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.
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.
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.
Over the summer it’s been my mission to get my son reading more. Part of that is also getting him to think a little more about what he’s been reading. Asking questions about the story and getting him to write a simple review. It’s the summer, I don’t want him to do anything too taxing, but some gentle critical thinking is a good thing. With that in mind, I’ve put this simple children’s book review template together.
This book review template is incredibly simple and great for emerging readers. My son who admittedly has been a bit slow off the mark when it comes to writing finds it simple to use and it’s really helpful in getting him to focus his thoughts after he’s finished his book.
Completing this Book Review Template would be a lovely activity to do if you get a group of children together and form a junior book club. This way they can easily share their thoughts with the group.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s hard to believe, but I really am old enough to remember Transformers when they first came out in the 1980’s. My brother was a huge fan and probably managed to collect all of the figures (my nephew is lucky that my brother has saved them to pass onto the next generation). My five year old and his slightly older cousin are both Transformers mad and they’ve both got small collections of the new versions of the Transformers figures. To complement this, we got our hands on a copy of the new Transformers Robots in Disguise book from Carlton Books.
The Transformers Robots in Disguise book is like no book I’ve ever encountered before. This hardback book helps Transformer fans to find out who’s who in the all-action world of Crown City and, and this is the very exciting bit, you can download an app which when used with the book brings the exciting world of these robots in disguise to life!
You can bring your favourite Autobots and Decepticons to life with 3D augmented reality animations and interact with the robots on both smartphones and tablets. Although we found that the iPad was a bit big for the small boy to use effectively, but the iPhone was just right for his little hands.
You can interact with and customize your favourite Transformers including Bumblebee, Grimlock, Steeljaw and Optimus Prime. Plus there’s the facility to connect your device to a friend’s, and go head-to-head in a battle to see who is the ultimate winner, though we didn’t do this.
The small boy loved the book and finding out more about the Transformers, though the real hit was being able to bring the Transformers to life in our living room.
The app was free to download and alongside the book they have provided hours and hours of entertainment for the boy. I would say that this book and the app are a fantastic gift for Transformers fans. I think my five year old is probably at the lower end of the age range, as we’ve had to read the book and use the app together – but that just makes it more fun for us both I think.
The Transformers Robots in Disguise Book is just £9.99 and is published on 6th October 2016. For more information, or to order a copy visit the Carlton Books website.
Note: We were sent the Transformers: Robots in Disguise Book for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.
Being the mum of a five year old boy, I know there are several things in life which make him incredibly happy. Superheroes, Star Wars and Pirates are top of his list. Throw in some stickers and you know you’re onto a very good thing. When the new Pirate Ship Sticker Book from Carlton Books landed on our doormat, I suspected I’d have a very happy boy on my hands.
The Pirate Ship Sticker Book is more than just a basic sticker book. It has 23 pages of pirate facts, information and scenes to sticker, as well as over 150 reusable stickers and 16 pages of pirate activities including colouring in. Plus a treasure map, spot the misfits and a design your own galleon activity. Within the pages of this book you can explore the Scurvy Dog pirate ship, which is home to Captain Skull and his rascally crew of salty sea-dogs!
There’s quite a lot of reading in this Pirate Ship Sticker Book, considering it’s a sticker book. We enjoyed reading it together at bedtime, sticking the stickers in the right places and talking about pirate life and what it must have been like to live on a pirate ship.
The book is really colourfully illustrated by Maria Taylor, with lots of attention to detail. You really get the sense that pirate ships were fairly unpleasant and smelly places to be. We especially liked that you could really enhance the pirate scene with stickers and the small boy loved to see which sticker went where.
Written by Claire Sipi and Jim Pipe, the Pirate Ship Sticker Book is packed full of information about pirate life. Mostly these are in short paragraphs alongside accompanying illustrations. These made for really useful talking points, we’d read the text and then discuss what we’d read and what was going on in the picture.
We buy these kind of books a lot for the small boy, he enjoys sticker books and they’re good to take out when we go out for a meal or something. I think it’s a very well designed book, there’s lots to read, do and discuss. The boy has really enjoyed reading it with me and doing the activities.
I feel like it’s given the boy a more in-depth understanding of pirates than previously. He still arrrrrrs and tries to get me to walk the plank, but now he’s talking more about day to day pirate life on the Scurvy Dog, which to me is the beginnings of an interest and understanding of history.
There was nothing we didn’t like about the book. The small boy is nearly six and I would say that 5 is about the minimum age for this book; the reading is a little hard for him so we are reading it together.
Other sticker books in the series include Doll’s House, Castle and Princess Palace. I’d like to see more, the Pirate Ship Sticker Book was fab.
The Pirate Ship Sticker Book is just £5.99 and is published on 6th October 2016.
Note: We were sent the Pirate Ship Sticker Book for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.
If you have access to the internet (and if you’re reading this, I think the chances of that are high) you will probably have already heard of the children’s picture book ‘Lost My Name’. Lost My Name is a personalised book where the little boy or girl in the story has lost their name and goes on a magical adventure to rediscover it.
Along the way they meet a series of creatures – magical or otherwise, who one by one help the child to find their name again. The small boy (spoiler alert) is called BENJAMIN so it took some searching to find all the letters of his name, but by meeting B for Bear, E for Elephant and N for Narwhal (and so on) we discovered his name.
It is a beautifully illustrated book, with lots going on. Printed on nice thick paper with a matt finish (something I enjoy, yes I know I’m weird). The ‘Benjamin’ book was 42 pages long.
It was an enjoyable adventure story which kept my four and a half year old interested throughout; he encountered creatures he already knew (bear, elephant etc) and new magical and mysterious creatures such as the narwhal, the nabarlek and an imp, as well as a jester and a mermaid. There was lots for us to talk about after we’d finished reading which is always the mark of a good children’s book I find.
He particularly enjoyed finding the letters in his name and got very excited each time we turned a page and there was another letter he recognised, which was lovely to see!
Over the last few years we’ve had quite a few personalised books, all of which have been extra special and he’s gone back to them over and over again because they are personalised and personal to him. Because having a personalised book is slightly more expensive than an off the shelf book, it is the kind of thing I’d buy him or another child as a present rather than an everyday book.
It is incredibly simple to create and order your own personalised book, simply type in the name you want and select the gender of the child and then head to checkout. You can even preview a copy online before you buy to make sure it’s exactly what you want.
Lost My Name costs £18.99 and can be ordered from their website. It is a beautiful book and I think well worth the money, especially as I know that he will choose it again and again and probably want to take it into school to show his teacher and his friends.
Lost My Name is a real magical story book, really well thought out, each one is unique and special and that’s the really great thing about personalised books. Lost My Name is a real gem. There’s nothing I don’t love about it.
Note: We were sent a copy of Lost My Name for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.
Each year we make up photo books for various relatives, they’re a great present, especially in these days of digital photography. It occurred to me that we do wonderful things with the small boy every week; normal family things, like trips to the park, or holidays, or just baking a cake at home on a rainy day. I’m always there clicking away, capturing the moment and he deserves a little photo book too!
Love2Read have a great little photo book, which we think makes a lovely personalised Christmas present for children. We ordered one as a little pre-Christmas gift for the small boy.
It was really easy to set up. There is a huge selection of books to choose from, all different titles and styles, but we went for Memories of 2014. I recommend that before you start you choose 11 pictures which you want in your book, have them in a file ready to upload, then you’re not searching for them.
All you do is personalise the book by dropping your pictures on each page and writing a caption. Once you’ve done, check it through so it reads well and the pictures are positioned how you want them, then simply order. Each books costs £14.99 but I think that’s good value for the quality of the product.
Our love2read book was delivered very quickly, within a couple of days of ordering. It’s a good quality, soft-back book, the pages are pretty thick, so they won’t tear or crease easily. The book is colourful and the type is the perfect size for emerging readers.
We sat down to read it together. The small boy has recently turned four and we’re mastering our letters and sounds at the moment, so although the only word he could read/recognise was his name, he did point at the individual letters and tell me what they were, a game which we enjoyed enormously.
We read it through a few times, then he “read” it to me, more from memory if truth be known, but he loved to point at the pictures and tell me the story of the day and what we were doing, which was one of the reasons why we ordered the book in the first place.
We’ve read the book every day and he’s taken it into school for “show and tell”, so he’s obviously very pleased with it. It’s a lovely little keepsake of his year, something he can look at alone, or with an adult, something that will help to encourage his love of reading. I’d really recommend it.
Note: We were sent the Love2Read book free of charge for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.
We’ve always felt it was important to read to and with our boy. When he was nought but a bump we’d regale him with a host of stories in the hope he’d pop out reciting the works of Shakespeare, or at the very least The Gruffalo. That surprisingly enough didn’t happen, but he has always, always loved books and bedtime stories are something we all look forward to.
He’s three now and although he can’t read yet, he is starting to recognise some letters; it’s time we stepped up our bedtime story routine and got him joining in a bit more.
The other night I happened across love2read on Twitter. They create personalised photo books around your child’s family and life. The idea being that if they’re matching words to pictures of things they love and recognise, then that will enhance their love of reading, make it more relevant to them and ultimately more enjoyable.
You select from a pretty wide range of titles including – I love…, All About Me…, When It Snowed… and Where I Live. We plumped for I Love… because Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and we’ve been talking a lot recently about the people and things we love.
The whole process is incredibly easy. Once you’ve chosen which book you want, you need to select and upload your pictures. Generally you’ll need about 10 digital photographs of fairly decent quality. You can drop your pictures in and swap them around on the pages until you are happy. Then enter the text you’d like, for example “I love Daddy”, check you’re happy and then order your book. Easy-peasy.
We ordered our personalised book on Wednesday morning and it was sat in my hot little hand by Friday lunchtime. Delivery time depends on when you order in relation to their print runs, but delivery was fast and it was well packaged.
Now my delightful husband has his own printing business, so the first thing I did was hand it to him for his professional opinion. He thought the print quality was good, with the inside pages being of a decent weight (which means good quality paper). He was pretty impressed (and in terms of print he’s the most critical man in the world). His one criticism was that the staples were too small, but that’s something only printers and the overly fastidious would notice, and let’s face facts, that’s not going to massively impact on your enjoyment of the book.
Bedtime rolled around and ta-dah, I revealed his new bedtime story. He wanted to examine every page carefully, delighting in the pictures and describing what was in them. One of the pictures was him on the beach, which sparked a lovely conversation about what we did that day and what he liked about it. We then sat and read the personalised book properly, cover to cover, several times.
The wording is very simple. In the “I love…” book we put things like “I love the playground”, which he does. He instinctively repeated the words after I read them out and I pointed at the individual words as I read along so he’d start to get the idea of reading left to right. It was all good and we read it several times over. He loved it so much he’s taken it to bed with him.
We’re impressed. The process was simple and the product of good quality with clear educational value. What I liked about it was it is also a lovely photo book which you can use to record special days, such as birthdays, holidays, Christmas and Valentines.
At just £14.99 a book I think it represents good value for money, given it’s not only an unusual but lovely learning tool, but a photo book of memories. My top tip would be to sort out 10 or so photographs before you sit down and create your book.
I think these are really lovely gifts for toddlers. I like that the range of titles you can choose from is pretty vast so you can personalise books to be read with Grandad or Auntie Lisa or whoever. If there isn’t a title which matches what you want there’s the option to create your own. It’s flexible and honestly it took very little time to create. As I said, sort your pictures out first, that’s always the hard bit.
Would I recommend? Absolutely yes. Will I be buying more, absolutely yes. Does he love it? Oh my goodness yes. Just don’t show it to someone fastidious about staple length.
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of the personalised book “I Love…” for review purposes, but my reviews are always honest, especially regarding staple length.