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  • The Usborne Book of Night Time - Kids books review 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 The Usborne Book of Night Time, published by Usborne Children's Books

    usborne books, tidy books, kids book review, recommended kids books reading, usborne book of night time The Usborne Book of Night Time © Usborne Publishing Ltd, 2018

    We loved reading this Usborne book and learning what goes on while we are in bed asleep.  Our favourite bits were learning about how new sea corals are made and how the northern lights are made! We also enjoyed the way the book is set out in a fun way with lots to look at and discover, As always a quality book from Usborne;  from the pictures to the text, and I loved the way it encourages my child to read.  Laura and Ruby Jo, 6

    usborne books, tidy books, kids book review, recommended kids books reading, usborne book of night time The Usborne Book of Night Time © Usborne Publishing Ltd, 2018

    This is a great book with the usual writing and illustration quality you come to expect from Usborne books. Both educational and fun, it explores our world both the natural one as well as city life through the night.  It provides lots of opportunities for questions about our surroundings.  It is also broken down in to short, self contained chapters so you could read it as a whole or pick and choose.  My daughter loved reading this book.  Stella and Lola, 5

    usborne books, tidy books, kids book review, recommended kids books reading, usborne book of night time The Usborne Book of Night Time © Usborne Publishing Ltd, 2018

    For children who are struggling with being ‘afraid of the dark’, this is an interesting and ultimately reassuring book about the things which happen once they are safely tucked up in bed. Oscar thought that if you were afraid of the dark, then this might reassure ‘scared children’,

    Each chapter deals with a separate aspect of ‘night time’, such as what happens in the British countryside, different global cities and the Australian outback. My boys, Oscar and Stanley, aged six and four, were particularly enthralled by the pages about the nocturnal animals who emerge from their daytime hiding places each night and learning about the ships and trains which carry cargo whilst the rest of the world is sleeping.

    Favourite pages were the ones at the beginning which explained about how it was night in some parts of the world, compared to others. We have grandparents in Australia, so this was personally of interest to them both.  Each page is beautifully illustrated with a wide range of facts to interest the young reader, meaning you can ‘dip into’ the most relevant facts for your own children to enjoy. Engaging and informative, I would recommend this book for informative bedtime reading. Sarah, Oscar aged 6 and Stanley, 4

    Thank you to our panel of reviewers; Sarah, Oscar and Stanley, Laura and Ruby Jo and Stella and Lola.  Thank you to Usborne for supplying our panel with great kid's books to review.    You can find The Usborne Book of Night Time  illustrated by Bonnie Pang on sale on the Usborne Children's Books website  to add to your child's library!

  • 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.


    Continue reading


    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!

    Continue reading

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