I’ve started the countdown to Christmas and have been looking for perfect gifts for people who have everything. Its a tricky one as i’ve got a reputation for finding great gifts but this year i’m quite stuck.
Fortunately earlier on in the year we were sent these fantastic Colouring Books by Noisy Crow who have been collaborating with The British Museum. I’ve reviewed some of their other books and they are just great, they would have been perfect for me as a child or as a mum reading to my child. However, these colouring books are even better as they meet the criteria for doing something crafty and mindful, they’re useful and interesting.
You can chose from either Fabulous Flowers & Perfect Patterns or Amazing Animals & Beautiful Birds. Both are illustrated by Rachel Cloyne who was inspired by objects in the British Museum collections. Her illustrations are real works of art in themselves, but brilliantly once you’ve coloured them in you have a card and an envelope (each book makes 24 cards)!
A card to colour
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a history/ museum loving creative friend then this is it. You can find more information here
At this time of year its a good idea to start building a bookshelf of Christmas stories for the children. I have a friend who wraps up the books and they act as an advent calendar which is a great idea. From experience it is best to be organised well in advance as it takes the stress out of Christmas and so i’m already focussed on gathering our books with a view to creating a book advent calendar this year. Angel’s Great Escape is definitely included!
The book tells the story of Angel and her decoration friends who are trapped in a box in the home of the mean family who live in the same street as the good family. Angel and her friends need to escape on Christmas Eve in time to meet Father Christmas. This is a delightful, original Christmas story with beautiful illustrations. One of the problems I tend to find with Christmas stories is that they are either too long, too short or simply retell the same story. Angel’s Great Escape is a perfect length for 5- 8 year old bedtime reading and its original with nice quirky illustrations.
The first book from the independent publishing company And So We Begin which was set up by Kirstie Rowson Angel’s Great Escape sets the bar high, we cant wait to read more from her.
If you’re looking for a new book with a determined, strong female role model then this is for you. I love this book personally, Izzy is living my childhood dream and doing loads of things I’d have liked to do. She is an inventor and has adventures based on her inventions.
There is a strong message behind the story about resilience and trying again which is really appealing at the moment in our household as I try to encourage my five year old to not give up at the first sign of something going wrong.
Izzy Gizmo has been created by Pip Jones who is responsible for Fifi’s favourite series Squishy McFluff and illustrated by Sara Ogilvie who is one of Booktrust’s Best New illustrators and has brought a brilliant character to life here. This is a colourful, well presented and fun picture book and it comes as no surprise that its shortlisted for the 2017 Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Awards.
Sometimes a book can really strike a chord with children or make them think quite deeply about things and The Snow Lion is one of these books. This is a magical story about a little girl who moves house and is quite lonely exploring the house which is painted white all alone. She discovers a white lion who becomes her friend and helps her to gain the courage to meet lots of new friends.
My children responded well to this message, the lion resonated as an imaginary friend who encourages them to go outside of their comfort zone.
The book is very memorable, not least because of the beautiful illustrations by Richard Jones which are very poetic and gentle and sit perfectly with the story.
I’d suggest that this might well become a staple of future children’s bookshelves. Its one of those books which I think can be quite medicinal for children, it can be read in preparation for tricky moments and as a subtle way of suggesting an answer to an issue. However, it is a lovely heartwarming story which is perfect for a good bedtime read.
Poppy and the Blooms is a beautifully illustrated picture book which feels like a real visual treat. It’s an adventure story based around friendship and how small things really can make a big difference. The artwork is stunning and very original and I think this makes it stand out as an interesting read for small children.