Two Years! Thank you!

Wow! It has been two years since I created my own little corner of the internet full of bookish moments with my beautiful bairns. Life ha...


Wow! It has been two years since I created my own little corner of the internet full of bookish moments with my beautiful bairns. Life has changed quite dramatically and also in quite small seemingly insignificant ways too since then. We added another little bundle of bookworm to our family and he delights us every day (today he mastered rolling from his tummy back onto his back), I gave up my job and went on a career-break to spend more time at home with BookBairn (and also The Wee Page Turner), I read a lot of books, I have read hundreds of picture books and we have established some wonderful connections with publishers, authors and illustrators whose generosity in sending us beautiful and brilliant books astounds me, and our readership (you wonderful people) has grown. I feel quite proud of myself (which isn't something that come naturally for me to say).


When I started this blog my husband asked me "What do you want to get out of it?" and honestly, I wanted a hobby that reflected my interests, a record or diary of sorts of raising my little reader (now readers) and some free books if that was at all possible. Well, I have achieved that and more. We have got free books - lots of them. But I've also connected with people who enjoy reading as much as I do. People who are fascinated by children's books. People who are passionate about raising a generation of readers who are kind, independent, strong, passionate, considerate, generous and mighty.

I honestly wasn't sure what I should write today but I wanted to mark the occasion. I'm recharging my blogging batteries over the next few weeks and then I'll be back as I've got so many great books to recommend to you all. But before I sign off this short birthday blog (bloggerversary if you will) I wanted to say two huge thank yous:

To my BookBairn, I love you very much and I love seeing you learn and grow. You astound me. Thank you for cuddling up and reading stories with me. Thank you for making me the mummy that I am today. Thank you. Love Mummy xx

 
To my Wee Page Turner, you have changed our lives so very much and we love you. You have the biggest smile and eyes that will melt hearts. Thank you for your giggles. Thank you for adoring your sister. Thank you for making our family full. Thank you. Love Mummy xx

Thank you all for reading,
Kim x




Laugh Out Loud Interview with Jim Field: Lollies 2017

We all love to read books that make us laugh out loud and picture books really are the best at doing this, I think! From ridiculous rhyme...


We all love to read books that make us laugh out loud and picture books really are the best at doing this, I think! From ridiculous rhymes to illustrations that make little ones and grown ups giggle alike the best picture books are packed full of humour! Celebrating children's books that make us laugh out loud are the Laugh Out Loud (Lollies) Awards, created by Scholastic, with the shortlist being announced by Michael Rosen. Having long-championed humorous books for children Rosen said of the shortlist:
“This is a collection of 12 whizzy, crazy, hilarious books. They are guaranteed to tickle. Parents and teachers wondering how to keep your children interested in reading, why not start here? And you can always start them off by reading them out loud - funny voices an' all!"

So when I was asked to join in the Lollies 2017 blog tour, sharing the shortlist for the funniest books in children's literature, I jumped at the chance. And when I was asked which book I wanted to share I knew exactly which book I would give our award to. You'll have seen it several times on the blog already! It was our "Most Anticipated Book of the Year" last year and it made our top five "Best Reads of 2016".

Oi Dog by Kes and Claire Grey and with illustrations by Jim Field is the second in the series and it truly is laugh out loud. In the first book, Cat sets the world to rights ensuring that everyone is sitting in the right spot - cats on mats, frogs on logs and so on. Frog gets a pretty raw deal when asks "what do dogs sit on?" I'm sure you can imagine - and if you can't you need to get a copy of Oi Frog too!

And in Oi Dog, with the help of Kes and Claire Grey, Frog has decided it's time to re-write the rules! Unfortunately, some animals don't fare too well this time around, and in particular Cat feels the wrath of being such a bossy boots first time around. Jim Field's illustrations are packed full of humour and his characters of Frog, Dog and Cat are so wonderfully expressive and endearing it's pretty hard to resist them!

As if that's not awesome enough, last week saw the release of Oi Cat! The final (I believe) installment in the series and we have enjoyed it so much that all three are back up on the 'Favourites Shelf'. 

Whilst I love Oi Frog and enjoyed Oi Cat my favourite rhymes are in Oi Dog (and I love the Cat getting its comeuppance). The rhymes are just ingenious, and the illustrations really are laugh out loud. It's a real delight to find a book that we can all enjoy re-reading night after night, time and time again.

One of the exciting things about taking part in the Lollies 2017 blog tour is that we, both BookBairn and I, got to send our questions to the illustrator, Jim Field and we were delighted to learn a bit more about these fab books, and one of our favourite illustrators too! 

Mummy's Questions.


Which of the rhymes do you like best? Which one did you enjoy illustrating the most?


My favourite rhyme of all the Oi books is 'Cheetahs sit on Fajitas’, although drawing a pile of fajitas was a bit repetitive and made me hungry. I think the Dragon sitting on the Wagon is probably my favourite character from the Oi series, he was great fun to design and I love his ginger hair.


The dog from ‘Oi Dog’ is obviously based on a beagle, why did you choose this breed? Did you try different dogs?



Beagle is close but it’s actually a Bassett hound.* I love this breed, as a young boy I was a big fan of 'The Dukes of Hazard' and 'Smokey and the Bandit’ anything with vintage American cars flying through the air! Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane had a Bassett Hound called Flash from The Dukes of Hazard and Smokey has a Bassett hound called Fred from Smokey and the Bandit. I love their friendly, dopey expressions and the faces are so full of character. Did you know I also drew a Bassett Hound for the two main boy characters in ’There’s a Lion in My Cornflakes’ by Michelle Robinson? One day I’ll get one.** Until then I’ll keep drawing them. I did try a slightly bigger dog at the end of Oi Frog! not really a specific breed, but it was a bit of a squeeze, the long, low body of a Bassett just fits perfectly across the pages.

*Looking back it is obviously a Bassett Hound - but I used our toy Beagle to recreate the front cover so I had that on my brain!
** And one day I'll get a beagle.
 


When I met Kes Grey at the Edinburgh Book Festival last year he signed a book for BookBairn with the caption “Lottie, sit on a potty!” What would you sit on?



I did an event with Kes for Oi Frog! a couple of years ago and he got me to sit on a hymn book. So Jim’s sit on Hymns. Kes meanwhile was sat on a fez.

Being called Kim I guess I'd be sitting on hymns too!


I’m sure there are illustrators who have inspired you, can you tell us a few that you like the most?



This could be a very longlist. But the names that spring to mind first are Charley Harper - I utterly adore his work, Gustave Doré, David Roberts, Quentin Blake, Marc Boutavant, David McKee, Tony Ross, Mary Blair, Eyvind Earle, Alexis Deacon, Abner Graboff, Julia Sarda. 


If you could choose any book to create new illustrations for, which would you choose?



Oh it would be impossible to do it justice as Quentin Blake’s illustrations just sits so perfectly with Roald Dahl’s words but if I could re-illustrate any book it would be a Roald Dahl book, very hard to choose a favourite - either 'The Twits', 'Fantastic Mr Fox', or 'James and the Giant Peach'.

 

BookBairn's Questions



(BookBairn is only two and a half so her questions are in her actual words.) 


“Orange is my colour. What’s your best colour?”


Funnily enough orange is my favourite colour too! It’s warm, bright and happy.


“I like a lion best. What’s your favourite animal?”



Penguins are my favourite animal, I love their funny walk and they’re like torpedoes in the water!


“I like to draw dinosaurs just now. What are you drawing?”



Dinosaurs are always fun to draw. Today I’m drawing an Alligator, he’s a friendly alligator. And nearly as old as a dinosaur.


Thanks for joining us Jim, and in particular for answering BookBairn's questions. She's also a huge fan of penguins so we hope you will have a penguin book out soon to make us giggle with their silly waddles and torpedo speed through the water!


The Lollies are awarded in three categories: Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book, Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 6-8s and Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 9-13s. The shortlisted books in each category are as follows:


Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book

Oi Dog by Kes Gray and Jim Field (Hodder Children’s Books)
Eat Your People by Lou Kuenzler and David Wojtowycz (Orchard Books)
Prince of Pants by Alan Macdonald and Sarah McIntyre (Scholastic)
Danny McGee Drinks the Sea by Andy Stanton and Neal Layton (Hodder Children’s Books)

Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 6-8 year olds

Thimble Monkey Superstar by Jon Blake and Martin Chatterton (Firefly Press)
Hamish and the Neverpeople by Danny Wallace and Jamie Littler (Simon and Schuster)
Eddy Stone and the Epic Holiday Mash-Up by Simon Cherry (Usborne)
Future Ratboy and the Invasion of the Nom Noms by Jim Smith (Egmont)

Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 9-13 year olds.

I Don't Like Poetry by Joshua Seigal (Bloomsbury)
The Best Medicine by Christine Hamil (Little Island Books)
My Gym Teacher is an Alien Overlord by David Solomons and Laura Ellen Anderson (Nosy Crow)
AniMalcolm by David Baddiel and Jim Field (Harper Collins)

The winning book in each category will be decided solely by children’s votes, with schools and parents encouraged to help kids get involved and vote via the Lollies website, www.scholastic.co.uk/lollies, or via the Scholastic channel on the PopJam app.

The winning books will be announced at an awards ceremony in London in January 2018.


To read the other blog posts in the tour, check out the banner on the right or below to find out when and where to be (and I'll also be sharing on our Twitter). What gets your vote for the funniest book of the year? We'd love to hear your favourites! But also remember to pop over to www.scholastic.co.uk/lollies to vote.

Happy 'laugh out loud' reading!
Mummy and BookBairn xx



Ice Lolly Book Tag

I thought to mark the summer it would be fun to take part in a 'tag' post all about yummy scrummy ice cream. I read this tag on &...


I thought to mark the summer it would be fun to take part in a 'tag' post all about yummy scrummy ice cream. I read this tag on 'alittlebutalot' by Steph (who wrote a lovely guest post for us about new baby books) and though it would be fun to join in but with a twist(er): I'm only using picture books. And because this tagged was aimed at longer books some of my choices and connections to the categories need a little bit of a stretch of the imagination. So here goes...

Mini Milk: short and sweet.

We just love the First Stories Series but the books are only four pages long! BookBairn's favourite is without a doubt Alice in Wonderland which we have read hundreds of times (thank goodness it's short). The illustrations are adorable and it's a great introduction to a familiar story that I'm sure she will grow up to love!


Magnum: best classic.

There are so many great classic children's books but our favourite has to be The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. It's a classic for so many reasons and I'm sure I don't need to tell you that it's cute, quirky and a fun read for little fingers to explore. It's great for learning days of the week, numbers, foods and colours. And the butterfly at the end is sensational!

Cornetto: a surprise ending.

I'm going to share one that I've read to a class but not to BookBairn as the ending is such a surprise it's only really exciting to read once (though my class enjoyed reading it over and over). Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross is the story of a little tadpole and a caterpillar who fall in love and promise never to change. But of course, they can't fight their nature. A love story with a twist! And great fun to read. But no spoilers you'll understand as that would really ruin this book!

Rocket Ice Lolly: more exciting on the outside than on the inside.

This is a tricky one for me as I don't usually do negative reviews and I am picky about what books I share as I don't want recommend anything that I don't really love. So instead I'm choosing a truly beautifully illustrated book that's story didn't live up to the illustrations. And that's Into the Woods by Thereza Rowe. This book stars beautiful pieces of artwork, that I would never deny but I found the stories a bit disjointed and lacking in character and excitement. Just not for us. But still beautiful.

Ben and Jerrys: most versatile author.

This is a tough choice but... I think I'm going to go with Emma Dodd. Her foil series of books are incredibly magical and make for wonderful bedtime story reading and special parent-child bonding moments for our family. But Emma also illustrates a series of fairytale books that we read regularly at bedtime and her 'I love...' series are so sweet and we also enjoy the 'amazing baby' books she makes with high contrast images aimed at babies. And she has a whole bunch of picture books we've not read yet!

Fab: weak ending.

For me this has to be The Tiger who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr. Not to spoil it but the tiger just disappears at the end and leaves everything in a mess behind him. Kinda a dull ending.

Rainbow lollies: favourite LGBTQA fiction.

We don't have so many LGBTQA books but read lots of diverse books about people from all different backgrounds around the world. But if it's LGBTQA specifically I love the story of And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. It's a sweet tale based on the true story of two male penguins who desperately want an egg to sit on and hatch. A story about family. It's lovely.

Nobbly Bobbly: gritty subject, sweet message.

Goldilocks and the Three Potties by Leigh Hodgkinson. Definitely a gritty and gross subject but handled with humour and fun in this clever retelling!

Boss Strawberry Double: international author.

This has to be Anna Llenas! We love her Colour Monster book and character. It's one of our favourite re-reads over and over again!

Magnum Ice Cream Tubs: weird but good.

I Can Only Draw Worms by Will Mabbitt is a strange picture book. It has a very limited illustration selection - just worms. And it's a counting book. But it is hilarious! Laugh out loud funny.

Crunchie Blast: great spin off/retelling.

This has to be the BabyLit series of books. They are such great first word primers based on some of the most popular classics. From Jane Austen to Ruyard Kipling and Shakespeare to Lewis Carroll there is something for everyone. The illustrations are bright and colourful, bold and fun and the accompanying quotes and keys words add a little something to read aloud. As much for adults as for children!

Solero: light and fluffy.

Light and fluffy? Has to be the touch and feel series 'That's Not My...' by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells great for fluffy elements to explore.


Choc-Ice: don't want to admit you love.

I genuinely can't think of any that I don't want to admit I love. If I love a book, I'll sing from the rooftops about how much I love it! Kids don't have these sorts of inhibitions or embarrassment about enjoying something - have you seen them dancing? There's no place for this attitude in the world of children's literature!


Fruit lolly: left on the shelf.

This is probably a strange choice but I'm going for The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler and I'm choosing it because BookBairn loves this story. She loves listening to the audiobook in the car and watching the TV film but she never ever chooses the book to read. I have no idea why!


Mint Choc Chip: love it or hate.

Oddly, having said we are not in the habit of being negative about books I'm going to go with one I hate but lots of people seem to love and that's Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. I don't like the colour palette. I find the story slightly bizarre. And just don't see what all the fuss is about.


If you fancy taking part in this tag considered yourself 'tagged'!
Time for another ice lolly before autumn sets in!

Love Mummy and the bairns xxx



KidLit Picks August Round Up - Fairytales

Whether they are called fairytales, legends, tall tales, fables, folklore, origin stories, or mythology, each of these stories carries p...


Whether they are called fairytales, legends, tall tales, fables, folklore, origin stories, or mythology, each of these stories carries pieces of history and cultural connections that draw lines of similarities between those separated by distance and time. They give us insight into the morals, principals, and beliefs of those who came before us, creating history lessons through drama and cultural lessons with plot. These stories provide a testament not only to who we are but how we've grown and what we've achieved throughout the years. They are ways to teach our children patience, perseverance, hope, love, kindness, bravery, and the importance of wit.

So, no matter if your tales are of a Grimm version, told through song, or related by a coyote or a spider, we look forward to hearing them. They are a celebration of heritage and history from around the world, showcasing that which we hold important and dear. Our world is a fast moving place, in which we constantly see shifting changes, especially in literature. But these tales, these have withstood the test of time.

During the month of August the @kidlitpicks book club explored fairytale books, new and old. Thanks to Wendy from Homegrown Reader for the exceptional theme!


A Year Full of Stories, by Angela McAllister and Christopher Corr
The curious mind will be captivated by every fascinating detail and further engrossed in the diverse range of tales.” — Summer from @readingisourthing


The Wolf Who Fell Out of a Book, by ​​Thierry Robberecht and Grégoire Mabire
“It's interesting to see a story where the tables are turned and the Wolf is the one out of his element, threatened and alone." — Mel from @spiky_penelope


Beauty and the Beast, by Francesca Rossi
"These types of stories boost a child's imagination and cultural literacy, help teach us what is right and wrong, develop critical thinking skills, help children develop and work through emotions, model problem solving, and so very much more.."  Leah from @astoryaday


The Happy Prince, by Oscar Wilde and by Maisie Paradise Shearring
This is such a beautiful tale about true worth, pure motivation and having a greater perspective.” — Clarissa from @book.nerd.mommy


Touch and Feel books
“These touch-and-feel fairytales are perfect for reading with the whole family!” —  Kim from @bookbairn


Where's Halmoni?, by Julie Kim
“A wonderful way to introduce children to the folktales of another culture and landscape.” — Miranda from @bookbloom


Rapunzel, by Bethan Woollvin
“In this version of Rapunzel, the fiesty main character outwits the evil witch and escapes her tower, all on her own.” — De from @books_and_babycinos


The Wild Swans, by Hans Christian Andersen and Susan Jeffers
“When I was little, this was one of my favorite stories! I still have the book!”  Arielle from @childrensbooksgalore


Hare and Tortoise, by Alison Murray
“Whether encountering the classic tale for the first time or tracing the racecourse map to relive it, this is a witty and appealing tale for children that imparts the moral that slow but steady wins the race.” — Rossa from @curiouslittlepeople


Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion, by Alex T. Smith
“This Little Red is one sassy, afraid-of-nothing girl of colour with spectacular pigtails and lives in an African savanna.” — Rossa from @curiouslittlepeople


Once Upon an ABC, by Sophie Masson and Christopher Nielsen
“For every letter of the alphabet is a character from a folk or fairytale, ranging from the well-known to the obscure.” — Rossa from @curiouslittlepeople


Baba Yaga, by An Leysen
"Just like most fairytales there is a happy ending for Olga. Fiona from @fee_loves_


Young Guinevere, by Robert D San Souci and Jamichael Henterly
"Henterly's use of vibrant colors, that I don't normally associate with Britain, and his depiction of Guinevere is rich and spirited." — Wendy from @homegrownreader


Fairy Tale Pets, by Tracey Corderoy and Jorge Martín
“Playful text and eye-popping illustrations combine for an explosion of silliness in this fun walk down fairytale memory lane.” — Heather from @kidlitbookbits


Deep in the Woods, by Christopher Corr
“This traditional Russian folktale tells of a little wooden house (with nine neat windows and a red front door) that becomes the perfect home for a menagerie of forest animals.” — Anna from @kidlitcrafts


Our theme for September is 'Books About Books', hosted and introduced by Fiona of @fee_loves_


"Books are a uniquely portable magic" - Stephen King.
Introducing children to the magic of books and therein instilling a love of reading and literacy is, I believe, 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're shining the spotlight on the best Books About Books. Let's get a conversation going. Do you have a favourite to share? Tag it with #kidlitpicks_books

Happy Reading!
Love Mummy and BookBairn and The Wee Page Turner xxx




A Bookish Few Weeks

BookBairn doing her best dinosaur roar with Emma Yarlett. Wow! We have been super busy over the last few weeks and I've been strug...

BookBairn: A Bookish Few Weeks
BookBairn doing her best dinosaur roar with Emma Yarlett.
Wow! We have been super busy over the last few weeks and I've been struggling to find time to blog. Apologies for the infrequency! Over the last few weeks though we have been doing some very exciting and bookish things (not to mention, changing BookBairn's nursery days, starting Baby Massage, Baby Yoga and Baby Sensory classes with the Wee Page Turner and my best friend got married!) and I thought it would be nice to share some of the things that we have been up to.

August is always a great time to get in to bookish things where we live as it's festival time in Edinburgh which means the Edinburgh Book Festival comes to town - and so do fabulous authors and illustrators!

First, The Wee Page Turner and I (BookBairn was at nursery) met Rob Biddulph in one of our local bookshops in St Andrews and has a wonderful time. Rob was brilliant with all the children that were there and had them in the palm of his hand as he showed them how to draw Kevin, a character from his newest book. After the story and drawing time we got a chance to chat and get our books signed which was very special. BookBairn loves it now - she says 'Rob drew a penguin for me!' every time we read Blown Away (review here). And I got one of our other books - Odd Dog Out - signed for The Wee Page Turner even though he is too little to really appreciate it yet. But mostly Rob was lovely! He gave me a warm hug and thanked me for loving and sharing his books and was just delightful! I hope the family enjoyed their time in St Andrews and ate up some of the delicious ice cream from our favourite ice cream shop and cafe.

Later that week, The Wee Page Turner had his four month check (he's brilliant - big and ready for food!) and that means he got his Bookbug Bag! For those of you that don't know, in Scotland we have a brilliant scheme run by the Scottish Book Trust where children get four bags of books (usually three in each bag along with other goodies) by the time they are in Primary One. It's a fabulous programme and we have loved all the books that we got so far - BookBairn has had two bags as well. I think I'll write a full blog post on this at some point to review the books and goodies that we got most recently!

The following day I had an evening child-free at the Edinburgh Book Festival to go to a workshop about Writing for Children. It was mostly for people interested in writing chapter books for children but I still picked up a few good tips! It certainly gave me the inspiration and motivation to start putting some of my ideas on paper, which is what I needed. Writing a children's book is something that I dream of but, quite honestly, it's really hard and takes a lot of time and talent to come up with a good story and I'm scared that I'm not good enough. But I really enjoyed the class and we had to do a little on-the-spot writing. So last week, I took a little bit of time away from the blog (sorry) to start writing and rhyming a children's story - of course, I only got part way through before nap time ended and I was interrupted but hopefully I'll find another snippet of time soon.

But the best and most bookish thing that we did was last week when we went to see Dimbles's mummy at the Edinburgh Book Festival. For anyone who has followed us for a while (and if you're new - hello), you will already know that BookBairn is a huge fan of Emma Yarlett's Nibbles the Book Monster. So when I saw that Emma was coming to Edinburgh I knew that I just had to take BookBairn for her first festival event! And she adored it! (A bit overtired from skipping her nap and distracted by a green balloon but she loved it!) Emma was brilliant and read the story making it interactive by having hidden pages from the book in the tent and asking children to spot where Nibbles had gone next (the teacher in me could see this as a great lesson starter) and then shared how to draw Nibbles as well as reading her new book about Nibbles Dinosaur Guide (review to come soon) and then finally helping all the children to make Nibbles head-gear! She also recognised us and came over to say hello which made me feel really valued and special. Thanks Emma. We got our books signed at the end and BookBairn was delighted. It was just one of the most wonderful parenting experiences that I have had so far - sharing something I love with her and enjoying ti with her.

So, as I say, busy bookish weeks! We also squeezed in a trip to the library and over thirty new books in the post in that last fortnight too (many of which I am still to share as I've not had time yet - sorry I'm working on it). But that's why the blog has been quiet - because we have been busy! Thanks for reading along with us and enjoying bookish things as much as we do! Hopefully I'll fit in a bit more blogging in the next few weeks - I have lots of books I want to review and posts I want to write - it's just a case of finding the time (we also have two weddings and a holiday in September!).

Good news amongst all the bookish things - we got an extra copy of Nibbles signed for one of our lucky readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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