If you have a little one you’ll know how hard it is to restrict their sugar intake over Easter. Fortunately Usborne books have come to the rescue and I think these little board books would make a great gift instead of yet another Easter egg!
For children who love the ‘That’s not my…’ series there are volumes on bunny’s and chick’s which are so adorably cute you wont be able to resist reading them. At just £6.99 each you’ll get loads of use out of these, my eldest who is ten had lots of the “That’s not my…’ books and reading them with him was such an important part of his toddler years I’ve still got them.
For toddlers that like peep through books Usborne have produced Are you there little bunny? which is so lovely that you’ll definitely end up reading it many times! It priced at just £5.99 which I think is money well spent!
Usborne books have also got lots of great free Easter activities on their website: www.usborne.com/easter
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.
When you drive through Broxbourne Woods you wouldn’t think that within the hornbeams there is a whole wildlife park with dinosaurs, a train and a speedway museum but thats exactly the beauty of Paradise Wildlife Park.
We visited Paradise Wildlife Park on one of those typical British September Sundays, the park was buzzing with people enjoying themselves. We were given a map of the site which had times of all the shows. The bird show was nearby so we headed over and what a treat it was. The staff were clearly well informed, it was a small enough audience to really feel part of the show and the birds were close and impressive.
One of the things which Paradise concentrates on is its big cats and there are plenty to look at and learn about. The big cat area is really great as its wheelchair/ pushchair friendly and allows you to have a look at the cats from lots of different angles. We loved spotting the baby jaguar which was absolutely adorable.
There aren’t just big cats though, there is loads to see. Inside the reptile house we got to meet a special turtle and ask the keeper questions. We saw otters, wolves, penguins, pigs, sheep and all sorts of things!
The great thing about Paradise Wildlife Park is that when the kids get bored of the animals there are loads of other things to do. My kids loved the different playgrounds and in particular the slides which kept them amused whilst we had a chance for a sit down and a cup of tea. We went on a little train ride and spotted dinosaurs and we even visited a speedway museum.
The absolute joy of Paradise Wildlife Park is that although it is busy, there is so much to do that the queues for things are very short. There are plenty of toilets, places to sit down and eat and its not so massive that it wears you out. Its fairly easy to park and you can by pass the shop on the way out which is always a winner for me as it prevents the end of day meltdowns. We had a fabulous time and will definitely return soon as there is so much going on. If you are looking for a great stress free day out in Hertfordshire then we would highly recommend a trip to Paradise Wildlife Park.
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.