Tag Archives: Book

Book Review: Lost My Name

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.

lost my name

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.

Memories Photo Book for Kids from love2read

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.

love2read

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.

Review: A Personalised Book for Toddlers from love2read

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.

personalised book

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.

personalised book

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.

A Monster Ate My Mum – Book Review

I’ve suffered from low self esteem all my life. After a period of illness this year that low self esteem turned into depression. There have been times this year I’ve been sad, dead eyed, weeping, cold in front of my son. He’s two and doesn’t really understand. He asks “what’s wrong Mamma?” as he did this evening when I cried, and he cuddles me and kisses away my tears. It’s heartbreaking and lovely. Ultimately it’s really unfair on him.

I feel such guilt at these times, he doesn’t understand. I hope he’s too young to remember the dark days. The dark days are fewer than they used to be. I’m working on my recovery for him and for me.

I was mooching around Twitter when I came across mention of a book called A Monster Ate My Mum. It’s a new book aimed at the children of mothers who have post natal depression. To be honest, having read it I think it works for depression generally.

I loved the title. It does seem like a monster has eaten me. Snatched me away from my family. Eaten my smile, suppressed my giggles. Made me less human. I had a copy of the ebook to look at and read to my boy. I was immediately struck by the gorgeous illustrations. I fell quite in love with the illustrations by Helen Braid and when I read the book to Splodge and Hodge they loved them too.

photo (35)
Author, Jen Faulkner suffered from PND with her third child, she wanted to find a way of explaining her feelings to her older children, so she wrote a poem which this book is now based on. It is beautifully and heartbreakingly written.

From my perspective as a parent with mental health issues, this hits all the right notes. It explains things perfectly in an accessible way. Husband Hodge said it made him feel sad because it made him reflect on the impact of my depression on the family. But he agreed that the book is a valuable tool in explaining why Mummy is sad to her little ones.

We sat down and read it to Splodge who is just short of his 3rd birthday. He was excited by and engaged by the illustrations and wanted to look at them over and over. We read the story to him a few times. I’m not sure how much he understood, he is still very young, but he did say “Mamma sad” and pointed to the Mummy in the book. I think if this was read to him regularly then he’d understand more. So that’s what we’ll do.

It is a beautiful book about a sad subject. I’d definitely recommend this for children who have Mums like me. I feel really strongly about mental health issues. I speak and write frankly about my problems because I’m not ashamed, I have no reason to be ashamed and by speaking out it makes it less of a taboo.

Children aren’t stupid, they’re often more astute than adults, by teaching them about the reasons why Mummy is sad can only be a good thing. By not demonising mental health and depression it might make them ask for help if they need it later in life, it might make them more equipped to cope with the problems others face later on, and if it helps them understand there and then that Mummy isn’t like that because of anything they’ve done, then that can only be a good and incredibly positive thing.

I really hope this book is picked up and used as a tool for helping families in this situation. I’m quite in love with it and I know it will help us and Splodge. My recovery continues. The dark days are less frequent but they are still there, at least now I can explain that the monster ate my smile.

Children’s Book Review: Dandylion by Lizzie Finlay

We love reading in our house. Before our son appeared in our lives I’d happily devour an entire book in an evening. I do that less often these days, but we wanted to pass on our love of books by reading to the boy right from the start. We even read to my growing belly when he was living in it.

One of my favourite things about being a Mummy is bedtime stories. We have three a night (and unlimited during the day when he fancies a read). We all snuggle in bed and transport our family to faraway lands, following the fantastical pen of children’s writers like Julia Donaldson and Lynley Dodd. The boy loves us doing funny voices, (my reading of The Gruffalo is a triumph). I especially love the rhythmic writing and wrapping my tongue around some of the great words in children’s books, (Lynley Dodd is particularly good at throwing in great words guaranteed to make you giggle).

For his Christening, we asked if people wanted to give him their favourite childhood book. We got some great ones, Rupert Bear, Harry Potter, some Alan Garner and Spot the Dog amongst other great reads.

I thought it’d be nice to share our love of reading, and some of our favourite children’s books in a bit of a mini-series. The boy has chosen his current favourite bedtime story, Dandylion by Lizzie Finlay.

Children's Book Review: Dandylion by Lizzie Finlay
Dandylion is a wonderful book about being different, finding acceptance and making friends. It’s the perfect tale to tell any child. The moral being it’s really ok to be different and wouldn’t the world be a dull, gloomy old place if everyone was the same. Admittedly it’s for older readers (he’s 2 and a half) but we love the beautiful illustrations and the story telling.

As Dandylion (who is ‘delightfully different, bright yellow and rather scruffy’) joins Miss Gardener’s organised and tidy class, the illustrations become more vibrant and colourful. This reflects the delightfully warm impact Dandylion has in his classmates.

At first he doesn’t fit in (he is a weed, but remember a weed is just a wildflower growing in the wrong place). After one particularly messy incident he is sent home and becomes despondent about his differences. But soon his classmates (including Basil and Tulip) realise that being too organised and tidy isn’t always a good thing. A plan is soon hatched to get Dandylion to return to school and to make him feel right at home. At last, scruffy, wild and free-spirited Dandylion feels like a wildflower growing in the right place!

Aside from its heartwarming message, it’s just a good book. Beautifully illustrated, visually appealing and lovely to read out loud to your child. Lizzie Finlay is a talented illustrator and I hope she writes more lovely books along these lines.

EDIT: Lizzie Finlay has also written the equally lovely Little Croc’s Purse which is well worth checking out too.