Written by Tazkia Dokrat and illustrated by Kerry Green, Peaty Pencil Learns To Help is a lovely little book about a pencil who is great at academics and not so great at sports (I can instantly relate!)
Peaty Pencil has to learn that everyone has strengths and weaknesses and that helping each other really helps everyone. It is a very cute book and the pencils have so much personality. I am a massive stationary addict (Hoarder?) and seeing these little pencils chatting and running is just charming. It is a really cute idea. It isn’t easy to give emotion and movement to inanimate objects and Kerry Green does it really well.
The font selection is a little strange as random words throughout the text are given extra emphasis with decorative fonts, it does add to the interest on the text only pages. It is only a short story but is one of a series of Pencil Case Pals and we would be really interested to see the rest too.
We were curious on pages where Peaty Pencil and friends were sat writing with little pencils, did those little pencils have personalities too? That would be super cute but could go on forever.
This book was sent to us for review by the publisher Stour Valley Publishing and our opinions are our own.
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.
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.
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.
Written and illustrated by Jenny Neal, Stick It Brit is a children’s book that helps to encourage children to learn in their own unique ways.
Stick It Brit was not at all what I was expecting from the title, both Harrison and I thought wrongly that the book would be about Brit giving up or telling someone to leave them alone, perhaps it is a regional dialect thing but saying ‘stick it’ is not the positive message that we soon found this book to be. It was made very clear very fast that the stick which was being referred to was actually sticky notes!
Stick It Brit is the story of a little girl who is struggling to learn spelling and vocabulary and uses sticky notes to help often with hilarious results (have you tried to pop a sticky note on a cat? Brit did!). It was great to see Brit not only recognise her own struggles but to find a way to work through them too. A story of perseverance even when it isn’t easy and that practice will make your tasks easier.
It is a great story that shows not everyone will learn in the same way and that you need to find the way to suit you best.
The illustrations are bright, bold and colourful. I really like the energetic backgrounds on every page, there is not a single page that lets down that energy which carries the enthusiasm throughout the book. It is educational without losing track of the story and would be a great motivator to a child who is struggling to find their own way of learning.
Harry really enjoyed the story too and thought that the idea was brilliant, he suggested that each book should come with a pack of sticky notes to get you started.
Stick It Brit also raises money for Twinkling Stars, Stillbirth Bereavement Services which just makes it even more special.
Published by Stour Valley Publishing and available now from Shookbop.
This book was sent to us for review and these opinions are our own.
Sid The Snail Has Lost His Trail is written by Chloe Helene Harding and illustrated by Marife Gonzales, a picture book written in rhyme that aims to teach children perseverance. Sid gets separated from his mummy in bad weather and has to find his way home alone but it is not an easy journey.
Harrison and I really enjoyed Sid’s story, it is simple to follow and is full of heart. Sid meets lots of friends on the way and listens to their advice not to give up. I think that children will really relate to Sid, even now I can remember that fear when I was lost as a child (only for a few moments luckily) and the fear of being alone is real. It also shows that Mummy and the whole family never gave up looking for Sid either which I think is a really important part of the story too. The main theme is perseverance and that is exactly what Sid will learn by the end of his journey.
The illustrations by Marife Gonzales are absolutely beautiful. A mix of digital and collage with lots of texture. They are bright and impactful and match the tone of the story from page to page. My favourites were the trees, leaves and flowers whereas Harry really loved the characters especially Len the louse. It has a very cheerful overall feel to the story despite some of the darker parts when Sid is scared and lonely.
Sid The Snail Has Lost His Trail made a great bedtime story all snuggled up and ready to sleep. We were very glad that there was a happy ending, a really warm and fuzzy happy ending to Sid’s journey. We would highly recommend this story for your bedtime routine, it was heartwarming and wholesome.
The author, Chloe Helene harding is an advocate of Growth Mindset especially in children and the book includes a great explanation about how helping a child to develop a growth mindset will help them in the future to nurture themselves and the world around them. I believe that this is incredibly important and something that is too often overlooked. Seeing it in the back of the book can be really enlightening to parents and carers, it is in my opinion a great addition. It is a great lesson for adults too and we all need a reminder sometimes.
Stour Valley Publishing are the publishers behind the story and they sent it to us for review and we are very glad that they did, we have really enjoyed getting to know Sid and the world that the author and illustrator have created together. Hopefully it is the first of many.
Harrison has awarded this book 5 out of 5 webs and has asked if he can read it again soon. I think he will probably enjoy it even more when he isn’t so sleepy too.
Introducing Sherman is a picture book written and illustrated by children’s author Ruth Drury. As the title suggests, the story introduces Sherman, a character who has a very unique job, he is responsible for the anxious feeling in the pit of our stomachs when we feel ashamed of something we have done or are about to do. Poor Sherman has had enough of his job and wants to retire.
The story is a teaching aid to help children recognise why they might feel ashamed and ways that they might find helpful to stop them feeling bad. Showing that shame is a natural and normal emotion that doesn’t have to linger for long.
Sherman is a complex character that Harrison and I enjoyed discussing. The concept of emotions is a difficult one to portray as a character and Sherman is a good example of it done well. I am not sure that either of my children would of really grasped the concepts that Introducing Sherman was describing when they were 4-7 years (which is the target age for the book) but at 9 years old it started some really deep conversations. I think that if you have a child who is struggling with feelings of self doubt and anxiety then this book could help them to recognise their emotions.
I get the impression from the cover that Sherman is only one of ‘The Shenanigans’ and that we will possibly see more in the future although it doesn’t make it clear in the book so I cannot be sure.
The illustrations are bright and eye catching with a collage feel to them. The character of Sherman is definitely the star of the book and stands out despite being surrounded by an array of other characters, his little red pants are just brilliant. It is a unique style of illustration and I really enjoyed the full pages with lots and lots of detail. There are a few pages where the characters inexplicably have no faces despite all of the other characters having faces which was a little off putting because they didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the illustrations throughout the book. If you are looking for a book absolutely jam packed full of colour then you will enjoy Introducing Sherman and I don’t think it is a style that I have come across before.
Of course Harrys favourite part was always going to be when a granny shouts ‘BUM!’ It sort of comes out of nowhere and although I didn’t really understand why the granny was shouting or who she was shouting at, Harry didn’t care in the least, he thought it was hilarious and that Sherman should perhaps just make everyone shout ‘BUM!’ all the time and he might not want to retire anymore.
Introducing Sherman is a bright colourful book that will help you start a conversation with your child about the emotion of shame and how to overcome that feeling so that it doesn’t stop them from doing things they enjoy. The vibrant palette and all of the small details in the illustrations elevate the story to make it more fun.
Harry has awarded Introducing Sherman 3 out of 5 webs, he did struggle to understand the concept without us talking it through but he really liked Sherman and all of the illustrations. It is not a book that we would read a lot but it is one that will be great to come back to when we need to discuss emotions and we both hope that Sherman is just the first of The Shenanigans.
You can learn more about Introducing Sherman and Ruth Drury’s books on Ruth’s website. Or grab your own copy of Introducing Sherman now from Shookbop.
Thank you so much for reading our review,
Samantha and Harrison x
Please note that this book was sent to us for review, this is not a paid review and is completely our own views.
Written by Stacy Bax and illustrated by Anita King, Sydney Spider is a beautiful story about friends coming together to help when all feels lost.
Harrison and I read this book together and he has read it twice more alone since, so I think it is definitely a winner. The illustrations are really beautiful, Anita King has infused so much sweetness and warmth into the main character, Sydney Spider that no one could possibly be scared of this little spider even if you do suffer from arachnophobia.
The story is written in rhyme and flows really well, it has a great rhythm and is spaced well for being read out loud and shared. It is simple to follow and is really kindhearted. It is a wonderful way to teach children to be a bit more respectful of the homes of the creatures that live around us with a focus on leaving spider webs alone.
The characters are all very sweet, we enjoyed the illustrations of the different animals paw prints but were a bit confused about how they followed the footprints because most of the animals are wearing (adorable) boots. It didn’t take anything away from the story though which is honestly enchanting.
From an illustration standpoint I feel like the front cover could have been different, the image is beautiful but it gives away the ending a little prematurely and as we were reading Harrison commented that he “thought that would happen because its on the cover”. The illustrations could also do with being a little sharper but that doesn’t take away from their charm.
Sydney Spider would be perfect for children who are scared of spiders because it gently introduces them to the fact that spiders are creatures that need protecting too. It is intended for children younger than Harrison and would be great for younger audiences but sometimes its good to remind older children of the importance of looking after creatures smaller than them too and picture books really shouldn’t have an age limit in our opinion. I’m 35 and will never grow out of picture books! It is also great if like me you have a fear of spiders that you don’t want to pass on to your children.
Sydney Spider is published by Stour Valley Publishing who were kind enough to send us this copy for review. We enjoyed it and think you should grab a copy from Shookbop.
Now we may be biased because the story is about a web but Harrison has awarded Sydney Spider 5 out of 5 webs and we are both looking forward to reading more stories by Stacy Bax and seeing more of Anita King’s illustrations.
Written and illustrated by Gabriella Heyburn, What A Clever Cat is a full colour picture book about a very clever cat indeed. The story follows three cats and their owners to the winter fair with some very funny conclusions.
Harrison and I enjoyed seeing the cats in their homes being pampered, the different homes have been illustrated beautifully, my favourite is the canal barge, what a lovely home for a cat.
The story is very sweet with lots of lovely big illustrations of the cats, if you have a child who is a cat lover then this book is a very easy sell, they will definitely enjoy it! The illustrations are clear and tell the story really well and the font is very bold and simple making it ideal for early readers but I can easily imagine adults enjoying the cheeky and mischievous antics of the cat too.
Harrison loves all books with animals as a main focus and he thought that the ending was brilliant. Initially he was unsure about choosing this book because the cover is quite dull and he thought it might be a sad story but once he had a little flick through and saw that it was actually really colourful he got comfy and sat down for a read. The cover really gives nothing away, it may have been better to have a brighter and more eye catching cover that matched the feel of the interior but then perhaps the surprise wouldn’t of been as humorous?
We also found it hilarious that one of the cats loves sausages, having never had a cat of our own (We are very much bunny people!) we had no idea that cats would enjoy sausages and for some reason that visual is just really funny to us.
What A Clever Cat is Gabriella Heyburns first picture book and we really hope that she will continue to make them. Gabriella captured the characteristics of the cats beautifully, they have a lot of personality. The story telling is great and I can see it getting better and better with more books.
If you know a little cat lover you can’t go wrong with this story book. It has been a difficult one to review because I really do not want to give the ending away and spoil it for you. It is a really charming story.
Harrison has awarded this book a 4 webs out of 5, the only part he wasn’t sure about though was the cover, a lesson that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover because he enjoyed the story inside and it wasn’t sad at all.
You can get yourself a copy of What A Clever Cat now from Shookbop. This is an author and illustrator that I think will continue to put out beautiful stories so get yourself her first book now.
Thank you so much for reading our review.
Samantha and Harrison x
Please note – this book was sent to us for review, it is not a paid review and all opinions are our own.
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.
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.
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.
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.
NOTE – This book was sent to us for review, this is not a paid 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.