Category Archives: Children’s books

Muddypaws’ New Friends

Rabbit loved this book from Parragon so much that she wanted to write the review herself!

muddypaws 2 two

Muddypaws’ New Friends, written by Steve Smallman and illustrated by Simon Mendez, Parragon Books, paperback, £5.99

I love the Muddypaws book because I like little puppies.  In the story, Ben and his puppy Muddypaws go to Puppy School.  Muddypaws makes some new friends and plays with them.  I like the bit where Muddypaws gets all wet in the puddle.  I like the boy because he is called Ben and I know someone else called Ben.  I like Muddypaws because he is a nice dog and he is fluffy.

muddypaws 1 one

Thank you to the lovely people at Parragon for sending us this book, we really enjoyed it!

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

The Carrot Cake Catastrophe

We have enjoyed reading The Carrot Cake Catastrophe! by Elizabeth Dale and Gemma Raynor, which was kindly sent to us (rather a long time ago) for review by Parragon Books.

carrot cake catastrophe 1

It’s mum’s birthday, and Jenny and Grandad try to make her a carrot cake.  Unfortunately, they make a few mistakes, and it turns into a catastrophe!  Jenny is very sad, until her mum comes along and makes everything alright again.

carrot cake catastrophe 2

At the end of the book, there is a recipe for carrot cake and Rabbit was keen to try it, so she wrote a shopping list for the ingredients we needed.

carrot cake 1

When it came to making the cake, Tiddler wanted to join in, and they worked very well together taking turns.

carrot cake 3

After a while, Tiddler had had enough, and Rabbit was left to finish the job.  Though I helped her, she really did a lot of the work herself.

carrot cake 4

Rabbit was very pleased with the results, and I am very proud of her.  She is planning to make it again for my birthday, which is good because it was actually the most delicious carrot cake I have ever tasted!

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

A Squash and a Squeeze

We love A Squash and a Squeeze, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, so we were really pleased to be sent a Let’s Read version to review.

a squash and a squeeze 1 one

I’ve written here, here and here about how much we love the Let’s Read books, so I won’t repeat myself again, but I will just say again that as a teacher, parent and home educator I can’t recommend them highly enough.

a squash and a squeeze 2 two

A Squash and a Squeeze is the story of a little old lady who is unhappy because her house is too small.  A wise old man tells her to take in all her farm animals one by one.  Then he tells her to take them out again, and she finds that “There’s no need to grumble and there’s no need to grouse.  There’s plenty of room in my house.”

a squash and a squeeze 3 three

The story is brilliant for reading aloud, and seems to be just as appealing to nine year olds as to three year olds – in this house anyway.

a squash and a squeeze 4 four

Thank you Macmillan, we love this book!

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

Christmas Eve Books

For the last day of our Advent of Christmas books, we have been enjoying quite a varied selection.  The list of stories we wanted to read, and activities we planned to do, was so long that of course we haven’t got to the end of it, but we’ve had a good try.

Monkey and Rabbit have been trying out the Star Paws Animal Dress-Up Christmas Sticker Book which was sent to us by the lovely people at Macmillan.  They both liked it, and had fun dressing up the animals in silly Christmas outfits.

star paws 1 one

Early in the evening Tiddler and I had a lovely quiet time together singing along to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, A Lullaby Book with Lights and Music, and then I read Thomas’s Christmas Party to him.

twinkle twinkle little star

thomas christmas party

And later on I read to Owl.  We started with Clement C. Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas”, from The Christmas Book, compiled by James Reeves.

christmas book james reeves

He then read by himself for a while.  He had been asking about the story of Scrooge, so I found him a copy of Dickens’ Christmas Books and he made a start on A Christmas Carol.  After a while, I took over and read a bit more to him.  He is enjoying it and was even laughing out loud in places.  I’m looking forward to reading the rest of it with him, though I think he might finish it before I get the chance.

a christmas carol

We have enjoyed our Advent of Christmas books, and I think it will become a family tradition.  There are so many books and poems I want to share with the children, and twenty-four days just wasn’t enough.  But Christmas isn’t over yet, so I’m sure we’ll be reading some more over the next twelve days.   If nothing else, we must read this one – it should have been this evening, but we ran out of time.

The Oxen, by Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.

‘Now they are all on their knees,’

An elder said as we sat in a flock

By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where

They dwelt in their strawy pen,

Nor did it occur to one of us there

To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave

In these years! Yet, I feel,

If someone said on Christmas Eve,

‘Come; see the oxen kneel

‘In the lonely barton by yonder coomb

Our childhood used to know,’

I should go with him in the gloom,

Hoping it might be so.

Little Grey Rabbit’s Christmas

Our Christmas book today was Little Grey Rabbit’s Christmas.

little grey rabbit's christmas

Alison Uttley’s classic story of Little Grey Rabbit’s Christmas was first published in 1939, and has remained popular ever since.  The heartwarming story of Little Grey Rabbit and her woodland friends is complemented by Margaret Tempest’s beautiful illustrations.

Little Grey Rabbit goes to the market and brings back a sledge for her friends Squirrel and Hare.  But when Hare loses it in the snow, will they ever see it again?

This lovely Christmas story is perfect to read aloud to little ones, and would also be suitable for children who are learning to read.  When asked about the appeal of her characters, Alison Uttley said, “Why do children love them?  Because I believe in them.”

Christmas around the World

This post is written by Owl.

Our Christmas book for today is from the Usborne Young Reading series.  It is called “Christmas around the world.”

christmas around the world

This book is about all the different Christmas traditions all over the world.  These are the most interesting facts I found out:

  • When Christmas trees were first used in Eastern Europe, they were hung upside down.
  • Some people think that Santa lives in Lapland, but others think he lives in the North Pole.
  • In 1843, the artist John Callcott Horsley invented the first ever Christmas card.

Around the world, people eat different foods at Christmas time.


Roast turkey

Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Ireland, Nigeria and the United States

Boiled cod in creamy sauce


Spicy chicken stew


Roast eel


Roast pig


One day I would like to have Christmas in Finland so that I can try the cod in creamy sauce.

I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it.

The Christmas Book

This afternoon I read The Christmas Book to Rabbit and Tiddler.  This simple picture book by Dick Bruna, the creator of Miffy, was one of my favourites as a child.

the christmas book

It tells the story of the nativity in a perfectly clear and simple way for little children to understand.  The pictures are lovely, and wonderfully easy to copy which is great fun – we might do that tomorrow.  If you only buy one Christmas book for your children, make it this one!

Lulu’s Christmas

Tonight we read an old favourite for our Christmas story at bedtime.  Lulu’s Christmas is an interactive book for young children, with tabs to pull, touch-and-feel elements and a pop-out present at the end.

lulu's christmas

Lulu is excited about Christmas and there is lots to do.  She decorates the tree, ices the cake, builds a snowman and hangs her stocking.  On Christmas day, she opens all her presents.  But which will be her favourite?  Young readers will enjoy sharing in Lulu’s excitement as she prepares for the big day.

Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present

This evening, our bedtime story was Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present, by John Burningham, which is one of our library books.

Harvey Slumfenburger

It is Christmas Eve and Father Christmas and his reindeer are very tired after delivering all the presents.  They have something to eat and then Father Christmas tucks up the reindeer in bed.  He gets into his pyjamas and climbs into bed, when he suddenly realises he has one present left in his sack.  So he gets up again, puts his coat on over his pyjamas and sets off on a journey to the home of Harvey Slumfenburger, who lives in a hut at the top of the Roly Poly Mountain, which is far, far away.  He doesn’t want to disturb his reindeer so he must find other ways to travel.

We all enjoyed the story, and especially the illustrations.  It was perfect to read aloud to the little ones, and the big boys enjoyed reading it themselves afterwards.  It’s a lovely book, and a great library discovery – we’ll be looking out for it again next year!

The Christmas Treasure Hunt

I haven’t quite managed a post a day in Advent as I planned.  We read this lovely book yesterday, but then I went out in the evening and got back too late to write anything.

The Christmas Treasure Hunt

The Christmas Treasure Hunt, Ag Jatkowska, Macmillan, £9.99

The story is sweet and simple, and the illustrations are beautiful and detailed.  The children enjoyed lifting the flaps and they loved the giant pop-up tree at the end.  I’m too tired to write anything that will really do this book justice, but it is wonderful and it would make a perfect Christmas present.  Thank you to the lovely people at Macmillan for sending it to us!