Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Easter Delights!

Easter is just around the corner. Are you off on a journey or just staying at home to enjoy some last Spring sunshine? Whatever your plans you can be assured that there is a book for you to enjoy. You could look through the latest edition of Armadillo Magazine for some inspiration of take up one of my suggestions here.

For the crafty among you why not try making something with the inspiring ‘I Can make things for Easter’ from Lion Publishing. Packed with ideas, in fact there are 16 projects from using paint and your fingers to make fingerprint chicks, getting busy in the kitchen creating chocolate nests, crafting an Easter card or even making chicken markers for the traditional Easter Egg hunt. Not forgetting of course the woolly sheep, bunny ears and Easter vase, there really is something in this book for everyone; every age; every ability. So what are you waiting for: get stuck in!

If you are travelling then I have the perfect idea for you, ‘The Children’s Travel Journal’ by Ann Banks is an opportunity to record you thoughts and feelings about the places you may have seen, include some interesting and memorable facts even save some mementoes in the special pocket. Perfect for any budding writers and reporters, a lovely way to keep your memories safe this is a friendly charming an well designed journal.For younger children unfamiliar with Easter and wanting a little craft activity of their own ‘My Very First Easter Story’ again from Lion publishing should tick the box. Not only does it introduce the youngest children to the traditional Easter story but it allows them to customise the story with the enclosed stickers.

If it is a reading book that will make you happy then for younger readers I can strongly recommend 'Naughty Toes' by Ann Bonwill & Teresa Murfin. This is a charming story about how to be yourself. Trixie and Belinda may be sisters but that does not mean that have the same ability when it comes to ballet, or that their hair is the same or even their dress sense! Smile at the gorgeous illustration a glorious collage of shape and colour, giggle at the story and enjoy discovering, along with Belinda, that being yourself is best for you never know what you may discover! Sticking with the performing theme

‘Sam in the Spotlight’ by Anne-Marie Conway continues the drama and dilemma’s faced by the Star Maker Club. This time it is Sam who faces a confidence problem, how do you react when you receive a letter from a sister you didn’t even know you had? Follow Sam’s journey as she comes to terms with a new family member and her drama dilemmas in this latest addition to a series charting the ups and downs of the members of Star Makers Drama Club.

Finally for anyone a little older why not try the new stand alone novel from Liz Kessler, 'A Year Without Autumn.' Liz originally wrote this story 6 years ago but her editors wanted her to wait until the time was right to publish it. The time is definitely right now for this novel of time-slips, family ups & downs and friendships. A pacey, well told and exciting story with plenty of ups & downs this is a great read and perhaps a step up for some readers.

Do enjoy your Easter break however you spend in and do try to find at least one good book to read!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Make this Your First Gruffalo

My niece reaches the grand age of 1 next week and I have the perfect present for her - a set of My First Gruffalo (Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler, Macmillan) books. Of course they won't actually be her first Gruffalo books at all as I gave her a lovely copy complete with buttons to press and sounds to hear at christmas. she may not be old enough yet to fully appreciate them but she does love hearing the story, seeing the pictures and even trying to turn the pages!

The four My First Gruffalo books are therefore perfect for they will help her to begin to learn her Colours, Numbers, Opposites and even Animal Actions as she grows. Better than this though becasue they are tough and chunky board books she can handle them herself without the worry of torn pages.

Each book features well-known and loved characters from the stories using each of them in an apprpriate way. For example in Colours the red fox is on his own but opposite a bright red page with the word RED and a few other red pictures from the story. GREEN appears opposite a nice tall tree from the forest and so on for the five colours featured.

In Opposites the BIG Gruffalo is opposite a small mouse. A happy mouse with his acorn faces a sad mouse without the acorn. In this book there are six Opposites for children to learn. Five numbers will find the reader counting the characters on each page with the words to learn to read too and animal actions will find children and their parents making some wonderful noises!

What is there not to enjoy about the Gruffalo and even more so now that there is a wonderful set of books with all our favourite charcters helping babies and toddlers to learn and take their very first steps into reading and understanding.

I know my niece and her parents will have great fun with this bright, colourful, durable and edcuational set of books, I hope you do too!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Autumn in Spring

Last night a lovely group of publishers, librarians, magazine editors and bookshop staff joined Orion editors and Liz Kessler in Lodn's Covent Garden to celebrate the launch of her stand-alone story A Year Without Autumn. Liz began to write this marvellous story six years ago and was recommended to put it on the shelf, after shedding a few tears she did as she was told, and wrote a few more stories very successful stories, keeping this one faithfuly on that shelf!

Feeling the time was now right, her editors at Orion decided A Year Without Autum could now be published. The time is most certainly right now for this beautiful book. We may be enjoying Spring but there is nothing wrong with a little Autumn, or is there? In this beautiful, tender and yet pacey book Liz tackles family friends and time-slips! I won't go into detail here but please do visit Armadillo Magazine for a wonderful review.

Liz was a charming celebratee thoroughly enjoying the evenuing and meeting many new people. Thanks to Orion for a lovely event and of course for keeping this great book for the perfect moment and then allowing Liz to share it with us all.