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
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.
Kiki and Bobo are having a day at the seaside, its all very exciting but they have very different personalities which reminded me of my own children. This is a lovely picture book from one of the UK’s best children’s book illustrators. Aimed at very little children this has lots of flaps to keep their interest and a very simple charming dialogue between the characters.
I like books which have slightly eccentric characters and in Bobo there is a picture book version of one of my own highly eccentric children. Suffice to say we all found this charming, its a really endearing book.
Being set a the seaside makes it the perfect book to gift any little pre-schoolers who are about to go off on summertime seaside holidays. There are plenty of opportunities in the book to allow you to discuss any anxieties that they might have which makes it a useful addition to the bookshelf this time of year.
As ever with Walker Books Kiki and Boko’s Sunny Day is beautifully presented and feels like a quality book. If you’d like to find out more have a look here.
There is nothing that my children find more amusing than a bit of toilet humour. That’s why I knew, even before the review copy of Old MacDonald Heard a Parp by Olaf Falafel came that they would love it.
Old MacDonald Heard a Parp is a reimagined take on the classic nursery rhyme, except in this version Old MacDonald thinks the parps are coming from all the animals.
This is a fab book for getting the children to join in with you and for having an innocent laugh with them. I often find that my children find a lot of books quite intense and it takes a very special book for them to join in and become quite animated. This book is one of them and the five year old in particular loves it. In fact, he repeats the rhyme at every possibility.
Now, I say the five year old loves it, but to be honest this doesn’t convey just how much he loves it. There is a downside, he is quite cheeky and I’m blaming this book for his latest little practical joke which involves phoning people up and blowing raspberries down the phone at them. I suspect this was comedian Olaf Falafel’s intention. It has made us all laugh and we are planning on reminding him of this when he’s older.
We have all enjoyed this book, the illustrations are great, and there is a handy guide to making the noises. However, most of all though, it has made us all laugh and rediscover a bit of family fun at a time when we really have needed to do this. Thanks Olaf! If you’ve got kids in the 4- 8 year old age range or just fancy a good old laugh then this is the perfect picture book for you.
Harper Collins are running a competition to win a signed copy of the book:
Sometimes a book comes along which strikes a chord with you as an adult reading it and you spend some time thinking about the content. This is one of those books which doesn’t surprise me as Oliver Jeffers in particular tends to illustrate some really thought provoking stories.
One of the over-riding issues of childhood is the coming to terms and grappling with issues related to friendship and it’s something often covered in children’s picture books. My children have all had friendship issues of one sort or another and they all have their own special ‘best friends’ at the moment, but in the past it hasn’t always been like this. They have all had imaginary friends and its something which I hope they can use to fall back on if they ever do find themselves short of a friend.
Having an imaginary friend can help children deal with issues of loneliness, not belonging and also help them to feel empowered to do what they want to do, to buck the trends and to test themselves. I remember really clearly when my daughter had her imaginary friend and I think this really helped her deal with play ground politics and also her feelings of being left out at home when her brothers were playing together.
I thought I’d ask the children what they thought about imaginary friends and the book. Bear in mind they are only 7 and 4 but have a look at what they thought:
In the book the imaginary friends are in colour, but they are not solid. The perfect way of depicting them. As the story goes along they begin to fade, which I think is a metaphor for how friends come and go; they fade in and out of life. This concept is a difficult one for children to grasp in real life so its great to find a book which can be used as a starting point to tackle this and the associated emotions.
I’d say that this is quite a long book for very little children. It’s best suited for slightly older children perhaps 6 +. This is a book to spend time over, to enjoy and take inspiration from (perhaps a whole school holidays worth of activities) or to read at bedtime over a week in small sections. It’s a lovely book, nicely presented, illustrated and would make a really nice gift for Christmas.