Friday, 22 July 2011

The Grunt And The Grouch by Tracey Corderoy

Parents Beware! This is quite possibly one of the most disgusting books you will come across. Seriously stomach churning at times with talk and illustrations of snot, maggot cakes and mouldy teeth, it's not pretty. So of course little ones will absolutely adore it and find it hilarious!

The Grunt and The Grouch kind of reminded me of Roald Dahl's The Twits, they are really that disgusting, maybe even more so. My daughter laughed her way hysterically through this one then wanted it read over and over again. It's a pretty simple story, and alongside the grossness and hilarity there's a nice message about telling people how you really feel and being brave enough to reach out to them. I really liked this element to the story, so did my daughter who thought it was ever so sweet the trolls now have each other.

The writing in this book is simple and fun and will appeal to boys and girls from age 2-7 years. With clear, bold text it's a great book for being read to or practising reading skills for older children and is engaging throughout. The illustrations are bright and detailed and utterly gross, which will delight young children, especially when they see your (exaggerated disgust). My daughter wanted to go back to the `snot' page time and time again just to see me hide behind my eyes screaming `eeeuuuuw'

I definitely recommend The Grunt and The Grouch, it's the type of book children will love, the author clearly knows what it is that gets a young child hooked on books. It's five star fun from beginning to end.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Someday by Alison McGhee

A while ago, I discovered a classic American picture book called Love You Forever. By Robert Munsch, the book featured repetition of the lines "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, As long as I'm living my baby you'll be." I'd not long had Harry when I bought it and I couldn't read those lines without crying. However, the illustrations in the book were kind of ... peculiar. And it ended with the mother phoning the son to tell him she was dying and him cradling her on his lap like a baby. I couldn't read it myself, let alone to Harry. So I was thrilled to be sent a copy of Someday by Alison McGhee.

The theme is similar to Munsch's book: Someday begins with the baby being born ("One day I counted your fingers and kissed each one") and ends with the child as an old woman ("Someday, a long time from now, your own hair will glow silver in the sun. And when that day comes, love, you will remember me.") but the illustrations are beautiful and the story much simpler.

Of course, I still can't read it without crying, despite the fact that the baby is a girl and I have two sons. It's a gorgeous book and would make a lovely gift for the new mother of a daughter.

Christopher Eccleston reads Night Monkey Day Monkey

Two of my favourite things, together at last. I love Christopher Eccleston (and have done for YEARS! I'm not one of these Doctor Who johnny-come-latelies) and Night Monkey, Day Monkey is one of my favourite kids' books. So I thought I'd share my joy. Here you go:

Marshall Armstrong Is new to Our school by David Mackinstosh

Marshall Armstrong is new to school and definitely stands out from the crowd, with his pale skin, perpetual hats, and special “space food” lunches that come in silver wrappers. He doesn’t play sports, and he doesn’t watch television. So when he invites everyone in class over for his birthday party, it’s sure to be a disaster. Or is it? Marshall Armstrong might have a trick or two up his long, “sun protective” sleeve. (From

This is a beautiful hardback book, although the thick paper outer cover maybe isn't such a great idea for very young children, I imagine it will get tatty very soon and would easily tear...sadly the hardback underneath doesn't have the same cover and is a bit plain. The paper back edition is released this month and may be worth considering! 

The story is lovely and unique. It's fun to read but also has a great message about being different...that it's ok and quite cool.  It also reminds us that we shouldn't judge people on appearances, as they can be deceptive. I love how David Mackintosh gets the anxious voice of a young child facing someone different and new perfectly, and how he eventually overcomes this without being too complex. The language is suitable for children ages 3 up who will enjoy having the story read to them and is perfect for older readers who are just learning. My 6 year old managed this quite easily with only a few words to challenge her. The illustrations (also by David Mackintosh) are also quirky and entertaining with plenty to look at and amuse. 

Apart from the delicate cover, this is a lovely book which comes recommended by myself and daughter. 

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

I Love My Mummy by Giles Andreae & Emma Dodd

I love Giles Andreae's books, but I was actually attracted to I Love My Mummy by Emma Dodd's lovely illustrations.

I love my mummy very much
She's great to cuddle, soft to touch.

Clearly - and unsurprisingly - the words are just as entertaining as the pictures with a simple rhyme and a few parenting realities that rarely make it into children's books (I like to watch her brush her hair and dance round in her underwear). 

Two-year-old Joe requested this book every day for weeks and he now likes to do the actions - cuddling me when I read 'great to cuddle' and pretending to cry when the baby in the book cries.

The thing I love the most about this book is the joy the mother and baby show in each other. On every page they look like they're having fun and their love shines through. A perfect book to read with a little one.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

It's A Book by Lane Smith

I'm not usually much of a fan of book trailers, but this one made me laugh out loud and immediately order the book.

I absolutely love it. I love the idea behind it, I love the illustrations, it still makes me laugh even though I've read it a few times now and it makes my boys laugh too. There's just one thing... The characters are a mouse, an ape and a donkey who's described as a "jackass". The last line of the book - spoiler alert! - is "It's a book, jackass."

Funny, yes. But not something I particularly wanted my 7-year-old to start saying. Just imagine it: Harry, at school, reading. His teacher asks, "What have you got there?" and Harry answers, "It's a book, jackass." *shudder* So I told Harry that as well as being a word for a donkey, "jackass" was a naughty word and one he really shouldn't repeat outside of reading this particular book. Since then, he's refused to read it and calls it "the book with the naughty word."

Fortunately, the 2-year-old is less sensitive...

So. Watch the trailer. If you love it, you'll love the book. Naughty words aside, I highly recommend it.

Monday, 18 July 2011

You Do! by Kes Gray & Nick Sharratt

Don't pick your nose," says Daisy's mum.
"You do," says Daisy.

Whenever Daisy's mum tells her off for doing something naughty - picking her nose, lolloping on the sofa, dropping her clothes on the floor - Daisy points out that her mum does it too.

Daisy's mum always has an excuse for her bad behaviour, but Daisy doesn't seem convinced and neither was I. I must admit this book appealed to me because I do find this type of thing comes up in parenting quite often: telling my boys off for things I do myself (not that I EVER pick my nose, honest).

My 7-year-old son, Harry, is a big fan of the Daisy chapter books and so I bought You Do! thinking he'd enjoy it and I could also read it to my 2-year-old.

Harry definitely liked the idea that Daisy's mum is as naughty as Daisy is, but it wasn't exactly a concept he was unfamiliar with since he's got me as a mum. And though I enjoyed it too, I didn't find this book to be as engagingly written as some of the others in the series. There's a bit too much repetition and, while Harry the ending made Harry giggle, I found it a bit unsatisfying - I would have liked Daisy's mum to admit she sometimes does naughty things too.

This book comes with a CD containing the story read by Jenny Eclair and a read-along version, which we probably won't use since we usually read in bed and we don't have a CD player in there.