Book Review: If I Was a Banana by Alexandra Tylee illustrated by Kieran Rynhart

bananaGecko Press produce some lovely and unique children’s books. They are always well made and feel like miniature pieces of art in themselves. If I Was a Banana is no exception, its beautifully illustrated and is quite a thoughtful read for children.

The book basically follows a boy view of everyday things. Its about the magic and wonder that can be found in everyday things and encounters. I thought it was a useful read with my 4 and 7 year old as it enabled us to talk about their lives and their experiences of their own everyday adventures. It came  at a brilliant time for us when I was trying to get my 4 year old to open up a little bit more about his experiences in Reception.

I should say that this is quite a quirky book, it suits my children’s world view perfectly as they are all quite creative quirky little characters, but some kids might not ‘get it’ and just be a bit confused!

You can get hold of your own copy here (and also have a sneak peak inside).


Book Review: Super Rabbit by Stephanie Blake

SuperRabbit_Cover_medOnce there was a little rabbit… “I’m not a LITTLE rabbit! I’m Super Rabbit!”

Gecko Press produce some really lovely books. They seem to excel in the production value of their books meaning that you get something that feels really good quality and stands out amongst the rest.

Super Rabbit is another story featuring Simon the rabbit from the best selling book Poo Bum. This is a simple story with a brilliant ending which every child reading it will be able to identify with. I would suggest it is perfect for the pre-school age group where the bright visual and graphic illustrations and the story will really set imaginations on fire.

Little Ned (4) thought that this was the best book he has seen for a while when it dropped through the letter box and he has been fiercely guarding it, making sure we read it at bed time. The idea of a Super Rabbit really captivated his imagination.

Well worth a read, especially if you fancy a book which is just good fun for your little one!

Find out more from the Gecko Press website


Featured Post: What appliance could you not live without?

using washboard

Using a washboard- good training for when the washing machine breaks!

The other day I received an interesting email from Beko telling me about a poll they did on Twitter asking people which appliance they couldn’t live without. The consensus was that people couldn’t live without their fridge freezer in fact 49% of people said so!

I must admit I was really surprised about this as for me this would not have been anywhere near the top. I know this for a fact because a couple of years ago we were without a kitchen for a couple of months and as a result we were also without appliances. For me, with three children the thing which we needed the most was the washing machine. I could make do without a dishwasher, a microwave was a reasonable standby instead of the oven and I could just keep the cold stuff outside (although it did prove expensive having to pop to the shops every time we wanted a frozen item).

As the children get older and I’ve gone back to work properly, rather than working from home or ad-hoc hours, I’ve noticed just how much I use the washing machine. Its used at least once or twice per day for a full load of washing- children generate SUCH a lot of washing.

The eldest is studying Victorians at school and I got out our washboard to show him how Victorians would have done their washing. We last used this when the kids were tiny (see the picture above which I just thought was so cute I had to use it!). We had another go with it and then we considered our laundry pile and the amount of time it would take. The conclusion was genuinely quite horrific, i’d probably be spending at least three hours a day just on laundry if I had to do it the old fashioned way!

Sitting back and evaluating how lucky we are nowadays to have all these appliances to help with our domestic chores really puts stuff into perspective. Our lives would have been so different event forty years ago. Technology has improved the way we cook, the ease of access to food. It has saved us time, effort and made our lives so much easier. For me the next task is to train the children how to use it all, the eldest has been given lessons in washing machine use, they can all use the oven but unfortunately they cant reach the microwave!

I’d love to hear what appliance you cant live without, do you agree with me or do you agree with the Twitter poll?

Book Review: I Have and Orange Juicy Drink by Andrew Sanders

i have an orange juicy drinkIf you like your picture books to be good looking from the point of view of design as well as being great little stories then this book is for you.

This is the story of a small boy and his orange drink. It has a strong message about sibling love and simply asking nicely. We loved this book as its so amusing in the hyperbole of what the character does when someone tries to take his drink from him. If i’m honest it reminds me of my eldest who makes outlandish threats about what will happen if we do various things.

I like a book which encourages literacy skills and imagination and this book is perfect for that. We have hours of fun talking about what might happen in various circumstances. What might your child do if someone tried to take their drink? Crush them with an ocean liner, send an elephant to sit on them? It’s all about expanding imagination and from that helping with sentence construction. Children don’t get many opportunities to develop creative writing in primary school these days as there is such a focus on grammar.

If you’d like to find out more and order the book have a look at FatFox Books website here.

A fun afternoon watching Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday with #StreamTeam

Netflix game The weather over the Easter holidays wasn’t very good here in the UK. We spent a fair amount of time indoors and I must admit I started to find it a bit challenging finding things which all three children could do together as Ned at 4 is just a bit to small to get involved with some of the more complicated games the older children play.

Netflix came to my rescue with an absolute stroke of genius. An interactive roadmap game. Basically, we all sat down in front of Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday and instead of watching the movie in a fairly static way we all got involved and had LOADS of fun spotting different images on our roadmap. Once we found an image on our map we waited for the second image in each set and we could open another surprise box.


The road map, when you spot the images its time to open a box

I’ve been parenting 9 years and to be honest there are very few games which are new to me, but this was one of them. We loved this, not only did we all get involved and it proved a great family activity, it made watching the movie even more fun.


photo 1I vaguely remember Pee-Wee Herman from my childhood, although I think I was slightly too old for his comedy before the peak of his career and subsequent career crash. However, it was nice to introduce the children to a character which is quite an iconic part of 1980’s America and pop culture.

photo 2

As far as the movie goes the children really enjoyed it. They thought it was really funny and laughed a lot of the way through the movie. I think the game really added to the fun. I must admit the whole afternoon was one of the highlights of our holiday and I’ll definitely be doing the game idea again.

If you’re as intrigued as I was about the Pee-Wee Herman’s Big Holiday and you fancy a bit of fun on a rainy afternoon then this is perfect for you.