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  • Two great kid’s books about managing life’s trickier moments

    We review two very different kid’s books that’ll give kids food for thought about navigating your way through a problem. ‘That’s NOT how you do it’ is a real-life scenario that many pre-schoolers will come across, and Home and Dry is a fantasy tale, where there is grave danger, but everything turns out alright in the end.

    That’s NOT how you do it!  Ariane Hofmann-Maniyar

    Lucy’s got the hang of the world, but when Toshi arrives, she’s astonished that he doesn’t know how to do things right, just like she does.  She can paint elephants, build a tower and eat with a fork.  Lucy’s friends ask her to help them to do things the right way.

    Toshi makes Lucy’s jaw drop.  Not only does he not eat with a fork, he builds a different type of tower,  and he can’t make a paper star just like Lucy’s.  And he doesn’t even ask for her help.  Eventually, Lucy’s frustration bursts out, and she tells Toshi that he’s got it all wrong.

    This sweet, light-touch story combines a pre-schooler’s certainty with the discovery that difference doesn’t equal wrong, and can be oodles of fun too.   It’s a story that shows sharing another culture’s traditions and practices has lots to offer.  

    kids book, children, reading, Tidy Books

    When Toshi gives Lucy a swan to match her paper stars, she learns that there’s more than one way to do things.  She gets the lesson too that she might not always be right.  She and Toshi become firm friends.

    This is a lovely read for pre-schoolers or reception age kids, who’re starting to make friends and discovering the world outside their families.  It’s a great way for children to celebrate their differences.

    The simple illustrations are colourful and engaging. That’s NOT how you do it will appeal to teachers, parents and kids, and Lucy’s very expressive face will make children giggle!    


    Home and Dry by Sarah L Smith

    Rain, rain and more rain is just what the Paddling family love.  But when summer arrives and dries up the water, they set off in search of somewhere to paddle, and that’s when the trouble starts.

    The Paddling family live on a tiny island and water is their lifeblood; they catch fish, teach swimming and the ferry delivers their food and mail.  While the wind and the rain cocoons them in their cozy home and lulls them to sleep every night.  

    When the sun comes out and dries up the water, the Paddlings no longer live on an island and they have nowhere to fish and nothing to sail their boat in.  They set off on a journey to find water, and unexpectedly, their long-lost uncle Bastian sets off a journey to find them.

    kids book, children, reading, Tidy Books

    As Uncle Bastian arrives at the Paddlings’ home, the rain lashes down and the tide rises.  Uncle Bastian can’t swim.  He’s swept away on the rising tide.   Will Uncle Bastian be rescued in time to make it home and dry?

    Home and Dry is a wistful and charmingly odd story.  The pleasure of this meandering book is the repetition of the ‘pitter patter’ and the ‘whoosh whoosh’ right through the story, giving it rhythm and atmosphere.  

    The illustrations have lovely detail which kids will enjoy; from hairy dogs in lifejackets to boats on wheels.  They’re reminiscent of Shirley Hughes’ books, who wrote classics such as Alfie and Dogger, and whose drawings pick out the cozy intimacies of family life that feel so familiar to kids

    Home and Dry is a perfect book to share by the fire on a rainy afternoon.

    Both books are published by Child’s Play International 2016 and were sent to us for review purposes. Child’s Play’s children’s books are renowned for celebrating life’s diversity.

  • Joining up the dots...

    It’s a great week for children’s authors. On Tuesday, we had Roald Dahl Day, celebrating 100 years since the birth of the author of classics like Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and The BFG. On Friday it’s the birthday of Julia Donaldson who wrote The Gruffalo – which if you read my blog back in January you’ll know is my favourite business book. I love the story of the little mouse outwitting the huge, scary Gruffalo – it reminds me that it’s not always the biggest or the loudest that gets ahead.

    And now I’ve discovered an American author and illustrator called Peter Reynolds whose book The Dot is behind today’s International Dot Day. The Dot tells the story of a young girl who believes she can’t draw. Her teacher dares her to make her mark so in frustration she puts a dot on the page – and it’s that simple start that sets her off on a wonderful creative journey.


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    Well, Gruffalo,’ said the mouse. ‘You see?

    Everyone is afraid of me!

    But now my tummy’s beginning to rumble.

    My favourite food is – gruffalo crumble!

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  • Book Bingo: The School Book Group Review #4

    Our school book group, Book Bingo brings you another brilliant children's book review,  by Grace age 6.   The Book Bingo group store their book club choices in a Tidy Books Box.

    Book name: Dippy’s Sleepover

    Author: Jane Clarke

    Summary: “Dippy goes to his friends house for a sleepover. He feels ashamed of wetting the bed but he finds out that Spike does it as well, and they laugh about it”

    Favourite part & why: My favourite part is when Dippy finds out Spike wets the bed too”

    Rating: 2/5


    Melanie Copus of Esher Church School writes:

    In class, Grace had been learning about how stories can teach us morals and how to tackle real-life issues, so she particularly enjoyed finding a book like this to read. Especially one with such enticing pictures throughout!

      The story line lends itself well to much younger children who have an adult to read to them, and they can follow the pictures and listen along. However, it’s also a good for a book to have sitting in a childcare setting or the classroom so other slightly older children can access it. Such elements of life are a normal part of child development and can happen throughout the primary years, yet they are the things that children can get most embarrassed and self-conscious about if not treated with in the right way. Having books like this around remind children this is normality and simply a part of growing up. 

    Have you read this story with your children?  What did they think?

    Book Bingo's selection of books will be stored in a Tidy Books Box, giving the school book group a special place for their choices.

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