Webb Review – Always Good by Gary Heskins and Kerry Sullivan

Always Good is a full colour children’s book written by Gary Heskins and illustrated by Kerry Sullivan, it is the story of a boy named Bobby Mac who sees the world differently to everyone around him. Teaching that the world is full of more than just material possessions and that you can be happy without all of them. Happily Bobby Mac sees his family as the richest treasure he could have. It is a feel good story with a heart of gold that tries to see the best in not having much.

Bobby has a wonderful family and they have taught him a lot about gratefulness and I think that it is a great lesson especially for children that aren’t in a position to have all of their wants met straight away. For the even children that are lucky enough to have everything, this story teaches to be a little more humble and to look at what really matters in your life.

Harrison and I really enjoyed this book, it is bright and colourful, has a clear message and was easy to read. It helped us to discuss what we take for granted in our life and how we could be more grateful for what we have too.

The illustrations by Kerry Sullivan are great, the style is very friendly and appealing to young children and old with lots of action going on, Harry particularly enjoyed the illustrations of the animals and the children playing football. Every page is jam packed with colour and energy, the characters really stand out.

The book is let down by a lack of punctuation which is very hit and miss, some pages have capital letters and full stops and others have no punctuation at all which does bother me when reading aloud especially. It could use the help of a good editor to just polish off what is a great story.

I was concerned that the book promoted an unhealthy, ideal version of being ‘always good’ however the main character does admit that he does have bad days too, which was a great addition to the story in my opinion because it is hard to be happy all of the time and is an unrealistic expectation to put on yourself or other people but it is possible to always be grateful for what you do have.

Always Good is available now from Shookbop.

Harrison and I think that this book would be great for children who are struggling to see that other people live different lives and have different lifestyles but it doesn’t make your life any less valuable. We all have moments of envy and this book would be a good one to read in those moments.

Awarded 4 out of 5 webs.

Harrison awarded Always Good 4 out of 5 webs, the story is great and the illustrations are beautiful, it just needs some work on the punctuation and grammar.

We were sent this book by Stour Valley Publishing for review, the thoughts and opinions are our own.

Thank you so much for reading our review,

Samantha and Harrison.

Webb Review – Busy Buzzy Bee by Stacy, Anske and Elodie Bax

It is not often that a book is created so beautifully and by a whole family at that. Created by the Bax family and written by mum Stacy Bax, Busy Buzzy Bee is a story that has been created from five year old Elodie’s watercolour paintings. The whole process is really creative and inventive. The mix of the innocence of Elodie’s five year old imagination painting flowers in beautiful colours combined with the parents bees makes it really magical.

Beautiful cover of Busy Buzzy Bee.

The story has some great repetition and tells children just how important bees are and how busy they are making sure that all of their jobs are done. It inspires children to look after the bees and help them as much as possible without getting too scientific and confusing.

The text is great but it is formatted in a confusing way, it could definitely be clearer but it doesn’t take much away from the story all and since it is surrounded by a literal hive of bee activity I can see how it would be difficult to format the text around it.

The back of the bus has a bonus poem and a lovely illustration dedicated to the heroes that are our amazing NHS and all they have accomplished throughout the global pandemic. It is really heartwarming.

Harrison loved the little bees.

I am a big fan of bee books and encouraging children to look after our fluffy little friends as you will know if you have seen my book Blake the Bee Who Believed or the book I illustrated for Simon Henderson, The Soggy Little Bee. It is amazing that all of these bee books can be teaching a similar message and still be amazingly different. Bees really are magical and Busy Buzzy Bee really shows that magic.

Harrison really enjoyed looking at all of the little details in the illustrations, he spent a long time looking at all of the individual bees and deciding on his favourite ones. He really engaged with the illustrations as much as the story. The colours and the beautiful illustrations really do catch your eye.

Harry awarded 5 out of 5 webs.

Busy Buzzy Bee is available now on Shookbop.

This book was sent to us for review by Stour Valley Publishing and the opinions are all our own.

Thank you so much for reading our review,

Samantha and Harrison.

Webb Review – Munchkin’s Adventure by Karen Farrell and Grandma Robyn

If you have ever sat and watched a baby play you can see that their minds are working constantly, figuring out the world around them. In Munchkin’s Adventures you get a glimpse into what Alice (Munchkin) is daydreaming about and her imagination is running wild while she is spending her day with her family doing very ordinary activities.

Beautiful soft watercolours.

Written by Karen Farrell and illustrated by Grandma Robyn, this story is enchanting and so are the illustrations. The imaginary adventures are varied and fun, from a rocket ship to a mermaid lagoon just like on the cover. Harry thought that he could imagine his baby cousins going on all of these fantastic adventures to all of these magical places. Wouldn’t it be amazing if they could really tell us about them all?

The text is simple to follow and it is laid out really nicely, you can see what Alice is really doing and what she is imagining easily which allows the illustrations to shine. They are really delicate and soft watercolours that are perfect for the tone of the gentle story.

Munchkin’s Adventure is a beautiful story.

The cover initially seems very girly, we don’t buy based on gender stereotypes in our home, we just read what we like. Hopefully the pink doesn’t put anyone off though because the story really is great for anyone, boys and girls can daydream of being merpeople and astronauts alike. Harry really enjoyed it and thought that the baby was very sweet.

Munchkin’s Adventures is available now on Shookbop.

The publisher sent us this copy for review and the opinion are all our own.

Thank you for reading our review.

Samantha and Harrison.

First Song is now available

First Song is the story of a little girl who has her life turned upside down by a her new baby brother who just will not stop crying. Mum, Pops, Nana and Grandpops all try hard to soothe the baby but are unsuccessful, can his big sister find the way to help him sleep?

Dedicated to my own daughter who has always been the best big sister anyone could wish for even if she does argue like crazy with her little brother, no one else is allowed to treat him badly, she is his protector. My Webblings are my inspiration and that has never been more obvious than in this new book.

My beautiful Webblings.

I have written the story and illustrated it digitally, I have been growing and improving, trying to get as much texture and life into digital art as I do with watercolours. It is a process that I have really enjoyed and I hope that it shows with First Song. I know that I still have a lot to learn about story writing and illustration but I am really proud to share this story with the world.

First Song has arrived.

First Song was released yesterday and has had a great reception so far, I can’t thank my family and friends enough for the encouragement and support that they have given me throughout the whole process.

Published by Moby and Puddle Books.

Available from Amazon and Folksy now.

I hope you like it as much as I do!

Samantha Webb.

One of my favourite background details in First Song.

FIRST SONG Cover Reveal

First Song is a brand new book which I have spent months writing and illustrating, I am so happy to finally reveal the cover ahead of the launch on September 13th! And here it is …

First Song Written and illustrated by Samantha Webb.

First Song is the story of a very fed up big sister who is having to learn that life with a new family member isn’t all fun and games. All baby wants to do is cry and the adults just can’t seem to soothe him no matter what they try.

This story is dedicated whole heartedly to the very best big sister that I have ever known, Lilly Summer Webb. Who even now at age 13 when she should be all surly and moody, will drop everything to be there for her brother if he is hurting. Both of my Webblings inspire me constantly but the bond they share is something that is so beautiful to watch from the outside. Don’t be fooled, they fight all the time but she has his back when he needs it too.

The story is written in rhyme and is fully illustrated in a new style that I have really been enjoying and hope that you will too! None of the characters are named because I hope you have siblings that will relate to them, maybe you could name them for me?

I am a bit mad on ‘art of …’ books because I love to see the concept art behind my favourite stories. Here is a little look at some of the behind the scenes sketches from First Song, very rough ideas. The finished book is digital but all of my initial ideas are done with paper and pencil.

Big sister concept sketches.

I had quite a clear idea of how I wanted the sister to look, sort of a wild version of Lilly I suppose. I did try lots of other ideas but I kept coming back to this one.

Choosing colours.

I wanted to have a deep earthy feel to First Song but trying to decide on a colour palette without it all blending together was difficult. My initial (Top Left) idea was what I had pictured before I started creating my character but I felt like she looked a little cold and needed warming up. I decided on the bottom right as the final design.

Cornlings are planned right from the start!

It was important to know exactly where my characters would be telling their story, this is a close family living in a very cosy and warm home. Of course every story needs a Cornling too although he was moved in the final edit to somewhere else so you will have to spot him in the finished book.

A very rough sketch of the family home.

This very early family live in a cave but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be full of home comforts. My ideas are scrawled all around the sketch. This view of the home is never shown in the final story but it helped me to have a good idea of where everyone belonged.

Baby Brother.

The first coloured image of Baby Brother, he is of course crying, poor little guy. Can you guess what will soothe him? feeding? changing? maybe. Drawing a baby was a challenge but it was a fun one and I just love drawing tiny baby feet which you will see in the book.

First Song will be available on Folksy and Amazon from September 13th and I really hope that you love it but if you can’t wait until then you can buy my previous titles from my Folksy shop and have them signed!

I am excited to see it in print so I best go and sort all of the finishing touches now! Look out for a preorder soon.

Thanks for reading,

Samantha Webbb.

Webb Review – The Birds At The Bottom Of The Garden by Carl A Mynott

The Birds At The Bottom Of The Garden is written and illustrated by Carl A Mynott of British Wildlife Tales. Fully illustrated in colour with rhyming text, this little book is a brilliant introduction to some of the varied and beautiful birds that you can find in a British garden. It encourages you to take the time to really look at them and observe what they are up to, are they collecting for their nests or waiting to catch the worms? There is a whole avian world going on around and above us and this book really gives you the inspiration to take more time to notice it.

From Grey Collared Doves to the bright blues of the Great Tit, The Birds At The Bottom Of The Garden does a great job of introducing them all. The rhyming verse keeps it fun although the lack of punctuation made it difficult for me and Harrison to read at times and is something that the author may want to look into for the second edition (of which I hope there is one).

The front cover invites you into the garden and each page tells of a different bird, followed nicely by some helpful hints to attract the birds to your garden and a helpful checklist so that children can check off the birds when they do spot them.

Harrison and The Birds At The Bottom Of The Garden.

This book was published in 2014 and I know that Carl A Mynott has published more since which we are eager to read too and will hopefully be reviewing in the not too distant future. 

Harrison learning about the wood-pigeon.

Harry enjoyed the pictures in this story, we do not have a garden and the surrounding area is full of seagulls so all of the other birds tend to keep clear however we do go to Dartmoor as often as we can and we are hoping to spot some of the birds that are in the book next time we go. Harry has recently taken an interest in photography and is hoping to get photos of the birds too. This book is definitely inspiring and makes you want to get out and about in nature. 

3.5 Webs out of 5

Harrison has awarded this book 3.5 webs out of 5 because he struggled to read the rhyming verse without punctuation but when I read it to him he really enjoyed it and he really liked the addition of the extra little creatures hidden in the backgrounds (the worm was his favourite).

The Birds At The Bottom Of The Garden is available now from Shookbop. Along with more titles from Carl A Mynott and British Wildlife Tales. But beware they will make you want to venture outdoors and go exploring! 

Thank you so much for reading our review,

Samantha and Harrison. 

Harrisons ‘would most like to see’ is the woodpecker.

NOTE – This book was sent to us for review, this is not a paid review.

We Are The Planets by Isla Grace Green – Webb Review

We were very lucky to be sent a whole bunch of books to review from ShookBop and Harry chose the first one to review, he flew straight to We Are The Planets by Isla Grace Green. It has a wonderfully bright and eye catching.

Harry enjoyed We Are The Planets.

Written by space fan, Isla Grace Green, this book is nonfiction and give you facts about each of the eight planets in our solar system.

Yes, it does leave out Pluto but we can’t be mad about that just because we want it to be a planet still. We get to look at the other eight in order with some very cute illustrations of the planets. The book is set out in a really clear and concise way. It has just enough information on each planet to teach you some facts and leave you wanting to discover even more. Harry and I think it would be great to have a book on each planet.

The colours throughout the book really draw you in and make the text exciting so if you have children who are reluctant to spend time with nonfiction books, this one would be a really great introduction to more information based books.

We found our planet!

The text is clear and concise and the font is fun and accessible for young readers. We really enjoyed the layout of this book, you could pick it up and just look at your favourite planet over and over if you wanted to.

Including a page about the sun might have been a good inclusion but I appreciate books that leave you wanting more and giving you the chance to ask your own questions. After reading this book Harry wondered if the Sun was also completely gas, so we did our own research, asking questions that we wouldn’t have asked if we hadn’t read this book.

We Are The Planets

All that being said you may be amazed (we were) to hear that Isla Grace Green wrote this book when she was just 6 years old! How amazing is that? We are very impressed and hope that it is just the beginning of a brilliant astro/author career.

Awarded 5 Webbs!

Harry has awarded this book 5 webbs! He really enjoyed it, as did I. We recommend it to anyone with a fascination with Space, anyone who has no idea about the planets or anyone who is looking for an entry level nonfiction book.

But We Are The Planets now from ShookBop.

Thank you for reading our review,

Samantha and Harrison x

Webb Review – The Clown’s Clothes by Eszter Molnar

I recently showed Harrison Webbling a list of books to choose from on my Pinterest, he immediately chose The Clown’s Clothes by Eszter Molnar because he loved the illustration on the front cover. I purchased it from Amazon and it arrived really quickly. We were not disappointed in the slightest.

Harrison Webbling proudly holding his own copy of The Clown’s Clothes.

Written by Eszter Molnar and illustrated by Anita Bagdi, The Clown’s Clothes tells the story of an adorable clown named Tommy who has lost his clothes throughout the day and is on the search to find them with the help of his friends.

The story is beautiful and shows children that you don’t have to give up, you can ask for help and a problem shared is a problem solved. As Tommy goes through his day there are funny little clues to find which show you how Tommy’s clothes went missing in the first place.

I really appreciate that the lovely cup of Tea that Tommy is enjoying.

The pictures are funny, colourful and engaging. They are really striking and blend seamlessly with the story. The author and illustrator should be really proud of the beautiful book that they have produced. Tommy may have been Harrison’s favourite character but for me, his little mouse companion (who is dressed just like him) really steals my heart.

Harrison reading The Clown’s Clothes.

We have had this book for a couple of weeks now and I can honestly say that we have read it and re-read it so many times. It has become a favourite of Harrison’s and he can now read the whole book himself without help.

If you are looking for a bright colourful story with a very uplifting ending that will have the children really engaging with the illustrations then I really recommend The Clown’s Clothes.

Harrison gave it a five out of five webs and is looking forward to more of Tommy’s adventures.

5 out of 5 Webs

Thank you for reading our review. This is our own opinion after purchasing The Clown’s Clothes.

Love Samantha x

FUNDED!!! Albie Ted Goes To Bed is coming soon …

When new author Becky Robertson contacted me about her project I had no idea what to expect. I agreed to read her manuscript and I am so glad that I did. As soon as I read Albie Ted Goes To bed for the first time I felt passionately that I really wanted to illustrate the project.

Albie Ted Goes To Bed is a story about the bond between a mother and a baby that continues to grow and get stronger even through gentle weaning, it is a positive breast feeding story aimed at young children. It really resonated with me; I breastfed both of my children and it was easier with Lilly because I could give her my full attention. Harrison arrived when Lilly was three years old, she couldn’t remember breastfeeding herself and hadn’t seen anyone else do it since so my little inquisitive three year old had lots of questions which I was happy to answer.

Lilly and Harrison Webbling x

Lilly was never upset seeing me breastfeed although she could be a little impatient like most three year olds and so she took to ‘feeding’ her baby dollies while I was feeding Harrison, we thought it was one of the most adorable things ever! However one day in nursery I was called in and told that Lilly had been told off, I was shocked, she was a good girl and never got told off (that changed as she got older but that is a story for another day!), they told me that she was told off for putting a baby doll up her top and ‘feeding’ the baby! Well, that was the first and only time I have had to really ‘tell off’ an educator! I took Lilly home and explained to her that she was not in the wrong, that her nursery teacher was the one who didn’t understand. Lilly doesn’t remember this incident but it stuck with me.

I wish that I had a book like this to read to her so that breast feeding was more normal for her, not just me telling her and showing her that it is. I looked online for cartoons, books etc to show her how normal it was and to reassure her that she wasn’t in trouble. This is a book I definitely would of bought for her. After viewing my portfolio and having lots of conversations I was absolutely blessed that Becky Robertson chose me as her illustrator.

Concept art for Albie Ted and Mummy.

This book is raising money for The Breastfeeding Network which was just even more incentive to get on board with the project. It is a charity that supports parents and families throughout the breastfeeding process. £1.00 from every book sale will go to the charity.

Becky Robertson, author of Albie Ted Goes To Bed set up a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project, I helped by adding a few pictures of the concept art and on 26.02.19 with 7 days to go, the campaign was successfully funded and the project will definitely be going ahead. I am so excited to illustrate this heartwarming story and to share it with children who might just see breast feeding as a little more mainstream and normal than they did before. I will begin illustrations for Albie Ted late March and I will keep everyone updated with the publication dates.

A huge massive thank you to all of the people who have backed the project, to the people and businesses that have shared the project far and wide. I cannot wait to get started! Big congratulations to Becky Robertson for her successful Kickstarter project, now the work begins!!!

If you have a project that you think I might be a fit for, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Thanks for reading, Samantha x

Albie Ted is going to be SUPER!