Tuesday, 18 March 2014

2 Mother's Day picks from Mrs Brown's shelf

It will soon be Mother's Day in the UK so I've picked two books that feature Moms.  There are lots of lovely tender books about Moms and kids out there, but E and I tend to favor the ones with a little discord.  I've selected two from our shelf that aren't new but are well loved and well read.


Llama, Llama Mad at Mama is another popular title by Anna Dewdney.  Little Llama accompanies Mama Llama on a shopping trip (at the shop-o-rama of course), and he just about manages to hold it together while she runs errands.  Somewhere between the cereal aisle and the bread aisle, however, he loses complete control in one of the best meltdowns I've seen in a picture book.  Once his tantrum subsides Mama Llama helps him to understand his anger. Llama llama then calms down and helps clean up the mess he's created.  E loves Llama's break down and thinks it's hilarious.  I just wish I had Mama Llama's magic touch.

Five Minutes' Peace by Jill Murphy features The Large Family of elephants.  Mrs Large just wants five minutes to sit in her bath and drink a cup of tea.  Is that too much to ask?  Apparently so according to her three little elephants. One by one they make excuses to come into the bathroom and by the end all of them join her in the tub! She responds by quietly retreating to the kitchen where she manages forty-five seconds of peace before the sopping wet elephant kids find her again. E loves the baby elephant who gets in the bath fully clothed and I love the honesty in the title. We've had a lot of fun reading it together.

For anyone celebrating Mother's Day next week ... enjoy!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain by Edward Ardizzone

Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain is the first in the Tim series of books from the legendary artist and children's book creator, Edward Ardizzone. It's also a crackin' good adventure to borrow a British phrase!

I left this book on a table for E to discover on his own, and within minutes he was quietly turning the pages, fully engrossed in this adventure of a little boy, a brave captain and the high seas. It was a little bit of a test, I admit, because the drawings are a mix of incredible water colors and black and white drawings. He took to it immediately and demanded it be read again as soon as we'd finished it ... high praise!

photo credit: http://www.edwardardizzone.org.uk/
Tim is a little boy desperate to go to sea.  He manages to stow away on a steamer and after working for his passage becomes almost one of the crew. A fierce storm threatens his adventure after the steamer crashes into some rocks, but Tim and the captain are saved just in time. After some hot cocoa and a good night's sleep Tim returns home to his parents with his new friend, the brave captain, in tow.

First published in 1936, there are few facets to this adventure that might not get passed by the censors today (one of the things I like about it).  It was Tim's running away from home that confused E the most but we got around that with a little conversation.  I'm just waiting for him to ask what 'Davy Jones' locker' means any day now.

Our whole house loves this book and we'll devour the rest of the Tim series as soon as they're safely back on our local library's shelf.  Edward Ardizzone had an incredible life and career. He was the first ever winner of the Kate Greenaway medal and he was appointed Official War Artist in Britain in 1940.  He was a prolific author and illustrator and I found it fascinating to read about him.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Hello ladybird! by Chloë Inkpen and Mick Inkpen

Zoe and her dog Beans are searching for a little lost ladybird (that's a ladybug for the Americans), in this new title from father and daughter team, Chloë Inkpen and Mick Inkpen. Hello ladybird! lends itself to the board book format; it's a simple little story with marvelous illustrations of Zoe, Beans and the hodgepodge of treasures they collect in effort to find the runaway ladybird.

This story begs you to ask questions of even the smallest child as Zoe finds a snail, a pencil, a coin and a party popper as part of her hunt for the ladybird. Finally, she spots the elusive ladybird on Beans' nose and in a lovely sequence it alights from her finger, opens its wings and flies away...a perfect ending.

Zoe and Beans are a charming team and luckily for us there are loads more books about them just waiting to be read.  Their new website is also full of free activities and colouring pages so do check it out zoeandbeans.com.

Many thanks to Macmillan children's books for the review copy of Zoe and Beans.