Tag Archives: children’s books

Sir Charlie Stinky Socks

The children were very excited earlier this week when we received a copy of Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Tale of the Wizard’s Whisper to review.  They have recently been enjoying Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Really Big Adventure at Granny’s house.  I think it is the mark of an excellent picture book if it can hold the attention of a nine year old as well as a three year old, and both the books certainly do that.

charlie wizard whisper

Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Tale of the Wizard’s Whisper, Kristina Stephenson, paperback, £6.99, Egmont.

The story opens with the arrival of a wizard at a castle on top of a hill.  He tells the king that he is looking for a legendary knight who is well known for helping people.  It just so happens that Sir Charlie Stinky Socks is in the castle and he is looking for a new adventure.

“Listen well,” said the wizard, “here’s what I need you to do.  Take a treacherous track, to a spooky-wooky wood and look for a deep, dark cave.  Inside the cave is a little black sack, tied with a silver string.  Bring that sack back to me,” he said, “but…DO NOT look inside.”

Sir Charlie sets off with his faithful, fearless cat and his good, grey mare, meeting a frightful ogre, a scurry of scallywags and a red-eyed crone on the way.  He collects the little black sack, and returns to the castle where a surprise awaits him.

charlie wizard pictures

We have read the book together several times over the last few days, and the children have drawn some pictures based on the illustrations.  Yesterday, a friend who was visiting read it to them too, and today Rabbit decided to read it herself.

charlie wizard reading

I think this conversation we had today sums up her views.

Rabbit: Mummy, who made the Sir Charlie Stinky Socks books?

Me: Kristina Stephenson

Rabbit: Well whoever did it, they’re really good!

We like this book because it is funny, and the pictures are good, especially the one where he is reading books about himself.  We also like the picture of the wizard’s whisper.

We also enjoyed looking out for alliteration (faithful, fearless cat; good grey mare; treacherous track, deep dark cave), interesting adjectives (treacherous, frightful, quaking, shaking, pilfering, dismal, fearful), words with echoes (spooky-wooky wood, twisty-wisty path) and rhyming words (treacherous track/ little black sack/ bring that sack back to me.)

It would be an excellent text to use to inspire children to write their own stories, and I think we might try that next.

Thank you, Egmont, for sending us such a brilliant book!

We were given the book free for the purpose of this review.

Books for Bugs and Ferdie and the Falling Leaves

I’ve been meaning to write this post, the third in my series about small businesses we love, for a while.  I have been waiting because I am going to be reviewing some books from the site soon, but I haven’t received them yet.  So for now, I’m going to tell you about a book we love that we bought from Books for Bugs last year.  I know I’m a little late writing about an Autumn book, but this is such a lovely one that I wanted to share it.

ferdie and the falling leaves 1

Ferdie and the Falling Leaves, by Julie Rawlinson, illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke, is the story of a little fox who is worried because his favourite tree is losing his leaves.  He does everything he can think of to save it but nothing can stop the leaves falling.  Ferdie goes to bed feeling sad after the last leaf has fallen, but he wakes up to the wonderful sight of his tree shimmering with snow.  The illustrations are beautiful, and the story is perfect for reading aloud.

Last time we read the book together, Rabbit and Owl drew some pictures inspired by the story.

ferdie and the falling leaves 2

ferdie and the falling leaves 3

ferdie and the falling leaves 4

ferdie and the falling leaves 5

Books for Bugs specialises in books for children aged 0-7, and their aim is to encourage reading by making books more affordable.  The majority of books are priced at £2.50, and there are also sticker activity books available for just £1.50 each.

Coming up next in our small-businesses-we-love series, some very beautiful shoes…


Light at the end of the tunnel

Another couple of weeks have flown by, and I haven’t had a moment to stop and reflect on anything.  We have been having a lot of fun but life has been very complicated, and I can only sustain this pace for a while before the cracks begin to show.  June has been an incredibly busy month, even more so than usual.  I’m glad to have arrived at the beginning of July which means the end is in sight, though for the next week or two there’s still quite a bit going on.

On the Saturday before last, we had our church summer fair which was great fun, and as usual we came away with a lot of “bargains”, in particular some very good children’s books.  The best finds were Katie and the Dinosaurs (about the Natural History Museum) and a really interesting book about chess which Owl is very into at the moment.  It must be time for another clear out of our enormous book collection though, or there soon won’t be room to move in this house.

On the Sunday I went on a Beavers trip with Owl and Monkey to a fun day at a Scout activity centre.  There were so many activities to choose from, including archery, zip wire, climbing “spider mountain”, go-karts, simulators, Meccano building and circus skills.  It was a long day and quite hard work but a lot of fun and all the children had a great time.

On Tuesday I took all four children (by myself!!) to the Natural History Museum.  They enjoyed going on the train and the bus, and they loved the Museum.  In the morning we spent quite a long time in the Creepy Crawlies gallery, and then looked at the Fossils as well.  We had lunch with two other home educating families, which was good fun. I always enjoy meeting people, and the children had a great time playing with their new friends.  We then spent quite a long time in the Wildlife Garden, before the inevitable visit to the shop (more new books!) and then we set off home.  I felt quite a sense of accomplishment at managing the trip on my own and I feel like a world of possibilities has opened up.

On Wednesday we had a meeting of our Home Ed group, at the home of a family who live on a smallholding.  The children had fun digging in the mud, and they also made leaf prints in clay.  Afterwards I helped out at the Beavers sports day, and Owl and Monkey had a great time and tired themselves out completely.  On Thursday I spent a very enjoyable morning at Rabbit’s Preschool.  It was really good to spend some time with her, and she loved it.  She has decided not to do the extra year at Preschool (which would be her Reception year) so she will be finishing next week.  It feels a bit strange to be leaving as it has been part of the routine for so long, but I’m sure it’s the right decision for Rabbit.  She is very excited about joining in with the boys and being home educated.  I asked her what she wanted to learn, and she said “Arts and Crafts and making caterpillars with pompoms.”  I think I can manage that!

This Saturday we had yet another celebration of Owl’s birthday.  We decided we couldn’t take all of his friends bowling at once at the beginning of the month, so we went again with a second lot.  His birthday has therefore lasted a whole month, and he had three birthday cakes – I hope we haven’t set a precedent.  After bowling, we went to a “Jubilympics” event at another local church which was good fun, and quite relaxed which enabled the children to wind down after the excitement of the morning.

Yesterday Owl sang in his choir concert which took place in a garden.  The afternoon started with the audience under umbrellas, but the sun came out just in time and it all went without a hitch.  Owl sang beautifully and came away with a big smile on his face.  Those are the highlights of the last couple of weeks, and there have been all the usual work and other activities going on as well.  As a result I am exhausted, but also happy and proud of my lovely children!  I do have one or two other things to report (regarding caterpillars turning into butterflies, and doing Maths with Smarties!) but I think they each deserve a separate blog post.  I’m going to stop now before I think of anything else – I think this post is long enough.


If Tiddler could write and I asked him to blog his favourite bedtime story, this would be it.  He can’t just yet (home ed kids may be advanced, but he has only just turned two) so I’ll have to do it for him.

Tiddler was given this book as a birthday present by his Godparents and he loved it so much that it has been essential bedtime reading ever since, and sometimes before his afternoon nap too.  His word for bunny is “funny” which can be a little confusing.  If you forget to read him the book at bedtime, he can be seen with his best cross face on shouting “Funny! Funny!” in a tone of voice which implies that forgetting his book is anything but.

The book has appealing illustrations and simple rhyming text, both of which are somewhat upstaged by the star of the show, a wonderfully soft and very cute bunny rabbit puppet, which toddlers will love to cuddle as they listen to the soothing story.


Tiddler is our two-year old, and it is also the name of a book that we love.  Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, Tiddler is a wonderfully rhythmic, rhyming story, perfect for reading aloud.  Tiddler is a little fish who is always telling stories.  No-one believes him, but one day when he is in trouble his trail of stories helps him find his way home.  The detailed illustrations of so many different sea creatures are very appealing, and for those who are already familiar with The Gruffalo, also by Donaldson and Scheffler, there is a Gruffalo fish to look out for as well.

Tiddler, The Story-Telling Fish. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, 2007.