Category Archives: Children’s books

The Bully and The Shrimp review

This post is written by Owl.

The Bully and the Shrimp

We have been sent a copy of The Bully and The Shrimp to review. It is quite interesting, and has a good plot. There are good descriptions of feelings, such as “Noah’s heart thumped in his chest.” It is about a boy called Noah who gets bullied when he goes to a new school. Although soon after he finds a friend who helps him to stand up to the bully. This is what Rabbit said: “It is awesome!” and Tiddler said: “It’s nice.” They both give it a 5/5 rating and I think I would too. Overall, it is a good story and there are also informative notes about bullying at the back. As I face some bullying problems, I find it useful. I recommend it if your child is being bullied.

Aveeno Skin Care Products Review

I was very happy to receive this parcel of goodies from Aveeno because I’m already a big fan of their products.  I discovered them in an earlier pregnancy when I had dry skin, and they are now a pregnancy essential for me.  They are also suitable for children because all the products are unfragranced and very mild.  I might consider sharing them with my children, but I think I won’t let them get their hands on them straight away!  The bath oil and the lotion are ideal for every day use whatever your skin type, and the cream is particularly good for dealing with dry skin.

aveeno skin care

The products are also perfect for those who may be prone to eczema, and this is the focus of Aveeno’s new campaign.  They have teamed up with acclaimed children’s author Penelope Harper to create a series of books following the adventures of Ellie (a little girl) and Eddie (a gecko) who both have dry skin.  It’s available as an eBook and can be downloaded here.  I was a little unsure about the idea of reviewing this book when it was discussed at Britmums Live in June.  I think it’s pretty hard to write an interesting children’s story on the subject of dry skin, but the author has done a reasonable job.  It’s a simple story, and though it’s not very exciting it reads quite well, and both Rabbit and Tiddler enjoyed it.  At the end of the book, there’s a colouring page which Rabbit had fun doing.

Aveeno colouring

I would recommend the book for children who have eczema, especially if they are reluctant to have cream put on when their skin is dry and painful.  The products are so versatile that I would recommend them for anyone.

Lionboy: The Chase review

This post is written by Owl.

lionboy the chase

This review is about Lionboy: The Chase, written by Zizou Corder (which is a name used by authors Louisa Young and Isabel Adomakoh Young, whose names were too long to fit on the book). This book continues the trilogy of the catspeaking boy, Charlie (see my review of the first book, Lionboy, here), whose parents get kidnapped. It starts with a micro-version of the last book, explaining briefly what happened before. It was chosen by the Blue Peter Book Club.

The story continues in the Orient Express, where Charlie takes his lions, whom he rescued from a circus, to meet King Boris, the friendly king of Bulgaria, in his carrige. Edward, who worked for King Boris, went to Venice with them. While they were there, Charlie and the lions, with the help of Claudio, the boatman,  overthrow the Doge, the evil ruler of Venice, and sail to Morroco, the lions’ home. Meanwhile, Charlie’s parents (who escaped) head to Morroco too.

This book is excellent, it uses powerful verbs, adverbs and adjectives to make the passages exciting to read. I will give this book a 5/5 rating and I highly recommend it.


Spot a Lot Animal Escape

Spot a Lot Animal Escape has been a huge hit with Tiddler – it’s probably our favourite Parragon book so far.  In fact, as soon as I sat down to try and write this review he saw the book and said “Now mum, I like this book, can you read it to me?”  So I’d better stop writing for a minute and do just that…

spot a lot 1

…I don’t think he’ll ever tire of it.  We’ve been reading it several times a day and he’s just asked “Can I take it into Preschool? It’s so good!”

spot a lot 2

In this story, the animals have escaped from the zoo and the reader follows the zookeeper as she searches for them all throughout the rest of the book.  On one level it is a simple counting book, with the main text line taking us from “1 very tall giraffe trying hard not to laugh” to “10 warthogs tapping feet dancing to a hip-hop beat!”  Within the illustrations, though, there is much more to find.  There is a tortoise to search for on every double page spread, and in addition there are instructions to look for extra animals, such as “Spot 3 green lizards” and “Where is the hippo hiding?”

We’ve had many counting books over the years, and plenty of books with hidden things to spot too, and I think this is one of the very best.  In some cases they can become a bit tedious, but not this one.  It has just the right number – and difficulty – of things to find, the text is fun to read aloud and the illustrations are excellent.  Having read it to Tiddler at least once a day for a couple of weeks, and sometimes to Rabbit separately, I’m happy to report that I haven’t got bored of it yet!

We received this book free of charge for the purpose of this review.




Parragon picture books, Maths and more

We have received some lovely items for review from Parragon recently, starting with two picture books which the children have really enjoyed.

Parragon Books 1

The Fish with the Deep Sea Smile, written by award winning author Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Henry Fisher, is the story of a family’s quest to find the fish with the deep sea smile.  They find all kinds of fish with different attributes – one with “blue-green eyes and whiskers three”, another “With electric lights up and down its tail” and even “a fish with a laughing eye.”  But can they find the fish with the deep sea smile?  With its poetic text and colourful illustrations, this is a great story to read aloud.

parragon books 2

Away in my Aeroplane, also by Margaret Wise Brown and Henry Fisher, is another story which was very popular with the children.  We liked the pictures of the little boy flying in his aeroplane, and enjoyed seeing everything he sees as he goes on an adventure through the skies.  The text is very satisfying to read aloud as you get carried along by the rhythm and rhyme: “Down below the people go, very small and very slow.  They look like bugs and ants and flies – I wonder if they realize what they look like to my eyes.”

parragon books 3

We have also taken up the Parragon #summerwithgoldstars challenge and Owl has worked his way steadily through the age 9-11 Maths workbook.  His confidence in Maths has improved so much this summer and I could not be more proud of him.

parragon stationery

And finally, something for me I think, though I haven’t yet come up with a suitable use for this pretty notebook with matching post-it notes.  Far too good for the to-do list, so I will have to think of something more interesting to use them for before the children get their hands on them.  We are very grateful for all the lovely things we have been sent – we love being a Parragon family!


Anthony and the Ants

Anthony and the Ants by Gemma Raynor is a picture book on the theme of sharing.

anthony and the ants 1

Anthony loves to eat but a horde of hungry ants keep carrying away his food.  He tries to escape from them and eat an apple in peace – with very surprising results.

anthony and the ants 2

I read the book at bedtime to the two little ones and they both enjoyed it.  Rabbit said she liked it because it is funny.  Tiddler just said “Again!” as soon as I finished reading it, which is the sign of a good book.

anthony and the ants 3

We were sent a copy of the book free for the purpose of this review.

Bunny Loves to Learn

It’s always a good sign for me if a book leads to an outbreak of creativity and that has certainly happened with our latest book from Parragon.

bunny loves to learn 1 one

Bunny Loves to Learn, by Peter Bently, is an appealing story about bunny and friends who are learning about various topics from knights to Ancient Egypt.  The younger children in particular enjoyed the story, but all four of them had fun using some of the ideas in the book to do some learning and creating of their own.

bunny loves to learn 2 two

Monkey made a pyramid out of chairs and blankets, while the other three made shields (I don’t seem to have a picture of Owl’s for some reason.)

bunny loves to learn  3 three

The next day some of our home educated friends came round and we had a history morning together.  We read some books about Ancient Egypt, and the children mummified soft toys and made death masks for them.

bunny loves to learn 4 four

Thank you Parragon for sending us this book which gave us the inspiration for a lot of creative fun.

We have been sent a free copy of the book for the purpose of this review.

Bunny Loves to Learn, written by Peter Bently, illustrated by Emma Foster and Deborah Melmon, Parragon, £5.99, paperback.



Hold That Thought Milton!

Hold That Thought Milton! is a humorous picture book written by award winning author Linda Ravin Lodding.

Milton 1 one

It is fun to read aloud to children of all ages, and the enjoyment of the comical story is enhanced by Ross Collins’ quirky illustrations.

milton 2 two

Milton is a young boy who has many things on his mind and a lot to say.  But everyone in his family is too busy to listen to him, and they just keep telling him to “Hold that thought!”  So he tries, but it’s not easy, and his thoughts begin to have a strange effect on him.  The story reaches a hilarious climax on his Aunt Lulu’s wedding day.

Milton 3 three

All the children liked the story and Tiddler asked for it again straight away.  Rabbit wanted to pose with the book, while Monkey had fun taking pictures of the illustrations – I am sure he and Owl will have their own blogs before too long!

We have been sent a free copy of the book for the purpose of this review.

Hold That Thought Milton!, Linda Raven Lodding and Ross Collins, Parragon, £5.99, paperback.


This post is written by Owl.


Lionboy is written by Zizou Corder.  (Zizou Corder is a name made up by the authors Louisa Young and Isabel Adomakah Young.)

Charlie Ashanti is a boy who can speak to cats.  When his parents are kidnapped, he goes after them and picks up six circus lions on the way.  I think it is very well written.  It has believable characters and a good plot.  I like the way they included sheet music so you can know how the songs sound.  Mummy and I think it deserves a 5/5 rating.  The Lionboy story does not end here.  It continues in two more books – Lionboy: The Chase, and Lionboy: The Truth.  I will review them when I have read them.

I very highly recommend this book.

Dino Supersaurus Activity Books

We love the new Dino Supersaurus colouring and sticker books from Parragon.

dino supersaurus 1

The books are set in New Dino City, where a band of fearless Dino Supersaurs are battling against T-Rex and his fellow baddies.

dino supersaurus 2

All the children were very happy to test the books, and of course the all-important free gifts!

dino supersaurus 3

The little ones loved the stretchy dinosaur and the flick book, which kept them occupied while the big boys read the activity books in more detail.

dino supersaurus 4

The children have had a very happy afternoon colouring, sticking and playing.  At £3.99 each, the books are good value for money.  There’s plenty in them to occupy older children, and they are also appealing to younger ones who can complete the colouring and sticker activities with a little help.

We were sent the books free of charge for the purpose of this review.