2+, 3+, Picture Books, Uncategorized

There’s A Spider in My Soup by Megan Brewis

Little Spider loves to go swinging from her web!

Wheeeeee!!!

But one day, she swings too far and – SPLOOSH – lands herself in a big soup-bowl of trouble.

Poor Little Spider.  

Will she ever be brave enough to go swinging from her web again?

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I’ve always been a little scared (understatement) of spiders but meeting this little spider family has made me a little more comfortable with them.  Little Spider is full of adventure and longs to swing from the web but mum and dad spider knew how dangerous swinging could be.  One day whilst they are sleeping Little Spider decides to venture out for a little swing and soon ends up in hot water… or should I say soup.

This is a delightful, beautifully illustrated picture book that will teach young book lovers how to be brave… and that spiders are actually rather friendly and lovely. 🙂

There’s A Spider In My Soup is published by Oxford University Press.

About the author

Megan Brewis

Find out more about Megan by visiting her website here.

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2+, Children's Fiction, Picture Books

Meet The Penguins by Mike Brownlow

Meet the penguins! They really want to make some new friends.

But does anyone want to play?

When two penguins arrive from a faraway place and want to make friends, the other animals do not want to play with them. If only they would give the penguins a chance, they might discover how wonderful they really are!

A funny story about welcoming others – brilliantly written and illustrated by best-selling author of Ten Little Superheroes, Mike Brownlow.

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These little penguins are SO ADORABLE!  and yet it would seem that no-one wants to play with them.  Everyone they meet is rather unwelcoming and are either too busy, too concerned about mess, think they won’t understand or simply don’t even see them.  As the story progresses our little penguins become more and more downhearted.  Will there ever find someone to play with?

The illustrations are beautiful, bold and colourful. They are delightfully funny (I especially love the giraffe!) and there is much to discuss on each page.  The story also raises plenty of questions to ask of our young readers and reminds us (even us adults) that saying yes and making time for others can lead to lots of fun with new and old friends.  It’s a great story to share and also to help children begin to look at word formation and recognition with repetition and just a small amount of text on each page.

Meet The Penguins has been published by Oxford University Press and is now available from all good bookshops.

You can follow Oxford University Press on Twitter at @OUPChildrens

About the author

Mike Brownlow

Now I first discovered Mike through one of his first books Little Robots which went on to become an animated show on CBeebies, with the voice talents of Lenry Henry, Sue Perkins, Mel Giedroyc,  Martin Clunes, Emma Chambers and Su Pollard.  You can read more about this on Mike’s website here.  My son and I absolutely loved watching these funny little robots.

He has written many books to share with young book lovers and contributed Ten Little Bookworms to the selection of World Book Titles on offer this year. He understands how important it to learn to read and his books help us to instil a love of books from a very early age. Everything changes when we learn to read. We learn empathy, gain knowledge and nourish the imagination. It’s how minds connect and people understand each other. We need literate citizens more than ever.’ – Mike Brownlow

Find out more about Mike Brownlow by visiting his website here.

You can follows him on Twitter at @mikebrownlow1

Bookish Post, Children's Fiction, Debut, Middle Grade Fiction

The Girl with the Shark’s Teeth by Cerrie Burnell

The Girl with the Shark’s Teeth is a story that shows us that courage, friendship and goodness comes in all kinds of packages.

Minnow is different to the other girls in her town and there’s plenty to set her apart: the blossom of pale scars which lie beneath her delicate ears, her affinity with the water which leaves people speechless, and the time when, in deep, deep water, her body began to glow like a sunken star.

When her mum gets into trouble and is taken from their boat in the dead of night, Minnow is alone with one instruction: “sail to Reykjavik to find your grandmother, she will keep you safe’.  Minnow has never sailed on her own before, but the call of the deep is one she’s been waiting to answer her whole young life.

Perhaps a girl who is lost on land can be found in the Wild Deep.

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I first came across Cerrie Burnell when she joined the children’s channel ‘CBeebies’ over eight years ago.  It was a channel I watched regularly with my son when he was very young and one that we were both very fond of.  I remember Cerrie  because she was a great presenter but I also remember being pleased that this channel who assisted me with teaching my child at such an early age, were brave enough to chose a presenter who looked slightly different to what is considered the ‘norm’;  a presenter that may arouse some curiosity amongst it’s young viewers and offer the opportunity to explore the differences amongst us all.

Any child should be able to find a character they can relate to in books but children should also be able to read strong characters that are different to them too.  To immerse your child in diversity from an early age, I believe, is vital.  To teach them that each and EVERY individual is unique, important and has so much to offer the world.  I’ve noticed over the years, both as a parent and working with young children, that they are curious when they encounter something different but they do not judge; it is the influence of the reactions around them that will then, I believe, cause the judgement to kick in.

Cerrie has moved on from presenting CBeebies and is writing fiction for children.  Inspired by her own dual heritage daughter she wanted to expand on the young heroines out there for our young readers. When it comes to her writing Cerrie herself says “Families like mine are so rarely represented in children’s literature in a positive magical context, so I wanted to create characters who reflect us but are bound up in adventure.

I was intrigued to read The Girl with the Shark’s Teeth.  As always, I try not to consider what I know about the author and let the story speak for itself…and this one certainly does.  Cerrie is a natural storyteller.  Her empathy, kindness and sense of adventure comes through in her characters.  Young readers will love the adventure and magic within the pages.  I loved the illustrations throughout, they weaved in amongst the story perfectly, framing the beautifully depicted world that Cerrie has created.  The leading characters are strong, fearsome and memorable.  Young Minnow is feisty and courageous; the love and bond she shares with her mother driving her forward to face whatever danger is thrown at her. Minnow has been raised on stories and song and it is these that she turns to when life becomes confused and her path feels uncertain. The story itself is exciting, filled with wonder and peril.  This will be a wonderful book for all middle grade readers but also as a book to be shared and enjoyed together with younger readers.

Thank you to Oxford University Press for sending me the review copy.  It has been an absolute joy to read and I certainly hope we will be seeing more from Cerrie Burnell.

About the Author

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Cerrie Burnell is an actor and writer best known for her work on CBeebies, a role that has earned her critical acclaim and a devoted fan base.  In 2011 Cerrie was named in the Observer’s top ten children’s presenters and the Guardian’s  100 most inspirational women.  She has been an author in residence for Great Ormond Street and is a patron of Polka Theatre for children.  She trained at Manchester Metropolitan and her credits prior to CBeebies include Eastenders, The Bill, Holby City and Grange Hill.

Cerrie’s one woman show The Magical Playroom opened at Edinburgh in 2013 and her Harper series, published by Scholastic, has been translated into twelve languages and was a World Book Day title in 2016.  She is the author of several picture books including Snowflakes, which Cerrie adapted for the stage for the Oxford Playhouse in 2016.  Cerrie left CBeebies in April 2017 with a commitment to push diversity in other directions.  Since departing, Cerrie has played the role of Penny in the BBC’s Doctors, presented a documentary about the NHS, and written her debut middle grade book The Girl with the Shark’s Teethwhich she is very excited about.

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