How to Nab A Rabbit – Claire Freedman & Monika Filipina

 

Kids love the idea that all the different world’s that they encounter in books are all linked together. Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks are friends. Harry Potter has met Ben and his Gangster Granny. The logic that the Big Bad Wolf would therefore feature in another book came as being totally normal to Master C. And that’s exactly what happens in How to Nab a Rabbit.

How to Nab A Rabbit

In How to Nab a Rabbit, the Big Bad Wolf himself provides some foolproof tips as to how to get yourself a rabbit for the pot. In the words of the wolf himself:

For hungry wolves, this book is a winner,

It shows you how to catch your dinner.

Love bunny pie and rabbit stew?

They’ll soon become your dream come true.

The Big Bad Wolf covers off all sorts of different tactics, from stalking rabbits to creating holes for them to simply fall in to. He even addresses the most daring tactic of them all – The Love Lure.

Despite his fictional reputation, it seems that the Big Bad Wolf isn’t actually all that successful in nabbing a rabbit. So much so in fact that by the end of How to Nab a Rabbit the Big Bad Wolf has come up with a new idea for a book: How to be a Vegetarian!

I guess it just goes to show that it’s always worth having a back up plan for when things don’t go according to plan.

How to Nab a Rabbit is a proper laugh out loud kids book. With its rhyming verse it’s perfect for reading out loud at bedtime and Master C was chuckling along as I read. Author Claire Freedman knows exactly how to make kids laugh, and Monika Filipina’s accompanying illustrations capture the Big Bad Wolf’s attempts perfectly.

If you’ve enjoyed How to Nab a Rabbit then why not check out some of Claire Freedman’s other books that I’ve reviewed:

How to Nab a Rabbit was published by Simon & Schuster on 9 August 2018. Paperback ISBN 978-1-4711-4451-6 Priced at £6.99. It can be bought online via Amazon here

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of How to Nab A Rabbit for the purposes of this review. All opinions remain my own. This post contains affiliate links.

The Night Watch Ninjas – Lilly Roscoe, Lisa & Damien Barlow

Night Watch Ninjas

Master C has been a huge fan of Supertato recently, and so it came as no surprise when the first book that he picked out in the latest pile sent from Simon & Schuster was The Night Watch Ninjas.

He instantly fell in love with the idea of Stinker the Stink-Meister Smellykins Skunk being on the loose, although to be honest he didn’t really seem that concerned with capturing him. Instead he was just getting excited about how smelly he was. I guess that’s boys for you!

The Night Watch Ninjas are concerned though. They make it their mission to capture him, despite the skunk’s best attempt to put them off his scent. Stink Bombs and Smelly Cheese won’t beat the ninjas, although a supermarket full of skunks does slow them down a bit. Luckily they remember their training and try to get inside the mind of their opposition. That’s the best way to success in a situation like this.

This is a fantastic, action packed book that Master C absolutely loved. The addition of the membership test for being a member of the Night Watch Ninja Club was a fantastic final part. Master C jumped out of bed and took the test incredibly seriously, jumping around his bedroom like a proper ninja. Well as much as he could in a bedroom that was reading about 28 degrees at the time! He just now wants to know what his first ninja assignment will be.

The Night Watch Ninjas is a great book to appeal to children who love a bit of action in their bedtime stories. Lily Roscoe has done a fantastic job in writing a story that really is packed full of action (and smells) and this is accompanied wonderfully by husband and wife team Lisa and Damien Barlow’s great illustrations.

Watch out for the Night Watch Ninjas (probably with Master C in tow) keeping your town safe from night-time mischief!

The Night Watch Ninjas was published by Simon & Schuster on 12 July 2018. Paperback ISBN 978-1-4711-6467-5 Priced at £6.99. It can be bought online via Amazon here

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of The Night Watch Ninjas for the purposes of this review. All opinions remain my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Peter’s Railway Hits the Jackpot – Christopher Vine

Anyone who knows Master C from one of my other blogs or my social media accounts will know that he is train obsessed. Totally!

He’s also a little boy with an eye for detail. One who likes to know exactly how everything works and why it does so in the way it does. And asks lots of lots of questions about things. Especially when it comes to trains. Luckily for me I’ve got an engineering background, so can work out answers to many of his questions. And when I can’t Bonn can usually provide an answer.

As much as he loves books he’s always been on the lookout for books about trains. When we take him to the supermarket and his sister is busy choosing a magazine I can usually find him sat on the floor. carefully working his way through a copy of one of the many train magazines that they seem to stock. He might not be able to read independently yet, but that doesn’t stop him looking at the pictures and trying to work things out from them.

His little mind was blown somewhat when we recently took him to Bekonscot model village. He’s been several times before and fondly remembered all the trains going round, but I think he’d forgotten just how much there was of interest to him in the gift shop afterwards.

As parents we all know what it’s like having to run the gift shop gauntlet before you can get out of a tourist attraction these days. Whilst I draw the line at some of the pieces of plastic that my kids seem insistent on buying I’m a soft touch when it comes to books. At Bekonscot I told both of them that they could choose a book to take home as a souvenir of the day and Master C spent quite a while choosing exactly which one he wanted.

Peter's Railway Hits the Jackpot

Now, we’d come across Peter’s Railway before now. I think he may have been bought one of the books as a gift once, and I’d certainly found a couple in a charity shop, but when we read them with him originally I think he was still just a bit too young to take them in properly.

This time though at Bekonscot he was drawn to the selection that they had in the gift shop and was determined that one had to make its way home with him. With his preference for diesel and electric engines over steam ones his eye was drawn to Peter’s Railway Hits the Jackpot and I’m so glad it was as I don’t think the pair of us have ever enjoyed a book together quite so much.

The thing about Peter’s Railway books is that they are so much more than “just” a train story. Each book combines a train based story with loads of historical and engineering train related facts.

Their strap line is that they are for “children who love trains and engineering” and that’s why they are just perfect for Master C. Written by a chartered engineer they are packed full of accurate information, which fits in beautifully to each story. With separate pages for the “information bits” as Master C calls them it means that when we’re reading together at bedtime we can opt to either just stick with the story or to focus on some of the engineering bits. It’s also given me a better understanding of some of the railway engineering that Master C is so interested in.

As for the Peter’s Railway Hits the Jackpot story – it’s a wonderful tale about how Peter and his Grandpa manage to convince the Minister for Transport to fund an extension to their railway, so that they can help children travel to and from the local school. It’s basically a school boy’s dream come true, but written in such a way that the adults reading with them can also have a bit of a laugh in the process.

We’ve spread this book out, a chapter a night, as bedtime reading for when Master C is staying at my house for a couple of weeks and I’ve never seen him look forward to a bedtime story quite so much. Each evening (and a few mornings) he would eagerly appear clutching it and asking for another chapter. We’ve sometimes stopped mid-chapter to go and look something up or talk about some of the engineering behind what’s going on in the story, and it’s been a beautiful bonding experience too.

I’m a tad sad that we’ve finished, but it means that tonight I can find the other ones from the series on his bedroom bookcase and make a start on those. He’s also got a birthday next month and has already asked if he can have one of the others in the series as a gift. I just need to persuade him that us building his own private railway line from my house to his school (about 12 miles away) might be a tad ambitious. So far his only concern about the plan is whether or not he should tunnel under the M1 or design a fancy bridge over it!

Peter’s Railway Hits the Jackpot is available to buy online here. You can find other Peter’s Railway titles either on Amazon or on the Peter’s Railway website.

The Secret Sky Garden – Linda Sarah & Fiona Lumbers

There’s a whole range of emotions that go with pregnancy. The thing I found myself sobbing over the other day though was the fact that it means I’ll still be able to keep enjoying picture books with my kids. It’s a stage of parenting that I love. Little Miss C is definitely an independent reader now and somewhat beyond picture books. Master C though is still a huge, huge fan and usually chooses a couple every bedtime. Books like The Secret Sky Garden are ones that I particularly love though. The messages in them are just perfect.

The Secret Sky Garden

Funni loves playing in the old airport car park. She goes there most Saturdays and either takes hire kite or recorder with her. She loves watching the planes take off and land. She’s learnt to imitate the notes from the tannoy system in the airport terminal on her recorder. She loves looking out over the city.

But, something was missing.

In that beautifully innocent way that only a child could, Funni decides to make a difference. Over the weeks she turns that disused car park into gorgeous garden. She tidies up, plants flowers and creates something really, really special.

But still, something was missing.

One day Zoo is flying into the airport and spots the garden from the aeroplane window. He decides that he needs to find the garden and visit and that’s exactly what he does.

He finds Funni and the beautiful world she has created. They fly kites together and he also brings his harmonica to play alongside her recorder.

Now, nothing is missing.

The Secret Sky Garden is one of those books that really can only be described as beautiful. Linda Sarah’s story, combined with Fiona Lumbers’ gorgeous illustrations are the perfect match. Just like Funni and Zoo. It’s beautiful to see a book celebrating the environment, kindness and friendship like this. It’s the perfect launchpad for a discussion with children about how we can all make a difference in life. An important message for everyone.

The Secret Sky Garden. Written by Linda Sarah and Illustrated by Fiona Lumbers. Published by Simon & Schuster on 28 June 2018. Paperback £6.99 ISBN 978-1-4711-1926-2. Available in bookshops and online.

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of The Secret Sky Garden for the purposes of this review. All opinions remain my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Supertato Veggies in the Valley of Doom – Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

Supertato is a hero in our house. It’s about three years since he first arrived in our family and he’s made quite an impression in that time. Master C still regularly asks for his books at bedtime and still loves them just as much as he did when Supertato first came on the scene.

Supertato Veggies in the Valley of Doom

It was lovely therefore to receive the latest Supertato adventure to review – Veggies in the Valley of Doom.

Once again, we’re back in the supermarket and it’s night-time. The veggies are bored and don’t know what to do until broccoli suggests a game of hide and seek. The veggies all go off and hide whilst Supertato counts.

When they counting is up he sets off and managed to find several of the veggies before carrot finds a treasure map and the seeking steps up a level.

Superato Veggies in the Valley of Doom

Their adventure takes them down the gardening aisle and then on to the Valley of Doom. But, just why is it called the Valley of Doom? And why does Supertato think they need oven gloves? And why do he and the veggies need too call upon Evil Pea for help? And will Evil Pea actually respond to a request for help?

Not forgetting what is possibly the most important question. Whether or not anyone will actually find broccoli ‘s hiding place.

It’s lovey to welcome Supertato back to our bedtime story time. Any child who has enjoyed his previous adventures will love this particular game of supermarket hide and seek. Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet have again worked their magic in the supermarket’s frozen food aisle.

Superato Veggies in the Valley of Doom, published by Simon & Schuster on 28 June 2018. Paperback ISBN 978-1-4711-7170-3 Priced at £6.99. The book is available in bookshops and also online

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Supertato Veggies in the Valley of Doom for the purposes of this review. All opinions remain my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Hello Hello – Brendan Wenzel

Hello Hello Brendan Wenzel  picture book

One of the most magical things I remember about my kids being small is curling up with them and a book before bedtime. There was a stage with both of them when they were really small when they had a complete obsession with animals, and rather than reading story books to them we instead used to have a series of old books that were more identification books for animals. There were full of pictures and we just used to spend ages going through the pages, pointing at everything, identifying what it was and talking about the similarities and differences between it and other animals on the same pages. For those where I knew we could often both be found laughing as we made strange animal noises together, pretending to be whatever we’d just been pointing at.

Hello Hello is basically the book that I wish we’d had at this stage. It starts off simply with two cats to say hello to. One black and one white. Page by page more and more animals and birds are introduced. The text is simple, just focussing one one physical attribute or characteristic, but the book provides so many prompts to be able to talk to your little one as you go through the pages.

Brendan Wenzel’s illustrations are stunningly beautiful and make Hello Hello into one of those absolutely gorgeous children’s books that I feel my kids are so lucky to have.

There’s an added few pages at the back that I feel make Hello Hello particularly special from an educational point of view. There is a comprehensive list of all the animals featured in the book, in order of appearance, with a silhouette-style picture of them all and it tells you which the conservation status of all of them all (according to The International Union for Conservation of Nature). It’s a lovey touch, and so valuable if you have a little one who demands to know what everything is when you find yourself struggling in a sleep deprived state.

Hello Hello is a beautiful book for any young child who loves animals and wildlife, and it’s the perfect book to snuggle up and share with them.

Hello Hello, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel, ISBN: 9781452150147  Price: £12.99 Available to buy online here

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Hello Hello for the purposes of this review. All opinions remain my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Great Bunny Bakes – Ellie Snowdon

Great Bunny Bakes

With the current celebrity version of the Great British Bake Off (The Great Celebrity Bake Off) hitting our screens it’s made me realise that despite the programme’s move to Channel 4 and the loss of Mary Berry, the tent based baking competition doesn’t seem to have lost any of its magic. Kids also seem to completely love the show (even if some of the innuendo does go right over their heads!) and so Ellie Snowdon’s new book Great Bunny Bakes really captured my children’s imaginations.

Quentin is a wolf who fancies himself a a bit of a Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood mix. He loves baking! For some reason that he can’t quite fathom, he’s been sent an invitation to the Great Bunny Baking competition. He’s desperate to take part, but there’s a slight problem when you’re a wolf and you want to enter a Bunny Baking competition…

But any problem can be overcome with a bit of imagination. Oh, and some fancy dress!

Disguised as a bunny, Quentin he starts to win over the competition judges with his perfect loaf, trifle and honey bunny tower. But when it comes to the pastry round things start to go wrong. It turns out that one of the other competitors isn’t a cute bunny after all, and he’s swapped Quentin’s sugar for salt (something we’ve seen happen all too often on the bake off, although there it seems to be due to competitors just picking up the wrong glass jar!)

As if the sugar/salt mix up wasn’t enough, as Quentin goes to carry his chocolate cake to the judging table disaster strikes and he drops it!

All is not lost though as it turns out that the other bunnies are more than happy to come together and help their fellow baker in his hour of need.

Great Bunny Bakes is a lovely book for any child who enjoys baking and who has maybe enjoyed the Bake Off, or Junior Bake Off, on television. We were lucky enough to be sent a review copy along with a beautiful recipe card and some cookie cutters. Master C was delighted to see these and has specifically asked if he can do some “biscuit making” with me the next weekend we have together.

Great Bunny Bakes

He thoroughly enjoyed the book and loved the baking creations in the accompanying illustrations. They are beautiful busy pictures, with lots of details for children to pick out when you read the story to them. I am slightly worried that Master C might think my baking ability is up to making a honey bun tower like that pictured, but hopefully he’ll be impressed enough with the biscuits that I think I can manage!

Great Bunny Bakes by Ellie Snowdon is published by Simon & Schuster on 8 March 2018. Hardback ISBN: 978-1-4711-4567-4 £12.99 Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4711-6635-8 £.6.99

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Great Bunny Bakes for the purposes of this review. All opinions remain my own. This post contains affiliate links.