Tag Archives: Book

Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl illustrations by Quentin Blake

wp-1469372593956.jpgFollowing on from my last post about the summer reading challenge and the discovery that this year marks the 100th year since Roald Dahl was born I thought I’d review another of his great books Fantastic Mr Fox.

The edition of the book we have is dated 2016 and was published by Puffin Books however it was first published in 1970 by George Allen and Unwin.

The story is about a fox family and the head of the family is Mr Fox or as Mrs Fox calls him Fantastic Mr Fox. They live on a hill in the wood under a large tree. Below is the valley where 3 farmers live farmer Boggis kept chickens, farmer Bunce kept duck and geese and farmer Bean was a turkey and apple farmer. All 3 were mean and no one liked them.


Mr Fox would go to each of these farms and have the best choice of food from each. However one night the farmers have had enough and wait for Mr Fox to try and shoot him dead. Here begins the story of how crafty Mr Fox and the other animals living in the wood find a way to outsmart the farmers and live in harmony together.

For the older reader the story could be used to examine how foxes are classed as pests for farmers stealing and killing their animals. It could also be used to talk about hunting and there is a great number of descriptive language used which could be useful for students studying this topic.

For the younger child such as 7 year old Monkey it was a great adventure to read what the farmers would try next and to see how Mr Fox would escape.

Monkey enjoyed this story and thought the farmers were “silly”. He rated the book as 7/10 as it wasn’t as funny as other Roald Dahl books.

I remember reading this when I was a child however I was older than Monkey and read it one wet Easter when I was about 9 or 10 therefore at that age I could understand the darker side of the Fox family being hunted and knew that Mr Dahl would have ensured this fox family would come to no harm unlike other foxes. As an adult reading this to Monkey I enjoyed it possibly more than I did as a child and as it had been a while since I had read it I couldn’t remember all of the story. The parts of the story about the farmers trying to plot to kill the family and in particular Mr Fox and the worried fox children in the below page “how will they kill us mummy” I didn’t enjoy but this was only because I know how sensitive Monkey can be thankfully he was enjoying the adventure and the sad parts like this are well balanced with the calmness of Mr Fox and the outlandish ideas the farmers have to capture him. I give this story 8/10.


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That’s Not My Piglet – Usborne Touchy Feely Book


We love the Usborne books in our house and have lots of different books for various stages of child development and interests.

I was first introduced to the touchy feely books when my son was a baby and have in fact kept them all for my daughter who is 10 months old.

This book however was a brand new book bought especially for Boo when she was first born. I had shown her this book quite a few times but it’s only been since she was 6 months old and able to sit by herself that she’s really enjoyed the different pages.

For those not aware the touchy feely books have quite a few in the series all along similar lines telling the reader that’s not my…. until the final page where you find the correct animal for instance.

Each page has different textures for baby to feel such as fuzzy or scratchy. The different patches of texture are designed to develop sensory awareness and language. Every book has a main character but they all have a little mouse to find on each page.

Unlike most stories the touchy feely books actually start the story on the front cover so that baby is instantly drawn to them.

All the pages are brightly coloured however they are not garish like most young children books. My daughter’s favourite page is this bright yellow page with a black and white piglet with scratchy texture.

Although I’ve said this is a baby book it is suitable for
newborn babies and well into toddler stage. They are extremely well made and tough ideal for those looking for something to chew as you can see from the photo above.

My daughter is unable to tell me how much she likes this book but simply watching her grin at every page even when left to flip through the pages alone I can easily see this is certainly a favourite and I imagine she would give it 8/10 I would give it 9/10 as the colours are so striking and it has kept her entertained for a while now so it certainly has a well deserved place on our bookshelf.

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Super Spud and the Stinky Space Rescue by Sam Lloyd and illustrated by Ben Cort

This is a fun book to read to children before they go to bed.

It’s about Spud helping his alien friends get ready for bed “Rip roaring rockets” appears to be Spud’s catchphrase.  First he goes on his rocket to Planet Whiff where the aliens are smelly and need a bath, so Spud washes the aliens clean so that they are ready for bed and as he leaves each alien he says “nighty nighty, sleepy tighty” as he blasts off on his next mission on his rocket to Planet Fuzz (I have to admit the alien on this page made me giggle and I will try and put a picture of it on here).  This alien was having trouble with it’s hair “Frizz, frizz, frizz.  Will you help me brush my hair”. So Spud helps the alien to brush it’s hair so that it’s neat and tidy before bed. His next mission is to the Planet Piddle (yes I had to read that a couple of times and make sure I understood what the author was trying to say) “What an awful accident” says Spud “Pee, pee, pee, we need to do a wee, help us Super Spud” yes you guessed it – Spud helps the alien go to the toilet – again another illustration which made me giggle! Spud goes on to his next mission to the Planet Fang – where the aliens need to brush their teeth “those teeth are filthy! You need to clean them” So spud helps to clean the aliens teeth until they are shiny and sparkling.

Spud then makes his way back home and into his own bed where his mummy is tucking him into bed and she says “it’s a tough job being a superhero.  Nighty nighty, sleepy tighty”


Surprisingly Monkey didn’t actually like this book, I’m not sure though if it was because he was going to bed after I’d read this story to him (he didn’t really want to go – no young child does do they) or whether he didn’t find the story interesting. He gave the story 5/10.  I on the other hand really liked this story and would give it 9/10 – the story was simple and explained a bedtime routine but it was the illustrations which really made me give it such a high score – we all need to have a giggle after all!


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Read, Give, and Share with We Give Books!

Read, Give, and Share with We Give Books!

I just found an amazing free resource and I wanted to pass it on to all of you.

We Give Books is a free online library of children’s books that enables your kids to help other children around the world while they’re reading. The best part is, your reading will directly impact the great work of non-profit organizations around the world! Their tagline says it all, “combining the joy of reading with the power of giving.” It’s the perfect tool for parents, teachers, caregivers, and anyone who loves children’s books!

When you go to http://www.wegivebooks.org, you’ll be able to read a special selection of books without a We Give Books account, but you have to sign up to access their full library. It’s definitely worth it, though. It’s just a quick form, and once you’re signed up, you’ll have access to over 150 quality children’s books! There are a lot of familiar classic titles, and even more new ones for us to discover. You can sort the books by age level, genre, author, and seasonal selections in the “Featured” section, so everyone can find something they like.

On the Causes page you can learn more about where your donated books are going. This fall, We Give Books is focusing on early childhood literacy across the United States and supporting great causes like Jumpstart for young children. In the winter, you’ll be able to read to support global literacy and give books to non-profits like Room to Read. They also give you the option to donate to help your book donations reach even more children.

We Give Books is a program of the Pearson Foundation and Penguin Group. Penguin works with its authors to provide an outstanding selection of online books while the Pearson Foundation donates print books to charity partners. We Give Books is a great way to get your children excited about reading and to teach them about the importance of helping others.

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The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson illustrated by Axel Scheffler

This book is certainly a tongue twister of a read.

It’s about a snail who wants to go on big adventure into the big wide world – but how to do this when you’re clinging onto a “rock as black as soot” – you hitch a ride on the back of a hump-back whale of course!

They explore the sea, icebergs, far off places with mountains and golden sands, explore caves, experience different weather conditions being sunny and warm and sometimes thunderstorms.  The whale gets beached on some sand and it is up to the snail to find a way to get help.  I won’t spoil the end of this as I really wasn’t expecting it – it’s a happy ending though.

My son says he “loves this story” – think he just likes the fact that as it is a bit of a tongue twister in places I struggle to be able to say some of the lines first time correctly which makes him giggle!

I give this story 8/10 – I would give it more but I really do struggle to read it sometimes!

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Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman & Ben Cort

I wondered for a while why my 4 year old boy kept saying he loved underpants when he was coming home from nursery – I now understand that he meant this book! So on the way to Euro Disney for our summer holiday I bought Aliens Love Underpants.

From the front page it just catches your imagination (even as an adult) so I can only imagine what my 4 year old thinks of the front cover!

The story takes you on an adventure and explains who really does pinch those underpants off the washing line – no it’s not the next door neighbors dog or someone playing a prank – nope it’s the aliens of course!

It has a lovely rhyme to it.  Monkeys favorite bit is “in daring competitions held up by just one peg, they count how many aliens can squeeze inside each leg” – my favorite bit is the bit at the end “so when you put your pants on.  Freshly washed and nice and clean.  Just check in case an alien still lurks inside, unseen” I like this bit best as while Monkey isn’t watching as I get to the end of the line I tickle him which makes us both giggle.

Another book I would highly recommend giving it 10/10

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A Squash and a Squeeze

A Squash and a Squeeze is by the creators of The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

This is one of Monkeys favourite books at the moment, he first had it read to him at nursery and he enjoyed it there so much that we bought it for him it’s the 20th anniversary edition although inside the author actually states the story is nearer 40 years old, starting as a song on the BBC for children’s television – although you would never have guessed it was as old as that!

The author goes on to discuss how the story came about, she writes “I had been asked to write some story songs for a weekly series in which a mole and hedgehog visited a circus tent to watch a story being sung and acted by puppets.  I supplied some songs based on Aesop fables and then the producer suggested a musical version of the traditional tale of the old lady whose house was too small.  The song was subsequently used on Playdays.  Unknown to me, a future editor of children’s books heard this recording when her children were small and she couldn’t get it out of her head.  13 years later she succeeded in tracking me down via the BBC” and thus the story was published for further generations of children and parents alike to enjoy.

The story focuses on a little old lady who lives in a house on her own but which she feels is too small for her and asks the wise old man to help her.  He encourages her to take in various animals such as her hen, goat, pig and finally her cow – all with interesting consequences.  It appears to have helped my son understand the concept of size and he especially likes the bit about the cow dancing on the table and laughs at the picture every time.  My favourite part is when the pig is added to the house.

Whenever I’ve finished reading this story my son is all smiles and happy and we sometimes read it again straight away.  He also always says “we love this story, aww” I think all children of any age would enjoy this story as it’s funny, the illustrations capture the mood and it rhymes. So as Monkey is currently in bed and I can’t ask him I would say he would give this 10/10 and I would also give it the same mark and highly recommend it.

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Once Upon a time…

Once upon a time a mummy (me) had a little boy called Monkey. The mummy loved to read as a child and always looked forward to having her own children so that one day she could pass on the imaginative world that can be created from reading interesting and fun stories with equally beautiful illustrations. A long time went by before the mummy had her little boy and she soon introduced him to the picture books she remembered as a child such as the Hungry Caterpillar and Spot the Dog.

As the little boy grew, so did his imagination, his mummy had introduced him to the same imaginative world she had been introduced to many years before.  They went to the library every few weeks getting 6 or even 8 books out at a time (even though they had many books at home already). The mummy soon realized some books were better than others and decided it would be fun to share with other grown-ups which children’s books her little boy loved best and which he didn’t like as much, so the mummy has tried her best at making this blog in the hope it will entertain and delight other grown-ups with children.

The end.

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