Thursday, 17 December 2015

The Snow Beast by Chris Judge

With a main character that would normally be the 'baddie' this book caught E's attention immediately. Chris Judge's 'Beast' stars in a series of awesome books and we're thoroughly enjoying 'The Snow Beast' as a Christmas treat.

The villagers living below the Beast's mountain have had their tools stolen and it's preventing the annual snow festival from going ahead.  Eager to help the villagers, the Beast goes on a hunt to find the culprit, and in a series of comic book like illustrations we follow him as he chases a giant set of footprints and eventually meets another Beast.

In the end the tools are returned, the Snow Beast is introduced to the villagers and there is a rockin' party in an iceberg.  Seriously, how much cooler can you get?  E loves the DJ Beast and counting the cakes at the party. I love the time together to enjoy a good book. Happy Holidays everyone!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Where Does Joe Go? by Tracey Campbell Pearson

Six Books I'm Reading...

Where Does Joe Go? by Tracey Campbell Pearson is one of those unexpected Christmas classics; unexpected because the word Christmas is never even mentioned.  

Joe runs an ice cream parlour in town but come winter each year he disappears. Each friend and neighbour has a theory as to where Joe goes. From the moon, to the beach, to tango dancing to the desert, we hear everyone's thoughts on Joe. But as you may have guessed, our pot bellied friend with the fluffy white beard is not up to any of these things.The final charming illustration of Joe in a red suit feeding ice cream cones to reindeer puts the rumour mill to rest once and for all.

I love this book for Christmas and I think you will too.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by James Dean and Eric Litwin

Six Books I'm Reading...

Pete the Cat is a much loved storybook character in our house and so is his Christmas tale published in 2012. Santa is sick and has only one choice but to call on Pete the Cat to deliver all the presents and ultimately save Christmas. But Pete, like his young readers, is aware that he is very small and this is a tall order.  With the help of a trademark Pete the Cat song to give him some extra courage, Pete proves that even the smallest of us can achieve big things. A warm message that sits nicely alongside a flying VW bus, a singing cat and a groovy little Christmas hero.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Mr Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry

Six Books I'm Reading ...

 Originally published in 1993, Mr Willowby's Christmas Tree is a wondrous tale of the tree that keeps on giving, and in doing so captures the meaning of Christmas. In quick, clever ryhming text we learn that Mr Willowby's tree is just too big and the top must be cut off or it simply won't fit in his house. This little cutting becomes someone else's tree and the bit snipped off that tree gets passed on to someone else until even the mice have the perfect tree for Christmas, all thanks to Mr Willowby.

Beautifully illustrated with a vintage feel, this is a book I look forward to each year. And if you want more of Mr Willowby's story look up the Jim Henson production from 1995 and treat yourself to a little movie with Kermit as your guide.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

A Very Pirate Christmas by Timothy Knapman and Russell Ayto

Six Books I'm Reading...

In no particular order the second of six festive books on the blog this season is 'A Very Pirate Christmas' by Timothy Knapman with illustrations by Russell Ayto. This is a crackin' Christmas tale and E is over the moon at the chance to read about pirates AND Father Christmas in one story.

It all begins on Christmas Eve when a band of pesky pirates capture Father Christmas and hide him in the hold of their ship.  Once he's safely stowed away they steal his sleigh and make the rounds scooping up all the loot he's just delivered.  They think they've gotten away with it until the cabin boy wakes up, catches them in the act and shames them into returning the presents and restoring Christmas cheer.

With funny ryhming text from Timothy Knapman and engaging illustrations from Russell Ayto (of Captain Flinn fame) this book is a keeper.  And if your house is anything like mine get ready to ready if for many, many, many nights to come!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

...And the Big Christmas Rescue by Rory Stamp and Hannah Cumming

Welcome to Mrs Brown's 'Six Books I'm Reading'

For the next six days I'll feature a book a day as E and I greedily make our way through a pile of Christmas themed stories in the run up to the holiday season.

I'm kicking things off with a personalised book that you only just have time to order before Christmas, '... And the Big Christmas Rescue'.  You choose the name to feature in the story and your child will instantly become the hero/heroine of Santa's great sea rescue.

Proceeds benefit the Royal National Lifeboat Institution - a charity that saves lives at sea.  It's a worthy cause and it's also a great read. We've had a lot of fun with this story and the charming illustrations from the award-wining Hannah Cumming.

 I highly recommend it as a gift and for your bookshelf at home. Here's where to find it: RNLI (this personalised book is available in hardback or softback).

Monday, 30 November 2015

There is room for more than one penguin book in our house.

There is definitely room for more than one penguin book in our house.  In fact we have three on the go at the moment and I have my eye on a fourth.  They just make such funny wobbly characters that E and I can't get enough of them. Here are our favourites starting with the most recent.

Up & Down by Britta Teckentrup is a gentle read with gorgeously clever cut outs and illustrations. With sparse text as our guide we follow one penguin on an ocean journey to meet his friend whilst learning about the concept of opposites and prepositions along the way.

Blown Away by Rob Biddulph is full of cheeky fun and a loveable young penguin on an adventure with his Arctic mates. The pleasing ryhme and detailed illustrations set the tone for this story of a polar bear, three penguins and a seal trying to find a way home.

No mention of penguins is complete without the original little fella we fell in love with from Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers. A boy, a penguin and a tale of true friendship make this a bedtime winner that's so far withstanding the test of time (and Star Wars).

Thursday, 17 September 2015

I'll Catch You If You Fall by Mark Sperring & Layn Marlow

"We all need someone to keep us safe" is the publisher's tag line for this book. It's a fitting way to introduce this title about a little boy, his adventures at sea and a friendly star who guides him home. This is one of those gentle books that reads like a lullaby and is whimsically illustrated. All the makings for a perfect 'last thing to read before bed' on those very hectic days. 


The story unfolds like a poem:

The boy is out at sea but who will keep him safe? 
'I will' said his mother.
But who will keep them both safe? 
'Me' said the captain. 

And so the story continues in this pattern, each scene overlapping seamlessly into the next thanks to the soothing text and illustrations. The ending slowly unfolds with the boy promising to look after the star.  And in this last moment it becomes an even more poignant story about the world at large and how important it is to look out for one another.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Grandad's Island by Benji Davies

Well hello readers!  Mrs Brown is still here and I'm finding it hard to believe that it's been such a long time since my last post. There's one stand out book that travelled with us this summer from London to South Carolina to North Carolina and back. It's the latest title from long time favourite author/illustrator Benji Davies and it's called Grandad's Island.

As E and I start to have slightly differing tastes in books it was a joy to discover that we were both happy to read this one over and over again. I was hooked by the pictures. E was hooked by the boat.  Neither one of us expected that Syd and Grandad's adventure would end with Grandad staying behind and Syd sailing home alone. And somehow, through the palpable sensitivity of the words and the lovingly portrayed characters neither one of us felt overwhelmingly sad.

Some retailers have marketed Grandad's Island as a book about a difficult subject [death] but that seems a bit limiting to me. There's a lot about life in this book; from relationships with loved ones, to coping with change, to independence and cherishing memories. And the inevitable goodbye happens so gently and the adventures Syd and Grandad have beforehand are so wonderful that, well, it all just seems like it's going to be ok... and I think it will be.