Night and Day

  Start Some books just wow me! I audibly gasp when we discover what's inside. Sometimes it's because it's something I...


Some books just wow me! I audibly gasp when we discover what's inside. Sometimes it's because it's something I've been anticipating, sometimes it's because the story melts my heart, sometimes it's because the artwork is just incredible. But sometimes it's because the book is just so clever.

'Night and Day' by Julie Safirstein is a very clever book. Described as "A Big Book of Opposites" this book is so much more than a basic word primer. I don't know where to begin with explaining this one, but here goes...

This is an oversized book that is filled with opposite words: night and day, high and low, open and closed, as well as other basic vocabulary like numbers. But it goes beyond simple pictures to represent the concepts. It brings them to life. Truly. Colourful pop-ups, lift-the-flaps and cut-outs create an interactive book that is packed full of bold and modern graphics that will engage little ones with the concepts.

It starts quite simply with big, small, large, tiny with appropriately-sized coloured blobs on the top of flaps and similarly appropriately-sized objects underneath. Then numbers, with spots on top, numerals and fingers underneath alongside toddler-sized hands representing left and right (which BookBairn just loves to high-five). But then it starts to get cleverer: pages that pop right out to show objects that are outside and inside, in front and behind where children can literally reach through the pages to discover in 3D what the positional language really means. Next, a circle that slides to the top of the page to represent being alone and then to the bottom to join it's fellow shape friends to represent together. Another sliding circle moves from 'next to' to 'in the middle' to 'far' allowing little hands to bring these concepts to life. With braille-style bumps little fingers can explore 'straight' versus 'curved' and pop-ups that show above and below. And just to outsmart me (genuinely took me a day to figure it out) it says 'open' on the final page (I couldn't figure out where it's partner 'closed' was) and then of course you turn the back cover and close the book finding the word 'closed' on the back cover. Genius.

This book gets read/played with over and over again. It's too big for the shelf to perhaps it has an advantage sitting beside all the other books but more likely it's because it's pretty awesome! This really is a book like no other. And would be a brilliant addition to any child's bookshelf (or floor in our case!)

Happy Reading,
Mummy and BookBairn xx


*Disclaimer: this book was sent by the publisher at our request. As always words and opinions are our own.

Trick or Treat

It's that spooky time of year again and we have a real treat of a book to share with you! I ordered a few books for BookBairn in t...

It's that spooky time of year again and we have a real treat of a book to share with you! I ordered a few books for BookBairn in the lead-up to Halloween, having forgotten quite how many I had stashed in the box of Halloween decorations, and one of them has really really shone brightly!

'Trick or Treat!" by Hayley Down and illustrated by Sarah Vince is an exceptional book that is a true adventure for little ones. This super book tells a story about Meg and her little brother Michael who go out on a trick-or-treating adventure for Halloween. As they make their way down the street, Michael has the heebie-jeebies as each door opens and he encounters a spooky creature. But, Meg uses her torch to show Michael that things aren't as they seem - until the final house, that is!

Wonder what makes it so magical? You get your own little torch to join in. Still wondering why that's so special? You shine the blue light on the white spaces in the illustrations to reveal hidden pictures! And it works even better in the dark! (I tried to photograph it but it's quite tricky to really capture the magic so trust me it's even better in real life.)

BookBairn absolutely adores this book! Adores it! We read it several times a day and have more or less lived in the dark so we can enjoy it. She loves uncovering the normal people under the costumes. But the final house - that's her favourite! The skeletons inside are terrified of Meg and Michael when they open the door but Michael thinks quickly and shines the torch on himself and shows that both him and Meg are skeletons too! At this point BookBairn turns the torch on herself and me and says "we are bones too!" and then she checks her cuddly toy lion, Louis, "he's too squishy - no bones". I love reading it with her just for that moment where she makes connections between the story and her life. That's a powerful book!

The storyline is sweet and great preparation for a night out guising (Scots for trick-or-treating), the illustrations are adorable and so appealing in their black-and-white outlines, but it's that little torch that creates real magic! It's a brilliant read.

Happy spooking,
Mummy and BookBairn xx

*I bought this book for BookBairn but it's not widely available in the UK - if you like the sound of it I recommend that you check out The Book People or Book Depository to find it. (This is not sponsored in any way - I just want to make it easy for you to find the book.)

A Tribute to a Some Book

There are some books that change your life. They touch you in a way that makes you see the world differently and leaves an impression that...

There are some books that change your life. They touch you in a way that makes you see the world differently and leaves an impression that will last a lifetime. The book for me that made this huge impact is celebrating it's 65th anniversary. That little spider who whispered "salutations" from the doorframe is 65 years old today.

I first read Charlotte's Web by E.B. White in my final year of primary school. We read it as a class study and I vividly remember being excited designing a pig pen for Wilbur, and making pom-pom spiders, and choosing a new stuffed toy pig and naming it Wilbur. But it was the little spider who reached out in friendship to help someone in need that left an impression on me. We all need a little kindness, and our actions, however small, can make a difference. I loved it.

I was later re-introduced to these beloved characters again when reading the story to one of my classes. And this time I got to see the magic unfolding for little ones. I got to watch them make the connections about love and kindness and friendship and enjoy all the little giggles afresh along the way. We made pom-pom spiders, threaded spider webs, designed pig pens and lots of other fun and I brought Wilbur along to class to be the mascot. Again I loved it.

Around the time I read it again with my class, I shared with them that I was expecting (not-yet-named) BookBairn. "If it's a girl, you should call her Charlotte!" one little girl suggested. And I thought, we should. So we did. My beautiful, clever and kind little girl is named after that beloved spider. I hope that she will be as kind and gentle and strong and mighty and friendly as Charlotte the spider.

Recently, we watched the film adaptation of 'Charlotte's Web' together. And BookBairn declared "the spider is called Charlotte like me!" I can't wait to read the book with her. To watch that magic unfold as she learns how someone small, someone who others often disregard, someone misunderstood can be the hero of the story. I hope she will be the hero of her own story.

And as I read it again today, I realise that E.B. White was also trying to show the power of words. In four individual words, Charlotte challenged the norm, she fought the system, she stood up for what she believed in. The world needs voices like that. We need more Charlottes.

"With the right words you can change the world." E.B. White, Charlotte's Web.

Thank you Charlotte for speaking up, for helping your friend and in doing so you changed my life too. Happy anniversary! 65 years young and still changing lives.

Is there a book that changed your life? That left a lasting impression?
Happy Reading,

Amazing Baby Books

Well, the Wee Page Turner is beginning to show an interest in more than just milk, sleep and cuddles! So of course that means books! We h...

Well, the Wee Page Turner is beginning to show an interest in more than just milk, sleep and cuddles! So of course that means books! We have lots of books on bookshelves and on display that BookBairn can reach but I think it's important that the books for The Wee Page Turner are right there ready for him to grasp. So I'm going to set up a little basket of books for him beside his play mat so that he can easily reach them. And some of the books I definitely want to include are the newly updated 'Amazing Baby' books by Beth Harwood and (one of our favourite illustrators) Emma Dodd.

We were recently sent two of these great books and The Wee Page Turner took to playing with them instantly. 'Hide and Seek' is the story of a little fluffy (you can feel his tummy) pink bunny who is hiding from baby. As you turn each page there is a flap to lift to discover if bunny is hiding underneath. You won't be surprised that there are lots of false alarms until the final page when bunny reappears. So cleverly put together the page with the text is colourful and uses a pattern that will attract little readers eyes. But ingeniously, under most of the flaps there is a black-and-white high-contrast pattern that little ones will love! And little fingers will love to explore the fluffy bunny on the cover and final pages.

'Squeak, Squeak' is a story about someone who makes a squeaking sound - who could it be? Duck? Sheep? Or maybe mouse? There is a pink squeaker at the back of the book and you can press the button to hear that delightful little squeaking sound as you ask the question "Who goes squeak, squeak?" And revealed on the following pages and through a cut-out is an animal who makes a familiar sound. But is it a squeak? With bright colours and simple lines, this book is a great introduction to animals and the noises they make for tiny booklovers. This one, in my opinion, has a few wasted pages in it that repeatedly asks the question "Who goes squeak, squeak?" and I would have loved more animals. But it's still a great book!

Both books are perfect for little hands - and not too heavy - as you can see from the photos. The Wee Page Turner is certainly capable of turning their pages (though he needs support not to fall over as he hasn't quite learned to balance whilst sitting yet)! They are both bright and bold, with either touch and feel or sound elements, but mostly they are great for encouraging interactive play and engaging with your baby. What a great way to introduce your baby to everyday sights and sounds! There are also two other books in the series that have similar interactive elements and the great design and illustrations across the series.

The Wee Page Turner would highly recommend these to little bookworms and for reading with grown ups as they will be forced to make silly sounds for your reading pleasure!

Happy reading! Squeak (see I'm still at it!)
Mummy and The Wee Page Turner

They are also pretty tasty!

*DISCLAIMER* I was given our book for free for review purposes, however, all words and opinions are my own.

KidLit Picks September Round Up - Books About Books

Throughout September, the KidLitPicks team were shining the spotlight on the best Books About Books. Introducing children to the magic o...

Throughout September, the KidLitPicks team were shining the spotlight on the best Books About Books. Introducing children to the magic of books and therein instilling a love of reading and literacy is one of the greatest gifts we can impart. The greatest writers are also prolific readers. It's no surprise that many authors consider reading a crucial dimension of living and have taken to their pages to honour all things books.

We here at @kidlitpicks love everything about books too, so what could be more fun than sharing our favourite bookish books with you? Children love to see parts of themselves reflected in what they're reading. Let's find our budding bookworms characters who love to immerse themselves in books and reading, or who celebrate libraries, book clubs, bookstores and anything that explores what we all know -–– that books rule!

Throughout September, we shone the spotlight on the best Books About Books. This thoughtful and creative theme was chosen by Fee from Fee Loves!

The Good Little Book, by Kyo Maclear and Marion Arbona
The Good Little Book was an instant hit, as all books by Kyo Maclear are with us, but this one more so than others because we could see ourselves within its pages.” — Summer from @readingisourthing

The Scariest Book Ever, by ​​Bob Shea
“Shea uses colors well, pitting bold colors against each other to help enhance his scenes." — Mel from @spiky_penelope

I Like Books, by Anthony Browne
“Best for little ones, emergent readers or anyone who, like me, just really LIKES books” — Claire from @alittlebookhabit

Bats at the Library, by Brian Lies
"It is important for young children to see the people in their lives enjoying books and even more special if they see their favorite book characters loving books as well. Leah from @astoryaday

Franklin's Flying Bookshop, by Jen Campbell and Katie Harnett
“Franklin proves that you should always have an open mind and heart.” — Clarissa from @book.nerd.mommy

Books Always Everywhere, by Jane Blatt and Sarah Massini
“It's a beautiful and fun poem to all little book lovers. Who doesn't "book give and book share, books always everywhere"?!” —  Kim from @bookbairn

Hooray for Books!, by Brian Won
“Celebrate the joy of reading, and loaning out beloved books (even if you can't quite recall who currently has your book), with these exuberant characters. Hooray for books indeed!” — Miranda from @bookbloom

Book, by David Miles and Natalie Hoopes
“This unassuming book exemplifies everything we love about books. A place to go, a friend, a teacher, a book is always there.”  De from @books_and_babycinos

There Is No Dragon in This Story, by Lou Carter and Deborah Allwright
“This is a great book to share with kids already familiar with fairytales who will love pointing out their favourite characters in the pictures.”  Carissa from @bookskidslove_

Lucy's Book, by Natalie Jane Prior and Cheryl Orsini
“This story shows us books can be enjoyed anywhere and are best shared.”  Carissa from @bookskidslove_

The Story Book Knight, by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty
“A knight tames a dragon by reading him a story!”  Arielle from @childrensbooksgalore

Surf’s Up, by Kwame Alexander and Daniel Miyares
Surf’s Up is a wild, adventurous imaginative ride and a glorious tribute to reading.” — Rossa from @curiouslittlepeople

The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma, by Diane and Christyan Fox
The zany, fun back-and-forth between Cat and Dog celebrates the joy of reading in this story about a story.” — Rossa from @curiouslittlepeople

The Not So Quiet Library, by Zachariah OHora
This is a hilarious, quirky book that celebrates the power of books and libraries that is also just perfect for story time too.” — Rossa from @curiouslittlepeople

Jill and Lion, by Lesley Barnes
A charming celebration of friendship and bravery that is cleverly woven through reading and storytelling, Jill & Lion shows it isn’t crowns that make us important it’s what’s on the inside that counts.” — Rossa from @curiouslittlepeople

Franklin's Flying Bookshop, by Jen Campbell and Katie Harnett
"Beautiful illustrations by Katie Harnett will have readers fully immersed in Franklin and Luna's adventure. Fiona from @fee_loves_

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Libray, by Carole Boston Weatherford and Eric Velasquez
“Through a series of different poems and gorgeous illustrations, this book tells the story of how the Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture in NYC came to be.” — Charnaie from @hereweeread

How to Bake a Book, by Ella Burfoot
"Told by a delightfully, cheerful little girl who seems to skip from page to page, the book is a perfect comparison between the acts of baking and story telling." — Wendy from @homegrownreader

Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar, by Emily MacKenzie
"A story every bibliophile can relate to." — Wendy from @homegrownreader

The Jacket, by Kirsten Hall and Dasha Tolstikova“Perfect for discussing book care with littles, this gentle story deals with many subtle themes while the mixed media illustrations employ a beautiful range of emotion to express those themes..” — Heather from @kidlitbookbits

Nibbles, the Book Monster, by Emma Yarlett
“Full of interactive flaps, nibbled pages, and (my favorite!) books within books, your kids will absolutely love this silly tale.” — Anna from @kidlitcrafts

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore, by William Joyce
“This is a tribute to the power of Story and how sometimes we have to be brave enough to give our stories away. This is a reminder that when we leave this Earth, all we take with us and leave behind, are memories and our stories. What Story will you write today?” — Shannon from @ohcreativeday

The Book of Gold, by Bob Staake
The message of the book is one that grows bigger and bigger with each read.” –– Michelle from

Throughout October, the @kidlitpicks reviewers are sharing standout Halloween-themed books for your children to enjoy. Broomsticks, jack-o’-lanterns, haunted houses, tricks and treats, ghostly games, neighbourhood parties, skeletons, Frankenstein, candy corn… the list goes on. All things fun and fearsome come out at Halloween. There are children who countdown the days until that frightfully fantastic night when they get to dress up as anything imaginable, hang out with family and friends, and eat bucketloads of candy. The build-up adds to the excitement—carving pumpkins and decorating your home with scary spiders, tombstones and fake zombie arms, picking out your costume, baking apple pies, watching spooky movies and reading Halloween stories.

These are sure to delight kids eager for the festivities to start and ease the fears of others that may be a little anxious about the hair-raising holiday. Books are good like that. We hope that you too will dust the cobwebs off your favourite Halloween stories, those scary and those not so scary, and join us by posting and tagging #kidlitpicks_halloween

Happy Reading!
Mummy, BookBairn and The Wee Page Turner xx

Favourite's Shelf - September 2017

Wow! It's been a busy spell for us! We've had another four weddings since the last 'Favourites Shelf', and another tummy ...

Wow! It's been a busy spell for us! We've had another four weddings since the last 'Favourites Shelf', and another tummy bug. The Wee Page Turner has started his baby clubs - baby massage, yoga and baby sensory, and has started gumming away on pureed food (he's getting it early because he is soooo huge!) as well as learning to roll over and BookBairn can recognise her numerals up to 10 and can now swim using just a 'woggle' (I always called it a noodle - what a noodlebrain!). We also had a very bookish few weeks when the Edinburgh book festival was happening and got lots of new signed books! We had a brilliant holiday and spent much of our time in the swimming pool, or wandering through the woodland trails spotting red squirrels, rabbits, stoats and other wildlife. And we've organised to have our garden gutted and tidied up as well as a little landscaping starting next week. Phew! I'm tired just thinking about it. But we have still managed to fit in lots of picture books (though I haven't managed to read more than a few chapters of mine!). So here are some of our favourites both on and off the shelf:

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson

We were very lucky to win a copy of Owl Babies (and a packet of stickers which is always a treat for BookBairn) recently. You might see this one in a few giveaways at the moment because this classic is celebrating it's 25th anniversary. It tells the story of Sarah, Percy and Bill whose mother has disappeared from the tree. As the evening draws on the little owlets get more and more worried but of course it has a happy ending! BookBairn loves this, especially as I read it with different voices and she likes to join in with Bill's squeaky "I want my mummy" which is repeated throughout the story. With beautiful night time illustrations it's a fantastic story! It's also a great read for any little ones who might be struggling with separation anxiety. Whenever we read this one I always end it by say "Mummy always comes back because I love you soooooo much!" A true classic. And I love reading it over and over again.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram

It seems BookBairn loves another classic at the moment too! This one comes from the fact that her little brother is now joining in some story times as part of his bedtime routine (sometimes he gets them on his own, and if he's overtired we sometimes skip it) and he has a little toy of Nutbrown Hare. BookBairn chooses this one to read with him. It's a story I think most of you would be familiar with - the "I love you to the moon and back" phrase is now iconic and it's a story to warm your heart - little or big! The illustrations are soft and sweet and it really is no wonder that it's  become so popular over the years. A brilliant new baby gift as it's a perfect bedtime story. We reviewed this one right at the beginning of our blogging journey and you can read it here (with photos of teeny BookBairn to tempt you!).

There Was a Wee Lassie Who Swallowed a Midgie by Rebecca Colby and Kate McLelland

This one is less of a classic, in fact, we only added it to our library recently when I couldn't resist a signed copy at the Edinburgh Book Festival. I'm sorry that we never got to meet Kate McLelland in person but it wasn't coordinateable that day! BookBairn just loves this story, she loves that I sing every word and she is truly captivated. I'm sure she would adore the original too and I've requested it from the library so we can read it too but this Scottish version is great fun. The illustrations are great fun with adorable Scottish creatures all inside the mechanical workings of the wee lassie's body as they make their way down to catch the previous beastie! It's so clever, BookBairn loves pointing to the animals as I sing them. In short this one is great fun!

The Storm Whale by Benji Davies

The Storm Whale is a beautifully illustrated about a little boy, Noi, who is lonely. He lives by the seaside with just his father, who works on the boats all day, and six cats for company. Until one day a storm washes a little whale ashore. Knowing that the whale needs to get back to water, Noi takes the whale home and installs him in the bathtub. But Noi is understandably worried about what his father will say when he returns home. And I don't want to give it away but this has a bittersweet and poignant ending that varies from the usual happy ending we often get in children's books. The illustrations in this are fabulous and I particularly like the way the yellow macs that the father and son wear stand out against the stormy seas (I'm fond of a yellow mac). We get asked to read this one again and again!

Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks (read by Julian Clary)

This one is lurking at the back of the bookshelf because to be honest we rarely read it. So why, you wonder is it one our Favourites list? Because we listen to the audiobook every single time we go in the car. She loves it! It's the first thing she says when I sit in the drivers seat "I want Sharing a Shell, please!" Before I've even got my seatbelt on! It tells the story, in Julia Donaldson's wonderful rhyme, of three friends who share a shell for their home, until one day they fall out and then a storm hits. It's a great story and a hilarious introduction to symbiotic relationships. She can now recite quite a lot of the story when she does look at the book and enjoys watching others read the story on her ipad too. So perhaps an odd choice, but it's the story we 'read' most often. Have you tried audiobooks with your little one? If you have any recommendations we would love to hear them!

Deep in the Forest: A Seek-and-Find Adventure by Josef Anton and Lucie Brunelliere 

This oversized book is too big to fit on the Favourites Shelves but we keep it in the bookcase just beside the 'beautiful chair'. You can read our previous review of this one here. It's one of the most beautifully illustrated non-fiction books I've ever seen. The animals leap from the page and in partricular their eyes glow on the final nighttime spread. It really is sensational and I'm not surprised that BookBairn wants to read it over and over again. 

So those are the books that Daddy and I are constantly reading and re-reading! I'm feeling recharged and ready to resume blogging with all the passion I had before. I've missed my hobby and can't wait to share all the books that are piling up in my newly reorganised library-come-office (I still need more bookshelves - who'd have guessed that we have too many books?). Is there anything in particular you would like to see? I've got a Spook-Bairn post coming soon with some Halloween recommendations and I will, of course, be sharing our new festive reads in the run-up to our advent book-treeI'm also working on a follow-up to 'A Bookish Mother's Wish' which will be for BookBairn and a picture books for grown-ups post. But I just wondered if anyone wanted to see anything in particular - more non-fiction, or great bedtime reads, or a particular theme like autumn/winter stories? Also we'd love to hear what your favourite reads are at the moment!

Happy Reading,
Mummy, BookBairn and The Wee Page Turner xx

*Some of these books were sent to us by publishers for review and others are ones that we have borrowed from the library or purchased ourselves. These are our geniune re-reads so all opinions are our own.