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The Tidy Books Story

  • Polonius the Pit Pony - Kids books reviewed by our parent panel

    Are you looking for a new book to read with your children this month?   Our new series, kid's books reviewed and recommended by our panel of parents is a great resource.   Each month, our panel of three families will read and review a kid's book from a leading publisher.  So you can decide which kid's book to buy next.

    Read what our panel thought of Polonius the Pit Pony by Richard O'Neill, published by Child's Play

    tidy books, kids books, kids book review parent panel, polonius the pit pony, childs play books Tidy Books' parent panel reviews Polonius the Pit Pony by Richard O'Neill, Child's Play

    "What a pleasure to read!  With lively text, lovingly drawn illustrations and engaging plot, both my boys were captivated.

    My six year old enjoyed reading about the history of pit ponies and while we were reading the book he had lots of questions to ask. After the story, on the inside back cover, is a mini-history of the use of ponies in coal mines in Britain. My three year old has asked lots of questions about the horses and about the relationships and identities of and between the different characters.

    I would strongly recommend this book because it is a multi-layered, stereotype-challenging book about determination and courage and kindness. And it is just lovely to read and to think about, even long after you’ve come to the end of it."    Amy, Isaac, age 5 and Cassius, age 3.

    tidy books, kids books, kids book review parent panel, polonius the pit pony, childs play books Inside Polonius the Pit Pony

    "The story of the little pony was easily accessible for my 5 year-old.   He needed some further explanation on negative behaviour (i.e. making fun of someone due to differences like the horses did to the pony) but then understood that the two horses were undermining the pony due to his size.

    He did not really pick up on the traveller family’s storyline in the background as he took on the book for the sole purpose of following the adventure of a pony. So I’d say if the main purpose is to celebrate traveller values, this could be highlighted a little bit more openly for younger audience.

    Overall, I can say this is a pleasant read with a young child. It has captivating illustrations and the story is interesting."  Sedo  and Korai Charlie, age 5

    tidy books, kids books, kids book review parent panel, polonius the pit pony, childs play books Inside Polonius the Pit Pony. Illustrated by Feronia Parker Thomas

    "We cheered when Polonius the Pony he got to be free and spend time outside. We particularly liked the names of the horses: Polonius  (gave an impression of a great hero from Roman times),  Thor  (another great hero) and Cushy (the soft one) 

    We really enjoyed the happy ending that celebrated Polonius becoming a real hero.    It was a lovely way of opening a discussion about animals and how we treat them. 

     We ended up doing a lot of activities about animal grooming.   I think it is a great way of teaching children about coal mines and horses."   Crina and Sebastian age 3 

    Thank you to our panel of reviewers; Amy, Cassius and Isaac, Sedo and Korai Charlie, and Crina and Sebastian.   Thank you to Child's Play International for supplying our panel with great kid's books to review.    You can find Polonius the Pit Pony on sale on Child's Play's website to add to your child's library!

  • The accidental trend-setter

    When I founded Tidy Books in 2004 it was never my intention to be a trend-setter. In fact, being trendy was absolutely NOT what I wanted my business to be about. I never wanted to make things that would be here today and gone tomorrow. My ethos was – and still is – to design children’s furniture and storage that stood the test of time. But I’ve always been extremely proud that my bookcase, with its front-facing shelves so kids could see the book covers, was the first of its kind.

    Fast forward to 2018 and it seems Tidy Books is accidentally trending again. According to Houzz  nearly 50% of parents are choosing white as the main colour in their child’s bedroom. Which is how, earlier this year, our iconic white bookcase came to be featured in the Houzz of 2018 – a pop-up home exhibition showcasing the latest design trends.  

    tidy books, neutral kids room design, kids rooms, timeless design, kids design Parents are choosing white and natural furniture for kids' interiors

    Using wood as part of a neutral palette is also having a bit of a moment, and we’re getting an increasing number of requests from bloggers and Instagram influencers asking to feature our bookcase. Being on trend has even led to TV stardom. Fans of Homeland will probably have spotted our natural wood bookcase and letters in Series 6 of the show – fitting in beautifully in Carrie’s daughter’s bedroom in their trendy New York apartment.

    A neutral look for kids’ bedrooms definitely seems to be ‘the thing’ this year. It’s all over Pinterest and has even gone global, with Australian-based interior designer Kristy Wither picking it as a 2018 trend. She suggests using natural and whitewash tones as a canvas, then adding splashes of colour with bed linen and throws (in case you’re interested, her other top trend are metallics, velvet... and unicorns!).

    It’s all pointing to a more unisex style for kids’ bedrooms, creating a space that’s suitable for boys or girls. And of course it’s a perfect interior design solution for a bedroom that’s shared by a young brother and sister. Which is probably why grey is another popular choice right now. Well for that we must have had a crystal ball because last year Tidy Books worked with an interior designer to introduce a timeless and harmonious colour palette that included pale and dark grey.

    Honestly, I don’t try to be on trend. I’ve always gone for neutral colours because I love kids’ furniture and storage that looks great wherever you put it in the home. The combination of style and practicality is what Tidy Books is all about. Trends will always come and go, and that’s fine by me. I’ll still be here creating beautifully made, long-lasting designs that can be passed down through the generations.

     

    geraldine grandidier, tidy books

    Geraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

  • Montessori and Me

    ‘Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.’
    Dr Maria Montessori

    When my two children were tiny I remember watching them crawl around the house, slowly getting to know their territory. Bit by bit, their inquisitiveness took them further as they discovered new and exciting places around the house. As I hovered nearby, keeping a watchful eye, it was wonderful to see that sense of independence forming in my kids at such an early age.

    Letting children explore and learn on their own is something I’ve always felt strongly about.  And in that, I’m very much aligned with the Montessori way. Dr Maria Montessori’s philosophy was about allowing children to develop naturally and independently. She believed that children should be free to make their own discoveries and to learn for themselves by ‘doing’ and ‘experiencing’.

    My very first design, the Tidy Books bookcase, was made with that guiding principle in mind. I wanted kids to have their own special little library so they could pick out their favourite books whenever they wanted rather than having to wait until it was ‘time to read’. So many parents have told me that because of the bookcase their children are reading at every opportunity – which makes me really happy.

    montessori, montessori bookcase, tidy books, kids bookcase The Tidy Books Bookcase in Montessori colours

    The bookcase is also useful for learning the alphabet.  My daughter, Adèle, used to love pointing to the colourful letters and running her fingers around the tactile wooden shapes. There was nothing forced about her learning – she just did it gradually, in her own time, without me pushing her.

    From recent market research we’ve done here at Tidy Books, I know that many customers are interested in the Montessori way of teaching and would like to bring elements of it into their home. In response, my original bookcase will now also be available with the alphabet in Montessori colours – a simple colour scheme of blue for vowels and red for consonants. And the wooden letters are all lower case – which makes better sense to children as these are the predominant letters they see when they read.

    I love that I share so many values with the Montessori way of teaching. From the very beginning, I set out to design products that made sense to kids and would help to foster their sense of independence. I’ve watched my own children interact with all my Tidy Books designs and seen them grow up to become creative, self-sufficient adults. As a parent and businesswoman, that’s a pretty amazing achievement.

    * The new Montessori-inspired bookcase is available to pre-order now for delivery in early July.  Send an email to info@tidy-books.com with subject line 'Montessori' to claim yours. 

    geraldine grandidier, tidy booksGeraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

  • Time to read...

    Telling the time is so natural to most of us, that we forget kids don't have the same concept of telling time.  I was chatting to a friend the other day about her Christmas and she said her three-year-old son was so excited he’d been constantly asking when Father Christmas was coming.  Of course, being so young, her son had no concept of time so she told him it would be ‘three times when you’ve gone to school’  She wanted to help him understand that he’d have to wait for what would feel like three school days.

    I thought that was a really clever way of teaching her child about telling time. Another mum I know does a similar thing – only she breaks time down into episodes of Peppa Pig. As for helping my own children to tell the time, I remember we sat down and made a clock out of a Camembert box (well, I am French!).

    telling time, teaching time clock, book box, tidy books, tell the time clock The Tidy Books Box with teaching time clock

    Experts agree that telling the time makes better sense to children when they can relate it to their own experience – like teatime at 5 o’ clock and their 7 o’ clock bath time. And of course it’s always good to making learning fun, so they suggest things like setting a timer when you’re baking cookies or using a stopwatch to time them cleaning their teeth.

    When I was designing my Book Box, I immediately thought of adding a teaching time clock on one end. I mean, why waste space when you can use it to include something useful? I loved the idea of kids having a little portable library so they could have their favourite books around them wherever they were in the house. And if it had a colourful telling the time clock, well they could have fun playing with that, too.

    The award-winning Tidy Books box has certainly gone down well with customers – they love that it’s so compact and space-saving and can easily be moved from the living room to the kids’ bedroom. I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with it myself – and I’m not bad at making a Camembert clock either!

    What do you do to explain time to your kids?

    geraldine grandidier, tidy books

     

    Geraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

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