Category Archives: Books

Book Review: Paperscapes – The Fearsome World of Dinosaurs

Last week we reviewed The Incredible World of Bugs, a Paperscapes books from Carlton Books. This week we are taking a look at Paperscapes – The Fearsome World of Dinosaurs. The Paperscapes books are beautiful hardback books, filled with die-cut illustrations and facts and information about dinosaurs.

Meet some of the most incredible creatures to have ever walked the Earth! From leggy leaf-eaters to reptiles that rule the skies, mean killing machines to creatures with musical crests, you’ll discover a new beast with every turn of the page.

Beautifully illustrated by Stuart Martin and Clare Baggaley, each intricately detailed dinosaur illustration has perforations around it, so you can carefully press out the blank surrounds. This makes the dinosaurs really stand out on the page and it turns a seemingly normal book into a work of art.

Paperscapes – The Fearsome World of Dinosaurs

Written by Pat Jacobs, The Fearsome World of Dinosaurs is packed with dino facts, including where they lived, their size, what they ate and what their name means. There’s also a map of where they lived and some did you know style facts.

The Fearsome World of Dinosaurs is aimed at children aged 7+; but I think it would appeal to dino loving children right into their early teens. The facts are pitched at just the right level and the language used is fine for a good reader aged 7 and not too simple so that a teenager can enjoy reading it. It’s packed with facts and my 8 year old positively devoured it. It’s exactly his kind of book, and we all know how much he loves dinosaurs!

If you like the idea of these Paperscapes books, but dinosaurs aren’t your thing, There are three other books in the series –  The Incredible World of Bugs;  The Spectacular Journey into Space and The Amazing World of Animals.

Paperscapes – The Fearsome World of Dinosaurs by Pat Jacobs is published by Carlton Books and costs £12.99. It is available online and from good bookshops.

Paperscapes – The Fearsome World of Dinosaurs

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of  Paperscapes – The Fearsome World of Dinosaurs for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Win a copy of Paperscapes – The Incredible World of Bugs

In February, Carlton Books are publishing a new range of books, specifically designed for curious children (and adults). There are four books in the series –  The Incredible World of Bugs; The Fearsome World of Dinosaurs; The Spectacular Journey into Space and The Amazing World of Animals. Today we take a look at The Incredible World of Bugs by Melanie Hibbert.

Paperscapes - The Incredible World of Bugs

The Paperscapes books are beautiful hardback books, each page is filled with details about insects and each of the die-cut pages is an artwork in itself. Each insect has perforations around it, meaning you can carefully press out the surrounds, revealing the insects and helping them to really stand out.

The illustrations in The Incredible World of Bugs are just beautiful. They’re full of detail and make even the creepiest of crawlies into something special. Each insect featured in the book has two pages of accompanying information which includes their size, what they eat, lifespan, how dangerous they are and what their conservation status is. Each entry also gives a details description of the insect and a number of “did you know” style facts.

Paperscapes - The Incredible World of Bugs

The book is squarely aimed at children aged 7+; but I think it would appeal to bug loving children right into their early teens. The facts are pitched at just the right level and the language used is fine for a good reader aged 7 and not too simple so that a teenager can enjoy reading it. It’s packed with facts and my 8 year old positively devoured it. It’s exactly his kind of book.

Paperscapes – The Incredible World of Bugs by Melanie Hibbert is published by Carlton Books and costs £12.99. It is available online and from good bookshops.

Paperscapes - The Incredible World of Bugs

Win a copy of Paperscapes – The Incredible World of Bugs

To be in with a chance to win a copy of Paperscapes – The Incredible World of Bugs, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

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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 Paperscapes – The Incredible World of Bugs.
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 24th February 2019.
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
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12. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of  The Incredible World of Bugs for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Book Review: The World of Vikings by Robert Macleod

This term my son will be learning about the Vikings at school. Always keen to do a little extra reading and learning at home, this week we’ve been reading The World of Vikings by Robert Macleod.

For the last few years I’ve been completely obsessed with the Viking drama, The Last Kingdom. Although it’s not a documentary, I’ve picked up a few Viking facts over the last three series and my son (who hasn’t watched it, he’s far too young) is also a Viking fanatic. The World of Vikings covers all the bases when it comes to Vikings and is ideal for children aged 8+ with an interest in Viking history.

Book Review: The World of Vikings by Robert Macleod

The World of Vikings by Robert Macleod is divided into chapters and covers the following topic areas;

  • The Age of Vikings
  • Viking World
  • Viking History
  • Exploring the World
  • Viking Ships
  • Traders and Merchants
  • Viking Attack
  • Viking Warriors
  • Ship of War
  • Weapons
  • Life in Viking Times
  • Towns and Farms
  • Legend and Lore

This 80 page, colourfully illustrated history book is full of facts about the Viking age. Each page is lush with illustrations and images, which really bring the facts to life. With maps, timelines, photographs of relics and illustrations about what life was like for Vikings, it’s filled with detail which will really capture the imagination of readers.

It’s a great book and very well worth having on your book shelf to dip in and out of when you need to know some Viking facts. I really enjoy learning about Viking life, but the legends are always very interesting and my son loves to read about Thor’s hammer and the sagas.

Author, Robert Macleod lives on the remote Scottish coastline and has a passionate interest in the Viking age. The chapters begin with a paragraph or two from the diary of Tom Macleod, Robert’s grandfather who had discovered Viking relics in Scotland.

Book Review: The World of Vikings by Robert Macleod

The World of Vikings is a genuinely interesting book. Whether you’re learning about Viking life in year 3, or you’re an adult wanting to learn more about it for a TV series you’re a bit obsessed with, The World of Vikings is an excellent starting point. Rich in detail, lots of great images and all of it pulled together by the discoveries of the author’s grandfather.

The World of Vikings by Robert Macleod is published by Carlton Books and costs £9.99. It is available online and from good bookshops.

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

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