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  • Book Bingo: The School Book Group Review #3

    Our school book group, Book Bingo, returns this week, with another brilliant children's book review,  by Tom, age 6.   The Book Bingo group store their book club choices in a Tidy Books Box

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    Book name: Paddington at the Palace

    Author: Michael Bond

    Summary: “Paddington goes to the palace but people push him back and then he can’t see. Eventually he goes in…”

    Favourite part & why: “When he goes into the palace, because I would like to go in!”

    Rating: 5/5

    Melanie Copus of Esher Church School writes:

    A keen London historian, Tom was passionate to read this book both for the brilliant Paddington character plot and the insight it gives to life in London.  The part of the book Tom was most excited about was that Paddington managed to get a personal invite to the palace.   I get the distinct feeling that Tom is now plotting to get in there himself!

    I grew up on the traditional Paddington classics, and still cherish a 636 page omnibus edition, published in 1985 (

    It is really lovely to see today’s children as emotionally connected to the beautiful, classically written tales as we once were ourselves – especially in a world where blockbuster films, technology, and ever-speedy lives are trying to rule. Michael Bond’s tales of Paddington remind us that it’s in the small elements in our every day lives that we can find the most entertainment!

    Have you read Paddington with your children?  Did they enjoy it?

    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.



  • Book Bingo. The school book group review #2

    The latest review, with a Christmas flavour,  is in!  This week the school book group reviews Henry's Holiday by Gillian Shields and Rosie Reeve.  Read on to see what Alice in Year 1 thought.


    Book :Henry’s Holiday

    Author: Gillian Shields, Rosie Reeve

    Summary: “Henry goes on holiday to a hot, tropical island because he is too cold. Then he decides he wants to go home because he misses the snow."

    Favourite part & why:  “My favourite part was when Henry made a tropical island out of snow!”

    Rating: 5/5

    Melanie Copus of Esher Church School writes:

    Henry dreams of sandy shores and warm seas…. a little like all of us when we need some escapism from reality! Henry the penguin learns a valuable lesson in his search for sunshine – he soon realises that there is no place quite like home. I, as an adult, was initially attracted to this book because of the beautiful drawings by Rosie Reeve (she is originally trained in fine art). However, as the story builds, her ability to tie this the illustrations with the warming storyline fills the book with charm! I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good children’s book worth cherishing for a seasonal read. 


    Have you or your children read Henry's Holiday?  What did you think of it?

    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.


  • Book Bingo: The school book group review #1

    The school book group wrote up their first book reviews:  This week, Thomas reviews Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis.  Read on to see what Thomas thought.

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    Book name: Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The movie storybook)

    Author: C. S. Lewis

    Summary: “Four children find the magical land of Narnia in a wardrobe. With the help of Aslan the Lion, they battle to defeat the White Witch. “

    Favourite part & why: “I like the battle scenes the best, because they are really exciting and they seem real to me. “

    Rating: 5/5

    Melanie Copus of Esher Church School writes:

    Due to it being such a classic tale, I was particularly excited about hearing this review! This story raises all sorts of questions, deepening their interest in the story, whilst raising new life challenges in the readers’ mind. This version has been adapted for younger readers, offering them language that bridges the gap and sturdy grounding before they move on to the original classics.  I chose the adaptation because although the children would be super-keen to read the original collection, the language would make the fantastic story difficult to access. 10441037_10152805387436233_7059220117155963659_n

    The children's reviews were short and sweet, offering a brief summary of their book and talking about their favourite part. We discussed why they gave the books the ratings they did (whether positive or negative – we had a real mix!), all before settling into the new books (and games!)

    Have you or your children read Narnia?  What did you think of it?

    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.


  • The Best Father’s Day Gift

    In honour of Father’s Day, we asked one of our resident book reviewers and popular dad blogger, Ian Newbold, to tell us about the best Father’s Day gift he’d ever received.

    Over the years, like many fathers, I’ve received some very, erm, interesting Father’s Day gifts.

    Granted, us dads are not always easy to shop for, and I know it’s sometimes a real struggle to come up with great gift ideas for dads that either don’t cost the earth, or take monumental efforts to make or get hold of.

    Children, especially the younger ones, are also often encouraged to make things at playgroups, nurseries and schools to gift to their dads on Father’s Day. Many of my own child’s efforts, despite not always been immediately distinguishable for what they are or were intended to be, are kept in one of the many keepsake boxes I have.

    In all honesty whilst it is really nice to be appreciated, I’ve always felt that getting a gift on Father’s Day is a little unnecessary.

    I’ve considered fatherhood to be a huge gift in itself. Ever since the day my boy was born it has felt nothing short of a privilege to be his dad.

    Though I understand that sentiment is perhaps a little lost on a child, and I always appreciate the ‘stuff’ he’s got for me.

    One of things that surprised me about parenthood was how much I enjoyed reading to my child, and just how much he enjoyed being read to.

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    I have a reasonably vivid memory reading a book to my baby boy, Max, for the first time. He was only a few days old, still in the very floppy baby stage, and propping him on my lap, and also holding a book – a Mr Men one if I recall correctly – was no mean feat.

    At that age I’m not sure how much benefit that had to him, but quickly and over the years, we both felt the benefits of sharing a book together.

    We’d read at every bed time, all kinds of stuff, and pretty quickly from our Tidy Books bookcase as it happens. Max grew and his ability to read did too.

    I feared it was only a matter of time before our shared bedtime reading sessions were going to end.

    Max Reading

    He’s now nearing ten years-old and really does enjoy reading. And it can now be a real struggle to get him to read aloud, so as to check on his reading progress, he’s getting a little ‘too old’ and more than a little ‘too good’ for that.

    However, while the books have changed, from cute picture books, to books I’m not sure my son should be reading, we still read together every night.

    And I still absolutely love it.

    So I guess the greatest gift I’ll get this Father’s Day, is my son still letting me read to him.

    That, and maybe a bag of sweets would be nice!

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