Friday, 24 July 2015

On The Move (Little Explorers)

On The Move (Little Explorers)

By Ruth Martin & Allan Sanders
Published by Templar Publishing

I love informative books that are fun and exciting, and that’s definitely the case with On The Move, part of the Little Explorers series. A book, where you might learn a thing or two yourself!

On The Move explores the many vehicles that we would find on the road, sea, underground and in the air. With flaps to lift, you can explore what can be found inside the many vehicles around us. The book starts on Bikes and Scooters, and shows a range of all the different shapes and sizes that they can come in. There is detailed labelling to all the different parts that make up vehicles, with little informative bullet points. Other vehicles covered include the bus, train, boats, aircraft, trucks, vans and busy workers. 

I found the book really interesting with a good variety of vehicles covered. Children will love lifting flaps to explore inside lorries or check out the passengers. The text isn’t overwhelming but short, fun and informative, a good mix at keeping young childrens attention, especially as this series is aimed at ages 3+.

Allan Sanders’ graphic style is fun and eye catching and works really well with this type of book. If you're not familiar with Allan's work I recommend taking a visit to his website, he really does have a great portfolio of illustrations and clients.

This series was published in March by Templar Publishing and it’s a lovely, friendly introduction to the world of vehicles and I can bet that the My Amazing Body, part of the Little Explorers series, is just as fun and informative as this - it’s on my wish list! Little Explorers: On The Move is available in all good bookshops or online.

Hedgehugs - Horace and Hattiepillar

Horace and Hattiepillar

By Lucy Tapper & Steve Wilson 
Published by Maverick Publishing

Horace and Hattie are back, the two adorable little hedgehogs who are the best of friends. Hedgehugs - Horace and Hattiepillar, is Lucy Tapper and Steve Wilson’s second book featuring these two sweet friends and if you have yet to read Hedgehugs, you can read my review here.

Horace and Hattie are the very best of friends and love to do everything together; watch blossom fall, look for the first star of the night and play hide and seek in the meadow. But one day they find something tiny and interesting under a leaf. It was shiny and round and out crawled a wriggly, striped thing. It looked at Horace and Hattie and started to eat the leaf and in no time at all, the leaf had disappeared. Horace and Hattie found more leaves for it to eat and it got bigger and bigger before one day it made a soft, silky bed and slept for many days and nights. Then one sunny morning, out crawled something beautiful and colourful. It looked at Horace and Hattie, waved its wings and flew off.

This gives Horace the idea that if they eat lots of food, and build a bed, maybe they would turn into something beautiful and wonderful as well. So Horace and Hattie munched and crunched their way through lots of food before making a bed out of flowers. After a good nights sleep, they awake to find themselves changed as well - they’re all covered in the brightly, colourful flower petals and look beautiful.

It’s lovely to see Horace and Hattie again in this sweet little story. Children will like seeing what these two hedgehogs get up to and how they help the caterpillar to grow and become a beautiful butterfly. Great for making very little ones aware of caterpillars and butterflies in the garden. As like the previous book, Hedgehugs, this story is also about caring and friendships. Lucy Tapper continues to use the different textures creating simple but cute pictures. This charming book is recommended for ages 3+ and is available in all good book shops or online.



By Steve Smallman and illustrated by Ada Grey
Published by Little Tiger Press

We’re celebrating award-winning author Steve Smallman and Ada Grey’s Poo in the Zoo this week, and here's another laugh out loud book by the talented duo - Hippobottymus. It’s fun, it’s bonkers and features a farting surprise!

When Mouse sits down by a bubbling creek, the creek loudly bubbles which made Mouse squeak, squeak, SQUEAK! The bubbling and the squeak make a great song and soon Bird wants to sing along and Centipede too, tapping a beat with his tappity feet. Other animals want to join in once they hear the music; there’s a monkey crying “Woo-hoo” and a Warthog banging on his bottom like a big bass drum, and finally being joined by Crocodile, playing on his teeth like a xylophone with a bone. All of the animals are having fun, dancing and making music all day long. Mouse thanks everyone, but who was making the bubbling sound?…It’s Hippo. But Mouse and all of the other animals don’t realise it was Hippo until he explains that he had beans in the week and his bottom has been parping and making bubbles in the creek!

Hippobottymus is very funny and has a musical rhyming story that will get you singing along to the musical noises with the little ones. I found myself singing out loud and getting louder as each animal joins in. I especially love the end, reading Hippo’s reason for his trumping and parping bottom. Ada Grey’s lively illustrations work really well with this funny story too, bringing extra humour to the pages.

Like Poo in the Zoo, Hippobottymus is packed full with laughs! Available in all good book shops and online from Little Tiger Press

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Poo in the Zoo Activity Sheet

With the kids all on school holidays now here's a great activity sheet illustrated by Ada Grey to download and colour in. You can download the Poo in the Zoo activity sheet from here. Don't forget that there's still time to win a signed copy of Poo in the Zoo, more information here and on my twitter.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Steve Smallman Q&A

It's Poo in the Zoo week and today we have a Q&A with author Steve Smallman, writer of Hippobottymus, Big, Bad Owl, Bear's Big Bottom as well as countless others.

Steve Smallman has taken up writing his own stories after illustrating children's books for over 30 years. He also teaches illustration and mural-painting workshops in schools. When he's not working, Steve enjoys films, television, gardening and walking in the countryside.

BWB: How did you come up with the idea for Poo in the Zoo?
SS: Actually, It wasn't my initial idea, the publishers, Little Tiger Press came up with the title and asked me to write it. It took me three goes; the first was too predictable, the second unprintable and the third was just right!

BWB: Do you have a favourite animal in the zoo?
SS: I really like giraffes, maybe because I was tall and skinny (and spotty) when I was young!

BWB: Do you have a favourite animal poo?
SS: Well, I haven't really given it too much thought but, I suppose elephant poo; impressive  but not too stinky.

BWB: Do you prefer to write or illustrate?
SS: I like to do both. I need to draw, it's part of who I am but I really enjoy writing too. I like to illustrate my books every now and then just to keep my hand in but I'm mostly happy to let someone else draw the pictures  (especially when it's someone talented like Ada Grey!)

BWB: Where's your favourite place to write?
SS: I actually type up my stories in the hall at my house but for planning new stories, coffee shops are great and dog walking is good for mulling over ideas! ( I did get strange from other dog walkers, talking through Poo in the Zoo out loud!)

Thank you Steve for a wonderfully stinky Q&A! If you would like the chance of winning a signed copy of Poo in the Zoo, simply leave a comment below or RT this tweet and follow me! More Poo in the Zoo fun tomorrow!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Poo in the Zoo

Poo in the Zoo

By Steve Smallman & illustrated by Ada Grey
Published by Little Tiger Press

There’s too much poo in the zoo and Zoo Keeper Bob is exhausted. There’s tiger poo, lion poo, prickly porcupine poo, plummeting giraffe poo and even bouncy kangaroo poo! Steve Smallman and Ada Grey are back with their latest, hilarious book, Poo in the Zoo. What will Keeper Bob do when a mysterious glowing poo turns up, is it from outer space? Children will love this fun, poopy picture book.

Join Bob McGrew, a keeper at the zoo. Keeper Bob loves animals but it’s not always fun working at the zoo because he has to push around a cart all day shovelling up the POO! There is so much poo; Lion’s poo, bouncy kangaroo’s poo, drippy droppings from a fat wombat, flying bits of bat’s poo and a pongy pat of panda poo. But when it’s time to muck out Iguana’s enclosure, a tired Keeper Bob slips on a banana, and a cheeky Iguana makes a run for it. The Iguana causes havoc in the cafeteria, eating everything in sight, including lime lollies and all the cake from the cake stand and he think’s he can’t eat any more when he spots some sparkly fireflies and gobbles them up as well. Iguana’s bum starts to glow, and with a funny face he plopped a huge, glowing poop on the floor. Shocked at the poo, Iguana soon dashes back to his cage. 

When Zoo Keeper Bob finds the huge glowing poo, he’s never seen a poo like this and thinks it must be from outer space. It isn’t long before everyone has heard about the glowing poo and flock to see it. A Hector Gloop turns up who is a poo collector and wants to show Keeper Bob his Poo Museum. Filled with huge poos, tiny poos, even mammoth and a rare dragon poo, Hector Gloop wants to buy the glowing poo. Keeper Bob sold the poop and spends the money wisely on a robot pooper scooper. No more scooping poop for Keeper Bob McGrew.

Poo in the Zoo is hilariously funny, and with a rhyming text, you will enjoy reading this out loud to little ones with its cheeky word play. Ada Grey’s illustrations are bold, with cute fun characters and she has managed to illustrate all of the different types of poo rather tastefully! 

This poop filled picture book will have you and your little ones roaring with laughter at all of the poo antics that goes on at Bob McGrew’s zoo. Recommend at ages 3+, you can buy Poo in the Zoo at all good bookshops or online here. Visit the blog all this week for more Poo in the Zoo fun, with an exclusive interview from Steve Smallman tomorrow. There will also be the opportunity to win a signed copy of the book which I'll announce on my twitter account today, so get following to find out more!

Friday, 10 July 2015

Animal Flash Cards: ABC

Animal Flash Cards: ABC

By Camilla de le Bédoyère 
Published by QED Publishing

QED have just released a gorgeous Animal Flash Card Series, by Camilla de la Bédoyère. Flash cards are a great way for children to learn the basic elements and memorize them through short repeat sessions.

The Animal Flash Card: ABC includes 20 double sided cards which can be used for interactive learning. Each card is beautifully illustrated with an animal, for example: A is for angelfish, B is for butterfly, C is for chameleon etc. Each card also has an animal fact on the back, great for animal lovers and introducing some that might not be as well known, such as a quetzal, a bird that eats fruit, insects and lizards or an umbrella bird who gets it’s name from the crest on their head. 

The cards are a good size for handling and a good thickness. The animal illustration and text used for the alphabet are stunning.  Even when the cards are no longer needed, these cards are so pretty they will look great inside frames on walls or in a classroom.

This flash card series are recommended for ages 3+ and though my daughter is too young yet, the colours and pictures of animals kept her attention for a few minutes but I definitely look forward to using them later on with her.

The Animal Flash Cards series are available in all good bookshops and available to buy online.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Animalium Activity Book

Animalium Activity Book

Illustrated by Katie Scott 
First published by Big Picture Press

Wow! You’re going to love this Animalium Activity Book, its bursting with interesting facts, fun puzzles and will definitely offer hours of entertainment to little artists. 

This beautiful activity book is meant to complement the popular hardback, Animalium by Katie Scott. Part of the Welcome to the Museum series and recommended at ages 7+. Filled with creative colouring, fun drawing activities and design, as well as fascinating facts and puzzles from around the world. Answers can be found on the back of puzzle pages. Each activity page is stylishly laid out and would look great on any child’s wall.

Katie Scott’s detailed illustrations are stunning and I love the muted colours used for the backgrounds and borders. I’m going to find it hard giving this to Aoife when she’s older, as I’m very tempted to complete it myself! As an animal lover, I found this extremely interesting and loved looking through it. I think I’m going to be buying Animalium and look forward to further exploring the animal kingdom with Aoife.

Animalium Activity Book is available in all good bookshops and to buy online.

DOT. Magazine - Vol. 1 The Shapes Issue

DOT. is the new creative magazine for littles ones, aimed at girls and boys under the age of 5. It’s fun and creative, and if you have an eager to learn child, then this magazine is a nice alternative to an activity book. 

The theme for the first issue is Shapes and covers a whole section aimed at learning about a variety of different shapes, giving information about the number of sides, examples of objects that are that shape and offering a space for children to practice drawing the shapes themselves. 

The magazine also offers activity suggestions, little illustrated stories, jokes, recipes and much more. Illustrations are by Anorak’s chief designer Anna Dunn. I love her style and the colours used, it’s bright, bold and looks fun. There are other guest illustrators as well who have created little stories throughout the magazine.

Advertised as the Happy Mag for Creative Kids, it definitely is, and I know children will look forward to receiving this through the post, something to brighten any dull day. Issue 2 is due out in August so catch this issue whilst its still out or get a subscription from here.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Little Tiger’s day out at the Zoo!

Last weekend, Aoife and I were given the chance to meet authors and illustrators and read latest picture books with Little Tiger Press. But not only that, there were crafts, coffee, pastries and face painting. There was also some roaringly good tiger cupcakes! This was all followed by a trip to London Zoo.

Little Tiger Press are publishing some fantastic books this month and August, which I shall be reviewing later on in the month. We were lucky enough to meet Steve Smallman, author of Poo in the Zoo, which he read out loud and had everyone in stitches. The lovely author, Tracey Corderoy and illustrator, Tim Warnes of More, were there helping little ones make and dress their own little Archie. We missed Jane Chapman, author and illustrator of No More Cuddles but there was lots of activities sheets for the little ones to enjoy.

I also had the chance to chat to author, Caroline Crowe, whose first book Pirates in Pyjamas, will be coming out in August, illustrated by Tom Knight. We also met Jenna Harrington, author of Katie McGinty Wants a Pet! Another first time book. It was great to find out what gave them their inspirations for these two fun picture books.

Aoife and I loved our visit to London Zoo - We were able to see the penguins swimming around, watch the big bird display and saw so many animals. And with the lovely weather, we spoilt ourselves and enjoyed some ice cream. A very fun day! Thank you to everyone at Little Tiger Press who helped arranged this lovely day and it was great meeting you all!