Tag Archives: children’s book

Tap The Magic Tree by Christie Matheson


wp-1470776046903.jpgHave you ever fell in love with a children’s book as an adult the quick way a young child does? Where you have to read the story no matter who is around or what is going on. This is what happened to me, we were in a small independent bookshop and there was only myself and Boo (and the man at the till not far away). I read it out loud, smiling and doing the actions the way I knew I would at home. Have you ever read a story and at the end know that even if it wasn’t going to be your child’s favourite book….yet it was now yours! This is truly what happened when I bought this book for Boo.

Tap The Magic Tree shows a tree going through the season’s showing a child how one bare tree at the start of the book can change, have leaves, blossom, the tree has fruit, the leaves change colour, the leaves fall off and then the magic starts again. This is all lovely and simple and has been shown in many books but its the words and the actions which go through the book that even a very young child can join in. A couple of examples are shown below;

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“Brush away the petals (swish!) and blow the tree a tiny kiss.”

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“Pat the leaves be gentle please.”

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“Aha! Now blow a whooshing breeze.”

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The illustrations are beautiful, they tell the story even without the words, step by step a child on their own could easily read and understand just by looking at the illustrations alone.

The story was written and illustrated by Christie Matherson, it was first published in 2013 but first published as a board book edition in 2016 (which is the edition we have). The information in the back of the book says collages were used to prepare the artwork.

Boo really loves this book which is fantastic as I previously said I fell instantly in love with it so I don’t mind reading it several times a day! Boo at only 20 months has already started doing many of the actions which shows she’s not only looking at the pictures she is now listening to the story which I find fascinating. She claps her hands, taps on the tree, wiggles her fingers and blows like the wind. This is set to be a favourite for quite a while as I can see it easily growing with her especially since there is a lovely blossom tree you can see from her bedroom window which looks similar to the tree in the book so when she’s older we can look at the book and decide which picture it looks like in the book. I think Boo would easily give this 10/10 it’s one of only a handful that she brings to me daily and has to have it read all the way through sometimes more than once or sometimes I read it to her and then she sits on my knee turning each page and pointing to the changing pictures.

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I give this book 10/10 as I’m sure you can gather by now I adore this book I don’t often use words like that to explain my love for a book but this really is a delight, it has reignited my love of good young children’s books and as Boo likes the actions so much I am now looking for other beautiful books with actions (any suggestions would be greatly welcomed), I am already hunting out another book by Christie Matherson called Touch the Brightest Star.

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Jemima Puddle Duck by Beatrix Potter

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Probably one of the best known stories written by Beatrix Potter about a duck called Jemima Puddle Duck who wants to find somewhere suitable to lay her eggs but Mr Tod a fox has other plans when supposedly helping her.

The edition we have is dated 2007 published by the Penguin Group. As with the Jeremy Fisher book this is a board book which is a lovely shape to hold.

The original story was first published by Fredrick Warne & Co in July 1908. She wrote the story on her farm which she bought in the Lake District. The characters are based on real people she knew at the farm.

The illustrations are the original Beatrix drew not the newer versions I have seen. I bought this at the same time as Mr Jeremy Fisher on a day trip to the Lake District with Boo when she was about 9 months old. I knew instantly shed like this book as she loves ducks. The illustrations have completely drawn her in and she loves this book more than perhaps some of her other books as she really takes the time to look at the illustrations in detail and has started pointing at Jemima when I ask her where the duck is.

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I would therefore suggest Boo would give this story 10/10 I too would give it the same 10/10 I remember my mam reading this to me one Christmas morning when I received it aged 5/6 I think it was one of the first of Beatrix Potter’s books read to me and I was hooked straight away and remain a fan even as an adult.

On a slightly different note today marks the 150th year since Beatrix Potter was born and strangely today of all days my son and I came across a hedgehog Mrs Tiggy-winkle in the middle of the road shuffling around, which thankfully a kind stranger rescued. If you follow my Instagram feed you may have seen the picture already if not you can find me @ccrainbowflowers

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Mr Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter

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I think this may be one of a few Beatrix Potter stories which is less known.

The story is about Mr Jeremy Fisher who is a frog who wants to catch some minnows for supper as he’s having friends round. However instead of catching minnows he has a narrow escape from a trout!

The edition we have is dated 2007 published by the Penguin Group and is a board book which is a lovely shape easy for young children to hold and yet it still retains the original illustrations which Beatrix drew.

The original story was first published by Fredwick Warne & Co in July 1906. The origin of the story as with most of her stories was written in a letter she wrote to a child in 1893. She revised it in 1906, and moved its setting from the River Tay to the Lake District.

I bought this book in the Lake District on a day trip with Boo when she was about 9 months old. She’s loved the pictures since I bought it and will happily sit smiling turning the pages back and forth looking at the illustrations with their great detail. Boo now aged 19 months has started to listen to me as I read the story.

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Although she finds it fascinating looking at the illustrations she is more drawn to the Jemima Puddle Duck story which is in the same style of book. Therefore I would suggest she gives this book 9/10. I too would give this 9/10 it’s not my favourite story but I can’t help but love the illustrations.

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Usborne Baby Very First Play Book Animal Words

img_20160223_200413_kindlephoto-5146283.jpgThis book published by Usborne is a lovely lively book of animals for babies and toddlers to enjoy on their own or with parents/older siblings etc

The book was first published in 2016 and was written by Stella Baggott.

The front cover shows various animals and many have shapes cut out of them lovely for little fingers to poke through and makes it easier to turn pages. The fun part though is that for every animal which has a shape cut out of it underneath you can see the colour of the animal underneath the gap for instance the eyes of the owl on the page below become the spots of the ladybird on the page below. In addition to this there’s shapes which you can follow your finger along such as the worm you can feel the wiggly shape of it instead of just seeing it which adds to the interest but offers another way for young children to learn and understand.

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Pages showing what may be found in a woodland

Boo who is now 17 months old loves looking at this book but also with me telling her what the creatures are. She also enjoys it when her older brother Monkey who is now 7 looks through the book with her and does animal sounds or pretends to be a snake or an elephant when she’s looking at those animals.

I really like the feel of this book and even though we’ve had it for a couple of months it still looks new despite it being read several times a day and eaten by Boo as she’s teething!

For a colourful lively book with cute cartoon animals this is a lovely little book. It gives enough information to small children with animal names and the pages of animals are grouped i.e. farm animals, forest animals, insects, sea creatures and jungle which can lead to further reading and understanding as the child grows.

As Boo is unable at this time to tell me how many out of 10 she’d give it I can only go on how much she looks at this book and requests it so I would suggest 8/10 as she has other books she enjoys more. I will give this 8/10 as it can grow with the child demonstrated even by my son being still interested in flicking through the pages with Boo and it has led to discussions with him regarding the many featured animals.

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Book Review: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr illustrated by Eric Carle

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A classic story which somehow both myself and Monkey have never read before. First published in 1984, this edition was published in 2007 by Puffin books.

The rhyming story begins with:

“Brown Bear,
Brown Bear,
What do you see?
I see a red bird looking at me”

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And so the rhyme continues with a red bird, yellow duck, blue horse, green frog, purple cat, white dog, black sheep, goldfish, teacher and the pupils.

The book is aimed at young children who are first learning about colours however it’s also perfect to discuss different shades of these colours ie the bear has shades of light and dark brown.

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The illustrations are quickly recognised as being drawn by Eric Carle and as it is a classic many people may have some of these illustrations as artwork in children’s bedrooms and nurseries.

Monkey being now 7 is a little too old for this book but he still enjoyed the rhyme and looking at the different shades of the animals. Monkey gives this book 8/10.

I enjoyed the rhyme and I wasn’t expecting the inclusion of the teacher and pupils at the end. I love Eric Carle’s artwork in this book which perfectly shows the different shades of the colours described. I give this book 9/10.

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That’s not my mermaid by Fiona Watt

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This is another Usborne touchy feely book which Boo my 10 month old daughter loves at the moment.

The Usborne touchy feely series of books is aimed at the very young child but is suitable for toddlers. Each picture has varied patches of texture to develop sensory awareness and language.

This story is about finding the correct mermaid and as with all the books in this series the illustrations each have a little white mouse hidden in the page.  The illustrations in this title are by Rachel Wells and capture the story perfectly. The illustrations are bright but not garish and the textures are inviting to both children and the adult reading the story.

Boo particularly likes the below page and is often found with the book over her head or her curled up in front of it sticking out her tongue to feel the bumpy texture of the mermaids hair clip.

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During the summer I took this book along to the beach for Boo to look at while my husband and son went looking for crabs in rock pools. However in my haste to try and stop Boo eating a handful of sand I put the book front side down onto the sand only to realise later that as with all of these books in the series the story starts on the front cover including texture. The front cover (as you can see at the top of this post) has a lovely illustration of a mermaid with flowing hair the texture is fluffy! Yes our poor little mermaid got a lot of sand in her hair but thankfully being a robust made little book I managed to rub the sand out of her hair and it still looks lovely and fluffy.

Given Boo is very young she can’t really score the book however as she often asks for this book and often sits quietly mesmerized by the pictures I can see she really loves this book.

I will score this book 10/10 I love the illustrations and is perfect for both boys and girls (this book was originally my son’s which I kept for Boo). The words are simple but explain the illustrations lovely. Next time I take it to the beach I’ll remember about her hair!

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Children’s Book Review: A Dog Day by Emily Rand

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This is the first children’s book the author Emily Rand has written published in 2014 by Tate Publishing.

The story is about a Terrier dog being taken on a walk and is written in the perspective of the dog. The dog thinks he’s  going to be taken straight to the park but his owner has a few other stops to make first. You can feel the excitement of the dog at the start of the story but you also feel his disappointment when he’s not taken directly to the park.

Unlike most children’s books the illustrations (also by Emily Rand) are all black and white and yet there is a depth to them with the details for instance the bricks in the wall are not just black they have some variation in the colour and pattern and the dog isn’t simply plain, you can see his curly fur.

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My son, Monkey wasn’t too sure of the book at first because of the lack of colour however once I’d read the the story which has a lovely rhythm and rhyme he actually really liked it. His favourite part was when the dog got to the park as he liked the illustrations of the other dogs.

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Monkey gave this book 7/10 as he prefers colour pictures but he enjoyed the story.

I give this book 8/10 I loved the way the story was from the dogs perspective taking you on a lovely journey.  It made me wonder if perhaps it’s how young children feel too when you don’t take them directly to the park so it would be a lovely story to share with perhaps a toddler to help explain that sometimes adults have to do other jobs first before going to the park.  I also liked that despite it being a children’s book the author has not used any colour.  I showed some of the illustrations to Boo (who is 10 months old) and she sat clapping with a grin on her face so clearly a winner for her.  I have put the book on my wishlist as this copy was from the library and will look out for future stories from the author.

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The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson & illustrated by Axel Scheffler

 

The story is about a giant called George who always wears the same pair of brown sandals and the same patched up gown.  One day he notices a new shop and so he buys himself a new shirt, a smart pair of trousers, a smart belt, a smart stripy tie, some socks with diamonds up the side and some shiny shoes.

On his way home though he meets lots of animals who are all upset for one reason or another such as the giraffe who has a cold neck he gives his tie and the giraffe uses this as a scarf, a goat whose sail on his boat blew away – George gives him his shirt – and this continues throughout the story until – well the smartest giant in town with his new clothes is no more as he’s given all his new clothes away.

The story has a lovely rhyme and an equally impressive story almost like an Asop fable in that the story revolves around giving to those in need and you will then be rewarded as George is at the end of the story and throughout he is happy that he is helping those around him who had previously been upset before his help.

Another fantastic book by Julia Donaldson and the illustrations by Axel Scheffler beautifully accompany the story so that a young child who can’t read is able to read the story by looking at the pictures.

This is certainly another favorite in our home, and I’m unsure how many time’s I have read this story to Monkey .  I would rate this 10/10.  Monkey loves this story and says the best bit is the giraffe – as he thinks it’s funny that he’s using a tie as a scarf!

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Danny’s Adventure Bus by Lucy Marcovitch & Illustrated by Paul Cemmick

I don’t know how many times we’ve got this book out of the library – I’ve lost count!  It is certainly one of those stories that delights my little boy when he see’s it to the point where I may have to try and purchase it!

It’s a story about a little boy and his mum who are on a bus, which gets stuck in a traffic jam (doesn’t sound interesting to begin with I know) – you know that feeling when you’re going at a snails pace stuck behind several hundred cars, vans, lorries etc well this little boy in the story – Danny doesn’t like traffic jams either and pulls out his special drivers hat and declares “jam jumping is my specialty”.  He takes them on an imaginative bus ride away from the traffic jam but instead getting stuck in various other jams – such as the camel jam, elephant jam, goat jam and under the sea.

Every time they get stuck in another jam Danny declares “jam jumping is my specialty”.

My favorite bit is when they do a u turn around a coral reef and Monkey likes the camel jam and finds this bit very funny!

It is very imaginative, the illustrations capture the story perfectly but I’m always left wondering were they asleep and just having a lovely dream or did it happen????

Danny's Adventure Bus

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