brush his teeth is one of life’s great challenges. I’ve tried both the carrot and the stick and nothing, absolutely nothing could persuade him to brush his teeth. I did wonder if a story about a crocodile who had to go to the dentist might somehow encourage him, but only time will tell. This week we’ve been reading The Crocodile and the Dentist by Taro Gomi.

Book Review: The Crocodile and the Dentist

The Crocodile has a toothache but he’s afraid of the dentist. The dentist wants to help, but he’s afraid of the crocodile. The Crocodile and the Dentist soon learn to be brave and face their fears.

The Crocodile and the Dentist is a lovely, easy to read story with lots of repetition which I know from my own son, children like. This book is aimed at children aged 3-5 years and it’s a simple story that they will enjoy. I know I enjoyed it, especially the mirroring thoughts from both Crocodile and Dentist.

Author, Taro Gomi originally wrote and published this story in Japan in 1984. His style of illustration is eye-catching areas of textured colour on top of simple drawings. Taro Gomi one of Japan’s most successful children’s book illustrators, having illustrated over 400 children’s books over the years.

Book Review: The Crocodile and the Dentist

The Crocodile and the Dentist is full of simple humour and empathy. You can empathise with the Crocodile who has all of those teeth to look after, and the Dentist who has to look after all of those teeth.

It ends with a reminder to brush your teeth. You might escape a visit to the dentist if you do!

The Crocodile and the Dentist by Taro Gomi costs £12.99 in hardback. It’s published by Chronicle Books and it is available from a wide range of bookshops including Amazon.

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

Review: STEM Activity Books

This month sees the publication of a new range of STEM Activity Books from Carlton Kids. STEM stands for; Science; Technology; Engineering and Maths. These are all the subjects (apart from Maths) which my son loves best and they’re all good subjects to encourage our children to be interested in.

My son will be 8 in just a few short weeks and if I’m honest, we’ve been struggling to find activity books to do at home. We always like to have a few in the activity bag which we take out with us whenever we go for a meal or a day out somewhere. Good activity books aimed at children his age seem to be fairly hard to come by.

Giveaway & Review: STEM Activity Books

The STEM Activity Books range includes;
  • Sensational Science by Steph Clarkson
  • Terrific Technology by Claire Sipi
  • Extreme Engineering by Paul Virr
  • Amazing Maths by Hannah Wilson

The STEM Activity Books from Carlton Kids look like they’re going to fill that activity book gap for my son. In face when I showed them to him he was thrilled and immediately went off and started working his way through the Extreme Engineering book.

Each of the STEM Activity Books are filled with mazes, puzzles, quizzes and facts and there are over 40 activities in each of the books. The Sensational Science book, covers a really broad spectrum of science including; Our Universe; Chemical Reactions; Gravity; Awesome Atoms; Brilliant Bodies; Rocks and Fossils and Electricity. For a boy who loves science as much as he does, this is the best book in the world right now.

In the Amazing Maths book, find the coordinates on the map, colour in the polygons to reveal the animals, work out the area of the farm, and spot the symmetrical objects. These are just some of the activities featured in the Amazing Maths book.

Giveaway & Review: STEM Activity Books

The other books, Terrific Technology, Extreme Engineering and Amazing Maths are all similarly packed with facts and fun things to do. They’re colourfully illustrated and aimed at ages 6+. My son is nearly 8 and I would say they were absolutely bang on for him.

Each of the four STEM Activity Books is engaging and interesting. They’re the kind of things you can do on car journeys, or days out. Or perhaps keep them to one side and do the activities alongside any STEM activities they might be studying at school. My son goes to a science after school class, so these books are great to accompany and reinforce his learning at home too.

Each book in the STEM Activity series costs £9.99 and they are available to order now online or in good bookshops.

We were sent these STEM Activity books for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Guillaume Cornet shows us how to draw Elephants on Tour

This week I’m taking part in a a Blog Tour Week. If you’ve never heard of a blog tour, it’s where a group of book bloggers are sent a book to read and review and each day one of them shares their review. Yesterday I posted my review which you can find here, today I have a real treat to share with you.

The author of the brilliant book, Elephants on Tour: A Search and Find Journey Around the World; Guillaume Cornet has kindly offered to show me, and you how to draw three of the elephants characters from Elephants on Tour, so I’ll hand you over to Guillaume…

Hi, I’m Guillaume – author and illustrator of Elephants on Tour. For my new book I spent hours meticulously drawing 16 incredible cities around the world – adding in my favourite elephant friends for you to search and find in each scene! Today, I’ll be showing you how you can draw three wacky elephant characters of your own. Let’s get doodling!

How to draw Elephants on Tour Guillaume Cornet

Here’s how to draw the elephant with the dog…How to draw Elephants on Tour Guillaume CornetAnd the elephant with the snake…

How to draw Elephants on Tour Guillaume Cornet

And finally, the elephant driving the car…

How to draw Elephants on Tour Guillaume Cornet

Elephants on Tour: A Search and Find Journey Around the World is absolutely beautifully drawn. It’s not word heavy, but it’s exactly the kind of book which will keep the kids engrossed for ages; searching out all the little details and learning a little about what other countries are like.

Elephants on Tour: A Search and Find Journey Around the World

My son loves maps and atlases, so Elephants on Tour is a really fun way to add some extra interest to his reading. Following the five elephants around the world on their adventures is great fun and it’s just a brilliant book, especially if you like searching out little details, and elephants of course!

Elephants on Tour: A Search and Find Journey Around the World

Elephants on Tour: A Search and Find Journey Around the World by Guillaume Cornet costs £14.99. It’s published by Laurence King and it is available from a wide range of bookshops.

For more information about the Blog Tour or to download some colouring sheets and other resources, click here.

Elephants on Tour: A Search and Find Journey Around the World

This week we are looking at a new book – Elephants on Tour: A Search and Find Journey Around the World and taking part in a Blog Tour Week. If you’ve never heard of a blog tour, it’s where a group of book bloggers are sent a book to read and review and each day one of them shares their review. Today is my day, so here goes!

Elephants on Tour: A Search and Find Journey Around the World

Elephants on Tour: A Search and Find Journey Around the World is a beautiful hardback book. If you’re not sure what a search and find journey is, think Where’s Wally but with elephants. It’s an illustrated tour of great cities and buildings around the world.

From the skyscrapers of New York and Tokyo to the jungles of Peru and Madagascar, the elephants are off to see some of the most amazing places in the world – discovering famous buildings, food, transport and activities in each destination along the way.

Elephants on Tour: A Search and Find Journey Around the World

Each page is a riot of detail. The hand drawn scenes are packed with things to discover. How many London buses can you find on the London page? Why is there a cat climbing up the Houses of Parliament? Where are the five elephants on tour and what are they doing? Each page comes complete with a list of essential facts so you can learn a little more about each city.

There are also travel pages. For example, when you journey from St Petersburg to Tokyo you ride the Mongolian Railway. There are facts about that too, and some suggestions for funny things to look out for on the pages before and after.

We’ve been looking at a page each night before bed and if I’m honest, it’s a little bit addictive. It’s also a great starting point if you’re introducing a new topic. My son is currently studying the Amazon Rainforest at school, so the page on the Amazon was a good place to start talking about life there.

Elephants on Tour: A Search and Find Journey Around the World

Author and illustrator, Guillaume Cornet has created a brilliant book. Elephants on Tour: A Search and Find Journey Around the World is absolutely beautifully drawn. It’s not word heavy, but it’s exactly the kind of book which will keep the kids (and you) engrossed for ages; searching out all the little details and learning a little about what other countries are like.

Visit my blog tomorrow if you’d like to learn how to draw the Elephants on Tour with Guillaume Cornet!

Elephants on Tour: A Search and Find Journey Around the World by Guillaume Cornet costs £14.99. It’s published by Laurence King and it is available from a wide range of bookshops.

For more information about the Blog Tour or to download some colouring sheets and other resources, click here.

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

We were sent a copy of Elephants on Tour: A Search and Find Journey Around the World for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: I Am Not A… Craft Activity Books

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but each Wednesday I try to publish some kind of book review or round-up and each Thursday I do some kind of craft. Imagine my delight when I opened up a package containing all four of the I Am Not A… craft activity books. Crafts and books… two of my favourite things!

The series of I Am Not A… craft activity books is written by Sara Stanford and contains the following titles –

  • I Am Not A Cereal Box
  • I Am Not A Toilet Roll
  • I Am Not An Old Sock
  • I Am Not An Eggbox

Review: I Am Not A... Craft Activity Books

They are ideal books for those of us who look in our recycling bins and wish we could turn some of our trash into treasure. This series encourages you to recycle your cereal boxes, old socks, toilet rolls or eggboxes.

Each book shows you how to create ten craft projects in an easy to follow, step-by-step way. The books are just the thing for children to follow by themselves, or with a little extra help from a grown-up. I’m sure teachers and playgroups will also find a lot of craft inspiration in these books.

I Am Not A Cereal Box shows you how to make a robot, an aquarium, a car, a dinosaur, a castle, an elephant, a rock star guitar, a building, a marble run and a puppet theatre. In I Am Not A Toilet Roll you can make a shark, a bat, an elephant, a rocket, a pirate, a unicorn, a ninja, a gingerbread man, a castle and a mermaid. The other books in the series have a similarly dazzling selection of craft ideas to make. 

The books are well illustrated and simply written, so children will find the instructions easy to follow. Each page also includes some fun facts and other ideas for similar crafts to make. At the start of each book is a handy list of the craft materials you might need throughout the book.

Review: I Am Not A... Craft Activity Books

If you have crafty children, or you want to encourage them to craft a little more, these easy to follow books are a great place to start. I know my son always loves junk modelling and creating things out of things that might otherwise have been thrown in the bin. I know my son is already drawing up a things to make list and I’m collecting all the toilet rolls I can get my hands on. Always a good sign!

Each book in the series costs £6.99 and they are available to order now online or in good bookshops.

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